Nothing like spending Thanksgiving with friends. Today I biked over to Mud Island and met about 9 friends for Thanksgiving dinner.

My friend Bicycle Bobby fried a turkey. We also had ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, broccoli casserole, biscuits, salad, asparagus, and about 5 or 6 other dishes I’m forgetting. This was my plate:

It must have taken me 45 minutes to get through it. All of it delicious, but I think the mashed potatoes were the overall winner. I caught a lucky break and caught a ride back to the Downtown core with my bike in the back of a friend’s truck, so I didn’t have to deal with crossing the steep A.W. Willis Ave. bridge on a full stomach. Normally I get tired of seeing “I’m thankful for _____” posts all over Facebook and Twitter around the holiday, but I truly am thankful to have such a great group of friends.

Another good thing about Thanksgiving is that I get to see out-of-towners who rarely visit Memphis.

The image above was taken last night at the Blind Bear. A suburbanite (on the left) who currently lives in Mississippi traveled to Memphis for Thanksgiving with her bestie Beth (on the right) and her dad (not pictured). You never know who you’re going to see at the Bear.

As for why I didn’t go home to Little Rock, I’m technically on call right now. My company, which sanctions the card game bridge, is having one of its three national yearly tournaments in San Francisco right now (you may remember the spring tournament being here in March). That doesn’t mean I can’t go out at all – in fact I plan on hitting the Flying Saucer at 5 – but I need to take it a little easy in case I run home to the computer, so no shots tonight. If I don’t hear from the people in San Fran by 9 or 10 PM things are probably good.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving, and maybe I’ll see you out tonight.

Wed update: Curry @ Brass Door, FreeWorld @ Flying Saucer Saturday, new food blog, Eddie Vedder @ Orpheum, Miracle on 34th Street, turkey cooking tip, get rid of viruses

Last night after work I stopped by the Brass Door for their new Tuesday curry night. Every Tuesday they have bowls of curry for $8 after 5 PM, homemade by Diamond Dave.

They offer two options every week, one with meat and a vegetarian curry. I got the rogan josh, a red curry with Diamond Dave made with chicken over rice. Spicy enough to make my nose run, just the way I like it.

Dave gave me a sample of the vegetarian curry, a Bombay aloo which was a yellow curry made with potatoes. It was good too, although being a meat eater I preferred the rogan josh.

Afterward I walked down to the Flying Saucer, where I discovered that live music will make its return Saturday night. FreeWorld will take the stage at 9:30 and there will be no cover.

If you like food blogs, I discovered a good one last weekend. The Monday Lunch Club is written by some Downtowners who live down on the south end. Every Monday they meet for lunch. It’s a fairly new blog but they’ve already hit Uncle Lou’s, Gus’s, and some places in New Orleans. Fun and well written.

Eddie Vedder plays the Orpheum tonight. Tickets are $77.50.

The Majestic Grille will show Miracle on 34th Street on the big screen Sunday night at 7 PM. Reservations are highly recommended; call 901-522-8555 for reservations.

Couple of Lifehacker articles I saw today that seemed worth sharing:

Office closes at 3 today, so I’ll be at the Saucer at 4 for happy hour. It’s their Turkey of the Year glass night at 7. Not sure if I’ll be playing trivia at Blind Bear tonight (or if they’re even having it) but regardless, I’ll be in there at some point later in the evening.

Tue update: Double J limo, Reindeer Games, curry @ Brass Door, Peabody tree lighting, Thanksgiving openings, beer ordinance, get weather app for free

Above: The Double J limo. For Grizzlies and Tigers basketball games, you can pre-game at Double J Smokehouse and Saloon, and they will give you a ride to the FedExForum and back to the J after the game. The saloon is located on G.E. Patterson Avenue at Mulberry.

There’s going to be a new festival in Court Square on Saturday, December 15. It’s called “Reindeer Games” and this is the description copied from the Facebook event listing: “Come help the Idlewild Elementary School’s 5th graders go to Washington D.C. There will be live music, Talent Contest, Art Contest, Yummy food from Downtown Restaurants, Family Fun Race, Cornhole Tournament, Pictures with Santa, Reindeer Games t-shirt sales, Pub Crawl starts at end of festival and more to come. Information will be posted soon so save the Date!!” Pub crawl starts at end of festival? I like the sound of that! The only problem with outdoor winter festivals is that I can’t encourage my readers to wear tube tops.

Tonight is “TCB,” Tuesday Curry and Beers, at the Brass Door. This week they will have a choice of Rogan Josh or vegetarian Bombay Aloo curries for $8 at 5 PM. Seamus and Diamond Dave at the bar, and they will be showing Once on the TV to celebrate Glen Hansard playing the Orpheum on Wednesday. My stomach is really messed up (happens when you take a vacation day and start Pint Nite at 11 AM) but if I get to feeling better after work, I will give this a try.

The Peabody’s tree lighting ceremony is Friday from 11 AM to 7:30 PM. Local choirs will perform, with special appearances by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Memphis, Paul McKinney Quintet, and Children’s Ballet Theater. Santa will be there and his elves will pass out holiday candy.

Kerry has a running list of what will be open on Thanksgiving. Many of Downtown’s bars – Saucer, South of Beale, Bardog, Blind Bear – will be open during the evening hours.

The City Council votes on a final draft that would allow beer tastings in grocery stores today. If you have a minute, email your local councilperson in support of this ordinance. We need to get our beer laws in line with Tennessee’s other big cities. is giving away its iPhone app for a limited time. Search for it in the App Store.

That’ll do it for now. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, but like I said, when Pint Nite starts at 11 it’s hard to get much productive stuff done.

Cab rant

I just remembered, I wanted to rant about the cab ride to Midtown last night. Three of us pre-gamed at the Silly Goose for a drink, then walked down to Beale where cabs were lined up. We got in a Yellow Cab, one of the ones with the 577-7777 number.

Yellow Cab has a new dispatch system that uses Samsung tablets with GPS on them. The cabbies brag about how it’s the most sophisticated system in America. Unfortunately, all the technology in the world does not make up for a lack of training.

The driver asked where we were going, and we said, “Young Avenue Deli.” He looked like he didn’t know where that was, so we added, “Corner of Cooper and Young.”

He still had no idea where we were going. “Can you give me an address?” he asked. I knew that Cooper intersects Young in the 2100 block, so I said “2159 Young.” That was off by a little but not much, and he was able to punch it into his GPS and get a route out there.

Seriously, do they not give cab drivers even the most basic training, beyond how to use the GPS device? If I owned a cab company, I would expect my drivers to know how to get to at least the following at a minimum:

  • Areas with popular nightspots: Beale Street, South Main, Cooper-Young, Overton Square, Broad Avenue Arts District, Highland Strip
  • Major sports venues: FedExForum, AutoZone Park, Liberty Bowl
  • Major theaters: Orpheum, Playhouse on the Square, Theatre Memphis
  • Malls: Oak Court, Wolfchase
  • Popular tourist spots: Rendezvous, Graceland, Civil Rights Museum, Peabody Hotel
  • Transportation: The airport, the train station, the bus station
  • Hospitals: Baptist, Methodist, The MED, St. Jude, LeBonheur

I would also expect them to be able to recite the major streets from memory. Heck, I’ll do it. From north to south: Frayser Boulevard, James, 240, Chelsea, Jackson, North Parkway/Summer, Poplar, Madison, Union/Walnut Grove, Peabody, Central, Southern, South Parkway, Person, Mallory/Norris/Ball/Ketchum, 240, Brooks, Mitchell/Winchester, Raines, Shelby Drive, Holmes. From west to east: Riverside, Front, Main, Second, Third, Danny Thomas, Manassas, Pauline, 240, Bellevue, Cleveland, Belvedere, McLean, Cooper, East Parkway, Hollywood, Highland, Perkins, Mendenhall/Mt. Moriah, White Station, 240, Ridgeway, Kirby Parkway, Germantown Parkway.

And yeah, it’s easy for me because I’ve been a Memphian for many years. But tell me a person of average intelligence could not spend one day studying a map and be able to pass a test on this stuff.

Furthermore, after a year on the job I’d require my drivers to pass another test, with questions like the following, no help from a GPS allowed.

  • Take me to Alchemy.
  • Take me to the Downtown Gus’s.
  • Take me to the nearest Huey’s.
  • If Music Fest were happening right now, take me there.
  • Take me to the city motor vehicle impound lot.
  • Take me to Overton Park.
  • … and probably 15 similar questions.

A driver with a year’s experience ought to know most questions of this type, without consulting a GPS, if they’ve been paying attention.

Oh, I have another question. Our driver last night had that fancy-schmancy Samsung tablet. Why, then, should we have to tell him the address to Young Avenue Deli? Why couldn’t he start a Yellow Pages app and LOOK UP THE ADDRESS?????

Okay, rant over. Until Yellow Cab gets its act together better with these tablets, I’m going to be calling Arrow (323-3333) when I need a cab. Alternately, I’ll use the Taxi Magic app on my iPhone (and guess which is the one cab company whose dispatch system doesn’t work with Taxi Magic? Here’s a hint: They use fancy Samsung tablets.)

Sat update: Memphis Beer Week, Turkey Fun Run, Google Maps to return to iOS

Congratulations are in order! I hear that one of the Flying Saucer’s UFO Club members has consumed 200 different beers to get another plate on the wall. Above is my suggestion for a motto to go on his plate. (Click the image to view file “poorlifedecision.jpg” in a larger size)

What a fantastic Midtown pub crawl last night. The plan was to hit 10-12 bars in the area. I didn’t say anything, but I knew that plan was a bit ambitious. In fact, we made it to Young Avenue Deli, Celtic Crossing, Slider Inn, Local on the Square, Dublin House, and Blue Monkey – only six bars but six very good bars. Now I understand why there’s so much buzz about Local on the Square – what a great bar, especially the upstairs.

We went all the way to the end, closing down the Midtown Blue Monkey at 3. It’s probably a good thing that none of us remembered that Alex’s was still open.

While we were pub-crawling, the Memphis Grizzlies ended the New York Knicks’ undefeated streak. That gives the Grizzlies the best record in the NBA at .875. Still more than 70 games left but I’d rather start 7-1 than 1-7.

Now, this is my kind of celebration: The first-ever Memphis Beer Week will be April 21-27, 2013. It will be a week of beer dinners, opportunities to meet brewers, rare keg tappings, vertical tastings, and more. The week will end on a high note on Saturday, April 27 with Memphis BrewFest at AutoZone Park. Since I like not only drinking beer but learning about it as well, this should be an exciting week. Follow @MemphisBeerWeek on Twitter for updates.

The first annual Turkey Fun Run happens Monday night at 7 PM, taking off at Bardog Tavern. Come dressed in Pilgrim/Thanksgiving attire and bring a frozen turkey to donate to the Mid-South Food Bank. Participants will run while carrying their turkeys. No advance registration is required, just bring a turkey. Running and costumes are both optional, but encouraged.

iOS6 users: Miss Google Maps? Don’t worry. Google Maps will soon make a triumphant return to iPhones and iPads, and the app will be better than ever.

Tigers vs. Samford at FedExForum tonight at 7. This is our last warm-up game before the Battle 4 Atlantis, which includes quality competition like Duke, VCU, and Louisville.

Plans for tonight: Midtown was fun but I’m all about Downtown for the rest of the weekend – and it’s a long weekend, because I took Monday off. Let’s just say that the mayor will be in the house tonight.

Midtown, I’m heading your way tonight. Plus: Friday news

Tonight after work I’ll be on my way to Midtown. The local Fireball Whisky brand ambassador is organizing a Midtown pub crawl this evening, and I have been invited to participate. We’ll hit about 10 bars in that area throughout the night. I’ve been asked not to publish the exact running order, but I’ll throw out a few hints. We’re looking at stops in Cooper-Young, Overton Square (and bars easily walkable from Overton Square), the area near the old Piggly Wiggly location, and Vollintine-Evergreen. There will be at least one bar that also has a Downtown location on the crawl, and at least one bar where my “DAWG” John D hangs out regularly.

So, how are you supposed to find out where we’ll be, if I’m not going to tell you? “Like” the FIREBALL WHISKY – Memphis page on Facebook and you’ll get updates throughout the evening on where we are. If you run into us, you might get bought a shot or come away with some Fireball swag.

If you read my blog and see me out on the crawl tonight, come say hello. I really enjoy meeting my readers. Apologies in advance if I seem a little hammered on the later stops on the crawl. Don’t worry, none of us who are participating will be driving.

Last night the Fireball ambassador came in the Flying Saucer where I was hanging out, to share the details of the crawl. He was totally prepared to buy everyone sitting at the bar a shot, but the Downtown Saucer doesn’t carry Fireball, which is just weird. They missed out on a tab of around $100. Even weirder is that we called the Cordova Saucer and they verified that they do carry the cinnamon-flavored whisky.

The Saucer may not carry Fireball, but they do carry a lot of beer. Tonight they will tap a rare beer, Stone 16th Anniversary Double IPA. There wasn’t a time listed, but these tappings usually occur around 7 PM.

The Memphis Grizzlies, now atop the Western Conference standings, host the New York Knicks at 8:30 tonight at the FedExForum. If you don’t attend the game, it will be televised on ESPN. If you’re attending the game and want to pre-game at the Double J Smokehouse and Saloon, they have a limo that can drop you off at the FedExForum.

Memphis has been named one of the Top 10 “Destinations on the Rise” by TripAdvisor. Very cool.

Screen-captured from Foursquare: Downtown’s most well-known food panhandler strikes again.

Hostess is liquidating its assets. No more Twinkies or Ding Dongs or Sno Balls. However, Mashable has eight Hostess recipes you can make at home.

Coming Soon to the Men’s Room: Games You Play with Your Pee. Oh my God. Between this, the demise of Twinkies, and Snooki becoming a mom, I really have to wonder if the Mayans’ prediction of the end of civilization in 2012 will come true. Bible scholars, is there anything in the book of Revelations about Twinkies or pee?

All right. Time to hit Publish, work a few more hours, and then the pub crawl begins. Hope to see some of you out in Midtown!

Thur update: Mr. Lansky passes away, Redbirds holiday packs, beer news

Bernard J. Lansky

One of Downtown’s icons has passed away. Bernard J. Lansky opened his first store at 126 Beale in 1946. Initially he sold Army surplus items, but in the 1950s he started carrying high-end men’s clothing. Future rock star Elvis Presley took a liking to what he saw in the store, and Mr. Lansky became “Clothier to the King.” He passed away this morning at his home at age 85. His legacy lives on in the excellent selection and service found in the Lansky clothing stores at the Peabody. Condolences to Mr. Lansky’s family and friends. There will be a public service at Baron Hirsch Synagogue, 400 South Yates Road, on Friday, November 16th at 11 a.m., with interment to follow at Baron Hirsch Cemetery.

Need a Christmas gift for a baseball fan? The Redbirds have two holiday packs. For $80, the Joy ticket package ($114 value) includes four dugout box vouchers for the 2013 season, one St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series replica ring, and an autographed item (call for details). For $45, The Cheer package ($55 value) contains four bluff ticket vouchers for the 2013 season, one youth Redbirds jersey (youth XL), one Redbirds SillyBandz, and 10 boardwalk tokens. Both packages include a $10 service charge for tax and shipping. Call (901) 722-0299 or go online at to purchase a package.

Also, don’t forget about the flip-the-switch party tomorrow at 5 PM at AutoZone Park’s Rockeyfeller Plaza!

Couple of beer news items: First of all, FuzzyBrew (@FuzzyBrew) has tweeted that Buster’s Liquors has a new website listing their 10,000 item inventory. Why is a liquor store’s website beer news? Well, any beer sold in Tennessee that is over 6% is technically considered liquor rather than beer. Some liquor stores, including Buster’s, carry a big selection of these high-ABV beers, often at prices of around half of what you’d pay for them at a bar.

The other beer news is that on Tuesday, the City Council will vote on the final reading of an ordinance to allow beer tastings in grocery stores. The ordinances here are more restrictive than in other large Tennessee cities. I definitely support relaxing the rules so that people can sample beer before they buy.

Cutting this post short to go eat. For once I’m excited about having lunch in DeSoto County, because The Boiling Point is having a Thanksgiving menu today. Turkey and dressing and all the trimmings! May do another post after work, so check back.

Wed update: Lightning Lunch @ Brass Door, food truck for sale, pasta pics, Prohibition parties, Food Bank needs turkeys, Grizz watch party

I was too excited about Blue Man Group at lunchtime to look around for any other news to post. Here’s your after-work news.

Another new event starts Monday at the Brass Door: Lightning Lunch. Every weekday, soup and a sandwich for $7. If they don’t have you in and out within 40 minutes, they’ll buy your lunch.

The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis food blog has a couple of posts of interest to Downtowners today. First of all, want to buy a food truck? The Revival food truck is for sale. $39,000 will buy you everything – the truck, the equipment, even the recipes. They’re having to sell because one of the owners was offered a regional corporate restaurant position that was too good to turn down.

Also, the Hungry Memphis folks tried Bleu’s build-your-own-pasta menu this week. They created some beautiful dishes that I’m sure were delicious too. Meanwhile, out in Horn Lake I had a Frosty from Wendy’s for lunch today. So there’s that.

December 5, 1933 was the day Prohibition was repealed. Two Downtown bars will celebrate the 79th anniversary of the repeal with parties that night: The Blind Bear and the Silly Goose. The two bars are right around the corner from each other, so there’s no reason why you can’t hit both.

The Mid-South Food Bank desperately needs turkeys. To make a cash donation to go toward turkeys, go here and select “Turkeys” from the “Designation:” item on the form.

The Grizzlies play the Thunder in OKC tonight at 7. Reminder: Aldo’s Pizza Pies is having a watch party. Two 65″ TVs at the bar, four 50″ TVs around the restaurant. Have a look at today’s Slice of the Day, with vodka sauce base, caramelized onions, sliced sausage, and green bell peppers.

Plans for tonight: After a few weeks apart due to Halloween and Downtown Dining Week, the trivia team will be back at the Blind Bear at 8:00. As usual, I’ll do a little pre-gaming for trivia at the Saucer first. Time for beer!

Blue Man Group

Last night I went to see Blue Man Group at the Orpheum. (Disclosure: They comped me media passes, so I saw it for free. Nevertheless, I truly mean every word of what I am about to type.)

Here’s my verdict: If in your entire life, you only take one recommendation I make on this blog, make it this one: GO SEE THIS SHOW. It blew my mind. I had been wanting to see Blue Man Group live for over a decade and had very high expectations. The show not only met those expectations but exceeded them.

Furthermore, this show is absolutely worth paying a premium for the best seats. If you can get in the first 12-14 rows, that would be ideal. I don’t want to spoil the show by explaining why, but toward the end, the folks near the front are the ones who get to join in the fun the most.

What exactly is Blue Man Group? I’m going to expand the definition I posted last week a little. Their show combines color, music, rhythm, storytelling, humor, and audience participation. I really can’t say much more than that without giving away details of the show, and my description wouldn’t do it justice anyway. If you’re not sure whether you want to go, search YouTube for Blue Man Group and you’ll find plenty of videos. But trust me, you NEED to see this live.

I had heard that the front rows were “poncho seats,” and people who sit there put on ponchos to avoid getting paint on them from the performance. Actually it’s more than just paint. Again, I can’t say much more without giving away part of the show.

Two audience members had particularly special experiences. One got to eat with the group, while another got to paint with them.

One thing to note: Unlike most shows at the Orpheum, this one has no intermission. Therefore, it’s probably not a good idea to consume a lot of liquids before you take your seat.

For more info see the Orpheum’s website. Tickets are listed at $20-85. I would easily pay $85 for the experience I had last night. For students, tonight is student rush night if you want to see it for cheap.

GO SEE THIS SHOW. Please. You will not regret it. If you don’t enjoy this show, you are probably green, live in a garbage can, and your name is Oscar. Absolute must-see show of the year.