A Mardi Nash Taylor Memphis Awakening

So it took a while to get back on Central Standard Time after being on the “left coast” for a week.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to lounge in my Lazy-Boy for long.  My calendar dictates what was to be a action-packed weekend, and you guessed it…more travel.

Saturday started off much earlier that I would have wished.  Apparently we had a deadline to leave the house, and I had not even made it to the coffee pot yet.  We had tickets to a matinée showing of Spring Awakening.  Although I enjoyed the show, it was definitely a departure from the normal “feel-good’ musical.

As most good church-goers know, we are fast approaching the season of Lent.  This can only mean one thing, Mardi Gras is around the corner!  As an former cajun I know how to “pass a good time”.  Fortunate for me, I have become acquainted with the Music City LSU Alumni Group.  This a group of people with a passion for LSU Football and beer-drinkin’.  My kind of crowd!  Saturday evening they threw their 2nd Annual Mardi Gras Ball at the rooftop lounge of the Viridian.  It was a blast!  We had catered food from Papa Boudreaux’s and an open bar.  We topped the night off with bites of king cake.  I had at least three pieces and didn’t get the baby!

We retired at the Doubletree downtown for our “staycation”.  I really like being a tourist in my own town.  It was kinda fun to walk around downtown and soak up some of the local flavor.  It is amazing what you ignore when pass by the same streets day in and day out.

The sun rises on Sunday morning and I can see the valet pulling our car around as we step out of the front doors of the hotel.  Where to you ask?  Well…Memphis, TN of course!

Most times that I travel the usual 200 miles of Interstate 40, my heart rate is at a normal range.  But this time was different.  This time I was on a mission.  I had 9th row tickets to see the legendary folk singer James Taylor.  But not only that, he brought along his 34 year old son, Ben Taylor who was headlining with him!  All of this taking place at the legendary Orpheum theater in downtown Memphis.  I was grinning from ear to ear as we pulled into town.  I just knew it was going to be a show to remember.

Before the show we decided to grab some grub at a rather unassuming burger joint.  As we are about to walking into the door, I almost trip over a rather large sign on the sidewalk.  It contained the name of the establishment and a little blurb about the fact that Adam Richmond from Man Vs. Food has eaten here!  Instantly, I knew we were at the right place.  I had eaten a late lunch, so I knew that I would not be competing today, but at least I could get a feel for what kind of burger it takes to make it on TV these days.  I look at the menu and I see it staring at me in the middle of the menu.  There it is, the famous Kookamonga Burger.

A whopping 4lbs of ground beef and 3lbs of toppings and cheese.  That’s right…a 7lb hamburger!!!  The waitress takes my order and I decide to downsize and go with a paltry 1/2 pound cheeseburger.   It turns out that this was one of the best burgers that I have had in recent memory.  I think the key was toasting the poppy seed bun just right and adding a dash of garlic powder.  We are almost through with our main course as I hear a loud voice from behind me.  Could this be?  Oh yes, it seems someone has stepped up the plate and decided to take on the Kookamonga challenge, and at the table right next to me no less!!  The chef brings out the burger and gets the entire restaurant to give him a round of applause.  After I unashamedly take a picture of this poor man and his over-sized burger, I quickly realize that he doesn’t even stand a chance to take this thing down in 60 minutes or less.  You could give him 6 hours, and he would barely get through the bun.  It was however and sight to behold and something that I will always remember.  If you ever find yourself in downtown Memphis, be sure to stop by Kooky Canuck for a man-sized slab of ground beef.  Be sure to bring your appetite, cause if you don’t you better bring your wallet….because this burger will cost you $24.99 (plus tax).

On to the main event.  8pm rolls around and with no opening act or large fanfare, two gentlemen and their guitars stroll onto the stage.  James in his usual nicely pressed shirt and jeans, and his son Ben in rather cozy “lounge-wear”.  Even though they look like they come from two different worlds, the minute they strummed the first note and sang their first harmony it was like they were the same person.  They truly have a unique sound and only something that can be shared with a father and son.  I have seen James in concert several times before but have never had a chance to hear Ben.  He is a little less refined than his old man, but still manages to impress.  His slightly gravely voice is still silky and dark like his father.  They took turns performing each others numbers and even threw in a Buck Owens cover for the locals, “Memphis Tennessee”.  After 2.5 hours they took their final bow and disappeared behind the curtain.  It was a great show and an even better memory.  Who knows?  Maybe they will roll into town again someday and I will get a chance to do this all over again.  I’m just sayin’…


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One Response to “A Mardi Nash Taylor Memphis Awakening”

  1. Dixie says:

    wish i could have been a fly on the ballroom wall, the burgerfest & the concert with James. 🙂 so glad it was a good weekend. Just sayin’

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