A first visit to Pontotoc Lounge

You’d think it wouldn’t have taken me three months to get to Pontotoc Lounge, the new jazz lounge on South Main in the former Cafe Pontotoc space. It’s only about 7 blocks from where I live, and it was opened by Daniel Masters (Silly Goose/Civil Pour) who I have known for 14 years. I’m a creature of habit, though, and it took me a while to break out of my regular rotation. Finally, Holly’s post last week made me realize I needed to get down there and try this place for myself.

I got there about 4:30, not long after opening, and was the first one there. This is the kind of place I like – classy and elegant, but not pretentious. Soft jazz was playing on the speakers and they have live jazz later in the evenings on some days.

They have PBR in 16 ounce cans for $3. I got one with my early dinner, although on a future visit I want to come back and let bartender Cady make me one of Pontotoc’s specialty cocktails. The thing about Daniel’s bars is, he spends quite a bit of time in New York studying the latest cocktail trends, and he brings what he learned back to Memphis and trains his staff. You can always count on getting a good drink at one of his places.

As for what to eat, the Mississippi Pot Roast Holly blogged about looked amazing, but I wasn’t hungry enough. Therefore, I decided to order two appetizers: The Trout Deviled Eggs and the Alligator Fritters.

The trout deviled eggs were delicious – I have loved deviled eggs since I was a child – and I thought getting four of them for $6 was a very good value. The alligator fritters were different from other places I have had alligator in that their consistency was more like that of crab cakes. They came with remoulade sauce and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Service was excellent. I bet this place has a great vibe later in the evening when more people are gathered. I will be back.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I may take a couple of days off from this blog. I have a technical interview Friday morning with a company I would really love to work for, and I want to spend lots of time preparing. So, if it’s a few days before I’m back with a new post, please forgive me.

Tuesday update

Got a question for my readers who live in the Shrine Building: HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO SLEEP? At 3:45 this morning I heard the sound of construction equipment and jackhammers digging more holes on Monroe as they have been doing for over two years. I can hear it a block away. I can’t imagine what it must be like actually living on Monroe. I understand why they do it early, so as not to disrupt traffic, but is disrupting sleep in a residential neighborhood any better?

Twitter account to follow: @mem_saysnomore. Memphis Says No More is a nonprofit whose mission is to end sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence in our city. It’s not the most pleasant issue to discuss but it’s one that we cannot afford to sweep under the rug.

On to a lighter subject: chips.

The Tennessee Brewery is hiring a part-time leasing professional. You can hit them up on Facebook if interested.

Memphis in May’s 2018 Volunteer Expo is this Thursday at the Memphis Botanic Garden 6 to 8 PM.

If you’re not on Nxtdoor, you’re missing out.

Surprising news: Sache, the clothing and hair boutique on South Main, is closing April 1.

Memphis Pets Alive plans on holding an introduction for prospective volunteers on February 25. Follow them at @MemphisPetsAlive on Twitter for more details in the days to come.

The MBJ has a slideshow of Memphis’ newest brewery, Crosstown Brewing Co.

Musical The Color Purple is at the Orpheum today through Sunday.

Memphis Black Restaurant Week has been set for March 5 through 11 with 12 participating restaurants.

Woohoo! Just set up an interview for Friday morning with an awesome company. Hopefully I will be back in the game soon. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

The Brass Door is having a countdown to Paddy’s Day this Saturday, February 17, exactly one month before St. Patrick’s. There will be live music and Jameson IPA ‘Hoppy’ Hour Tasting featuring Caskmates IPA, Stout and Black Barrel. They’ll be giving away Jameson swag, and there will be a raffle to win a Jameson Coleman grill.

Seth who’s organizing the Jalapeno Popper Throwdown next month made jalapeno cornbread poppers this weekend. Here’s a recipe.

In other cooking news, Chef Zach Parks of South of Beale is interviewed by Southern Living on how to make salmon.

Sad to hear of the passing of WMC TV-5 newsman Ben Watson. He was a gentle soul who was deeply respected in his field.

Lifehacker has an easy way to track how many medals each country has won at the Winter Olympics in real time.

Last Friday when I was typing my post about Kalua Pig, I mis-typed it Kalua Pug, and as I corrected it I thought, “I wonder if you can get Kalua Pug at the Olympics in Korea?” Sadly, it looks like the answer is yes. Dog meat is still a delicacy in Korea, although younger generations are increasingly steering away from this dietary habit.

An arrest has been made in a shooting that happened outside a theater in The Edge in December.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.

Sunday update: Downtown Night at the Grizzlies, second Maciel’s location to open and moreu

Grizzlies Downtown Night is back Friday, March 9. Downtowners can get a special ticket package for $85 Pinnacle Level or $35 Terrace Level. The package includes a seat to the game, a reception in the Draft Room on the Pinnacle Level, and a special Grizzlies 38103 T-shirt. Game time is 7 PM and the Utah Jazz are the opponent. To purchase the ticket package, contact Carl Rosen at 901-205-1445 or email crosen@grizzlies.com.

Great news for those of you in the University of Memphis area: Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos is opening a second location out there. It will be at 525 S. Highland, formerly R.P. Billiards and the Highland Cue. Y’all, I’m going to say this one more time. This is not a “one of these days I’ll get around to eating there” type of place. This is a “drop everything and go there NOW” place. The food is that good.

The World Championship Squirrel Cook-Off is Saturday, September 8 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Squirrel corn dogs, squirrel-stuffed pickles, squirrel ice cream and more. Sounds delish.

Chisca Bar at LYFE Kitchen will host Eat Your Heart Out, a special four-course dinner ending with a chocolate temptation dessert, on February 14 from 5 to 9 PM. $35.

The Memphis Tigers host UCF at FedExForum today at 3.

LUNCHBOXeats will be on the Travel Channel tonight at 8 on Chowin’ Down the Mississippi.

Sunday Fun Day! With the Olympics on, I see myself spending more time at Max’s Sports Bar in the days to come. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

I watched the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics at my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar. We came up with a game – guess how many athletes each country sent. I came remarkably close for the United States, guessing 236 when the actual count was 242.

Discover the Dinosaurs: Time Trek is at the Memphis Cook Convention Center today and tomorrow.

Tomorrow Makeda’s Cookies at 488 S. Second is hosting Sunday Soul Series: How Sweet it Is Jazz Set. 6:30-9:00 PM. This will be a Valentine’s Day jazz set with complimentary wine and food by Chef Sham. Your $10 admission also gets your name in a drawing for a Valentine’s Day cookie bouquet.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert is at the Orpheum tonight at 7. Watch the classic 1982 movie on the big screen as the film’s musical score is performed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Next door at the Halloran Centre tonight, Temple Israel presents a night of laughter and music with comedy legend Robert Klein. 8 PM start time. This show is part of Temple Israel’s mission to be a force for good in the greater community.

Very cool local Kiva micro-loan opportunity: Help a young entrepreneur from the greater Memphis area start a business selling fashionable handbags at affordable prices. She needs $3000 for initial inventory and at the time of this post $1475 has been raised. Can you help get her the rest of the way there?

The Brass Door is having a singles’ mixer on Valentine’s Day for those whose first true love is Guinness (or in my case, PBR).

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is having a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner for $60 a person. This is absolutely my #1 recommendation if you’re trying to figure out where to take your Valentine. Reservations will fill up fast, so don’t hesitate to make them. A few years ago I had plans to have get-to-know-each-other drinks with a woman at the Blind Bear on Valentine’s Day and I was going to ask her if she’d like to have dinner at Rizzo’s once Chef got the new place open. It didn’t work out though.

Great post on the I Love Memphis Blog: Supper, Sips and Songs at Pontotoc Lounge. I have not made it there yet, despite being opened by my friend Daniel Masters from the Silly Goose. Did not realize bartender Cady was a multiple time People’s Choice winner at the Mix-Odyssey competition. Man, that pot roast looks delicious! I need to get down there this week.

This has been all over the news but in case you missed it: The city painted over the wrong muralTs made by Paint Memphis artists last year. Major, major screw-up and someone needs to be held accountable for the mistake. Paint Memphis has said they will not work with the city in the future and I don’t blame them.

The shell of the former Benchmark Hotel at Union and B.B. King has been declared a public nuisance which harms Memphis’ image and which attracts vagrants and rats. The owners have a month to prove they have a plan to rehabilitate the structure and prove they have the financial means to do so.

Downtown agency inferno is looking to hire a PR account executive. One of the great things about inferno is that in addition to vacation and sick time, they give you an additional week to support a cause you are passionate about through their Fuelanthropic initiative.

Professional cat cuddler: This is a thing in Ireland. A few friends of mine will probably be calling their travel agent after reading this.

That’s it for now. Off to brunch at Bardog then over to the Blind Bear for D-RANKS with B-RAD. Got a story for him this week. Back tomorrow with more news.

Kalua Pig hot plate @ Ono Poke Pop-up Lunch @ Ghost River taproom

Every Friday, Ono Poke comes to the Ghost River taproom for a pop-up lunch. Two weeks ago, I tried it the first time and had a Poke Bowl which was delicious. This time, my choice was one of their hot plates: the Kalua Pig.

Kalua is a traditional Hawaiian method of cooking meat in an underground oven. The meat is often served at luaus. When I lived in San Diego there was a restaurant on Mission Blvd. that served Kalua Pig and I quickly developed a taste for the dish. Ono Poke’s version of Kalua Pig comes over white rice, topped with green and pickled onions. You get your choice of sauces. I chose the soy, which I was told is the most popular. You get macaroni salad, a very popular dish in Hawaii, on the side. Some weeks they do Kalua chicken as opposed to pig. The hot plate is $9. Ghost River is Downtown at the corner of S. Main and Crump.

You may notice this time, there’s not a beer sitting next to my food! Not that I don’t love a good Grindhouse Cream Ale, but that one I had with my poke bowl two weeks ago left me feeling groggy. Don’t want that when I’m driving the car! This time I got a flavored sparkling water at the bar and all was well.

If you’re Downtown and have never had Hawaiian food before, this is the perfect chance to give it a try.

Already did my Friday Update post, so if this is your first time here today, keep scrolling. I had much news to share.

You just can’t fix stupid (Friday update)

I haven’t seen any websites doing a “Grading each NBA team on trade deadline activity” post yet, but I know what the Grizzlies would get: a big fat F. I am astonished that we kept Tyreke Evans, turning down Boston’s offer of a young player and two second-rounders. He will probably cause us to win 4 or so games we otherwise wouldn’t, hurting us in the draft lottery, and his time on the floor will subtract development time from young wings.

It’s not fair to Tyreke either. He’s trying to show out to get that one last big contract, and he’d be more visible on a playoff contender.

And then we traded Ennis to Detroit for a big, which will be a bottleneck in development time for Jarell Martin and Deyonta Davis. Yesterday was Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace’s worst day since the day he drafted Hasheem Thabeet. Time for principal owner Robert Pera to consider making some changes in the front office.

If you need any more evidence that you just can’t fix stupid, there’s this:

And this:

Neon archways will be erected on Beale Street at Main and at Fourth.

I Love Memphis Blog’s Stacey Greenberg has an excellent guest post about the food hall at 409 South Main. She describes every vendor in detail, with lots of good photos.

As your number one source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to tell you about OtherFoods Kitchen, a new shared commercial kitchen at 694 Madison. It’s a space for startup food entrepreneurs to get their businesses going. It is currently home to Benefizz (sparkling probiotic drink), Dave’s Bagels, and Franco’s Italian foods. Space is available for additional food entrepreneurs.

Ghost River is having a Valentine’s Market for their Small Shop Saturday tomorrow from noon to 4. Vendors will include

Also, the South Main Mardi Gras Bar Crawl will be stopping by the Ghost River taproom tomorrow afternoon, and there will be live music 2-4.

Belle Tavern will host a Whiskey Pig Distillery tasting next Saturday, February 17 from 1:00 to 3:30 PM. Tickets include a heavy selection of hors d’oeuvres paired with a 1 oz pour of each Whistle Pig selection: the Farmstock, the 12 yr old World, and the Boss Hog IV Black Prince. Tickets are $150 and include tax but not gratuity. Call 901-249-6580 and have your credit card information ready if you want to reserve your place at the tasting.

The Daily Beast has the full 2018 Winter Olympics schedule and where to watch or live stream each event.

100 N. Main has a new owner who plans a massive project with a Loews hotel and apartments. This is exciting news for the northern part of the Downtown core, which has been trailing the southern part in terms of development.

YOGA! Downtown Yoga has a Valentine’s deal: One month of unlimited yoga for $130. Use promo code LOVE15.

RedRover has its annual article reviewing Super Bowl ads: Which were treats to watch, and which were trash. This is always a fun read with plenty of insights about marketing.

That’s it for now. Time to fill out an employment application for a recruiter. What do you do when two of the places you worked no longer exist, and you have no idea how to get in contact with your former manager? Argh. Anyway, that’s it for now, back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

At Blind Bear last night, Charles asked the following trivia question: “If a=1 and z=26, what is Kim Kardashian?” You had to spell out her name and identify the position of each letter in the alphabet and add them all up. The answer was 119.

You get a $10 gift card for best, most creative team name. Charles’s question inspired my troll to come up with the following:

We won Best Team Name, netting a $10 Blind Bear gift card.

50 cent corn dogs at Sonic today.

Well, today’s the day. NBA trade deadline is 2 PM Central. The Grizzlies either get something for Tyreke in the next several hours or he’s with us until the end of the season. The Flyer’s Kevin Lipe has analysis.

A new three-story building is being planned for the northwest corner of Front and G.E. Patterson. This vacant lot was the site of the Downtown Blue Monkey before it burned down in 2005. There would be apartments on the upper floors and a cafe and community kitchen on the ground floor.

Loflin Yard is doing a special songwriter night on Valentine’s Day. Happy hour prices on Smoke House food, half off bottles of wine, and discounted beer and cocktails.

The monthly South Main Association meeting will happen Tuesday, February 13 at the Gray Canary inside Old Dominick. Social at 6 and program at 6:30, with Allison Fouche, the city’s marketing director, speaking.

The City Council has voted to change the application process for parades and races, allowing more time for residents to challenge the closure of streets.

Wiseacre is having a ’90s dance party with DJ Damp Velour from 7 to 10 Saturday. Dress in ’90s attire or a prom outfit for $1 off pints.

Rhodes College professor Jennifer Sciubba has an editorial on immigration in the USA TODAY today.

That’ll do it for now. I wanted to get this up early since the corn dogs and the Tyreke situation are time-sensitive. Back tomorrow with more news.


Frozen Irish Coffee @ Bardog Tavern and Wednesday news

I’m lucky enough to live around the corner from a bar with unusually good food. Even on the days when I’m job hunting, I stop by Bardog Tavern to see if I want any of their lunch specials. Yesterday my bar neighbors ’round the corner from me were having the newest drink there, a frozen Irish coffee. I asked if I could take a photo and they said sure. (Apologies for the blurriness. My camera display was not working yesterday. Came back on as soon as I plugged the phone into the charger. Weird.) Anyway, the frozen Irish coffee at Bardog is the equivalent to the Jameson slushie at sibling bar Slider Inn. Try one if you’re a coffee drinker.

Good catching up with Aldo at Bardog yesterday. He repeated some news items that had been in my blog recently, and told me how he knew – his mom reads my blog every day from up in the Northeast. Cheers, Mama Aldo – the condolence card you sent me when my mom died occupies a special place in my home, next to the stuffed love bug she gave me for Christmas 2015.

The Downtown Blue Monkey posted that they are looking for servers. No details on how to apply but the standard is between 2-4 on a weekday, show up in person and ask for a manager.

No more buses to the dog track! MATA is shutting down service to West Memphis effective March 31.

A pot-bellied pig was found in Memphis, and obviously a pet, was taken to the Memphis Animal Shelter. Petey was adopted within hours. I tried to convene a Moody Ques board meeting to arrange him a nice warm 225-degree home but couldn’t get it done in time. Petey is welcome to visit our booth at BBQ Fest.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is at the Orpheum tonight! Ten Things You Should Know about the Universe

Teachers! Sign up for Memphis in May’s education class about honored country the Czech Republic so you can transfer the information to your students. This class counts as continuing education for those who have that requirement.

We’re about to have curling on TV as the Winter Olympics begin this week. When curling became part of the Olympics, I thought, “This is a sport? Seems like the stupidest thing ever.” However, I quickly embraced it as a game of physics and strategy. Absolutely my favorite Olympic sport now… Winter Olympic sport. Basketball is my favorite overall.

She’s back!

I un-retired my little trollie trollie yesterday after a number of my readers said they missed her. She has far outlived her original purpose in Memphis and is part of my personal brand now. Expelling her was a mistake.

The Grizzlies host Utah tonight at 7.

You can’t unsee this: Trump’s hair blowing in the wind as he boards Air Force One

That’s it for now. Got an appointment out in East Memphis here in a bit. Back tomorrow with more news.