6.25.2018

ping dines out


Ping's passion is food—planning it, cooking it, eating it, even photographing it. I had no idea that she needed to eat three squares a day plus snacks to avoid passing out from low blood sugar, so we did a lot more eating than I typically do. I am more of a yogurt/soup/snacks/beer person. (As most of you know.) (Oh yeah, and bananas.) All she wanted to do in Memphis was sample barbecue. But first, we had to see the famous Peabody Hotel duck march. She sipped lemonade, and I a martini, at the lobby bar while the Duckmaster led the ducks to the fountain, and then back up the elevator to the roof. Dunno how they are so obedient. 

 Next stop, across the street from the Peabody Hotel, was the Flying Fish, which came recommended by gourmet David. It was downscale from the Peabody, but the food was excellent. Ping approved her grilled trout and fries (the first she had eaten in years), enjoyed trying my hush puppies and fried okra. The fried catfish was the best ever, succulent and crisp.
  At the Flying Fish, Ping spotted a handsome policeman. "Can I take a picture?" I asked him, and he agreeably posed. He is now my newest Facebook friend, but I can't reveal his name on account of the criminals. He fears for his family. I was tiring of the order-and-pay-at-the-counter-and-then-sit-and-have-your-food-delivered motif, but that seemed to be the way of the bbq.
 Payne's is considered one of the best bbq restaurants in the nation. So Ping and I headed to the outskirts of Memphis to the old gas station it has called home for almost half a century. Their signature sandwich is chopped pork with a mustardy slaw. There were people in there from as far away as Kansas City (they are bbq aficionados there too). Ping opted for the ribs, while I got the sandwich. She pronounced them good, but I could see that she was a bit concerned about the sanitary conditions. (I had previously no idea she was such a clean freak. I mean, I knew she took a shower every night, always has, but no notion  she was quite so OCD.) Me, as a gas station dweller myself, I was so enchanted with the decor I could hardly eat.
For dinner we patronized another known joint, Central BBQ. It was more upscale, being at the edge of the hipster Cooper-Young neighborhood. Though you still had to stand at a counter to order. The ribs were good there too, Ping said. I can't even remember what I ate, I was so sick of pork. I may not eat for a month.

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