Tue update: MMHF design competition, Memphis trivia, Grizzlies food and drink, legal online poker in Nevada, last duck march, Google Now, and more

Attention artists: The Center for Southern Folklore is hosting its first-ever Memphis Music and Heritage Festival Design Competition. The winning artist’s work will be featured on all posters, T-shirts, and promotional materials. The festival happens Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend and showcases the best regional music, art, and cooking.

Know a lot about your hometown? There will be two Memphis trivia nights happening Downtown this week. The first will be tonight at Ferraro’s Pizzeria and Pub at N. Main and Jackson. 8 PM start time, $1 PBR, and they will show the Grizzlies game and stay open late. On Thursday, there will be a game at the Green Beetle, also at 8 PM, with a special of $10 buckets of 16-ounce Miller Lite. Both games will feature six rounds of questions about Memphis movies, music, sports, history, and more.

The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog reports on Grizzlies-themed food and drink. There are a couple of Downtown options including Go Grizz! lemon macarons at the Corked Carrot, and blue Grizz shots at South of Beale.

Big news in the battle to make online poker legal: The first legal online poker room has opened in Nevada today. You have to be 21 or older and physically within the state of Nevada to play (note that I didn’t say you have to be a resident of Nevada). You can deposit funds via Mastercard, check, wire transfer, or in person at affiliated casinos.

Maybe this will wake the Tennessee legislature up to the fact that this is a source of revenue. Why would they want to continue to let Memphis-area residents go to Tunica or Southland to play poker, when they could play in the comfort of their own home? Also, online poker cash games can operate at lower levels than casino games can. If you’re learning to play, it’s far less expensive to sit down at a 1-cent/2-cent Hold’em game with a stack of $2 than it is to sit down at a $1/$2 casino table with a stack of $200. It’s less expensive to enter a $2 online multi-table tournament when you’re learning the game than to enter a $35 tournament at a casino.

Little Rock’s Peabody ducks will make their last march this week. The hotel is being converted into a Marriott.

Google Now is now available for iPhone users. It’s part of the Google Search app. I just gave it a try and it told me the temperature is 79 and recommended a nearby barbecue restaurant. I guess this thing has the potential to be useful.

Start time for Friday’s home game against the Clippers will be 8:30 PM.

Plans for tonight: I’ll start at the Flying Saucer as usual, although I may deviate from my usual Dos Equis Lager order and drink a Flying Horse instead. After that, over to Blind Bear for the official Grizzlies watch party. Let’s pick one up on the road this evening, and force the Clippers to face elimination in front of a rowdy Grizzlies crowd Friday night!

Beale Street Wine Race 2013

The annual day of debauchery took place on Beale Street Sunday, with a parade, Queen of the Vine pageant, grape stomp, and wine relay. (I was starving and left before the relay, so not many pics of that, sorry.) Here’s a look.

The new Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe sign
The new Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe sign
Amanda, the Blind Bear's Queen of the Vine contestant
Amanda, the Blind Bear’s Queen of the Vine contestant
Kooky Canuck in the parade
Kooky Canuck in the parade
Double J
Double J
Blind Bear
Blind Bear, parade winners
Mesquite Chop House had shirts that said "We're not Sleep Out Louie's." Are we really still beating that dead horse six years later?
Mesquite Chop House had shirts that said “We’re not Sleep Out Louie’s.” Are we really still beating that dead horse six years later?
Dennis and Karen
Dennis and Karen
Queen of the Vine winner. I didn't catch the name of her restaurant, anyone know?
Queen of the Vine winner. I didn’t catch the name of her restaurant, anyone know?
Grapes, pre-stomp
Grapes, pre-stomp
Grapes, mid-stomp
Grapes, mid-stomp
Michael Bean stomping for the Blind Bear
Michael Bean stomping for the Blind Bear

Full album (224 photos) here.


Mon update: Playoff tix for Friday on sale, Music Fest alert, watch parties for Tuesday’s game, pop-up golf tomorrow on Main to promote FESJC, more bad news for Beale Street Landing, Sweden most socially advanced country, Memphis Brewfest

The Grizzlies beat Flop City Saturday night to tie the series vs. the Clippers at 2-2. The first round playoffs have a 2-2-1-1-1 format for home games, which means Tuesday’s Game 5 is in Los Angeles, and Friday’s Game 6 is in the FedExForum. Since we now know at least 6 games will be needed to determine a winner, tickets for Friday’s game are now on sale.

ALERT if you plan on coming Downtown Friday evening: Friday is the first day of Music Fest, a playoff game for the Grizzlies, and a home game for the Redbirds. Downtown is going to be absolutely PACKED. Allow extra time to get where you’re going, and realize that you may not be able to park as close to your destination as you would like. Also, if you’re going to the Grizzlies game, you also need to allow extra time for NBA-mandated security scans at the front door.

The Grizzlies have also announced official watch parties for Tuesday night’s 9:30 game. There will be two Downtown locations: Blind Bear Speakeasy and Hooters. So you can watch the game at a place where the three managing partners are locals and three of the biggest Grizzlies fans you’ll ever meet, or you can watch at a chain restaurant that has the nerve to charge you for ranch when you order hot wings. Your choice. Parties in other parts of the city include Bayou Bar & Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings on Hacks Cross, and Skimo’s. If you’ve never been to an official watch party before, the Grizzlies’ Claw Crew will be there passing out car flags, headbands, and other goodies. Parties start a half hour before game time, which means 9 PM for Tuesday.

Look for a pop-up golf game tomorrow at lunch on Main Street. The FedEx Golfer will be “playing” golf on the street from 11:30 to 1 tomorrow, along with his caddie and standard-bearer. The first person who comes up to him and says “Come Play 2013” will receive a pair of one-day passes to the FedEx St.Jude Classic. People who come up to him will also receive FESJC swag and information on how to win a 2013 Ford Explorer from Landers Ford. “Like” the FESJC on Facebook here or follow the event on Twitter at @FESJCMemphis for more information. They just announced the Michelob Ultra Tent for Saturday-Sunday, June 8-9. For a $10 entry (tournament ticket must be purchased also) you get access to $1 beers.

Second and Beale, Inc., operators of Blues City Cafe, have pulled out of a plan to open a restaurant in Beale Street Landing. Sad to hear that, but the Second and Beale folks are experienced businessmen and I don’t blame them for their decision if there were red flags in their minds.

Memphis in May honored country Sweden has been ranked as the most socially advanced country in the world. It ranked high in personal safety; air, water, and sanitation; nutrition and basic medical care; and opportunity. Its only slip was a 37 rank in Ecosystem Sustainability. Love the pic of the Swedish hotties using their country’s flag as a makeshift tube top dress!

If you missed Memphis Brewfest on Saturday, FuzzyBrew has a recap.

I will have a Wine Race recap post up this week. I attended the parade, Queen of the Vine, and grape stomp, and I was upstairs briefly for the wine relay before I decided it was imperative that I go eat. So I ran to City Market (oops, might have stopped for a beer as I walked though, Flying Saucer is on the way you know) and by the time I was done eating, Wine Race was over. I took 262 photos, which I whittled down to 202 after removing bad photos and photos where my camera aim was off. I only had to remove one photo this year due to accidentally exposed body parts during Queen of the Vine (and it wasn’t a tube top malfunction. It was worse).

Apologies to the folks at Southern Hot Wing Fest for not making it by yesterday, and particularly to Seth of the Best Memphis Burger blog, who extended me a personal invitation to come try his team’s wings. It’s really hard to have two festivals in one day. I need to do a post about the narrow spring and fall festival windows given Memphis weather.

I had several people ask why the BBQ team I’m on didn’t enter the BBQ competition at Southaven Springfest this weekend. I went and looked at the festival’s website. I clicked on the “What Not to Bring” link and the first thing listed was “Alcohol.” Yeah I feel pretty confident saying we will never enter this event.

Plans for tonight: I didn’t make the final table for Bluff City Poker’s poker league, but many of the people who are my friends did so I am going to go watch. It’s at the Silly Goose at 8 PM. Prior to that I’ll probably hit the Flying Saucer and knock out some Pint Nite beers.

Sat update: Brewfest sold out, Blind Bear opening early this weekend, classic pro wrestling on YouTube, WordPress 10th anniversary

If you were planning on buying a ticket to Memphis Brewfest at the gate, you’re out of luck. They announced on Facebook this morning that they had sold out. I decided to take a year off from Brewfest, because I wanted to see the Grizzlies game and because I didn’t feel like being so drunk/tired by 7:30 PM that I’d have to go home and crash. I hope the rain stays away, and I hope those who are attending have a wonderful time and drink lots of delicious beer.

With Brewfest off the agenda, I have to figure out where to watch the Grizzlies play at 3:30. The Blind Bear has announced that they will open early at 2 PM for the game. On Sunday, they will open early at noon for Wine Race.

Random pro wrestling video of the day: UWF’s first TV show, March 1986. Mid-South Wrestling rebranded as UWF. On this show, company president “Cowboy” Bill Watts got his revenge against North American champion/Mid-South TV champion “Dirty” Dick Slater. Slater had thrown the TV championship medallion in the Arkansas River. Watts ordered him to pay to have a new championship belt created, and to have his buddy “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer defend the title on Slater’s behalf, against an opponent of Watts’ choice. I saw a comment that said, “screw WWE and TNA, this is what wrestling really is.” I agree and this is a must-watch if you’re a pro wrestling fan.

I ordered a WordPress 10th anniversary shirt yesterday. I’ll wear it to BBQ Fest one day a couple of weeks from now. WordPress, which powers this blog and 20% of all websites around the world, is our BBQ team’s main sponsor. Proud to display their logo at BBQ Fest.

All right, gonna hit Publish so I can start typing a poker post. Will be at Panda’s bar at Bardog at 11.

Beale Street Wine Race is Sunday

The Great Beale Street Wine Race is Sunday. Servers and bartenders from restaurants all over town blow off steam before the busy Memphis in May season, while competing for their restaurants in several categories:

1) There is a parade where the teams enter Handy Park on floats.

2) Next is Queen of the Vine. Beauties from area restaurants compete. (In a few cases, I’m using the term “beauties” very, very loosely.)

3) Next up is a grape-stomping competition, where teams see who can stomp the most grape juice with their feet in a certain time limit.

4) Last up is the wine relay, where four-member teams race to see who can open bottles of wine the quickest and then run them on a tray, with glasses, to the other end of the course where they hand the tray off to the next team member.

It’s free and a lot of fun to watch. Action kicks off around 1 PM. PRO TIP: If you’re not driving, get a Call-a-Cab daiquiri from Wet Willie’s to drink while you watch. More than one Call-a-Cab falls into the “don’t try this at home” category, so be careful.

This Wine Race presents a bit of a dilemma for me, because I’m “mayor” of two bars that are participating in the event: Blind Bear and Silly Goose. They’ve both contacted me about wearing their shirt to Wine Race. Trying to figure out how to maintain neutrality. (The third bar of which I’m “mayor,” Flying Saucer, doesn’t participate in Wine Race, although for a while it was considered.)

What should YOU wear to Wine Race? Well, Sunday looks to be the one day this weekend free from rain, and temps will warm back up. For females who will be attending, may I suggest a tube top?

Hope to see you down on Beale for Debauchery Day, er, I mean Wine Race!

Fri update: Chisca party, scooter rally, Trolley Night, LUVGLO, Green Beetle’s breakfast, Flight late-night menu, the usual crummy weather for Music Fest next week

There’s a launch party for the Chisca Hotel redevelopment outside the hotel today at 4:30. Free to the public. DJ spinning ’50s music and a special appearance by the star of Memphis the musical.

The Memphis Kings scooter club holds its annual rally, Dead Elvis: Six Feet Under, today through Sunday. Two scooters will be given away, and there will be several rides, including a Mississippi River trail, a visit to some of Memphis’ famous landmarks, and in keeping with the Dead Elvis theme a visit to Elvis’ original resting place. Over 90 scooter enthusiasts have registered.

It’s South Main Trolley Tour night with many of the shops and galleries open in the South Main district open late. Many of them will have special performances, discounts, and/or appetizers and beverages. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The LUVGLO night race is tonight. Even if you aren’t running, you can come watch. There will be music and food trucks. Party kicks off at the old Tennessee Brewery on Tennessee Street at 8 PM, and the first group of runners take off at 9:30. $5 donation requested from those who are not running to enter the warehouse, glow party, and epic finish line. Money raised benefits Habitat for Hope.

Last night I was talking with a friend of mine, who complimented the Green Beetle’s new breakfast and I wanted to pass the compliments on. He’d been frustrated when a place a few blocks down the street took an hour and 20 minutes to serve him breakfast, and he didn’t even get all the items he ordered. So he tried the Beetle. The food was very good, he said, big portions, they get it out to you fast, and it’s reasonably priced. He said they had steak and eggs for $9.95 and it’s a very good steak. The Beetle opens at 9 AM for breakfast.

Flight restaurant will begin offering a late-night menu from 10-11 PM Monday-Wednesday and 10 PM-midnight Thursday-Saturday. The menu is the creation of executive chef Scott Perkins and includes the following:

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Fig and Bruschetta
Baguette with black mission figs and RoquefortCrawfish Dip
Crisp Cajun tortilla chips

Tuna Wonton Tacos
Big eye tuna, cucumbers and red onions in crispy wonton and lemon vinaigrette

Jumbo Lump Crab Gratin
Jumbo lump crab, butter-fried croutons and béchamel

Coconut-Fried Shrimp
Chili-orange glaze

Slider Flight
Pulled duck confit, lamb gyro and Kobe burger

Shells and Cheese
Béchamel, parmesan, gruyere with shell pasta and herb bread crumbs

Pork and Vegetable Dumpling
Sweet chili-lime sauce, fresh cilantro

Hand-Dipped Chocolate
Guanaja, cayenne, cocoa, caramel Valrhona, ganache, salted peanut chocolate brittle

The menu will also feature a selection of imported charcuterie paired with fresh cheeses such as baked brie, apricot Stilton and St. Andre triple cream in addition to Mediterranean-spiced Georgia pecans and an assortment of Rivera mixed olives. Flight is at the corner of Main and Monroe Downtown.

We’re close enough to May now that the Weather Channel has a forecast for the first few days. I took a peek. For Friday, May 3, the first day of Music Fest, the forecast is high 65, low 47. That’s 12-13 degrees below normal. Why can’t we EVER have nice weather for Music Fest?

Plans for tonight: After kicking it off with a few beers in the core, I think I’m going to wander south and check out this LUVGLO thing. I hope the rain holds off until tomorrow.

Thur update: Dr. Zarr @ Peabody tonight, Sam’s Club/free food, pop-up shop, Tarik Black, and Beer Week events today and tomorrow

Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster plays the Peabody rooftop tonight. The buffet will have pigs in blankets, vegetables and dipping sauces. Those in VIP will also have a buffet of mini mac & cheese casseroles, deviled eggs, and BBQ meatballs. The drink special will be Svedka Orange Cream Pop with Sprite for $4. VIPs will enjoy a Ghost River beer tasting by Budweiser of Memphis.

This isn’t a Downtown thing, but probably worth mentioning: Sam’s Club will be open to the public, no membership required, Friday April 26 through Sunday April 28. They will have free food samplings throughout those three days. Sampling schedule can be found on their site. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The Memphis Daily News reports that on Wednesday, May 15, pop-up shop at Hoot & Louise on G.E. Patterson will sell clothes, Muddy’s cupcakes, and new and used vinyl records from The End of All Music. Good day to do it, since a lot of people will have the day off as they prepare for BBQ Fest.

Tarik Black is being pursued by a number of top-tier basketball schools including Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, and more. The big man has one year of eligibility left, and can transfer and play immediately since he’s graduating from the U of M this summer.

For Memphis Beer Week today, there’s a Sierra Nevada beer dinner at Automatic Slim’s, 7 PM, in which West Coast beer meets southern-inspired cuisine. Limit of 35 people, so call the restaurant and make reservations if you want to go.

South of Beale will have a Blackstone Brewery tapping today. Come try Milk Stout from the Nashville brewery.

It will be Abita Firkin Night at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. They’ll tap a firkin of ZSB (Zac’s Special Bitter), with an Abita rep on hand to discuss the beer. 6-9 PM.

Blackstone Brewery makes a second appearance tonight at the Flying Saucer at 9 PM. Three new beers will be tapped: Belgium Tripel, Milk Chocolate Stout, and Hop Jack IPA. A rep from the brewery will be on-site to hand out samples and talk about the beers.

Also, tomorrow, Friday, April 26, South of Beale will host a beer lunch. $20 includes appetizer, lunch, dessert, and beer. Also, $2 Yazoo pints until 4 PM. I figured I’d go ahead and mention it a day early, since my lunchtime blog posts go up after most people have already gone to lunch.

Getting back to today, of course, there’s one other event going on Downtown that’s probably worth a mention: The Grizzlies host the L.A. Floppers tonight at the FedExForum at 8:30. Come watch an Oscar-winning performance by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a game-winning performance by the Grizzlies. If you’re going to the game, get there a little early, because everyone has to go through security scan.

It’s warmed up and turned into a beautiful day. I’ll be out at the usual places after work.

Wed update: Marc Gasol, dine out and fight AIDS, financial literacy, LuvGLO, trolley turns 20, eighty3, Memphis Beer Week events today

A huge press conference is scheduled at the FedExForum for 2:30 today. It is expected that the event is to announce Marc Gasol is the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. NBATV and nba.com will stream the event.

Dine out and fight AIDS on Thursday. Memphis-area restaurants will participate in Dine Out for Life, in which they will donate a portion of the day’s profits to Friends for Life. Friends for Life is a fantastic charity that supports those who have AIDS and their caregivers. Several Downtown restaurants will take part in the fundraiser, including Rizzo’s Diner (donating a whopping 50% of profits!), Alcenia’s, Blind Bear, Cafe Eclectic, Cozy Corner, Dejavu, eighty3, Evelyn & Olive, Felicia Suzanne’s, Grawemeyer’s, Green Beetle, the Mad Earl, McEwen’s, and Central BBQ.

On Friday there will be a Financial Literacy Celebration in Court Square from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Partners will be on hand to set up accounts, assist with credit repair, and offer assistance with job search, resumes, and career services. Bank On Memphis is presenting this event, which will include live music from Overwater Entertainment. The Memphis Public Library’s JobLINC Mobile Career Center will also be onsite to provide listings to available jobs, aids in locating training opportunities, and one-on-one assistance in job searches and job readiness workshops.

A video has been posted showing the course for Friday night’s LuvGLO run.

Trolley rides will be 20 cents today through Friday to celebrate the MATA trolley’s 20th birthday. Birthday cake will be served tomorrow at noon at the North End Terminal and Friday at noon at Central Station. Free cake? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Kerry’s blog has suggestions for small things to eat at eighty3, the restaurant inside the Madison Hotel.

Two glass nights for Memphis Beer Week tonight. The 2013 Memphis Beer Week glass will be on sale at the Flying Saucer starting at 7 PM. They will also be tapping three Brooklyn Brewery beers tonight: Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager, Vintage Black Chocolate Stout, and Vintage Monster Ale.

At Central BBQ Downtown, they will tap Ghost River Noble Prized Porter. Eevery purchase gets a free Ghost River pint glass, compliments of the brewery.

Bardog will tap Brooklyn Silver Anniversary, with reps on site to talk about the beer and provide samples.

Local will tap a New Belgium/Yazoo collaboration brew, 5 to 6:30 PM.

That’ll do it for now. I’ll be out after work. I haven’t bought a glass in years but I may get that Memphis Beer Week glass tonight. It has the potential to be a collectors’ item years from now.

Tue update: New apartments, ghetto Kroger to get a makeover, Corked Carrot opening, new Beale Brass Note, pre- and post-McCartney entertainment at 152, and today’s Memphis Beer Week events Downtown

The Memphis Business Journal reports that South Junction Apartments will be built at the corner of Carolina and Florida near the south end of Downtown. The new apartment complex will have 197 units. It will be a short walk from Martyr’s Park, the BR Riverside which has surprisingly good food for a gas station, and the south entrance to Memphis in May events.

Many Downtowners shop at “ghetto Kroger,” the one at Poplar and Cleveland. It won’t be ghetto Kroger much longer, though. The MBJ reports that the company will spend $2 million to renovate it.

The grand opening for the Corked Carrot, the wine and cupcake bar at 314 S. Main, has been announced for Saturday, April 27 at 11 AM. However, they will also open for South Main Trolley Tour the night before.

Lyman Aldrich, the founder of Memphis in May, is getting a Brass Note in his honor on Beale Street. The ceremony will happen at 5 PM Thursday, May 2 at Rum Boogie Cafe.

1960s British Invasion band Jeffrey and the Pacemakers have been booked to play Club 152 before and after the Paul McCartney concert at FedExForum May 26. The national and international fan clubs will be in town and it should be a big party. Jeffrey and the Pacemakers will also play Downtown Huey’s this Sunday, April 28, at 8:30 PM.

Memphis Beer Week continues today with several Downtown events. One of the best menus I have ever seen for a beer dinner is the menu for Bardog’s 7 PM dinner this evening. Courses include ahi tuna spring rolls, shrimp and grits, a bleu cheese filet, and plantains Foster. It’s a New Belgium beer dinner and courses will be paired with Fat Tire, Cascara Quad, Rolle Bolle, Abbey Ale, and 1554. $50 includes tax and gratuity. There is a 40-person limit and this will fill up. If you are interested, call Bardog NOW and see if you can still make a reservation.

The Flying Saucer will have a Memphis Brewfest live remote, and you’ll be able to talk to festival organizer Martin Daniel. The Saucer will tap a firkin of Abita Vanilla Double Dog, and an Abita rep will be on hand to answer questions. I’ve had Vanilla Double Dog once before and it’s good, surprising considering it’s based on Turbo Dog.

Aldo’s Pizza Pies will hold a Red Brick 17th Anniversary tapping at 7 PM. Jason Topping from Atlanta Brewing Co. will be your host.

Huey’s Downtown will have half-price Yazoo beers today.

That’ll do it for this post. Rolling to Wendy’s to get a Frosty then I have a pile of work awaiting me. I’ll be out tonight at the usual places.