After a fabulous reunion the previous night with Michelle, Matt and Emma, I woke up excited to spend the day exploring Memphis with some of my favorite people. Michelle and I started the day by meeting Matt and Emma at a southern breakfast place on Beale Street called Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe.
Emma was thrilled that the restaurant had Pop-Tarts, because they are so American!
I ordered something I never thought I ever would: chicken and waffles. I have to tell you, it actually wasn’t terrible. The sweet and savory tasted good together and I could see how people like it. I don’t know if I’d order it again, but still, I’m glad I tried this southern breakfast staple.
After we were full of syrup, we headed off to Graceland. Graceland is so “special” that it deserves it’s own post, so I’ll write about that next.
After we had seen everything we wanted to see in Graceland (about 5 minutes later), we headed back into downtown in order to go to the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The minute we got off the bus we could smell the cooking, and were drawn like moths to a flame down to the waters of the Mississippi where the festival was held.
We eagerly paid our admission and entered the festival…
…and found nothing to do. The competitors were busy cooking, but no one was selling their food (or giving it away for that matter). Sadly, the best part of the whole festival was the competitors’ signs.
I love the fine print at the top of this sign:
After walking through the entire thing, we decided that maybe it would be better to come back at night. However, despite being told by one person that we could get wristbands and then by another that we could get our hand stamped in order to get back in, we were informed that there was no re-entry for the day. After asking what exactly it was that we paid admission for, and if it was possible to get our money back so that we could come back later, we were rudely informed in not so many words that this was our problem not theirs. So much for southern hospitality!
My only consolation was that I could write a scathing review about it in this blog, so here it is: DON’T go to the BBQ festival. It’s pointless. Also, if you’re wondering if maybe our timing was off, the guy next to me on the plane went at night and had the same experience that we did. So despite how much they hype it, it’s better to just skip it.
Determined to get BBQ one way or another, we headed back to Beale Street and into the welcoming arms of Pig on Beale.
Michelle and Emma both got ribs, and they were gone in about 5 seconds. Matt got a pulled pork sandwich, and I got the pulled pork dinner. Mine was okay, but I’ve had much better pulled pork. I guess living in Texas spoiled me!
After our meal, we headed off to the gorgeous Peabody Hotel for a Memphis tradition. You’re not going to believe me when I tell you…
Every day at 11am The Peabody Marching Ducks (yes, actual ducks) ride down from the roof of the hotel on an express elevator. They then march by themselves down a red carpet into the hotel fountain where they spend the day swimming until 5:00 p.m. when the process is reversed. The entire march is surrounded by pomp and circumstance, with The Peabody Duckmaster leading the show. Basically a changing of the guards, but with ducks.
I was skeptical beforehand, ducks aren’t exactly the smartest animals. But they pulled off their red carpet march, and even refused to stop for paparazzi photos like true prima donnas.
After being amazed by the ducks (and what little it takes to entertain in Memphis), we headed back to our rooms to change for a party. A rooftop party to be precise. During the summer, The Peabody Hotel has rooftop parties every Thursday night featuring live bands, drinks, BBQ, and stunning views.
We always take a thumbs up photo whenever we’re together, because “it’s so American!” All that was missing to make our photo complete was our friend John. I always laugh when I think of how when Michelle and I first met Emma, Matt and John they asked us in all seriousness if Americans of all ages congratulate each other by saying “good job sport!”
As the sun went down, we stayed out despite the rain.
And enjoyed our last night together in Memphis.
After a fun, rainy night on top of the Peabody Hotel, we said our goodbyes and promised to meet up again soon.
Hopefully at a certain British wedding :)
For all of my Memphis travel posts, click here.