Monday, June 3, 2013

Memphis Nosh: Fun Weekend with Gus's, Tony Bennett, and Midtown Walgreens Adventures

Yesterday, my friend Kirby and I went to see Tony Bennett at the Memphis Botanic Garden's Live at the Garden Series. The concert was pretty great - he only performed for about 45 minutes, but he is 87 years old, and his voice is still amazing, particularly on "Cold, Cold Heart" and "Maybe this Time."

Our seats weren't actually bad - it's pick your own, with some tables and areas for people who pay more, but even the garden seating is good. Here's my awful photo:

It is kind of a hike from the parking lot to the garden, but if you go, suck it up and take lawn chairs and a cooler. It makes all the difference. The people in front of us had this amazing picnic basket set, like this one:

Before the concert, we went to Gus's on Mendenhall. I'm still in a fried chicken coma. 

Gus's is, without a doubt, the best fried chicken I've ever had. We started with some tea and fried pickles (this location has chips, not spears, which are, in my opinion, a much better pickle to breading ratio), and each got the two piece white meat plate. I had mac n' cheese and fries, since beans are the devil's food and I'm not a huge slaw fan, while Kirby had beans and fries. 

Image via

Notice that I only took one of these pictures myself, this one of my tea:

That's the problem with Gus's - I just want to eat it, not look at it. In my defense, I was also starving, and these are some giant pieces of chicken, so you want to get in there and immediately stab it so it's not molten lava grease and chicken when you throw caution (and dignity) to the wind and start snarling and gnawing it off the bone. Or maybe that's just me. 

There isn't even really a way to describe this chicken. It's spicy, but flavorful, greasy, but not too greasy (and that piece of white bread they give you is to soak up the grease - eat a piece of chicken, ball up a little piece of bread after, eat it, you're not as greasy anymore - but I've had many Gus's first timers ask me why there was no butter...), the tea is sweet enough without actually killing you, so the perfect Memphis style tea, and just weird enough that it's wonderful. The Mendenhall location is more convenient for me, but the downtown location is great too. I also love that this location does reusable cups, since it balances out the insane number of Central Barbeque cups I have in my cabinets. 

I only have two complaints about Gus's, and one isn't really their fault necessarily. Our hostess was not really into her job, which I get, since she's a hostess, but she is getting paid to be there, and she gets to work at Gus's, which is way better than anywhere I ever hosted at, so a little better of an attitude would have been nice (and, this is not her fault at all, but she sat us next to these people who were so not into personal boundaries). Second, let's talk about the mac n' cheese. 

I am a devotee of Central's mac. A little salt, a little pepper, some dry rub seasoning, dear lord. And I wanted some cheesy noodle deliciousness yesterday. But Gus's just doesn't do it. It's not really the right temperature, and way overcooked, and has an odd combination of melty cheese and not melted shredded cheese. It's not awful, and I definitely don't go to Gus's for the sides, but in a city where mac n' cheese is considered a vegetable side item and staple, it could be better. 

Other than that, great stuff. My total was about $13 for tea, 2 giant pieces of chicken, half of the fried pickles app we split, two sides, and that piece of napkin bread, and $16 with tip. It's fast and convenient too, which helps. 

And, on Saturday night, at 2 in the morning at the Walgreens on Union, I bought this guy, the most appropriately named nail polish for my life ever: 

Image is mine, but the nail polish is Essie's "The Girls Are Out" on

Because buying nail polish, ice cream, Diet Cokes, and toothpaste at 2 am, after having a 20 minute conversation with the security guard about the time he got hit in the back of the head with a 2x4 by his ex-girlfriend, is pretty indicative of having one's life together.

Fun weekend - tonight it's off to ¡Chiwawa! to watch "The Princess Bride" on their patio and eat some guacamole!

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