Lucero would be performing their annual Christmas Family Party in Memphis that weekend in Memphis and I decided that this year I would go back. I had gone to their Christmas Family Parties in Little Rock and Memphis in 2010. On that trip, I saw Graceland (full tour), The Peabody, and stumbled over Sun Studios, where I took a tour. On this trip the plan was the Stax Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum. I found a good price on cheaptickets.com for airfare and hotel. The hotel was the Comfort Inn Downtown. It looked out over the Mississippi River and was close to a lot of restaurants and Beale Street. The hotel is not much to look at from the outside but the rooms are clean, there is free breakfast and WiFi, and there are nice views from the room. Also, a rooftop pool, which was closed because of the cold weather.
The plane left EWR late, so I was glad I had chosen to arrive the night before the show. After dropping off my bags, I walked down to Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous. I love that their url is hogsfly.com.
The entrance is in an alley and not at the address posted online but there is a sandwich board on the street directing you to the alley. When I told the hostess that I was alone, she asked if I wanted to sit at the bar and I said yes. I walked through part of the restaurant and chose a seat in the back corner next to the POS. I overheard a waiter telling the man sitting next to me that people always choose the back when there are all these empty seats on the side. I looked up and the side opposite of where I had walked in had a lot of empty seats. I know the waiter was not talking about me specifically because I had come into the middle of a conversation but the waiter at the POS said out loud that the reason I had chosen that seat was to be next to him and said that that was correct. I ordered a small order of pork ribs, which comes with mustard vinegar cole slaw and bbq beans. I also ordered potato salad. The sides were some of the best that I have had with bbq. (The best bbq beans are still those I had in Atlanta but these were close). A lot of times the sides seem like afterthoughts but these most definitely were not. You could make a good meal out of these sides. The ribs had a bit of a bite. I did not add any bbq sauce and just ate the dry rubbed ribs. After eating one rib, the waiter behind the bar asked if I was done. Apparently teasing is part of the waiters’ MO in this place.
After dinner I walked back home and went to bed. It had been a long day.
Friday morning, I woke up to foggy views of the Mississippi River.
After breakfast, I took a Lyft to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Lyft was how I got around the city and for most places that I was going to it was not more than $10 (with tip). Last time I had to walk a lot, which is how I stumbled across Sun Studios – going from Beale Street back to my hotel on Christmas Eve. You can read more about the Stax Museum visit here.
After that I walked up and down Beale Street, looking for a good place to eat. It was still early for dinner but I had not had lunch. I stopped into Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe. I ordered meatloaf and bbq beans. I wanted turnip greens but they had just started cooking them so they were not ready yet. I settled for green beans. And I had sweet tea. Everything was very good.
I walked back to the hotel and rested a bit before calling another Lyft to take me to see Lucero at Minglewood Hall.
After Lucero, I was hungry but did not know of any places near the club where I could eat. The Lyft passed by several but I was on the way to the hotel. Once there, I Googled and found Bardog Tavern near the hotel. The upstairs bar (street level) was a smoking bar and non-smoking was downstairs in the basement, which was a strange set-up. It was crowded and noisy but I was hungry and found a table upstairs and ordered a drink and a steak hoagie and potato salad, both of which were very good.
Then hotel and sleep.
By Carene Lydia Lopez