Tuesday update #2: A couple of fundraisers and more news

Let’s serve up this second helping of Tuesday news before I go out.

The Jeff Johnson Restaurant Group will be collaborating with Chef Brown Burch for a charity dinner supporting Best Buddies of Tennessee. The dinner will be at Agave Maria from 7-9 PM Sunday, January 24. It will be a Latin-themed dinner with seasonal items sourced locally. Here’s the menu:

1st: Snapper crudo – jicama, pomegranate, chicharon, aji Amarillo vinaigrette

2nd: Braised kale taquitos – cotija crème & black bean dip

3rd: Chiliquiles – burnt salsa, duck carnitas, soft cooked egg

4th: Confit pork belly – refried pinto beans, radish salad

5th: Tres leches cake – dulce de leche, passion fruit

A wine pairing will be available for purchase on location the night of the event.

Memphis Made Brewery will have a fundraiser of its own, Half Pints for Half Pints, Saturday February 6 from 7 to 10 PM. Attendees will get Memphis Made beer as well as food from Central BBQ, Sweetgrass, Mulan and Celtic Crossing. There will be a silent auction, music by DJ Zac Ives of Goner Records, and you will be able to watch the Grizzlies in Memphis Made’s new private lounge. All proceeds benefit Cooper-Young’s Peabody Elementary PTA.

Registration deadline to sign up for Memphis City Football Club tryouts is tomorrow at 6 PM. Tryouts will be held January 7, 8, and 9 from 5-8 PM each night in Cordova. To try out you must pay a $53 fee and be at least 16.

A French startup called DietSensor is releasing a Bluetooth gadget you can use to scan your food that will detect its chemical makeup and analyze the food’s nutritional content. It’s pocket-sized and sends its data to your phone.

Job opening: St. Jude is seeking a Consortium Manager to assist the International Outreach Director.

Roald Dahl’s MATILDA the Musical, playing at the Orpheum next Tuesday through Sunday, will feature Memphian Lily Brooks O’Briant sharing the title role.

This morning on WREG Live at 9, chef John May from the Flying Fish demonstrated how to make the Fish’s grilled catfish with Vera Cruz sauce.

First 3000 fans at the FedExForum Friday for the Grizzlies vs. Denver get this scarf.

Leading off at the Silly Goose this evening to hang out with my friend Air Traffic Mike for one more day. His brother John, in town with ATM, witnessed my antics Saturday at the Blind Bear and asked, “How is THAT guy such a good writer?” Time for some PBRs and hopefully not more than one or two Fireballs. Back tomorrow.

Luxury Riverside condo for rent + Tuesday news

Ever thought about living right next to the Mississippi River on Riverside Drive? A friend of mine is looking to rent his 1BR/1BA condo in the 648 Riverside building. Some of the amenities include 15-foot ceilings, stainless appliances, a full gym, a rooftop with grills, concrete floors, granite counter tops, granite in the bathroom with tub with shower and separate standing shower, lobby with pool table, and great security with controlled access. $1395 a month. The link has lots of photos. The landlord is someone I have known for years, owner of his own successful company, and my BBQ teammate.

Tonight at Trolley Stop Market, there will be a free showing of Robert Gordon’s STAX documentary “Respect Yourself” at 7 PM. The market will have pizza and beer specials. The market is in the 700 block of Madison in the Edge district.

Know a nonprofit that could benefit from some free high-level talent? New Memphis Fellows is seeking applications for Community Action Projects (CAPs) for nonprofits.

Sad to hear about the passing of Dale Bumpers, who was governor of Arkansas when I was a baby and went on to represent Arkansas in the Senate for many years. Bumpers was a true statesman and someone who treated his colleagues with respect no matter which side of the aisle they were on. They just don’t make ’em like Dale Bumpers anymore, and that’s unfortunate.

The next Grizzlies beer tasting night is Friday vs. Denver. This special ticket gets you samplings of craft beers, a pint glass, and a seat for the game. Featured beers this Friday are Stella Artois, Stella Cidra, Shock Top, Blue Point, and Goose Island. Special ticket must be purchased by Thursday. $77.50/$38.50. Event starts at 5, game at 7.

Sunday afternoon, the folks at Max’s Sports Bar got a surprise: Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema came in. Bielema must have heard that Max was a Hogs fan and decided to pay his bar a visit.

Useful: This Chrome extension blocks all mentions of Donald Trump

For those of you who are parents: A new toy caterpillar that teaches preschoolers how to code

Thrillist has the best 12 happy hours in Memphis. Several of my Downtown favorites made the list.

Local has posted some of the things you will see when its Downtown location re-opens post-renovations on Friday: A new menu, a new downstairs lounge, more TVs, a new sound system, a new back bar, new lighting, new tables, and updated restrooms.

I had a fine fourth day of 2016 yesterday. I went to Melissa Monday at Bardog, then received notification that my friend Air Traffic Mike was in town and had decided to stay until Wednesday. He was at the Blind Bear and it was an enjoyable evening with old friends and new. He got to meet Mary behind the bar and Chicken Fried Steak Rodger sitting down the bar from him. I hope to hang out with ATM again tonight.

There may be a second post after work, so check back.

Monday update

Before I get to the news, I just want to make this statement: I LOVE MY FRIENDS. This weekend was just about perfect, with lots of fun times watching football at Max’s Sports Bar and having drinks at the Blind Bear. 2016 is off to a great start and I am grateful that I have so many wonderful people with whom I spent the past three days.

The Nuh-Uh Girl was definitely a ray of sunshine Downtown this week. She’s known on this blog for eating other people’s food and to a lesser extent going “nuh uh!” when trivia answers are proposed (she only did that once though). What she’s known for in person is her cheerful, infectious personality that makes everyone’s day brighter. It was a pleasure to have her back in town for a little while.

My friend Morgan got me good Saturday night: She stole my phone when I wasn’t looking and posted drunk photos of me to my own Facebook timeline. That was pretty funny! I guess I will have to put a lock code on the phone.

Moody Ques: I posted an update on the team website this morning. We’re doing a practice presentation for judges this month, we have a meet & greet in February, and we are cooking for two regionals in April. There is also dues information and we are getting a packet together for potential sponsors.

The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) will have its annual gumbo cookoff and Mardi Gras celebration Sunday, January 24 at BRIDGES from 4:30 to 7 PM. You will be able to sample gumbo from 16 teams, drink some craft beer, listen to some jazz, and watch awards get handed out for best gumbo and for local Champions of Equality. Although I have never been to this event, I have heard from friends that it is a really good time.

Dropkick Murphys are coming to the New Daisy February 24 as part of their 20 year tour. They will have special guests Tiger Army and Darkbuster.

MPD has released photos of the people who stole Nick the pug from his walkers on Carolina Avenue on Friday.

Like wine? Want to support Make-a-Wish Mid-South? The sixth annual Wine for Wishes happens at the Cadre Building Thursday, February 25. Tickets are $55 in advance or $65 at the door.

Downtown Yoga is starting a 6-week beginner series on Wednesday nights at 6:45, starting this Wednesday, January 6. The fee is $50. Less than ten dollars a class? Not a bad deal.

Local Downtown will be closed this week for remodeling. They plan to be open again by Friday in time for Grizzlies pre-gaming.

I have a lot more news and not enough time. Possibly a second post after work. If not, there may be an extra-long one tomorrow. I will be at Bardog for Melissa Monday for happy hour tonight, then over to the Blind Bear as usual.

Happy anniversary to The Giant Hole

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One month ago today, on December 3, 2015, a crew dug this massive hole on Monroe between Front and Main. A month later, the hole is still here, blocking off the west-bound lane of Monroe. This is an eyesore, a nuisance, and most of all a traffic hazard. There are four restaurants on this block – Flight, the deli in Brinkley Plaza, Bardog, and The Little Tea Shop – and it’s difficult for food suppliers to make deliveries thanks to this hole.  Mayor Strickland, I don’t know if you read this blog, but if you do, can we get something done about this? In addition to traffic problems, I am told that the digging has messed up phone service in the area, costing businesses money on delivery orders.

Miss Cordelia’s, the grocery store on Mud Island, has some deli positions open both day and night shifts. Inquire within if interested.

A thief stole Nick the pug from a woman who was paid to walk him. The robbery occurred on Carolina between Riverside and Florida. They got the license plate number of the getaway car and it had been carjacked earlier that day in Hickory Hill. Later that day, a woman contacted the owners and said she had the dog. They met at Whitehaven Walmart where the owners paid ransom and got the dog back.

This is the second dog robbery I have heard of Downtown in three months. If you’re a dog owner Downtown, be careful with your pet. The robberies seem to happen on the outskirts of Downtown (the other one was on A.W. Willis), so be especially aware if you live in such an area.

I have to disagree with an item on this Foursquare list: The 7 best places to drink imported beer in Memphis. OK, don’t get me wrong. I love Earnestine & Hazel’s. It’s a great place to drink a domestic beer. It’s a great place to get a Soul Burger. It’s a great place to listen to the jukebox. It’s a great place to go upstairs and sit at Nate’s bar. The atmosphere is second to none. In my early days Downtown, the 2002-07 era when there weren’t many locals’ bars, I hung out there nearly every weekend. I made out with a 19-year-old girl from L.A. on my 35th birthday at E&H. I love the place. But it is not known for imported beers. Aldo’s Pizza Pies and the Flying Saucer would be my Downtown picks for imports. If you want to take the beer home or to your hotel, check out City Market and Jack’s Food Store.

But really, why waste your money on imported beer when you can have the Cadillac of beers, PBR, for less?

Should asking a chef to “hold the rice” at a sushi restaurant get you kicked out? Before you think “are there people who would actually do that?”, let me assure you that there are. At the sushi buffets of Germantown, there is a woman who is known for getting an extra plate. She then loads up with nigiri, detaching the rice from the fish and putting it on the plate, not eating it to leave more room in her stomach for fish. After seeing a mountain of rice on her plate, the chef came over and yelled at her and told her she had to eat the rice in the future, or she would be asked to leave. So she started getting bowls of soup from the buffet, and hiding the rice in the soup.

By now you’re probably thinking, “It’s the Nuh-Uh Girl, isn’t it?” Yes of course it is.

Congratulations to my Arkansas Razorbacks on a fine 45-23 victory over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl yesterday. I watched the game at Max’s Sports Bar and there were a group of Kansas State fans at the table by the door. “How confident are you in your team?” they asked. I told them my confidence level was pretty high. “Not so much for us,” they said. “We’re only here because Iowa State doesn’t know how to spike a ball.”

The MacBook is almost dead so it’s time to hit Publish and put it on the charger. D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear is first up, of course. I need to catch up with my BBQ team. We had a cook’s meeting yesterday, and as Director of PR I am supposed to attend those to gather news to report to the team. However, they scheduled the meeting at the exact time the Liberty Bowl started, so watching the Razorbacks took priority. I asked the cooks to take good notes and hopefully I will sync up with them today. Time for a memorable Sunday Fun Day to cap off this long holiday weekend.

No food is as tasty as other people’s food: A New Year’s Day recap

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Yesterday I led off at Bardog as indicated on my blog, but while having my first beer I learned that the Nuh-Uh Girl and BBQ team pitmaster Frank planned on watching the Outback Bowl at Max’s Sports Bar. That sounded like a plan so I paid my tab and walked south.

I walked in at the same time as Frank and Nuh-Uh and we were joined a little later by our friend Chad MO. Chad decided some food would help him wake up so he asked Max for a menu. He got the school lunchroom pizza, the same stuff you were served in elementary school; yes, they have that as Max’s. As soon as his food came out the Nuh-Uh Girl appeared by his side.

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The Nuh-Uh Girl got mad at me for rooting for Northwestern. “You should root for SEC schools,” she told me. In general I do, but Tennessee and Ole Miss are just too douchey for me to even consider it. The Nuh-Uh Girl sang “Rocky Top” every time the Vols scored, and it was nice to see that she has found other uses for her mouth besides eating.

Tennessee won, which made the Nuh-Uh Girl happy.

The walk north

With the game over a little after 2, I decided it was time to walk to Beale Street to get a good spot for the Liberty Bowl parade. On the way there I made a couple of discoveries which were blogworthy.

2016-01-01 14.28.45There’s a new Little Free Library at Main and Vance. Little Free Libraries are community book exchanges where you can leave a book that you would like to share with others, or take a book if you see one that interests you (of course, it is hoped you will return it when done). This is a neat concept and I am happy to see one Downtown.

I have the sneaking suspicion, though, that at some point in the near future I am going to be approached with the following: “Hey. Sir. Sir. Sir. Hey. Hey. Big time, over here. Look here, sir. I got this book on needlepoint that I’m trying to sell. If you went to the bookstore it would be about ten dolla. I’ll give it to you for ’bout fitty two cent.”

Farther up the street, I saw this note posted on the door of the Chisca.

2016-01-01 14.32.38LYFE Kitchen, the new restaurant to open soon in the Chisca, is hiring, LYFE Kitchen is a restaurant concept that sells healthy food at about the same speed and cost as fast food. It should do well down here. KALE!

The parade

I got there at 2:30 thinking I would surely beat the crowd and get the spot I wanted. I was wrong! The street was a sea of purple. Kansas State showed up!

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2016-01-01 15.36.34 HDRWe got a spot next to King’s Palace Cafe’s outdoor bar, which was convenient for purchasing Big Ass Beers. Bones, Mike, Shane and Leigh, and Stevie G and Sarah were there representing Squeal Street BBQ; Frank and I were there representing the Moody Ques; and the Nuh-Uh Girl was there representing people who eat Squeal Street’s and the Moody Ques’ food.

The Nuh-Uh Girl pointed out that there are only about 4 men in Memphis who are not members of the “I touched the Nuh-Uh Girl’s boob” club. I realized I was one of them, so I touched the Nuh-Uh Girl’s boob.

I have to hand it to Kansas State… I can’t root for your team today, but you guys really impressed me. I like schools whose fans show up for the Liberty Bowl in large numbers and are polite and well-behaved but know how to have fun. A friend of mine who used to be a Fireball rep went to Manhattan, Kansas and told me it is one heck of a party town. I can believe it.

No thanks, we wouldn’t be interested in thousands of dollars in extra revenue

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I just don’t get this at all.

After about 50 minutes at the parade, I got tired of shivering and looking at the back of people’s heads. I caught a strand of beads but there wasn’t much else to keep me there. I decided it was time to get some blackeyed peas and collard greens. I walked north, passing the Flying Saucer.

Note that all the chairs are up in the photo above. The Saucer was closed. I posted the pic to Facebook and was told, “We always open at 5 on New Year’s Day.” Yes. I know that. I have been a regular at the Saucer for over a decade; I know what time you open. However, this New Year’s Day was different from the previous ones. This was the first New Year’s when there were SIX THOUSAND PEOPLE A BLOCK AWAY watching a parade. Those people are going to be looking for places to pre-game and post-game the parade. And you’re right there at Second and Peabody place. They are going to see you before they see any other bars. And a bar that sells 200 different beers? That’s a pretty appealing concept. You guys would have been PACKED. I’m not saying I would have opened the place at 11, but I sure would’ve got open by 1.

When I posted about this on Facebook, Shawn from Kooky Canuck commented, “Thank you very much.” No kidding. I bet Kooky pulled in an extra two grand of revenue, and I’m probably being too conservative with that estimate, because the Saucer was closed.

Luck times two

2015 wasn’t the best year for me. January and December were good months but the rest of the year pretty much sucked. For 2016 I wasn’t taking any chances. I was definitely going to get some blackeyed peas and collards for good luck… and besides, I like blackeyed peas and collards. The Blind Bear had them, so that’s where I went.2016-01-01 16.04.17

(The thing about the Blind Bear being so dark is, it’s almost impossible to get good photos in there. I had to do some serious lightness/saturation adjustment in The GIMP to get the food looking as yummy in this photo as it looked in real life.)

Later I wandered over to Bardog, where they also had blackeyed peas and greens on special. I had a bowl there too.

2016-01-01 20.26.11As you can see, they mix the greens in with the peas at Bardog, whereas at the Bear they serve them separately. I like both and don’t have a preference for one over the other.

On to the news

If you’re going to the Liberty Bowl and don’t want to deal with the hassle of traffic and parking near the stadium, there are free shuttles running from satellite lots at locations around town. Tickets for the game have sold out.

If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, Marvel Universe Live is at the FedExForum this weekend.

Here’s an article about ’90s women’s fashion. I would like to see #7, the boob tube top, make a comeback. However, rather than pairing it with baggy cargo pants, let’s update the look and pair it with yoga pants instead.

Pregnant women: Here’s a device you can insert inside your vagina so your fetus can listen to music.

From Whiskey Riff: The 36 things that happen when you get drunk on Fireball. I’ll add number 37: Pictures of you appear on Colin’s Facebook page.

From Food & Wine: Here’s why a Bloody Bull is better than a Bloody Mary.  A Bloody Bull is a Bloody Mary enriched with beef broth. Sounds good; I will have to ask B-RAD if he’s ever made one of those.

Recommendation for WWE Network subscribers: Go to the Vault and watch the Mid-South Wrestling episode from October 27, 1982. The main event is one of the most famous matches in MSW history and one I saw when it originally aired: Mid-South Tag Team Champions the Junkyard Dog and Mr. Olympia defend against Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne in a no-disqualification match, with the person getting pinned to leave town for 90 days. The title defense was supposed to be against Ted DiBiase and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, but Duggan got detained (promoters weren’t sure why exactly) and could not be present for the match. It was a special week on MSW because the Louisiana State Fair was going on, and the carnival barker, dressed in a gorilla suit, brought a group of boys over to watch the show.

Happy birthday to the Blind Bear’s biggest drama queen, Rahul. Sorry I didn’t make it out to your sushi party last night. I will have a fruity drink with you tomorrow.

Time to wrap up this long post and get this day started. As usual I will lead off at Bardog for brunch with Bloom, then a quick trip to the Blind Bear to say hello to Mary then south to Max’s to watch the Liberty Bowl. It’s time to CALL THOSE HOGS!!!


Bardog is open. Hogs fans, come pre-game for the Liberty Bowl parade with me.

The nice thing about where I live is that there is a bar that opens at 8 AM on weekdays – Bardog Tavern, on Monroe between Front and Main. It’s across from The Giant Hole in the street (you can’t miss it).

Bardog has proved to be a great place to pre-game for the Liberty Bowl parade. Last year a large group of West Virginia fans showed up and my BBQ teammate Mardoqueo and I had a blast telling them all the things to do that locals know about. This year it’s even better. MY team is here. Arkansas. The Razorbacks. The Hogs. If you are in town for the Liberty Bowl I invite you to come pre-game with me. I’ll be the guy with long hair with the Arkansas sweatshirt on and plan on being there from about 10:30 to 2:30. Come join me!

(Edited to add: They serve breakfast until 11 and then they have a great lunch menu. Try the Amazing Island Club!)