Monthly Archives: March 2017

Eating Memphis

The Spring Break 2017 Memphis Tour is over. We had a blast with the Doctors.

We went to Sun Studios and pretended to be Elvis (actually, I pretended to be Johnny Cash). We went to the Rock and Soul Museum on Beale Street. We even did two Escape Rooms (it was raining). Why two? Because we didn’t escape from the first one. I walked in Memphis with my ankle brace ten feet off of Beale. We even went to Mud Island. We did everything but Graceland.

But mostly we ate. It’s a good thing we were walking everywhere because the food in Memphis is not to be missed. And I don’t think we missed any of it.

We did the Rendezvous. We ate at the Majestic Grille, a restaurant made from a 100-year-old theater that showed black-and-white movies while we ate. We ate at a place called Flight that served both its food and its wine in flights. We met my college roommate and his wife at McEwen’s, an outstanding restaurant downtown. We ate lunch at the Blues City Café. I’m telling you, we ate.

But the favorite place we ate was Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. If you haven’t been there you need to go. As you can tell, it’s pretty impressive to behold.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, especially when fried chicken is involved…

 We went at six o’clock on a Tuesday evening because we had been warned it can get pretty crowded. We had to wait about twenty minutes to get a table, then we feasted on the best fried chicken I have ever eaten (and, frankly, I have eaten a lot of fried chicken). Peggy swears that at one point she saw my brother-in-law’s eyes roll back into his head. We dined to a genteel sufficiency and left before seven. When we left the line to get a table was out the door and wrapped halfway around the block. On a Tuesday. In a rain storm. I can tell you for those people waiting in the rain, it was worth it!

I have not eaten fried chicken since we returned home from the trip. I do not want to sully the memory of the greatness of Gus’s.

It may not have been the last meal we had in Memphis, and it certainly was not the fanciest meal we had in Memphis. It was, however, the meal we had in Memphis. God bless Gus…

Joy at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

The Doctors

The title does not refer to the soap opera that ran for my entire childhood, or one of the many other television shows of the same name.

I’m talking about my sister and her husband. She’s a Ph.D. English professor and he is a psychiatrist. Peggy and I refer to them as the doctors.

My sister and her husband met as freshmen in college, and Peggy and I began dating in high school. So, the four of us have known each other as couples since 1980. We love to do things together, and once their youngest son went to college we began inviting them to travel with us. In recent years inviting has turned to harassing…

They finally agreed to travel this year. My sister wanted to do it over her Spring Break, so we told them to pick a place. We knew that the psychiatrist had a conference the following week in Atlanta, so we were fully prepared for the choice to be Charleston, Savannah, or any of several other cool coastal locales. When the suggestion came back to go to Cleveland, we had to be careful. We did not want to go to Cleveland, but neither did we want to scare off the baby deer making its first foray into traveling with us. I suggested that perhaps Cleveland was a better choice in October rather than in winter. When the next option came back as Memphis, we jumped at it!

Memphis is cool and reasonably close — notwithstanding our eleven hour journey to get here. Lots of stuff to do and decent weather in March. Blues and barbecue. Thank you, thank you very much.

Today will be our first day to venture out since arriving late last night. I’m really looking forward to walking without the boot I’ve been wearing for several weeks (I brought it just in case). Let’s get this show on the road!

Traveling like Papa Ike

I am writing tonight from Memphis.

We left Baton Rouge this morning and drove to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to meet my sister and her husband. Then we began the trip to Memphis.

Now, if the point of the trip was to get to Memphis, we would have taken the interstate and arrived in Memphis at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Not the point.

My grandmother died when I was very young, so my grandfather was a fairly young widower. When he would go on trips I would travel with him to keep him company. I would bring my ukulele or guitar and we would sing in the car as we traveled. And we would stop at anything that looked interesting. Or if we got hungry. Or if I had to go to the bathroom. Or because it had been an hour since we last stopped. 

It took forever to get anywhere, but we always had a blast. My father used to refer to this as “traveling like Ike.”

Today we reveled in traveling like Ike. We drove the “Blues Trail” up highway 61. We left at noon and stopped an hour north of Vicksburg to eat lunch at the Onward Store. We saw the (alleged) birthplace of Muddy Waters. We saw the Ground Zero Blues Club and went to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksville, MS. We even stopped again for dinner at the “famous” Como Steakhouse in Como, MS (it really is famous and it really is good!).

We finally rolled into Memphis about 11:00. In the snow.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day of traveling like Ike.

Lunch at the Onward Store. I had a BLT made with fried green tomatoes. Mississippi motto — if it ain’t fried, it ain’t food!
The Delta Blues Museum. Definitely worth a stop in Clarksville.