EAT: Mister Crunch @ Pontotoc Lounge weekend brunch

Lately I’ve been doing Sunday brunch at the Blind Bear, but this week Perjorie T. Roll wanted to go to Pontotoc Lounge to see her Uncle Brad at the bar.

As it turned out, I am glad she made that call. When I got down there, I wasn’t hungry, and I planned to just drink PBR and wait until later in the day to eat. However, my buddy Otto joined me. Brad told him the brunch menu had changed, and he went over some of the new items.

“We have a Mister Crunch,” Brad said. “It’s an open faced biscuit sandwich. We put thick-cut bacon on there, and the chef makes the bacon himself. He sous vides it to retain more of the flavor. The bacon is covered in Mornay sauce and cheese.”

As I said, I wasn’t hungry, but that sounded too good to pass up. After one more PBR I gave in and put in an order.

The photo does not do this dish justice. You can see the open-faced biscuit there on the bottom, covered  with Mornay sauce and shredded cheese. But what, you might ask, are those twin towers atop the biscuits?

That is BACON!

I showed the photo above to another customer inquiring about the dish, and he said, “Oh, so it’s like rolled bacon, huh?” and I said no. Those are two SOLID PIECES of bacon atop the biscuits. When they say the bacon is thick-cut, they really aren’t messing around! It’s well more than an inch thick. I had to use a steak knife and fork to dig in.

Brad also wasn’t kidding when he told me that they sous vide the meat to retain more of its natural juice and flavor. The taste was INCREDIBLE. This was easily the best thing I’ve ever had to eat at Pontotoc Lounge, and considering that I’ve had the Mississippi Pot Roast there, that’s saying a lot. Really, if I were blindfolded and took a bite of this bacon and was asked to guess where it came from, I’d reply, “Did my BBQ team make it?” It’s that good, and I didn’t realize sous vide bacon could have such a smoky flavor. This dish is simply a must-try if you are a carnivore.

One thing: Although the dish is called “Mister Crunch,” I wouldn’t describe the bacon as crunchy. It’s actually quite chewy and tender.

There have been some other additions to the brunch menu at Pontotoc recently, including pancakes and ribs. That is the lounge’s answer to chicken and waffles, which seemingly show up on every brunch menu nowadays. Nice that Pontotoc dares to be different, and the ribs are a nice tip of the hat to Memphis’ BBQ heritage.

Another change to Sunday brunch there is they got rid of the jazz band. Although the people in the band were nice guys and clearly talented musicians, I like this move. Sunday brunch at Pontotoc has built up a huge following of regulars, and jazz isn’t a great fit for the most of the regulars’ musical tastes. Also, the band tended to play so loud that it was hard to hear the person sitting next to you talk. By not having the band anymore, there’s now space for three window tables where diners can look out upon South Main as they brunch. There’s now a Sunday Fun Day Pandora station that plays, with classic hits, stuff like the Stones and Aretha that is familiar to most everyone.

Pontotoc is at 314 South Main, half a block south from the street after which it is named. They do brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays.

I predicted Monday would be a slow news day, and I was right. I only have two news items, and neither is particularly time-sensitive, so I will defer them until tomorrow. See you then.

Sunday update

Today’s the big day for the Craft Food and Wine Festival at Columns at One Commerce Square. Guests get to taste a variety of artisanal meats, cheeses, and wines, as well as other goodies such as gelato, popcorn, sweets, and tea. The Tri-State Defender has a preview of the event and a profile of its creator, Cristina McCarter of City Tasting Tours. The 4:00 session and VIP tickets are sold out but as of the time I am typing this they are still selling tickets for the 6:30 session.

Today is also the day for The Bar Olympics out at the Hi-Tone in Crosstown. Come watch teams compete in a variety of fun events to see who is the best, while raising money for a great charity, ALIVE! Rescue Memphis, which is a foster-based program for homeless dogs in the Memphis area.

There’s also an ALIVE! Rescue fundraiser at the Green Beetle this afternoon.

It’s Bring Your Dog to Bingo Day at Loflin Yard this afternoon from 4 to 6. Those with a dog get an extra bingo card.

The CA reports that a free yoga class has soared in popularity once a few tweaks were made. Every Tuesday from 6 to 7 PM, the DMC and the Memphis River Parks Partnership host Our Yoga Downtown in River Garden. It’s not just Downtowners who show up, though. On a recent Tuesday people from 32 different zip codes attended. YOGA!

I want to take a minute to say “cheers” to the management of a local bar for taking feedback from their regulars. They recently polled their regulars on whether they should stop offering specials to riders on the party pedal bikes, and based on feedback they eliminated the specials. Those party bike riders expect to be served immediately when they barge into bars, ahead of customers waiting on drinks before they came in. They tend to wreck the vibe of the bars they enter, meaning any Saturday afternoon or Friday evening can turn into Amateur Night on the spot. Plus, although I’m sure it does happen, I have never once seen a party bike rider tip a bartender. Earlier this year at the very bar of which I speak, a party bike rider pushed into my personal space and ran up a $32 tab as he loudly ordered shots for himself and 7 of his friends… and he did not tip one cent.

UConn is planning to leave the American Athletic Conference and return to its former home, the Big East, in all sports but football. The Big East doesn’t offer football as a sport, so UConn will have to figure out what to do there. LOL! You just KNOW Penny Hardaway and his recruiting class had a lot to do with that decision!

There will be a Downtown Margarita Bar Crawl on Saturday, August 17. There will be at least 5 venues. They have not all been announced yet but Blind Bear will be the starting point. There will be themed margaritas, discounted Mexican food and Mexican beer for crawlers, and free take-home swag. There will be themed music at each venue – ’80s, ’90s, 2000s. There will also be a raffle, prizes, and a professional photographer shooting photos and videos.

The Memphis Tigers football team has scheduled a Fan Fest at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday, August 10. Fans will be able to watch an open scrimmage, buy discounted apparel, and get autographs. There will be inflatables, concessions, and music.

This is really cool: NASA has a huge library of images and videos, and for many uses you can access it for free.

That’s it for this post! Back tomorrow with more news, or possibly Tuesday since Mondays tend to be slow news days.

Saturday update

Before I get to today’s news, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to my good friend and BBQ team treasurer Misty. Misty keeps our team financials in impeccable shape. She’s down in the Dominican Republic with some of our group of friends celebrating, and I hope she has a wonderful day. You know how sometimes I start to say something on here, then say, “Better not finish that thought, or I’ll get fussed at by a redhead.” Misty is the redhead.

Misty recently told me, “You know the only reason I fuss at you is because I love you.” Yes, Misty, I know. Love you too.

Should I give an example of something that would make her fuss at me? Nah, not right now. Maybe tomorrow….

Wow! I just checked MemphisWeather.net and we have a dew point of 77 as I type this. The Vane has an article on how the dew point affects the heat index and how dew point is a better measure of how much moisture is in the air than relative humidity. “Dew points below 60°F are comfortable, while those above 65°F are uncomfortable; readings above 70°F are oppressive,” the article states. I saw a heat index of 106°F on Weatherbug yesterday, one degree above the danger threshold at which heat exhaustion and heat stroke can quickly set in. It’s going to be that hot and muggy again today, so don’t spend a lot of time outside if you don’t have to. In fact, you’re welcome to join me at Bardog, where the icy cold A/C will be blowing full force. I’ll be there from 11 until at least 4. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you step out of the sticky heat and that first blast of air conditioning hits you? Why not treat yourself to that today?!

Gizmodo has a suggestion to help you beat the heat:

Another way to stay cool is to go by the Flying Saucer for its 22nd birthday celebration today.

Next door to the Saucer at the Silly Goose, plans to install a pizza oven have finally been approved. I look forward to mid-to-late June 2026, when I will be eating one of the first slices of pizza to come out of the oven as I discuss whether 8-year Grizzlies veteran Jaren Jackson Jr. will re-sign with Memphis in free agency.

I saw a most interesting news item on ESPN yesterday: Major League Baseball may have a two-city team at some point in the future. The Tampa Bay Rays have been given permission to talk to the city of Montreal about playing early season games in Tampa, and the remainder of the season in Montreal. Makes sense… in April it’s often too cold in Montreal to sit outside for three or more hours, but in July and August Montreal is pleasant while Tampa is oppressively hot. Shawn Danko from Kooky Canuck commented that when they play in Montreal, they need to play as the Expos. I agree!

Memphis River Parks Partnership, Memphis Travel and I Love Memphis will host Vibe on the Island on Independence Day from 6 to 10 PM. Ping Rose, Black Cream, and Marcella & Her Lovers will perform in The Grove on Mud Island. Fireworks start at 9:15, and guests are encouraged to bring their blankets to the south lawn for the best view. This event is free and open to the public.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen is hosting a very exclusive couples cooking event on Sunday, August 11 from noon to 3 PM. This will be a romantic experience and will be very hands-on, with couples preparing an appetizer, main course, and dessert. They will also teach the couples how to make their Walk Me Down bourbon cocktail. They are only taking 5 couples, so if this is of interest, act fast.

Elite Total Health is planning a second location, out in Lakeland, in 2020. If you want to have more energy, are feeling sick, or want to lose weight, just walk on into their existing location at South Main and MLK and they can take care of you.

From Lifehacker: The best bar regulars are the quiet ones. TRUTH!

Former Memphis Tiger guard Jeremiah Martin did not get his name called in Thursday’s NBA draft, but he signed a deal nonetheless. Martin is on an Exhibit 10 contract with the Miami Heat. He will attend summer camp with Miami and then will have the opportunity for a two-way deal with Miami and their G-League affiliate.

Nashville has officially banned electric scooters from its streets, citing public safety and accessibility reasons.

Memphis magazine’s Michael Donahue has a classic dining column out in which he features two wonderful Downtowners, Cordell and Tawanda Pirtle. They actively support their neighborhood and community, and their restaurants make delicious chicken.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is having a summer solstice party in the taproom tonight.

Memphis 901 FC hosts Club Pachuca Tuzos tonight at AutoZone Park at 7.

Not sure how much I’d recommend these since they’re going on outside, but two big events today are the Island Block Party in Harbor Town and the Margarita Fest out east in Shelby Farms.

That’ll do it for today. Everybody stay cool and I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Way to go Grizz! The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington reports that selecting any other draftee with the #2 pick than Ja Morant was never under serious consideration. The front office felt he was the kind of high-IQ player that would fit in with the system they are trying to build. Morant will be introduced to Memphis in a 2 PM press conference in the FedExForum lobby.

After getting Morant at 2, the Grizzlies did some wheeling and dealing. They took the #23 pick they acquired in the Mike Conley trade with Utah and swapped it with Oklahoma City’s #21 pick, sending OKC a 2024 second-rounder as a sweetener. Then they selected Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke at 21. Clarke is a forward who is said to be uptempo and a very good defender. Well done, Grizzlies. Much better draft (and offseason trade season) than I think most fans expected.

Bleacher Report gave the Morant selection an A and the Clarke selection a B+.

Poor Bol Bol. He showed up in that fly-ass suit, expecting to go in the first round, with some analysts even pegging him as a late lottery pick. He dropped all the way to 44. He looked so unhappy. I felt bad for the guy. A friend of mine was practically screaming at the TV that the Grizzlies needed to do another trade for a pick in the late thirties and get him.

Yesterday I walked over to Court Square at 11 and found the New Wing Order food truck. I wanted to try a wing seasoning I had not tried before. That would not be hard to do – they have 17 different sauces on the menu, including their specialty sauces, seasonings, BBQ sauces, and classic wing sauces. Being a big fan of spicy food, I ordered the traditional wings with Nikki’s Hot Seasoning.

I got an order of six, three flats and three drummies, with blue cheese for dipping, a roll, and carrots and celery. The celery made Perjorie T. Roll happy because she likes foods that are the same color as her hair. As for the wings, they were tasty, but oh man, I forgot just how hot Nikki’s seasoning is. I forgot that the last time I got a bag of Nikki’s Hot potato chips, I needed five glasses of water to get them down. By the second bite into the first wing, my nose was running. So I fell into a cycle: I’d wipe my nose on my napkin, but I’d previously wiped my hands on my napkin, so I got Nikki’s seasoning on my nose, and it ran even more.

And you know what? When I’m eating wings, that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it. If my mouth isn’t on fire, the wings aren’t hot enough. These more than satisfied. The veggies and blue cheese helped take the edge off the heat. Excellent collaboration between New Wing Order and Nikki’s Hot. I will be back at the food truck the next time it does the Thursday lunchtime food truck rodeo, and hot wing nachos are probably next on my list.

You remember how I told you that this weekend would be a good one to stay indoors, with MemphisWeather.net now predicting a maximum heat index near 103 for Saturday, and WeatherBug predicting a heat index in the 90s at 9 AM? Well, I have a suggestion to help keep you cooled off. Huey’s has announced that they are doing $3.50 drink specials on Saturdays and Sundays, from the time they open all the way to 6 PM. Bloody Marys, mimosas, screwdrivers, champagne, and poinsettias are the offerings. Brunch drinks and air conditioning. Hard to argue with that.

Despite the predicted oppressively hot weather, there is one event this Saturday I recommend you get out for if you have the interest – Yoga in the Park will offer a 108 Salutations for a Cause class in Court Square, taught by Caroline Miles, from 10 until noon. This is a free class, but donations to Streetdog Foundation will be appreciated. In addition to monetary donations, they need

  • Thunder Jackets
  • Large and medium Kongs
  • Benebones
  • Sentry Calming Collars for dogs
  • Nylabones
  • Dog Beds
  • Crate Mats
  • Collars
  • Leashes
  • Rope Toys
  • Medium and Large Harnesses (step-in and Easy walk)
  • Dog Treats
  • Pill Pockets
  • Dog Food

There will be giveaways, and Streetdog Foundation will have adoptable dogs at the class. Best of all, it’s over at noon so you can get some balance and inner peace, meet some pups, and then get back in the air conditioning for the remainder of the day. YOGA!

Hungry Memphis tweeted a photo of one of 3rd & Court diner’s menu offerings:

A co-founder of Facebook thinks it’s time to break up the company. Until this week, I didn’t agree, but now with their new foray into cryptocurrency, I’m coming around to that point of view.

The Memphis Flyer’s Memphis Burger Week returns July 10-16. Some of the city’s best burgers will be only $5.99 that week. Downtown participating restaurants include Arnold’s BBQ, Bardog Tavern, Flying Saucer, and Huey’s.

The July 26 Jake Owen/Hunter Hayes concert at FedExForum has been canceled.

Nick Black plays the Soulin’ on the River concert series on Mud Island tonight. Gates open at 6, music at 7. This is a free show and blankets and lawn chairs are welcome.

Silly Goose is in need of an experienced cocktail server. Apply in person 4-6 PM Wednesday or Thursday.

Crack Open Your Weekend is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. No, they’re not suggesting you wear low-rise jeans that expose your crack when you bend over. They’re referring to the farm vendors who sell locally-laid eggs. Lots of activities for the kiddos this week. The Children’s Museum of Memphis will be there with 3-D airplanes for kids to color. The American Heart Association will have a crafts corral that sounds like it’s for both kids and adults; kids will have coloring activities, and for the adults there will be recipes and a Fruit and Vegetable Guide with tips that are easy to incorporate. Live music all day long. The market runs every Saturday at the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, behind Malco Powerhouse, from 8 AM to 1 PM.

1993 movie The Fugitive plays the Orpheum tonight. $8 adults, $6 kids 12 and under. The movie is rated PG-13.

I had a good time watching the Women’s World Cup at the Brass Door with my neighbor Pete yesterday. The USA won its group and will advance to the knockout stage. The next game is against Spain on Monday at 11 AM.

That’s it. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

We’ve been fairly lucky weather-wise this June, up until yesterday when the summer Memphis feel returned. I’m talking about that feeling when you walk outdoors and are immediately hit in the face with that muggy, disgusting, swampy, oppressive combination of heat and humidity. It probably won’t go away until September either. To top it all off, it’s about time for the mosquitoes to come back.

Just looked at the Weather Channel site… forecast high for Saturday is 94. Heat index will probably be triple digits. Yuck! Staying indoors sounds like a very good idea for this weekend.

The big news today is that Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is being traded to the Utah Jazz. In return Memphis will get Jae Crowder, a small forward about to turn 29; Kyle Korver, a 38-year-old wing; Grayson Allen, a 23-year-old shooting guard; Utah’s 2019 #23 pick in tonight’s draft; and an additional first-rounder. The additional pick, according to the Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington, is protected top 7 and 15-30 (so it conveys to Memphis if in the 8-14 range) in 2020 and 2021. It then becomes top 6 protected in 2022, top 3 protected in 2023, and top 1 protected in 2024. If the pick hasn’t conveyed by 2025 it will turn into two second-round picks.

Geoff Calkins points out that the most likely scenario is that Utah will make the playoffs each of the next two years, and then the pick will convey to Memphis in 2022. It’s believed that will be the year the NBA draft will re-open to high schoolers, so that draft will be unusually deep with talent.

With the Grizzlies giving up their starting point guard, there is a very good reason to believe the front office will select Ja Morant in tonight’s draft. Alternatives had been discussed, including selecting forward R.J. Barrett or moving down in the draft, most likely to the #4 pick. Those seem less likely now.

THANK YOU MIKE for your years of building Grizzlies basketball into what it is today. I hope you can now become the next ex-Grizzly to get you one of those championship rings.

On to other news… as your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to link you to this Daily Memphian article about Edge Triangle.  Work was completed on the off-leash dog park this week, installing synthetic turf that will make it possible for dogs and their owners to enjoy green grass all year long. $30,000 was invested in the space, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Monroe Avenue Extended, to improve it for visitors. An Explore bike rental station was also added.

In other Edge news, the Memphis Business Journal has a photo gallery and information about Slim & Husky’s, the Nashville-based pizza chain opening a location at 634 Union across from the former Commercial Appeal building. Check out their website to learn more what the pizza chain is all about.

Krystal is going to experiment with a $6 all-you-can-eat burgers and fries option. Well that sounds like a stomachache!

Ghost River is looking for a taproom manager with beer and event experience. Send resumes to Suzanne@ghostriverbrewing.com.

There are bosses and there are leaders, and the Memphis Solid Waste director is a leader. Wanting to understand what his employees go through on a typical workday, he has spent multiple days riding the trucks and pickup trash alongside them. Well done, sir. Respect.

DJ Epic brings his hip-hop/dubstep/mashup style to the Peabody rooftop this evening for their weekly party. $10 general admission, $20 VIP. Your admission includes a buffet of mini spring rolls and pot stickers. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of lobster spring rolls, chicken satay with peanut sauce, assorted sushi, and fortune cookies.

The Jerry and Jerry Show (Lawler and Calhoun) comes to Jerry Lawler’s Bar and Grill on July 21.

The Daily Memphian has the story of Robert Church, who opened Solvent Savings Bank on Beale Street in the late 1800s and who became Memphis’ first African-American millionaire.

This is downright scary: Facebook is launching its own cryptocurrency in 2020. Check out this sentence, quoted from the article:

Facebook is already working on creating its own private supreme court, after all; why wouldn’t it want its own private, independent central bank as well?

WTF???? I’m not comfortable at all with a company, particularly one by Mark Zuckerberg, and particularly one that has been so manipulated by foreign entities, having this kind of power. This kind of thing makes me want to leave Facebook, except that it’s so valuable as a source of news items for this blog that I can’t.

All right, that’s it for now. Fun day ahead! I’m counting down the minutes to 11 when I can walk over to Court Square to buy from the New Wing Order food truck. At 1:30 I’m meeting my neighbor at the Brass Door to watch the USWNT vs. Sweden Women’s World Cup match. Then tonight I’ll be at the Blind Bear (probably) to watch the NBA draft. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tue update: 3rd & Court, New Wing Order, Sage, Rawk’n Grub and more news

Yesterday I met my friend Joe for lunch at 3rd & Court, the new diner at the corner of B.B. King (formerly Third) and Court, in the ground floor of Hotel Indigo. It’s owned by the same people who run two highly successful Downtown restaurants, Sunrise Memphis and 117 Prime, so my expectations for the food quality were high.

The first thing I noticed when I looked at the menu was the hours of operation. I had heard 3rd & Court would be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but there are restaurants Downtown who claim to be open for dinner but only half mean it, closing at 7 or 8. Not so in this case. 3rd & Court is open 6:30 AM-11:00 PM Sunday-Thursday and 6:30 AM-midnight Friday and Saturday. That’s ambitious for a restaurant that is a couple of blocks off the beaten path as far as foot traffic is concerned. With all the law offices nearby they’ll do fine for breakfast and lunch, but I’m curious to see what they will do to build a dinner crowd.

They have burgers, dunked sandwiches (dunked in tomato soup or pork and beans), regular sandwiches, and salads for lunch, and they serve breakfast all day. However, the lunch specials caught my eye. $11 gets you the special of the day and two sides. The specials are

Monday – Beast Loaf
Tuesday – Smothered Pork Chop
Wednesday – Fried Chicken
Thursday – Mac Bowl (various toppings)
Friday – Catfish (Cajun broiled or fried)

The sides, also available a la carte for $3, are

Seasoned fries
Tater tots
Collard greens
Mac & cheese
Green beans
Mashed potatoes
Roasted tomato slaw
Farm peas

Joe and I both ordered the Beast Loaf and in about 15 minutes it came out.

The Beast Loaf is a loaf of cow, lamb and bison, wrapped in bacon. Mmmm mmmm this was yummy! Usually I get mashed potatoes as a side with a meat-and-two, but I just couldn’t resist tater tots, which complemented the Beast Loaf well. As for the collard greens, look at all that meat in them! Joe commented, “The greens definitely aren’t vegetarian.” No they’re not and that is A-OK in my book. When I come back for other lunch specials I will sample around the different sides, but the greens will be a constant on my plate.

Joe had the roasted tomato slaw as one of his sides and was complimentary of it. “Most places make their slaw too sweet, dumping 10 teaspoons of sugar in there,” he said. “You don’t need that. This is how it should be.”

I was quite impressed with my lunch. The $11 price point is slightly higher than many restaurants charge for meat-and-two, but it is not unreasonable. Besides, the quality of the food is so far above average that the $11 price point is justifiable.

A manager came over and asked how our lunch was, and told us he was very interested in any constructive criticism we had of the place, that he was serious about wanting to know what he could do to improve. Joe had one criticism, and now that I’ve investigated, I agree. By the time they opened their restaurant, they should have had their full menu on their website. As of this morning, their second day of operation, they only have a form to fill out to receive news about 3rd & Court. That can discourage people like me who want to check out a restaurant’s menu online before going in for the first time.

(You actually can see their menu online. Go to their Facebook page, scroll down until you see a photo post by Edible Memphis, and look for the “+7” in the lower right corner. Click on that and you’ll see photos of both the breakfast and lunch/dinner menus.

Overall, though, I enjoyed my lunch and was impressed with the place. I see potential in 3rd & Court to expand perceptions that there is no place to eat north of Monroe or east of Second. If that is the case, it may go a long way to making that area of Downtown more walkable.

Oh, by the way, fun fact… you know those Tiger statues all over town? If you sit in the back part of the diner (the end closer to Court Avenue), look closely and you’ll see one on top of a building on Court.

Whew! 30 minutes into typing this post and I’m still on my first news item… of many. You might want to grab a cup of coffee and a snack before you continue reading. Yesterday’s post was short but this one will not be.

My second item of business is more good news for people who eat lunch Downtown. The New Wing Order food truck has finally been approved to join the Thursday food truck rodeos in Court Square, and it will be there from 11:00 to 1:30 this Thursday. For those unfamiliar with the truck, these are good folks who became obsessed with wings, cooking, and entrepreneurship, competed in Southern Hot Wing Fest and won the grand championship twice, and then started a food truck. I’ve said it many times before, the best businesses are extensions of the owners’ personalities, and that is the case here.

Check out a preview post I did on New Wing Order last year to get a look at some of their offerings. Their full menu is on their website. If you don’t know what to get, I recommend starting with the Memphis Buffalo wings that got them their two grand championships. I’m surfing their menu myself trying to figure out what I’m going to have Thursday myself (see, 3rd & Court, this is why you put your menu online). It’s either going to be their hot wing nachos or their wings served in Nikki’s Hot Seasoning. For vegetarians and vegans there is an avocado taco (choice of fried or raw avocado) that is quite tasty.

Speaking of vegetarians and vegans – and while I don’t know for sure if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, I’m pretty sure I have one – I mentioned that Sage, the new soul food/fusion restaurant in the former Oshi space, would be doing vegetarian lunch specials every day this week. Here they are:

Today – Cucumber and watermelon salad with crispy jalapeno Tajin dressing
Soup: Broccoli and cheese

Wednesday – Impossible meatloaf with cauliflower mash and Brussels sprouts
Soup: Watermelon gazpacho

Thursday – Vegetarian lasagna with side salad
Soup: Chicken fiesta

Friday – Vegan or vegetarian pizza
Soup: Chicken, sausage, and shrimp gumbo (wait, that’s not vegetarian???)

I love a good vegetarian lasagna and would go in there Thursday, but that’s a conflict with the New Wing Order truck’s first Court Square food rodeo. By the way, Thursday is going to be a big day, with the US Women’s National Team playing Sweden in the 2019 World Cup at 2, and then the NBA draft at 6 (please don’t screw this up guys… pick Ja Morant).

One more thing about Sage: By popular demand, they’re bringing back the vegetarian version of their Soul Rolls egg rolls this week.

Got one more lunch recommendation for you to check out: Tre, one of the bartenders at the Blind Bear, has been getting really creative collaborating with the cooks on some lunch specials. He usually works the Tuesday and Wednesday lunch shifts, so check the Bear out to see what he’s dreamed up. The Bear is now open 11 AM-3 AM every day. One thing I really like: They keep it nonsmoking during lunch hours, although smokers can go into the back room.

Now that I’ve given you a few lunch options to check out this week, let me double back to New Wing Order for a minute. This Saturday at 2:30, they will team up with Crosstown Brewing Co. for a beer and wing pairing. $15 gets you sample sized  portions of 4 beers and wings, expertly paired, including

  • Terraplane Planer and award-winning Memphis Buffalo
  • Chowdah New England IPA and Grind City Gold
  • Boll Weevil Saison and Midtown Masala
  • Traffic IPA and Mud Island Jerk

The taproom will have its full offering of brews and the New Wing Order truck will be on site with its full menu. I’ve done a little research and there really doesn’t seem to be much of importance to do Downtown Saturday afternoon, so it might be a good day to hop into a Lyft or an Uber or onto an Explore bike and head out to the brewery.

I’ll even give you a bonus reason to head out to Crosstown on Saturday: Global Cafe in Crosstown Concourse has added a new chef who specializes in Venezuelan fare. He will be serving up tequeños, empenadas, arepas, pabellón and asado negro.

Edible Memphis went on a search for shrimp and grits and two of my very talented chef friends made it into the article. Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick, who I have known nearly the entire time I have been a Downtowner, was the first stop. For the article’s author it was a throwback to days at McEwen’s where she first tried the recipe. Since the recipe has changed and the one on Rizzo’s menu is different now, Chef agreed to share the recipe for the original in a bonus video.

Then Chef Michael made a surprising recommendation: For really good shrimp and grits, go to a gas station. I met Chef Steph Cook a few years ago when his RAWK’n Grub food truck was parked outside one of the local breweries where I was attending an event. (Now that I think about it, I met him the same day I met my troll for the first time.) Chef Steph moved into a permanent space in the Citgo at Summer and Highland a couple of years ago. Steph serves up bourbon sticky spiced shrimp over Gouda grits, scallions, and smoked blue cheese. Check it out, and if shrimp and grits aren’t your thing, check out the burgers and sandwiches. Best gas station food you’ll ever have!

But, good news: Soon, if you want RAWK’n Grub food, you won’t have to drive all the way out to Highland to get it. The Daily Memphian reports that Chef Steph is opening a second RAWK’n Grub location at Growlers, the music hall at 1911 Poplar. The Citgo location will remain open and Steph will split his time between them. The full menu will be offered at Growlers and there will be a late night bar menu as well. Growlers owner Tony Westmoreland has promised to do everything he can to make RAWK’n Grub successful there, including possibly opening for lunch there at some point in the future.

Yesterday was the Toronto Raptors’ championship parade. It’s good to see Marc Gasol so happy.

If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced apartment in South Main, one that is a block away from the new Malco Powerhouse and one which has a 333-year old landlord from the planet Zambodia, have I got news for you. Prince Mongo has a one-bedroom, 1100 SF apartment for rent at 481 S. Main. It’s a very secure building, all appliances included, and $950 a month rent includes utilities. Very secure building, great neighborhood, friendly neighbors. If interested email me at paul@paulryburn.com and I will put you in touch.

Looking to break into the hospitality industry? River Inn of Harbor Town has summer internships in guest services, accounting, and marketing. The positions are part-time and pay $11 an hour.

The CA has more info on the dog park that could be coming to the corner of South Front and G.E. Patterson. If a CCDC grant is approved, the dog park will be finished in about three months.

The MBJ has an exclusive: The first renderings of the proposed Snuff District along Wolf River Harbor in Uptown.

For my readers who are Scotch fans: Relaxed rules may soon allow Scotch to be aged in tequila barrels

Jennifer Biggs of the Daily Memphian talks with Cristina McCarter about Sunday’s Craft Food and Wine Festival in this week’s Destination: Delicious Podcast.

That’s it for this long post. I hope I’ve made you hungry! Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Third and Court, the new Ryan Trimm diner in Hotel Indigo on the ground floor of the building at North B.B. King Blvd. and Court Ave., is now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t see a website with menu online yet, but if you go to the diner’s Facebook page, Edible Memphis posted some photos including the breakfast and lunch/dinner menus. Breakfast is served all day, and every weekday for lunch they have a daily special which comes with two sides for $11.

Today’s special is Beast Loaf, made with cow, lamb, and bison. Those are some of my favorite beasts, so I posted to Facebook asking if anyone wanted to meet me for lunch there about 1:30 today. I got two takers, so it looks like I will be visiting the diner on its opening day. I will try to get some photos.

In other foodie news, all-you-can-eat snow crab returns to Regina’s Cajun Kitchen the afternoon of Saturday, June 29.

Mallory Everett will play Sunday brunch at Sunrise Memphis this coming Sunday, June 23.

Congratulations to Pontotoc Lounge bartender Cady Smith, who got the Judges’ Choice award at the Literatini mixology competition Saturday night. This is the second consecutive year she has come out of that an event with an award.

Khi Mathieu, the cousin of Tyrann Mathieu, has committed to Memphis football.

That’s it. Short post today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

Cheers to all the fathers out there! River Rat Rounders poker club is giving extra chips to all the dads out there, even dads of fur babies. Is being the Trollfather good enough to qualify?

Also, dads get an extra bingo card at Cerrito Bingo this afternoon, Loflin Yard, 4-6 PM.

There’s a special Father’s Day ticket to the Redbirds this afternoon that includes a buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, cookies, bottled water, and Coca-Cola products (two drinks per person). $21 field box/$24 dugout. Gates open at 1:00 and buffet is 1:00-3:00 with a 2:05 first pitch. If you’ve spent your whole life wishing you had a prostate cancer awareness bracelet, be one of the first 1000 in the park and you’ll get one, courtesy of Derrick Hall’s Pro-State Foundation. Kids 12 and under get an ice cream treat upon entering, and dads and kids can run the bases after the game. Pre-game autographs in the concourse 1:15-1:35.

If you like margaritas and you live Downtown, your Tuesdays just got a bit sweeter. Swanky’s has announced that their Downtown location will do 2-for-1 margaritas on Tuesdays.

Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band have announced an October 12 date for their Roll Me Away Tour to roll through FedExForum.

I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who read this blog… well, I’m pretty sure I have one… but on the off-chance that I do, I want to tell you that Sage is planning all vegetarian and vegan lunch specials this coming week. The team is working on some quality, flavorful specials.

From Distractify: Nearly 40 percent of vegetarians eat meat when they’re drunk. The article starts off, “Vegetarians of the world: You lie!” Yep, some of them sure as hell do. Not just about whether they eat meat, either.

The Memphis Restaurant Association is having a soccer outing on Wednesday, July 17 to see Memphis 901 FC play Nashville SC. There are $20 Sideline Fundraiser tickets with $3 kicked back to MRA, and also a $49 Club End ticket that includes a club level buffet, soda, water, and access to a cash bar.

Tonya Dyson performs on Mud Island tonight in a Soulin’ on the River Concert Series event. Gates open at 6, with music starting at 7. Lawn chairs, picnic baskets, blankets and coolers are welcome.

“Weird Al” Yankovic plays the Orpheum this Thursday. The composer of “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” and “Amish Paradise” will take the stage at 8 PM. Tickets start at $39.50.

The CA has an article letting you know what to expect at the Craft Food & Wine Festival next Sunday.

I saw something pretty cool on TV a couple of days ago: A game that combines golf and cornhole. It’s called BattleChip.

Pop-up restaurants and pop-up retail are all the rage these days; now there is a new pop-up concept that gives away free clothing to the homeless that is catching on in cities around the world. It’s called The Street Store and anyone can grab onto the concept and easily create a pop-up location in their city. Perhaps someone needs to do this in Memphis!

Computer problem update: Pretty sure it’s a hard drive failure. Reinstalling the operating system didn’t help. For now, I’m keeping the laptop alive by booting it off a USB drive. Good news, however. Yesterday I was at Bardog and a friend said, “I have an extra laptop I’m not using. I’ll warn you, though, it’s a MacBook.” Warn me? I love Macs more than anything! I’ll get the computer when I see him next Saturday. In the meantime, I expect to keep up a fairly steady posting schedule.

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

A visit to Pasta 901 in Puck Food Hall

Okay, I’m going to attempt to blog from my phone while I get my computer problems sorted out. Apologies for typos and possibly photos that spill outside their containers.

My friend Nappin Ass Nate and I decided to pay a visit to Puck Food Hall at 409 S. Main for lunch yesterday. Recently re-branded, this market has a variety of vendors, including Mexican food, gelato, coffee, pasta, a butcher/deli, Chinese, pizza, a bakery and more. They also have a bar, a pop-up library, and (soon) a chef-in-residence.

The great thing about a food hall is you can go there with other people and you don’t all have to order the same thing. Nate went to the Mexican vendor, Venga, and ordered a tamale. Since I went to Venga already (it was excellent by the way) I wanted to try a different vendor. I had seen some yummy looking photos of Pasta 409’s offerings on Facebook and checked out their menu

The Capelli D’Angelo Con Gaberi sounded tasty, and was one of the dishes I’d seen in Facebook photos. It was angel hair pasta with baby shrimp, garlic, lemon, butter, and parsley – a nice, simple dish. I ordered it and the man behind the counter made it while I watched.

About 8 minutes after I ordered, my lunch was ready.

The shrimp pasta was outstanding. The ingredients all came together to make a most flavorful dish. The piece of garlic bread was perfect for sopping up the extra garlic butter sauce.

However, the portion size left a bit to be desired. My lunch was $13, $14.20 after tax. I paid with a debit card, and although I wasn’t served at a table, we Downtowners just don’t believe in zeroing out tip lines – we take care of the people who take care of us. So I tipped $2, totaling out at $16.20.

That was not anywhere near $16.20 worth of food! You know the kid sized microwaveable Chef Boy-Ar-Dee cups you can buy 10 for $10 with your Kroger Plus card? It was maybe that much food. MAYBE. (Comparing only quantity here, not quality.) I was hungry again two hours later, and I’m not a big eater. I pulled a total Nuh-Uh Girl move and ate a friend’s leftover beef jerky to make it through the rest of my Thursday. The portion of shrimp was decent, but I sure would have liked a couple of additional ounces of pasta.

My buddy Nate got gnocchi from Pasta 901 to go along with his tamale from Venga. He agreed that the pasta was delicious, but that the portion size was rather small. (He praised the tamale as a good value.)

On the way down there, I got a photo of the best Bird scooter photo ever.

This is where they all belong! I’m not anti-scooter; I just hate the reckless, inconsiderate riders. So many people on the Birds think they have the right to mow over pedestrians, disobey traffic laws and the rules you agree to when you sign up, and park them thoughtlessly. Much like the pedal party bikes, they aren’t inherently bad but have a way of turning people into douchebags.

Enough about scooters though. Puck Food Hall is a fantastic concept and the quality of the food has been consistently excellent when I have dined there. It’s like having 10 new restaurants in South Main. Can’t beat that!

Since my computer is down, I’m typing this on my phone at Bardog. Sitting next to an investor in Slider Out, soon to open a block north of Puck Food Hall. He says they’re shooting for July 15.

Back sometime soon, but maybe not tomorrow, with more news.

Computer problems

Probably going to be Monday before I get back to a regular blogging schedule. Rebooted this morning and got “file system failure.” ARRRRGH!

I had a really yummy food pic to show you, too.

Back as soon as I can.