Updated Paul’s Picks for Downtown Dining Week and list of Halloween activities and parties tonight

Now that we’re down to five days before Downtown Dining Week and almost all participating have posted their menus, I want to go back and expand my list of Paul’s Picks. DDW is your chance to try dinners from Downtown restaurants for $20.18, and lunches for $10.18. For my readers who don’t have time to go through the menus of all 49 restaurants, I have gone through and picked the ones that seem to be the best value and/or the most interesting.

Aldo’s Pizza Pies – Good pick for vegetarians. They offer your choice of four main courses and two (butternut squash ravioli, cheese manicotti) are meatless.

Automatic Slim’s – You have choices, but I personally would go for the Cajun crawfish dip with wonton chips, the smoked beef tenderloin, and the homemade dessert of the day.

Brass Door – All of the appetizer and entree choices sound good. I would have trouble picking here. Based on my knowledge of the menu, the appetizer and entree prices add up to about $20 so it’s like you’re getting a free dessert. I especially recommend this place if you like soccer.

Carolina Watershed – $10.18 for a lunch for Cornish hen, collard greens, and Delta grits. This is a really neat space, based on silos, for those of you who have never been in there.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous – Another good visit for vegetarians, with vegetarian sampler platters available as an option for both lunch and dinner for DDW.

Felicia Suzanne’s – Personally, I’d get the crispy oysters with New Orleans BBQ sauce, the Sunday Sugo, and the chocolate bread pudding, but you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. You do you. TWO NOTES: 1) This place will probably fill up the fastest with reservations of any Downtown Dining Week restaurant. If you want to reserve a table there, do not delay. 2) They will be open every day for dinner as well as Friday lunch, with the $20.18 dinner menu available. I seriously doubt they will be doing their 25 cent martinis for lunch the Friday of DDW.

Grecian Gourmet – Dinner menu sounds really fun, with spanakopita or lamb lollipop chops as the main course.

Kooky Canuck – Dinner for two for $20.18. Two entrees plus salad, mac & cheese, and two mini maple bread puddings. This is an outstanding value.

Majestic Grille – Go for that Petite New York Strip with Majestic butter. This place makes some of the best steaks in town. The pork pate as an appetizer sounds interesting too.

Paulette’s – Crabmeat stuffed sole? Yes, please. For those not into fish, Beef Bourguignon is also a main course option.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen – A three-course Cajun lunch menu that seems like it would be a good value for $20.18, but it’s not – it’s for the lunch price of $10.18.

Rizzo’s – Three courses for lunch for $10.18, four courses for dinner for $20.18. Incredible value plated up by Chef Michael Patrick as is the case every year. My #1 pick of this entire list.

Sabor Caribe – This is just a fabulous menu with both lunch and dinner options. This would be a great way to expose yourself to Venezuelan cuisine.

South of Beale – This would be the place to go if you have a vegetarian in your group. General Tso’s Cauliflower, a Zaka Bowl, and choice of dessert. They have salmon and steak options for meat-eaters. Man, I’d be all over that peanut butter banana pudding.

Trolley Stop Market – 16-inch specialty pizza plus two drinks for $20.18 is a good value. They also have a meat-and-two lunch options. Personally, I would recommend going for lunch on Thursday and getting some of that Claybrook Farms meatloaf.

Westy’s – Bring a friend for lunch. For $10.18 you get TWO of a catfish basket, a patty melt, or a marinated chicken sandwich, each of which comes with fries or tots. They also offer a $20.18 three-course dinner: 1 appetizer and 1 dessert to share, and 2 entrees. The Hot Fudge Pie is one of Memphis’ most famous dishes.

I’ll say it one more time. If you are sure you want to go to any of the restaurants listed above – but particularly Felicia’s, Paulette’s, and Rizzo’s – call and make reservations now. The best times are probably already off the board, and if you want until DDW begins you risk not getting a reservation at all.

This is not a Downtown Dining Week thing but still newsworthy. The Majestic Grille’s chili is back for the winter months every Wednesday.

If you’re looking for stuff to do with the kids tonight for Halloween, here’s one more suggestion – Bass Pro at the Pyramid. Trick-or-treating 5 to 8 tonight, a costume parade at 6, pumpkin toss with prizes, and scarecrow and cookie crafts. First 500 kids to take a photo will receive a free Halloween frame.

There are events for kids in Crosstown Concourse tonight as well.

As for adults, don’t forget there’s a drawing for this beautiful hearse tonight at Bardog Tavern at 11:59.

Still plenty of time to run by and buy raffle tickets. You don’t have to be present to win, but you will need to answer your phone when they call you if you are not there.

There’s a costume contest along with weekly British Bingo tonight at Belle Tavern at 7:30. $50 male and female costume prizes along with the $100 in weekly bingo prizes.

Blind Bear is hosting Halloween Part Deux, the sequel to Saturday’s party, tonight. $5 Witch’s Eye shots, $5 Irish whiskey shots, $3 cinnamon whiskey shots – plus everybody gets service industry pricing tonight, which means $2.50 select domestic bottles, $4 well drinks, $5 house wine.

Dirty Crow Inn is hosting a Halloween party tonight. There will be a DJ, live music by Bobbie Stacks and Kevin Kilgore, costume contest with prizes, and $4 Jello shots, blood orange margaritas, and Hell-Cat Maggie shots.

Mollie Fontaine Lounge hosts its annual Halloween party tonight.

Ghost River will host a Halloween party in its taproom 4-11 with Flight Night 4-7. Eddy’s Pepper food truck, costume contest, Halloween trivia, live music by the Flying V’s, and a special chocolate brew on draft.

Silly Goose has its Hallows Eve Ball tonight.

Yesterday was a sad day as we lost a very special member of our Downtown family. It took me a while to embrace her at first, but the more I got to know her, the more I saw how she spread her big personality and her love all over our neighborhood, and how she brought a very unique perspective to the table. Heaven gained a unicorn yesterday. My deepest condolences for those who loved her. Many tears have been shed in the past 24 hours.

That’s it for now. Everybody stay safe tonight, and remember – if you want to stay out in the rain, that’s all you, but if you see lightning you need to get indoors. Back tomorrow with more news.