EP’s rooftop report

Thursday night I ventured to EP Delta Kitchen for their rooftop party the first time this year. I wanted to see how it compared to the Peabody and Madison.

EP’s is a little different in that it’s not a “rooftop party” in the traditional sense: The band still plays downstairs on the stage, as they do on other nights. The upstairs patio is open with a bar and seating at tables. Whereas, at the Peabody and Madison, the band plays on the outdoor patio itself.

However, I think the main selling point of EP’s rooftop party is the crowd. There were a lot of people there and I’d generally describe them as young, hip, and sophisticated, compared to the Peabody rooftop where I usually get a vibe that the crowd is young and trying REALLY, REALLY HARD to be hip and sophisticated. EP’s is more laid back, it seems slightly easier to get service at the bar when the place gets crowded, and you don’t have to deal with those stupid drink tickets.

I also think the later hours of EP’s party (8 to midnight) contribute to the good vibe. You get a mix of people – people who’ve already been to the Peabody or Madison and have chilled out a little after having a few drinks; service industry people who have gotten off early and are ready to have some fun; and people who don’t have traditional 8-to-5 rat race jobs who can stay out late.

So who has the best rooftop parties? For my tastes, I’m going to call it a draw between the Peabody and EP’s – the Peabody for the outdoor stage and the sense that you’re overlooking all of downtown; EP’s for the great service, great food and the crowd that goes there. I have to rank the Madison third, although that’s nothing against them, they do an awesome job too – it’s just that their rooftop is smaller and they tend to attract an older crowd. When I go to the Madison I’m usually in the youngest 20% of the people there. Next Thursday, however, the Madison will get the nod because the Dempseys will be playing. I’ll probably stop by EP’s afterward.

While at EP’s Thursday night, I met the drummer of a band called Blackberry Wednesday – he gave me the link to their MySpace page and I checked them out. They have a great sound. They’re performing on my building’s rooftop next Saturday, so I’ll get to check them out in person then.

Also had a great conversation with one of my regular blog readers at EP’s. We must’ve talked for hours. In keeping with the theme of the month, I tried to convince her to wear tube tops more often. After she left, I thought to myself, “I better go soon, it must be after 11:00.” I checked the clock on my cell phone and it was 1:18! Needless to say, Friday was a rough day at the rat race.

Didn’t go out at all last night… stayed home and got some quality sleep. Trying to decide whether to drive to the mall and buy some shirts today, or stay Downtown and work on my newest online store, which is taking forever to finish. Tonight I’ll be going out somewhere to celebrate.

Celebrate what?, you may ask. I’ll tell you Monday.

Thursday update

– Well, I had a special video all ready to post – of a crackhead dancing on the sidewalk, taken with my camera last night – but once I uploaded it to YouTube, I found it was so poorly lit that it’s not worth anyone’s time to watch it. That’s the trouble with digital cameras, they’re not good with light – and since it’s a video not an image I can’t use Picasa to correct it.

– So, I finally ate at Pearl’s. After getting my hair cut, I swung by there and took a seat at the bar. Both the bartender and one of the servers immediately said, “Hey Paul! Good to see you again! Where’s the rest of the gang? Are you coming Saturday night?” I ordered the Pearl’s Seafood Alfredo, pasta alfredo with shrimp, crawfish and scallops. Very good. Unfortunately I drove to Pearl’s, so I couldn’t complement my dinner with an alcoholic beverage. At least in that respect I act like a responsible adult. Next time I plan on having the blackened amberjack sandwich, which comes highly recommended from a friend. The shrimp & grits have also been recommended by just about every person I know who has been there, but I’ve never been much of a grits person.

– The Belmont Stakes is this weekend. It’s the third leg of the Triple Crown, but there’s no chance of a Triple Crown winner this year because different horses won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Trivia: No horse has won the triple crown since Affirmed in 1978. The following year, the powers that be, having witnessed blowaway victories by Affirmed, Seattle Slew, and Secretariat in the years before, decided that restrictor plates should be installed on all horses, in an effort to make the races closer and more competitive. This was the beginning of the “Horse of Tomorrow” that we now see in all races.

– Tonight’s rooftop party night, which always makes for some good socializing and tube top watching. This week’s lineup:

Peabody: The Soul Shockers
Madison: The Billy Gibson Band
EP’s: Garry Goin & G3

I may hit either the Peabody or EP’s or both – it’s possible to do both in one night since the Peabody runs 6 to 10 and EP’s is 8 to 12. Then again, maybe I’ll just sit at the Saucer all evening and never make it to either party – that’s happened a few times recently.

However, next Thursday I’ll be at the Madison where THE DEMPSEYS will be playing!

– Here’s a link to a Wikihow article on how to win at rock, paper, scissors.

– Song of the day – “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins. “Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage.” Or in my case, a rat in a cubicle. Back to work.

Wed update: Hookah bar, GPS idea, Rio Loco, and more

– Sitting here at Otherlands in Midtown, flipping through the latest issue of the Memphis Flyer. I see that an idea that has been talked about Downtown for a couple of years now – a hookah bar – has come to life out by the University of Memphis. The University Lounge at 663 S. Highland is now open 7 days a week, and invites guests to come by and smoke flavored tobacco in one of its hookahs. They have about 20 different varieties of non-nicotine, non-tar sisha tobacco. Check their MySpace page for more details – says they also have gourmet coffees, desserts, appetizers, couches, dimmed lights, Sirius satellite radio, and an LCD TV. And also – they said the magic words that will likely convince me to stop by in the near future – no, not “tube tops” – they have FREE WIRELESS INTERNET!!! I’ll try to get out there and write about this place sometime in the month of June.

– Still seeing a lot of cops out on the major streets with radar. It made me think back to the late ’70s, the heyday of CB radio, used by a lot of people to warn each other of speed traps. Remember this?

“Breaker breaker one-nine, breaker breaker one-nine, be on the lookout by mile marker 2-4-7, we got a Smokey the Bear hiding under the bridge.”

“That’s a big 10-4, good buddy.”

Gave me an idea for a new invention – kind of an update on the CB warning system using modern technology. These days a lot of people have GPSs in their cars. What if someone built a GPS system so that, when you drive past a cop with a radar gun, you could push a button and mark the location – “here.” The coordinates could then be uploaded to a satellite, which updates a map for drivers showing all reported speed traps, with different colored icons indicating whether the report was 0-10 minutes ago, 10-20 minutes ago, or 20-30 minutes ago. I wonder if anything like that has ever been done? Any reason why it wouldn’t work?

Of course, you can just buy radar detectors, but I like my GPS idea because there’s a communal feel to it. People helping each other. I guess it could have other uses besides tracking radar cops too. Downtowners could use it to report the locations of bums in the area, to let others know what streets to avoid if they don’t want to be panhandled.

– Plans for this evening: Going to stop by City House Salon and get my hair cut right after I get out of the rat race for the day. After that, since I’ll be in the area I think I’ll finally have dinner at Pearl’s Oyster House. (There’s a write-up on Pearl’s in the Memphis Flyer today – see page 46). Then I may stop by and see a friend who has a condo in the area. If I make it to the Saucer at all tonight it’ll be later in the evening.

– Speaking of the Flyer – if you’re a Rio Loco fan, check the restaurant section of the Flyer. Rio Loco has been running a “buy 1 entree, get 1 free” coupon recently and it’s in this week’s issue too. It says “$7.50 value” so I think they’re referring to the “Combinaciones” part of the menu, where you can choose from about 30 different combinations for either $7.19 or $7.49.

– Fellow Downtown blogger Amy thinks she’s figured out who I was referring to yesterday in my “restaurants that don’t get it” post – and she disagrees. And I have no problem with that whatsoever. It’s good to have another Downtown blogger who writes well saying positive things about the neighborhood. She also mentions some other restaurants who in her opinion “get it.” Her blog has the comments feature turned on, so if you agree or disagree about the restaurants she listed, you can leave her some feedback. And, of course, you can e-mail me as well.

– Again, back to the rat race for another four and a half exciting hours of cubicle sitting.

Second place, tube top, and a great question

Congrats to the Rapscallions, who won second place in trivia tonight, tying with The Other Downtown Team That Always Changes Their Name, then defeating them on the tie-breaker question (“tallest snowman ever”). That brings our total gift certificate stash to $230. We need to have a party SOON – certificates about to expire – I’ll e-mail everyone about it.

We had a tube top sighting tonight. Pic:

Sorry guys, she’s taken.

The Nuh-Uh Sister told me that she bought a new tube top, however. Maybe she’ll wear it next week.

Sample question from this week: Name 3 countries that begin with an “R.” Countries beginning with “Republic of” don’t count.

The answers:


What a great question! Thanks Pete!

And now, I have to go to bed, so I can be up in time to go to the Rat Race tomorrow. Will it ever end?

Followup: Restaurants that don’t get it

(5 PM: Edit: Yikes! I just realized there was a problem with this post. See below.)

In the last post, I compared Downtown restaurants that “get it” (treat their customers well, have attentive service, make people feel at home, have good portions at a reasonable price) with those that don’t.

Here’s a chance for you to leave feedback – if a restaurant has been reviewed in the Commercial Appeal, you can go in and leave a comment about it and grade the restaurant on a scale of A+ to F. If there’s a particular restaurant you either love or hate, this would be a good way to let everyone know.

Here’s a link to the CA’s restaurant review list. You can scroll down the page and see if the restaurant you want to leave feedback about has been reviewed. Just an opportunity for you to leave your own personal spin about the Memphis dining scene.

(Edit: In keeping with the month’s theme, here’s the Nuh-Uh Sister in a tube top.)

A comfortable place to hang out: Pearl’s Oyster House "gets it"

I wanted to come back and do a followup post about Pearl’s Oyster House, the new restaurant at Main and Pontotoc, a couple of blocks south of Beale in the building where the tattoo shop used to be.

Now, I haven’t had a meal there yet, so this isn’t a dining review. But I do have some things to say about the way they run the place. Good things.

This past week I’ve made several trips to the Flying Saucer for beer, and I’ve looked around and thought, “Hey, where’s the gang?” After a couple of pints it occurred to me that they might be at Pearl’s, since they own condos nearby.

So I wandered in there Friday night and there they were, at the bar. Sitting next to them was Ray, the owner, and I got to spend an hour or two talking with him. Basically what he said was, “I want to make this a place where you and your friends can not only get a good meal, but where you feel comfortable just hanging out at the bar. Let me know what I can do to make this a place where you guys want to spend time.”

And we did feel comfortable there. I stayed until almost 1 in the morning. The next night, I wandered down to Pearl’s again, and the gang was there at the downstairs bar. We hung out there until the place closed. Some of my friends told me it was their 4th time there that week. I have a feeling that, for them – the ones that own condos nearby – it may end up being the new neighborhood hangout, the way Sleep Out’s was for a long time. For me, the Saucer will probably remain my #1 place to go, but when I get bored at the Saucer I’ll definitely be wandering down Main to make guest appearances at Pearl’s.

Anyway, I just wanted to post and commend Pearl’s on having such a great attitude. There are so many restaurants Downtown who “get it,” who understand how to relate to the locals. Pearl’s gets it. The Majestic Grille gets it. LoLo’s Table gets it. Big Foot Lodge gets it. The Flying Saucer has waitresses in miniskirts. EP’s Delta Kitchen gets it. When the Blue Monkey reopens, they’ll go on the list of places that get it.

There are also restaurants downtown that don’t get it. Restaurants that act like they’re doing you a favor by letting you in. That ignore you for 20 minutes when you have an empty drink glass. That look at you sideways when you come in wearing jeans like, “WELL, you really don’t look nice enough to be here, but, WHATEVER.” I won’t mention names but I hear about one in particular nearly every time I go out, a place where my friends tell me “I’ll never go there again.” Sad that they have such a snobby attitude, that they don’t try to reach out to the local community and be a part of it… I think that’ll hurt them in the long run. Places like that make me appreciate it even more when a friendly spot like Pearl’s opens its doors.

Took the night off last night, and spent most of it lying around at home reading a book. Tonight I’ll be back at the Saucer for trivia night. I must say, I liked the crowd there this weekend – more tube tops than I could count. Hopefully the crowd tonight will look just as good, and the Rapscallions will pick up a 50 to add to our gift certificate winnings.

Monday update: Cheeseburgers, bums, and tube tops

– Here’s a cheeseburger recommendation for you: There’s a restaurant on Third called George’s Coffee Shop that I’ve heard makes some of the best cheeseburgers in town. It’s in a building with several other businesses between Jefferson and Court, about half a block south of the black glass Darth Vader building where all the bankruptcy hearings take place. It’s only open for lunch. I haven’t had a chance to try it myself, but believe me, the person who told me about it is an EXPERT on the subject of cheeseburgers. So his recommendation is good enough for me.

– Yesterday the gang was sitting at the Saucer discussing the Downtown panhandling problem… the panhandlers certainly haven’t disappeared by any means, but I have to say that things are better because several of the area’s most annoying and/or aggressive bums have disappeared. The “shoe shine guy” – gone (and I have it on pretty good authority that he’s in jail). Sharp Dressed Bum – haven’t seen him in at least two weeks. Willie with the goatee who bothers people outside Walgreens – haven’t seen him in at least two weeks, and I hear he’s also had a trip to 201 in the past month. The short fat blond woman who cusses people out – haven’t seen her Downtown in weeks, although there have been some sightings of her in Midtown.

Hopefully I’m partly responsible for Sharp Dressed Bum’s disappearance… the CCC has a new security coordinator, and he e-mailed me a few weeks ago asking if I knew of any safety issues downtown. I replied with a detailed description of SDB, and he said he’d pass on the info to cops whom he works closely with. And now he’s gone. Heh.

– Blogger continues to piss me off to no end. Not only have I been unable to change my template for 4 days, but now it’s not letting me post pictures. If Blogger didn’t suck you’d be looking at a pic of the Nuh-Uh Sister in a tube top, taken last month at trivia night. Guess it’ll have to wait until later though. A few more days of this and I may have to seriously reconsider WordPress.

Short post today, because I want to hit Bookstar and buy a book. Possibly back later today with another one, as I have a couple of topics on deck.

By the way – you know how on the weekdays I tend to post at lunchtime, usually between 11 and noon? This week will be the last week for that posting schedule… and there’s a very good reason why. Details to come. Starting Monday I’ll be posting more often, and at more varied times.

The past week in photos

Since I’ve posted a little less than usual this week, I figured I’d put some photos on the blog so you can see what I’ve been up to.

Last Saturday I started the day at Blues City Pastry getting some work done on the laptop. This is a Zebra Square, one of their pastries, and it’s as tasty as it looks.

The things you see downtown… later in the day I was having a beer at the Saucer, and I looked out the window and a giant burger was walking around.

Now we move on to Sunday Fun Day. After the usual stops at the Majestic and the Saucer, we decided to hang out on EP’s patio. This is bartender Ugly Steve, whose cocktail concoctions are responsible for some of the stuff you’ll see in later pictures.

This was one of the drinks we all had. It tasted like grape Kool-Aid but I nicknamed it “Halloween” because it reminded me of the color of a spooky night sky.

This was the other drink we had, which was named F.U.C.T. That’s an acronym for something but I never found out what. The other customers at the bar seemed somewhat disturbed when I strolled up with an empty glass and yelled out, “Hey Ugly Steve, I’m ready to get FUCT again!”

“Tastes like happy!”

A group photo of the gang at EP’s.

I was quite pleased with the grape drink. Have I ever mentioned that I love Romanian girls?

After EP’s it was time for some drunk Frisbee on MLGW’s lawn. Well, I ALMOST caught that one.

Memorial Day was the inaugural Downtown Night at the Westin lobby bar. Happy hour cocktails and hors d’ouevres for Downtowners the last Monday of every month.

The lovely Di Anne Price on piano. You can catch her every Monday at the Westin.

Special thanks to Joan – Downtown Night was her idea.

No pics were taken Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, but picture me sitting on a bar stool at the Flying Saucer and you have a pretty good idea of what happened.

Last night I finally made it down to Pearl’s Oyster House and found the gang sitting at the bar. In this pic: Ray (the owner of Pearl’s), me, Mikey the Camera Nazi, and Jessica. Pearl’s is a great place. I’m going to do a separate post about it later.

The downstairs bar at Pearl’s.

The downstairs has comfy couches where you can sit and listen to the band…

… or you can lean against the upstairs rail and watch them from above.

Here’s the entire photo album – 46 photos. I can’t believe I didn’t get one tube top photo the entire week.

Man those bourbon and cokes I had last night were good. I was almost drunk enough to be a state Senator.

Buckle up

(Edit: Due to problems with Blogger this lunchtime post didn’t get posted until after work)

I was late getting to work this morning and drove down Madison. At the Overton Square crossing right before Cooper, the police were conducting a seat belt saturation, pulling over all unbuckled drivers. Luckily I had mine on.

I have a feeling these seatbelt roadblocks are going to be all over the city this weekend. So, make sure you buckle up on your way home from work, and if you drive anywhere the next couple of days.

Does it bother anyone else that Memphis is seeing a record number of murders, violent robberies, home invasions, etc., and the police are wasting their time on “Click It Or Ticket”?

I don’t blame the cops themselves though… they’re just doing what they’re told. They’re spending a lot of time and resources on “Click It Or Ticket” because the governor and the state legislature are pushing them to do so.

Wonder why the government is pushing this program so hard? Because of the mom who lost her 24-year-old son in a car accident? Don’t kid yourself. She may be the poster child, but she’s not the reason… THE INSURANCE COMPANIES are the ones who want the government to make a big deal out of enforcing seat-belt laws. It’s not that they want to save lives; they want to save money. They want to “conserve human capital.”

All right. End of rant. Other notes: Yeah I know I need to change my template so it doesn’t read “Tube Top Month is only a few days away” now that it’s June. But Blogger’s publishing engine is misbehaving yet again, giving me an error every time I try to update. I hope they fix it soon.

Hmmm… I see that the Dempseys are playing the Cordova Huey’s on Sunday… maybe I’ll make a field trip out there to see them, considering that my favorite blogger will likely be there. MAYBE. We’ll see. I still can’t believe I missed a chance to see her in a tube top at Sunset Symphony. For those who don’t feel like driving to the land of strip malls and SUVs, the Dempseys will play Blues City Cafe tonight and tomorrow night.

Didn’t make it to Italian Fest last night… there’s a chance I may go Saturday, but not sure. The finish line is finally in sight for the new Amazon storefront I’m building, so I’d like to get that done this weekend, and may give it priority over Italian Fest.

Sitting in Bon Ton Cafe typing this. Putting in wireless was a great move on their part. Before they did I went there once every couple of years. Now I go about once a week. There were some Europeans in the booth behind me, but they just left. Would’ve said hello but they didn’t appear to be Romanian. The Romanians aren’t due back in town for another month yet, anyway.

Back to the rat race for the afternoon. Have a good weekend and don’t forget: Buckle up, it’ll make an insurance company happy.

Quiz answer

Yesterday I posted this photo and asked readers to identify the best dressed person in it.

The correct answer, of course, is Mendi (far right), because she’s wearing a tube top.

Welcome to Tube Top Month, which has become a tradition on this blog. For the entire month of June, every post will contain a reference to tube tops, or a picture of someone wearing a tube top, no matter how irrelevant tube tops are to the content of the rest of the post.

The idea is to promote the buying and wearing of tube tops, in an attempt to make the world a more beautiful place. This year Tube Top Month has a sponsor – the Tube Top Boutique, an Amazon.com storefront where you can select from hundreds of tube tops, tube dresses, and related items.

June also tends to be the month when I drunk-post the most often, probably because it goes along well with the theme.

If you want your pic in this blog, put on a tube top and catch me when you see me around town… I almost always have my digital camera on me.

Last year I interrupted Tube Top Month for about a week and changed the topic to something else – that will NOT happen again this year. The theme will not be suspended for any reason.

Looking forward to a fun and exciting June!