Fri update: Basketball, Farmers Market map, South Side Supper Club, call for artists, Redbirds VIP packages

Two important basketball games are on TV today. The 8-seed Memphis Tigers tip off against the 9-seed George Washington University Colonels at 5:55 on TBS. Winner will advance to face 1-seed Virginia on Sunday (well, unless Coastal Carolina pulls off the first-ever 16-over-1 upset). At 6:30 the Grizzlies tip off a road game vs. the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies are in sole possession of 7th place in the Western Conference right now. The top 8 at the end of the regular season go on to the playoffs. 9th-place Phoenix is only a game and a half behind the Grizzlies, so every game is important.

In case you haven’t seen it: Statistics site FiveThirtyEight’s probabilities of every team left in the NCAA Tournament winning the championship. Mouse over a team’s name to see its probability of winning each remaining game.

The Memphis Farmers Market has posted a really cool interactive map of their booths for 2014. You can click on any vendor name in the panel on the left, and the map will highlight that vendor’s booth. I notice among the vendors there is an alpaca ranch. The market opens for the season Saturday, April 5.

The South Side Supper Club plays Cafe Keough tonight at 8. If you can’t make it tonight, they’re at the Blind Bear tomorrow at 10.

There’s a call for artists for a temporary art program for South Main. Get paid to show your work.

VIP tickets packages for the Redbirds have gone on sale. The packages include tickets for the Battle of the Birds (Redbirds vs. Cardinals) on March 28. You also get tickets to four other games, including opening day and a day when there is a beer stein giveaway. As of this morning, only 247 club level packages, 93 dugout box packages, and 148 right field picnic area packages remained. Go to memphisredbirds.com to purchase.

Stay tuned… there’s a second post to come on today’s lunch break. Major news about the BBQ team, and it’s good news. VERY good news.

Thur update: Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire, Eiffel Tower dinner, Starbucks adding alcohol, development on Union, Max’s open early for NCAA

Jack Daniels is getting into the cinnamon whiskey business. Having seen the success of Fireball the past couple of years, the distillery has decided to offer a similar product. It remains to be seen if the new whiskey will be successful. Fireball is pretty well established nationwide and especially here in Memphis. Hopefully Jack Daniels’ new product won’t suck like Early Times Fire Eater, another Fireball competitor.

Chez Philippe in the Peabody will host a dinner in honor of the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower on Monday, March 31 at 7 PM. It will be a four-course meal created by Peabody Executive Chef Andreas Kisler. Cost is $85 with an optional wine pairing for $35 meal. Cost includes valet parking and a take-home treat. 901-529-4188 for reservations.

In the news: Starbucks will add alcohol at its coffee shops that are in urban locations. The one across the street from the FedExForum seems like a perfect fit.

Lots of news about development on Union today. Yesterday, the Memphis Daily News tweeted that the Greyhound bus station across from the ballpark has been sold. It will become a Hilton Garden Inn, set to open May 2016. The buyer, Turkey Creek Hospitality, owns an adjacent parking lot and plans to build a Holiday Inn Express there. More hotel rooms Downtown makes Memphis more appealing as a convention site, so this is good news.

A few blocks down the street, DeSoto Collision Center will move into the space at 440-444 Union previously occupied by Madison Automotive. Details here.

Max’s Sports Bar has tweeted that they are open early for NCAA tournament watching.

That’s all for now. Busy, busy day at work but I will be out this evening as usual.

Wed update: Mudbugs in March, logo trivia, EmergeMemphis emerging, Peabody Place Mall, basketball news, Blind Bear poker final table next Tuesday

The Mudbugs in March crawfish festival is coming back Saturday, March 29. Yesterday I snapped this photo of a festival poster hanging in the Silly Goose:

Photo Mar 18, 5 48 04 PM

It will be held from 2:30 to 7:30 PM in Court Square. Last year I went to Mudbugs in March, and had the best crawfish I had at any spring festival in 2013. They were good and spicy and there was sausage in the box as well as crawfish and taters. I recommend this one if you’re a crawfish fan.

How well do you know your corporate logos? There will be logo trivia hosted by Kevin Cerrito tonight at Tamp & Tap (7-9) and tomorrow at Green Beetle (8-10). There will be $3.50 Memphis brewed draft at Tamp & Tap and $10 Bud Light buckets at the Beetle.

Small business incubator EmergeMemphis is unveiling a new look and plan. They will have an informal cocktail hour on April 10 where everyone can “take a look forward.” RedRover, Obsidian PR, and Carter Malone are among the businesses that have graduated from the incubator and gone on to enjoy success.

Mayor Wharton has a new idea for the Peabody Place Mall: turn it into a convention center satellite.

Lots of basketball stuff in today’s post. First of all, the University of Memphis Alumni Association has organized watch parties around Memphis for Friday’s Tigers vs. George Washington NCAA tournament game. The Downtown one is at Alfred’s and starts at 6:00.

Coach Josh Pastner says he’s not going to listen to the “Negative Nellies” anymore and instead focus on the “Positive Pauls.” There’s a Positive Paul T-shirt going on sale at the Tiger Bookstore this morning. Hey, that doesn’t look anything like me! Now that I think about it, it looks like the cartoon character Archie.

Bruce Pearl will make $2.2 million in his first year at Auburn. That’s about $450,000 less than Pastner makes. Good to see a nice guy doing better than a douchebag. $2.2m is still plenty of money to buy burgers and hot dogs to throw on the grill for high school juniors.

The Tigers may have played their last game of the season, but we still have one more big weekend of college basketball to look forward to at the FedExForum. The NCAA South Regional will be held at the Forum Thursday, March 27 and Saturday, March 29. The South is considered by many to have the best of the four brackets, with Florida, Kansas, Syracuse, UCLA, VCU, and Ohio State among the teams that could be here. It should be a big weekend for the businesses near the arena.

Last night at poker at the Blind Bear, Jamie announced that the league final table will happen next Tuesday. The 9 players who have accumulated the most points over the 16-week league will be invited to play for some substantial prizes. You get one point for showing up to the Tuesday and Sunday games, an additional point if you check in on Foursquare, three additional points for every first-place win, two for every second, and one for every third. Players on the final table bubble are in the mid-to-upper 20s range in points, so if you’re on the bubble you might want to play Sunday which is the final regular game before the final table. I have 68 points so I am going to sit out Sunday’s game and let people who need the points have them. One player who has qualified for the final table, the Nuh-Uh Girl, has moved out of town so an additional player on the bubble will get in.

The Bear posted/tweeted that they had $1 green PBR last night. They’re trying to kill the keg. A few minutes after they announced the $1 PBR, they announced $10 all-you-can-drink green PBR from 6:30 to 8:30. Why would anyone buy into that when they’re only $1 apiece? No one is going to drink ten beers in two hours.

Before poker at the Bear, I stopped by Silly Goose, where I had a BBQ teammate at the bar and another behind the bar. The socially inept guy who shows up wherever I am incorrectly guessed Flying Saucer as my first stop. After about an hour there, he put his two brain cells together and figured out I wasn’t there. So he walked over to the Goose and hovered around awkwardly and hardly anyone talked to him. Ugh. I hate stupid people. By the way this kind of thing happens 3-4 times a week.

I’ll be back at the Goose tonight (and unfortunately, so will he, probably) around 6 for happy hour at Jessica’s bar. I may have some good news about the BBQ team to share soon.

Tue update: Auburn/Pearl, Stylebook stupidity, MiM volunteer expo, duffins, Start Co., new food truck, Tigers tip, CSS going away, S. Main clothing store

In the past, I have had nothing against Auburn, but I will not be cheering for its men’s basketball program any time in the near future. Today Auburn announced the hiring of Bruce Pearl as men’s basketball coach. Pearl has been out of the coaching scene for almost three years, serving out a show-cause penalty for lying to the NCAA and just generally being a douchebag. He’ll be able to particpate in recruit evaluations in July, but won’t be able to talk to recruits until the penalty is up in August. Then it will be time to fire up the BBQ grill…

The AP Stylebook thinks a handbill is a “flier,” not a “flyer.” That’s just about the stupidest thing ever. I don’t follow the AP Stylebook on this blog and “flier” is the kind of thing that illustrates why.

If you’ve ever thought about volunteering for Memphis in May, there’s an volunteer expo at the Botanic Garden tomorrow.
Volunteering for MiM is a great way to meet people and get involved in a month-long event that draws tens of thousands to Memphis.

Holly has a good post about the duffin at Bluff City Coffee. If you like donuts and muffins, it’s the best of both.

Entrepreneurship organization Start Co. is moving back Downtown. They’ll occupy office space at 88 Union, next door to Sleep Out L… er, Mesquite Chop House.

I wonder if the Mesquite team will wear “We are not Sleep Out Louie’s” T-shirts to Wine Race again this year?

The Daily News blog reports that Local Gastropub owner Jeff Johnson is launching a food truck. It will be called Parish Grocery and will offer Cajun and Creole cuisine. Its first appearance will be at the Overton Park crawfish festival next month.

Speaking of Local, they’re doing crawfish boils again every Monday night. Three of my friends went last night, and from the pics I saw it looks like they had a good time. According to Local’s Facebook page, the crawfish are $8.99 a pound. Along with the crawfish on Mondays, they have $15 domestic buckets and $25 96 oz. Table Taps.

Tip-off time for the Tigers game vs. George Washington is Friday at 5:55. The game will be on TBS.

Sports network CSS is going to be shut down. Good riddance. Worst sports network on cable.

The MBJ reports that the owner of the Crazy Beautiful pop-up store on South Main may make her store permanent, in a new concept called Stock&Belle.

That’ll do it for now. After taking Sunday off I will be back at the Blind Bear for their poker game at 8 (free to play, $50 gift card to the winner).

Pizza tip

So tonight I left the Blind Bear, having had my fill of green beer. My plan was to walk to City Market, get food, and go home.

As I walked past Aldo’s Pizza Pies I noticed several whole ¬†or near whole pizzas in the to-go case. “Isn’t it late for those to be out?” I thought. I looked at my phone. It was 9:55. They stop serving food at 10 on Monday.

City Market didn’t have anything that appealed to me. It was all healthy stuff. Pork tenderloin with veggies, salmon with veggies. Blah. There’s a Holiday Ham near where I work. If I want to eat healthy I’ll get a salad from them to take home for dinner.

I walked back to Aldo’s. By then it was 9:58. I ordered a slice of cheese and a slice of pepperoni to go. “Is that the Button Man?” I asked, seeing their veggie pizza under the glass. “Give me one of those too.” Normally I am not a fan of veggie pizza but the Button Man is so good that it’s won me over.

They grabbed the biggest slice of each pizza – 18 inches diameter – and put the slices in the oven to heat up for about 3 minutes. I walked them home. Hot and delicious. So here’s a pro tip: Go to Aldo’s for to-go pizza around 9:58 Sunday-Wednesday, 10:58 Thursday-Saturday.

As a bonus I had a bag with an Abita Midas Touch hanging off my door handle. I think I know who did it. Thank you!

Saturday recap and Bardog brunch news

Up early yesterday, I decided to start the day by taking advantage of my WWE Network subscription. I went to “The Vault” and watched a January 7, 1983 World Class Championship Wrestling show. The main event was a six-man elimination match: “Freebird” Terry Gordy, Andre the Giant, Kerry Von Erich, King Kong Bundy, Bugsy McGraw, and Wild Bill Irwin. Now that’s some good TV! You’re probably thinking “Andre surely won” but he didn’t. He stepped over the top rope to chase after Gordy’s second, “Freebird” Michael Hayes, thereby eliminating himself. It had been a 5-man elimination match, but Kerry Von Erich requested that Gordy be added. Two weeks before, Gordy had slammed a steel cage door into Kerry’s head, costing him the world heavyweight championship, and Kerry wanted revenge. Kerry lasted about 20 seconds before being the first man eliminated. Gordy won the match after kicking King Kong Bundy over the top rope. So, thanks to Kerry’s request, Gordy got a $5000 payday. Kerry was pretty damn stupid.

I got to Bardog at 11 as usual, taking a seat next to my “DAWG” John D at Panda’s bar. I noticed that the downstairs was not roped off as usual. A few minutes later, executive chef John Haley came over and explained why. “From now on, downstairs is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday,” he told me. “Brooke will be bartending, and the sound will be on for games.” That’s a good move. Bardog has been so popular for brunch that they have had to turn many people away because no seats were available upstairs. Also, the downstairs is nonsmoking, which will appeal to a lot of people (unfortunately my friends are almost all smokers so I’ll never get them down there). Brunch hours at Bardog are 11 to 3.

As I sipped my first PBR, I thought how glad I am that I didn’t give up PBR for Lent, mainly because I don’t observe Lent. However, I thought of a comment a friend of mine made about Lent last week. A decision to give up something for Lent used to be a private matter between you and God. These days, it’s a public matter between you, God, and Facebook.

About 1:45 I tabbed out at Panda’s bar and walked to Beale Street for the 2:00 St. Pat’s parade. I found some of my friends from the Squeal Street BBQ team in front of the Tap Room, and decided that was a perfectly fine spot to watch the parade. I ended up with 12 strands of beads, a little below my usual performance but I didn’t chase after beads as much as I have in past years. One red strand was extra-long and I made it into a headband. Beads and candy were not the only things being thrown. One of the Boll Weevils threw a cabbage, knocking a 32 ounce beer out of a parade watcher’s hand.

After the parade, I went over to the Saucer for a beer. Foursquare showed several of my friends checked in next door at the Silly Goose, so I bounced over there. Remember Valerie, who wore a tube top to the Stumbling Santa pub crawl when it was 27 outside, leading me to proclaim her the greatest person in the entire history of the human race? Well, no tube top yesterday but she was at the Goose.

2014-03-15 15.43.46

I had seen a photo on Valerie’s Instagram Monday night that I wanted to ask her about. It was a pic of the Undertaker standing in the middle of the ring when WWE Monday Night Raw was in town last week. She said yes, she took that photo, and she went on to discuss Brock Lesnar’s chances against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, and whether Alexander Rusev and his advisor Lana are going to be the next big thing in the WWE. Let’s see here. Wears tube tops? Check. Can intelligently discuss current trends in pro wrestling? Check. MARRIAGE MATERIAL

After a stop at the Blind Bear, I decided it was time for a “halftime” nap. I came home about 5, ate, got in bed and set the alarm for 7:30. But you know what I forgot to do? Turn the alarm on. I woke up at 12:27, looked outside and saw rain, and said “screw it” and went back to bed. So I had half a St. Patrick’s Saturday. Today I will do better.

If you drive down Riverside Drive today, you may notice a couple of trees knocked over. One of my Facebook friends explained why. A guy in a new black Corvette was doing controlled fishtails down Riverside in the rain. Well, “controlled” up until where the one where he lost control, spun out, and hit the trees, totaling his new car in the process. I bet insurance companies just love people like him.

Congratulations to the Louisville Cardinals, who won the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament yesterday here in Memphis. Today is Selection Sunday and I hope my prediction of the Memphis Tigers getting an 8 or 9 seed in a bracket with Wichita State as the 1 comes true. As for my Arkansas Razorbacks, they were safely in after sweeping Kentucky, but then completely fell apart in bad losses to Alabama and South Carolina. Hello NIT.

Heading out to watch the Florida-Kentucky and then Duke-Virginia games, then Selection Sunday. I may take a night off from poker tonight (Blind Bear, 6:30, free to play, $50 gift card to the winner) because I have enough points to comfortably cruise to the league final table. Watching Calipari throw a tantrum is one of my favorite things to do, so go Gators!

Sat update: Possible Wine Race date change, parade today, new poker night, cooking class, dumpster news, design and transit culture

I do not have official word on this yet, so take this for what it is… but last night, I heard from a number of people, including people who will be on teams, that Beale Street Wine Race has been moved to Sunday, April 13. Normally the wine race is the last Sunday in April. However, this year Easter falls on the third Sunday in April, the usual date of Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest on the river. So Crawfish Fest got moved to the fourth Sunday. Having wine race and the crawfish festival on the same date and time would have been a complete shitshow, so from what I’ve been told the Beale Street folks moved the wine race to the 13th.

For those not familiar with the wine race, it’s a competition among Memphis-area restaurant and bar teams. There are four events: a parade, a Queen of the Vine beauty contest, a grape stomp, and a 4-person relay run while carrying wine bottles and glasses on a tray. Moving the date back to the 13th is a risk because of Queen of the Vine. A mid-April cold snap could drop high temperatures to the 50s, not conducive for the skimpy costumes worn during the beauty contest. You know, I said it would be a shitshow if the crawfish fest was held the same day; really, Queen of the Vine is a shitshow all by itself. The contestants aren’t supposed to expose their breasts and vaginas to the judges and the crowd, but, well, sometimes accidents happen, you know. If you have never seen this contest, you need to, and get to Handy Park early to get a good seat.

Here’s a bit of advice from former Queen of the Vine winner Amanda “Panda” Parks: “Keep it classy. A lot of the girls think they have to let everything hang out in order to win, but the judges appreciate class. The skimpiest costume is almost never the one that wins.” I always bring my camera and take photos for the blog. I have to be careful to go through before I post and take out the NSFW photos, since a lot of people read my blog at work.

Speaking of Beale Street, don’t forget that the annual St. Patrick’s parade happens at 2 PM today. Lots of beads and candy will be thrown from the floats. The “raising of the goat” should happen outside Silky’s today too. There will be much green beer sold on Beale today. It isn’t green, but if you aren’t driving I recommend going to Wet Willie’s and having a Call-a-Cab. Even if daiquiris aren’t your normal thing, trust me, you will like this one.

PRO TIP: Don’t wear beads you already own to the parade. People on the floats are more likely to throw you beads if you don’t already have a lot on.

PRO TIP 2: Nothing says “luck of the Irish” like a green tube top.

Last night, after stops at the Flying Saucer and Blind Bear, I decided to pay a visit to Cafe Keough after bartender Hanin posted, “Come have cocktails with me!” Now, I won’t order Fireball from Hanin – you have to earn the right to serve me Fireball, and Hanin and a couple of other people who work down the street haven’t yet – but I will most definitely order the 7 oz. High Life ponies the cafe carries. While there, I got an interesting piece of news. The cafe has plans to start a poker night, on Thursdays, time yet to be determined, beginning Thursday, March 27. They have two large tables in the back that would be ideal for poker. Muruako who runs the Monday night games at the Silly Goose will serve as poker host and tournament director. Should be a fun night, and the space is large enough that the poker players in the back won’t disturb people who come in for the European-style cafe ambience and great food and coffee.

The Church Health Center is holding a six-week cooking class for Memphians who want a healthier lifestyle. Some of Memphis’ best chefs will give presentations, including Downtown’s Chef Gary Williams of DeJAVU. (I’m still unclear on the capitalization) Click the link for specific class dates and times. Fees range from $25 to $40 per class and ingredients and items needed to prepare the food are included in the cost.

From the Flyer: Downtown’s dumpsters are to be replaced with trash compactors.

From The Atlantic Cities: How design can help build transit culture. This should be required reading for whomever is named new president of MATA.

As usual, I will lead off at Panda’s bar at Bardog at 11 for some PBRs and maybe a Fireball. After that I’ll head to the St. Patrick’s parade. It should be a fun St. Patrick’s weekend in Downtown Memphis!

Wed update: Tennessee Brewery, CVB wooing AAC attendees, Redbirds single-game tickets, St. Pat’s specials, symphony Groupon

There’s good news about the Tennessee Brewery. Last night at the South Main Association meeting, entrepreneur Taylor Berger announced that he is part of a team taking temporary ownership of the brewery building. From late April through late May, the brewery will be used for community purposes that might include a beer garden, food trucks, and live music. With three big Memphis in May events happening nearby in Tom Lee Park, it should not be hard to draw people to the brewery. The Daily News has more info here.

People have arrived in town for the American Conference tournament. Last night when I went to the Flying Saucer, the Garden was packed with out-of-towners. Later I was on the Blind Bear patio and the USF basketball team walked by. It looked like they had just had dinner at the Majestic. Good choice! The CVB has commandeered the Rock & Soul Museum next door to the arena. They hope to show fans that this is not only a great basketball city, but a great city to come back and visit.

Redbirds single-game tickets will be on sale starting Saturday. This includes the “Battle of the Birds” exhibition vs. the Cardinals to be held later this month. Get tickets here.

I had a list of several bars running St. Pat’s specials that I was going to post, but then I saw that Holly had almost all of them covered here. I do have one that she missed: The Flying Saucer will have $3 Irish beers, an Irish menu, and live music by The Memphis Bagpipers and The Reel McCoys.

There’s a Groupon to see the Memphis Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky 4 at the Cannon Center this Saturday. Save 47%. The program includes a couple of Mozart pieces as well as Tchaikovsky’s fourth symphony.

Yesterday I posted that I was going to bring my A-game to Blind Bear poker and win the $50 gift card prize, and I did just that. I came back from more than a 2-to-1 chip disadvantage at the end. I see some crawfish mac & cheese, paid for with that gift card, in my future.

Very productive week here at work. I’ll be out about 5:30 to reward myself with a beer.