June 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
Alex and I just returned from a lovely trip to the charming city of Memphis, Tennessee. While I have visited there frequently to see family, this was his first time in the “Volunteer” state (nick-named so because of the number of volunteer soldiers from Tennessee in the War of 1812). Alex’s dad grew up in Nashville, did his undergrad in south-central Tennessee and went to med school at University of Tennessee, so we were glad Alex was able to see one of the places that his Dad had spent some significant time (University of Tennessee is in downtown Memphis).
The last time I had been to Tennessee for an extended visit it was the middle of January. It was cold-ish then. However, Tennessee has a reputation for being hot and humid – and boy did it live up to this reputation in these early weeks of June. I had been asked by my physical therapist to go on two short walks a day (which I did with joy), but boy was it HOT. I think though, that the beautiful botanicals made possible by the humidity make it worth it. I loved the hydrangeas, the crepe myrtles, and the lushness of the trees and bushes and grass that never have a chance to get so green in the desert of Southern California.
I also loved the architecture. I am not sure what inspired the designers to plan for red brick and white pillars in fifty percent of their work, but it sure does show-off some beautiful churches and homes. Tall white steeples, large front lawns, symmetrical building fronts framed by towering trees. While I am coming to enjoy the Spanish architecture that characterizes the West, symmetry is beautiful, easy on the eye and somewhat refreshing.
Southern food – ALSO delicious. We had the chance to be among the eaters at a delicious southern style buffet brunch, and feasted on grits, a southern style eggs benedict, Cajun seasoned fish with okra, and chocolate bourbon pecan pie. We also were treated to a wonderful dinner at possibly the most brilliant restaurant I have ever eaten at – FLIGHT. It is a restaurant based entirely off the idea that some people can’t make decisions to save their lives. Or so I like to think. For each part of your meal (salad, entree, wine, dessert), rather than choosing one item, you can order a “flight” of three items for about the same price. That means you can have a trio of watermelon/feta, blue cheese wedge, and caprese salads, and a trio of different white wines to accompany them. For dinner I had 1. lobster with roasted potatoes, corn, and asparagus, 2. Buffalo with mushroom risotto and cabernet syrup, and 3. Jumbo shrimp with tropical salsa and sriracha butter sauce. Yes, I had lobster, shrimp and buffalo all in one sitting. Yes, it was delicious. YES, you should go to Memphis just so you can go to this restaurant. Alas, when it came time for dessert, I was a bit too full to sample one of their chocolate or cheesecake flights (could it get any better than this?) I did try a small plate of white chocolate fudge, complete with a few chopped pecans and sweet dipping sauce. Definitely satisfactory.
We ended our feasting by going to Rendezvous – a rib restaurant Alex’s Dad had recommended. It was delicious. One has no idea how many ribs one can eat until the bones are piled on the plate in front of them. Also, one has no idea how messy one can get eating ribs until no matter how they try to get the barbecue sauce off their nose, there is no clean finger or square inch of unsoiled napkin to do the job…
During all my visits to Memphis I have never toured Graceland — this visit was no exception. We did have a chance to see and hear an Elvis impersonation when we went to “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” put on by Theatre Memphis. You know Pharaoh? The Pharaoh who tells Joseph his dreams about cows and hay and asks for an interpretation? Elvis plays Pharaoh. Or Pharaoh plays Elvis. I don’t know. I just know that he sang his dreams while doing Elvis-like dance moves and the Memphis crowd went wild for it! (The rest of the musical was well performed – one can’t go wrong with Andrew Lloyd Webber as the composer. Alex and I still catch ourselves humming tunes from the different songs).
Alex certainly got a feel for the town, and I became reacquainted with some of my favorite spots as well as learning a few new places. And, of course, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at my grandmother’s house, meeting her friends, helping my aunt redecorate and rearrange her room, and having several good conversations. Thanks, Memphis, for showing us a good time. And thanks Ga (and Boo) for showing us Memphis!