We got some unexpected leisure time this weekend in Memphis and decided to take full advantage of the fabulous Spring weather. We parked the truck at our terminal and rented a car for the weekend.
After a quick stop at the Tourist Information Center, we were off to brunch.
Everyone told us to go to The Arcade.
So we did.
The Arcade is Memphis' oldest cafe - opened in 1919 by Speros Zepatos a recent immigrant from Greece. It is now run by the 3rd generation of Zepatos'. We loved this place. Our booth (the front one) had a little plaque announcing it as Mr Kennedy's Booth since 1950.
We enjoyed his booth very much.
Tony had the Eggs Redneck (the Travel Channel Favorite) and I had The Food Network's Favorite, the Sweet Potato Pancakes with eggs and sausage. The pancakes did not disappoint, they were rich and dense and full of sweet potato goodness.
What a great start to the day!
We strolled around to work off some of that great food and ran into these 2 characters . . .
After luring me into the shop and making me pick them up and hold them, they are now on their way to our grandchildren. Oh yea, they each have a matching nap blanket.
Next, we rode the trolley around the downtown for awhile - just to get the feel of the area.
We heard music coming from Beale Street and had to investigate. Since it was Saturday, the street was blocked off and the party was going on.
We were lucky enough to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. They were in town for a baseball game.
They were beautiful.
Almost as beautiful as the 3 semi's that hauled them around.
It is fun to note how one's perspective changes with circumstances.
After a drink and some great Beale Street Blues,
it was off to the Memphis Zoo.
The sky was overcast and it was a mild day - perfect zoo weather.
We started with the Big Cats. Great displays for all of them, but the Tigers were stealing the show. There were 3 in one area, a large male, a smaller female and a wonderful white tiger. The large male decided to play with his toys.
The beer keg was his favorite.
We saw a red panda lounging up in a tree and spent some time watching leopards stretched out in the sun.
They have a nice meerkat habitat.
It was fun watching them watch us.
This zoo has a pair of Pandas, but all we got to see was Panda Butts.
It was a nice day for a nap.
The Polar Bear exhibit was definitely the most lively. A bear was swimming in the water and playing on the glass.
Kids were squealing and I'm not sure who was having the most fun
the kids or the bear!
Time for food and beverages.
My online research paid off.
We had an early dinner at Automatic Slim's Tonga Bar.
The name "Automatic Slim" comes from an old blues song, and the Tonga Club wa a local teen hangout popular in the early 1960's.
Since we were so early (6:00ish), we snagged one of the two outside cafe tables and got to do some great people watching.
We started with a "Mess o'Greens" salad and some really tasty Tuna Carpaccio.
The tuna was succulent and nicely dressed with wasabi mayo and sesame seeds. Tony is normally not a "raw fish" eater, but he tried a bite and even had a second bite.
A trio of Pulled Chicken Flautas finished off our appetizers.
Well, that and the fruit infused vodka Tongatini that I had to go with them.
We split an entree of Grilled Salmon with wilted spinach, coconut pistachio cream sauce and cabbage peanut slaw. They even plated them separately for us. The salmon was fabulous.
Because we were before the dinner press, we got to spend some time chatting with Chef Patrick. In fact, the entire wait staff was courteous and amiable.
Tomorrow we are heading to Whole Foods for some serious shopping - we have been on low rations for awhile. Tony wants to tour the Gibson Factory and we will have to find someplace wonderful for Sunday Brunch.
I think this is going to be a good weekend!