Thursday, February 09, 2006

Things to do in...

Since the past 24 hours have been pretty tame, I thought I would take a few minutes to begin a post of fun things to do in the cities where I have lived.

To begin with, I have lived in Oklahoma City, Albany, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Los Angeles - and that's just since 1997.

In any city where I live, I'm always searching to find the best of the local culture and uniqueness in music, food, and people. In the last place I lived, Memphis, I was so emerged in local culture that people who were born and raised there would call me up for suggestions on where to go. It was always a strange paradox that continues even today. How random is it to get a phone call in L.A. from someone looking for something to do in Memphis?

But you better believe that I have an answer!
With that, let's start with things to do in Memphis:

The best martini bar is by far and hands down Swig. Located in Peabody Tower for around three years, it's a great place to start the night. Of the over 70 martinis they offer, I recommend the Almond Joy.

One of my next favorite places is a bar that specializes in beer called The Flying Saucer. Luckily, it's right next door to Swig, so you can stop by both in the same night. The Saucer has 201 different beers, plus great music. Being that I'm not a beer drinker, I recommend the Hummingbird Water. Check out their web site for more details at

One of the most important historical places you can and SHOULD visit in downtown Memphis is the Civil Rights Museum. It explains in detail the rich history that played out in our country. In addition, the museum itself is located in the old Lorrane Hotel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. It's a very important landmark.

Okay, the next must visit place I should mention is Beale Street. This is the famous street in downtown Memphis that's full of music, dancing, and partying. Recommended spots to visit on Beale are Club 152 (for techno dance music), Silky O'Sullivans (for dueling pianos), and A. Schwab (for everything else!). I especially love Beale Street in the summer time when they have free outdoor concerts. Oh, and one more thing - if you do end up in Blues City Cafe, be sure to try the Skillet Shrimp!

For a great roof party on Thursday, try either The Peabody Hotel or The Madison. And, if you do make it to the Peabody (Thursday night or not), be sure to say hello to the Peabody Ducks.

For amazing barbecue, the best place to go is hands down The Rendevous. The first time you visit, you'll wonder if you're in the right place. It's located in a back alley, but I promise, it's worth it. If you can't make it to Memphis, they'll FedEx the ribs to you (of course!) at - Yumm!

And, if you're looking for stuffed fried mushrooms or fried pickles, T.J. Mulligan's downtown is the place. Mulligan's is right on the trolley line, so it's super easy to get there and it's a fun place to go before concerts at the Pyramid.

Now, to the South end of downtown...
The best place to by wine in downtown Memphis is for sure the Corkscrew! The amazing staff knows all about wine and will often break open a bottle to share when you come in. While you're here, you can get a suggestion on wine to go with the perfect food at amy favorite romantic dinner spot: Harry's Detour. Harry's offers gourmet food at reasonable prices. They don't carry wine, but they do allow you to bring it in, which is why the Corkscrew is so helpful. At Harry's, I recommend the Thai Shrimp Pasta. It's spicy, but it's good!

For the best pub grub, stop by the Blue Monkey. The Monkey has a fun decor and can be a good place for a late night business meeting. When you're there, be sure to try the twice baked potatoes.

After dinner, stop by the Cheesecake Place for amazing, unique, tasty, wonderful cheesecake! I recommend the Turtle Cheesecake.

Once you're finished with the perfect dessert, head down South Main to visit the local art galleries. The best time to go is on a Friday night when Trolley Tour is happening. The local galleries keep their shops open late and offer free wine and snacks for visitors. My favorite is the Durden Gallery; check here for their site:

Last, but not least, if you're up late and looking for dancing, you MUST visit Raiford's! I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but it's essentially all social classes together in one place, dancing on a bright disco floor with a disco ball and a pole. Raiford must be 65 by now and he's the DJ for lot of great music.

I could go on and on, but I think I'll stop for now. I can always write more about the east side of Memphis.... do expect more food suggestions though for the other cities that I have called home!

Good day and good eating-

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