Tuesday update

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday. I had a nasty summer cold that I mistook for allergies until yesterday, not realizing I had a mild fever. I called in and spent 17 of the next 24 hours sleeping. I feel significantly better today.

It’s International Week, the week between Music Fest and BBQ Fest spent showcasing the culture of Memphis in May’s honored country, this year the Czech Republic. Bluff City Weekend has ways to enjoy the Czech Republic in Memphis for $15 or less.

5 Spot, on G.E. Patterson behind Earnestine & Hazel’s, is back open. View the new menu here

The Redbirds have a special Mother’s Day ticket for this Sunday that includes a buffet in the Home Plate Club, catch on the field, and you can bring your dog to the park. Tickets are $35 Dugout and $39 Club. Buffet runs from noon to 1:30 with game time at 2:05. Buffet menu will be salad bar and cheese display, seasonal fruit station, assorted breakfast pastries, pecan deviled eggs, BBQ chicken breast, carved ham, scrambled eggs (plain and with cheese), Applewood bacon, country sausage, roasted garlic breakfast potatoes, Belgian waffles with assorted toppings, chocolate covered strawberries, and a champagne and mimosa bar.

I checked the MemphisWeather.net forecast, where the 8-14 day outlook now covers the period of BBQ Fest. “Temperatures slightly above average; precipitation near average.” Normal high for the BBQ Fest days is 81-82, so we’re looking at mid-80s probably. As for precipitation, it’ll probably rain one day. We’ve had much worse weather at BBQ Fest so I am fine with that forecast.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more.

I led off yesterday at the Memphis Farmers Market. I have said for years that there are so many reasons to go there beyond fresh produce. Here are three I discovered yesterday.

Beautiful day to be out at the Market and not the least bit crazy out there. After that I walked over to my home away from home on the south side, Max’s Sports Bar, for Purple Drank.

I posted a photo to Facebook and Rahul commented “that looks good, what’s in it?”

I replied, “Purple stuff and ice.” I mean, seriously? Do you go to the counter at KFC and demand to know what the 11 herbs and spices are in the Colonel’s secret recipe? Do you hesitate to put your 75 cents in the vending machine and press the Coke button because you don’t know the formula? It’s Purple Drank. C’mon man.

Prediction: Purple Drank will become iconic in the same way that hot fudge pie is iconic at Westy’s.

Max’s slushie machine is a two holer, and in the second hole he mixed up mint juleps for Kentucky Derby day.

I don’t bring my troll out with me on Music Fest weekend, but she would have loved how this drink matched her hair. It was so beautiful that Max took a photo of it and posted it on social media.

After that I headed north to Pontotoc Lounge to visit Joe who works the Saturday lunch shift, and then I was off to Beale Street to watch the Music Fest freak show. The religious nuts with the huge signs were out.

The street was overrun with these people telling us we’re all sinners and we’re going to burn in everlasting hell. Their kids were handing out comic books with titles like “This Was Your Life.”

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more.

Saturday update

This isn’t going to be a very long post. I’ve got allergies out the wazoo and can barely concentrate. Runny nose, sore throat… I’d think I have a cold but the fever is not there, nor is that feeling you get in the back of your throat when sick.

I’ve received word that Mint Juleps and Purple Drank will be on tap on Max’s Sports Bar’s new slushie machine. Because it would just be wrong to watch the Kentucky Derby without Purple Drank in your hand.

Elmwood Cemetery has added a new tour called The Last Word. Assistant Director Bob Barnett will tell the stories about some of the epitaphs on the monuments at the cemetery. This all-walking tour is 90 minutes long and commences at 10:30 AM on Saturday, May 19. Cost is $20 per person. Sign up here.

The Brass Door is hosting a Derby Watch Party to cheer on trainer Aiden O’Brien and Irish-trained horse Mendelssohn. $4 Tullamore Dew Juleps, and half-price beer & cheese dip and Irish nachos. Watch party 3-7 with post time 5:50.

BBQ teammates: Look for an email about bag pickup on Monday.

Time to get things started! I’m leading off at the Farmers Market this morning. Later in the day I will go to Beale and watch the freak show. Plans for tonight TBD. Back tomorrow with more news, unless the allergies get me.


Friday update

Beale Street Music Fest begins this afternoon! It’s a weekend of Lyft upcharges, traffic jams, $20 parking, scalpers, bars that normally don’t charge cover charging cover, East Memphians coming downtown for 3 days out of the year, puke on restroom walls and floors, the lingering smell of marijuana, people screaming “WOOOOOOOOOOO!” as they walk up the Main Street Mall at 4 in the morning, and walks of shame. Yay.

Sorry but I’m not as big a Music Fest enthusiast as a lot of Memphians. For me it’s a speed bump on the road to BBQ Fest.

Lettuce turn up the beet! is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. Should that be Lettuce Turnip the Beet? It’s a veritable salad of puns at the Market! Don’t carry cash on you! No problem! Swap your debit, credit or EBT card and get spendable tokens. In fact, if you’re part of the SNAP program, the Market can match up to $20 of your EBT purchase to be spent on healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. The kids’ craft area will feature coloring from 8 AM to noon. Live, local music all Market long. The Market runs 8 AM to 1 PM every Saturday under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. If the rain stays away I PLAN ON BEING THERE!

“Bob & Friends” happens at Clayborn Temple 6:30-9:30 tonight. “Bob” is Memphis Symphony Orchestra conductor Robert Moody. He and violin virtuoso Charles Yang will host a night of cabaret entertainment. They and a few MSO members will sing tunes from Broadway to Pop, Beatles to Ben Folds, to Leonard Cohen. Tenor Piotr Bushevski will hit nine high Cs in an aria, and vocalist Camille Quarrels will perform her rendition of “Rise Up.” $125 table seating, $75 stadium seating/standing room.

The requested dress for Bob & Friends is Cabaret Casual, whatever that means.

Beale Street, home of the blues and Microsoft WordArt.

To be fair, I hear it does look really cool at night.

High Ground News will be “on the ground” in Uptown and The Pinch the next three months, covering a part of town that is often overlooked in the media. This week they have two stories:

Really good stuff in that second article about the history of that part of town. I learned quite a bit reading it.

LOL the guy who randomly blocks and unblocks me on Facebook for reasons unknown blocked me again. This is getting ridiculous. I’ll say it again, camouflage doesn’t hide character flaws.

Front Street Deli will stay open until midnight Friday and Saturday and 5 PM Sunday this weekend for Music Fest goers.

Congratulations to former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale on being offered the head coaching job with the New York Knicks.

Bluff City Coffee has empanadas through tomorrow. They have chicken and cheese, or mushroom and pepper.

CNBC headline from yesterday: “Trump leads National Prayer Day event after saying he repaid lawyer for hush money to porn star.” I know ’tis not the season for the State of the Union address, but that headline summarizes the state of the Union at this time.

For lunch yesterday I went to Urban Fusion Asian Bistro on Exeter Rd. in Germantown. They mostly share a menu with their sister restaurant in Olive Branch. They have sushi, noodles, Thai, Japanese… a little of everything Asian. I ordered the Pork Katsu lunch Bento box. I started off with Miso soup (choice of Miso or clear soup) and a side salad.

Then the Bento box came out. Slices of thin, lightly breaded pork that were delicious and served with Katsu sauce on the side. The box comes with white rice (get fried rice for a dollar extra), four pieces of California roll, and a crispy spring roll. (The online menu says it comes with two pieces of fried shumai rather than the spring roll, but I was fine with either). A good lunch and a good value for $8.75.

Too bad my troll doesn’t come to work, and therefore work lunch, with me. She would have enjoyed standing in that Bento box.

I plan on going back to Urban Fusion sometime soon and trying their noodles. They have 8 different noodle preparations you can order with chicken, beef, shrimp, scallop or seafood. I see that they have noodles with kimchi. I love kimchi so that one is on my list for sure!

I will warn you about one thing, though. A co-worker had the same lunch idea I did, and when we got back to the office we compared notes on what we had. He got one of the noodle dishes, and they asked him, “How spicy do you want it? 0, 1, 2, or 3?” He asked for “1” and had to go through two and a half glasses of water with his lunch! I will heed his words of caution, because I would have gone for 2 or 3 if I had ordered a spicy dish yesterday.

In other news about me, I’ve had a great time reading feeds and online forums this week… :mrgreen:

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

When I was in college, there was a band, mostly members of which were a few years older than me, called Neighborhood Texture Jam. They had a song called “McThorazine,” the story of a psychiatric patient who goes to McDonald’s and in the prelude to the song, places an order. The cashier replies, “Thank you, sir, would you like an apple pie with that?”

(song begins… or maybe I should say, the screeching begins)
If I had wanted a DAMN PIE…
I would have ORDERED a DAMN PIE!

What does this have to do anything? My “lunch in Germantown yesterday” part of this post, actually. My lunch itself was the pizza buffet at Garibaldi’s, which isn’t that interesting and I didn’t take any pictures. However, it was my week to bring a pie for Pie Wednesday at work. Not knowing the area, I posted and asked my readers for advice on what nearby bakeries sold pies. The replies contained the usual suspects, Muddy’s and Frost, as well as a bakery I had not heard of called Miss Muff’n, next door to Garibaldi’s off West Rd. Where the other bakeries only had 5 or 6 varieties of pies, Miss Muff’n had 15. In my 7 weeks at work I had not seen a blueberry pie, so I ordered one of those last Friday and picked it up today after hitting the pizza buffet at noon.

(Edit: WordPress is being a little bitch again. You may or may not see a picture of a blueberry pie above.)

My co-workers liked it and it was $20, a little less than the other bakeries charge. They can make cakes, cookies, bar cookies, brownies, muffins, breads, cheesecakes, scones, pies, and cupcakes as well. They don’t have a large bakery case so in most cases you need to pre-order. You can view Miss Muff’n’s menu on their website. (The menu downloads as a PDF so I can’t link directly to it.) They seem to do a big wedding business as well.

Of course I stopped at Kroger (the one at Quince and Kirby, not Bougie Kroger near where I work) yesterday morning to get Cool Whip. You can’t have a blueberry pie without Cool Whip. That just wouldn’t be right at all.

As for lunch itself, glad to know that I still remember proper pizza buffet strategy from when I was a kid. You always sit as close to the buffet as possible so you beat the rush when a new pizza comes out. Also, if possible, you try to get a seat with a view of the kitchen so you see the pizza coming before anyone else does.

On to the news… tonight will be a big night Downtown as the Foo Fighters come to FedExForum. Doors open at 6, The Struts take the stage at 7:15, then the Foo Fighters at 8.

It’s also the final night of a long Redbirds homestand, and they’re going out in style with a specialty ticket that gets you a buffet of soft tacos, hot dogs and sides from 6 to 8 PM. $2 beers throughout the ballpark for Thirsty Thursday, and the Redbirds will have on their Memphis Chicks throwbacks.

Almost Famous, a high-energy band playing hits from the 1980s through today, headlines the Peabody rooftop tonight. Cover is $10 general admission, $20 VIP. Your admission includes a buffet of chicken taquitos, tortilla chips and dip. If you’re in VIP you have a second buffet of a beef and chicken taco bar, chicken enchilada dip and chips, and cinnamon churros.

Max’s Sports Bar has added a slushie machine. Drinks made it in will vary, but last night they had a Peach John Daly as well as Purple Drank.

Purple Drank

The folks at the Memphis Flyer are looking to expand and enhance their work, while at the same time keeping the Flyer a free publication. So they are looking for Frequent Flyers to support the cause. $5 a month gets you a car decal. $10 a month gets you the decal and a lapel pin. $25 a month gets you the decal, pin, and an exclusive Frequent Flyer T-shirt, while $50 a month gets you all the other stuff plus two tickets to the annual Best of Memphis party (which I can tell you, is quite a shindig).

Rizzo’s is looking to hire a hostess for evenings. Inquire within if interested.

The Redbirds pre-game seafood boil is back at Brass Door this Friday and Saturday beginning at 4 PM. Mussels, clams, shrimp, baby potatoes and corn come in the boil, along with crunchy French bread to sop up the juices. Cost is $18.

That’ll do it for now. Six and a half work days until my BBQ Fest vacation begins. Getting excited! Back tomorrow with more news.

Want a great chili burger? Go to the place where the fat man rocks

My adventures in dining continued yesterday on my lunch hour, and this one was so good I’m not going to wait until the end of my post like I usually do. (Skip past it to On to the news… if you don’t care what I had for lunch – got news on a Downtown grocery store!)

When I taught at the University of Memphis, I was not yet a Downtowner. Heck, I couldn’t afford to live Downtown on the paltry salary they paid. I lived in a high-rise not far from the intersection of Madison and McLean. The bar around the corner was Neil’s, where my friends and I often went to hear live music and play pool. I also discovered that they had an unusually good food menu.

Eventually I moved away from Midtown, and Neil’s burned down and its successor, Neil’s Music Room, opened out east at Quince and 240. I was looking at Google Maps to find new lunch places within a short drive from work… and yesterday, everything old was new again. I made a nice, easy drive to Neil’s and grabbed a seat at the bar. The menu was much as I remembered, and I ordered my favorite from the old days – Neil’s World Famous Chili Burger.

You can get any of the usual burger toppings, and I ordered it the way I usually order a burger – everything but ketchup and tomato. The bartender asked if I wanted cheese, and of course I did. I got a side of tots. As you can see, they simply make the burger, then put it in a bowl and cover it in chili. When my burger appeared on the kitchen window, the bartender sent it back and it came out again about 2 minutes later. “They didn’t put enough chili on there for my taste,” the bartender commented. This definitely isn’t a burger you eat with your hands! Knife and fork are a must.

I’ll give you a little bonus tidbit of information. Neil’s has meat and two/meat and three/veggie plate offerings weekdays for lunch. The meat and two is only $6.95, two to four dollars cheaper than the meat-and-two places I’ve been frequenting in hoity-toity Germantown. Plus, you get a bigger plate of food, based on what I saw coming out for a couple of bar customers sitting nearby. On Wednesdays they have chicken fried steak!!! Can’t wait to try that, although it won’t be today because of an important errand I have to run (you’ll find out in tomorrow’s post what that errand is).

On to the news…

Tom Archer, owner of Archer Custom Builders, plans to open a grocery store in a building he owns at 136 Webster, a block off South Main. He will try to get one of the chains to come in but if not, he will open a grocery himself.

Downtown Memphis Commission’s Open on Main project has announced the opening of its first pop-up shop. They have 12 different local vendors selling artwork, pottery, pillows, apparel, soaps, and furniture. The shop is located at 147 S. Main. A second pop-up shop, Edge on Main coffee bar, is coming soon.

Congratulations to J.B. Bickerstaff on having “interim” removed from his title as Grizzlies head coach. We’ll see what he can do next season with a healthy roster and a top-five draft pick.

It’s All-Inclusive Night at the Redbirds. All Club Level, Dugout, and Field Box tickets purchased through this link are $20 and include free hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, chips and cheese, popcorn, and small fountain sodas. First pitch is 6:35.

The Memphis Flyer has lots of photos from Beale Street Wine Race last Sunday.

Wine-0-1 is the theme at the Master Taster’s Club at the Peabody Corner Bar tonight from 5:30 to 7. The tasting will feature sommeliers from the 901. The event is $25 to attend. If you want to stick around after the event, from 7 to 9 they’ll have $5 specials on this month’s Master Taster’s Club wines and half-off appetizers.

YOGA! For the month of May, bring a friend to Downtown Yoga and get a credit for $10 off your next purchase. You can earn up to $50 in credits bringing friends.

Pro wrestling news: Glenn Jacobs, known as Kane in WWE, won the Republican primary for the mayorship of Knox County, Tennessee yesterday. His storyline brother The Undertaker made appearances on his behalf leading up to the election.

FedExForum will have the Toyota Garage open for Music Fest parking. The cost is $10 per car and the hours are 3:30 PM-12:30 AM Friday, 7:00 PM-12 AM Saturday (opening late due to University of Memphis graduation), 11:00 AM-11:00 PM Sunday.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news and probably a photo or two.

Tuesday update

Relatively quiet news day, but here’s what I got…

Mud Island is going to the dogs. Thanks to a sponsorship by Hollywood Feed, A $475,000 dog park is being constructed at the corner of Island Drive and A.W. Willis.

Chef Gary Williams of DeJaVu is back cooking at his original location at 936 Florida just south of Downtown. The new restaurant is called Krewe of DeJaVu, and while Williams is not the owner, his signature touch will be all over the restaurant and its food.

The new owners of the Gibson Guitar building will be partnering with the Orgel family to revitalize the building.

The CA has 5 things you need to know for Music Fest this coming weekend. I’ll add another: Buy a disposable poncho. Most of the gift shops on Beale sell these.

The Redbirds host Oklahoma City tonight at 6:35. It’s Dollar Dog Night with $1 hot dogs courtesy of Polk’s Meat Products.

Prior to their May 15 concert at the Orpheum, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Chicago will get its star on the Walk of Fame in front of the Orpheum. The ceremony will start at 5 PM and is free for the public to attend. Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Kevin Kane will be among the speakers.

Explore Bike Share has announced a system launch date of Wednesday, May 23. There will be a celebration at 9:30 that morning in Court Square.

And that’s a wrap. Back tomorrow with more.