Downtown Dining and Drinking Discoveries, plus today’s news

For today’s post, I want to catch you up on some of the yummy things I’ve had to eat and drink Downtown over the past five days.

Last night I had the Goat Cheese Stuffed Pepper appetizer at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. Two poblano peppers, stuffed with goat cheese and covered in marinara. One thing I’ve learned about peppers is that you never can tell how spicy an individual pepper will be until you bite into it. The one on the right was SUPER HOT!!! The flavor of the goat cheese really worked well with it, though. The bread that came with the appetizer helped take the edge off the heat. The pepper on the left was about average in heat. I really enjoyed this dish and would order it again. Some appetizers are big enough to be meals in themselves, but this is not one of them. However, splitting the pepper appetizer and a 12″ pizza with a friend or a date would be just about right.

Friday night I was in City Market to see what was in their refrigerated case. Afterward I started digging through their selection of international snacks. Owner Hamida saw me and came over and handed me a bag of masala peanuts. “These are on me,” she said. “I think you’ll like them.” She was right. I grab a bag of hot peanuts at the convenience store on the way to work all the time, and these are even better. They’re spicy hot but not salty. A good snack to munch on throughout the day.

Since I had the day off Friday, I got to the Flying Saucer about 3 PM. I decided to work on some beers for my next plate, and I decided to knock out a Green Flash beer or two while they had 8 of them on tap. I went to the computer to print out tickets and discovered there was a Green Flash flight. A flight is a way to try a number of different beers for an affordable price, with five 5 oz. servings. The beers on the Green Flash flight were the Trippel, the Double Stout, the Imperial IPA, the IPA, and the Hop Head Red. If you like hoppy beers, you will enjoy this flight. It was $10, which was a good value considering the rather high alcohol content of the beers.

By the way, there’s a news story out that America’s craft brewery count has surpassed a level last seen in 1887. Congrats to great breweries like Green Flash on making that happen.

Earlier in the day Friday, I stopped in the Majestic Grille for lunch. Most every Friday they have a seafood flatbread as their flatbread special. Shrimp, scallops, salmon, red onions, spinach, garlic olive oil, and mozzarella topped this delicious flatbread. This masterpiece of cheesy goodness was exactly the base I needed before going over to the Saucer to drink Green Flash beers. If you’re Downtown on a Friday, this would be one of my top lunch recommendations. Follow the restaurant at @MajesticGrille on Twitter to keep up with their other specials.

I’m not the only one who thinks a lot of this flatbread. I posted a pic of my lunch to Facebook and my food panhandler commented, “that one is my fav.” A few hours later, she texted me and said I didn’t pick up on the hint that she wanted me to buy her a seafood flatbread. Geez.

So, today the Peabody had a job fair, to fill 30 vacant housekeeping positions. They tweeted this photo about 10 AM of approximately 1000 (!!!!!) people in line to apply! Wow it is tough to find full-time work in this economy. I’m grateful I have a stable job, even if I do have to drive to Horn Lake every day.

The long-vacant building at 387 S. Main will not be vacant much longer. A $200K loan has been approved to turn the building into the Downtown Athletic Club and Atmosphere Eurocafe. The MBJ has more details about these new businesses, which could open as soon as January.

Tonight is Elvis glass night tonight at the Flying Saucer. Their glass designs are hit-or-miss (the Col. Parker design last year was a real miss), but this appears to be a pretty good one. These glasses go on sale at 7 and will run out pretty fast. Best advice is to be there before 7, and tell your bartender or server you want to order one as soon as it’s time.

It’s also candlelight vigil night out at Graceland. Most definitely worth seeing at least one time in your life. If you go out there, be respectful – these people take their Elvis seriously.

I hate reporting bad news about Downtown, but there was a stabbing at the Renaissance Apartments last night. This is not a reason to be alarmed about Downtown being unsafe. I have been in that building, I know several people who live there, and it is a very safe place to live and to visit. There’s security on duty, and card access is required to enter the building. This seems to be a random case of domestic violence, which can happen anywhere in the city. The Renaissance is one of the more affordable apartment buildings in the Downtown core, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to move here.

Time for a nasty but quick Taco Bell lunch, then back to work for a fun-filled afternoon of clip art. I’ll be out about 6 tonight.

Tue update: Cayley’s Sports Bar, reasons to go to Best Memphis Burger Fest, Jim Gaffigan at Orpheum, Americans need more vacation time, Peabody job fair

The regulars at Max’s Sports Bar did some redecorating recently. Max left the country to marry his fiancee Cayley. When they returned, Max found that his sports bar had been turned into “Cayley’s Sports Bar,” a wine and spa bar. There were pink menus with items like watercress sandwiches. Lovely pink decorations and ferns were everywhere. The TVs were tuned to Lifetime and the O Network. The beer taps were changed out and new selections included Cayley’s Blue Ribbon and Max’s Last Damn Beer. There was even a Foursquare checkin for Cayley’s Sports Bar. Robo has the recap with lots of photos here. Robo is a much better writer than he is a singer.

Don’t worry, the pink stuff is gone, the school lunchroom pizza is back, and the TVs are on ESPN. Next month the bar will start opening early for college and NFL football season, and let me tell you, they’ve made some excellent hires for the day bar staff.

Seth posted top reasons to come to the Best Memphis Burger Fest at Minglewood Hall on Sunday, September 30. Everyone pay special attention to reason number 3. Also, let me point out that the normal high for Memphis on September 30 is 80 degrees, still easily warm enough to wear a tube top to the burger fest.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan brings “The America Tour” to the Orpheum tonight at 7. Gaffigan has had many successful appearances on Conan and Letterman, and he has sold a comedy series to NBC that he will star in and write. Details on tonight’s show and ticket info here. The America Tour is sponsored by Comedy Central.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy, said that Americans deserve more time off, as quoted in this MBJ article. I completely agree with this. The average of two weeks off is absurd, as Reich himself says. It’s even more absurd that many companies don’t even grant that, expecting new employees to work for an entire year before they get even one week vacation. Three weeks ought to be the absolute minimum.

Need a job? The Peabody will host a job fair tomorrow to fill 30 housekeeping positions. Open positions include room attendants, public space attendants, house persons and housekeeping supervisors. Benefits, parking, meals and uniforms are included in the employment package. Details here.

Our Downtown group is fortunate to have a cast of “guest stars” who don’t live in Memphis anymore but make visits now and then. Our friend Air Traffic Mike should be here next month. Now and then our buddy Lee stops in town to hang out. BBQ teammate Kao from Monclova, Mexico just wrapped up an 8-day visit here. Pete from Jersey is in town right now; he lost two games of pool to me Sunday. And then last night, our friend Duck Finkley returned to town, fresh off 3 months on a boat on the Mississippi River. Good hanging out with Duck at the Goose, and also the “mayor” Clay. Later in the evening we went over to the Blind Bear. I’m really starting to like the Bear’s BLT.

Nothing like remembering I have a 1:00 meeting at 12:25, when I haven’t been to lunch yet. I guess a Frosty from Wendy’s will be all the food I’ll get until after work. I’ll be out about 6, either at Aldo’s Pizza Pies or the Saucer probably.

Beale Street tip

Saturday night was the Stumbling Elvis pub crawl. About 9:45 we wandered south on Second from the Peabody Hotel to Beale Street. Because one of our bars, Silky’s, was within the entertainment district, we had to go through the security line. Each person who comes on Beale after 9:00 has to show ID and be wanded for weapons.

We groaned as we saw lines of about 30-40 people deep at both entrances at Second and Beale. It would take us at least 15 minutes to get onto the street. However, one of the pub crawl’s leaders knew a secret. We continued south on Second past Beale, and cut through the alley behind BB King’s. We came out of the alley at the Third Street entrance to the entertainment district. There was NO LINE AT ALL and security was able to ID and wand us in very little time. Entering the district from the south side of Third is the way to go on busy Friday and Saturday nights.

One important note: Unless you’re with a large group, don’t take the alley as a shortcut like we did. Go another half-block south to Lt. George Lee Ave. and use it to cut over to Third instead. Much safer.

Is your website mobile tourist-friendly? Plus Monday news

Elvis Week has arrived, and I spent a significant amount of time this past weekend helping tourists find where to eat, shop and explore Downtown. As I did I realized something: People are no longer using paper maps. They’re using the map feature on their phone to get around. They’re also using their phone’s web browser to plan their day.

What I saw leads me to ask the following questions:

Venues that book live music: Could someone with no prior knowledge of your business or website pull up Google on their iPhone or Android phone, type in your business name, and “drill down” to what band is playing tonight in less than a minute?

Restaurants: Could someone with no prior knowledge of your business or website pull up Google on their iPhone or Android phone, type in your business name, and “drill down” to your menu and hours of operation in less than a minute? If there are multiple menus (lunch, dinner, brunch, dessert, wines, etc.), could they find the one in use right now in under a minute?

If the answer to whichever question above applies is “no,” then you might want to consider a redesign to make your website more mobile-friendly. I know that a lot of businesses simply never thought about mobile users the last time they redesigned their site 2, 3, 4 years ago. From what I saw this weekend, though, businesses whose key information is easily found on a phone enjoy a significant advantage getting foot traffic through their door. You could be leaving tourist dollars on the table if your site hasn’t kept up with the times.

In the news: Aldo’s Pizza Pies is open for lunch, starting today. I hear the place is crowded, not surprising for the first day. Going early (11ish) or late (closer to 2) might help you find a seat more quickly this week.

Once again, my hopes for Romania as the Memphis in May honored country have been dashed. For 2013 it will be Sweden. Not a bad choice.

Election statistical analysis blog FiveThirtyEight says that Mitt Romney’s VIP selection Paul Ryan is the most conservative VP candidate since 1900, on an ideological scale.

Today is turning out to be a good first day back to work, after my 5-day weekend. I’ll be at Pint Nite at the Saucer about 6. Possibly poker at Goose for the 7:30 or the 10:00 game.

Sat update: Bardog 5K and party, tube top news, veggie burger special @ Green Beetle, Metta World Peace gets his salad tossed, Lansky news

Trying something new this afternoon… I’m typing this post from my iPad while sitting at the bar at Bardog drinking a PBR. Since I’m here, I might as well start with news about the Bardog 5K and 4th birthday party, which will happen 8 days from today on Sunday, August 19.

The 5K will happen at 9 AM that morning. Registration and race info can be found here. $30 if you pre-register, $35 day-of.

At 12:30 the party starts. There will be live music by the Bluff City Backsliders and Star & Micey. The dunk tank will be back to raise money for St. Jude, and they will raise even more money by raffling off a sweet Fat Tire bike…

Hey, wait! I’m at Bardog! And the bike is here! And the iPad has a hi-res camera! Let’s give this a try.


I’d take a pic of Panda Manda too but she doesn’t have a tube top on. FAIL

Anyway, lots of other prizes besides the bike will be up for grabs too. The party will be in the alley next to Bardog (Scratchy’s Alley). Kids are welcome in the alley, but they can’t come in the bar because it allows smoking and is therefore 21 and up. There will be plenty of beer and sliders.

In other news, former 90210 star Jennie Garth has been rocking a tube top. Good for her. She recently starred in an Old Navy commercial with Dylan and Brandon.

If you’re a vegetarian, might want to hit the Green Beetle today. They have a black bean and chipotle burger special that sounds really good. Sweet potato fries on the side.

Metta World Peace just tweeted, “I just got my salad tossed with extra jalapeƱos and raisins.” Whatever floats your boat, Ron.

Lansky at the Peabody was Elvis’ clothier for many years. In honor of Elvis Week, they have decorated the store with vintage Speedway Jackets, Jailhouse Rock Sweaters, and sport coats that were worn by the King himself. They invite the public to come by and see the history and heritage of Lansky at its fullest this week. The clothier is in the Peabody Hotel at Third and Union.

That’s all for now. Hope to see you at the Flying Saucer at 7 for the Stumbling Elvis pub crawl. Don’t forget your cash or canned good donation to the Food Bank!

Friday update

Way too much going on for me to even try to summarize everything in the title. This is the second post today, so if you’re just now pulling up the blog, make sure to scroll down to the previous post for info on the Stumbling Elvis pub crawl. Interest in tomorrow night’s crawl has picked up considerably in the past 24 hours and I now believe it’s going to be a bigger deal than I expected.

Congratulations to local event and meeting management company Destination King, which recently merged with Chattanooga’s Quidddity Entertainment to form LEO Entertainment. I’ve been a big fan of Destination King for years – they make sure your guests are well taken care of not only when conducting business, but after-hours as well. I got to go to one of their events at BB King’s a few years ago as a “friend of a friend” and thought, “You know, if I came here from out of town and got treated like this, I’d be mightily impressed with Memphis and the company that brought me here.” LEO can plan meetings and events whether you’re hosting 100 people, or 100,000. They’ll be headquartered in Memphis, with branch offices in Chattanooga and Myrtle Beach, SC. Read the press release here.

Speaking of meetings and events, the Greater Memphis Chamber has an open position of Meetings & Events Manager. Details here.

On Friday, August 24, there will be a complimentary yoga class on the rooftop of the Peabody from 7 to 8 PM. Participants at all levels are welcome and will move and groove to the blues. Class will wrap up right as the sun sets. It’s presented by lulumon athletica Regalia. Thanks to PhraseFly Media for making me aware of this event.

Elliott’s Restaurant on Second Street has announced they will celebrate Elvis Week next week by bringing back their Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love, a banana cream pie with peanut butter nuggets. They’ll also have peanut butter, banana, honey, and granola sandwiches. “Like” Elliott’s on Facebook for more info.

The Last Chance Elvis Tribute Artist Contest is tonight at Hard Rock Cafe. Performers will compete to win the last spot in the semifinals of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. $5 to get in. Details here.

The 1939 classic movie Gone with the Wind plays at the Orpheum tonight at 7:15. $7 adults, $5 kids under 12. More details here.

Shawn Crowson and the Voiceless Thunder play the Brass Door tonight at 9 PM. Joe Guyton will perform as well.

Jason James “Back to Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour” will perform tonight 9-1 at Double J Smokehouse and Saloon.

The theme at Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow is Flower Power and kids can make their own flower crown in an activity from 9:00 to 10:30 AM. There will be music by Sean Sonego 8-10 AM and Star & Micey 11 AM-1 PM. Chef Michael Patrick of Rizzo’s Diner will do a cooking demo at 10:15 AM. Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up for free food as the demo ends.

Speaking of Rizzo’s Diner, there will be a Farm to Fork dinner there Monday, August 13. Starts at 6 PM. 901-523-2033 for reservations.

There will be a raw food vegan cooking class tomorrow at 2:30 at Mud Island River Park. $20 includes all materials, recipes, and admission to the Mississippi River Museum. Details here.

Want to help make Memphis a cleaner, greener city? Download a copy of A Citizen’s Guide to a Cleaner Memphis. It’s a publication of Memphis City Beautiful.

CBS Sports polled college coaches on who is perceived as the biggest cheater in NCAA basketball. Guess who won.

The police have begun tearing down Occupy Memphis after it turned into what was basically a homeless camp. There were numerous complaints of public urination and defecation. The city has provided Occupy with a temporary place to store belongings, and those who were camped out have been referred to the Community Alliance for the Homeless.

The American Queen riverboat has been grounded in Memphis because river levels are too low to continue on to Vicksburg. River levels are causing problems for commercial traffic too. Hope my buddy Duck Finkley is safe out on the river, wherever he is. Of course, with a nickname like Duck, he’s surely skilled at adapting to changing water conditions.

Whew… I’ve been blogging for 3 hours straight. Time to clean the dust off my 1970s silver moonshoes in preparation for tomorrow. A little shopping on Beale Street to see if I want to make any additions to my Elvis costume, then lunch, then beer. Or maybe beer, then lunch, then more beer.


6th plate party, and dinner at Bardog. Plus: Stumbling Elvis gathering steam, and a few things to know if you’re doing the pub crawl

One of the events I planned for my vacation week was my 6th plate party, which happened last night at the Flying Saucer. When you join the bar’s UFO Club and drink 200 different beers, they commemorate your achievement with a plate on the wall and a $100 bar tab to have a party for your friends. If you complete more plates, the amount of the bar tab goes up. This was my sixth plate, so I was given a $150 bar tab.

What a great group of people came to the party! I had some people from the old Rapscallions trivia team there… my friends Beth and Kelly who I know from the Blind Bear… my friends Bob and Mike who are regulars at the Saucer… my poker buddy Dennis and his wife Karen who are South Mainers… my BBQ teammate Kao from Mexico. The lovely Christina, my usual Sunday bartender, picked up a shift to work the plate party.

My plate is top row center above the area that used to be the stage. Almost all the time that’s a prime spot… but not during the Olympics. The big screen was pulled down, covering the plate. We pulled the screen up for a few minutes for the unveiling. Fortunately the Garden was not crowded and the people who were there were good sports about it.

For my slogan on this plate, I decided to commemorate the fact that I am the “mayor” of the Saucer on Foursquare. You become mayor of a venue by checking in there more than anyone else over a two-month period. I have been mayor of the Saucer for all but about a week since the bar became a Foursquare venue in late 2009.

Based on discussion I heard at the party and saw on Twitter around the same time, it appears that Saturday night’s Stumblin’ Elvis pub crawl is going to be bigger than I thought. People seem to be converting from “undecided” to “yes I’m doing it.” People I never thought would want to do the pub crawl have said they’re in. My favorite blogger/MILF tweeted that she paid a ridiculous amount to get a slutty Elvis costume shipped to her in one day. I hear a couple of Beer Goddesses who are off duty that night plan to go Blue Hawaii style and show up in bikini tops. Imagine how much buzz this would have been generated if the organizers had thought to promote it more than 5 days in advance of the event!

The reason Stumbling E got so popular all of the sudden? I think it’s that this is the best bar lineup they’ve ever had. Adding the Blind Bear was a solid move. Lots of people love the Bear and are delighted to have a reason to go there. Purple Haze was another good addition. It’s a large dance club that’s perfect for theme pub crawl activities. Plus it makes the crawl more female-friendly, as I’ve heard a lot of women say they love to go dance there. Also, I’m not going to name any names, but the deletion of venues in the “bars that suck” category helps too. The official lineup is Saucer at 7:00 (bring donation for Mid-South Food Bank), then Bluefin, Blind Bear, Silky’s, Purple Haze, back to Saucer.

I had a question asked on Twitter: “I don’t have time to get a costume. Can I still come if I make a large donation to the Food Bank?” Believe me, they aren’t going to be turning down donations, so yes, that’s fine. It would help if you could do something – maybe run down to Blues City General Store and buy a pair of Elvis glasses with fake sideburns to wear. Also, if you’re not fully dressed up in Elvis gear, it would help if you could let those who are dressed up take center stage in photos. The first year we did Stumbling E we had a guy who didn’t dress up at all, didn’t donate to the Food Bank, yet he came along, took advantage of the drink specials, bounced around like a damn ping pong ball all night, and got in almost every picture. Just don’t be “that guy” and you’ll be fine.

A few things to know if you’re doing the Stumbling Elvis pub crawl:

1) Bring cash. That makes it easy to pay and go. Imagine bartenders trying to run the credit cards of 75 Elvii at the same time.

2) You’re going to have a lot of people want to take pictures of you. I remember when I got to the 2010 pub crawl, it took me 15 minutes to get from the front door of the Saucer to the bar to get a beer. Everyone wanted a pic. Remember, a lot of tourists are in town for Elvis Week. You are the spectacle, so enjoy it.

3) One of the venues, Silky’s, is in the Beale Street entertainment district. That means there will be delays as security checks IDs (be sure to bring yours) and wands everyone for weapons. They can’t just let all the Elvii go through. This may seem like a nuisance but it’s actually a Good Thing because it keeps you and everyone else on the street safe.

4) All kinds of weird and unusual things can happen on the pub crawl. Last year we got filmed for a TV commercial that appeared in the Netherlands.

So, anyway, back to the plate party… it was a lot of fun and it took us about an hour and a half to drain the $150 bar tab. Party was just about perfect, except for the fact that the fashion police would have written a ticket if they had been there. Charlie Sheen “Winning” T-shirt? 2011 called, it wants its shirt back. A tube top would have been better.

I asked for an empty glass to put money in, so people could tip Christina. She ended up getting a 77% tip. That’s how we Downtowners roll. We take care of the people who take good care of us.

If we wanted to keep the party going, I had additional tricks up my sleeve:

I had two $50 gift certificates in my pocket: One from the Silly Goose, which I won at poker back in January; and one from the Blind Bear, which I won at trivia. The trivia certificate was won prior to the formation of my current team, so I own it outright. As it turned out, neither certificate got used. The group dispersed after the plate party. Some called it an early night. Some went to South Main. Some went to the Goose, and some went to Bardog. I told the people who went to Bardog that I’d meet them once I finished watching whatever Olympic event was on TV. Anyway, both certificates survived the night and will be cashed at a future date, possibly as a continuation of my 7th plate party.

I got to Bardog later and found that my friends had already gone. They’re both Melissa fans, and she had the night off. I’m a Melissa fan too, but I’m also a fan of her substitute last night – none other than happy hour and Saturday dayshift bartender “Panda” Manda. So I grabbed a bar stool and ordered a PBR.

I looked at the specials on the board and this caught my eye:

I had seen this on Bardog’s Facebook page earlier in the day, and they had commented, “You’ll never think about meatloaf the same way again.” Of course, every restaurant hypes their specials. However, I hadn’t eaten in about six hours. Knowing Bardog’s food to be well above average in general, I decided to take a chance. This is what came out:

This may be the best thing I have ever eaten at Bardog, and that is high praise indeed. The meatloaf had lots of onions and peppers inside, and the marinara gave it more of a zing than the usual tomato sauce. This wasn’t mentioned on the menu board, but the meatloaf was also topped with Italian bacon and parmesan cheese. Garlic mashed potatoes were a perfect complement. This is a special so it’s not on the regular menu, so my advice is “Like” Bardog on Facebook to monitor its specials, and if the meatloaf shows up again, GO THERE IMMEDIATELY. You will not be disappointed.

Another outstanding night in Downtown Memphis. Thanks to those of you who came to my plate party, and get ready for another one in two or three months. I’ll do a Friday news roundup in a little bit.

Thur update: Willie Moore’s/good blog, restaurants that post daily specials, Elvis a la Mode, big Redbirds game tomorrow night, Robert Plant/Sunflower Blues Festival and more

Yesterday I was sitting around the apartment, trying to figure out how to take maximum advantage of a rare Downtown lunch hour. “Where have I not been? What’s a new place to try?” Then I thought, “What about that new restaurant that’s in the space that used to be Leonard’s BBQ?” I knew it was called Willie Moore’s, and that it was a continuation of a famous South Memphis restaurant, but I didn’t know much about it beyond that. Google led me to the Memphis Que blog post on Willie Moore’s.

Memphis Que is written by a former student of mine, Craig, who does a really excellent job uncovering BBQ and soul food joints in the Memphis area that may have flown under the radar. From Craig’s post I learned that Willie Moore’s had been a famous soul food joint on Third south of Crump for years, and when it burned down Mr. Moore relocated to the Main Street Mall. Craig posted a pic of the neckbones he had, and they looked delicious. He said the serving portions are huge. I’d never thought of trying neckbones before – in fact, until yesterday I thought “neckbones” meant chicken rather than pork. After reading Craig’s post, however, my lunch plans were set. Neckbones at Willie Moore’s…

… but it was not to be. I hate long lines, so I never go to lunch right at noon when restaurants are busy. Seeing that Willie Moore’s is open until 5 on weekdays, I waited until 2 PM. I walked up there and what did I find? Super long lines. The Progressive National Baptist Convention is in town and they discovered Willie Moore’s before I did. So I decided to wait for another day to try neckbones for the first time. Willie Moore’s is open 11 to 4 Saturday, so this is a lunch-only spot I can try without burning a future vacation day.

(By the way, to the convention attendees: Welcome to Memphis. I hope you enjoy your stay here.)

I’d been checking Facebook and Twitter to see what restaurants were doing for specials, and I saw that the Brass Door’s Slider of the Day was a green chile slider. That sounded interesting, so I walked down to the Irish pub on Madison, running the gauntlet of bums in Court Square on the way. I ordered the sliders, and about 10 minutes later they came out, three of them, with a side of the best fries in Memphis.

The sliders came topped with green chiles and Swiss cheese. The bartender told me that they are very popular in New Mexico, and that food topped with green chiles is as common in that state as BBQ is here. They aren’t on the regular menu but I’ve seen them as a special several times, so watch Brass Door’s Facebook page to see when they’re on the menu.

Here’s a good list of Facebook and Twitter feeds to follow to learn about daily specials Downtown:

All of these restaurants are very consistent about posting daily specials. I linked to the social medium on which each restaurant is most active. “Like” them or follow them to get specials in your news feed.

There’s a special event called “Elvis a la Mode” at the Center for Southern Folklore tonight from 6-9 PM. Artist Betty Harper will display 50 years of art she has created in honor of The King. Rockabilly player Smoochy Smith will be on hand to provide live music. Maggie Moo’s will serve up flavors of ice cream designed specially for this event, including peanut butter and banana. Your purchases of ice cream at the event will go toward support of the Center’s Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, September 1-2.

The Peabody’s second-to-last rooftop party of the season is tonight. Gary Escoe & The Atomic Dance Machine will perform. 6-11 PM, $10 cover includes your first drink, ladies free before 7.

The King Beez will play Sunset Atop the Madison tonight. 7-11 PM, $7 cover, cash bar and small plates available.

The Redbirds will be back in town tomorrow night, and Friday’s game will be a big one. It will be Elvis Night, with Brad Birkedahl performing before the game and Ted Torres after the game. The first 5000 fans will receive an Elvis bobblehead, and there will be Elvis music and video throughout the game. Also, the Budweiser Clydesdales will make an appearance. That is a pretty stacked night of entertainment.

The Sunflower Blues Festival happens this weekend in Clarksdale. Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will headline the event, Saturday at 10 PM. The Memphis Flyer has details. Note to one of my readers: THIS is what a valid reason for a Downtown Memphian to spend weekend time in Mississippi looks like.

I just wasted 30 minutes of my life watching rhythmic gymnastics. You know it’s a bullshit sport when they call it gymnastics and there are no Romanians.

There will be samplings of Jimmy’s Crazy Good Sauces and Spices today at City Market during lunchtime. I wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will be there… hang on, let me check.

Time to hit Publish and figure out a plan for lunch. Possibly another post later today.

Wed update: Best Memphis Burger Fest looking for teams, Aldo’s, Romanian gymnasts, Chisca, Wed evening events

Best Memphis Burger Fest is looking for a few more teams. The burger-cooking competition will be at Minglewood Hall Sunday, September 30, and will benefit Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services. Anyone can enter, whether you’re a full-service restaurant or a guy with a grill who knows how to make a great burger. However, if you plan on entering, you need to do it now, before the spots run out. Go here to learn how to enter – if you click on the headline “Enter the Burger Cooking Competition,” you can download/print a PDF of the cook’s packet.

If you’ve been hanging out at the bar at Aldo’s Pizza Pies, you’ll be pleased to know that they have one of their huge bar TVs hooked up now. Last night they had the Olympics on, and there were ROMANIAN GYMNASTS!!!!! I watched Catalina Ponor win a silver medal for looking really hot and jumping around and flipping. After she retires from gymnastics, Catalina plans to move to America and marry me.

The City Council voted 9-2 yesterday on the third reading to approve $2 million in funding to renovate the vacant Chisca Hotel at Main and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Very happy to see that this historic building is en route to being saved.

Wednesday night stuff going on: Yazoo glass night at the Flying Saucer, 7:00 (see a pic); bingo with Diamond Dave at the Brass Door, 7:30; poker with Poker Jon in Bardog’s Underdog Room, 7:30; trivia with Charles at the Blind Bear, 8:00; discounted wine and pizza night at Pa Pa Pia’s; wine Wednesday at Itta Bena and Silly Goose as well. I’ve been having fun with the trivia team so I’m leaning toward doing that tonight, although I really do need to go visit Diamond Dave one of these Wednesdays.

Plans for today: Go to Walgreens and buy some Woolite to hand-wash my Elvis costume. I didn’t wash it after the pub crawl last year, figuring it was surely my last year doing it – but I threw it in the closet, just in case. After that I’ll take a look at all the Downtown restaurants that post their specials to Facebook and Twitter, and figure out where to eat lunch. Fuel Food Truck just landed in Court Square… maybe I’ll go get some tacos and watch a few minutes of the bum-and-pigeon show in the park. My friends want me to go “value drinking” with them at Downtown Hooters this afternoon, but I’m not a particularly big fan of that idea. One thing’s for sure, I’ll make it to the Saucer well before my usual check-in time of 6 PM.

Check back… very possible there will be one or more posts to come today.