Monday update: Computing the Value Drinking Index of those 99 packs of PBR

For the past week, I have been tagged on Facebook over and over again in one particular photo: Pabst is selling 99-packs of PBR for the holidays in 15 different states. Unfortunately, Tennessee is not one of those states. (Arkansas is, though, and I’m trying to find out if they are sold in the West Memphis/Marion area).

Just for fun, I thought I’d compute the Value Drinking Index of one those 99 packs. The Value Drinking Index is something I invented about 5-6 years ago as a regular at the Flying Saucer. The formula is

(number of ounces) * (percent alcohol by volume) / (price in dollars)

As a general rule of thumb:

  • A VDI greater than 15 indicates a good value in a craft beer or import
  • A VDI greater than 20 indicates a good value in a domestic beer
  • A VDI greater than 25 indicates a good value if the beer is a PBR

Now, those 99 packs are not all original Pabst Blue Ribbon (5.0% ABV). Only 33 of them are. Also in the pack are 33 PBR Easys (4.2%) and 33 PBR Extras (6.5%). Average those ABVs out and you get 5.23333333%.

I’ve been told the packs sell for $59.99. So that would give us the following formula for their Value Drinking Index, assuming the regular 12 ounce cans rather than tallboys:

12 ounces * 99 cans * 5.2333333 percent ABV / 59.99

That works out to a whopping 104! That’s such a high Value Drinking Index that you could even put the 33 PBR Easys out in the alley as a Christmas gift to Downtown’s street people, and only drink the originals and the Extras.

104 is not the highest Value Drinking Index I’ve ever seen, though. If you have a Bardog Tavern wooden nickel, you can purchase a pint of PBR for only 5 cents. So the VDI would be

16 ounces * 5 percent ABV / .05 = 1600

You know, Bardog and the Aldo family of restaurants are proof that different people can have different interpretations of you. For example:

  • To Panda @ Slider Inn I am Paulie Poo
  • To Bloom @ Bardog I am P-Funk

Who’s right? They both are.

Amanda “Panda” is in town all this week, visiting from Colorado. Originally the plan was for her to split her time between Downtown Slider Inn and Bardog, but Slider Inn has proved such a huge success that she said she’ll be needed there all week.

… But don’t go up there today to visit her. Slider Inn will be closed for the day as they take a little time to relax and tweak the systems they have in place. The original Slider Inn in Midtown will be open, as will all of Aldo’s other restaurants. The new Slider Inn will be back open tomorrow with regular hours.

Yesterday on Facebook I learned of a new bar, to open in early 2020, called Board to Beers which will be Memphis’ first board game bar. They will have a library with 400 board games you can play, as well as a regular schedule of events. I am not sure what part of town this bar will be in. Pop-up board game nights have done well in Memphis the past several years, so it’s not surprising to see someone take the concept to a new level.

The Daily Memphian reports there is concern that the $1 billion in construction in the Pinch District to the west of St. Jude will fail to preserve historic buildings. The Pinch nearly lost its status as a historic neighborhood earlier this decade, most of the original buildings long gone.

Father Auggie made the news! Congratulations to St. Peter Catholic Church on 180 years. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with them earlier this year to develop literature listing resources for those in need.

The Cousins Maine Lobster food truck will be at Cordelia’s Market tonight 5 to 8.

That’s the news for now. I’m off to work, then the birthday celebration will begin. Back tomorrow or Wednesday with more news.

Sunday update

Down to my final 24 hours in my 40s. Yesterday at Bardog, this came out:

They all sang happy birthday to me and then it was time for cake.

Photo credit Brittany Bloom on that last one.

My friends Randy and Theresa gave me a birthday card and look what I found inside!

Half the cake is in my refrigerator. (It’s surprisingly hard to give away birthday cake.) Between that and all the shots I had yesterday, my sugar intake this weekend is through the roof. When I get to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Silly Goose this morning, I’ll balance it out with a pizza… I can afford one, as you can see, I have Goose Bucks!

Speaking of the Goose, give Edible Memphis a Like on Facebook if you haven’t already… they recently interviewed Daniel, got a look at the wood-fired pizza oven, and sampled three pizzas: Aldo the Apache, the Sancho, and the Mr. Peabody.

You know, yesterday I mentioned the hair extension vending machine that may or may not still be at Wolfchase Galleria. After I published the post, I got thinking about that. Back when I taught at the University of Memphis, I had hair down to the middle of my back. I thought, maybe I could get hair extensions put in and look like that again.

Just kidding… it’s not gonna happen. If I got hair extensions, I wouldn’t look like a 27-year-old again. I’d look like a middle-aged person trying desperately not to look like a middle-aged person.

Random thing I learned this weekend: There’s a restaurant in Minneapolis called Bacon Social that serves flights of bacon. A flight consists of applewood, candied, BBQ, habanero, paleo, and chef’s special. For the first time in my life, I want to go to Minneapolis!

For those of you who are fans of the holiday drink, egg nog, it’s now available in the slushie machine at Max’s Sports Bar.

I’d like to congratulate my friends Tree and Prez  who organized Ultimate Brunch Set II at the Blind Bear yesterday. I hear it was a stunning success. Maybe I need to let those guys introduce me to the world of cigars so I can come to their third edition of the party.

The Peanut Shoppe at 24 S. Main has restocked just in time for the holiday season with the following:

  • Milk chocolate peanuts
  • Milk chocolate butter toffee peanuts
  • Praline pecans
  • Milk chocolate butter toffee pecans
  • Cinnamon pecans
  • Milk chocolate haystacks
  • Milk chocolate pretzels
  • Yogurt pretzels
  • Dark chocolate pretzels
  • Creamy white chocolate pecans
  • Milk chocolate peanut/pecan/cashew delights

Please support this great local business! They are SO NICE and they have lost a bit of street visibility due to the construction a couple of doors down. They have decorative holiday tins, sectioned off so you can include multiple items in one tin. I used to go there all the time to get my mom treats for Christmas. If she were still alive, I would get her a tin that is a sampler of all the different types of pecans. The Peanut Shoppe is located at 24 S. Main, just north of the Starbucks at Main and Monroe.

There will be trolley detours and trolley stop closures on the Main Street line between November 14 and March 2. Read more here.

Sad to hear of the passing of Memphis-area bluesman Zeke Johnson this past week.

Memphis Bartenders Group has announced an event called Quick Draw: Battle of the Spirit Slingers to be held at the Silly Goose Sunday, November 24 at 5 PM. 8 bartenders will compete, and the fastest time wins a championship belt. There will be specials: 20% off pizza, and $1 off all domestic beers, well drinks, and Jameson. David Yancey III will do tattoos at this event. There will be games including beer pong, flip cup, and Jenga.

Today is Bring Your Dog to Bingo Day at Loflin Yard. Those with a dog get an extra bingo card. 10 rounds, 4-6 PM.

Time to get this day started. Back tomorrow or Tuesday or Wednesday with more news.


Saturday update

Mike Conley returned to Memphis last night, where his new team the Utah Jazz lost to the Grizzlies in a thrilling 107-106 game. Here are some video highlights from the NBA. In particular, watch the second video, the Grizzlies tribute to Conley played during the first timeout.

One last weekend in my 40s before I enter the land of AARP memberships, denture grip, prunes to keep me regular, AOL email addresses, afternoons at the bridge club, 4:15 Early Bird dinners with senior discount, and warm milk before an 8 PM bedtime. Let’s see what’s going on…

There’s a big event at the Blind Bear this afternoon. Having seen the success of The Ultimate Brunch Set back on Labor Day weekend, the organizers decided to do it again. There will be five DJs over the course of the afternoon. Art will be on display, and there will be someone there who can hand-roll your cigars. $3 mimosas and Bloody Marys, and the Bear’s fabulous brunch menu including crawfish mac & cheese and chicken and waffles.

If you haven’t checked out the new Slider Inn at Mulberry and Talbot yet, and you’re trying to figure out a good time to go, may I suggest this Sunday evening? The reason why is that this lovely lady posted that she will be working:

That’s right, it will be PANDA TIME tomorrow evening! Since Slider Inn is open 11 AM to 3 AM, I am assuming the evening shift would be 7 PM to 3 AM. I plan on being there, although not until 3 AM since I didn’t ask for my birthday off work this year.

Your Inner Yogi at 10 N. Second will hold a Winter Ayurveda Workshop today from 1 to 3. Ayurveda is described as the science of understanding your unique self and who you are meant to be, and participants will learn how to adjust lifestyle and food choices to be in harmony with the changing of the seasons. Kandace Stewart will guide you through this transition of the seasons. Reserve your spot YOGA!

Okay. The Saturday news will continue in a minute. Right now, though, I just returned from a run to Family Dollar and I have to go on a bit of a mini-rant. CANDY MAKERS: Stop replacing candy flavors in this list

  • Cherry
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime

With flavors in this list

  • Apple
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple

Then there are candy flavors I’m indifferent toward, like grape, strawberry, and raspberry. Candy makers, I don’t care what you do with those. I’ll eat them if they’re in there. But stop replacing the best with the worst!

Free event at the Halloran Centre today at 3 PM and Monday at 7 PM: From Where I Stand: Stories from Home. The Centre will partner with the Refugee Empowerment Program to let youth explore the basic question: What is home? Home means different things to different people. Sharing their concept of home will empower the participants in this event. The Saturday performance will be interpreted in sign language for the hearing-impaired.

While we’re on the subject of free stuff, let’s check in and see how the Nuh-Uh Girl is doing. For my newer readers who aren’t familiar, the Nuh-Uh Girl is a friend and former neighbor of mine who was a fixture on this blog from 2006 to 2014. She was known for showing up at any event where there was free food. In buffet situations, she would sometimes go back for as many as nine plates. For Downtown Dining Week she would have a spreadsheet of all the restaurants and would squeeze two and sometimes even three dinners into one evening. If you were out with her and you ordered food, she’d ask, “Can I have a bite???” with a big smile on her face. If you posted a photo of food to Facebook, she’d comment, “Leftovers? :-)

The Nuh-Uh Girl embarked on a fall tour of Europe a couple of months ago. She went to Oktoberfest in Germany. After that she went through Italy, then France, and now she has made her way to Spain. Let’s see what she thinks of that country:

Oof I can already tell Granada is going to be rough in the best possible way. You get a free “real” tapa with every drink. So you either buy food or just keep buying cheap drinks and getting delicious snacks. E.g. all this for less than 7€!

Don’t ever change, Nuh-Uh Girl.

Elmo & The Shades play the Folklore Hall at the Center for Southern Folklore tonight at 7. To get to the Hall, enter the Gayoso House/Pembroke Square complex through the doors just north of the Center, and go all the way to the back. I’ll give you an additional reason to go besides blues and R&B… it’s your chance to get One & Only BBQ without leaving Downtown! They will be there serving dinner.

The Grizzlies will be back in action tomorrow vs. the Denver Nuggets at FedExForum at 5. The Grizzlies are at 5-7, which isn’t great but I think it’s better then what was expected early in the season from this young team. If the season ended today, the Grizzlies would finish 9th in the Western Conference, only one game out of the playoffs and in a position to CONVEY THAT PICK they owe Boston for the Jeff Green trade.

For those who prefer to watch games at the Blind Bear, you’ll be happy to hear that Jeannette has fixed the Bear’s deal with Xfinity, and Fox Sports Southeast 831 is once again working. In other Bear news, Jeannette also told me I’m the password next Friday, November 23. Tell the doorman that Paul sent you that evening and you don’t have to pay cover to come in.

Two events happen at Loflin Yard today beginning at 11 AM. First of all, it’s SEC Saturday with games on big screens with sound. They’ll have Bama vs. Mississippi State and Florida vs. Missouri at 11, Memphis vs. Houston (not an SEC game but we’ll let it slide) and Georgia vs. Auburn at 2:30, and LSU vs. Ole Miss and Oklahoma vs. Baylor at 6 (that last one is not an SEC game either, but who cares, by then everybody’ll be too drunk to notice).

During halftime, or whenever if you’re not a football fan, check out the Modern Market happening at Loflin Yard today 11-5. Over 20 local vendors will be there. Good chance to buy some unique Christmas gifts and avoid having to drive out to suburbia to shop at the big-box retailers.

Man… I bet the big-box retailers HATE the calendar this year. With Thanksgiving as late as it can possibly be this year, the Christmas season doesn’t really begin until the 29th. That leaves people only 26 days of Christmas shopping. Another interesting fact… this year will be a rare occurrence (a 1 in 7 chance) of the Thanksgiving weekend extending into December.

I wonder if anyone has done a research study comparing how much revenue retailers take in the last two months of the year when Thanksgiving falls on the 22nd vs. when it falls on the 28th? That would be an interesting data visualization project.

Then again, some big-box retailers don’t wait until Thanksgiving to come and go before getting started. Santa arrives at Bass Pro at the Pyramid today at 5.

Crosstown Brewing Co. will have a dog event this afternoon. You know the deal, ugliest dog contest, looks most like their owner, and all that crap. Sorry, I don’t own a dog so I don’t get all that excited about these things. There needs to be a “which dog can eat a shoe quickest” contest and they need to allow betting on it, because I’m pretty sure I know who would win.

A “which dog makes the most noise at 4 AM” contest would be a good one too. I have some former next-door neighbors whose toy poodles would be sure winners.

I have not had a chance to listen yet, but The Daily Memphian interviewed Henry Turley on how Downtown development began for this week’s “Extra” podcast.

Don’t forget that tonight is the appearance of nationally-known video DJ, DJ Rons, at Atomic Rose Club & Grill. There will be a drag show by Atomic’s Angels tonight there as well.

Over at the Blind Bear tonight, The Rusty Pieces perform 10 to 1.

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will be at Wolfchase Galleria today. Normally I wouldn’t mention an event out in suburbia but I’m sure it’s of interest to one of my readers. He’ll surely stop at one of the Asian places on Germantown Parkway afterward and post pics of his food to Instagram. Bet a friend of his will be interested in tagging along to see if Wolfchase still has that hair extension vending machine.

There’s a Fall Color Cruise at Shelby Forest today at 3:30. Cruise on Poplar Tree Lake is limited to 12 people, so it may be full already; in case it’s not and you want to go, better reserve your spot ASAP.

You, too, can make a difference in this world, thanks to the power of the Internet. Pancho’s recently changed the look of the mascot on its cheese dip tubs, and there is a petition to persuade the company to revert to its original mascot. Let’s show the world that Pancho’s is The People’s Cheese Dip!

Central BBQ has opened a fifth location – and this one is not in Memphis. If I have any Nashville readers, go to 408 11th Ave. North to get your fill of BBQ nachos and wings and all their other goodness.

Tin Roof, the club on Beale known for great live music, is hiring servers and security.

Edible Memphis returns to Downtown with its latest installment of its Familiar Faces series. This week they interview Jared Summers who works at Hustle & Dough, which recently opened its first brick and mortar location in the Arrive Hotel, 477 S. Main. Jared is the sous chef and assistant baker. Did you know that Hustle & Dough is the first sourdough bakery in Memphis? When not baking, Jared plays the upright bass. Slider Inn is one of his favorite places, and now he can walk to the second location after he gets off work.

Almost Bardog time. I will do my usual and come early to hang out with my “DAWG” John D when they open, and stick around to see my friends Randy and Theresa mid-afternoon. I’m conflicted about whether to head over to The Ultimate Brunch Set at Blind Bear late in the afternoon… the people behind the event, and the people who attend the event, are really awesome. However, if I go I’ll be a nonsmoker in a room full of cigars. Maybe the trick is to get enough beer and shots in me at Bardog that I won’t notice the smoke at the Bear. No matter where I end up, my second to last day in my 40s will be a great one.

Posts may be intermittent and spelling/grammar may be hit or miss between now and Tuesday, but I’ll try to be back as often as I can with more news.

Friday update

The Memphis Grizzlies host the Utah Jazz tonight at FedExForum at 7. This will be one of two nationally televised Grizzlies games (ESPN) this season, the other being the MLK Day game; however, there are a couple of reasons why you might want to check this one out in person.

  • First-ever matchup between rookie Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant and former Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, live and in the flesh
  • First 5000 fans get a commemorative Grizzlies arm sleeve

Lansky at the Peabody will have a Blue Note Distillery Whiskey Tasting in the store today from 9 AM to 6 PM. Try the product, chat with a distillery rep, and browse the store.

Huge congratulations to Michalyn Easter-Thomas, who defeated Berlin Boyd in the District 7 City Council runoff by almost a 3-to-1 margin. Boyd had worn out his welcome on the Council, at times being too much of a pawn of corporate interests. Replacing him with someone who will be a voice of the people was a great move on the part of the voters. Easter-Thomas will represent the northern part of Downtown and Mud Island, as well as North Memphis and Frayser.

Looks like the SAE chapter at Rhodes hasn’t changed much since I was there. Their chapter suspended since February, they are the co-defendants in a lawsuit alleging sexual assault. When I attended college there, one year they had their end-of-year party and spray-painted WOMEN ARE OBJECTS on their outdoor deck.

Memphis 901 FC will host a Fan Forum at the Brass Door next Thursday, November 21 at 7 PM. This will be a question-and-answer session with Tim Howard, Coach Mulqueen, and team president Craig Unger. Come learn about moves the team is making in the offseason toward improvement next year.

Completely random deal I found yesterday that I thought I’d pass on to my readers: Nearly completely out of bath soap, I walked over to Walgreens, expecting to come out of there with a 3-pack of Dial or Irish Spring. However, I found that Yardley soap was on sale for 69 cents a bar, more than 50% off. Made in London, the creamy coconut bath bar is said to soothe and hydrate with shea butter, aloe, and Vitamin E. So I’m living the high life now! You have to have a Walgreens card to get the deal.

Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman dropped his lawsuit against the NCAA yesterday, and the university deemed him ineligible to play… and that’s a good thing. It’s a necessary step toward a settlement in the dispute between the university and the NCAA. Wiseman will likely be suspended for several games but should be eligible around the time conference games start, and the NCAA will save face, avoiding the embarrassment of a lengthy legal proceeding. Also, the Tigers will likely have to vacate wins against South Carolina State and UIC. Two bad losses will drop Memphis’ seed in the NCAA tournament, but that’s far better than being banned from postseason play altogether.

Wiseacre will host Showgirls and Suds in its taproom tomorrow night. Performers include Foul Play Cabaret from Hot Springs, Lady Doo Moi, Lona Zul, Meka la Creme from Durham, North Carolina, Lady Problems, and Frankie La Femme. They will be doing their thing to the sounds of The Sheiks. Tickets are $25.

Memphis Flyer barfly Meghan Stuthard has a review of the underground lounge of 3rd & Court Diner.

There’s a report that Butch Jones is being considered for the head coaching position at Arkansas. NOOOOOOOOOO! Jones is the incompetent former Tennessee head football coach who had a trash can on the sidelines (which has its own Twitter account) in which defenders would dunk the football following a turnover. He’s also the coach who declared his team “Champions of Life” following a very mediocre season. If Arkansas hires that ass clown, I am done cheering for their football program. As I’ve said for the past several years, you are who you associate with, and I do not want to be associated with a loser like Butch.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to link you to this High Ground News article about Boxlot, the micro-retailer at 607 Monroe. Housed in shipping containers, the shopping complex is seeing more foot traffic, and is gearing up for an anticipated busy holiday season.

Cordelia’s Market is now carrying Mini Pot Pies in their grab & go for $4.99.

Now this is my kind of recipe: Ground beef/jalapeno cornbread casserole

New Ballet’s Nut Remix is at the Cannon Center this weekend.

Josh Threlkeld plays acoustic soul tonight at Loflin Yard 7 to 10.

Elvis Costello plays Graceland tonight… ummm isn’t that the wrong Elvis?

Off to work, and after that my last weekend in my 40s officially begins! I’ll hit the Blind Bear this afternoon, then after that will have a decision between Silly Goose, Longshot, and Slider Inn as my late afternoon hangout. Back tomorrow with more news.


Thursday update: First visit to Slider Inn, huge Pinch project, more

Yesterday about 4 I made my way south to try the new Slider Inn Downtown location. Although the address is 363 Mulberry, the entrance to the main bar area is on Talbot, a half-block east of Main. If you’re not good with directions, walk on South Main until you see the vacant field where the bocce ball court used to be. Turn on the intersecting side street (which is Talbot) and go to the building immediately behind the field.

The main bar is L-shaped and much bigger than Slider Inn Midtown’s main bar. I counted 12 seats. Behind it is a community table, perfect for drinks and conversation while you stand. Along the wall is plenty of seating for couples and groups.

The main bar is only one of several parts of Slider Inn, though. This is Aldo’s first restaurant to have a loft area, a smaller, more private space that reminded me of The Brass Door’s loft in terms of feel. There is a second building offering an additional bar and seating. Between the two main buildings is outdoor patio seating, which I suspect will be rarely used until March. Out back is the previously mentioned field, the part of the space known as Slider Out.

They have about 10 local and regional craft beers on tap, with two more taps remaining. They didn’t have domestics in yet, so I ordered a Memphis Made Fireside, one of my favorite local offerings. One of the managers smiled and said, “Paul, don’t worry, we’re working on getting some PBR in here for you.” I didn’t try one but Slider Inn Midtown’s signature Jameson slushes have found their way to South Main.

They’re operating on a limited food menu for now, and should have the full menu next week. I took a look at the limited menu: (click to view in larger size)

What really caught my eye was the Exhaust Pipe Chili, which can be made as Frito Pie. However, they were out of chili, so I took a second look at the menu. I’m always up for some wings. However, I wanted to get a menu item I couldn’t get at Bardog, so the Hot Wings were out. The Vegan Wings, made with tofu and cauliflower, weren’t under consideration either, although I think it’s great that those are on the menu for people who adhere to that lifestyle. That left the Burnout Wings, crispy-fried, blackened with Cajun seasoning, with celery and a side of ranch or blue cheese for dipping. 6 wings for $7.99 sounded perfect, and I put in an order.

While waiting on my food, I got up to use the restroom. “The bathrooms are right there, Paul,” Aldo said as he saw me in the hallway. “Go on either side. They’re gender-neutral.” In the middle of the restroom area were sinks you can wash your hands, out in the open. On either side of the sinks are six doors, from floor to ceiling that you can lock so that you have complete privacy, with toilets behind them. That is great! Very appropriate for the times and eliminates situations where there is a long line for the ladies’ room and no line for the men’s, or vice versa.

My food came out about 10 minutes after I ordered it:

The wings were perfectly cooked and juicy. The Cajun rub added a nice flavor, a bit spicy but not overpowering. You are going to get some of the rub on your shirt, so you might want to consider that before wearing a white shirt to Slider Inn. The wings reminded me of the dry rub wings at Central BBQ a bit. It didn’t say on the menu that celery came with the wings, but it did and it was a welcome counterpoint.

Aldo and I had a good conversation, and he told me that his mom still reads my blog every day, and sends him a full report of anything I write about his businesses. Cheers, Mama Aldo! It will always mean a lot to me that you sent me a card after my mom passed away. I still have it on the counter in my apartment, next to a love bug which was the last stuffed animal my mom ever gave me.

I got to hear Aldo and a few of his people talk business. I promised I wouldn’t report anything specific until he’s ready, but I will say this – sounds like good things are coming to one of his other restaurants.

Slider Inn will be open 11 AM to 7 PM today and will begin full business hours of 11 AM to 3 AM tomorrow. Aldo says they want to keep going late into the night. I think that will be great for the neighborhood. More places open late = more eyes on the surrounding streets = criminals will be more likely to go elsewhere to practice their trade.

Oh! One other little detail a lot of people might not have noticed, but I did. The main room has 5 large flat-screen TVs, and one of them was tuned to CNN. There’s this popular belief among bar managers that every TV in their bar has to be tuned to ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Classics, Fox Sports, NFL Network and the like. For sports bars I can see that, but for other types of bars it’s good to have some variety. I was a lot more interested in what happened in the first day of impeachment proceedings that I was in whether the Raptors will rest Kawhi for their next game, or what NFL teams would send scouts to Colin Kaepernick’s workout.

One more thing too… when the weather is nice, Aldo told me, he wants to have events in the empty field out back known as Slider Out, and he wants to bring food trucks on site. Most restaurant owners are threatened by the presence of nearby food trucks, yet Aldo invites them! That’s a man with confidence in his product.

Walking up there, I wondered what the regular crowd would look like. Would it be mostly the South Main crowd that I associate with Max’s Sports Bar? Would it feel like Slider Inn Midtown? Would a lot of Bardog regulars come down there? Although it’s hard to say having only been there one night, the place felt more like Slider Inn Midtown than any currently existing Downtown spot. Hard to tell having been there just once though. I will surely go back!

South Main is just BOOMING! For years and years, Max’s Sports Bar was my sole outpost in that neighborhood. Now when I venture south (which I surely will more often) I will have choices. Slider Inn? Longshot? A visit to Central Station to try their Eight & Sand bar? Pontotoc Lounge? Bar 409? I could make an entire day of it down there. Hmmm when spring rolls around, Farmers Market in the morning followed by Slider Inn when they open at 11 seems like an interesting option.

Long post already and I haven’t even got to a HUGE news item about Downtown that dropped yesterday. New York developer Tom Intrator has released plans for a $1.1 billion mixed-use development in The Pinch District. Some buildings would be up to 18 stories tall and the plan calls for 942 apartments, two hotels, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail and office space. What a game-changer that would be for a neighborhood that has been a ghost town except for the MATA north end terminal and a few restaurants and a coffee shop. Those apartments would make it possible for those who work at St. Jude to be able to walk to their job. Intrator says his goal is “to bring a different type of neighborhood to this city.” Downtown is really firing on all cylinders now, and the possibilities seem endless.

The Memphis Farmers Market’s Turkey Market is this Saturday, and Cousins Maine Lobster will be there. (Although, you can now get a lobster roll a few blocks up the street at Slider Inn anytime you want)

One more note about Slider Inn since I’ve circled back around to that topic: Not only were the Burnout Wings good, they were good for me, apparently. A study found that people who like spicy food live longer.

Jimbo Mathus and The Dirty Crooks play South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, tonight 7-9.

Elmwood Cemetery will host Carols of the Victorians Thursday, December 12 at 6:30 PM. St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral will have people there for a night of history and music. There will be wassail, card-swapping, wine, Victorian-age carols, and historical facts about the music you hear. $20 general admission with kids 12 and under free.

The Andrew Michael guest chef series at their family of restaurants continues this Sunday, November 17, at the Gray Canary 5-9 PM. The Canary will host Edouardo Jordan, owner of JuneBaby, a Southern-style restaurant in Seattle. The restaurant won the 2018 James Beard award for Best New Restaurant, and Jordan won the 2018 James Beard award for Best Chef Northwest. The menu is a secret until the guests arrive. Cost is $75, with optional wine pairings, benefitting the High School Pantry program at the Mid-South Food Bank. 901-249-2932 to make reservations. (Thanks to Edible Memphis for posting this information)

After Slider Inn last night, I headed back north for trivia at the Blind Bear. As always, I stood Perjorie T. Roll on the bar for good luck. A lady from Ohio sitting next to me asked, “What’s the significance of the troll?”

“It’s a long story,” I told her, giving her a much shorter answer than I would if the person asking had been from South Main. “But she’s here every week to bring us good luck.”

The lady told me that in the ’80s and ’90s, she used to collect trolls, and had over 100 of them, so she was fascinated to see someone with a troll in modern times. “I don’t have a collection,” I explained. “This is the only one I have.”

Perjorie did not bring us good luck, though – we finished dead last. However, even to that there is a benefit. Patrick came over and told me that I get to pick the topic of one of the rounds next Wednesday. I looked down at Perjorie and seriously considered picking “Trolls,” but decided against it since movies are my weakest subject. I picked a category I’m strong in, and a sub-category a buddy of mine is strong in. Got to talk with him and see if he wants to play on the same team next week.

Time to get to work, where Big Data is the name of the game this week. Getting back into the IT mindset of refusing to give up just because the first 3 or 4 or 10 solutions I try don’t work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update: Slider Inn opens this morning at 11 AM

Slider Inn Downtown will be open for business this morning at 11. For the first two days they are only open from 11 AM to 7 PM. Friday they will start their regular hours of 11 AM to 3 AM. Slider Inn will be 21 and up from 8 PM to close.

I guess ESPN was right when they made the Oregon Ducks an 84% favorite to beat Memphis. They did just that last night, the Tigers looking like absolute garbage, turning over the ball, clanking 3s. Has James Wiseman been watching tape of Jaren Jackson Jr.? Two fouls in the first five minutes. Geez.

The community will continue to support Wiseman, though. Longshot has announced that a new menu item named for him, Wise Fries, will be available the day of every Tigers home game. It is made with pastor sausage, queso, sweet potato and russet potato fries, enchilada sauce, lime sour cream, baby Romaine, and pico de gallo. Yum!

It’s 19 outside as I type this. Fox 13 Memphis has a story about how outside workers dress for the weather. Interviewed is Downtown’s own Shun Windless, owner of The Lifter shuttle that will take you around Downtown. Shun is good people and I highly recommend this mode of transportation if you don’t feel like walking in the cold.

The football Tigers came up three spots to number 18 in last night’s College Football Playoff poll. Cincinnati is still one spot higher, at 17. Boise State, Navy, and Appalachian State are also in the top 25 and in the conversation for the Group of 5 Cotton Bowl berth.

The Peabody’s annual tree lighting ceremony will happen Friday, November 29, the day after Thanksgiving. Local choirs will sing all day. Following the 5 PM duck march, they will light the tree and Santa and Mrs. Claus will hand out holiday candy.

Last week I had to go get a cracked debit card replaced. It was the end of my blue First Tennessee card and the beginning of my white First Horizon debit card. One week into having it, I did something I have not done in 11 years last night… I left my debit card at a bar, the Silly Goose specifically. Fortunately, the people there know my routine well, and someone ran it over to me at the Blind Bear around the corner. I guess I was more likely to forget my debit card because it was white, and did not stand out among the receipts the way a blue card would. Keep that in mind if you are a First Horizon customer who switches over to the new card.

Yesterday was a day I absolutely dreaded: driver’s license renewal. The Downtown County Clerk office has been known as the hidden gem of the license renewal stations, the one where you didn’t have to take a half day off work to stand in a line that snakes around a building. However, a couple of friends told me it does not enjoy that reputation so much any more, with wait times of an hour and a half or more being typical. All morning at work I had an “ugh” feeling as I anticipated my afternoon.

I came home from work, ate lunch, then walked down to the clerk’s office on Washington, entering the building at 1:50 PM. There were only three people in line! By 2:25 I walked out with my new, temporary paper license, my permanent one to arrive in the mail in about a month. 35 minutes was much less than I expected! However, by the time I walked out with my license, the line had grown to about a dozen people. That leads me to believe 1:45 or so is the time to go. It makes sense – those who renewed in their lunch hour have gone back to work, and those who took the afternoon off to get it done haven’t arrived yet. It’s an extra $8 fee to renew at the Downtown location, but in my opinion it’s well worth it in terms of time and frustration saved.

The man in front of me had a helper with him because he didn’t know how to read. That made me sad. It made me feel like we’ve failed as a society, letting a member of our society go so long without a key skill you need to survive in modern times. I felt like telling the man, “When the Cossitt Library opens in a few months, if you want to meet me there I’ll teach you to read.”

Xfinity, which loves to screw its customers for more money every chance it gets, has moved Fox Sports Southeast channel 831 that a higher tier. So you have to pay for an upgrade in order to see Grizzlies games. That absolutely sucks. The Grizzlies play a road game tonight at Charlotte at 6 PM.

There will be a Couples Dance Class tonight at 6:30 in the third floor event space of Puck Food Hall, 409 S. Main. Cost is $20 and the class is presented by Cat’s Ballroom.

Off to work. My job has taken much more of an IT focus this past week, as we attempt to solve a problem that has never been solved before. I’ve been using tools I’ve known for years as well as new ones. It’s really been fun.

Speaking of work, it’s about that time. Back tomorrow with more news.

When you live in Downtown Memphis, every day is a staycation

This coming weekend will be a memorable weekend for me: My final weekend in my 40s. I’ve been thinking about that for a while. What do I want to do?, I asked myself. Anything special? I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need to do anything special. I just want to hang out in my favorite places with my favorite people.

And then a sentence popped into my head: “When you live in Downtown Memphis, every day is a staycation.” It’s really true. So much to do down here, so many places to go eat (especially this week for Downtown Dining Week), and most importantly, it’s so easy to make many good friends here.

Tool will bring their North American Tour to FedExForum on January 31. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 AM.

Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers are on national TV tonight. The #13 Tigers play #14 Oregon in Portland with tip-off on ESPN a few minutes after 8 Central Time. This is one of those “Classic” games and technically a neutral-court game with Memphis as the home team, although Eugene where the University of Oregon is located is driving distance away. ESPN has lower-ranked Oregon as an 83.8% favorite. Just one more reason for the Tigers to play with a chip on their shoulder.

The injunction James Wiseman got is good until a hearing on the 18th, so he almost certainly will play tonight. Cheers to Wiseman, Penny, the U of M AD, and President M. David Rudd for having the balls to take on the NCAA. Someone needed to. Their arbitrary rulings are just ridiculous.

You know, I was thinking about it… the NCAA told Penny that Wiseman was eligible back in May, then reversed themselves in the October 31-November 5 range. I definitely think that gives Wiseman a claim for monetary damages. If he had known back in May he’d be ineligible, he could have signed with an overseas professional team and made bank for his services. Or, he could have signed one of those $125,000 1-year top-prospect contracts the NBA G-League offers, to get nightly feedback on his performance from people associated with the league in which he aspires to play. Can you imagine James Wiseman on the Memphis Hustle? The Landers Center would have been packed every night, and NBA scouts from all over the country would have attended every game.

Yesterday was a soggy day, and as I walked home about 9 PM I got hit in the face with a light wintry mix. Yuck! The low tonight is predicted to be 19 and temperatures won’t get to normal for this time of year anytime in the next week, although forecasts above-average temperatures for the extended period of November 19-25.

Hira Qureshi of The Daily Memphian has a list of places to get Thanksgiving dinner, whether you want to take it to go or dine in. For Downtown:

Dine in:

  • Bleu
  • Capriccio Grill
  • Chez Philippe
  • The Peabody Thanksgiving Brunch
  • River Inn of Harbor Town – three choices – Paulette’s, Terrace, and Tug’s


  • Central BBQ
  • Felicia Suzanne’s
  • Gus’s
  • The Peabody
  • Primas Bakery + Boutique (dessert)

It wasn’t in the DM’s list but I’m pretty sure LUNCHBOXeats cooks to-go family dinners as well, or at least they have in years past.

If you don’t mind driving to another part of town, my recommendation would be the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis. Those folks are studying to be in the hospitality industry and they put on a sumptuous spread for holiday buffets. Cost is less than most hotel restaurants, and since it’s buffet style you can go back for seconds.

The Green Beetle is looking to rent commercial kitchen space to expand catering and other parts of their business. They’re especially interested in using a church or other space that has a rarely-used kitchen, and in addition to paying rent, they’d be willing to feed the homeless and do congregation dinners. They’d also be happy to assist in any kind of community engagement the church or organization is involved in. This sounds like a real win-win for someone out there. If you are interested or have a lead for them to explore, you can get in touch with the Beetle on Facebook.

St. Jude has issued its annual neighborhood guide for its upcoming marathon on Saturday, December 7. If you plan to drive through Downtown or Midtown that morning or early afternoon, or if you plan to be a spectator to cheer on the runners, this is a must-read.

Students in Pratt, Kansas recently visited 40 businesses in the town, shadowing people who worked at those businesses to get an up-close look at what they do as part of a mentoring day. The story made the local newspaper, The Pratt Tribune, with the headline Students get first hand job experience. Hyphens matter!

Grind City Coffee will host a caffeine crawl at coffee shops around Memphis, including several Downtown, Saturday, November 16.

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar at Main and Monroe is hiring servers, bartenders, server assistants/food runners, wine flighters, and greeters/reservation specialists.

I went back to Longshot Sunday afternoon to try one of their house-made sausage sandwiches on bread from Hustle & Dough upstairs.

This is the Korean BBQ sausage, hand-made with ginger, garlic, soy, gochujang, and sesame. Toppings include kimchi, daikon cucumber salad, toasted sesame seed, nori, and scallion. It was good, not too spicy even though the kimchi was on there. A delicious Asian take on the bar’s signature item. Longshot is at Main and Butler (side entrance on Butler) in the Arrive Hotel.

The Union Mission will feed those in need the day before Thanksgiving. Did you know that $1.67 provides a complete meal for one person? Donate here

Local Memphis has coverage of the 15th annual Harbor Town Dog Day.

Well, today after work I get to deal with the not-so-fun side of coming up on a birthday that’s a multiple of 5: a trip to the DMV to renew my driver’s license. I’m hoping that most people will decide it’s too cold to get out today and the line will be short. Wish me luck. Back tomorrow with more news.

Pigs in a blanket @ Longshot and Sunday news

Yesterday I returned to Longshot, the shuffleboard bar in the basement of the Arrive Hotel at Main and Butler. It was my third visit there, and I had been meaning to try menu items and post pics for my readers to see. The first two visits hadn’t gone as planned, though; the first time there, I inadvertently ordered what turned out to be a vegetarian sausage sandwich, with a carrot in place of a sausage. On my second visit, there was a celebration with a free spread of food, and after eating a plate I wasn’t hungry enough to order a menu item.

This time, I was determined to order their specialty, one of their sausages, hand-made by in-house sausage master John Haley. They have eight different sausage sandwiches, each served on bread made by the Hustle & Dough bakery upstairs. However, when I got a hold of the menu, a different sausage-based item caught my eye:

Under the “Shareables” section of the menu, I ordered the Pigs in a Blanket. This is Vietnamese sausage in rice paper, fried and served with lettuce wraps, ginger and pickles, and nuoc cham sauce, a Vietnamese fish sauce, for dipping.

It was way different from anything I have ever had, and way different from what Americans usually think of when they hear “pigs in blankets.” It was yummy though. The crunchiness of the rice paper and the lettuce was a nice counterpoint to the soft sausage inside, and the pickles and fish sauce added layers of flavor.

To see the full menu, check my post from last Saturday for photos. Probably next on the menu for me to try is the Korean BBQ sausage sandwich with kimchi. I love kimchi! Although, after sampling the cherry mustard Friday night, I’m going to be tempted to order the Smoked sausage sandwich.

I got there at 4:30, not long after the place opened. I thought to myself, “It’s a cold Saturday, hardly anyone knows Longshot is open, and even if they do they won’t want to step away from the LSU-Alabama game to walk over there. I bet I’ll be the only one there for the first hour.” Wrong! The place was more than half full, with three of the five shuffleboard tables in use. I’m glad to see Longshot has been discovered.

Update on a couple of things there: I confirmed with Dax that they will be switching over from 12-ounce PBR bottles to 16-ounce PBR cans. Yay! More bang for the buck, and I’ll get to use my koozie featuring the logo of the BBQ Fest shoulder trophy-winning Moody Ques. Dax also said they’re straightening out a situation with the TVs on Monday, so that each of the three bar TVs can be tuned to a different channel. That will be important for College Football Saturday, and on Monday nights when MNF and the Grizzlies are often on at the same time.

Drew Hill of the Daily Memphian has a look at the likely next steps in the court battle between James Wiseman and the NCAA.

The Daily Memphian also has a look at River Garden in Mississippi River Park’s first birthday celebration, the changes made to make the park inviting to the public, and plans to link the park to Memphis Park across Riverside Drive.

You know, every now and then I have to sit back and appreciate the quality of journalism in the Daily Memphian. I really like it that their mission is to inform the public, not accumulate the maximum possible number of clicks or ad sales they can get. If you’re the type of person who likes to stay informed about your community, it’s probably the best seven bucks a month you can spend.

Another excellent DM article: How Memphis rebuilt itself in the 1880s following the yellow fever epidemic.

What a College Football Saturday it was! Both #3 and #4 in the CFP rankings fell, with #2 LSU beating #3 Alabama, and #17 Minnesota upsetting #4 Penn State. Having handed Bama a loss on their home turf, will LSU be able to overtake Ohio State for the #1 spot this week? And will undefeated Minnesota start to be a part of the playoff conversation?

#20 Cincinnati took care of business, so the Bearcats will likely still be ranked ahead of Memphis in this week’s poll. However, #19 Wake Forest lost, so expect Memphis to move up at least one spot.

Ugh Tennessee beat Kentucky. One more win and the Lady Vols are bowl-eligible. Can we petition the Liberty Bowl to not select Tennessee? The only bowl they belong in is a toilet bowl.

The Memphis Grilled Cheese Fest happens today at the Hi-Tone. Come enjoy some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches this city has to offer while supporting Alive Rescue Memphis.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen is implementing a Mid-Day Mardi Gras Cocktail Hour from 2 to 5 PM Thursday-Saturday. The way it works is, you choose a cocktail from their menu, pay a set price, and you get to enjoy an unlimited number of your selected cocktail for one hour.

Oh – almost forgot – I took an additional photo at Longshot, a listing of the rules of shuffleboard: (click to view in a larger size)

Off to D-RANKS with B-RAD at Silly Goose. Looks like I’ll get one day of shorts weather in before it gets super cold. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Shocking news came out late yesterday afternoon. Memphis Tigers coach Penny Hardaway announced that James Wiseman, the team’s top 5-star recruit who is projected to be the #1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA. The reason is that years ago, before he ever had any idea he would one day be Memphis’ head coach, Penny Hardaway helped finance Wiseman’s move to Memphis to play high school ball and AAU ball. The NCAA considered Penny a booster because of his $1 million donation to the U of M Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. Boosters are not permitted by the NCAA to help prospects financially.

Wiseman has retained local attorney Leslie Ballin and is suing the NCAA. Ballin obtained a restraining order allowing Wiseman to play in last night’s game, in which the Tigers blew out UIC 92-46. It remains to be seen if Wiseman will be available for next week’s game against nationally ranked Oregon.

I read the news on Twitter while at Longshot, the new bar in the basement of Arrive Hotel at 477 S. Main. Good news! They have beer now. PBR is $3 a bottle. GM Dax tells me they may switch to cans, because apparently they’re the same wholesale price. Either works for me! Their craft cocktails are delicious but I can’t afford to run up a $40 tab every time I go there. Another piece of good news: They have the TVs working now. They had both the Tigers and the Grizzlies on last night.

I went up there with the intention of trying one of their house-made sausage sandwiches, but it was grand opening night and they had a spread of food to sample. “Paul, go get a plate,” bartender Keagan told me. I went full Nuh-Uh Girl on that buffet.

Look at that gorgeous plate! If I posted this pic and said it came from the salad bar at Texas de Brazil, I bet everyone would believe me. If this is what comes on their meat & cheese plate, then it has to be added to the must-try list of items at Longshot.

I particularly want to spotlight one item on this plate: the cherry mustard, in the upper left corner. It had a kick to it and was really tasty! I bet it would be fantastic on one of their house-made sausages.

There was a champagne toast to celebrate the hotel’s opening.

Bluff City Coffee is now accepting orders for chocolate covered strawberries in packs of 6 or 12.

Check out yesterday’s edition of WREG Live at 9 to see Chef Michael Patrick of Rizzo’s talking about Downtown Dining Week which starts Monday. Chef demonstrates cooking a spaghetti squash broccolini.

You can now send a chocolate dick straight to someone’s door with a box that reads “Eat a Dick” when you open it. Damn this gives me an idea… nah, never mind, I don’t think I’d waste perfectly good chocolate on that bitch.

Evelyn & Olive will have live music by “Spencer Wayne” (no idea why they put his name in quotes; maybe it’s not his real name) and the Kashmere Cashmere Band tonight starting at 8:30.

You’ve seen me post all those yummy pizzas from the Silly Goose’s wood-fired oven… how would you like to make those pizzas? They are looking for full-time and part-time kitchen help. Experience making pizza dough and working with a wood-fired oven is a plus, but not necessary. What is necessary is a great work ethic and the willingness to learn. Pay is negotiable, but is said to be more than minimum wage for sure. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from people who are passionate about what they do. Hit me up at or on Facebook if interested and I’ll get you in touch with the hiring manager, or just go by the Goose during the non-busy hours and ask if Parker is there.

From CityLab: Kids raised in walkable cities earn more as adults

The big game of the day, and maybe the biggest game of the season, is LSU vs. Alabama today at 2:30 on CBS. I like both teams, I respect both teams… but today I will be rooting for Bama. Why? LSU has played a tougher schedule, and therefore two SEC teams are more likely to remain in the top four if the Tigers take a loss. Sorry, guys, nothing personal.

Lansky at the Peabody is offering 20% off all Barbour apparel through Monday. This includes quilted jackets, shirts, gilets and waistcoats.

Streetdog Foundation’s Howl at the Moon fundraiser is tonight at The Warehouse at Front and G.E. Patterson.

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