paulryburn

Mar 312015
 

The Commercial Appeal broke some huge news yesterday: Race for the Cure, for many years a staple out in the ‘burbs, may be moving Downtown this year and there are plans for the race to double in size. That would be a huge get for Downtown if it happens, and would certainly stimulate the economy, with people coming from out of town staying in hotels and people eating in nearby restaurants after the race. I’d link to the story but they’ve moved it behind the paywall.

I polled local restaurants and bars on Facebook yesterday as to whether they would be opening later than usual on Sunday, which is Easter. Results I have so far:

  • Bardog opening usual time (11)
  • Blind Bear opening usual time (11)
  • Silly Goose opening usual time (noon)
  • Flying Saucer open at 4

Last night was an old-school night for me: I went to Pint Nite at the Flying Saucer at 5:45 and stayed until a few minutes after midnight. While watching the Grizzlies and talking BBQ with a Squeal Street member, I overheard one of the bartenders say something about new menu items. Later in the evening I grabbed a food menu and noticed many new additions:

  • Shepherd’s Pie, making the full menu after years on the St. Pat’s menu
  • Green Chili Pork Stew
  • IPA Mac & Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese & Tomato Bisque
  • Kale Salad, which is vegetarian, unless you add chicken for $2
  • Loaded Rocket Tots, the Saucer’s jalapeno cheese tater tots, topped with cheddar, jack, goat cheese, bacon, green onions, and a fried egg
  • Pork bahn mi sandwich

I decided to give one of the new items a try, deciding on the IPA Mac & Cheese.

Photo Mar 30, 9 12 25 PM

The bartender told me it is made with local Wiseacre Ananda IPA. There isn’t a hoppy taste at all, as you might expect since it’s cooked with IPA, and that’s a good thing. However, it does have a bit of a kick to it. You know, growing up I was not a fan of mac & cheese at all, and never ordered it, and I still don’t order the garden-variety version of it. It was only a few years ago when chefs started getting creative with the dish that I got into mac & cheese. I enjoyed the Saucer’s take on it, with the mac not only in a cheese sauce, but with cheese baked on top. Definitely something I would consider getting again.

One of the bartenders had the grilled cheese & tomato bisque and said it was really good (I handed her a napkin, because it looked like she got some butter on her face). Jim told me that the green chili pork stew is good if you like spicy food. I do, so that may be what I try next.

SUPER COOL: If you go to Google Maps and get to an overhead view, a Pac-Man button will appear. Click it and you can play Pac-Man on Google Maps, on the streets of your own neighborhood or any neighborhood you choose. (I almost led off with this item, but then realized hardly anyone would stick around to read the rest of the post)

Tin Roof on Beale is staffing up for a probable opening soon. They are also putting out a call for live bands.

Really having a good time following the Facebook posts of my friends who are at the bar and nightclub convention out in Vegas. Panda got to see Jon Taffer and the entire Bar Rescue staff. Now those are some people I would love to meet. Wilbur had “Club 152, Louisville KY” printed on his badge. “They moved the club to Louisville and no one told me.”

From Newsweek: Is poker a game of luck or skill? Statistical analysis revealed that over about 1500 hands, skilled players will do better than unskilled players three-fourths of the time.

Two Grizzlies giveaways this weekend. Friday at 7 it’s Grizzlies vs. OKC with the first 3000 fans getting a Super Grizz cape. Saturday the game is Grizzlies vs. Wizards at 7 with the first 5000 fans getting Z-Bow ties.

The Tigers baseball team hosts Ole Miss tonight at 6:30 at AutoZone Park. Ugh. I was going to lead off at Flying Saucer again tonight, but it will likely be full of douchebags in red and blue doing that Godawful “Hotty Toddy” chant. I will lead off elsewhere and move my Saucer stop to after the start of the game. Most likely not playing Blind Bear’s Tuesday poker game tonight, although I may stop by for a bit.

Mar 302015
 

This Saturday is opening day for Memphis Farmers Market. Here is an interactive map of the vendors. For those not familiar with the market, it runs from April to October under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. It is so much more than a place to buy produce. There’s live music and pet adoptions every week, and there are often chef demos and activities for kids. Besides fruits and vegetables, you can buy locally grown meat, seafood, jellies and preserves, pottery, coffee, and much, much more. There are usually a few food trucks there serving breakfast and lunch items. Most definitely worth checking out if you never have. The market runs from 7 AM to 1 PM every Saturday. You will find many of the city’s best chefs there right at 7, which in an indication of the high esteem in which food lovers hold the market.

LYFE Kitchen is about to open its first restaurant in Memphis. The first will be in East Memphis, but a second one is coming Downtown in the Chisca not long from now.

Some of your favorite bartenders and servers may not be around this week. There’s a big bar and nightclub expo in Las Vegas. Bardog sent Melissa, Panda, Bloom and James out there. That sounds like trouble with a capital T right there. Club 152 is also sending people to Vegas.

From Gizmodo: A simple design tweak may help prevent drunk people from falling on train tracks. For some reason I’m tempted to mention one of my BBQ teammates here.

The Flyer’s Frank Murtaugh has a preview of Friday’s Redbirds vs. Cardinals game.

NPR has an article about compression clothing including tube tops. We are less than two months away from the beginning of Tube Top Month.

What an awesome weekend of college basketball. I hate it that I missed the Kentucky-Notre Dame game. It’s looking more and more like John Calipari will become the first head coach in men’s basketball history to vacate 40 wins in a single season.

Wow. Eric Clapton turns 70 today.

I’ve had the same weird dream two nights in a row. I had to travel to Nashville for work – odd because in real life my job almost never requires travel, and the few times it has Nashville would’ve been an unlikely destination. I decided to check out two bars in East Nashville, Red Door East and 3 Crow Bar, that my friends have told me are really cool and fun and awesome. So I pulled up the Maps app on my iPhone to try to find them. Unfortunately the app was completely unreliable, and I found myself driving down roads east of the city, confused, frustrated, no idea where I was going, wasting my time. Both times I woke up before I either ran out of gas or found one of the bars. Most strange that I’m dreaming about being in a city to which I have very little connection.

Epic, awesome Sunday Fun Day yesterday. I told B-RAD I wasn’t doing any Fireball shots, and he bet one of his regulars a beer he could get me to take one. He enlisted the help of the Saucer girls, who were there for brunch after their monthly meeting. One of them came over and said, “Paul, do a shot with me” and I had to say no 15 or 20 times before they realized I was serious.

It’s hard to leave the Bear on Sundays because Brad has such a great group of regulars. I started the day up there with members of my BBQ team. Later I got to hang out with Rahul and Tony (amazingly, Rahul didn’t hit on me) and then got into a tickle fight with one of Brad’s regulars (female, although I’m sure Rahul dreams of having a tickle fight with me). I left the Bear at 5, and after a little grocery shopping at City Market (needed dairy products), I went over to the Flying Saucer to drink some Modelo and look at the girls’ beautiful faces. I had the pleasure of meeting new manager Adrienne, and I can already tell that I am going to be one of her favorite customers. I watched WrestleMania on my phone, for a while at the Saucer and then back at the Bear. Seth Rollins cashed in and won! Absolutely the right move. Hoping Brock Lesnar turns face now. Weird seeing John Cena and Daniel Bryan holding second-tier titles.

Since Melissa is out of town, my regular Melissa Monday stop is off the calendar and I’m free to lead off wherever I want for happy hour. Since you can’t go wrong with the classics, I am going to start with a classic tonight: Pint Nite at the Saucer. Almost all drafts on the wall $3. I’ll be there around 5:45.

Mar 282015
 

Big news about Central Station was announced at a MATA Finance Committee meeting yesterday. Central Station will be getting a lot of additions, including a Malco movie theater similar to Studio on the Square, a grocery store, a hotel, more apartments, and renovations of existing apartments. The movie theater will be located in the Powerhouse building next to the main terminal. More info: WREG Memphis Flyer

Wow. That is exciting. I’ve always felt South Main trailed the Downtown core a bit in terms of things to do, but it might have just caught up. I wonder if the same apartment management will be kept… to be honest, I have not heard the best things about management from people who have lived there.

Last night I heard that apartments in the former Chisca Hotel will start leasing in April and move-ins will begin in August. I already have friends who say they plan on moving there.

The Commercial Appeal is making an awesome move: Starting Monday, all comments will go through Facebook. So if you get on there and spout racism and bigotry and homophobia and hatred and closed-mindedness and idiocy, you will now have YOUR REAL NAME attached to what you post. No more hiding behind the veil of anonymity. Great job, CA.

River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheater continues tonight at 7. This month’s entertainment features Amy LaVere, Will Sexton, and Alicja Pop.

Disney in Concert: Magical Music of the Movies begins at two-day run at the Orpheum today.

Big news for my fellow poker players: Tennessee is considering card rooms. Yes!!!! Hopefully the legalization of online poker will be considered next. Revenue for the state while people pursue the game of skill (not luck as some would lead you to believe) that they love.

Smooth sailing continues for the Moody Ques, my Memphis in May BBQ Fest team. Yesterday the team leaders met with Josh Cottrell about the T-shirt order. There was some debate as to what kind of shirts to get. The team vice-president wishes we could get all regular T-shirts, but some of the women want fitted T-shirts and in some cases, tube tops. I side with the women on this one.

If any other BBQ teams need shirts, talk to Josh. He operates out of Winfield’s at 2 South Main, across from Walgreens. If you’d like his contact information, let me know. He did a magnificent job on our 2014 shirts and he also did my Ickey Woods Halloween costume shirt.

This isn’t official yet, but we are looking at a possible April 19 BBQ team get-together. That’s the day of Rajun Cajun crawfish festival on the river and we have access to a rooftop overlooking the festival. This is not official yet but if it happens it will allow us to have a get-together without anyone having to miss one of the most important events on the spring festival calendar.

For those who missed the last meeting, here’s some info on how we think the liquor situation will work. Soft drinks, mixers, water and beer will be behind the bar. As part of your dues, each team member will get a certain amount to spend on liquor. About 2 weeks before BBQ Fest, we will ask each team member what they want and we will go out and get it for you. You will have access to lockers to store your liquor. That way, you can hand out liquor to the guests you choose, but we won’t have it behind the bar for freeloaders. Because we’re doing it this way, you should have enough of a budget to get some pretty decent liquor. It won’t be Skol and Jim Beam’s Eight Star (unless that’s what you want it to be).

Oh and in case you missed it, we have a flamethrower now. :mrgreen:

Ever your Moody Ques workhorse, I will be on a mission this morning at 11 to make sure the Moody Ques Remote Command Center for Load-in is in tip-top shape. My “DAWG” John D will be joining me, and anyone else who wants to come check it out is welcome. Panda is on her way out of town, so Brooke will be behind the bar Command Center. Once I verify that everything is working properly (especially the PBR tap), I will make my way to the Blind Bear to see my favorite pair of librarian glasses. She works Memphis Made’s taproom on Fridays and posted a pic of an awesome looking chorizo burrito from the Hot Mess food truck. I have got to try that truck soon. After the Bear, it will be time for a halftime break, then what promises to be an epic Dirty Thirty birthday party for my buddy Phil this evening. How many birthday parties have a burlesque show?

Time to hit Publish. Yesterday I essentially wrapped up a work project that has taken a long, long time, and I am now in a GREAT mood as a result. Cold weather or not, I intend to have some fun today and tomorrow.

Mar 272015
 

Molly Smith from WREG (@Molly_WREG3) tweeted that 400 people came to 480 Beale to apply for server, chef and cook jobs at the two restaurants that will be housed inside Bass Pro in the Pyramid. Over 5400 people applied for Bass Pro’s 600 total jobs. Wow, impressive… if you applied you have a 1 in 9 chance.

The Daily News broke news this week about Volio, a new interactive platform for volunteering in Memphis. Potential volunteers will be able to see via video exactly what their volunteer experience at a particular non-profit will be like. People who like what they see will be able to contact the organization directly and sign up. The interactive experience will make it more likely that volunteers will not only sign up, but stick around. The first five organizations partnering with Volio are Urban Food Bike Ministry, Habitat for Humanity, Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, Carpenter Art Garden, and World Relief.

A local brewery’s beer received high praise in a men’s magazine this week. Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb was named one of 100 best beers by Men’s Journal.

Speaking of Wiseacre, they will be participating in the final Grizzlies brewery night on Saturday, April 4. Your special ticket gets you not only a seat, but craft beer sampling and a commemorative Grizzlies pint glass. Other participating breweries are Sierra Nevada, Sweetwater, and Goose Island. Get your special ticket here.

Poker players: Bardog has a new web page where you can keep track of final table standings.

This is a cool idea: Sneak liquor into outdoor festivals and events in a hollowed-out baguette

From Draft Magazine: Keith Schlabs, known to Flying Saucer UFO Club members as Capt. Keith who sends out the beer knowledge quizzes, is interviewed about 20 years of craft beer. The original Saucer in Fort Worth is now 20 years old. The Memphis location turns 18 in May.

MLGW is auctioning surplus vehicles and equipment tomorrow at 10. More info here.

“Double J” Jeff Jarrett will be a guest on Cerrito Live tomorrow 11 AM-1PM on Sports 56/87.7 FM.

WMC-TV is hiring a part-time digital content producer.

A beer called MILF is now on sale in Little Rock. Maybe next time I head that way, I will come back with a six-pack for my favorite blogger/MILF.

I was so thrilled to hear the music of Pam & Terry last night at the Blind Bear. I stayed for the entire show, from 8 to 11. It amazes me how versatile that duo is. They can take nearly any request, within reason. They played two sets, and walked around and took photos of the audience on their break. A lot of fun. They will be back the next two last Thursdays of the month.

The NCAA tournament was on, the Kentucky hate was looming large, and a request was made to play “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to send West Virginia luck. That sure as hell didn’t help! Damn I have not seen a slaughter of such a high seed in quite some time. The ‘eers were trailing 18-2, didn’t make it to 20 by the half, and had their score doubled when the final buzzer sounded. If there’s any silver lining, it makes me feel better about Arkansas’ two performances vs. Kentucky, in which the Hogs lost but were never a complete trainwreck. Hey Meredith, didn’t you tell me years ago that you’re the school that burns couches? Would’ve loaned you my BBQ team’s new flamethrower last night, but, never mind. I guess I’m a Notre Dame fan now. That game will tip off at 7:49 PM Saturday.

(Yay! I found a way to mention our new flamethrower! :mrgreen: Maybe I’ll try to do an every-post mention, like I do for tube tops during Tube Top Month.)

The Bear did manage to run poker simultaneously with the live music. Only one table, eight players or so. I didn’t play. It looked like a very nice, agreeable group of people, if that gives you a hint who WASN’T there.

I already have enough news for a Saturday morning post before I go out, so check back tomorrow. Home from work, having essentially completed a project that has taken 2 years. I am ready to get wild and party and dance all weekend long, so watch out, Downtown.

Mar 272015
 

Readers, I owe you an apology.

I could have attended the public meeting about Riverside Drive last night. It would have been inconvenient. I would have had to leave work early. I could have made it. After hearing what happened, I should have made it.

A year ago, the city converted Riverside between Beale and Georgia from four lanes open to vehicular traffic to two lanes for vehicles and two for bikes and runners. It was said at the time that the change was “temporary,” to last between 12 and 18 months, and public meetings would be held in the meantime to determine what to do. Yesterday was the third of those public meetings.

Who here is familiar with the phrase “illusion of choice?”

I know salespeople are. “Would you prefer to go ahead and sign a 2-year widget protection warranty, or would you like to sign a 1-year warranty and buy some bottles of super widget spray-on armor for additional protection?” Note that there is no option to say, no, I would not like to purchase a bunch of crap that is nearly worthless.

What happened at the meeting yesterday was the illusion of choice. The city presented two plans, both of which would keep Riverside two lanes and both of which were bad ideas. That way the city can say it sought public input on whichever bad idea eventually gets done. The trouble is, according to a friend of mine who attended and gave me notes afterward, is that there was no option for restoring Riverside to four lanes, which is what about 90% of the attendees of the meeting wanted to happen.

Okay. Everything here is second-hand information. I trust my friend that what am I about to write is reliable. If I have anything that was said at the meeting incorrect, please let me know.

One person said he was on his way Downtown on Riverside. There was a wreck and it took 30-45 minutes to clear and he was stuck in traffic. The problem is, Riverside is a major artery into Downtown. If you make it difficult to travel, people are going to look at other options. They could go to Cooper-Young. They could go to Overton Square. They could go to Broad Avenue. Two-lane Riverside hurts Downtown businesses, businesses that are already hurting because of the trolley debacle.

Pat Halloran of the Orpheum told the city that it is choking people off to get Downtown. He’s having to deal with patrons who miss the first half of the shows to which they had tickets, because Riverside caused them to take an extra 45 minutes to get to the theater.

The city presented a statistic: On an average day on Riverside, there are 14,000 motorized vehicles and 18 bikes. I had to stop and ask, “Did I just hear that correctly?” I did. FOURTEEN THOUSAND vehicles. EIGHTEEN bikes. One bike for every 778 cars.

Some more comments from the audience:

“You’re trying to build up the Tennessee Brewery, the Chisca, etc., and there is no way for people to get Downtown.”

“YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO PEOPLE. You’re hearing but you are not listening.” The audience was told the meeting was an “informational meeting only” which means what we all knew, that public input was not actually being sought.

It was noted that there have been 30 crashes on that stretch of Riverside since June.

A tweet went out that it’s pretty evident this was being shoved down our throats. That tweet came from none other than Myron Lowery. He immediately got three @replies and is going to seek a meeting with the mayor today to address this issue.

99% of the time I support progressive moves to make this a more vibrant city. I was a huge supporter of the NBA NOW movement back in 2000-2001 that got the Grizzlies to move here from Vancouver. I thought the Madison bike lanes in Midtown were an excellent idea. I was a huge fan of the move to legalize food trucks in the city. I like the new proposal to put bike lanes on North Parkway. But this is the other 1%. This is not progress, it is a bad idea, plain and simple. I too want to see Memphis become a more livable, bike- and walking-friendly city and I have a lot of admiration and respect for the people working to make that happen. But two-lane Riverside is not the right way to get there.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THIS IS NOT A BIKES VS. CARS ISSUE. I am going to borrow a few sentences a friend of mine posted to Facebook last night:

“It is not appropriate to draw the conclusion that a position in favor of a different route (even only slightly different) than on the existing roadway therefore means that individual is against a progressive and vibrant city filled with bikes and pedestrians. Simply not true & unfair.

The key is that plenty of room exists for four lanes (four very important lanes!) along with bicycles and pedestrians without interrupting the traffic lanes. This meets the goal of ‘balance’ and encourages a useable and attractive riverfront while meeting the necessary function of the roadway – to allow access to downtown.”

As the same friend said, the only way to make real change happen is at the ballot box. If you’re on Twitter, follow @stricklandmayor. I wasn’t fully in the Strickland for Mayor camp until I heard about yesterday’s meeting, but now I am. Wharton has outlived his usefulness in public office and is becoming King Willie the Second.

For those who came here looking for a Friday news post, I will try to get something up after work. Can’t promise it though.

Mar 262015
 

Before I get started on the news, a Moody Ques BBQ team announcement: April 1 is the deadline to pay your dues. That’s next Wednesday. Pay on the team website or get a check to us. You don’t have to pay the PayPal fee if you pay by check.

Also: We need one of these for the booth. Automated Jello shot maker. Kind of like the Keurig of Jello. We would be the coolest BBQ team ever if we had both a flamethrower and a Jello shot maker.

From WREG: Some complain Riverside bike lanes cause traffic delays. YES YES YES they do. Public meeting about Riverside tonight, Central Station, 5:30 to 7.

The fabulous Pam & Terry perform tonight at the Blind Bear from 8 to 11. No cover. With great live music and the NCAA tournament to watch, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that I will spend some time at the Bear this evening.

There will be a Goose Island beer dinner at Bardog Thursday, April 21. 4 courses, 5 beers. $45 ticket, and seating will be limited, so purchase early from your friendly bartender.

General seating for the Redbirds’ April 3 exhibition game with the Cardinals is sold out.

Conversation with tourists last night at the Silly Goose:

Them: “We have heard Gus’s is a place we should try. We’re going to drive there later. It’s about a mile from here, isn’t it?”

Me: “No, it’s only four blocks. You can easily walk there from here. Turn left on Main, go past Beale and MLK Avenue, and when you get to Pontotoc turn right. Walk one block to Front Street and you will see it.”

Them: “But what if we get murdered on the way? That’s in the worst section of Memphis, isn’t it?

ARGH! People’s misguided perceptions of Memphis frustrate me. Thinking back on the conversation, I don’t think they realized that South Main is a different part of town than South Memphis.

I’m not going to be able to make it to the Riverside meeting tonight, but a friend who feels the same way I do about four lanes is going to go and give me a report on what happened. I will be out at the Blind Bear to hear Pam & Terry and to watch NCAA tournament games. I will have to stay out past 11 to see the late game, but the prospect of Calipari going 36-1 makes it worth it.

Mar 252015
 

There was a long Facebook discussion last night among many of my friends about how two-lane Riverside is just a really, really bad idea. I understand city planners wanting to make the city, and especially our riverfront, more appealing to runners and bikers. And as longtime readers of this blog know, I tend to lean left of center and take the progressive/liberal side on most issues. But I’m also a realist, and I just can’t take a progressive view of two-lane Riverside. I take that road to work every morning, and I can’t tell you how many times I have seen drivers lurch over the center line as they play with their phones. With Bass Pro opening, it is only going to get worse. It is time to admit the reconfiguration of Riverside was a mistake and restore it to four lanes.

There is a meeting tomorrow at 5:30 at Central Station, S. Main at G.E. Patterson, to discuss proposed plans for Riverside. All the plans are bad ideas, and none of them include restoration to four lanes. If you want to see 4-lane Riverside come back, go down there and make some noise.

The city has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a blighted property at 107 S. Main. That is the boarded-up building just north of Gayoso, two doors down from Yao’s China Bistro. That property has been abandoned for over a decade. I actually talked to the owner, Allan Long, about renting an apartment there in 2001 when he was supposedly planning to renovate it. That never happened and the building is not only an eyesore on what has turned into a beautiful demonstration block of Main, but it is also a hazard to adjoining buildings Main Street Flats and Cornerstone Flats. Water is leaking from shared walls and the two Flats buildings are seeing increased moisture levels.

This Daily News story has several pieces of good news for Downtown. We may be getting a second grocery store, and it sounds like more of a big-box store than another City Market-type place. We may be getting a movie theater, a smaller one like Studio on the Square. And an anonymous donor is going to pay to light up the Harahan Bridge.

Sports writer/radio host Gary Parrish reports that Nick King and Pookie Powell are both transferring out of Memphis. They were both top-100 recruits but saw limited playing time last year under Josh Pastner. My favorite blogger/MILF tweeted, “Love CJP, but I’m tired of seeing great players leave.” I’m starting to feel the same way. All those guys were probably alpha-dogs at their respective high schools. As much as it kills me to say anything good about Cal, he knows how to make a bunch of alpha-dogs work together as a team. Josh doesn’t.

MPD says that car break-ins are on the rise Downtown. Park in well-lit areas and don’t leave valuables in plain sight. I’ll add that this applies to small valuables as well as large. You may not think it’s a big deal to leave something worth $5 in plain sight, but that item could fund a burglar’s next purchase of a crack rock or bottle of booze.

Today is National Waffle Day. Is there a day left on the calendar that is not National (Something) Day?

I’ll be out at the usual spots after work. With great weather and LeBron at the FedExForum, I expect places to be packed for happy hour. Outta here for now.

Mar 242015
 

Want to see something beautiful? Have a look at the NBA conference standings and scroll down to view the Western Conference. Notice the little x next to Memphis. The Grizzlies have made the playoffs. Not that it was much in doubt, but it’s still nice to see.

My friend Angela Copeland who is a career coach is co-hosting a very cool event at Hilton Memphis next month. It is the 2nd Annual Multicultural Career Expo, from noon to 5 on April 12, seeking to help all cultures achieve their career goals and contribute to a greater Memphis. Over 40 companies including FedEx, First Tennessee, and St. Jude will be represented, across a diverse group of industries including healthcare, financial services, travel, logistics, higher education, and non-profit. Read more at www.CareerExpoMemphis.com.

In other job-related news, Bass Pro will be recruiting for its two new restaurants in the Pyramid Thursday. They will be at the Workforce Investment Network building, 480 Beale, from 8 AM to 4 PM.

From the MBJ : Aldo’s Midtown is here

If you want to volunteer for the April 11 MEMFix Pinch event, you can do it here.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting is tonight at the Fire Museum on Adams. Michael Putt, deputy chief of special operations, will speak. Social and networking at 6, meeting at 6:30. Non-members welcome too.

Marketing fail: Jagermeister threw a pool party to promote its brand, but due to a lack of understanding of basic chemistry they poisoned the water.

Tamp & Tap is having another Kill the Keg party this Friday. $2.50 pints of craft beer from 4 to close.

From ESPN: Arizona State Herb Sendek will meet with his AD today and learn whether he still has a job. If he is let go, Josh Pastner is seen as a top candidate to replace Sendek.

Memphis in May has posted an application to be a BBQ Fest judge. We are a mere 50 days away from BBQ Fest.

Fun night out last night. I managed to hit Bardog, Silly Goose, Flying Saucer, and Blind Bear. I was telling everyone at the Saucer about our BBQ team’s new flamethrower. I think I am a little bit too excited that we bought that thing.

Out at the usual spots after work. Another beautiful day. Going to get some outside time for the remainder of my lunch break.

Mar 232015
 

Felicia Suzanne’s is celebrating its 13th birthday with special events all week. Wiseacre beer dinner on Tuesday, communal cooking class on Wednesday, Tacos & Tunes returns Thursday ($2 tacos), 4-course tasting dinner Friday, and Saturday is dinner in the kitchen with Masterchef Junior winner Logan Guleff. Complete details here. Space is limited for some of the events.

The Memphis Flyer has a story about a new book about the history of Beale Street. Beale Street Dynasty covers the period between the Civil War and World War II. Fact I did not know: Beale Street won Tennessee for the Republican party in 1920. It is said that Boss Crump would not have been able to build his machine without Beale.

Vendors have been announced for MEMFix Pinch on April 11.

A friend of mine has a South Main town home for rent. 3 bedroom/3 bath, attic, 2 car garage, all appliances, private courtyard with waterfall.

Poker at the Blind Bear has been so successful that Jeannette has decided to add a third game. It will happen at 6:45 Thursdays. So there are now poker games in the Downtown core five nights a week: Sunday at Blind Bear, 6:30; Monday at Silly Goose, 8:30; Tuesday at Blind Bear, 8:00, Wednesday at Bardog, 7:30; Thursday at Blind Bear, 6:45.

Boscos is having a fundraiser next Sunday for singer Joyce Cobb, a Beale Street fixture who is going through a battle with pancreatic cancer. 6:30-9:30 PM, $50 per person, open bar and food, silent auction, music by friends of Joyce and STAX Academy. Get tickets here.

Interesting fact I learned today: More money was gambled on the NCAA Tournament the past four days than was spent on the 2012 presidential election.

Looks like I was wrong about my Razorbacks being able to handle North Carolina. Now that Arkansas is gone from the tournament, I have a new favorite team to root for, and its name is “whoever is playing Kentucky.”

I’ll be out at Bardog for Melissa Monday after work, probably followed by Pint Nite at the Saucer. Right now, time to take a walk and enjoy this beautiful day.

Mar 222015
 

In past years, one of the most painstaking operations for the BBQ team has been lighting the smoker. Not anymore. We got ourselves a new toy. :mrgreen: The team bought a flamethrower that reduced lighting time from 30 minutes to 5 seconds. Here’s a video.

It’s a good thing that we have mature, responsible people on our team who don’t do any stupid shit when we’re drinking. In the wrong hands that flamethrower could be dangerous. Our team president Moody, a lawyer, commented that we need to make a list of people who are authorized to use the flamethrower. Yes Moody we will be sure to do that. Then we will print the list out and set it on fire with the flamethrower.

We had a meeting in Midtown – yes, I actually left Downtown on a weekend – yesterday, at our booth designer Brent’s house. He has a beautiful home and a large back yard, and it was a perfect place for us to get together. You know, I’m friends with the leaders of another BBQ team, Squeal Street, and I hear them talk about their plans, especially on Melissa Mondays at Bardog. I hear them say things like, “Yeah, we have a team meeting this weekend, better run to West Memphis Wal-Mart and pick up a couple of 30-packs of Miller Lite.” This is what the big boys drink at team meetings:

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Yep. Two locally-made craft beers from downtown brewery High Cotton on tap. We had two of their main staples, the Scottish Ale and the ESB. Man that Scottish Ale was delicious. I will definitely be knocking that off the list for my next plate next time I am in the Flying Saucer. Anyone up for a field trip to their taproom now that the weather is nice? It’s no farther a walk than Max’s and we do that all the time. It’s just the stigma a lot of us have that any point east of Danny Thomas is more or less a trip to China.

There wasn’t much of an agenda for this meeting. Rather, it was a chance for the team to get some cooking practice in, and for the team members, especially new members, to get to know one another prior to the festival. I am SO HAPPY we have started doing this. It builds team unity and gives everyone a chance to feel like a part of this team.

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The team discussing targets for our new flamethrower. Foreground: Katie Mac, who was kind enough to offer me a ride to Midtown.

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Fire pit time. Back left: My down-the-hall neighbors Mary Ann and Peter, who I am super excited to have as new team members. Peter knows I don’t work Downtown, so every year he offers to get me gift cards at the Majestic’s annual half-off sale.

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The team waiting for the meat to come off the smoker

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Some pigs dream of lying on a plate next to beef brisket, coleslaw, a piece of pepper jack cheese, and a red pepper. We saw the potential in the pig that perhaps the pig did not even see in itself. We truly walked a mile with Jesus yesterday. It was divine. It was a dead pig on a plate and it tasted damn good. (Squeal Street: Please note that there is no microwave popcorn anywhere on this plate)

Our sauce recipe is coming along nicely. Earlier this week it received compliments from someone who knows a thing or two about food – Shorty, who runs the pasta bar at the Silly Goose, who has been cooking at Owen Brennan’s for 22 years, and who is featured in this month’s Memphis Magazine.

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Acting president Clay addresses the team as head cook/treasurer Frank looks on. You know, I don’t hand out compliments easily, but I have to say that my buddy Clay is doing a FANTASTIC job running the team this year. In past years, around this time I have thought, “Yeah they say things are going well, but I still see five or six different ways the train could go completely off the rails.” This year I don’t have those reservations. We are on track for an awesome year.

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My “DAWG” John D tries some craft beer. Normally he’s a Bud Light kind of guy so it is nice to see him thinking outside the box.

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The girls. Sapana, Nikki, Katie Mac, and Laura.

Shout-out to our teammates Nick and Sarah, who couldn’t make the meeting because they are about to become new parents. You were missed and we look forward to seeing both of you and the new addition to the family soon.

Whew. Yesterday kicked my ass. Usually I take a “halftime” nap on Saturday but yesterday there was just no way. I am going to take today as a recovery day. I am going to brew a fresh pot of tea, wrap myself up in my down comforter on the couch, munch on some Wheat Thins and gouda I bought at City Market, knock out a couple of chapters in the book I have been reading, watch 60 Minutes, and then call it an early bedti… AW FUCK THAT. If you really believe that’s the Sunday Fun Day I have planned, I have some crocodile-infested swamp land about 30 minutes south of Miami to sell you. I need to text a few people before I have the exact running order figured out for today, but two things that will be on the agenda for sure are D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear and (weather permitting) a trip south to Max’s Sports Bar. Hmmm… two-thirds of the group I used to refer to as Amateur Hour are working at South of Beale now… wonder if either of them is working today. If they are I may stop in. I’m trying to venture beyond my usual five bars. We shall see. Time to hit publish and get this ball rolling.