Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 15-18: 

O'Fallon Pumpkin (5.60%)
Yuengling Oktoberfest (5.40%)
Blackstone Pumpkin (5.10%)
Leinenkugel Lemon Berry Shandy (4.20%)
Crown Valley Woodtruck Wheat (5.30%)
Crown Valley Raspberry Wheat (5.50%)
Crown Valley Black Cabin Smoked Ale (5.60%)
Sam Adams Hazel Brown (5.20%)
Four in Hand River Card Wheat (4.50%)

Beers Already Tried From This Brewery: 
O'Fallon: 5 Day IPA, Gold, Hemp Hop Rye, Kite Tail Summer Ale, 
Yuengling: Yuengling, Lord Chesterfield, Black & Tan, Yuengling Light, Yuengling Porter
Crown Valley: None
Sam Adams: Too many to mention
Four in Hand: All In IPA, Winter Brew

The O'Fallon Pumpkin beer while not the best pumpkin that I've had to date was still a solid beer. The smell wasn't overpowering like I have come to love from a pumpkin beer but the taste was good.

The Yuengling Oktoberfest that I tried is exactly what you'd expect out of anything coming from Yuengling, an incredibly solid beer. You cannot go wrong with this as your Oktoberfest beer of choice. 

Blackstone Pumpkin was a very refreshing pumpkin. Not overwhelming in flavor like I prefer with my pumpkins but still delicious. Would recommend.

Leinenkugel Lemon Berry Shandy might go down as one of my favorite beers ever. As many know, I've always considered the Leinie Summer Shandy to be one, if not my favorite beer and somehow this managed to top it. Perfect patio beer.

Both of the Crown Valley Wheats were solid but nothing out of this world. It was cool to find a brewery that I'd never heard of. The Black Cabin Smoked wasn't a great beer but went well with the cigars we were smoking.

Sam Adams Hazel Brown is probably one of the best browns that I've had. Simply a well done beer. You can find these in the Sam Adams Fall mix pack at your grocery store.

The last beer of these is the Four In Hand River Card Wheat, which I found at Whole Foods. The aroma of this beer was pretty foul for a wheat beer but the taste wasn't nearly as bad. Probably as basic a wheat beer as you'll find. Only reason I'd go back for more is that it was on sale for $5.99

Album #1: Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys (1966)
Length: 35 Minutes, 57 Seconds

Widely considered one of the most influential albums of all-time as well as one of the best albums of all-time on many a list, I finally decided to get around to listening to this one. When Paul McCartney says it's his favorite album, you have to give it a shot. 

This album starts off with one of the two songs I previously knew in Wouldn't It Be Nice. Obviously very catchy and easily my favorite on the album. The other song that I knew going in was God Only Knows, which I love as well.

I know this is going to seem wrong to many but this album just didn't do much for me. It wasn't because it wasn't a quality album, as the harmonies were amazing and the unconventional instruments used were wonderfully done but just because it didn't hit me the right way. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood to truly appreciate this album but I will give this album another shot. 

One song that I didn't know that did stand out which I enjoyed was I'm Waiting For The Day. 

Despite my review, I would suggest listening Pet Sounds to determine for yourself.

Album #2: Horses by Patti Smith (1975)
Length: 43 Minutes, 10 Seconds

Considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone (#44) and Time Magazine (Top 100), I decided to give this album a shot. Being part of the punk rock scene of the 70s, it was definitely going to be a different genre than I've done through the first 14 weeks of the blog.

I'll be honest, I didn't like this album at all. Despite hearing Joan Jett and Fiona Apple in alot of the songs, it was just something I couldn't get into at all. The guitar and keys were nice but alot of the vocals just seemed to be all over the place. A bunch of times there was just talking parts where I felt it just didn't make any sense at all.

I guess I'll chalk it up to that just not being my style of music. I'm disappointed because I was hoping I'd atleast like a few of the songs on the album.

Album #3: Songs In The Key of Life by Stevie Wonder (1976)
Length: 1 Hour, 25 Minutes

Known as one of the most influential albums to the likes of Elton John and many others and often listed as one of the greatest albums of all-time, I knew that I had to check this album despite the fact that it was a daunting 21 songs spanning almost an hour and a half in length.

After checking this album out, I can safely say I completely agree with it's consideration as one of the greatest albums of all-time. What's even more incredible is that other than Isn't She Lovely and I Wish, I didn't know any other songs.

Seriously, Stevie Wonder's voice is pure gold. One of the best songs that I heard was Sir Duke. By the time this was written, I listened to it three times on its own. One of the best songs to dance to, bar none.

I feel bad not breaking this album down song by song but it's pretty overwhelming. However, I will say with confidence that if you've never checked this album out in its entirity that you absolutely should do so. Not doing so would be damn foolish.

Album #4: The Afterman: Ascension by Coheed & Cambria (2012)
Length: 39 Minutes, 29 Seconds

The 6th studio album from Coheed & Cambria, The Afterman: Ascension is the first of a double album. The second will be released in February of 2012 and will be named The Afterman: Descension.

As many know, I'm a huge Coheed fan but was highly disappointed with their last effort, The Year of the Black Rainbow. My expectation, while high because of the band were slightly tempered after YOBR.

However, after hearing the almost 8 minute single "Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute" a few weeks prior to the album being released, I got incredibly pumped. The original drummer Josh was back after replacing the very talented Chris Pennie and I felt the overall sound of the band was returning to its greatness. 

The first track is The Hollow and has a very eerie feeling to The Ring In Return off their 2nd album. The next track was the single I mentioned Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute and simply kicks ass. This one is probably my favorite on the album. It definitely has a feel of The Willing Wells off their 3rd album.

The third track on the album is The Afterman, which has a very unique guitar riff. It's a soft and slow song with Claudio's vocals shining here. I can honestly say that there's never been another Coheed song like it.

The fourth track is Mothers of Men, which felt like a song straight off their album "No World For Tomorrow". Very good song. Next up is Goodnight, Fair Lady which is Coheed poppiness at its finest.  This one is probably my 2nd favorite song on the album.

The sixth track on the album is Key Entity Extraction II: Holly Wood the Cracked. This one is probably the closest song on this album that comes to Year of the Black Rainbow. However, the 1:30-1:43 part, it was some of the best Coheed I've heard in a while. It's a shame there wasn't more of it. Also, this song is about a crack Coheed fan that actually sent videos to Claudio and his wife saying all sorts of crazy stuff on it. Very creepy.

The seventh track is Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher which is probably the closest thing to classic Coheed that you'll find on this album. The riff on this shreds and I love the line "Hang your secrets, hang em up, hang em up now." If they play that live, that song will get the crowd going so hard.

The second to last track is Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful. Solid song, not a whole lot to add to it.

The final track is Subtraction. Another slow song that Claudio does so well.

Overall, this album is really really good. I don't know if it's enough to overtake the first four albums for my favorite but certainly Year of the Black Rainbow. I really can't wait for February to get the 2nd half of this double album.

Movie #1: Bernie (2011)
Length: 1 Hour, 44 Minutes 
Main Cast: Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Shirley MacLaine

Easily the best movie that I've ever seen starring Jack Black and that's including School of Rock. Clearly different movies so I won't try and compare but the performance he, as well as Matthew McConaughey put was spectacular.

This dark comedy was indeed dark. While the first half of the movie was dark, it certainly had more laughter than the back half of the movie. Not knowing this was based on a true story until after watching made me say WTF?

Overall, this movie is an absolute no brainer MUST WATCH for anyone.

Movie #2: Airplane! (1980)
Length: 1 Hour, 27 Minutes
Main Cast: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Robert Stack, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar

Simply put, this movie was a one liner classic. So many there, it's hard to list them all.

I absolutely loved this movie and would definitely recommend this to anyone! 

Movie #3: Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
Length: 1 Hour, 52 Minutes
Main Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans

All I have to say is that I have a new crush and her name is Ramona Flowers. Oh my goodness, she might be one of the most attractive girls I've seen in a really long time. I couldn't stop thinking about how adorable she was during this entire movie. Pretty sure I never want to date a girl that has generic hair ever again. Pink, blue, green...doesn't matter. She pulled it off in this movie.

Oh yeah, I guess I should probably talk about the movie. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it even if I'm not a gamer of sorts with that nerdy side. It was refreshing to see a movie so unique and had never been done.

Michael Cera did a great job in this movie and honestly, I liked his character even more in this movie than in Superbad.

I would definitely recommend this for people to see.

Movie #4: National Lampoon's Animal House
Length: 1 Hour, 43 Minutes
Main Cast: John Belushi, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Donald Sutherland

Known as one of the original fraternity comedies and considered by many to be the best as well, I knew I had to see it.

This one, while funny, wasn't nearly as funny as I was expecting. I guess maybe the hype behind the movie was more than what I got out of it. Of course, I absolutely loved Bluto's "Pearl Harbor" speech, the end with the parade was hilarious and the line "You fucked trusted us" so I don't want to make like it seem like it was a dud but I wouldn't tell anyone that this is a must-see movie like many others I've seen to date.

Food #1: Very Berry Strawberry Yogurt from TCBY (Midtown)

After having tried ice cream already, I knew that me trying yogurt for the first time wasn't going to be as big a deal but I knew that I wanted to try something other than vanilla.

Picking out my flavor was probably the hardest part of the whole process. I'm pretty sure I annoyed the ever living hell out of the manager with my indecision but oh well, she can get over it.

Finally settling on scooped Very Berry Strawberry, I got to the part I knew I'd enjoy which was the adding of the toppings. I decided to add gummy bears, sour gummy worms, M&Ms and some rock thing that said manager decided to throw in without my knowledge.

Just like with the ice cream, I took incredibly small bites because the texture of ice cream/yogurt is still so foreign to me. I probably sat there for over 45 minutes only to finish about half of it.

Overall, I would try it again but I have a feeling that it's not something that I'm going to rush out and eat on a daily basis. Also while there, I did try pink lemonade sorbet which was delicious.

Food #2: Subway Seafood & Crab between Krispy Kreme Doughnut

Another horrible decision made between three friends on this one. Somehow I got roped into a bet gone terribly wrong where all parties involved regretted it tremendously.

Similarly to the chickenstrips between a cut up doughnut, we just replaced it with Subway Seafood & Crab. That flavor alone for me was pretty gross but you combine it with the sweetness of the Krispy Kreme doughnut and it took it to whole other level of nastiness.

Needless to say, I would never recommend this to your worst enemy.

Food #3: Hummus from Flying Saucer (Cordova)

This is one of the few items I've tried that I didn't order for myself. I simply took a bite from a friend of mine while sitting on the patio at the Flying Saucer in Cordova.

Not much to write about this. It was okay, nothing spectacular though. I'd try it again but I'd never actually order it for myself.

Food #4: Philly Cheesesteak from Lenny's (Lakeland)

Having never been to Lenny's before, pretty much anything I tried was going to be new to me. I decided to go with the recomendation of one of their finest employees and get the Philly Cheesesteak, which I learned is what they're most known for. 

Pretty simply sub with steak, onions and provolone cheese. I decided to take the onions off for my first time. 

I have to say, this was a pretty tasty sub. I would definitely eat this again. 

Also: I tried some jalepeno chips, which I wasn't a fan of. Not surprising though. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I know that everyone has been waiting impatiently for a new blog from me and understandably so as it's the greatest read on the web so I'm truly sorry that I've been MIA for a few weeks now. Just been busy and a little less motivated but I promise that I'm back and better than ever.

Since I have missed four weeks, I still plan on drinking, listening, watching and eating the same number of items that I would've for Weeks 11, 12, 13 and 14 but mention all four in one blog.

Week 11-14:

Shiner Kosmos (4.90%)
Shiner Light Blonde (4.00%)
2nd Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA (7.00%)
Lakefront Riverwest Stein Lager (5.68%)
Lakefront Eastside Dark (5.52%)
Lakefront Fuel Cafe (5.93%)
Redhook Long Hammer IPA (6.20%)
Saranac Stout (5.40%)
Key West Sunset Ale (4.80%)
Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale (5.80%)
Henry Weinhard IPA (6.00%)
New Belgium Red Hoptober (6.00%)

Beers Already Tried From This Brewery: 
Shiner: Too many to name
2nd Amendment: None
Lakefront: If you've read this blog, you know
Redhook: ESB
Saranac: Too many to name
Key West: None
Blue Moon: Blue Moon, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Spring Blonde Wheat Ale, Summer Ale, etc
Henry Weinhard: None
New Belgium: Blue Paddle Pilsner, Dig, Fat Tire, 1554, Shift Pale Ale, Snow Day, Somersault, Sunshine Wheat

To be honest, some of the beers that I tried, I simply don't remember anything about. Not because I was too drunk or anything, just the fact that there wasn't really anything special about them. However, I will try and write about the ones I do remember standing out.

The 2nd Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA was a very interesting beer to say the least. This was my first IPA in a can and wasn't nearly as hoppy as I expected. Not to mention, the after taste tasted like Froot Loops. Overall, a very solid beer.

The Lakefront Fuel Cafe wasn't terrible, but wasn't good either. Maybe it's because right before I had it, I had drank a Chili Beer but it just wasn't doing it for me.

Key West Sunset Ale was your standard ale. Bland but very drinkable.

Blue Moon Caramel Apple Spiced Ale was unique in that the smell was wonderful but the taste didn't live up to it. Expectations are always tempered when drinking any Blue Moon because you have to assume it's not going to wow you and this was no exception. However, this was one of the best smelling beers I've had in quite some time. You'll definitely get nodes of the spices in this one.

Henry Weinhard IPA was a pleasant surprise, seeing as how I'm not a hop head or anything. This one had great flavor and when I was drinking it, I was smoking a cigar so that actually enhanced the flavor and made it even better. Honestly, up until this past weekend, I had never even heard of the brewery. If you see this one around at the grocery store, I suggest picking up a sixer.

The most recent beer that I've tried was the new Fall beer from New Belgium called Red Hoptober. The color of this beer was a nice dark amber and the taste was okay at best. Honestly, that seems to be the theme with me and New Belgium. I don't know what it is but nothing from them seems to grab me. There always seems to be some sort of funk with their beers.

Album #1: King of the Delta Blues Singers by Robert Johnson (1936 and 1937, released in 1961)
Length: 43 Minutes, 8 Seconds

Known as the greatest blues album of all-time as well as one of the most influential albums of all-time, I knew that I had to check this out. Robert Johnson, who only lived to age 27, recorded these songs in 1936 and 1937, before passing in Mississippi a year later.

After listening to this album, I can see why it's considered to be the greatest blues album ever. I loved that because these were recorded in the 30s, it has that old school feel to it which is perfect for blues.

I'd most certainly recommend giving this album a listen, whether you like blues or not. 

Album #2: Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine (2011)
Length: 55 Minutes, 58 Seconds

After hearing "Shake It Out" on an episode of Degrassi about a month ago, I fell in love with that song. Between that and already enjoying Lungs, I figured I'd do myself the pleasure of finally getting around to listening to Florence and the Machine's most recent album, Ceremonials.

The opening track is If Only For A Night, a song about a night where Florence dreamt her grandmother, who committed suicide, spoke to her. Truly a powerful song from her voice to the lyrics.

Next was the one song I already knew, Shake It Out. Seriously, this song gives me goosebumps. Again, Florence's voice is so powerful and spine tingling.

The third song is What The Water Gave Me, which is lovely. Next is Never Let Me Go. I don't think I can mention it enough just how phenomenal her voice is. This song is beautiful. I could put this song on repeat over and over and not get tired of it.

Fifth on the album is Breaking Down. It's the shortest song on the album and the only one that comes in under 4 minutes at 3:49 and it's certainly more upbeat but enjoyable.

Sixth is Lover To Lover. I swear a heard a little "Heard It Through The Grapevine" in this song. Pretty good song. Next is No Light, No Light. Another very solid song.

Eighth on Ceremonials is Seven Devils. Deeper song than most on the album but damn good.

Next is Heartlines which was a really good song. Lyrically, it hit me. The line "Your heart is the only place that I call home" resonated with me.

With only three songs left, we have Spectrum, All This and Heaven Too, and Leave My Body. Spectrum was a pretty good song. I loved All This and Heaven Too. One of those tracks you just want to belt the lyrics to in your car. And finally, Leave My Body. Another song with powerful lyrics. It's a song about letting everything go and being at peace.

Seriously, this album was fantastic in every way possible. If you don't give this album a listen, you honestly are making a huge mistake. On that note, go listen to Lungs as well. Florence is one of the most talented singers out there.

Album #3: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (2010)
Length: 51 Minutes, 9 Seconds

A few weeks ago, sitting up at the Fox & Hound, I was sitting alone just checking out the music videos that they play on a few TVs and out of nowhere, I heard this voice that struck me. After seeing the video and it popping up who it was, it was Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.

I knew I had heard of them before because I knew a few people that liked them as well as had seen them at Memphis In May Music Fest a few months ago. I really liked the song so I decided to check out the rest of the album.

What I got with this album was a little bit of everything that all hit me right. Grace Potter's vocals are mind blowingly good.

Paris (Ooh La La) started off the album exactly how it should've. Upbeat, sexy, soulful. Next up is Oasis, a song slower than the one before but still smooth. The end of the song ends with a nice guitar riff. Her voice is eerily similar to Janis Joplin on this track.

The third song is Medicine, a song that picks it back up. I definitely dug this song. Next is Goodbye Kiss. This song has a nice, slow groove with some twang behind it . One of my favorites on the album. Makes me want to drive around and belt it (much like most of the album).

The fifth song on the album is Tiny Light. I think Grace's voice shines brighter on this song that any of the others, which says alot. The last two minutes of this song is has a badass solo along with her intense wails. Another of my favorites without question.

Sixth on the album is Colors, the slowest song on the album. It's a beautiful song. Next is Only Love, an upbeat song with a ton of soul.

Eighth is Money, probably the weakest track on the album, atleast lyrically. However, her voice is still damn good. Ninth is One Short Night, a poppier song that is nice. Low Road is the tenth track and one of my favorites. It sounds similar to Norah Jones to me. Slow, smooth, sexy.

The last three songs on the album are That Phone, Hot Summer Night and Things That I Needed. That Phone is a good song, but nothing special. Hot Summer Night has some sweet guitar riffs and her voice is fantastic, as usual. The last song on the album is Things That I Needed. The song is incredibly slow, twangy and beautiful. The lyrics on this are my favorite on this album like: I don't want to be the one who lets you down/All I did was run myself around/I wish I could have seen through your eyes/Maybe then I would have realized/I'm the only one who's bleeding/For the things I never needed

Overall, this album is simply fantastic and I'd recommend this to anyone. Her voice is powerful and soulful and the guitar goes wonderfully with it. Definitely check it out at some point.

Album #4: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
Length: 39 Minutes, 51 Seconds

Going into the fourth album, I knew I wanted it to be considered one of the best in whatever genre it was so I decided to look up what people thought the best indie album of all-time was. Most lists that I had read put In The Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel as the greatest indie album so that's ultimately what made my decision. I actually had heard of them from a friend who had actually done a cover of Oh Comely.

For this review, I won't break it down song by song but I have to say that I really liked this album. It scratched my right where I was itching.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea oddly enough was highly influenced by The Diary of Anne Frank, which lead singer and guitarist, Jeff Mangum read before writing this album. While not a biography per say, you can definitely grasp that while listening to the lyrics.

In Oh Comely, the line I know they buried her body with others/Her sister and mother and 500 families/And will she remember me 50 years later/I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine/Know all your enemies/We know who our enemies are clearly is about Anne Frank.

One thing I love about this album is the use of horns throughout the album. It reminds me of the band Typhoon.

I honestly don't think this album is for everyone but I'd still suggest everyone listen to it.

Movie #1: Caddyshack (1980)
Length: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Main Cast: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight

Once I heard Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright" play, I knew this movie was going to be a classic one.

From Bill Murray's varmit hunting to Rodney Dangerfield obnoxiously wonderful character to Chevy Chase being awesome, this movie was fantastic.

Of course, having a little eye candy in Cindy Morgan didn't hurt during the movie either.

One of my favorite parts is when Dangerfield hits the ball and yells four and it hits Ted Knight's character straight in his nether region and Rodney yells "I should've yelled two."

I'd assume most people have seen this movie but if you haven't, it's a must see.

Movie #2: Forrest Gump (1994)
Length: 2 Hours, 21 Minutes
Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise

Eighteen years. That's how long it took me from the time this movie came out until the time I saw it. Seems ridiculous, doesn't it? The weirdest part of it all is I really had no idea what it was even about. I had heard all the many quotes that came from this film but never actually thought to question the plot.

After seeing this film, the story was definitely not what I was expecting.

My first thought into the movie was how quickly the line about the box of chocolates was. Normally something that quoted so much is atleast somewhere further into the movie.

Throughout the movie, I absolutely loved the fact they had real life events happening within the confines of the story. Everything from the Presidents, to Bear Bryant of Alabama to war to inventions done. For me, that really added to the movie.

The story between Forrest and Jenny was a beautiful one, although at times a tumultuous one, because of her issues with drugs, etc. Despite all of that, Forrest still loved her and never wavered.

Another part of this movie I loved was the soundtrack. They had some fantastic classic tunes that fit right in with the times throughout the movie. Not only that but the score near the end of the film was wonderful as well.

Overall, I liked this movie. It wouldn't be my favorite movie ever and I'm not sure I'd even go out of my way to watch it again but that doesn't take away from a well written story with fantastic acting by Tom Hanks.

Movie #3: Clerks (1994)
Length: 1 Hour, 43 Minutes
Main Cast: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer

Hockey on the roof. Selling cigarettes to a four year old. Knocking over a casket. Having sex with a dead guy. In no other movie could you find those three things, except Clerks.

While I know some people thought I made the huge mistake of seeing Clerks 2 before Clerks, which I did many years ago, it didn't make me appreciate the hilarity of this movie any less.

For me, Jason Mewes character was my favorite. Some of the lines he said throughout the movie was hilarious.

The only downside to this movie compared to Clerks 2 is no Rosario Dawson and dancing on the roof to the Jackson 5.

Obviously, this is a must see movie for anyone that isn't completely offended by filth humor.

Movie #4: This Is Spinal Tap (1998)
Length: 1 Hour, 22 Minutes
Main Cast: Rob Reiner, Michael McKeen, Christopher Guest, Fran Drescher, Fred Willard

Somehow I just wish that I could turn this blog up to eleven.

This was my first mockumentary I've ever watched and I can't imagine it getting better than that. At times, you completely forget that it is one because of how ridiculous metal, hair metal especially, was back in the day. Rob Reiner nailed this perfectly.

Seriously, there are too many classic quotes in this movie to count. If you haven't seen this movie, absolutely see it. You won't regret it!


Food #1: Bratwurst with mustard on a hoagie bun

While tailgating at the University of Memphis first football game of the year, one of my buddies happened to have some brats and so I decided to try them. Seems strange that I'd never had one before but that could be said for many things. After biting into it, I regretted having never tried one before. It was so much freaking better than a hot dog, it wasn't even close.

Hopefully this football season, I'll be able to grill out some cheddar brats, as I've heard those were delicious.

Food #2: Smoked Bacon and Calabrese from Bluefin (Downtown Memphis)

Having been to Bluefin twice before and getting salmon the first time and chicken the second time, I knew I wanted to get something that I wasn't sure about. What I ended up getting probably isn't some crazy dish but certainly new to me.

I got the Smoked Bacon and Calabrese which was plum tomato sauce, spicy Italian salami, Italian sausage and mozerella cheese on a flatbread dough. Basically, it was a fancy way of saying thin crust pizza but alas, still new.

While I'm not a huge fan of anything that's crispy, I still enjoyed this. The toppings and cheese were delicious and would definitely try again. However, the next time I'm there, I'll get something new.

Food #3: Krispy Kreme Doughnut With Papa John's Chickenstrips With Garlic Sauce (Cordova)

Your first thought is mostly WTF, that's gross! Well to be honest, I felt the same way. Seriously, a glazed doughnut with chickenstrips topped off with garlic sauce. Sounds gross as hell.

However, you'd be wrong. This crazy mess of a meal was delicious. The sweetness of the doughnut went perfect with the garlic sauce. They truly complimented each other so well.

If not for my wonderful, deviant friends who came up with this idea, I'd never have tried it. Thank God for Monday nights!

Food #4: Steak Au Poivre with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes from Firebirds (Collierville)

You're probably asking yourself "Was that as delicious as it looked?" and the answer would be a resounding "YES!"

On my way into work, I was driving around looking for a place to eat and most of the restaurants didn't open til 4pm but Firebirds happened to be open from 11am til close so I went in there. There were a few things on the menu that struck me but none more than the Steak Au Poivre.

Basically it's sirloin steak sliced up and topped with a peppercorn brandy sauce. It also came with Parmesan mashed potatoes. Seriously, one of the best things I've eaten in a while. The peppercorn sauce went perfectly with the steak as well as the mashed potatoes.

Combine the deliciousness of this meal with how great the weather felt outside (sat on the patio, as pictured), it couldn't have been better.

If you have a Firebirds near you, I'd suggest you go and try this little slice of heaven.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 10: 

Note: I do apologize for the delay this week, it's been a little more hectic than normal. This write-up will be very short but I promise, it's not a trend. Thanks again for everyone who reads this, I truly do appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

Beer (ABV): 
Lakefront Organic ESB (5.42%)
Lakefront Wheat Monkey (4.2%)
Lakefront IPA (6.9%)
Harpoon Belgium Pale Ale (5.8%)

Beers Already Tried From This Brewery: 
Lakefront (Wisconsinite Summer Weiss, Kilsch Pilsner)
Harpoon (Winter Warmer, Celtic Ale, Hefeweizen, Raspberry Hefeweizen, etc)

I have to say, nothing really wowed me this week with the beers. Surprisingly, the one I enjoyed more than the others was the Lakefront IPA. It had some good flavor to it and wasn't overly hoppy. The Wheat Monkey was more bland that a Coors Light frankly. The other two were just meh.

Album: The Rescue by Explosions In The Sky (2005)
Length: 32 Minutes, 48 Seconds

Already being a huge fan of Explosions In The Sky, I realized there were a few albums I hadn't checked out so I decided to check out The Rescue. The Rescue is a concept album of sorts.

Back in 2005, while on tour, their van broke down and they had to wait eight days in order to get it fixed, which is where they got the eight title tracks from (Day One through Day Eight).

If you didn't already known, Explosions In The Sky is an instrumental band that has no lyrics. With that in mind, it's a little more difficult to break it down by song so I'll just say that while not as good as the Friday Night Lights soundtrack or The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, this was a very good album and I'd suggest everyone give it atleast one listen.

Movie: To The Arctic/Tornado Alley (IMAX)
Length: 40 Minutes each
Main Cast: Narrated by Meryl Streep/Bill Paxton

I have no idea the last time I saw an IMAX film so when I decided to go see these two, I was very excited. The screen was even bigger than I remember it. Just absolutely massive.

I have to say, both of these films definitely had their positives but did also have a negative as well.

With To The Arctic, you start off with a beautiful footage panning over glaciers and the waterfalls. Being on the IMAX screen, it looked simply stunning. Throughout the whole movie, it was just fantastic. Getting to follow polar bears, which by the way I'd like to see about adopting one because they are so freaking cute, was really cool. You get to see a mother bear protect her young from being hunted, which was nice to see.

My only negative with To The Arctic was that it was clearly trying to push Global Warming/Climate Change throughout it. I'm not here to argue on either side of it but it just wasn't what I was anticipating. I guess I just wanted forty minutes of something pretty to look at.

Despite that, I'd still suggest you go see this.

With Tornado Alley, I was simply giddy. As most of you know, I'm a huge severe weather/tornado nut so this was right down my alley, no pun intended.

Right off the bat, I was excited because who else other than Bill Paxton was narrating this film. If you didn't know, he was the main male casted in the movie Twister, so it seemed fitting to say the least.

Throughout this movie, you get to follow two different people. The first is a group that is trying to collect data, much like in Twister and the other guy is trying to get in the middle of a tornado. He built this tank that can withstand wind speeds up to 200mph. Really impressive.

Like To The Arctic, it did have a negative and that was it ended very anti-climactically. The movie ended with him getting inside a tornado but it never felt like it happened. I guessed I expected it to look different but once it was over, I was like...that's it?

Overall, I still felt both films definitely had more positives and are worth going to see.

Food: John Deere Snowcone Supreme from Jerry's Snow Cones (Nut Bush)
Yedoro Key Wot from Abyssinia (Midtown/East Memphis)

Without question, the most interesting week of food that I've tried to date and probably will try.

As my friends and I look for the list of Top 100 places in Memphis to eat, we came across two items at Jerry's Sno Cones in Nut Bush, which is hardly the best part of town. The two sno cones are Wedding Cake and John Deere.

When I placed my order, I noticed everyone was ordering a sno cone and saying "Supreme", which I thought was the size. After ordering my John Deere Supreme, I realized size was hardly what it meant. Supreme, in fact, meant that it had soft serve vanilla ice cream in the cup. For those that have known me long enough, I have never tried ice cream in my life (as well as cake, pies, cupcakes, sundaes, pudding, etc) so if I decided to eat my ordering gaffe, this would be HUGE.

After hesistating, I finally took my first bite. Needless to say, it wasn't as awful as I was thinking it would be. The texture wasn't bad however I didn't like the flavor. I think that has more to do with my not liking anything vanilla.

After Jerry's, we headed into town to go to an Ethiopian restaurant called Abyssinia.

I decided to order the Yedoro Key Wot, which is chicken stew on flatbread. The sponginess of the flatbread was very weird to me but the chicken was okay. Too much stew for me to enjoy the chicken itself. By the way, I forgot to take a picture while I was there so that's the closest I could find to what I had, minus the eggs.

I also got to try some cabbage for the first time, which was pretty tasty actually.

Overall, I'm glad I experienced Ethiopian but I'm certainly in no rush to do it again soon.

Also Tried: Guacamole at Fox & Hound

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Week 9: 

Beers (ABV):
Rodenbach Classic (5.2%)
Samuel Smith Organic Apricot (5.1%)
Bear Republic/Fat Head's/Stone TBA (7.1%)
 Smuttynose IPA (6.9%)
Westbrook Citrus Ninja Exchange (8.9%)

Beers Already Tried From This Brewery: 
Rodenbach (none)
Samuel Smith (Organic Cider, Organic Cherry, Organic Raspberry, Organic Strawberry, IPA, Pale Ale, Pure Lager, Imperial Stout, Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Taddy Porter)
Bear Republic/Fat Head's/Stone (none)
Smuttynose (none)
Westbrook (none)

Another Sunday night at the Flying Saucer where I decided to get one of my blog beers knocked out and the Rodenbach Classic is the beer of choice. It was Flanders red ale which is a sour beer. This beer poured a darker amber color and had slight hint of cherry flavor with a huge tart flavor. I actually was a bit nervous to try this beer after the smell because it was overwhelmingly sour.

However, after tasting this beer, the bark was definitely bigger than the bite. Despite that it took quite a bit of time to drink, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Certainly not a session beer by any means but I would most definitely recommend this to anyone.

After thinking that my week of trying new beers was over, my friend surprised me with a few more to try that he got while on his trip to South Carolina.

The first beer of these was the Smuttynose IPA. My friend considered this to be one of his favorite IPA's ever, which is tall order. However, I'm not as big a fan of IPA's in general and this didn't change my mind. While not a terrible beer, it didn't wow me either. Clearly, it's the style and not the beer itself.

Next we tried a beer that is combined from three breweries (Bear Republic, Fat Head and Stone). This was such an interesting beer. Initially, the aroma and flavor came across hoppy but threw a curve ball and ended up like a brown ale. Certainly one of the more unique beers I've tried so far.

After that, we tried the Westbrook Citrus Ninja Exchange. I got very excited for this one because of the citrus but after first taste, I did not enjoy this one at all. All I could taste was the alcohol. At 8.9%, I'm honestly not surprised.

Thankfully, to wrap up the evening, we tried the Samuel Smith Organic Apricot which I had a feeling I was going to enjoy very much. Easily the best Apricot beer I've ever tried and very well could've been the best Samuel Smith beer that I've tried as well. 

Album: Millennium by Backstreet Boys (1999)
Length: 48 Minutes, 11 Seconds

I honestly have to say, I have no idea why I decided to go with this album. I guess it's just another example of getting out of my comfort zone and trying to take in as many different types of music and different eras.

When the boy band phase was taking over the world, I guess I had recently become a teenager and so as a male, it was very natural to immediately hate any of this kind of music, especially since it was so incredibly popular. With that in mind, I decided to go into this with a very open mind. Afterall, it is the 20th most selling album in history with 30 million copies sold.

The first three songs on this album (Larger Than Life, I Want It That Way, and Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely) are all huge hits and unless you weren't born until 2000 or lived under a rock, you've heard of these songs. Of these three, clearly I Want It That Way is my favorite. Easy to sing along and yes, I did.

Next song on Millennium is It's Gotta Be You. It's the shortest song on the album, just under 3 minutes, and it certainly felt like it. It was upbeat and went by quickly. Not terrible.

Song number 5 on the album is I Need You Tonight. I actually have to say that I really, really enjoyed this song. It's a slow song and it's pretty. Song number 6 is Don't Want You Back. Pretty catchy song. Typical boy band pop music.

Don't Want To Lose You Now is the next song on the album. Pretty bland song. Definitely forgettable. The next song after is The One. This song was much better than the previous one. After that one, there was another slower song with Back To Your Heart. This song just screamed what they'd played at a middle school dance where the couple is arms length apart swaying back in forth.

With only three songs left, we have Spanish Eyes. Honestly, I kind of zoned out on this song. Clearly didn't wow me. Second to last song on the album is No One Else Comes Close. I'm kind of surprised this wasn't a hit. Even though it's slower, I could certainly see it getting radio play.

Lastly, we've got The Perfect Fan. Apparently this song was written for one of the band members mothers. It's a cute song.

Overall, this album is about what I expected. Some catchy stuff, some duds, some average songs but I completely see why girls flocked to this. Five guys with voices like these singing songs like these, it makes complete sense.

Movie: The Big Lebowski (1998)
Length: 1 Hour, 59 Minutes
Main Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julienne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Tara Reid

That was fucking amazing.

That was the first words I said outloud as the credits started to roll. I want to kick my own ass for waiting 14 years to see that movie.

Seriously, every single part of this movie was hilarious. Dude, Walter, Donnie, Jesus...all so damn good.

It's hard to decide which is my favorite scene, whether it being the Jesus scene or the scattering ashes scene.

I'd assume most people that will read this have already seen this movie but if you haven't, GO WATCH IT NOW! After last weeks lame movie choice, it was so good to have something I truly enjoyed and will most definitely watch again (and again).

Food: Chicken Salad Sandwich and Deathrow Pimento Cheese from Young Avenue Deli (Midtown)

Another Monday in which we went looking for the list and Young Avenue Deli at Cooper and Young became the choice for the week.

In similar fashion to the week I went to Half Shell, I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to get going in. Also in similar fashion is how it turned out, by splitting two meals in half so we could try multiple items.

The item that my friend decided on was the Chicken Salad Sandwich, pictured on the right, which had chicken salad, tomato and lettuce. I enjoyed this okay, nothing great though and I probably wouldn't have it again. Honestly, I didn't even finish my half because I also had my other sandwich as well as an order of cheese fries, which were amazing as usual.

The item that I ordered was the Deathrow Pimento Cheese. I had no idea what I was getting into when I ordered this but went for it anyways. Oh my goodness, was this sandwich delicious! After the first bite, I knew I was in love. Biting into this sandwich gave me the same feeling and taste that I get when I eat an entire block of Colby cheese. It was so cheesy and wonderful. Simply made my tastebuds happy.

Overall, this trip was successful and I'll certainly be going back for more Pimento Cheese, as well as their cheese fries. Healthy, huh?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Week 8: 

Beer(s) and ABV: Gouden Carolus Ambrio (8%)
Blue Point Blueberry Ale (4.6%)
Lakefront Wisconsinite Summer Weiss (4.2%)
Lakefront Klisch Pilsner (5.42%)
Beers Already Tried From This Brewery: None from any of them

I know, I'm only supposed to try one beer a week and write about it but I can't help it lately, I just want to keep trying as many new brews as I can. 

This week, I managed to crack open four new ones. The first that I tried, I got at the Flying Saucer in Cordova, also known as my second home and it was the Gouden Carolus Ambrio. It poured a dark amber color and smelled of cherries. After first sip, I noticed the cherries but sadly, tasted more alcohol than flavor. Not a terrible beer but also not great, especially for the price. Still glad I tried it. 

The next three beers actually came from a buddy who recently went to Florida and brought them back. The first of those was the Lakefront Wisconsinite Summer Weiss. Pretty typical Weiss beer, solid and very refreshing. Definitely a session beer in my mind. 

The next beer was the Lakefront Klisch Pilsner. Again, like the first Lakefront, solid beer. Nothing that will wow you but could drink it all night. 

Lastly, we had the Blue Point Blueberry Ale. To me, this was a slightly weaker version of Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale, which is not a bad thing. The blueberry flavor wasn't overwhelming like you'd get with a Sea Dog Blueberry or even Sweetwater Blue, which is something I like. Just like the last two, would drink plenty of this all night. 

Album: Yourself or Someone Like You by Matchbox 20 (1996)
Length: 46 Minutes, 43 Seconds

While maybe not a classic album in most top albums list, this is widely considered to be Matchbox 20's best album and certainly best selling album. With Matchbox 20 coming out with a new album called North in September and me loving their incredibly catchy first single off that album titled She's So Mean, I decided to go back in time and check out this album.

Matchbox 20 is very similiar to Fiona Apple in that despite being around since 1996, they've only released a handful of albums (M20 with 5; Fiona Apple with 4).

Yourself or Someone Like You has atleast 3 or 4 songs that I guarantee you've heard on the radio at someone point, including the first song on the album, Real World. Incredibly catchy song, hard to imagine someone that grew up during the 90s not knowing this one. Next song after this was Long Day, a song I hadn't heard before but was solid.

The next two songs are probably ones you've heard before as well in 3am and Push. Catchy as hell, typical 90s music in my mind.

After that, Girl Like That and Back 2 Good were the following two songs. Girl Like That was a new one to me, it was okay. Back 2 Good is a song that is slower but one that some would remember. I feel like this one had some airplay back in the day. From here, the remaining six songs are songs that I'd not heard going into this listen.

Next song is Damn and it certainly picked up the tempo from Back 2 Good. If I looked up the lyrics, I definitely would've sung along. The shortest song on the album, Argue, clocks in at 2 minutes and 57 seconds. Despite the shortness, it was another solid song. Much like the rest so far, a catchy tune that with a few more listens would be even more fun to sing along to.

After those two more upbeat songs, we slowed the tempo again with Kody. Paying more closely to the lyrics on this one, it's about dealing with depression after someone close to you commits suicide. Very good song.

With the next song, Busted, Thomas' vocals got much grittier than the rest of the album. Quite a nice change of pace even though I wouldn't consider this one of my favorites off the album.

The final two songs on the album are Shame and Hang. While Shame was nothing special, Hang was really really good. Probably my favorite song that I didn't know going into this album. It was a slower song and really good lyrics.

Overall, I'm thrilled I listened to this album. I guess I never realized how much I actually liked Rob Thomas' voice and how well it goes with the music of Matchbox 20. I would absolutely recommend this album if you like any of the songs you've previously heard (Real World, 3am, Push and Back 2 Good)

Movie: Napoleon Dynamite (2004) 
Length: 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
Main Cast: Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino

I think out of all the weeks that I've been doing this blog, I picked a movie that couldn't have been any more divisive. From some people, they loved this movie. For many others, they absolutely hated. It never seemed as if there was any middle ground with Napoleon Dynamite. 

When it came out back in 2004, my preconceived notion was that it sucked, hands down. It got overhyped, overquoted and I naturally didn't like it, despite the fact that I hadn't seen it. 

I think that's the main reason why I went with this movie over Forrest Gump and Batman Begins is because I wanted to get even more out of my shell and pick a movie that not only I hadn't seen but actually had no plans of seeing and had judged without even having seen the movie. 

It didn't take long into this movie to see why some loved it and others hated it. The incredibly dry sense of humor had me chuckle at a few lines but I have to say that this movie did nothing for me in the slightest. 

The plot was pointless and many times I caught myself thinking "When it this going to end?"

The best part of the movie was near the end when Napolean was dancing on stage. Outside of that and a few lines, this movie was not a good movie in my opinion. 

I'd say if you're looking for a comedy to watch, stay clear of this one unless you absolutely love dry as a desert humor. However, if you haven't seen it, I'd suggest watching it just so you can have your own valid opinion as I know can have. Then you aren't like me circa 2004 and judge something blindly.

Food: World Famous Huey Burger with Black Bean Patty (Collierville)

With this week being a little hectic between my alternator catching on fire and just staying busy, my food choice for week 8 became one that was kind of on the fly so bare with me.

After hearing about how great Huey's burgers are, I decided to go with one. I've never actually had one so by-passing the standard beef patty for the black bean was a pretty huge step. I actually called in the order to-go because I was running short on time (hence not the best picture) and ended up eating in the Papa John's dine in.

What I ordered on the black bean burger was cheddar cheese, mayo and lettuce. Assuming the texture of the patty was similar to one of beef, I took a nice hearty bite into it. I immediately regretted that decision as I almost gagged on it. What I tasted was not what I expected in the slightest. The texture was very soft and clearly tasted of beans.

Honestly, I was only able to eat about half of the burger because of how much I disliked it. I know many people that love the black bean burger so I'm not going to tell you that it's awful. I think I just came to realize that unless it's baked beans, I'm just not a fan of beans. Atleast a big step for me was trying mayonaise from another restaurant. I've always been a strict "Hellmans only" kind of guy so I still feel like that was a small victory.