We arrived in Memphis (pics), “River City”, to be met with a very brisk, very cold wind. We entered Memphis from the west so we crossed over the Interstate 40 bridge with a great view of the city skyline. We stopped into the Tennessee welcome center which is just at the bottom of the first exit after crossing the Mississippi River.
When you visit Memphis, the short list of must do items would be: eat some BBQ, visit Beale Street and listen to some blues. We’re not meat eaters but we don’t let that get in the way when it comes to allowing ourselves to sample the unique and special foods that are available in the places we visit. Memphis is the undisputed capital for dry rub barbeque. We checked Yelp reviews and consulted local sources for a good place to have our one barbeque meal. I think it’s not really necessary to over analyze the choices since there are many that provide excellent food.
We chose Central BBQ since it is one of the oldest and seems to be consistent in delivering good quality BBQ and good sauce choices. We went there during the afternoon once we arrived in town. It is a relatively small restaurant where you place your order at the front counter and then find a table. We had a pulled pork sandwich and a short rack of ribs dry. When you order they ask if you want the ribs wet or dry, meaning with sauce or just with the dry rub. This allows you to pick from their sauces available at the condiment station. To use a cliché, the ribs were “fall off the bone” tender and juicy. The sandwich was also very tasty and had coleslaw applied to the top bun. We were very happy with our choices.
Of course, Beale street is the center for blues music in Memphis. A mere two block segment of this street is home to many restaurants, bars and clubs, most of which feature live music every night. We chose BB King’s Blues Club. We had their fried catfish dinner which was more than enough for both of us. There were 4 large pieces of fish, french fries, coleslaw, hushpuppies and corn muffins. The fish was perfectly breaded and cooked. One of the club’s house groups led by lead guitarist Will Tucker was performing that night.
The Peabody Hotel is a landmark in the city of Memphis. It is not only known for its beauty and history but also for its ducks. In the main lobby they have a small water fountain where you will find 5 ducks swimming about. If you’re not familiar with the story, in the 1930’s the general manager of The Peabody and his friend returned to the hotel from a duck hunting trip and thought it would be funny to leave their live duck decoys in the hotel fountain. The next day, the hotel guests were gathered around the fountain watching the ducks in fascination. They were so popular that the hotel decided to make them permanent residents. Every morning at 11:00am they are marched from the Duck Palace on the roof, down the elevator and through the lobby to the fountain. At 5:00pm the process is reversed and both occasions have become very popular attractions. We were there for the 11:00am march on the day before Thanksgiving.