Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It's been a while since I've done a food post so it's about time for one. Tonight my sister and I attempted a Persian dish which is basically an eggplant casserole. Our family is Italian and we were trying to tweak this recipe the entire time we were making it. It calls for eggplant, onion, spices, lime, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper and that's all. We kept threatening to add basil, oregano, parmesean cheese and tomato which would essentially make this eggplant parmesean but we were able to control ourselves. And we were glad we did as this turned out to be really great (eventhough it's not Italian). Don't ask me why two (headstrong) Italian Americans were trying to make a Persian dish - it's too complicated to explain. Just know these things happen and sometimes the result is a happy one.
Some chopping is required but not too much.
Saffron - We went to the mediterranean market for the saffron. We couldn't find it on the shelf and had to ask for it. The guy at the market said he kept it in the back, jeez it makes you feel like you're doing something illegal.
Here's the recipe:
2 large or 6 small eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into thin strips
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil or butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron threads, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Peel the eggplants, cut them lengthwise in quarters if they are large, and salt them to remove bitterness if necessary. Brush each side of the eggplant pieces with egg white. In a skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the eggplant and garlic and stir-fry 10 minutes longer, until all sides are lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour 4 tablespoons of oil into an 8-inch spring form pan. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the parsley, saffron water, lime juice, baking powder, flour, salt, and pepper. Beat thoroughly with a fork. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the dish and bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edge is golden brown. Serve from the baking dish or unmold it by loosening the edge with a knife and inverting the dish onto a serving platter
Friday, August 29, 2008
Also, it's the last Friday of the month so the Trolley Tour is on tonight in South Main.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Sam Zambelis, the owner of the Bon Ton died this week. He was only 50 years old. The Bon Ton has been a downtown fixture since the 1920's. Sam's late father Mike, who immigrated from Greece, bought the Bon Ton in 1950 which was then at 158 Monroe. In 1961, they moved just steps away to 150 Monroe where it's still located. This is a true diner with a black and white checker board floor, red vinyl booths and lots of pictures of celebrities on the walls. Sam will be missed by many downtowners.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Little Tea Shop located on Monroe between Main and Front is a downtown institution. It's been around a long, long time and is THE place to go at lunch for a "meat and three". For non-Southerners a "meat and three" is a choice of an entree and a few sides of vegetables. You can also just get a vegetable plate which I recommend as the veggies here are always so great.
Menu/ordering/check: At the Little Tea Shop you check off what you want on the paper menu and hand it to the waitress who then gives it back to you after she brings your order. After you've eaten you then take the menu/check to the cashier where you pay. It's easier than it sounds.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I thought about some of the benefits of living and working downtown. I work a short distance away from downtown. My total daily commute to and from work is 3 miles. Prior to that I literally worked one block away from my house so I understand the advantages.
Benefit #1 - Days can go by before you have to get in your car. This is at any moment in time but especially right now, a huge and obvious benefit.
Benefit #2 - You can walk to restaurants, bars and entertainment from home or work. This applies across the board to residents of the Core, South Main, South Bluffs, North Main, Harbor Town. If your destination is a bit farther than you'd like to walk, the trolley is accessible nearly the entire length of Main Street so you could pick it up at the point nearest you. The trolley makes things easier for downtown workers at lunch time.
Benefit #3 - It's getting easier to shop for clothes, accessories, gifts etc thanks in part to all the retail activity happening in the South Main district. For the past two years I was able to do all my Christmas shopping downtown (and no, I did not go broke).
Benefit #4 - The Corkscrew is back- great wine/liquor store on Front. Maybe this should be benefit #1, I'm not sure.
Benefit #5 - There is always something happening downtown. Examples: Grizzlies, Redbirds, University of Memphis basketball, shows at the Orpheum and the Cannon Center, Memphis in May, South Main monthly Trolley Tours.
Benefit #6 - The Mississippi River. You get to see it everyday from home or the office if you're lucky.
Benefit #7 - There are great parks downtown - Tom Lee Park (currently being expanded to include Beale Street Landing), Greenbelt Park and smaller parks scattered around such as Jefferson Davis Park and Court Square.
Benefit #8 - Energy - Downtown has it, to be fair Midtown has it too. No other part of town has it. Sorry.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
(over the Auction Street bridge on Mud Island)
(just north of Downtown but still downtown to me)
Uptown original patiently waiting to be restored to it's original beauty.
(over the Auction Street bridge on Mud Island)
Condos with a pyramid in the backyard. How Egyptian.
What the heck is Mud Island? A misnomer; it's actually a peninsula with the Mississippi River on one side and the Wolf River Harbor on the other.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
There haven't been many 5K's downtown in a while but there is one coming up on Labor Day, the Chick-fil-A 5K which starts at Front and Gayoso and ends at Autozone Park.
The St. Jude Memphis Marathon takes place December 6th and starts downtown, winds through Midtown and finally ends downtown at Autozone Park. That's a way off and since I'm certainly not training for it, I'll come back to it later. My admiration goes out to those who do run this marathon. http://www.stjudemarathon.org
Friday, August 22, 2008
shotgun, watch, rifle, jewelry, pistol
All in one convenient location! That's great. Actually this place is out of business but I just had to get a picture of the sign.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Is that female mannequin flipping us off?! And what's with the hair on the guy in the brown suit? This is so priceless, it's so 70's Britcom "Are you Being Served?".
Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Is it Halloween?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
There were a couple of editorials regarding the Promenade in this past Sunday's Commercial Appeal that were posted on the Friends for Our Riverfront website. Click here to read those: http://www.friendsforourriverfront.org/2008/08/fresh-opportunities-on-horizon.html
Some development is already happening, such as 67 Madison being renovated into apartments, a luxury hotel, The Grade, is being planned for 52 S. Front (the old Prince Mongo's Planet space for those Memphians rooted enough to remember it) and the old Post Office and Customs House at Front and Madison is being renovated to house the U of M Law School. Incidentally, there are still reminders of Mongo on this block of Front Street; ah, it's so sentimental and weird all at the same time. I wonder what people from out of town must think when they walk down Front and see this:
Since I brought him up, Prince Mongo (aka Robert Hodges aka Saint Mongo) is a colorful Memphis character. I really don't know any other way, nor have the energy, to describe him. But if you really want to know click the link below:
Back to the subject, among some ideas for future development: developer Henry Turley proposes to tear down the Cossitt Library and construct a mixed use development there. The proposed height is no more than sixty feet tall. Understandably, view blocking buildings would be forefront on the minds of those who now have unobstructed river views.
The CA's editorial hinted that The Pyramid, just south of the Promenade area, may finally be getting a tenant soon. Soon is such a relative word, especially as it has been applied to the Pyramid-Bass Pro possibility.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
This morning while out walking Poppy in General Washburn's Alley we found this cute little dog. Unfortunately, it was tied up to a pickup truck and had no water. I brought it some water and some treats. I thought maybe when I came home for lunch it would be gone but she was still there with the water I had left this morning. I can't imagine the scenario of how this cute dog came to be tied up like this with no water and no food. She was shaking and obviously scared. Also troubling is the fact that she was in this situation for hours in the heat of the day. For all I know the owner of the truck could have found her in an even worse situation and rescued her (she had no tags). I hope that's true. I did notice that the leash had been repositioned when I saw her at lunch so at least this person had been out to check on her.
I realized recently that on my walks and runs downtown I pass by four addresses numbered 66. I think that's weird.
It got me thinking about the number six. I went to one of those flaky numerology websites and found the following:
Six represents equilibrium; harmony - balance. It is the perfect number within the decad: 1+2+3=6. It is the most productive of all numbers.
It symbolizes union of polarity, being represented by the two interlaced triangles, the upward- pointing as male, fire and the heavens, and the downward-pointing as female, the waters and the earth.
Six is the symbol of luck; love; health; beauty; chance. It is a winning number.
66 S. Main
Sunday, August 17, 2008
It was a nice afternoon to walk my dog through Court Square. This small park is located on Main Street between Jefferson and Madison. Not only is the park beautiful but some of downtown's most beautiful buildings surround it.
The following is an excerpt from an October 17, 2006 article about Court Square by Andy Meek from the Daily News:
"The park is the only public square contained in the original plan for Memphis that still retains its early character, said architectural historian Judith Johnson.
In 1819, the city's founders set aside what's now Court Square for public use to build a court house. It was eventually the site of Memphis' first schoolhouse and later abounded with restaurants and hotels. By 1849, Court Square had evolved into a bucolic public park, shaded by trees and teeming with wildlife. "The (Court Square historic) district is an intact grouping of architecturally significant commercial buildings constructed between 1880 and 1930," Johnson said. "
The Hebe Fountain, erected in 1876, donated to the City by some prominent city leaders. In Greek mythology Hebe was the Cupbearer to the Gods.
The Tennessee Club Building, built in 1890 is an interesting mix of Moorish and Victorian architecture.