About 30 seconds after my feet hit the pavement, I knew I was in love with Memphis.
Beale street is roped off, and seems to be the downtown entertainment district. There was blues music everywhere, and that combined with the hot summer night reminded me so strongly of New Orleans I had to keep reminding myself I was in Memphis. People wander from bar to bar, stopping to watch street musicians and listening to the occasional street evangelist. There's a strong police presence, so it feels totally safe, but still with that underlying energy that you find in a place like New Orleans or New York... it feels like something could explode at any moment, and it might be dangerous or it might be exhilerating or it might be a bit of both, but you know you don't want to miss it. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
We knew we wanted our first Memphis meal to be ribs, so we went in search of the Rendezvous Restaurant, on a tip from a friend of Rachel's. The description we had was something along the lines of, "It's by the Peabody Hotel, down a back alley." Not terribly reassuring, but we had been told it was the best place in the world to eat ribs.
Eventually we found it, and were told there was a one hour wait for a table. One pitcher of beer later, we were seated with two so-called small orders of ribs in front of us.
Oh. My. God.
I don't even like ribs, or beer for that matter, but that might be the best meal I've ever tasted.
One blissful and rather messy meal later, we were back on Beale Street, where the crowd had gotten bigger and wilder and the smile on my face grew just a little bit more. Rachel made me drink something called a Big Ass Beer. Have I mentioned that up until we hit Nashville two days ago I had never drank more than two sips of beer at one time? I don't like it. Somehow, this trip has made me into a beer drinker, and I'm blaming it on Rach. I fear breast implants, huge hair and excessive makeup are just a short step away.