Another Broken Egg

Imagine waking up on a cold March morning. It’s felt like spring for the majority of the week, but now all of a sudden you’re right back in the middle of Winter. As you get up and joints creak and crack back to life as you walk through your unseasonably cool home, you realize you’re hungry, and that what would really hit the spot is a good breakfast, a warm breakfast, something to get the blood flowing back through your frigid body, so you throw on some warm clothes and hit the road, a hearty breakfast at the forefront of your mind. You show up to the restaurant, a place called Another Broken Egg Café, a breakfast joint that is familiar in passing, but one that you’ve never actually been to. The parking lot is full, despite it being fairly early in the morning, a good sign, because crappy restaurants generally don’t have a lot of customers, except for Buffalo Wild Wings, but I suspect the swarming masses are due to the giant TV’s that are everywhere, drawing men into the restaurants like Moths to a fluorescent light, rather than the piles of garbage they try to pass as food.

Upon entering, the place is crowded and voices and laughter fill the air as the warm yellow lighting and the hostess welcome me inside. There are very few empty tables, and the hostess inquires if I could be seated outside on the patio, which at first sounds dreadful given the cold temperatures and the fact that one of the specific reasons I came to breakfast was to warm up, but perhaps sensing my trepidation, my face likely the betrayer of my feelings on the matter, she told me it was a screened patio and was heated. Perfect, lead the way. Saying the patio was heated was an understatement. I lived in Florida for four years, and the only thing comparable to stepping out onto that patio, was stepping out of the house on a summer afternoon in Florida; you know it’s going to be hot, but it still takes you by surprise just how hot it actually is. My first thought upon taking my seat, was regret at having worn a sweatshirt, but after a few minutes my body adjusted to the temperature and all was right with the world.

The menu was vast with all kinds of options for whatever mood you happened to be in: classic breakfast options like sausage, pancakes, and eggs, brunch options if that was what you were in the mood for, and some creations unique to the restaurant, like waffle sliders. It took me a few minutes to make up my mind because there were several things that sounded really good to me that morning, but ultimately I decided to go with the Chicken and Waffle because someone at a table near me ordered that dish, and it looked absolutely delicious. There was a little bit of a wait for the food, longer than any other restaurant that I’ve ever been to, but given the crowd that day and the fact that the cooks do more than your traditional eggs and bacon, that’s completely understandable. My plate arrived looking just as delicious as I knew it would, the large waffle which took up most of the plate’s open real estate topped with golden brown fried chicken tenders. I drizzled the chipotle honey sauce over the top, completing the masterpiece.

The waffle was unimpressive, like I’ve had better at home or at a hotel’s continental breakfast. Basically, every waffle I’ve ever had, was more flavorful and better cooked than the waffle at Another Broken Egg Café, but thankfully the waffle wasn’t the only component of the dish. By itself, the waffle was laughable, but combined with the perfectly cooked chicken and topped with the honey chipotle sauce, it was fantastic. There’s no doubt that a better waffle would have massively improved an already great dish, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. I would definitely order it again, but I’ll probably get some other things first, because there’s a lot more that I want to try, but if you’re looking for a good Chicken and Waffle dish, you won’t go wrong here. The server was really good and the price was decent, just slightly more expensive than the national restaurant chains like an IHOP or Denny’s, but totally worth it for the quality of the restaurant. If you’ve never been, go check out Another Broken Egg Café; you won’t regret it


March Madness Memories

With football done and baseball still around the corner, I’ve had to fill the sports void in my life with basketball, and this year, with my favorite NBA team solely in last place with the worst record in the league, I’ve been forced to lean more on college basketball this year than I have in years past, and by doing so, I actually rediscovered my love for the game and the feeling of excitement that comes with a team down by two with five seconds left on the game clock, heaving up a long shot, a last ditch effort to win the game. It’s not like my interest in the sport is reappearing because the team that I follow is finally good again, because they’re not. I watched a lot of their games this season and saw some exciting wins sure, but I also saw some bad and embarrassing losses that ultimately led to the team not making the postseason for the fourth straight year, and the firing of their coach who had just finished his second season in Memphis. No, the Tigers were just a little blip on my radar of college basketball this season, with the vast majority of the games I watched, not Memphis. In the NBA, it can be difficult for me to watch a game that my team is not playing in, because I don’t really care about the outcome, and for the most part, the game is boring until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter if it’s close, but college basketball has a way of drawing me in early and holding my interest, so I’m pretty excited about the NCAA tournament starting today, more excited than I’ve been for it in ten years.

It was 2008, I was a junior in high school and a huge Memphis basketball fan, the kind of fan that despite living in Little Rock, Arkansas, would wake up excited on game days, throw on my Tigers hat and park myself in front of the TV to nervously watch and cheer on coach Cal’s basketball team, so when March rolled around, I was very excited about the tournament because I believed that we could actually win the whole thing. With Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, anything was possible. I went to the first round game in North Little Rock with my dad, and witnessed the Tigers annihilating Texas-Arlington as the 1 seed over the 16th. That game was the only NCAA tournament game I’ve ever been to, and despite the lopsided victory, is definitely near the top of the list of sporting events that I’ve been to.

I watched every game that Memphis played in the tournament that year, regardless of where I was. I saw them beat Mississippi State on a Sunday afternoon, sitting in my grandparents dark living room in Memphis as we cheered on the Tigers together. I was at a baseball tournament in Rogers, Arkansas when they played their game against Michigan State. Our game had ended and I had just enough time to run to the Popeye’s across the street from our hotel to grab some dinner and get back to my room in time for the game to start. The big wins against Texas I watched in my own living room, where I’d watched most of their games that season, but the UCLA win was bigger than all the others, because the Memphis Tigers were going to the championship. On the Monday night of the NCAA tournament championship, we had a baseball game, followed by a junior varsity game where I got all of my playing time, but if I were to play, I would have missed the championship, but thankfully, knowing how much this basketball season meant to me, my coach let me have the night off so I could get to my grandparents house in time to watch the Tigers take on the Jayhawks of Kansas.

I was full of nervous energy as I sat in the recliner next to my grandfather and watched the championship game unfold. If we just could have made free-throws we would have won the game easily, a common narrative throughout that entire season, but even with all the misses, it looked like we were still going to somehow pull out a victory. With seconds to go in the game we were up by three, the game was all but won, then Mario Chalmers miraculously hit a three pointer at the buzzer for the Jayhawks to tie the game. It was going to overtime, but I knew it was over. Memphis ended up losing, and I felt sick for the rest of the night, but the ride up until that point was a lot of fun and I was happy that I was able to at least experience such a deep run into the tournament. Memphis didn’t make the postseason this year, not march madness or the NIT, but I’m really excited about the tournament anyway. I’m not watching as a fan of any one team, but as a fan of the sport, a fan of the most exciting postseason in the entire sports universe. It’s going to be a fun few weeks.

Three Benefits of Daylight Saving Time

IMG_3981Daylight saving time was originally instated as an agricultural measure to benefit farmers by giving them an extra hour of daylight during the peak season of farming so they could get more work done, but luckily for you, the time change doesn’t just positively affect the men in overalls and straw hats planting corn or soybeans, but it’s good for regular people too, like you and me. I know, Sunday was horrible, losing an hour of sleep and everything, unless of course you were smart enough to just sleep an hour later than normal, but that’s behind us and there’s nothing we can do about it now, so let’s move on and think about all of the benefits of having an extra hour of daylight.

You know how the world is so dangerous that we all have to act like we’re a hundred and six years old to stay safe, like we do all our errands and grocery shopping during the day to reduce the likelihood of getting shot, since statistics show that those types of crimes generally happen at night. Okay, maybe it’s just me who’s a paranoid freak, but don’t come crying to me if you get shot leaving the Winn Dixie parking lot at 8:30 in the evening, because I don’t want to hear it, and frankly I don’t want you bleeding all over my carpet. Anyway, now that we have an extra hour of daylight, we have until at least seven to safely get everything done, so instead of having to rush around like a maniac after work, you can go about your business in a responsible manner, fifteen to twenty miles an hour below the speed limit.

Another benefit of the time change is the positioning of the sun in the morning. Since it rises later, the sun isn’t as high in the sky as it was last week, and is positioned at eye level which is perfect for people like me. Say you wake up in the morning and you’re not really excited about work, like anybody is, but you’re particularly not wanting to go to work, but it’s your job so you have to go. With the sun shining directly in your eyes on the way to work, you’re more likely to have a car accident, and if you’re going fast enough, then you’ll likely have to go to the hospital and miss work altogether and it’s the sun’s fault, not yours, meaning your boss can’t fire you for something the sun did, so it’s a win-win. If you drive west to work, then this suggestion isn’t really a benefit for you, unless you really hate your home life, then feel free to discard your sunglasses and hope for the best. Maybe there will be some lime Jell-O waiting for you on the other side.

Lastly, but certainly not least, probably the biggest benefit of daylight saving time is that you have a whole extra hour, to keep your kids out of the house at night. I’m sure you love them and all that crap, but let’s be real for a second, your evening would be so much better with sixty more minutes of peace and quiet, and now, thanks to Ben Franklin, you’ve got it. If you lock your kids out of the house at night, that can probably be considered child endangerment, but if you do it in the light of day, you’re just being old school, telling your kids to play outside until it gets dark. Heck, that’s how you were raised, so how can that be wrong? I don’t have children so I personally won’t benefit from this, but I just wanted to help the parents out there, because I’ve seen some of your kids, and just being around them for a few minutes is torture, so I don’t know how you put up with them each and every day. This is mother nature’s gift to you, keep them outside for an extra hour, and get some time for yourself.

Depression on a Sunny Day

It’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining and the sky is blue and by all appearances it’s the perfect day. I’m forced to stare at this magnificent day from the confines of the drive-thru window at the bank, where I will remain until my lunch hour arrives, and then it will be freedom as I shove one of the double doors of the building open, exerting more effort than usual as the wind fights from the other side, trying to keep me in, but I emerge victorious. The sun shines down on me and the crisp march air that carries with it an unmistakable scent associated with a happy memory, though I don’t recall the exact memory, nor can I name the smell, hits softly pushes against my face and through my hair, reminding me of the simple and unexpected pleasures that life can bring. I dare to let the corners of my mouth to shift in an upward trajectory, allowing a faint, but genuine smile to form on my face. I’m happy.

I pause in the parking lot and wave to the oncoming Toyota, signaling to the driver to continue driving and not to stop for me; it’s a beautiful day outside, and I’m in no hurry. The solemn driver nods as he passes, acknowledging my gesture as the cobalt car glides by then gets further and further away until eventually it is out of sight completely. I have a sandwich waiting for me in my car, Cajun turkey on a croissant with mild cheddar cheese and a thin layer of spicy mustard. I could sit in my car and eat it, falling into the monotonous  pattern of eating my same lunch while listening to the same radio show at the same time every day, but it’s just so nice outside, and it would be a shame to waste the moment, so I drive to the park and take my place on a wooden bench looking out at the water. I don’t know if it’s a pond or a lake as I have trouble distinguishing between two, but whatever the proper name, it glistens in the sunlight directly overhead, mesmerizing me as I munch on my sandwich.

A couple of ducks have swam to the edge of the water, so I break off a chunk of the croissant then pick little pieces one at a time from it and toss it to the grateful birds. They quack their approval and I toss them some more; this is what life is all about. Leaving the park, I roll the windows down on my car, making the most of this wonderful day that I’ve found myself in. At a stoplight, the cool breeze carries with it the scent of exhaust, and immediately I’m sent back in time to Paris on the spring break I took with my dad thirteen years ago. It’s the same smell as the time we rode our bikes around the city on Easter Sunday when most of the major roads were closed to automobile traffic. It was so freeing, the wind rushing through my hair as we rode past the Eiffel Tower or sped across one of the bridges on the Seine. It was one of the greatest days of my life. It was thirteen years ago, almost half of my lifetime ago, even though it feels like it could have been last year. I don’t feel any differently now than I did that beautiful Sunday morning in Paris, but I am different. I’m older now, and no matter how much I wish I could, I’ll never be able to go back, never be able to recapture the happiness of those youthful spring days in Paris ever again. I cry all the way back to work. Thanks depression.

Molly’s La Casita

IMG_E4934With my brothers in town over the weekend, we thought it would be fun to try a restaurant that we’d never been to before, so after much thought and contemplation, the kind that only comes when deciding what to eat, I presented my brothers with three options. First was a pizza place that I’ve had recommended to me by multiple people that always sounds good when mentioned but always seems to slip my mind when it comes time to make the decision about what to eat. Second was a barbecue restaurant whose sign is a bit off putting to me and the sole reason that I was skeptical about the place at first, but after being told it was good by several sources, I relaxed a little and decided I’d give it a try at some point. The third and final choice was a Mexican restaurant that my former boss said was her favorite Mexican food in the city, so naturally that’s a place I’ve been wanting to check out. My youngest brother immediately rejected the pizza idea to my other brother’s chagrin, then the difficult decision was made, choosing Mexican over barbecue.

Although it’s still early March and Winter is still making her presence known from time to time, Saturday was a beautiful spring evening, so we were more than happy with having to park across the street and walk to the restaurant in that perfect weather. The restaurant was called Molly’s La Casita, and I guess it still is unless the name was changed for some reason in the day and a half since we were there, and I don’t remember too much from my one year of high school Spanish, but I’m pretty sure the name roughly translates to “Mexican restaurant with tacos, burritos, fajitas, nachos, vegetarian options among other things” which seems a little wordy in English, but thankfully the Spanish are brilliant when it comes to word condensation in translation, like Molly’s La Casita. There was a thirty minute wait at the popular restaurant, which gave us another chance to take advantage of the beautiful weather as we stood outside talking until our name was called and we were led to the table.

The menu had a lot of different options and things to choose from, so we got a cheese dip for the table while we tried to decide what to order. There were a lot of things that looked good, the Arroz con Pollo and Flautas both caught my attention, but ultimately I decided to go with a Chicken Chimichanga, a dish that tends to be consistently good across the board. The cheese dip was pretty good, but certainly not the best I’ve ever had, or even close to it, but the salsa was absolutely incredible. I’ve eaten a lot of salsa in my time, and I can say that the salsa at Molly’s La Casita is some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s thick but not too chunky, and is absolutely delicious. The Chimichanga, which had salsa and guacamole on top in lieu of a sauce was okay, but I probably wouldn’t get it again because it seemed to be lacking something in flavor. The beans and rice however were both much more flavorful than any I’ve had before and were very delicious, which normally isn’t the case for side dishes. The service was great and I’d give the overall dining experience a seven, the point deductions being for the lack of flavor in the Chimichanga and the cheese dip that was inferior to several other places in town that I can think of off the top of my head. Perhaps they were just having an off night in that regard, but I’ll find out next time, because I’ll definitely be going back to try some of the other things that they have to offer. If you’ve never been, I’d definitely recommend checking it out, because if nothing else, the rice and beans will be unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, and they are so good.

Not So Sneaky

IMG_4477It’s embarrassing anytime you are caught and called out on doing something you shouldn’t be doing in public, but it’s one thousand percent more humiliating when you’re an adult, and clearly know better. Friday night, my wife and I went with my brothers to the Grizzlies game against the Utah Jazz. Despite having to work until six, we still made it to the arena early, in plenty of time to get our free Chandler Parsons hats, which features an image of the chronically resting player smiling down at you from under the bill, and to grab some concessions before heading up to our seats. The tickets we got were very cheap, courtesy of going to see a team with the worst record in the NBA playing against a Jazz team that doesn’t tend to draw a big road crowd like the Warriors or the Cavaliers. We made our way up to our seats, row K, fifteen rows from the very top of the Fedex Forum, and took our place in the fairly empty arena to watch warmups until it was time for the game to start.

With about eight minutes until tip-off, my youngest brother excused himself to go to the restroom, which is when we hatched the plan to move seats, partly to confuse him when he got back, but mostly just to closer to the court. It wasn’t like we were trying to sneak court side, but there were a lot of completely empty rows in the upper deck but were a lot closer than where we were sitting, so we figured it wouldn’t hurt anybody to get a little bit closer to the action, and since we wouldn’t have to walk past an usher then it was virtually impossible that we would get caught. I pointed out a row at the very front of the section with a bunch of empty seats, and following my lead, my wife and brother tagged along behind me as I made my way inconspicuously through empty rows and down the steps until we reached the promised land. Although still in the upper level of the arena, our new seats had noticeably better view of the court, no harm, no foul.

Not even a minute after we sat down, a second after my brother mentioned how embarrassing it would be if we were somehow in somebody else’s seats, two people started walking down the steps and shuffled along the row, stopping directly beside my brother. He jinxed us, and out of all the empty seats in the entire arena, we had somehow managed to end up in two that were taken. I didn’t make eye contact with the couple as I shuffled past them, because I was already very embarrassed at being caught during my first ever attempt to sneak to better seats, and I didn’t need them to see it in my eyes which have the terrible habit of betraying my emotions. There were still empty seats all over the place, and I wasn’t ready to give up so easily, so I went a couple of rows up, to a section where absolutely nobody was, and took my place with popcorn in hand and hope in my heart. The usher must have seen what was happening from her perch, because almost as soon as we sat down, she came over and asked to see our tickets. There was nothing to do, so I handed her the ticket and she politely informed us that we were supposed to be a lot higher up, so dejectedly we made the shameful walk past the usher and up the steps until we arrived in our assigned seats. We were so bad at sneaking into better seats that we weren’t even gone long enough for my brother to get back from the restroom and notice our absence. It was a complete failure, and probably the last time I’ll try that for a long time.

Why Memphis Will Win the NCAA Tournament

The Memphis Tigers are going to win the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament. That’s right, the same Memphis Tigers that got beaten by South Florida and East Carolina, two of the worst teams in the country this year, are not only going to the big dance, but will in fact, win it all. You might think that I’ve lost my mind or am just speaking as a crazed fan, but I know exactly what I’m saying and believe it to wholeheartedly be the truth. It would have been less of a stretch, albeit still very unlikely, had I said it when they were on their four game winning streak at the end of the season, but no, it was the loss to South Florida, the utter beat down on our home court that got set the wheels in motion for the Tigers to win the national championship. How can I be so confident? Because, it’s just too perfect.

Just think about it for a second. Wouldn’t this make the perfect movie? At the end of last year’s disappointing season, the several of the best players on the team transferred to other schools, leaving the Memphis roster pretty bare without much hope for this year. Over the course of the offseason, the coach eventually filled in his roster with players, the majority of whom, he recruited from Junior Colleges. So here you have a rag-tag group of basketball players, the majority of whom weren’t good enough to play division one basketball a couple of years ago, thrust onto the big stage with the high expectations of Memphis basketball fans on their shoulders.

Nobody believed in these kids, nobody but a man named Tubby Smith, a former national championship winning coach who has taken five different teams to the NCAA tournament. The championship he won was twenty years ago and while the narrative is overplayed and outdated, it was still something to hold onto, a little glimmer of hope when the hire was made two years ago, that maybe Tubby would come in and be the great winning coach that he once was, but last year came and went, and that little spark of hope was extinguished. During the later part of this season, talks have picked up about wanting former Memphis Tiger and NBA great, Penny Hardaway to replace Tubby, but through it all, the University has stood by their coach unwavering in their support, until after the bad loss to South Florida at home.

The president of the University, who had been steadfast in his support of the current basketball coach, released a statement regarding Tubby’s future, saying they would reevaluate the situation at the end of the season, which by all indications, means there’s likely to be a coaching change, otherwise he could have just put a stop to that talk like they did all year by voicing support for Tubby, except now it seems like they don’t. After that the Penny rumors were reignited and the way everyone in the media is talking, it’s more likely than not that Penny will be the next head coach at the University of Memphis, so Tubby is as good as gone. Knowing that his tenure as the head basketball coach of the Tigers is coming to a close, then what does he have to play for? His honor of course, which perfectly fits the cliché mold that is so common in sports movies.

The Tigers are going to rally around their coach and play their hearts out and Tubby is going to be moved into getting his old fire back and become once again the great coach that he once was. Throw in the fact that the best player on the team got hurt at the very end of the season, and you have the perfect story for a movie. It’s going to be beautiful and sappy and inspiring and the movie is going to be a huge success, and since I’m the first one to voice the idea and say that a 2018 championship for Memphis is happening, then it’s only fair that I get to write and direct the movie, or at the very least get to play one of the white kids at the end of the bench that never gets to play but is very enthusiastic in support of his team. It’s going to be the Hoosiers of this generation, only it’s not going to be super boring. You heard it here first. Tubby’s Tigers, coming to a theater near you