Downtown food hacks and Sunday news

I want to start off this post with a couple of Downtown food backs that I discovered in the past week. The first one is a Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos hack. My friend Tyler ordered three chorizo tacos, rice and beans there, and as he ate I noticed a couple of things. First of all, he wasn’t being careful at all about meat falling out of the tortillas as he ate. Second, he went through all three of his tacos without touching his rice and beans. However, when he got done eating his tacos, I discovered he had a master plan. He got a fork and mixed the chorizo that had fallen out of his tacos in with his refried beans. Then he mixed in the rice. Tyler, that’s brilliant! That’s not just a snack, that’s a whole meal!

The second food hack is for Bardog Tavern. I was in there yesterday and the guy two seats down from me ordered the spaghetti and meatballs, and a side of the sauce they put on their Buffalo wings. When it came out, he mixed the wing sauce in with the spaghetti. Although it seems like sacrilege to add anything to Aldo’s grandma’s balls, I am intrigued by that idea and may have to try it!

Hmmm…. you what else I bet would be good? Bardog tends to offer chicken parmesan over spaghetti as a special about once a week. Wing sauce on top of that would be tasty, I bet.

The Memphis mayor’s race now includes a candidate from the planet Zambodia. Prince Mongo, who has been running for mayor since the late 1970s, has thrown his hat in the ring once again. He had been talking about considering it on Facebook for the past couple of weeks. Although he’s never won the mayorship, he has perhaps had a substantial effect on an election. In 1991, Willie Herenton got 49%, Dick Hackett got 49%, and Mongo got 2%, with a slightly higher decimal giving Herenton the office. To this day people wonder if Herenton, the city’s first black mayor, would still have won if Mongo had stayed out of the race.

The voters will decide whether Mongo is the most qualified candidate, but I will say on a personal note that Mongo has been a good friend to me. Also, I will note that his platform calls for putting casinos on Mud Island, which I personally think is an excellent idea.

Someone’s been throwing e-scooters in the river in Portland. The sheriff’s office there found 57 of them in the Williamette River in two days. The sheriff’s office said the scooters don’t belong in the river. True, but they don’t belong on the sidewalk either and that’s where people ride them.

Tickets are on sale for Uncle Curly’s Call Center at the Cannon Center on Saturday, July 13.  I have absolutely no idea what that is but just based on the name, I figured it was worth mentioning.

Well this is interesting: The International Olympic™ Committee has provisionally added breaking as a sport for the 2024 Olympics™. Breaking is the activity you probably know as breakdancing. Members of the Olympic™ Committee say they’re trying to open the Olympics™ up to be more gender-balanced, more urban, and to have more appeal to the younger generation.

Here’s an idea for a movie title: Breakin’ 3: Olympic™ Pageantry

I have to admit, a couple of weeks ago I was very worried about some of my friends, who had traveled to the Dominican Republic for a birthday celebration. Americans have been dying there while on vacation. Authorities are now advising tourists to stick with beer while there, because counterfeit booze may be what’s killing people.

I bet some of my readers will wish we had this in Memphis: There’s a theater in Texas that allows you to bring your dog and has $15 bottomless wine

This is awesome: The Orpheum is now offering new accessibility features for some of its Broadway shows. The GalaPro app will allow people who attend a show to have closed captioning, and where available, audio description.

WTF? There will be stuffed turkey legs at the Chick-Fil-A on Winchester today. You can get them stuffed with shrimp and alfredo sauce, or dressing and gravy. Chick-Fil-A isn’t even open on Sunday!

That’s the news for today. Brunch at Pontotoc was so good last Sunday that I think I’m going to have to go back. I’ll probably hang out there for the afternoon then head down to my home away from home on the south side, Max’s Sports Bar. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Ah, the sounds of Downtown late at night. Usually I am a sound sleeper but last night I had insomnia for some reason. I was treated to an hours-long cacophony of engines revving, tires squealing, people yelling, car horns honking, and fire engine sirens. I had forgotten how noisy Downtown could get after midnight.

Riding those Bird or Lime scooters drunk will get you a DUI effective Monday thanks to a new Tennessee state law. Weird that a separate law had to be passed to cover the scooters. I thought the existing DUI law would have applied to any vehicle being operated on a Tennessee roadway. Col. Keith Watson with MPD said he hasn’t noticed a problem with drunk people riding scooters. He needs to come Downtown today and look around! I guarantee you it happens. I am 100% in favor of this new law. If you need to get from point A to point B, it’s too far to walk and you’ve been drinking, a Lyft or Uber is a much safer choice. Other options are The Lifter and Trips for Tips, two golf cart-based services that will take you where you want to go for free, but a tip is customary.

Memphis 901 FC hits the road today to take on Charlotte Independence. The game will be at 6:00 and will be on CW30 locally. Memphis’ soccer club made quite an acquisition this week, Brandon Allen, the 2016 USL Cup finals MVP.

Tonight’s the night someone walks out of AutoZone Park with a $5400 Rolex, and it won’t be because they stole it (although that would be a reasonable assumption, given that this is Memphis). The Redbirds are teaming up with Sissy’s Log Cabin to give away the watch, to be won the fan who guesses the time of the end of the game. Guesses must be in by the start of the first inning at 6:35. There’s a specialty ticket tonight, one that gets you a Cardinals giveaway without having to make a trip to St. Louis. It’s a double bobblehead of two of baseball’s great humanitarians, Yadier Molina and Roberto Clemente. Yadi was the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2018. Following tonight’s game, there will be fireworks.

Social media taught me something I didn’t know yesterday and it’s useful information that I thought I’d share: If a service dog without a human approaches you, it is saying to you, “Please follow me, my human is down and needs help.”

The Grizzlies have released their 2019 Salt Lake City summer league roster. Jevon Carter, Ivan Rabb, and Yuta Watanabe are the most recognizable names, but there’s another on there I’m excited about – Dusty Hannahs, an Arkansas alum who has been a key player on G-League team the Memphis Hustle the past 2 years. Draftee Ja Morant is rehabbing an injury and will have to sit out Summer League.

Brandon Cunning will perform a tribute to Sun Records at the Dirty Crow Inn tonight 9 to midnight.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

The Keyboard Warrior’s Friday post

Yesterday I figured out the name I will use if I ever become a professional wrestler: The Keyboard Warrior, a nod to my life as a blogger. Jim Helwig was the Ultimate Warrior. Kerry Von Erich was the Modern-Day Warrior. I’ll be the Keyboard Warrior.

“This event is for one fall, with a 10 minute time limit. Introducing first, in the red corner, from parts unknown, the Masked Avenger. And his opponent, in the blue corner, originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and now making his home in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee, “The Keyboard Warrior,” Paul Ryburn!

Let’s get on to the news…

Tonight is Yo Gotti’s Birthday Bash with special guests at FedExForum. Buy tickets

Leslie Odom, Jr., a Tony and Grammy award winner, will perform tonight at the Orpheum. He will be backed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Red, White, and You! is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. They’ve got everything you need for your July 4 cookout. The kids’ Crafts Corral will have a patriotic focus this week. Master Gardeners will be on site to answer any questions you have. Live music all day long. The Market runs 8 AM-1 PM every Saturday in the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, behind Malco Powerhouse.

Seen on the Flying Saucer Masters of the Universe Facebook page: Guy checks single can of beer after airline tells him he can’t board with it. Our hero!

Elite Total Health is now accepting appointments made through Facebook.

WMC Action News 5 reported on the Downtown parking study that was conducted recently. Although there is ample parking to handle the volume of cars that come Downtown, there’s a perception that parking is hard to find.

If you like goats, mark October 5 on your calendar and fill the car up with gas. There will be a goat festival in Perryville, Arkansas.

Daniel at the Silly Goose is looking for a well-experienced wood fired oven chef.

Beale Street Art Crawl is this Saturday from 1 to 7. Come see the works of over 50 different artists.

Loflin Yard will host Naughty Pictionary on July 18.

You know how plant-based burgers have been all the rage lately? Well, Arby’s is answering the movement by going in the opposite direction with carrots made of meat.

For my fellow wrestling fans: Paul Heyman has been named the executive director of WWE Monday Night Raw and Eric Bischoff has been named the executive director of WWE Smackdown Live. These are not on-camera characters, but rather backstage roles where Heyman and Bischoff will oversee the creative direction of WWE’s flagship shows. They will report directly to chairman Vince McMahon. My reaction to the hirings:

Heyman/Raw: Excellent excellent excellent. I hope they revert Raw to TV-14 so Heyman can be at his best.

Bischoff/Smackdown: So 6 months from now, Hulk Hogan will be WWE World Champion, the Nasty Boys will be Smackdown tag team champions, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan will be the Intercontinental champion. Madusa will come out of retirement to win the Smackdown women’s title from Becky Lynch, then will throw the belt in a trash can.

Fire alarm’s going off, so I gotta run. Apologies if typos in this post. Didn’t have time to proofread. Back tomorrow.


Thursday update

South of Beale is coming up on its 10th anniversary, and on August 10 they will have a party called SOB Fest to celebrate. It will happen in their parking lot and there will be live music by the Memphis Shake, Shuffle Grit, Bailey Bigger, Amber Rae Dunn and the Mulberries, The Skitch, Lydia Waldrop, and more. There will be drink and food specials all day long, and they may even un-retire a few of their past menu items for this event. A photo wall will span the lot where you can take pictures with different kinds of backgrounds. There will be cornhole and other games. This celebration will be free to attend.

Tug’s Casual Grill will get in the spirit of Independence Day with a special all-American menu next week, July 1-7. On the menu will be

  • Appetizers: BBQ pork nachos, chicken wings
  • BBQ plates: Pulled pork, beef brisket, BBQ half chicken
  • Sandwiches: Pulled pork, beef brisket
  • Dessert: Red, white & blue shortcake with strawberries and blueberries
  • Cocktails: Mud Island Fusion, Harbor Town Mojito

Yesterday I was thinking about something… the Downtown Olympics logo is the five interlocking Olympic rings floating in a cup of beer. How do they get away with that? Isn’t using the rings a trademark violation? I mean, if they called the event “The Super Bowl of Drinking” and used any part of the official Super Bowl logo, the NFL’s lawyers would be all over them.

Come to think about it, the name might be a trademark violation too. When I was in 10th grade, us kids were invited to enter a competition called Olympics of the Mind. When I was in 11th grade, we were again invited. The teachers explained to us that the name had changed to Odyssey of the Mind, because lawyers.

Going to the Redbirds game tonight? Get there early! The first 800 fans through the turnstiles (gate opens 6:00, first pitch 7:05) will get a green Redbirds hat. It’s Silky O’ Sullivan’s Irish Heritage Night and there will be Irish music, games, and giveaways throughout the evening. Thanks to Polk’s Meat Products, fans can enjoy throwback prices of $2 domestic drafts  and $1 Polk’s hot dogs tonight. College students can get a $5 bluff ticket with valid ID.

The Redbirds have debuted the Left Field Loonies access pass for Throwback Thursday games, when they wear their Memphis Chicks uniforms. The pass includes one ticket to each Thursday game, two draft beers or bottled waters for each Thursday game, and an exclusive Loonies shirt.

To join the Loonies, the exclusive cheering section for the 2019 Memphis Redbirds/Chicks, sign up here. Are they trying to make the Loonies to the Redbirds what the Bluff City Mafia is to Memphis 901 FC?

Listening to the Daily Memphian’s weekly Grizzlies podcast, with Chris Herrington and special guest Peter Edmiston, as I type this. They’re talking about how front office executives like Zach Kleiman rose to their positions starting off in internships. Kleiman’s internship was paid, but many of these front office internships are poorly paid or unpaid. That, says Edmiston, limits diversity in the front office because there are a lot of people who can’t afford to operate on very little or no pay for a year. Very good point.

One of the local bars is considering selling frozen Pedialyte pops to cure hangovers. Those will be great on Sunday mornings. I will let you know if it happens.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to tell you about a couple of new specials at the Caribbean restaurant Evelyn & Olive. On Wednesdays children under 11 eat free – you get one free child’s meal with purchase of an adult’s meal 3-8 PM. This deal is dine in only. They’re also doing Couple Wednesday, where couples get one free appetizer or two free glasses of wine with purchase of two entrees. This deal is also dine in only.

Yeah I know Thursday isn’t the best day to tell you about Wednesday’s deals, but I can’t disseminate the information any quicker than I get it…

Venezuelan restaurant Sabor Caribe was polling its Facebook followers yesterday, asking if there would be interest in a daily delivery to Cordova.

Congratulations to former Grizzly Mike Conley, the first player in history to win the Teammate of the Year and NBA Sportsmanship Award in the same year.

In other news about former Grizzlies, Marc Gasol has picked up his $25.6 million player option and will be a Toronto Raptor again next year. Good for you Marc! Get paid and get a second ring!

Edible Memphis has launched some really handy Memphis guides. There’s a coffee guide and also a farmer’s market guide.

The Soul Shockers headline tonight’s Peabody rooftop party. $10 to get in, $20 VIP. Admission includes a buffet of smoked chicken legs and jalapeno dip with Ritz crackers. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of BBQ smoked sausage on a stick, bacon beef sliders, and Peabody fried chips and dip chow.

Got another Negroni Week specialty cocktail menu for you, this one from Belle Tavern:

Are you going to the Beale Street Cigar Festival, presented by Robusto by Havana Mix? A Robusto Gold Ticket to the event guarantees you one entry into a drawing for a fully loaded Toyota RAV-4. If you want to increase your chances of winning, you can upgrade to a Robusto Platinum Ticket, which includes two entries into the drawing. Proceeds from the festival benefit LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

A friend of mine who recently returned from a trip told me that stitches from a recent surgery set off the metal detectors at the airport, and the TSA subjected him to a “deep crotch inspection.” Oh my. That sounds like fun.

Who says the storms always take a detour around Memphis? Got a particularly nasty one rotating over the city right now, and it doesn’t seem in any hurry to leave. It’s been thundering since I woke up. This may affect my Food Truck Thursday plans. I want some fried rice from Rice Burner…

The Memphis Flyer’s Memphis Bacon and Bourbon Festival will make its return Saturday, August 24 from 6 to 9 PM at the Beale Street Landing site. Your ticket, benefiting the Memphis Farmers Market, includes 15 bourbon tastings and a variety of pork dishes from some of Memphis’ best restaurants. For more information visit the festival’s website.

Bardog Tavern is seeking a delivery driver who can deliver food orders within the 38103 zip code. Must be 21 with a current driver’s license and valid insurance. Must be able to work nights and weekends. Come to Bardog in person (73 Monroe) to apply.

The Memphis Flyer has more information on catfish at Cozy Corner on Sundays. Did you know that from 1986 to 1988, there was a second location, called Cozy Corner Catfish and Ribs? Catfish has never before been sold at the North Parkway location, however. They are firm that this will be a Sunday-only menu item, and say they don’t want to become a fish restaurant.

Lew’s Blue Note Bar & Grill at 341 Beale is throwing a Blue Note Block Party on Saturday, July 6. There will be a $6 burger combo and other food and drink specials. They’ll have a DJ on the patio and a cornhole tournament. Admission is $5 and includes a Jello shot.

Comedian Chris d’Elia, star of NBC series Undateable, performs at the Orpheum tonight. Tickets are $28-58.

There’s a free Tai Chi on the River class tonight at River Garden, 51 N. Riverside Drive.

KIX on Beale returns tonight at 7:30 in Handy Park with a free show by Aaron Watson and Matt Stell.

Not a Downtown event but I find it very cool that a bar is hosting a Democratic debate watch party (RP Tracks). Encourage bar patrons to make informed decisions rather than just mindlessly sit there and watch sports all day. I hate it that the DSA endorsed Bernie, though. He’s too soft on Russia.

Long post today… and it’s still thundering outside. However, if I wait until 1 for lunch, the skies may clear and I may get my fried rice. Back tomorrow with more news.


Wednesday update

Before I get started, let me say a big THANK YOU to my friend Randy. When he heard I was having computer problems, he brought me a spare MacBook Pro he wasn’t using. I unpacked it this morning and this computer is wonderful! I’m having to re-acquaint myself with the quirks Macs have, but that’s OK because I know that Macs are far better computers than Windows PCs. See you at Bardog, Randy!

Sad news to report this morning: Tony Barone Sr. has passed away at the age of 72. Barone was a key member of the Memphis Grizzlies’ front office in the team’s early years. He was also interim head coach briefly in 2009 after Mike Fratello was fired. The Grizzlies may not have got every draft right, but Barone played a big role in the team’s very first draft as the Memphis Grizzlies, in which they selected Pau Gasol and Shane Battier. I’d say they sure got that one right.

Friday is going to be a special night at the Redbirds, especially for kids of all ages who are fans of the Harry Potter series. It will be Wizards & Wands Night, with a special parade prior to game time in which people dressed in costume can participate. There will be a photo op station with props, and butterbeer, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, will be available for purchase. There will be a specialty ticket ($19 field box/$22 dugout/$26 club) which includes a game ticket and a handmade wand. On the day of the game, you will choose your wand style at the specialty ticket table behind section 119. Gates open at 6, parade at 6:30, first pitch 7:05.

There’s a game tonight as well, with a 6:35 first pitch, and it is Woof Wednesday with a special ticket that gets both you and your dog in the park.

Yesterday I blogged that Ariana Grande has added a FedExForum date of Saturday, December 7 to her tour. My friend Dennis emailed to point something out: That’s one more event added to one of the hugest days of the year Downtown. The first Saturday in December is the day of the St. Jude marathon, the Beale Street Christmas parade, bars full of people watching the SEC championship game, and Stumbling Santa, the pub crawl that draws over 1200 participants in Santa-themed attire. Sometimes there’s an 11 AM or noon Tigers game at FedExForum too.

Friday is the last Friday of the month, and that means it will be time once again for South Main Trolley Night, when many of the businesses in the South Main Arts District stay open until 9 or later and neighbors come out and mingle. If you’re an SMA member, there will be a member area between Primas Bakery+Boutique and Peddler Bike Shop with free hot dogs, hamburgers, and beverages. Guests are $10 – or, they can sign up to be an SMA member on-site, and receive a member card good for discounts at many South Main businesses.

For Trolley Night, Jack Robinson Gallery (44 Huling) will host a pop-up shop, a new exhibit, and specialty cocktails. Puck Food Hall (409 S. Main) will host the Memphis Film Prize Top 10 announcement. More than 80 filmmakers, all of whom shot their movies locally, are competing for a $10,000 prize, the winner of which will be announced in August. South Main Sounds (550 S. Main) will host a Songwriter Night with Joe Leathers, Grace Askew, Rice Drewry, and John Hirt. Stock & Belle (387 S. Main) will have a photographic installation by artists Meg Armstrong and Averell Mondie. Sue Layman Gallery (125 G.E. Patterson) will have Sue’s latest pieces on display.

There will be a Meet the Developer event tonight at 6 PM at the St. Patrick’s Outreach Center, 297 S. Fourth Street. Archie Willis III, founder and president of ComCap Partners, will speak on how plans are progressing for the South City (38126 zip code) neighborhood. All are welcome, and refreshments will be provided. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The Daily Memphian has a look at the Tom Lee Park proposal from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ point of view. If changes to the park cause dikes to fail, river navigation could be affected for months.

You can get free Chick-Fil-A on July 9, but there’s a catch. You have to wear a cow costume or some form of cow apparel. The offer is good from open until 7 PM that day. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Renowned Chanel artist Rama Moering will be at Lanksy 126 in the Peabody for one day only this Saturday, June 29, from 10 AM to 6 PM. She will be booking appointments for makeup and skincare consultations with the latest collections from Chanel Beauty. One appointment will be booked every 45 minutes. Call 901-405-7625 to schedule your appointment. If you want to purchase the products that are suggested in your consultation, Chanel representatives will be on hand to take your order.

There’s a car dealership in Alabama that offers a Bible, a shotgun, and an American flag with every car purchase. MURICA!

Twenty One Pilots: The Bandito Tour comes to FedExForum tonight. WMC Action News 5 reports that some fans have been camped out outside the arena since yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, over at the Orpheum tonight, Peter Frampton makes a stop on s farewell tour.

If you know people traveling to Memphis this summer, tell them about the Summer Dream Bed special going on at River Inn of Harbor Town through August 29. Rates start at $199 plus taxes and fees. In addition to your room, you get a glass of wine or champagne at check-in, a gourmet a la carte breakfast at Paulette’s, chocolate truffles and Port wine at nightly turn-down service, free parking, free Wi-Fi, and free access to Harbor Town Fitness. Book a room

For my grillmaster friends, here’s a super easy recipe for bacon-wrapped corn. Everything’s better with bacon and ranch.

The US Women’s National Team survived their match with Spain yesterday. They didn’t win; they looked lost at times and only survived because of two Megan Rapinoe penalty kicks. However, Rapinoe also picked up a yellow card. She will have to be extra careful not to get a second in Friday’s game, or the USWNT will have a situation where the Golden State Warriors had to do without the services of Draymond Green in one game of the NBA Finals because he got too many techs. The USWNT takes on France Friday in a hotly anticipated match at 1 PM. I do mean “hotly”: There’s a heat wave going on in Europe and the expected high in Paris is 92, which is about 20 degrees above normal.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

This is Negroni Week at bars around the world. A classic Negroni is made with campari, gin, and vermouth, although there are many variations. Imbibe Magazine created Negroni Week six years ago to celebrate the drink and to raise money for charities. Participating bars choose a charity from the official list, make an initial donation, and then donate a portion of Negroni drink sales during the week. The Silly Goose is participating. Here’s a look at its special drink menu for the occasion:

Other Downtown bars participating in Negroni Week are Belle Tavern and Pontotoc Lounge.

The Orpheum has announced a digital lottery for tickets to the musical Hamilton, which comes to the theater July 9-28. Every show, forty people will be selected to buy tickets for the low price of $10.

You can buy a harness for your chicken and go on chicken walks. Yes, that’s really a thing. Just don’t walk your chicken too close to Gus’s or Jack Pirtle’s.

The Redbirds return to AutoZone Park tonight to host a 6:35 game versus Nashville. Rockey’s Yard Sale will happen at the park this evening. Promo items and game-used gear will be on sale at the 3rd Base Cove during the game.

A sinkhole has appeared in South Main.

Watch out for the sinkhole if you go to the National Civil Rights Museum or Central BBQ Downtown.

Don’t forget that the Downtown Parking Study Open House is tomorrow 5-7 PM at Comeback Coffee.

The co-owner of the New Daisy on Beale Street has been arrested for bouncing a $19,000 check to concert promoters. The theater has been closed to the public since January, and shows scheduled for January and February still appear on its sign.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. has announced they are releasing easy-drinking Cat Nap IPA on a year-round basis.

There was an event this past weekend, a fundraiser. It got some mainstream media coverage, but not until very late in the week when many people had already logged off for the weekend. Because I am a unique Downtown influencer, I could have used my blog to aggressively promote this event from two months ago all the way up to the day it took place. I am pretty sure they would have taken in hundreds of additional dollars in registration fees and donations if I had helped get the word out. However, I decided not to promote or attend this event because the organizers associate with a person who lies about me. Those who are not aware what  I am talking about are welcome to ask me face-to-face. I’m not a very hard person to find.

But enough about that… let’s talk about an event I am PROUD to aggressively promote two months out! The Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Monroe Avenue Festival will happen Sunday, August 18. This event raises tens of thousands of dollars for St. Jude. There’s a race in the morning, and Monroe is blocked off from Front to Main for a street festival with a beer garden, vendors, a raffle, a meatball eating contest, a dunk tank, and lots more fun. Mama Aldo, if you still read this blog, please let your son know that if there’s anything I can do to help promote this awesome block party, all he has to do is ask.

RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles plays the Orpheum tonight. They’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road with hits from that album, as well as perform early Beatles favorites.

Hot Rods on Beale returns to Beale Street at 6 PM tonight. Come check out the collection of muscle cars.

Cozy Corner BBQ over on North Parkway has added catfish to their menu, but only on Sundays. They invite all their customers to come visit them for some catfish or some BBQ after church.

Ariana Grande has added some dates to her Sweetener World Tour, and one of those dates will be at FedExForum. She’ll be here December 7 with tickets going on sale to the public this coming Monday.

Food & Wine has a good tip on how to get a bigger hotel room for free, without being “that guy” who’s always asking for a free upgrade. Ask for a corner room. Because of the way hotels are built, corner rooms tend to be bigger than those in the middle, but they’re not so much bigger that a higher rate is charged for them.

Ugh. I just read the recap of WWE Monday Night Raw, and it sounds like that show has become practically unwatchable. They have a roster teeming with talent, and yet the CEO’s 49-year-old son is main eventing and beating the best guys in the company. I may cancel my WWE Network subscription if the quality doesn’t get better soon.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

EAT: Mister Crunch @ Pontotoc Lounge weekend brunch

Lately I’ve been doing Sunday brunch at the Blind Bear, but this week Perjorie T. Roll wanted to go to Pontotoc Lounge to see her Uncle Brad at the bar.

As it turned out, I am glad she made that call. When I got down there, I wasn’t hungry, and I planned to just drink PBR and wait until later in the day to eat. However, my buddy Otto joined me. Brad told him the brunch menu had changed, and he went over some of the new items.

“We have a Mister Crunch,” Brad said. “It’s an open faced biscuit sandwich. We put thick-cut bacon on there, and the chef makes the bacon himself. He sous vides it to retain more of the flavor. The bacon is covered in Mornay sauce and cheese.”

As I said, I wasn’t hungry, but that sounded too good to pass up. After one more PBR I gave in and put in an order.

The photo does not do this dish justice. You can see the open-faced biscuit there on the bottom, covered  with Mornay sauce and shredded cheese. But what, you might ask, are those twin towers atop the biscuits?

That is BACON!

I showed the photo above to another customer inquiring about the dish, and he said, “Oh, so it’s like rolled bacon, huh?” and I said no. Those are two SOLID PIECES of bacon atop the biscuits. When they say the bacon is thick-cut, they really aren’t messing around! It’s well more than an inch thick. I had to use a steak knife and fork to dig in.

Brad also wasn’t kidding when he told me that they sous vide the meat to retain more of its natural juice and flavor. The taste was INCREDIBLE. This was easily the best thing I’ve ever had to eat at Pontotoc Lounge, and considering that I’ve had the Mississippi Pot Roast there, that’s saying a lot. Really, if I were blindfolded and took a bite of this bacon and was asked to guess where it came from, I’d reply, “Did my BBQ team make it?” It’s that good, and I didn’t realize sous vide bacon could have such a smoky flavor. This dish is simply a must-try if you are a carnivore.

One thing: Although the dish is called “Mister Crunch,” I wouldn’t describe the bacon as crunchy. It’s actually quite chewy and tender.

There have been some other additions to the brunch menu at Pontotoc recently, including pancakes and ribs. That is the lounge’s answer to chicken and waffles, which seemingly show up on every brunch menu nowadays. Nice that Pontotoc dares to be different, and the ribs are a nice tip of the hat to Memphis’ BBQ heritage.

Another change to Sunday brunch there is they got rid of the jazz band. Although the people in the band were nice guys and clearly talented musicians, I like this move. Sunday brunch at Pontotoc has built up a huge following of regulars, and jazz isn’t a great fit for the most of the regulars’ musical tastes. Also, the band tended to play so loud that it was hard to hear the person sitting next to you talk. By not having the band anymore, there’s now space for three window tables where diners can look out upon South Main as they brunch. There’s now a Sunday Fun Day Pandora station that plays, with classic hits, stuff like the Stones and Aretha that is familiar to most everyone.

Pontotoc is at 314 South Main, half a block south from the street after which it is named. They do brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays.

I predicted Monday would be a slow news day, and I was right. I only have two news items, and neither is particularly time-sensitive, so I will defer them until tomorrow. See you then.

Sunday update

Today’s the big day for the Craft Food and Wine Festival at Columns at One Commerce Square. Guests get to taste a variety of artisanal meats, cheeses, and wines, as well as other goodies such as gelato, popcorn, sweets, and tea. The Tri-State Defender has a preview of the event and a profile of its creator, Cristina McCarter of City Tasting Tours. The 4:00 session and VIP tickets are sold out but as of the time I am typing this they are still selling tickets for the 6:30 session.

Today is also the day for The Bar Olympics out at the Hi-Tone in Crosstown. Come watch teams compete in a variety of fun events to see who is the best, while raising money for a great charity, ALIVE! Rescue Memphis, which is a foster-based program for homeless dogs in the Memphis area.

There’s also an ALIVE! Rescue fundraiser at the Green Beetle this afternoon.

It’s Bring Your Dog to Bingo Day at Loflin Yard this afternoon from 4 to 6. Those with a dog get an extra bingo card.

The CA reports that a free yoga class has soared in popularity once a few tweaks were made. Every Tuesday from 6 to 7 PM, the DMC and the Memphis River Parks Partnership host Our Yoga Downtown in River Garden. It’s not just Downtowners who show up, though. On a recent Tuesday people from 32 different zip codes attended. YOGA!

I want to take a minute to say “cheers” to the management of a local bar for taking feedback from their regulars. They recently polled their regulars on whether they should stop offering specials to riders on the party pedal bikes, and based on feedback they eliminated the specials. Those party bike riders expect to be served immediately when they barge into bars, ahead of customers waiting on drinks before they came in. They tend to wreck the vibe of the bars they enter, meaning any Saturday afternoon or Friday evening can turn into Amateur Night on the spot. Plus, although I’m sure it does happen, I have never once seen a party bike rider tip a bartender. Earlier this year at the very bar of which I speak, a party bike rider pushed into my personal space and ran up a $32 tab as he loudly ordered shots for himself and 7 of his friends… and he did not tip one cent.

UConn is planning to leave the American Athletic Conference and return to its former home, the Big East, in all sports but football. The Big East doesn’t offer football as a sport, so UConn will have to figure out what to do there. LOL! You just KNOW Penny Hardaway and his recruiting class had a lot to do with that decision!

There will be a Downtown Margarita Bar Crawl on Saturday, August 17. There will be at least 5 venues. They have not all been announced yet but Blind Bear will be the starting point. There will be themed margaritas, discounted Mexican food and Mexican beer for crawlers, and free take-home swag. There will be themed music at each venue – ’80s, ’90s, 2000s. There will also be a raffle, prizes, and a professional photographer shooting photos and videos.

The Memphis Tigers football team has scheduled a Fan Fest at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday, August 10. Fans will be able to watch an open scrimmage, buy discounted apparel, and get autographs. There will be inflatables, concessions, and music.

This is really cool: NASA has a huge library of images and videos, and for many uses you can access it for free.

That’s it for this post! Back tomorrow with more news, or possibly Tuesday since Mondays tend to be slow news days.

Saturday update

Before I get to today’s news, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to my good friend and BBQ team treasurer Misty. Misty keeps our team financials in impeccable shape. She’s down in the Dominican Republic with some of our group of friends celebrating, and I hope she has a wonderful day. You know how sometimes I start to say something on here, then say, “Better not finish that thought, or I’ll get fussed at by a redhead.” Misty is the redhead.

Misty recently told me, “You know the only reason I fuss at you is because I love you.” Yes, Misty, I know. Love you too.

Should I give an example of something that would make her fuss at me? Nah, not right now. Maybe tomorrow….

Wow! I just checked and we have a dew point of 77 as I type this. The Vane has an article on how the dew point affects the heat index and how dew point is a better measure of how much moisture is in the air than relative humidity. “Dew points below 60°F are comfortable, while those above 65°F are uncomfortable; readings above 70°F are oppressive,” the article states. I saw a heat index of 106°F on Weatherbug yesterday, one degree above the danger threshold at which heat exhaustion and heat stroke can quickly set in. It’s going to be that hot and muggy again today, so don’t spend a lot of time outside if you don’t have to. In fact, you’re welcome to join me at Bardog, where the icy cold A/C will be blowing full force. I’ll be there from 11 until at least 4. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you step out of the sticky heat and that first blast of air conditioning hits you? Why not treat yourself to that today?!

Gizmodo has a suggestion to help you beat the heat:

Another way to stay cool is to go by the Flying Saucer for its 22nd birthday celebration today.

Next door to the Saucer at the Silly Goose, plans to install a pizza oven have finally been approved. I look forward to mid-to-late June 2026, when I will be eating one of the first slices of pizza to come out of the oven as I discuss whether 8-year Grizzlies veteran Jaren Jackson Jr. will re-sign with Memphis in free agency.

I saw a most interesting news item on ESPN yesterday: Major League Baseball may have a two-city team at some point in the future. The Tampa Bay Rays have been given permission to talk to the city of Montreal about playing early season games in Tampa, and the remainder of the season in Montreal. Makes sense… in April it’s often too cold in Montreal to sit outside for three or more hours, but in July and August Montreal is pleasant while Tampa is oppressively hot. Shawn Danko from Kooky Canuck commented that when they play in Montreal, they need to play as the Expos. I agree!

Memphis River Parks Partnership, Memphis Travel and I Love Memphis will host Vibe on the Island on Independence Day from 6 to 10 PM. Ping Rose, Black Cream, and Marcella & Her Lovers will perform in The Grove on Mud Island. Fireworks start at 9:15, and guests are encouraged to bring their blankets to the south lawn for the best view. This event is free and open to the public.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen is hosting a very exclusive couples cooking event on Sunday, August 11 from noon to 3 PM. This will be a romantic experience and will be very hands-on, with couples preparing an appetizer, main course, and dessert. They will also teach the couples how to make their Walk Me Down bourbon cocktail. They are only taking 5 couples, so if this is of interest, act fast.

Elite Total Health is planning a second location, out in Lakeland, in 2020. If you want to have more energy, are feeling sick, or want to lose weight, just walk on into their existing location at South Main and MLK and they can take care of you.

From Lifehacker: The best bar regulars are the quiet ones. TRUTH!

Former Memphis Tiger guard Jeremiah Martin did not get his name called in Thursday’s NBA draft, but he signed a deal nonetheless. Martin is on an Exhibit 10 contract with the Miami Heat. He will attend summer camp with Miami and then will have the opportunity for a two-way deal with Miami and their G-League affiliate.

Nashville has officially banned electric scooters from its streets, citing public safety and accessibility reasons.

Memphis magazine’s Michael Donahue has a classic dining column out in which he features two wonderful Downtowners, Cordell and Tawanda Pirtle. They actively support their neighborhood and community, and their restaurants make delicious chicken.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is having a summer solstice party in the taproom tonight.

Memphis 901 FC hosts Club Pachuca Tuzos tonight at AutoZone Park at 7.

Not sure how much I’d recommend these since they’re going on outside, but two big events today are the Island Block Party in Harbor Town and the Margarita Fest out east in Shelby Farms.

That’ll do it for today. Everybody stay cool and I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Way to go Grizz! The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington reports that selecting any other draftee with the #2 pick than Ja Morant was never under serious consideration. The front office felt he was the kind of high-IQ player that would fit in with the system they are trying to build. Morant will be introduced to Memphis in a 2 PM press conference in the FedExForum lobby.

After getting Morant at 2, the Grizzlies did some wheeling and dealing. They took the #23 pick they acquired in the Mike Conley trade with Utah and swapped it with Oklahoma City’s #21 pick, sending OKC a 2024 second-rounder as a sweetener. Then they selected Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke at 21. Clarke is a forward who is said to be uptempo and a very good defender. Well done, Grizzlies. Much better draft (and offseason trade season) than I think most fans expected.

Bleacher Report gave the Morant selection an A and the Clarke selection a B+.

Poor Bol Bol. He showed up in that fly-ass suit, expecting to go in the first round, with some analysts even pegging him as a late lottery pick. He dropped all the way to 44. He looked so unhappy. I felt bad for the guy. A friend of mine was practically screaming at the TV that the Grizzlies needed to do another trade for a pick in the late thirties and get him.

Yesterday I walked over to Court Square at 11 and found the New Wing Order food truck. I wanted to try a wing seasoning I had not tried before. That would not be hard to do – they have 17 different sauces on the menu, including their specialty sauces, seasonings, BBQ sauces, and classic wing sauces. Being a big fan of spicy food, I ordered the traditional wings with Nikki’s Hot Seasoning.

I got an order of six, three flats and three drummies, with blue cheese for dipping, a roll, and carrots and celery. The celery made Perjorie T. Roll happy because she likes foods that are the same color as her hair. As for the wings, they were tasty, but oh man, I forgot just how hot Nikki’s seasoning is. I forgot that the last time I got a bag of Nikki’s Hot potato chips, I needed five glasses of water to get them down. By the second bite into the first wing, my nose was running. So I fell into a cycle: I’d wipe my nose on my napkin, but I’d previously wiped my hands on my napkin, so I got Nikki’s seasoning on my nose, and it ran even more.

And you know what? When I’m eating wings, that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it. If my mouth isn’t on fire, the wings aren’t hot enough. These more than satisfied. The veggies and blue cheese helped take the edge off the heat. Excellent collaboration between New Wing Order and Nikki’s Hot. I will be back at the food truck the next time it does the Thursday lunchtime food truck rodeo, and hot wing nachos are probably next on my list.

You remember how I told you that this weekend would be a good one to stay indoors, with now predicting a maximum heat index near 103 for Saturday, and WeatherBug predicting a heat index in the 90s at 9 AM? Well, I have a suggestion to help keep you cooled off. Huey’s has announced that they are doing $3.50 drink specials on Saturdays and Sundays, from the time they open all the way to 6 PM. Bloody Marys, mimosas, screwdrivers, champagne, and poinsettias are the offerings. Brunch drinks and air conditioning. Hard to argue with that.

Despite the predicted oppressively hot weather, there is one event this Saturday I recommend you get out for if you have the interest – Yoga in the Park will offer a 108 Salutations for a Cause class in Court Square, taught by Caroline Miles, from 10 until noon. This is a free class, but donations to Streetdog Foundation will be appreciated. In addition to monetary donations, they need

  • Thunder Jackets
  • Large and medium Kongs
  • Benebones
  • Sentry Calming Collars for dogs
  • Nylabones
  • Dog Beds
  • Crate Mats
  • Collars
  • Leashes
  • Rope Toys
  • Medium and Large Harnesses (step-in and Easy walk)
  • Dog Treats
  • Pill Pockets
  • Dog Food

There will be giveaways, and Streetdog Foundation will have adoptable dogs at the class. Best of all, it’s over at noon so you can get some balance and inner peace, meet some pups, and then get back in the air conditioning for the remainder of the day. YOGA!

Hungry Memphis tweeted a photo of one of 3rd & Court diner’s menu offerings:

A co-founder of Facebook thinks it’s time to break up the company. Until this week, I didn’t agree, but now with their new foray into cryptocurrency, I’m coming around to that point of view.

The Memphis Flyer’s Memphis Burger Week returns July 10-16. Some of the city’s best burgers will be only $5.99 that week. Downtown participating restaurants include Arnold’s BBQ, Bardog Tavern, Flying Saucer, and Huey’s.

The July 26 Jake Owen/Hunter Hayes concert at FedExForum has been canceled.

Nick Black plays the Soulin’ on the River concert series on Mud Island tonight. Gates open at 6, music at 7. This is a free show and blankets and lawn chairs are welcome.

Silly Goose is in need of an experienced cocktail server. Apply in person 4-6 PM Wednesday or Thursday.

Crack Open Your Weekend is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. No, they’re not suggesting you wear low-rise jeans that expose your crack when you bend over. They’re referring to the farm vendors who sell locally-laid eggs. Lots of activities for the kiddos this week. The Children’s Museum of Memphis will be there with 3-D airplanes for kids to color. The American Heart Association will have a crafts corral that sounds like it’s for both kids and adults; kids will have coloring activities, and for the adults there will be recipes and a Fruit and Vegetable Guide with tips that are easy to incorporate. Live music all day long. The market runs every Saturday at the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, behind Malco Powerhouse, from 8 AM to 1 PM.

1993 movie The Fugitive plays the Orpheum tonight. $8 adults, $6 kids 12 and under. The movie is rated PG-13.

I had a good time watching the Women’s World Cup at the Brass Door with my neighbor Pete yesterday. The USA won its group and will advance to the knockout stage. The next game is against Spain on Monday at 11 AM.

That’s it. Back tomorrow with more news.