Chaos Theory Ghost Pepper Sauce

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As you all know, I spend a lot of time at Bardog Tavern. I have seen this sauce, the ghost pepper sauce from Crazy Good, in the racks when people have ordered food, but have never tried it. I have also seen Crazy Good products sold at Memphis Farmers Market. If you walk all the way to the back at the market, like you’re going to the food trucks, there’s a Crazy Good vendor just as you step off the main aisle.

I was thinking about this hot sauce as I walked home tonight. “I wonder if City Market sells it?” City Market, the local grocery store which is a convenient place to duck into when you need to get away, did indeed, and I snagged a bottle. Now I just needed something to apply the ghost pepper sauce to. ┬áThe market’s grab & go is one of my regular stops but tonight nothing much in there appealed to me. My quest for food continued,

Eventually, the quest led full circle back to Bardog Tavern, where the Monster Burrito seemed like the perfect food on which to try out my new sauce. I got it to go because the hour was getting late. By default it’s vegetarian but I added shrimp.

The verdict: That sauce is hot but good, but let me warn you of one thing: The bottle does not have a slow-pour mouth! If you do not have a slow, steady hand you are gonna have ghost pepper all over your food! I poured far more than intended. I can handle it because I love spicy food, but I would venture a guess that many can’t!

Give this sauce a try, but only if you’re into spicy. In my opinion it is worth taking a bottle home.

Tuesday news: Beer and pizza tour, contract on Wonder Bread factory, and more

Backbeat Tours is teaming up with two local breweries and a pizza parlor to create a Red, White & BREW tour of Memphis. The tour is on Saturday, July 11 leaving Second and Beale by Backbeat bus at 6 PM. The tour is three hours long and includes a tour of the High Cotton Brewery on Monroe Avenue, a tasting in the High Cotton tap room, then out to Midtown for a tasting in the Memphis Made tap room, followed by two slices of pizza at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. You get a souvenir glass to keep. Tickets are $39 and must be purchased in advance; click the link to purchase.

Good news for The Edge: The Wonder Bread bakery in that neighborhood, empty for several years, is under contract. It is said to be a solid contract and there is a good chance it will close. The building will likely not be a bakery and its planned use is not being disclosed at this time. Whatever happens to it, that building is a cornerstone of The Edge and having it occupied would be a win for the neighborhood.

John Paul Keith and Amy LaVere play the Silly Goose tonight at 10. There will be $2 local draft beers.

I have more information about happenings tomorrow night at the Blind Bear. As I previously reported, a large post-wedding party is expected there around 8, although the Bear will still be open to the public. They are going to take a week off from Wednesday night trivia, and Pam & Terry will play 7:30 to 10:30. As I previously posted, it will be a rare weekday night time edition of D-RANKS with B-RAD with Brad behind the bar. Oh, one more thing I should mention here… I’M TAKING THURSDAY OFF!!! Should be a long, fun night.

The Stumblin’ Elvis Pub Crawl returns Saturday, August 15 at 7 PM. Participants are asked to dress in Elvis or Priscilla attire, and bring a non-perishable food donation or monetary donation for the FedEx Family House. The Elvises will hit four or five bars Downtown, starting and ending at the Flying Saucer.

South of Beale now has a vegetarian black bean burger patty that you can now sub out instead of the regular beef patty.

The Grizzlies are looking for a digital marketing and email coordinator.

That’ll do it for now. Undecided where to go after work, although I’m leaning slightly in the direction of Max’s Sports Bar. Possibly a second post before I get out, so check back.

Heavy hitter

BREAKING NEWS: Marc Gasol is reported to have re-signed with the Grizzlies in a 5-year, $110 million deal. Gasol will have a player option after year 4.

Blind Bear regulars: There will be a special Wednesday night edition of D-RANKS with B-RAD this Wednesday. That’s right, Brad, who normally only works one shift a week, Sunday brunch, will be doing a weekday closing shift. The reason why is there will be a wedding down the street with everyone going to the Bear afterward. “We need someone experienced behind the bar, because there are going to be a lot of heavy hitters all ordering drinks at once,” Brad explained to a brunch patron yesterday. “Lots of service industry people… and people like Paul.” I’m a heavy hitter!

Union Avenue from Second to Front will be closed Wednesday at approximately 9:30 AM until at least Saturday at 8:00 AM for emergency sewer repair work. Local traffic will still have access to parking garages on Union during this period. If you take Union to work, start planning an alternate route.

Amazon will have a one-day sale with deals so good that it will dwarf Black Friday. July 15 is the day, in celebration of Amazon’s 20th birthday. The catch? You have to be a Prime member. If you’re not, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

A new improvement has come to the game of beer pong: Beer pong without the germs that get on the ball, and in the cups.

I hope you weren’t planning to eat at Central BBQ tonight, because all locations are closed today (Monday, July 6) for their annual Christmas in July employee holiday party.

I had no idea this was a thing, despite having been on a BBQ team for nine years: White BBQ sauce. It’s mayonnaise-based, rather than tomato-based or mustard-based as are most BBQ sauces we see in Memphis. The white sauce is popular in North Alabama.

Ladies, mark Thursday, July 16 on your calendar: You get a 10% discount from Quench all day that day. Also (and this applies to men as well as women), if you make a purchase at City Market, they will give you a coupon for a Quench discount.

Know what sucks? Walking home from the Farmers Market, the last 12 blocks or so in the rain, and then getting home and seeing a notification on my phone: “You have 3 free Lyft rides.”

I’m home from work, so it’s time to walk over to Bardog and be a heavy hitter at Melissa Monday. Later in the evening I will be a heavy hitter at Jeannette’s bar at Blind Bear. Time for beer. Back tomorrow with more news.

My Fireball pushers

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About a year and a half ago I posted a list of my top five Fireball pushers. If I were to revise the list now, these would be the top two: Michele from Max’s Sports Bar and Kaylea from South of Beale. Hanin and Jessica from the Goose would be on the list as well. I would have to think about who would get the fifth spot.

From Gizmodo: How to drink all day and not pass out

For those of you going to the Memphis Farmers Market this morning (and I will be joining you) here are 13 healthy kale recipes for you to enjoy. You know how, when I used to do Tube Top Month, I used to offer to buy a drink for the first woman in a tube top who asked me for one? Let’s do a variation on that this morning. I will buy a bag of kale (maximum $7 value) for the first woman in a tube top or yoga pants at the Farmers Market who asks me.

Today is the City of Memphis fireworks celebration, with fireworks being shot off the foot of Mud Island a little after 9. Beale Street Landing should have a good view of the fireworks, as should the Peabody and Madison hotels, but of which are holding watching events on their rooftops.

There will be a Memphis Shorts Festival at the Hard Rock Tuesday evening. I got all excited when I saw that, because I wear shorts almost year ’round. However, after further reading I realized that it’s a festival of short films, not short pants. The festival will happen every Tuesday during the month of July, a variety of film genres will be shown, and there will be no cover charge.

Don’t forget that there’s a beer pong tournament at Flying Saucer today. Starts at 4 PM. $10 to enter.

First July 4 in several years when I have no definite plans. I will lead off at the Farmers Market and then see where the day takes me. Happy Fourth and God Bless America!

Thursday update #2: Farmers Market/upcoming picnic, Fourth events/closings, new festival coming to The Edge, tour coming to Beale, and more

“4th on the Farm” will be the theme at this Saturday’s Memphis Farmers Market. You can buy everything you need for your Independence Day picnic, including meats, produce, spices, and even serving dishes. There will be a July 4 parade that you’re invited to join, leaving from the market at 10:30, with popsicles to cool participants off at the end of the parade. Live music by Bruce Barham 8:30-10 and Sing with Glenn 11-12:30. From 9 to noon you can design your own flag to wave at your July 4 events. 7 AM to 1 PM in the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. I will try to make it down there for a little while, although due to the long holiday weekend I am not sure whether it will be an early or late visit or a visit at my normal time.

The Market will hold its annual Rock ‘n Wild Picnic Saturday, July 25 from 5 to 8 PM. There will be food from Rock ‘n Dough Pizza and wraps by So Fresh, as well as beer by Rock ‘n Dough (in an MFM commemorative glass) and wine by Frederick Wildman and Sons. Your $30 ticket includes four drink tasting tickets, and you can buy more for $5 each. You can also buy bottles of wine for $20. You’re welcome to bring your lawn chairs, picnic blankets, or whatever you want to lounge around on as you listen to live music by The Three Kings. You can buy tickets here. There’s a special $15 ticket for those who wish to skip the alcohol or are under 21.

I’m going to have to poll my friend group and see if anyone I know is going to the picnic… I have never been, but would consider it this year. I feel like I have a stronger connection to the market than in previous years, especially after my BBQ team cooked for their 5K.

Tomorrow night, Friday, July 3, will be a big night at AutoZone Park. The Redbirds close out their homestand with a game vs. Oklahoma City, 6:05 first pitch. The ‘birds will don Independence Day uniforms and there will be Red, White and BOOM fireworks after the game. There will be two Independence Day buffet tickets available, including not only your seat, but all-you-can-eat food from 5:30 to 7 PM. For $38 per person you can get on the Third Base Party Deck and enjoy BBQ pork, BBQ chicken, hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon wedges, potato chips, assorted cookies, Coca-Cola products, and bottled water. Or, you can choose a $19 ticket for a Field Box Picnic of hot dogs, stadium brats, potato chips, assorted cookies, fruit punch, lemonade, and water.

Fun kids’ event for the Fourth: The Cookie Monster will make an appearance at Makeda’s Cookies at 488 S. Second at noon Saturday. Kids can get their photos taken with Cookie Monster and they get free ice cream with the purchase of a three-bag cookie purchase.

For adults who prefer to do the Fourth on the cheap and maybe win something, Tin Roof will hold “Star Spangled Hammered” beginning at 1 PM. There will be $1 hot dogs and $1 beers, with live music by the Wes Cook Band. Prize giveaways will happen every hour, with a grand prize at 5 PM.

Free Yoga Day: Classes are free at Downtown Yoga Saturday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 15.

An event called the Memphis International Rockabilly Festival will happen in The Edge at Monroe and Marshall the weekend of August 15-16. “Like” the festival on Facebook to keep up with news about this festival.

Les Paul’s Big Sound Tour, an exhibit of the guitar maker’s creativity and innovation, will come to Memphis Friday-Saturday, September 25-26, on Beale between Main and Second outside the Hard Rock. 30,000-50,000 people are expected.

Felicia Suzanne’s Restaurant will be closed today through the 6th for family vacations.

Ghost River will be closed on the Fourth, so if you need beer go get it tomorrow.

The Majestic Grille will be closed Saturday, with regular hours Friday and Sunday. The restaurant recently tweeted a pic of one of its summer craft cocktails, the Strawberry Lemon Smash with fresh muddled berries, Cathead Vodka, and lemon juice. Looks refreshing.

Two dogs, spaniel puppies I think, were found on Mud Island near Harbor River Drive today. The Dankos who own Kooky Canuck have them safe and sound. If a reader of mine lost the dogs, contact me at paul@paulryburn.com and I will get you in touch.

There’s a Community Communications Officer position open at MIFA.

Three day weekend has begun! Heading out to Silly Goose to kick off the celebration. Will hit other spots later, including a possible trip south.

Throwback Thursday + early morning news

I don’t normally do Throwback Thursday posts, but I found this one in the archives and thought it was worth a share.

From January 1, 2008: A first visit to Calhoun’s Sports Bar and Grill, now known as Max’s Sports Bar. I went there the second day Max’s was open. The “bartender” referred to in the post was Max himself. It looks like he more or less fulfilled his vision for the place. Hard to believe that there was a time when the bar didn’t have PBR on draft, or school lunchroom pizza on the menu.

The 17th Floor headlines tonight’s Peabody rooftop party. Special cover charge of $15 this week. Doors open at 6, ladies free until 7. Admission includes a Backyard BBQ buffet of fried chicken legs and BBQ smoked sausage (7-8 PM). If you’re in VIP there is a second buffet of BBQ chicken, potato salad, vegetable kabobs and blueberry cobbler (7-9:30 PM). Strawberry margaritas and Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade will be on special.

LUNCHBOXeats has announced it will be open on the Fourth from 10 AM to 3 PM.

The Flyer has margarita fest winners in various categories. The festival was held on the 27th and the Blue Monkey took home the big prize.

As I said yesterday, there won’t be a lunchtime post because I have an office fish fry. Possibly a post after work, so check back.

End of an era + Wednesday news

An era has come to an end. I lost my Foursquare/Swarm mayorship of the Flying Saucer last night. I had been mayor of the Saucer since early 2011, but I’m going there less these days (although I still very much consider it one of my “big five” Downtown bars). At least a good guy stole it from me. Congratulations Jeremy.

Save the date: There will be a Friday night wine tasting at Quench Friday, July 17 from 4 to 6 PM.

You don’t have to wait until the 17th to sample wines though… there’s a wine tasting TODAY. The first Wednesday of every month, Riverfront Grill in Beale Street Landing will offer free tastings of select wines. Today’s tasting starts at 4:30.

Here’s a really good deal from Spaghetti Warehouse for the 4th and 5th. Pick three entrees from a list of four, and they will serve double-sized portions of those entrees, family style, for $30. Be sure you print out the coupon and take it in for the deal.

There’s a petition going around to keep the I-55 bridge open during the redesign of the I-55/Riverside/Crump intersection. The Arkansas State Chamber has endorsed it.

From Cooking Panda: Breakfast sushi is filled with cheese, tater tots, eggs and jalapenos, and wrapped in bacon. BBQ team: Are we thinking about a breakfast-for-lunch day for 2016? This might be a recipe to bookmark.

From Bored Panda (what’s up with all the pandas today?): This $596 point-and-shoot camera’s zoom is so insane that you can see the moon moving.

It’s too bad there’s not a way people can call the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturday morning and ask if I’m up there, the way you can call a bar (for example, the Blind Bear on Sunday morning) and ask if I’m there. Such a service would be very convenient for people who are a bit obsessed with my whereabouts.

Programming note: Probably no lunchtime post tomorrow because I won’t have time. Our office is having a fish fry tomorrow catered by Boiling Point. If there’s enough news I will try to get a post online after work, or before work if I get up early enough.

A bunch of my friends are traveling back to Memphis from Cancun today. I can’t wait to hear the stories. I have a few stories to tell you, too.

I’ll lead off at Jessica’s bar at about 5:30 at Silly Goose. Trivia at the Blind Bear later in the evening. Outta here for now.

Shrimp & scallop enchiladas @ Agave Maria

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A huge group of us converged on new Downtown Mexican restaurant Agave Maria for our friend Tony’s birthday tonight. We all got menus and as usual I wanted the most expensive item on there. I ordered the shrimp and scallop enchiladas, which came in a skillet, as an entree. It did not disappoint. So rich and luscious and good. I couldn’t finish it.

Friends of mine at the table ordered the Queso Blanco, white cheese dip. Having grown up in Little Rock, widely considered one of the cheese dip capitals of the world, I was expecting to be disappointed, as I usually am with the plain white dip the authentic Mexican restaurants of the Memphis area usually trot out. Agave Maria’s was different and better though; it could hold its own in Little Rock, even challenging Mexico Chiquito, home of the best cheese dip in the world.

They don’t have PBR. :(

PRO TIP: There’s hot sauce on the table in a medicine-looking bottle. If you get the shrimp and scallop enchiladas and aren’t scared, try some. Don’t try too much though or you will regret it.

The restaurant is not even a week old and could be expected to be ironing out some kinks. The service was not a kink. They got a party of 25, not all of whom arrived at the same time, in and out in an hour and a half. I was quite happy with that. The one thing I would suggest they work on is their air conditioning. It was not bad in there but it was about 75, warmer than a lot of patrons like it.

Mainly, though, it was a real treat to hang out with this group of people on a Tuesday evening. Tony, the birthday boy, is a member of my Sunday brunch crew, along with Rahul, Nate, and our Sunday bartender B-RAD and his lovely wife Phaedra. After dinner we walked over to Blind Bear.

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That’s Tony, the birthday boy, in the middle. B-RAD is to his right. Rahul who whines if the Bear does not put enough fruit in his drink is at the far right.

B-RAD claims he’s going to grow his hair out as long as mine. He also tried to take a selfie. Phae ushered him out of there and I can see why.

One of the most classic Sunday Fun Day quotes happened sometime during this conversation (on a Tuesday) but I am not allowed to blog it.

But seriously, Agave Maria. Worth checking out. Give it a try.

It’s 51 minutes into July and I have to renew my now-expired car tags before I go to work in the morning. Guess I should go to bed. Back with a post at lunchtime. Maybe.