Thursday lunchtime post

Went to CityHouse Salon on my lunch break to get a haircut.  Afterward, I realized I was only a few blocks away from the Wendy’s at Third and Crump.  So I drove down there to get food to take back to work… and as I type this I’m sitting here eating THE BACONATOR!!!

Great article in the Commercial Appeal this morning about Blake Payne, who at the age of 21 is the executive chef of LoLo’s Table.  I haven’t been to LoLo’s in a while, which is odd considering I live a half block from the place.  One of the friendliest places Downtown.  Good happy hour too.

The Weather Channel is predicting a wintry mix and a low of 30 for tomorrow night.  Hmmm, conditions could be right for some tricky driving tomorrow.  Be extra careful if you’re driving Downtown for the Foo Fighters concert.

I barhopped last night.  Had a beer at the Saucer, then a beer at Circa, then a beer at Huey’s.  Then I went back to the Saucer and stayed until I found a compelling reason to leave (they turned the lights on and started stacking the chairs).  So I started to walk home, but noticed that McGuinness was on the way home and ended up there.  Most of the Saucer’s closing staff did as well.

While at McGuinness, I heard a disturbing story about one of the bums – “CAN I AKS YOU A QUESTION” guy.  About 5’11”, wild crazy hair.  This guy is very intimidating, comes straight at you going, “SIR.  MA’AM.  CAN I AKS YOU A QUESTION.”  I’m sure there’s no need to tell you what the question is.  He is known to follow people.  Last night I heard that a service industry worker was so scared of him she started running away – and he jogged after her.  Anyone else had run-ins with this guy?  I need to get a photo of him to put on the panhandling forum, but he’s so aggressive that I’m scared to get close enough to take his picture with only 3x optical zoom.

While at McGuinness, the tall brunette Saucer waitress managed to coax a free shot out of me, despite that fact that she was so grouchy that I wondered if she lives on Sesame Street in the garbage can with Oscar.  I think she was a bit surprised, knowing that former waitress Zebra Hair tried for months and months to get me to buy her drinks but never succeeded.

When did they start putting ketchup on the Baconator?  I hate ketchup.

Last night I heard that part of the space above Downtown Huey’s will be converted into apartments.  Not sure what the time frame is for that.

Attn local bands:  The Memphis Flyer is starting Flyer Radio to promote local music, and they’re looking for song submissions.

Rio Loco is having their second birthday party on Saturday the 26th.

Back to work.  I’m assisting in the development of design documents this week.  Yay.

Wed update: Willie? REALLY?, beer can openers, Majestic and more

Congrats to the Rapscallions on yet another first-place finish in trivia last night… that brings our gift certificate total to $355.  The Saucer Girls team, who did a lot of trash talking last week after a strong finish, were next to last at the end of round 1 and round 2 and then just gave up entirely and didn’t even play the third round.  There was also a team named “We Have a Hot Waitress,” although really, that could refer to any of the teams.

50 finalists have been announced for the World Mayor Award, to select the best city mayor in the world for 2008.  Criteria they look for:  Good administrative abilities, the ability to provide safety and security, and the ability to foster good relations among different races and cultures.  Only 10 of the 50 finalists are from North America.  And guess who one of the finalists is… our very own Mayor Willie Herenton.  No, I’m not making this up.  King Willie is in the top 50.  Go back and read those criteria again… Willie?  REALLY?

Wacky how-to of the day:  How to open a beer bottle with a dollar bill.  That could be useful… then again, I almost always drink draft beers.  I’ll have to make sure John D sees it so he can practice popping open his bottles of Bud Light.  Maybe Hooper and Tony at Hoop’s Bar should author a how-to:  How to open a PBR can with a sword.

Last night I confirmed that the Saucer will open early for Saturday’s Memphis-Gonzaga game, and we’ve been promised a decent Fire Sale.

Dammit!  Tennessee lost to Kentucky last night.  Normally I’m indifferent toward Tennessee, but I wanted them to win all their games between now and February 23 so that (1) Memphis can beat as highly-ranked a team as possible, kind of like fattening a pig for slaughter.  They have a month to rebuild and hopefully can get back in the top 5 by then.

In addition to being open early for the game Saturday (brunch served 10-1), the Majestic Grille announced some other stuff as well.  They’ll have a Super Bowl party February 3 with their famous chili with chopped onions and cheddar cheese, spicy crawfish dip, a hot meatball sub, and smoked brisket sandwich.  They’ll have couches in their Innovators’ Room with a 10′ big screen.  On February 6 they’ll have a wine dinner featuring Osborne wines paired with Spanish specialties such as tapas and paella.  And on February 10 their family-style Sunday Suppers return, enough to feed 4 hunrgy people for $60.  Menu will change once a month.  February’s menu:  Antipasto; endive, radichio and fennel salad with shaved parmesan and sherry vinaigrette; lasagna; sauteed broccoli rabe; foccacia with grilled artichoke pesto; and homemade cannoli.  Reservations required for the wine dinner, appreciated for the Sunday Suppers.  The best way to keep up with happenings at the Majestic is to get on their website and sign up for their e-mail newsletter.  You can also make reservations on their site.

That’s all for now… got an early conference call at work, so it’s time to go get a Mountain Dew so I’m well caffeinated.

Calhoun’s update

Calhoun’s Sports Bar & Grill, the new sports bar on G.E. Patterson, asked me to let everyone know about the following improvements:

– They now have two new beers on tap:  Newcastle Brown Ale and DOS EQUIS SPECIAL LAGER!!!!!!  With XX Lager on tap, Calhoun’s may be seeing a lot more of me.  Wait, the Saucer also has Dos Equis Lager on tap.  And the Saucer also has hot waitresses in miniskirts.  Okay, beer alone may not be enough to get me in Calhoun’s.  But that’s okay, because they have a lot more!  See below…

– They now have the school food “pizzas” that you ate in the lunchroom when you were a kid.  Cheese, sausage, and pepperoni.  Those little rectangular pizzas were not half bad.  School food “sloppy joes,” on the other hand, were disgusting, glad Calhoun’s isn’t carrying those.  I remember growing up in the Little Rock School District, they’d have school food “sloppy joes” on Tuesday and school food “BBQ” on Thursday and they’d try to pass it off as two different menu items even though it was the SAME DAMN THING!  Even worse was the school food “fish.”  I had a friend of mine find an unidentified metallic object in the “fish” in junior high.  Anyway, Calhoun’s has the pizzas and I bet they’d work really well as drunk food.

– Smoke Eater has been installed to remove some of the smoke exhaled by those with filthy, nasty, disgusting nicotine addictions (my words, not Calhoun’s… they welcome smokers)

– They now have ESPN Full Court Package

– They’ll have the MLB package in time for opening day

– They’ll have a deck in the back by March so everyone can enjoy the nice weather.

– They’ll have the following Tiger games on:

January 23:  Tulsa, 7:00
January 26:  Gonzaga, 11:00 AM
January 30:  Houston, 7:00
February 9:  UCF, 3:00
February 13:  Houston, 8:00
February 20:  Tulane, 7:00
February 23:  Tennessee, 8:00
February 27:  Tulsa, 8:00
March 1:  Southern Miss, 3:00
March 5:  SMU, 7:00
March 8:  UAB, noon

– Games that will NOT be carried at Calhoun’s:

February 2:  UTEP, noon
February 6:  SMU, 8:00
February 16:  UAB, 7:00

I’ve heard the place stays pretty consistently packed with South Main locals.  Glad to hear they’re doing well.

Wild ride on the stock market today

Keep your eye on the stock market today… in case you missed this morning’s news, the Fed cut its prime rate 3/4 of a point in fear of a recession.  That’s a HUGE move – normally they move it up or down 1/4 of a point at a time.  Stock markets around the world went down the crapper overnight.  The U.S. markets have only been open a few minutes as I type this, and already the Nasdaq has lost 117 points, or 5% of its value.  (Edit a few minutes later:  It’s rebounded to only -2% now, so maybe there was an overreaction at the start of trading.)  You can track the market averages on The Motley Fool’s homepage.

Basketball news and notes

The Majestic Grille is opening an hour early (10 AM) this Saturday for the 11 AM Memphis-Gonazaga game at the FedExForum.  The Majestic will host the official Tiger Live Remote broadcast of the Tiger game, and they will also carry their Sunday brunch menu over to Saturday.  That includes the drink specials, which are $3 mimosas, $3 bloody marys, and $12 “Majestic Mimosa” bottles of champagne.  Regular lunch menu will be available too.

Other restaurants/bars in the area:  If you’re opening early, let me know.  Maybe I’ll make a list and post it Friday.  I need to talk to the Saucer managers and confirm they’re opening early.  I also need to stress to them the importance of choosing a Fire Sale that doesn’t suck on Saturday.

Heard a good story about the new Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace last night.  My friend Sam took a kid who is a St. Jude patient up there last night.  Chris Wallace comes in the restaurant where Sam works a lot, so Sam approached him, introduced the kid, and asked if he might be able to get some autographs for him.  “I’ll do you one better than that,” Wallace replied.  “He’s invited to practice tomorrow.”  That was a very cool gesture.

It’s official – the Tigers are #1 in both polls for the first time since 1983.  Of course, with a very strong Tulsa team on the schedule for Wednesday night, our top ranking could be short lived.  When people think of legend-killers in the world of college basketball, Tulsa is often one of the first teams to come to mind.

A friend of mine pointed out something last night – if we remain at the top of the polls all season, not only are we sure to get a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but we’re also likely to get the bracket closest to home.  That would put us in the Alltel Arena in Little Rock for rounds one and two.

Had a great night at Pint Nite last night… I think I had so much fun because I wandered around the bar.  Sat in my usual window seat with my friend Bobby for a while… then wandered inside and talked to a couple of people on the rail, where we proved that politics and religion actually can be discussed at a bar… then wandered over to the dart boards where there was a tournament going on (although, I didn’t participate, I suck at darts).  Had a lot of fun.  I need to start wandering around more rather than staying glued to one seat the whole night.  Never made it to Circa or McGuinness, even though I had those on the agenda.

Tonight:  The Rapscallions invite you to come get your ass kicked at trivia.

Monday update: Orpheum needs MySpace users, .NET job, Tigers

The Orpheum is looking for three well-connected MySpace users to promote their upcoming musical, The Wedding Singer, which will run February 12-17.  These users will receive two tickets to the opening night performance in exchange for promoting the musical via MySpace comments and bulletins and adding information to their profiles.  If interested, you can find more information on The Orpheum’s MySpace blog.  Tomorrow is the deadline to apply for one of the three spots.

If anyone’s looking for a .NET job I heard about one this morning.  4 years experience in .NET, currently using .NET 2.0 or 3.0.  3 years experience in SQL stored procedures.  Education and certs are a bonus but not required.  You’ll have a private office, dual monitors, and all the latest technologies.  If interested e-mail me at and I’ll pass your info along.  (this is not a job at the company I work for, by the way)

The Memphis Tigers have moved up to #1 in the latest ESPN/USA Today poll.  No word yet on the AP poll as of noon today.

Plans for tonight:  Pint Nite at the Saucer at 5, with detours to Circa and/or McGuinness at various points in the evening as I see fit.

Eleven in a row

6:25 PM:  Today I went on a long run on the pool table at the Saucer, winning 11 games in a row, including the 10th game in one shot when I made the 8 on the break.  To be fair, Pete was the one who eventually ended the streak, but for most of the afternoon this is what he was thinking:


I finished the day at 12-2.  I’m now at home enjoying Paul’s Drunkass Food.  About 7:30 I’ll head back up to the Saucer for round 2.  Most people have the day off tomorrow (I don’t!  My company is HOLDING THE WHITE MAN DOWN!!!) for MLK day, so hopefully there will be a crowd.  Most likely I’ll get my second wind and close the place down.

Preview of George W. Bush’s proclamation of tomorrow’s holiday:  “Milk day!  Well, I think that’s fantastic that Congress set aside a holiday honoring milk.  It does a body good, you know.  But I think they left a vowel out of…” (advisor whispers in his ear)  “Oh.”

Heading back up there, maybe to whoop some more ass at pool.  Whatcha gonna do when the rabbit gets the gun, Pete, whatcha gonna do when the rabbit gets the gun.

Late Saturday night update: Second Street Deli, Obama fundraiser, early voting, and more

Post is dated Sunday the 20th, but I’m posting at 1:37 AM and haven’t been to bed yet.  Therefore, I still consider it Saturday and “today” refers to Saturday in this post.

Today I spent a LOT of money, but at least I did it somewhat wisely.  Went to a men’s clothing store in Downtown Memphis whose shirts I’ve been admiring for a while, but haven’t bought any because they’re just massively expensive.  Paying more than a hundred bucks for one shirt makes me sick, and these shirts are WAY over a hundred.  But this morning I woke up with a game plan.  I went to the store, tried on shirts from two different makers who seemed to have quality stuff, found out what size I wear for each, then bought one shirt from each maker at full price, shuddering as I signed the debit card receipt.

Then, knowing what size I wear for each maker, I came home and got on eBay.  Found several other of the shirts I wanted, from sellers who had sold hundreds or thousands of items and who had 99% or better positive feedback.  I selected the “Buy it Now” option for each shirt, and paid 20-30% of the retail price for each.  eBay rules.  Sure was nice to pay two-digit prices instead of three-digit.  Still, altogether I spent over $500 on shirts today.  Ouch.

I was done with my shopping by noon, and my plan after that was to have a productive afternoon getting chores done at home.  So what happened?  I went to the Saucer.  Once at the Saucer my plan was to only have one beer.  So what happened?  I had six beers and stayed until almost 5:00.  Yay.  Request from one of the waitresses:  “You need to write about me in your blog and say how awesome I am.”  Yeah, I’ll get to that in a little over two months when I do my April Fool’s Day post.

Got to-go food from Roma, ate, came home, took a nap, decided it was too cold to go back out.  Therefore I’m blogging.

Second Street Shoppers, which recently added a deli and is now serving sandwiches, salads and wraps, sent me a menu.  My top picks from the menu:  the Chicken Alfredo sandwich (chicken, bacon, mushroom, Swiss, alfredo sauce) and the Santa Fe Chicken sandwich (chicken, bacon, Swiss, chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers).  Hopefully I’ll get in there and get one of those to-go for lunch.

There will be a fundraiser for Barack Obama Friday, February 1 at the Hi-Tone in Midtown.  Admission fee is a $5 donation, or more if you feel like giving more.

That reminds me… early voting started last week.  Don’t forget to early vote and avoid the long lines the day of the primary!  I’ll have to get to the Election Commission one day next week and cast my vote, now that I’ve decided that Senator Obama is my choice.

It’s a safe bet that I’ll be at the Flying Saucer pretty much any day, but here are three days this month when you can definitely expect to see me there:

  • Friday, January 25:  Aquanet plays at 9:30.  Kickass ’80s hair band music.
  • Saturday, January 26:  Memphis Tigers vs. Gonzaga at the FedExForum at 11 AM.  I need to find out if the Saucer plans to open early like they did for the last game.  Regardless, I’ll be there no later than 11 to catch the game on TV.
  • Thursday, January 31:  The Dempseys play at 9:30.

Congrats to the Maryland Terrapins, who knocked off #1 North Carolina tonight.  Meanwhile, #2 Memphis squashed Southern Miss 83-47, paving the way for a probable move into the #1 spot in this coming week’s polls.

I’m working on some stuff to make this blog more useful as a Downtown information source.  You’ll see the results in about a week.

Tomorrow:  Brunch at the Majestic at 11, followed by a full day of drinking beer and whooping Pete’s ass at pool.

My verdict on Pa Pa Pia’s: Outstanding

Soooo last night I met up with 16 of my closest friends for a double birthday dinner at Pa Pa Pia’s, the new Italian restaurant on Union between Front and Main, in the space that used to be Meditrina and before that Cafe Samovar.  They did an outstanding job and I was completely impressed with the place.

First of all, I’ll start with the food.  Check out their menu to get an idea of what they have.  I ordered the Chicken Saltimbocca, which consisted of two large pieces of thinly sliced chicken topped with proscuitto, mushrooms and Marsala sauce.  It was absolutely delicious.  It came with a side order of Spagettini Bolognese, their spaghetti with meat sauce, which several people at the table agreed was among the best they’d ever had (although there were also some votes for the spaghetti with meatless tomato sauce).

Some of my friends got the Family Dinner, which consists of two entrees and two pasta dishes for $40, a really good value considering it’s enough food to feed 4 (maybe even 5 or 6).  The independent only child in me resisted – I want total say in what I order, not 1/4 say, and if there’s a dish I really want I want it all, not 1/4 of it.  Besides, with the Nuh-Uh Girl sitting across from me, I knew I’d be sharing my food anyway.  The people to my left and right, however, went family style.  They ordered a variety of dishes – chicken alfredo, lasagna, salmon sherry piccata, formaggio manicotti – and I did not hear a bad word about any of the food from any of them.

I was too full for dessert, but I saw tiramisu, canneloni, and some flavor of cheesecake (can’t recall) come out for other people at the table.  Looked delicious, and again, I didn’t hear a bad word about it.

So that was the food.  Now let me talk about the service, which was also top-notch.  We called them in advance and told them we had a large double birthday party coming in, and as soon as we sat down they brought out two complimentary appetizer samplers consisting of bruschetta, toasted ravioli, and mozzarella parmesan.  That made a great first impression.  Our drink glasses stayed full all evening, and the food came out as quickly as could be expected given the large size of our group.

When it was time to pay our tab, our server was happy to split our check up, even though with a party of 17 she would’ve had every right to complain or to refuse to do it altogether.  With people splitting family dinners and bottles of wine multiple ways, there was a lot of dividing of tabs, and our server handled it quickly and professionally.  Also, when we got our tickets no automatic gratuity had been added, even though with a party our size she would’ve been completely justified tacking on 20%.

Pa Pa Pia’s exceeded my expectations by miles and I’ll be back.  Since I work in the Falls Building, only 3 blocks away, I’ll make sure my co-workers know about it too.