This looks like as good a place as any for me to jump in. With the exception of Mayor Al
, most folks aren't even yet up to the organized festivities that took place on Saturday, February 14
. So, though a bit belated, here is some Valentine's love....
I actually arrived the night before, but my flight was a touch late and getting out of the airport was not as easy a task as I had planned. Therefore, my planned dinner get-together with Rick F
., his lovely wife Jan
, and Iwanago
turned into a quick stop at the hotel bar to catch up with Paul and Roz before we all retired to bed. The three of us stayed at the downtown Memphis Marriott, which was convenient to the trolley line and located right near the convention center. It proved to be easy walking distance for me to many of the touristy things in downtown, including Beale Street.
After a rare good night's sleep, buffetbuster
called in the morning to abort our breakfast plans. In reality, a good thing - I was happy to take some more relaxing time - and I suspected that by the end of the day, the last thing I would need is more food. That led me to our first stop - Cozy Corner Restaurant
There have already been some candid shots of the group, so I will show some food photos, instead. When I think Memphis, I think....
...RIBS! I was able to talk the staff into a couple of pictures of the pit after everyone had finished milling around. They were proud to show off their operation and they were genuinely thrilled to have their place so highly thought of by such an esteemed group of barbecue enthusiasts. One of my favorite parts of all of these journeys is interacting with the locals and the proud proprietors of the restaurants we seek. The family that runs Cozy Corner would be in THAT Hall of Fame, if one were to exist.
I wasn't interested in sides, or bologna sandwiches. No, no. I wanted to taste those ribs.
They did not disappoint. The applied sauce was reasonably thin, slightly sweet, but with just a little kick.
I really enjoyed Cozy Corner, and would happily go back on any subsequent trip to Memphis. I do regret that I did not get much time to spend with everyone who attended. I tried to stop by and meet most folks, but after not seeing some folks that I am happy to call friends away from this site, I am afraid that I was a bit distracted. I would also like to thank susanll
for bringing the mopping sauce, a bottle of which I did acquire, to share with the group.
After Cozy Corner, we all kind of made off in separate directions with plans to meet again later. A small group of us (myself, buffetbuster, wanderingjew and Cousing Johnny) headed in the direction of a place buffetbuster had read about in a previous edition of Roadfood.
Unfortunately, well....you guessed it. We were Travelin' Manned
. Did you really expect anything else? We later found out that Ellen's has moved to a new location on Elvis Presley Blvd, but we had already replaced that meal with something else.
We realized that we were close to Payne's Bar-b-q
- also on Elvis Presley Blvd. And, even though we were collectively stuffed, we all know the ancient Roadfood mantra - there's always room for another pork sandwich.
You can always tell when you are on the classy side of town when the windows look so fine!
The place sure looked authentic enough. Check out that ceiling!
Check out the ghost prices of years gone by! When I say that we really weren't hungry - I mean we REALLY weren't very hungry. wanderingjew and I split one sandwich (he also had beans), while buffetbuster and Cousin Johnny also split the same order.
...this was one truly poor pork sandwich. No joke. It ranked somewhere just north of inedible. If you look at the photo closely enough, you will see the fat. I don't mean the kind of fat that makes meat tasty - I mean nasty chunks of fat, flavored with a little pork. Also, I don't regularly eat slaw and I woudn't really think that I would like it on sandwiches, but the two times that I have had it (Primanti's
being the other), the slaw surely didn't DETRACT from the meal. Unfortunately, the pork itself was too busy detracting this whole meal.
These little signs were up all over the walls in Payne's.
If I knew a good lawyer, I would sue them for false advertising.
We got rid of the dead weight - oops...I mean we dropped wanderingjew off at his hotel! Then, the rest of us made our way back towards downtown, with the plan to meet up with ChiTownDiner
and his crew at Dyer's
. Poverty Pete also called from the Flying Saucer
, with the invitation for a beer. It really is tough being popular. Then, of course, there is also the fact that we (collectively) get distracted very easily. I saw a cool sign that I wanted to photograph - and the place reminded me of one of our favorite "hidden" stops from Mobile last year - the A&M Peanut Shoppe
This place was a great stop. The owner caught me taking photos - particularly here...
An antique roaster with a giant Mr. Peanut. He chatted us up for a good few minutes - detailing the history of the original Planters Nuts shops that dotted the country. His is one of only a handful of the original locations left, though they no longer have any affiliation with Planters. One of the other original locations is in Mobile, AL - and the guy seemed a little impressed that I knew that!
We walked down towards Beale Street - and there were still a good many folks milling around during the day. I know that Beale hops along at night, but I was surprised to see so many folks there during the day.
We did make our way to Dyer's - thinking that it had been about an hour since we'd last eaten, and we could probably "do a burger." We arrived to find ChiTownDiner and Brother Kerry waiting for their food to be delivered...and waiting...and waiting...and waiting. I believe that they said that they'd waited about 45 minutes when we arrived.
Admittedly, that did alter our plans somewhat. We did the math and with the evening meal at Leonard's approaching, a 45 minute wait, while stomach-friendly, was not clock-friendly. On the other hand, we hadn't had dessert yet today, so....
A round of shakes for the boys. You could call this the Holy Trinity of shakes - and they were passable, but, nothing I would go out of my way to pursue again.
While I didn't eat the food, I do think that the best thing about Dyer's is the proximity to the WC Handy statue
, referenced in Marc Cohn's Walking in Memphis
....won't you look down over me?
OK, so I wasn't wearing blue suede shoes when I boarded my plane, nor was it raining when we touched down in the land of the Delta Blues, but I did get my picture of WC Handy watching down over me.
The evening's events as well as the rest of the trip will follow...