Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Monday....& THE BIG DAY!

Sunday night hadn't ended too well....... My beloved Philadelphia Eagles took it on the chin in the late game....or better yet got 'Romo'd' (a term my daughter-in-law coined to accurately describe the quarterback play of her team--The Dallas Cowboys).  So, after some restless sleep, I was expecting none too great a Monday and also some teasing by the Cowboy faithful!
SURPRISE SURPRISE SURPRISE as Gomer Pyle use to beam.  First things First.  It's always a great day when, not only can you get up and smell the roses, but you can get up and smell anything for that matter.  Being able to come to work is the icing on the cake! 
But it is Monday after all and Friday is now so far away....
Coming to a Pyramid near you.....

I'm heading over the AJ Willis Bridge, from Mud Island, facing the Pyramid and I am pleasantly shocked to see 3 trailers in the Pyramid parking lot.  On these trailers are the very first signs of life that Bass Pro is committing to actually constructing their 'BP Wonderland'.  I was never a big proponent of BP in the first place but let's bring it on for God sake.  So WHOOPEE!  Now, of course, Bass Pro may be just fooling us again,  After all this conversation started 8 years ago & these trailers may just be sitting there for just as long BUT today I am encouaged!
We sell Kayaks & all kinds of Guns!
Hell, I even had to stop and take pictures...... OK I admit that was kind of dorkish but I work for a 'major media  news organization' so there's precedent & there's also my facebook post I'm thinking and I didn't even consider this silly blog then.  Somehow I just felt compelled..... rather obligated to do it..  If this thing ever takes off, and I'm finally starting to believe it will, optimist that I am, I may even patronize the place once or twice.....possibly buy a kayak, a shotgun or maybe a whoopie cushion!  I'm sure to be bringing visitors by. Right???  It's funny how even the unexpected can put a smile on your face to start the day!

The real shining moment, on an otherwise cloudy Monday, had to be the monthly luncheon on campus at the St. Jude's Memphis honor and privilege for anyone.  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the Crown Jewel of Memphis!  It opened on February 4, 1962 and was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Its mission:  To find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment and never turn any child away.  St. Jude's has treated children from every state and all parts of the world and remarkably....all at no charge.  It has a rather hefty operating budget.....over 1.7 million a day and is covered largely with public donations!  So that's why ALSAC & the St.Jude club affiliations are so important.   In 1962 survival rates for most cancers were very low,  one -ALL ( acute lymphoblastic leukemia ) was only 4%.  Today, with St. Jude's help, the survival rate has risen to 94%!   Learned a lot there today.....always do! 
Chili's Care Center

Next Monday (09/26/11) THE BIG DAY, as Chili's calls it, all net profits from their sales go directly to St. Jude's to continue their fight against these deadly deseases.  Please support this great cause and make plans to eat at Chili's on that day.  To date Chili's has helped raise over $30,000,000.   Let's help rid these deadly diseases from our planet and eat at the same time 8-)
 Someone you know, possibly very closely, has been touched by one of them.  It happened to me and St. Jude saved little Robert's life and for that I am eternally grateful!  Please help them save even more children 8-)

This Blog doesn't seem so silly to me now and what a Fantastic Monday itz been....... I'll take them a day at a time & am greatful for every one that I get.
(& please don't forget about Chili's Monday, 9/26, too)!

Friday, September 9, 2011

State of Q

Memphis is arguably the BBQ Capital of the United States.  Note, I said arguably because I know there are folks in other areas, particularly Lexington, Kansas City & the Carolina's that also lay claim to that same title.  So I don't mean to 'ruffle anyone's feathers'.
BBQ is Serious Business!

Memphis is also home to the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Contest......a four day kick-off rather, that will just wear you out.  There is no need to go if you don't know a Team because that's where all the food, frolic & fun is.....under the tents!  I learned that nearly 5 years ago when I got here. Um...I also learned that 'jello shots' can kill ya!
The Jumbo

So recently I was thinking, which I have been known to do from time to time, and I asked myself what I thought was a pretty simple question...
I wonder who really has the Best BBQ in Memphis?  It's actually a 'loaded' question because there are several types of Memphis BBQ: Pulled Pork, Dry Seasoned Ribs & Wet Ribs and it seems everyone has an op-ed.  For me it originally came down to Interstate BBQ for pulled pork, The Rendezvous for dry ribs & Neely's for wet.  Realizing tho that I am just a novice in this division, I asked my good friend, mentor & resident Memphis culinary expert Leroy for his input. He turned the question right around on me.  "Who do you think has the best Brother Lou?"  After I told him, he started to laugh. "Interstate...Interstate??  Have you seen their BBQ pit?"  Why no.....I haven't.  "Yea, well neither have they Brother!.....C'mon I'm taking you to lunch at one of the best..... Payne's!" Now I probably would have never bumped into Payne's myself, unless I lost my way, which I have also been known to do.  It's not in the best location, over on Lamar, and nothing to look at, being a converted gas station (it's been there so long no one can seem to remember what brand of gas it use to be) but damn if it wasn't the best pulled pork sandwich I had ever tasted!  Ms. Payne, a beautiful woman, was kind enough to even show me the BBQ pit   I had the 'Jumbo' (Leroy asked me how many Jumbo's I wanted. will do just fine!) BL had the sausage & BBQ bologna which looked equally as awesome.  I decided right then & there....I needed to know where all the best Memphis BBQ is......just in case someone asks me the question: Where's the best??? 
I really had limited myself to Topps, A&R, The BBQ Shop, Central, Corky's, Blue's City and a couple of others.  Upon finishing up at Payne's, Leroy tells me "Next week we're going to Cozy's". (Cozy's Corner over on North Parkway).   Um, this is going to be a real challenge & I am going to need some serious training if I have any hope for survival......
I've come to understand there's a world more of Memphis BBQ out there and I've decided to find out for myself, ala Anthony Bourdain, on
Yankee's Memphis BBQ World Tour 11/12.  

I think I'll even get some t-shirts made!  Locations & dates on the back even.  Damn....maybe I can hook a reality show or at least a cookbook deal out of this.  OK, I'm getting carried away a a lot but what the hell, shoot for the moon and if not the stars at least you'll find yourself with a plate of ribs!
 If ever there was one position in the newspaper business, other than my own, I would aspire would have to be Food Critic.  Eat & get paid for it.  NICE! Admit would too and I'd put a bottle of Rendezvous Hot Sauce on that. 

Cozy's Ribs on Deck
I asked one of our food critics at the paper - DD- for his input and while he agreed that Payne's & Cozy's were among his favorites, he also related that some of the best Memphis BBQ is in Arkansas. YIKES!? This is going to be much tuffer than I originally thought.....and off such a seamingless simple question too.  After all, when one starts off with the premise that barbeque is a sauce & intended to cover one's cooking've got a long way to go!
I'm up to the challenge......only my cholesterol level stands in the way.
Here's to Where Pigs Fly & not how you start but how you finish 8-)
a yankee in Memphis