Thursday, June 3, 2010

Walkin' in Memphis

I never get to travel to cool places for work. You know those glamorous business folk that sit sipping lattes in airport lounges, suits perfectly pressed, hair perfectly coiffed? I bet they're on their way to Milan or Paris. Me? I'm off to nowheresville, hair in a ponytail, lugging a giant file that weighs more than me, praying to God I don't slip in my heels. Oh, and let's not forget the ever so attractive, red indentations on my face because I fell asleep with my face pressed against the disgusting airplane blanket. Wait, did I mention I generally fly at 5:30 a.m. to get to court at 8:00 a.m.?

The few times I've had the opportunity to visit interesting cities, I haven't had a chance to check out the sites because I go from the airport to court and back to the airport. My meal of choice is inevitably airport fast food. Good times. That is why going to Memphis, TN was so exciting. Now I know that Memphis ain't no Paris but Memphis BBQ may give them Paris croissants a run for their money. This trip was going to be my chance to explore the city, eat the food, mingle with the locals (oh, and learn something for work). The hubster was on board as soon as he heard BBQ was going to be involved.

As soon as the plane landed, I thought, "How do I go about getting some BBQ in my belly?" First stop, Corky's BBQ. The place consistently ranks amongst the top BBQ joints in Memphis and it's pretty clear judging from the lack of parking and long wait for a table. I made the mistake of asking if the ribs were pork ribs (because the giant pig picture on the wall wasn't enough confirmation) and the waiter looked at me like I was from Mars. I figured that wasn't the best time to inform him that lots of places had beef ribs. Before he could throw me out, I quickly ordered the beef brisket with double fries as my side. What? I already explained that I like fries. The beef brisket was spectacular. Moist, perfectly seasoned and coated with their famous BBQ sauce. There's also a bottle of their interesting apple BBQ sauce on the table.

Day 2 involved some learning for work but more importantly, involved Neely's BBQ and some more beef brisket. Yup, those Neely's. The beef brisket wasn't as great as Corky's. The famous sock-it-to-me cake, on the other hand, was quite possibly the best cake I've ever had. Think cinnamon bun but in cake form. Heaven.

Day 3 involved more learning for work but also involved, wait for it... more BBQ. It's clear someone on the conference organizing committee shared my love of BBQ because the conference happened to be on the same weekend as the Memphis in May BBQ Festival. Concidence? I think not. The BBQ festival is a giant playground of people from all over the U.S. cooking and competing in various categories. Add in some crazy displays, live music and food stands and you have one giant, delicious party.

On the last day in Memphis, we did what every tourist must do. Visit Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken and pay homage to the King. Gus's Chicken is a down-home joint (complete with a jukebox) specializing in, you guessed it, fried chicken. Not hamburgers, not steaks, not sandwiches, fried chicken. They also sell chicken tenders but truth be told, they were kinda disappointing, particularly when compared to their fabulous fried chicken.

I'm not a huge fan of dark meat but even I'll admit the dark meat was awesome here. Plus, how can you not love a place that serves sliced white bread? The sides aren't great but then again, the place isn't called Gus's Sides. Go with a couple of pieces of the fried chicken and you'll be a happy camper. Oh, and come early. By noon, there was a solid 45 minute wait.

Having had a meal the King would've approved of, we made our way to Graceland. The marketing geniuses behind this place have done a great, wallet-emptying job. Expect to pay amusement park prices to see the King's two airplanes, giant car collection, boat load of gold records, and of course, his lovely home. Hey, no one said history was cheap, particularly when it concerns the original baller, Elvis Presley.

On our way to the airport, I contemplated getting some BBQ to go but decided against it because I gotta' have something to come back to Memphis for! Here's to hoping I get to go to more food-friendly destinations for work because let's face it, no one wants to read about how I ate at the airport Taco Bell on my last work trip.


  1. That's great you had time this trip to explore the city. The beef brisket looks amazing and I've heard so many good things about Gus's Fried Chicken.

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome time and your steady diet of BBQ makes me jealous! I also love that you called Elvis the original baller. ;) Hope you get to go on another fun trip soon!

  3. He totally was the original baller! I also know a lot of lawyers who don't get to have too much fun on business trips. It's basically the inside of a conference room or their hotel.

    I'm also quite down with that fried chicken. The few times I've been to fried chicken joints they have served the chicken atop white bread. I always wonder if it's there to soak up the grease or if you're supposed to eat it. Any thoughts?

  4. Sounded like a fun business trip! It's good that you got to do some sightseeing and you didnt have Taco Bell :)

  5. Stick to Pakistani food. It's healthier. :-)
    Eat less meat and cook your own food from natural/non-industrial ingredients.

  6. Ooh, thanks for sharing your BBQ / fried chicken eats & Elvis' home! All looks delish. We almost tagged along on my husband's business trip to Memphis but they changed the location. ;( I was looking forward to Graceland!

  7. Loved this post! You're such a great writer. Pictures of mouthwatering food don't hurt your case either. I feel you on the early morning traveling in airports thing. Less glamor... more coffee. Looks like a great trip. Makes me want to venture thataway. (Maybe NOT in the dead heat of summer!!)


  8. Sounds like a fun visit! Yummy BBQ!

  9. I love fried chicken, but puppet heads on a stick are creepy.

  10. Oh Wowzers!! I want the fried chicken and the sock it to me cake bun thingy *drool*

  11. I would like to be packed in your suitcase next time. :)

  12. You have me thinking I might need to make a trip to Memphis! LOL at the work destinations - that's been my running joke forever that I get to go to sexy places like . . . Sacramento.

  13. Looks like you had a great time! That's great and the cake does sound soo good!

  14. Nice post! I have never been there , but my bucket list is to visit all 50 states. You have inspired me to go.

  15. what a fun/authentic vacation!

  16. Kait- Gus's was one of the few places that totally lived up to the hype. You should definitely go if you get a chance.

    Cilantropist- I hope so too!

    Baking Barrister- I made a little sandwich with pieces of fried chicken and the bread. I imagine the grease soaked bread would taste pretty darn good all by itself too :)

    Tanantha- No Taco Bell. At least not this time :)

    Anon- I'll keep your words of wisdom in mind ;)

    Jessie- Amen to more coffee!

    Char- I couldn't decide if the puppet heads were cute or creepy.

    Denise- I could definitely go for some fried chicken right about now, too.

    Wannafoodie- You are on to something. I'm currently searching for someone willing to take me to Europe in their suitcase.

    OC- You're right, Sacramento's certainly not sexy but at least the weather is good :)

    The Housewife- The cake was awesome!

    Lisa- That bucket list would make an awesome blog all by itself!

    Whataboutsummer- It was short but definitely fun!

  17. Never would have considered visiting Memphis, ever, but you had me at BBQ!


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