Downtown fire + Tuesday news

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I woke up this morning to the sound of sirens – lots and lots of sirens. When I was still hearing sirens 20 minutes after the first one, sounding like fire trucks were coming all the way from Midtown, I decided I better get up and check Twitter to see what was going on. A fire was reported on North Second across from Court Square. I got dressed and walked over there. Firefighters were climbing onto the roof of Indulging Spa Services, and a short time later I saw smoke coming from the roof of that building. I did not see any flames. Firefighters were also going in The Apothecary building next door.

As I watched the firefighters from Court Square, I noticed this new addition:

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Two game tables have been added to the public park, where you can bring your own checkers or chess pieces and have a place to play.

Did you like the Memphis Sounds jerseys the Grizzlies had on last night? They’re now being sold in the Grizzlies Store.

Speaking of the Grizzlies, first 5000 at Friday night’s game get a free jump rope.

Don’t forget that the Tigers play #8 Oklahoma in a nationally televised game on ESPN at 4 this afternoon.

A young Memphis woman was shot in the Paris attacks. A care package is being put together for her. One of the members of the Eagles of Death Metal, playing the Bataclan that night, is also from Memphis. He escaped without injury.

Holly from I Love Memphis tried the South Main Sushi and Grill which recently opened in the former Grawemeyer’s space.

Ignite Memphis is set to return this month. Ignite is a format in which 12 presenters have five minutes apiece to educate the audience on a topic of importance to them. Slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds are used in the presentation, forcing the presenters to keep things moving along.

Skarping: The Sport America Deserves combines carp fishing, basketball and water skiing, and it’s good for the environment.

Happy last day to Paul Morris who runs DMC. He moves on to his family business next.

If you have to drive tonight, you might want to check the blog. A combination of torrential rain, leaves blocking natural outlets for water flow, and darkness will make this a difficult night for driving.

Pippin begins its run at the Orpheum tonight and will be in town through Sunday.

Heading out to watch 24 Hours of College Basketball. I’ll be at Blind Bear at 4 if anyone wants to meet up and watch the Tigers.

Lunch at Oshi

Not much news to report today, so I will post photos of my lunch yesterday instead. After a few hours of D-RANKS with B-RAD, I decided I was hungry and walked across the street to Oshi Burger. Oshi is famous for its spiked milkshakes, so of course I had one.

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The Malt Shoppe milkshake is made of vanilla ice cream, malted milk, malted milk balls, and (optionally) bourbon. It was yummy! If you have kids with you or if you have to drive, you can get non-spiked versions of any of Oshi’s shakes.

As for food, the tempura green beans were a must, but what to get for the entree? In past visits I have always ordered Oshi’s burgers, which are absolutely delicious, but this time I decided to be different and order a hot dog instead. Furthermore, when I order hot dogs (in general, not just at Oshi) I tend to get chili dogs, so I decided that the dog I was going to try could not be a chili dog. I decided on the Mary Had a Little Lamb, because it features locally made lamb sausage, and I have never had lamb sausage before. It comes topped with cucumber pico and feta mint dressing. It was something different and I enjoyed my lunch very much.

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My birthday week has begun and I am off work. My actual birthday is Wednesday, but it looks like we are scheduling a birthday dinner for Thursday night because 1) more people can make it Thursday; and 2) Wednesday is a diaper party for Bloom at Bardog who has a baby on the way.

Speaking of Bardog, I guess I better run by there and make sure everything is ready for Bloom’s party. The PBR tap is a particular area of concern and I may have them pull it 5 or 6 times to verify that it is in proper working order.

Sunday update

The Moody Ques now have three trained BBQ Fest judges on the cookteam. Team pitmaster Frank, president Clay, and vice-president Erik attended the official BBQ Fest judging school yesterday. Less than 7% separated the MQs from the score of the winning shoulder team in 2015, and we are determined to narrow that gap. On Sunday, December 20, we are conducting a practice cook for experienced MiM judges. We will go through the entire presentation process as though it were BBQ Fest, and will receive feedback on what we did right and what we need to improve. View pictures of judging school here.

While we’re on the subject of the BBQ team, I want to share this thank-you note we got from the Memphis Farmers Market.

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We cooked for the Market’s 10th birthday celebration, MFM@TEN, on September 20. Our brisket sliders and pulled pork were very well received. We love the Farmers Market and hope to cook for you again in your eleventh year.

I was back at the Farmers Market yesterday after taking a couple of months off. I missed the place. Where was the So Fresh juice truck? I can’t be the bad, bad man with the smoothie in his hand at the market without my smoothie!

The Grizzlies are debuting awesome-looking Memphis Sounds uniforms for the game against the OKC Thunder tomorrow night at FedExForum. The throwback uniforms pay tribute to the Memphis Sounds who played in the ABA 1974-75.

The Beale Street Big Wheel Relay Race is coming up Sunday, November 28. Four-person teams will compete at 1 PM. Fill out your application to compete here.

Here’s an article on pairing beers with Thanksgiving dinner.

Everyone’s in an uproar that Starbucks’ cups aren’t Christmassy enough. In the meantime, there’s another holiday ad that is far worse. Bloomingdale’s: Spike Your Best Friend’s Eggnog When They’re Not Looking. Promoting sexual assault to sell merchandise, Bloomingdale’s? Not cool at all.

Andrew Cabigao plays the Green Beetle’s Live Music Sunday tonight at 7:30.

Weird sports weekend. The Tigers lost to Houston. Ronda Rousey lost. And the Arkansas Razorbacks have a chance to go to the SEC title game, according to SEC Country. They would need to win out, have Alabama lose to Auburn (unlikely) and have Ole Miss beat Mississippi State. I find myself once again in the unpleasant position of having to root for Ole Miss.

I wonder if the playoff committee would consider a four-loss SEC champion? Probably not. I do think the Hogs will be knocking on the door of the Top 25 this week though.

You can pay someone $10 to end your relationship via text.

That’ll do it for this post. Heading out to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear. It’s Hung Over Like a Bear Brunch and I will have some PBRs and maybe a mimosa or two.


Saturday update

The Memphis Tigers kick off the regular season tonight at 7 with a game against Southern Miss at FedExForum. The next game, however, is one of particular interest: On Tuesday, November 17, the Tigers are part of ESPN’s 24 hours of college basketball, playing Oklahoma on ESPN at 4 PM that afternoon. I’ll be off work, anyone want to go to this? Hit me up on text or Facebook. I haven’t been to a Tigers game in a while.

Need to go to Arkansas this weekend? Take I-40. One lane of the I-55 bridge will be closed.

Today at 5, Santa arrives at Bass Pro at the Pyramid for their Magical Tree Lighting and Santa’s Wonderland Unveiling. November 14, Bass Pro? Isn’t this a little bit early? I guess studies by the marketing department showed that this is the optimal weekend for Santa. In any case, they’re giving away $25 gift cards every half hour, so you might win some money to spend on a camo jacket or fishing rod.

This is so stupid: Tennessee attorneys are suing DraftKings and FanDuel for illegal gambling. This comes days after the New York Attorney General issued an opinion that the two one-day fantasy football leagues are games of chance rather than games of skill. I mean, seriously… just let people do what they want. As someone who hasn’t been able to play online poker for money for nearly five years, I support keeping the fantasy football leagues legal… and online poker, too.

A weekend of science continues at the Orpheum tonight with Jamie and Adam Unleashed: It’s Myth Busters, Jamie’s Farewell Tour. Audience members will join the hosts of the show on stage to aid the hosts in their not-always-orthodox approach to science.

My BBQ team the Moody Ques is seeking an at-large board member. This is a new position created to get new blood in the team leadership every year. The selected member would be intimately involved in the planning for BBQ Fest as well as for regional events and practice cooks. If interested email

Eric Crays and Friends play the Center for Southern Folklore tonight at 8.

I love living in Number 10 Main. This week I ran into my landlord Henry at Bardog, and he told me that we’re getting rooftop upgrades: A fire pit, an outdoor TV, and two new grills. That fire pit will be nice and will be a hub around which neighbors can socialize and get to know one another. Henry also told me we’re having Amy LaVere for our Christmas party. If you’re looking for a place to live Downtown, check out Number 10 for sure.

#21 Memphis vs. #24 Houston is on ESPN2 at 6 PM tonight. Winner of this game is likely headed to the Peach Bowl.

High Cotton brewery is having a Sunday Fun Day Art Show tomorrow beginning at 1 PM. It will be curated by Dorothy Art. There will be $3.50 pint specials and the Gourmade food truck will be on site.

Memphis and Atlanta models will walk the catwalk for the Certified Curves Mission: Born Thik Fashion Show tomorrow at Hard Rock Cafe at 1 PM.

In case you haven’t been following the news the past 24 hours, go check CNN. Shootings and bombings at six locations in Paris including the national soccer stadium. Gunmen fired into a concert hall for 10 to 15 minutes. 128 total dead and another 183 injured. ISIS is claiming responsibility. France supported the US in the aftermath of 9/11 and it is time for us to return the favor.

That’s the news for this Saturday. Time for me to hit Publish and get out and about. The farmers market is my first stop today, followed by brunch with Bloom at Bardog. With Memphis-Houston and Arkansas-LSU to watch in the evening, I don’t anticipate taking a “halftime” break today.

Friday update 2

Sitting here eating red beans & rice from Court House Deli. Might as well do a second Friday post while I eat. If you’ve never been to Court House, you are missing out – they have some delicious food at quite reasonable prices. I like to get the red beans & rice “fully loaded,” topped with cheese, jalapeños, and onions. I get the chili there the same way.

I hate to start the post with bad news, but that’s the news that has to be reported: The founder of Charlie’s Meat Market, Charlie Hogan, has passed away at the age of 84. Downtowners who very rarely go east of Danny Thomas are willing to drive out to Summer to purchase what are widely considered the best meats in town.

More residential is coming to The Edge. The building across from the Wonder Bread factory, 427 Madison, has been purchased by a local investor and will be renovated into two high-end apartments. Residents of those apartments will have a short walk to great restaurants in The Edge like Evelyn & Olive and Trolley Stop Market.

Please take a moment to read this WREG story: Transgender woman says her sexuality is being used to keep her from seeing her children. I have known Maddie, the woman who is the subject of the story, for almost 10 years. She has never been happier with who she is now that she is a woman. I have seen her with her kids and she is a great parent. I hope the court does the right thing, giving Maddie access to her kids once again and setting a precedent for other transgender parents.

The Grizzlies play a home game against Portland tonight, Tip-off is set for 7 PM.

I almost overlooked this, but there is going to be a really neat event at the Orpheum tonight: ArcAttack, a performance spanning the worlds of rock music and science.

That’ll do it for now. In a little while I will head over to the Monroe Avenue Branch Office to do some research about a beer that once won a blue ribbon.

Street closure, Farmers Market and more Friday news

Monroe Avenue from Front to Main will be closed Sunday from 7 AM until about 1 PM for equipment repair to be done at Brinkley Plaza. If you need to travel down Monroe Sunday morning, plan an alternate route.

Savor the Season is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. Savor the goods at the market while you can… there are only two markets left this year. From 9 to 11 kids are invited to make Thanksgiving wreaths. It’s World Diabetes Day and folks from the UT College of Pharmacy will be on hand to take blood pressure readings, answer questions, and discuss lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Live music by Paul Waits 8:30-10 and Kim Hummel 11-12:30. The market is under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson from 8 AM to 1 PM Saturdays.

The trolleys will stage a South Main comeback. Rep. Steve Cohen announced yesterday that MATA had received a $2.6 million grant to purchase three electric rail cars.

In other “it’s about time” transportation news, the U of M has started planning a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. There are tens of thousands of the “20 minutes late to class because I parked on Southern and there was a train” club who are rejoicing right now.

They don’t serve food there, but in honor of Downtown Dining Week Life Is Good will have $20.15 tees through Sunday.

Yesterday I was in the Blind Bear when a liquor rep came in and showed the bartender Captain Morgan’s latest product, Captain Morgan Cannon Blast.

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The rep said, “Personally, I think it tastes like Froot Loops.” “YES!” Mary replied. They are trying to capture some of Fireball’s market with this new drink.

High Cotton is the latest local brewery to get in on the coffee + beer action. Sunday they will be rolling out their newest beer, a combination of Dr. Beans Coffee and their dry-hopped Baller Brown.

If you need a little help getting into the Thanksgiving spirit, here’s a video of The Undertaker making a surprise appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and hitting the Tombstone piledriver on a man in a turkey suit.

Random article of the day: Having a cat can lead to mental illness

I’m taking a few weeks off work, so if you see me out and about Downtown during the day don’t be surprised. Hmmm… if I remember correctly, Double J does its chicken fried lunch special on Wednesdays… and it just so happens that next Wednesday is my birthday. I may have to check that out. Outta here for now, possibly a second post later in the day.

Thursday update

I will start off this post with an event that I have mentioned once before, but want to mention again: Hunger is a major problem in Shelby County with 175,000 people suffering, nearly double the state average. These are not people who are criminals or addicts; they are simply people who are down on their luck. Sunday’s Best is a local nonprofit that hopes to feed as many as 200 people on Thanksgiving. A donation of only $10 will show a family of four the meaning of charity, and hopefully they will pass it on when they get to a better place in their lives. This is not just some random organization that emailed and asked to be mentioned in the blog; these are my friends. Rahul and Tony of fruity drink fame are involved in this, as is B-RAD who serves me D-RANKS on Sunday. I have personal knowledge that your money will be going to a good cause.

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Another opportunity to help feed the hungry happens next Tuesday, November 17, at the condos at 648 Riverside Drive. The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s “Do Good with Food” party will stock the pantry of the Mid-South Food Bank. Come have fun with your neighbors while providing food for those in need.

Tony Bennett returns to the Orpheum on Friday, December 18. Tickets are now on sale.

The Flyer’s Susan Ellis has photos from India Fest at the Agricenter last Saturday. I love Indian food.

The Daily News has an excellent article about the Arcade Restaurant, thriving since 1919.

From High Ground News: A new nonprofit has hopes of increasing technology-related jobs in Memphis in the next 10 years

Billy Joel will play the FedExForum Friday, March 25.

From the Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog: Bedrock’s pork enchilada omelet. Bedrock Eats & Sweets is at the corner of Main and Vance in the old Frank’s location.

There will be a Bacon & Bourbon class with Pigasus Cured Meats at 387 Pantry on Saturday, November 21 6:30 to 9 PM.

The Daily News has an article about my friends Dennis and Mary Pat who climbed a mountain for St. Jude. Dennis and Mary Pat are residents of Madison, Alabama and maintain a condo part-time in Downtown Memphis.

That’ll do it for now. I plan on being the usual spots for happy hour, and I may bend my schedule to make it to the pop-up farmers market at 387 Pantry tonight as well.



Ride the Roo to Downtown Dining Week and more news

Midtowners, Ride the Roo is doing a Downtown shuttle for Downtown Dining Week. Here are the details, which I copied from Facebook. “Diners headed downtown for Downtown Dining Week can “Ride The Roo” Monday 11/9 – Sunday 11/15 and avoid parking. Each day of Downtown Dining Week, The Roo will leave Cooper Young at 5pm, arrive Downtown by 5:30 and repeat each hour. The last pick up in Midtown is at 9pm and the last Downtown departure is at 9:30pm. Pricing is $6 one-way $10 round-trip.”

Bardog has Jameson for $5 all during the month of November.

A band called Kites plays the High Cotton taproom Friday at 8.

Local Memphis has a good article on Jeff Johnson, owner of both Local locations, Oshi, Agave Maria, and a food truck. His businesses supply over 100 jobs to Memphis.

Regions Bank is consolidating its two Downtown branches into one.

Quench is having a wine tasting Friday 3:30-5:30 to help you find wines to serve with your Thanksgiving dinner.

Time to get this posted and head to work. Looks like I have BBQ plans after work. We’re putting together a sponsor packet for 2016. By the way, you remember the BBQ judging school I mentioned last week? Moody Ques cooks Frank, Erik and Clay are going this Saturday. We’re serious about being a threat to the top 10 at BBQ Fest next year.

All right, outta here. Possibly back with a post at lunch or after work.

Farmers market, Facebook tip and more (Mon update #2)

Back with an after-work post. I rode the elevator up with my neighbor and BBQ teammate Peter. He congratulated me on being named Director of PR for the team, although he commented, “They left out the B.”

Style Blueprint has a really good article about Jill Forrester of Trolley Stop Market and Whitton Farms. Forrester says she is a zealous supporter of Memphis Farmers Market, and that there would be no Trolley Stop Market if MFM did not exist. Six years’ worth of sales at the Farmers Market allowed her and her family to save up enough money to open Trolley Stop.

Speaking of farmers markets: There will be a special mid-week farmers market at 387 Pantry on South Main Thursday of this week from 5:30 to 8:00. Wilson Gardens is doing some great things on its organic farm. Fuel Food Truck will be on site. Come pick up some produce, browse all the goodies in the pantry, and check out recipes using pantry goods and Wilson Gardens fresh produce.

Here’s a tidbit about Facebook privacy options that may be useful to some of my readers: If someone has you on their Close Friends list or has Get Notifications enabled for you, if you hide a post or photo from them at the time you post, they won’t be able to see it, but they will still get a notification that you posted. If you post a link to a web page, they will briefly see the page’s title. If you post a photo, they will briefly see a thumbnail of the photo in their notifications.

The 17th edition of South Main Songwriter Night happens this Friday at South Main Sounds, 550 South Main, beginning at 7 PM. Steve Black, Vanessa Winter, Frankie Hollie, Jason Middlekauff, Roger Wild and Rebecca Almond are among the talent that will be showcased. There is no cover but tips and donations are encouraged. Beverages will be available.

From Mashable: The latest victim of climate change is good beer.

Historian Jimmy Ogle will give a free tour of Court Square and its surroundings tomorrow at lunchtime, 11:45 AM.

That’s it for now. Time for Melissa Monday at Bardog. I hope I get a seat but given that it’s Downtown Dining Week, I can’t count on it.

Monday update

Yesterday was a classic Sunday Fun Day at Blind Bear. When all three of FML – Feeny, Mary, Lacey (the first two of whom are now roommates) are all there, you can always count on getting some good quotes.

B-RAD put Pandora on the Classic Soul BBQ station for Sunday brunch. A song came on and Mary commented, “I sang this to Feeny’s cat last night.”

Later, Feeny said that she has always wanted to stick her head in a marsupial pouch. “I want to make friends with a kangaroo.”

I did have to leave the Bear for a couple of hours to go over to the Silly Goose for a BBQ team meeting. With team president Moody leaving for a job in Texas, the board of directors of the team had to be changed. Vice-president Clay moves up to president, with cookteam member Erik taking over the vice-president role. Moody will retain a seat on the board as General Counsel and will be back for BBQ Fest ’16.

A couple of other board changes were made: I was appointed to the board as Director of PR, and a yet-to-be-filled At Large position was created. This position will rotate from year to year, getting fresh blood on the board and giving team members an opportunity to step up. If you are interested in the At Large position, let us know.

On to the news: The Redbirds are hiring a Manager of Ticket Operations.

I’ve mentioned all of these before, but in case you missed it, the Flyer has information on five new Downtown projects.

For those new to town, get ready for the first Saturday in December, because it is a day when a LOT happens Downtown. The St. Jude Marathon is that morning. The Beale Street holiday parade is that afternoon. The SEC championship game will be on TV. The Tigers play Southeast Missouri at FedExForum at 6. At 7 is the Stumbling Santa pub crawl beginning at the Flying Saucer, a massive toy drive that draws over 1200 Santas. It will be a busy, busy day indeed and those of us who take “halftime” naps probably won’t get the chance. For those wondering, yes I do plan on participating in Stumbling Santa this year. I’ll have more to say about it as the date gets closer.

The beers of Bell’s Brewery enter the Memphis Market this week. From November 9 until December 31, every time you buy a Bell’s beer at the Flying Saucer, you will be given a slip of paper on which to write the name of your favorite school. On New Year’s Eve, the name of the winning school will be drawn, and that school will receive a donation of 25 cents for each Bell’s beer that was purchased over the 7-week period.

Brunch tip I will pass on from one of my BBQ teammates: He highly praised the red fish and grits at Automatic Slim’s.

The American Queen is docked in Memphis for the holiday season and tours will be available November 14 through December 26. The American Queen is the world’s largest riverboat.

Tentative plan for tonight: Melissa Monday at Bardog, then over to the Blind Bear to watch football. I say “tentative” because those are both Downtown Dining Week locations, and if they are too crowded I may skip one or both and go to the Saucer instead. In any event, I will be out somewhere around 5:30.