the wonderful world of veena.

27 June 2013

30 thursdays: 30 favourite places.

I have been lucky enough to visit a number of beautiful places around the world, and I'd like to take a little trip down memory lane to share some of them with you. In no particular order,

30 favourite places:

Coorg, Karnataka. My first visit to Coorg - and Honey Valley in particular - was love at first sight. The coffee plantations are spectacular, the food is mouth-wateringly incredible, and the views in all directions are breath-taking. Whether leading groups, visiting with friends, or mending broken hearts, it will always be my peaceful escape from the chaos of urban India.

Istanbul, Turkey. In 2010, I attended the 5th World Youth Congress in Istanbul, and it was a blast. Two weeks of catching up with old friends from around the world, making new ones, attending great workshops, and exploring a vibrant and beautiful city made for an incredible experience. I would love to return one day for another visit, but until then, I will settle for my memories.

Jamaica. Not a day goes by that I don't remember some memory from one of my 7 trips to the beautiful island of Jamaica. The people are beautiful, the scenery is breathtaking, and the children are the children of my heart. I learned so much from my visits there, and each trip changed my life in unexplainable ways. I made so many great friends on those trips - both Baylor students as well as the Jamaican people - and I hope one day I am able to return back to the small island that made such a big imprint on my heart. "Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin, and they will say, what have you done with your life? And though there are many moments I think I will remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us."

[all from my last trip in 2005. clockwise from top left: me and JJ, me and Junior, and me with my boys Bob and Bobby]
Bangalore. The cloudy, crazy, fat, drunken city that will always hold my heart.

                            little BANGALORE from 1st December Films on Vimeo.

London. The city I will always dream of living and thriving in.

Hampi, Karnataka. Like Coorg, Hampi has long been a peaceful escape for me. I've had the opportunity to lead a number of Peace Child groups on trips there, and I've been lucky enough to make a few friends in the various hotels and restaurants that line the weaving lanes. It's such a beautiful place to spend some time alone in your thoughts. I would love to be able to spend a few days exploring Hampi on my own, both to revisit favourite places and to discover new ones.

Chattanooga, TN. The city where I spent two of the greatest years of my life. I had the amazing opportunity to board at Baylor my junior and senior years of high school, and I cannot imagine a better experience. The city is beautiful, the people are super sweet, the education I received was great, and the opportunities that have opened up to me as a result remind me every day how lucky I am. Chattanooga will always have a special place in my heart as my "home" in the States, and I would love to live there again someday.

Brussels. After my jaunt to the WYC in 2010, Dorothy and I went to Brussels to spend some time with our friends Julie, Aoife, and Meabh, and what a blast we had. Our girls are fantastic hosts and tour guides, and we had a grand time exploring the city, learning the bus and metro routes, and stuffing our faces with frites at sidewalk pubs. My stomach very much enjoyed its time in Brussels.

Amsterdam / Texel Island. While in Brussels, Do and I decided to take a little jaunt up to Amsterdam, and Koudi decided to join us. We lived it up in Amsterdam for 2 days and then decided we needed to detox and recharge our batteries, so we rented a car, drove north, and took a ferry to the first Texel Island. Both places were great in their own ways, and I'm glad I got to share the journey with two wonderful people I'm lucky to call friends.

Puglia, Italy. Bear and Rob's parents have a trullo in southern Italy, and they were kind enough to invite me for a sojourn after my crazy 2 weeks in Istanbul. The region is beautiful, the pizza at Benny's is mouth-watering, and the fig tree in front of their trullo is the perfect place for a relaxing lunch followed by a nice, long afternoon nap. Two days was certainly not enough, and the entire Mann family has been threatened with my eventual return.

Palolem, Goa. I have visited Palolem a number of times over the years with various groups of friends, and each time I find something new I love about it. It's in south Goa, far from the trance clubs and overly touristic bits of central Goa, and it's a nice place to relax, swim, eat, read, drink, and sleep. I've made friends at a few of the cafes and guest houses, and I only wish I could have made it back there on this last India trip, but I know I'll be back again at some point. I love it too much not to return.

San Francisco. I finally made it out to the west coast in May 2012 to visit Miriam and Dave in their new home. I spent one day wandering on my own and loved the energy of the city. And I finally got to try a burger from In-n-Out. And to top it all off, my visit coincided with Bay to Breakers, the 10-mile race that everyone runs either in costume or completely naked. It completely lived up to the hype and was almost enough to convince me to move to California. Almost.

Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal. I have waxed poetic enough times on here for most of you to know how much I enjoyed my time in Nepal. It's a beautiful country full of wonderful people, and I'm so grateful for the time that I had there.

Bombay. The city of my childhood dreams that finally became my home for a few months.

New York City. I spent 5 awesome days in NYC in 2010 and had the chance to catch up with so many different friends: Bianca, Tejas, Mindy, Sastri, Paige, and Coach Nate. It's a fantastic city, to be sure, and it's exhausting, but there's never a dull moment. I'm hoping for a return trip this summer if the timing works out - I still need to see a show on Broadway.

Memphis, TN. Oh, Memphis. The city of my birth. The city of Elvis. The city of my undergraduate adventures. And now, the city of my parents' home. Memphis is a wonderful city with great friends, fantastic eateries, awesome music, Graceland, and the Grizzlies. There's not much more I require from life.

The Dominican Republic. I got to visit Haygood in the DR while he was on his Peace Corps placement, and it was so great being able to see him in that element. Even though we've been in vastly different places since he transferred from Rhodes to UVA in fall 2003, we have somehow managed to continue finding each other wherever we might be in the world. And in 2007, that meant plane-hopping down to the DR to spend 4 days visiting his village, seeing a sugarcane factory, and taking his kids to the beach. I'm always thankful for the amazing memories I have of our friendship, and these certainly rank high on the list.

Boston. In 2006 I paid the Mindy a visit for her birthday, and she was kind enough to show me around Boston in return. This trip also marked the beginning of our tradition of going straight from the airport to Qdoba whenever one of us visits. Perhaps the lack of one is why she never came to visit me in India. I should probably work on that. Sorry, Beer, didn't realise that was the sticking point.

Rajasthan. Ever since I was young I wanted to explore more of India than just where our families lived, and in November 2008 I finally had my opportunity. Dimple was taking one of the interns traveling in Rajastan, so Akis and I decided to tag along for the journey. We spent 10 fun-filled days exploring Jaipur, camel safari-ing it up in Jaisalmer, discovering the beauty of Pushkar, seeing the Taj, and drinking in Delhi. It was an experience I'll never forget.

Denver, CO. In early 2008, during one of my holidays in the States, I ventured out to Denver to visit the Mindy. She was working with AmeriCorps and had a long weekend of sorts, so I hopped on over to hang out with her. Denver is a beautiful city, and I had a blast exploring with her. We even managed to take a little road trip out to Boulder to meet Walker and have lunch with her. We originally wanted to go skiing or snowboarding also, but madam Mindy managed to break her arm about a month before I got there, so that didn't get to happen. I guess we'll just have to get there next time.

Kerala. In December 2008 Dimple and I took a group from France traveling to Kerala, spending about a week in Cochin, Allepey, and Munnar. Highlights included seeing a Kathakali dance performance in Cochin, a backwaters boat ride in Allepey, and touring the tea fields in Munnar.

Bristol, UK. During my European and UK tour in 2010 I spent 3 days with Kirsty and Rob in Bristol. To add to the fun, Oda hopped on over from Norway, and we had ourselves a nice little reunion, singing our little karaoke hearts out and brunch-ing it up. I love my Krusty and my cute little Common Name, and having our Odomos around just made it that much better.

Little Rock, AR. In August 2011 I found myself in Little Rock, preparing to begin my first year at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Having not spent a lot of time in Little Rock during my childhood despite growing up in Helena, I really didn't know what to expect from my time there. I definitely did not expect to grow to love the city as much as I do or to have as much fun as I did. Whether playing kickball with my classmates, taking advantage of all-day Happy Hour at the Town Pump, midnight movie adventures, catching up with Helena friends, getting to be around for all of Catherine and Drew's wedding events, or Saturdays spent on the couch with Angela, sipping on mimosas and watching mindless movies, my time in Little Rock is chock-full of wonderful memories, and I will always treasure those days.

[photo courtesy of Jacob Slaton Photography]
Charleston, SC. I discovered the charms of Charleston on yet another visit to Mindy. While there we watched a movie in the park, enjoyed a grilled mac-and-cheese sandwich [it's glorious], had lunch with Ashley, brunched it up with Mindy's friends, and toured Fort Sumter. I'm beginning to realize I've gotten to see a lot of fun places courtesy of Mindy, and I'm intrigued to find out where she goes next so I can begin planning my next adventure.

[thanks, Mindy, for letting me steal your picture]
Gokarna, Karnataka. Gokarna is sort of the hippie paradise south of Goa, the place where you go when you want to go to the beach but want to avoid the crowds and the tourists. It's nice and deserted and empty and calm, and it can be just the place you need to recharge your batteries and prepare yourself for the craziness that is India.

Manipal. I made many a trip to Manipal while Shonali was studying there to check up on her and - in later days - to keep track of my CanOfBliss boys and their exploits. It was a happy place, full of cheap food and fun friends, and there was never a dull moment. In fact, the moments were usually so much fun that I often postponed my tickets to stay extra days. On one trip I decided as my bus pulled up that I was going to stay for one more night. My Manipal kids and I took good care of each other, and I always enjoyed my days pretending I was a college kid again.

Shillong / Cherrapunji, Meghalaya. I recently wrote about my awesome trip to northeast India, so I don't need to get into all of it again. It's a beautiful part of the country, and I'm so glad the timing worked out for me to be able to get up there and see Tet, Wasi, and Sastri all in one place. My favourite part of the trip was definitely our journey to Cherrapunji, where we trekked 3km up and down steps and across living root bridges to Nongriat village. I told Tet I'll be back one day, and I fully intend to keep that promise.

Paris. For Spring Break 2012, I ventured across the pond to hang out with the Mann siblings - Ellie in London and Rob in Paris. I had been to London a few years prior, but this was my first trip to Paris. I was there in the middle of the week, so Rob had work, but he set me up with an awesome map detailing all the arrondisements, told me where to meet him once he finished work, and sent me on my way. I spent my days wandering the city and snapping pictures along the way and then spent the evenings exploring with Rob. We took a nice stroll across most of the city, saw the Eiffel Tower all shiny and shimmery, sipped on wine at sidewalk cafes, explored hidden clubs, stuffed our faces full of awesome food, and cycled our way home at the end of it thanks to the awesome bike sharing program available in Paris. I know some of my friends don't really like Paris, but I very much enjoyed my two days there.

Helena, AR. I couldn't leave this list without mentioning the town where I grew up. I know I can be hard on Helena sometimes, but I'll always cherish my memories of growing up there. I'm thankful that I have been able to reconnect with my childhood friends in the last few years, and I know I can always call on them if I need anything. I love living in cities these days, but deep down, I'll always be a small-town country girl.

the farm. The Devaraj family farm in Banjarpalya village outside Bangalore will forever be one of my most happy places. It's a sanctuary about 20km outside the city, a quick escape from the craziness of my city, and the site of any number of fabulous parties over the years: countless New Year parties; barbecues with various school groups; a few fundraisers; and my unforgettable birthday / farewell party in 2011. I have so many wonderful memories from the farm, and it will always be one of my favourite places.

Writing this post makes me happy to remember all these wonderful places, but it also makes my feet start to itch for all those other places yet to be explored...

30 thursdays: 30 MORE things I bet you didn't know about me.

As my 30thursdays posts draw to a close, I thought I would share a few more things about myself that I wasn't able to include in my initial list.

30 MORE things I bet you didn't know about me:
  1. I almost know how to clip my nails all by myself. I'm growing up.
  2. Until about 2 years ago, I refused to wear closed-toe shoes. Rain or shine - and sometimes even snow - flip-flops were the only form of footwear for me.
  3. I sometimes am known to throw things at the television during sporting events. My roommates in college would clear the room of breakable items if they knew a big game was on.
  4. For a number of years I have had a secret desire to shave my head, but I fear I might have an oddly-shaped skull.
  5. I am fiercely loyal to my sports teams / athletes - Razorbacks, Braves, Packers, Grizzlies, RCB, India Cricket, Rafa Nadal - and am crazy protective of them. General rule of thumb: I am allowed to yell and shout at them when they're being stupid, but you are not.
  6. There's no such thing as being too cold to eat ice cream.
  7. Sometimes, when perusing Facebook, I feel an overwhelming urge to correct all the spelling and grammar mistakes that I see.
  8. I count stairs wherever I go, no matter how many times I've climbed up or down a particular staircase.
  9. I sometimes remember to get my hairs cut once a year, I don't own a hair dryer, and I cannot remember the last time I combed my hair.
  10. The two greatest presents I've ever received were both from my brother: a life-size, autographed cardboard standee of Chipper Jones for my 21st birthday, and Chipper's rookie card from his days with the Macon Braves when I finished grad school. He's a pretty awesome brother, I think I'll keep him.
  11. I am always in awe of musicians because I possess absolutely no musical talent.
  12. I wish I could speak even one foreign language properly, but I lack the discipline or decision-making ability to choose which one.
  13. I try to read for at least 30 minutes every night before I fall asleep.
  14. I really enjoy washing dishes.
  15. My ability to speak English has been seriously messed up after living abroad. I pronounce most words the "American" way, but there are some I say the "British" way, and there are others that come out sounding the "Indian" way. It's safe to say I'm confused in my life, and my brother gets a lot of mileage out of making fun of me.
  16. I don't know how to edit my photographs.
  17. If I ever get married [and that's a big "if"], the following 2 songs will play at my reception / party: "Pehla Nasha" from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and "At the Beginning" from Anastasia.
  18. I hate reality competition shows.
  19. On the flipside, I can watch the crap out of some Duck Dynasty or Love it or List it.
  20. I am an expert at packing.
  21. I'm really good at Wheel of Fortune. Like scary good.
  22. I would always rather be cold than hot. I can't function if I'm too hot.
  23. When I was about 3 years old, I would spend a lot of my days watching Silsila over and over. Like 3 times a day. I knew 3 functions on the VCR - Play, Stop, and Rewind - and I would utilise them to watch my favourite love triangle play out.
  24. I'm a dog person.
  25. Whenever I discover Dr Pepper in a foreign place, it's always the best moment of my life.
  26. I watched all 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights in 10 days. It was one of the greatest 10-day spans ever.
  27. Ramesh once promised me $5 if I didn't talk the whole way home from Memphis to Helena. I didn't make a sound, and 20 years later, I have yet to see a penny of that promised money. I swear I'm not bitter.
  28. I love being the girl without a phone.
  29. At one point a few years ago, every piece of clothing I owned was either blue or green. I'm trying to expand my colour pallet these days.
  30. I love kids, but I very much appreciate spending time with Other People's Kids. I'm not ready for that kind of life commitment just yet.
And there you have it, pretty much anything you could ever hope to know about me.

30 thursdays: 30 favourite places in Memphis.

Memphis has been my "home" in the US for pretty much the last 13 years. I moved here in 2000 as a fresh-faced first-year at Rhodes College and enjoyed a fabulous 4 years there. My parents shifted here 2 weeks after my college graduation in 2004, and I lived with them for a year before I took off for my first sojourn to India. During the years I was gone, Memphis was always the home base I returned to whenever I came back for a visit: my parents are here, a lot of my friends from undergrad are still here, and the best food in the country is here [hey, it matters]. While I am still torn over whether or not I want to settle here [too indecisive to pick one place], I always smile whenever I return to Memphis. It's a city of wonderful people, great places, fantastic music, and fabulous food [trust me], and today I share my favourite places in and around this great city [warning: it's mostly places to eat].

[photos by me except where otherwise noted]

30 favourite places in Memphis:

Rhodes College. oh, Rhodes. the site of my undergraduate adventures. the place where I made some of my best friends. the land of a ton of my favourite memories.

Graceland. I have been visiting Elvis' home since I was a child. Whenever family or friends would visit from out of town, we would take them to Graceland, which meant that by the time I was 12, I had been there approximately 15 times. I could take you through that house blindfolded. I was almost kicked out when I was 4 for running up the stairs. I climbed onto the pink Cadillac back when the cars were still kept at the house. I step on the grass - a major no-no - every time I'm there. It's one of my favourite places in the city, a place of lifetime memories, and you'll never hear me turn down an opportunity to go back.

Beale Street. the place that is synonymous with Memphis. on Monday afternoon, when I ventured down there to take pictures, I had a blast just strolling up and down the street, listening to the music pulsing out of the bars and chatting with the owners and managers of the restaurants. mid-afternoon might actually be my favourite time to wander down there, before it gets crowded and overrun with drunk teenagers and tourists.

FedEx Forum. I've spent many hours over the last 9 years cheering on the Grizzlies at the Forum. I love how the city has embraced this team, and I love how the team has embraced the city. it's been great to see over the years, and I look forward to many more games - regular season and playoffs - in the future.

Gus's Fried Chicken. nobody does fried chicken in Memphis like Gus's. and I'm talking about THE Gus's, the one on Front St. for me, it's the only one that exists.

Huey's. like Gus's and fried chicken, no one does a burger like Huey's. my personal favourite is the Senor Huey, especially on a Sunday to soak up any leftover alcohol in your system. one of my top 5 memories of Huey's is trying to teach my brother and my cousin how to shoot their toothpicks into the ceiling; they took a while but eventually picked up the knack for it. and oh, those cheese fries.

Central BBQ. home of the famous bbq nachos. I discovered Central BBQ a little late into my Rhodes tenure, but once we were introduced, there was no going back.

the Pyramid. I grew up attending Arkansas / UofM basketball games at the Pyramid, and when the Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001, I attended as many home games as I could on a student's budget and schedule. I knew they needed a new arena, but that didn't stop me from being disappointed and just a little heartbroken when they announced that a Bass Pro Shop would be moving in and setting up shop. even now, when I drive back into Memphis across that bridge, seeing the Pyramid brings a smile to my face.

the Orpheum. I remember seeing Edgar Allan Poe's The Telltale Heart performed at the Orpheum when I was in high school, and when I enrolled at Rhodes, I promised myself I would try to make it to some of their productions. over the years, I have seen Mamma Mia! [twice], Rent, and Oliver!, and all have been fantastic. if I were to live in Memphis again, I would definitely become a season ticket holder. and one of my goals for the summer is to attend one of their movie screenings; I think Breakfast at Tiffany's is sometime in late-July.

AutoZone Park. the home of the Memphis Redbirds. the first game I attended was my first weekend at Rhodes, when Lisa Jain and I bought tickets off the street for $5, wandered in, and ended up sitting with an entire group of Kappa Sigs. over the years we attended a number of games, sitting on the bluff and stuffing our faces with bbq nachos. when I got back to the States in April, my mother informed me that she wants to attend a Redbirds game, so it appears as though I will be making a few appearances at the park again this summer.

Lenny's. Lenny's Sandwich Shop became a staple of my diet my sophomore year at Rhodes. at some point at the beginning of spring semester, we went there a few times, always on a Wednesday, and lo and behold, a tradition was born. from there on out, for the remainder of sophomore and all of junior years, we had a reserved booth at the Lenny's on Poplar every Wednesday at 5pm. sometimes there were only 3 of us - Ashley Kutz, Jenny Dill, and myself - and other weeks there would be 10 or 12 of us, to the point where we would add a table to our booth and still spill over into the next one. the guys who worked Wednesday nights would routinely give us free drinks, and once they learned how Ashley and I liked our chocolate chip cookies, they would often make a fresh batch just before we arrived so that we would have them fresh from the oven. one time, when my mother picked me up from the airport as I returned from India, we stopped by Lenny's on our way back to Helena, and Steve, the Manager, took one look at the exhaustion on my face and comped both of our dinners, just because he was a nice guy. they opened Lenny's locations closer to campus in my junior and senior years, but we were always loyal to our Lenny's. it was the one and only as far as I was concerned.

[photo via]
BBQ Shop. another of Memphis' famous bbq joints, BBQ Shop is where I like to go when I'm craving a pulled pork sandwich on Texas Toast. and with its convenient location right around the corner from Rhodes, it was the perfect place when we just wanted to get off campus for a quick bite of some bbq.

Fino's from the Hill. Fino's is one of the reasons I love Midtown Memphis. it's a mom-and-pop place [owned by Arkansans!], it's small and cramped inside [maybe about 12 tables?], it's only open until 6pm, and the food is incredible. I love the sandwiches, I love the salads, I love the spaghetti. I've waited in line for upwards of 30-45 minutes to get food there and not thought twice about it. it's such a friendly little place, and I love it when friends suggest we go there for lunch.

Tom Lee Park. most people know Tom Lee Park as the site of the annual MemphisInMay MusicFest, when it's always rainy and muddy and overrun with people. what a lot of people don't know is that Tom Lee Park is also a great place to have a picnic and toss around the football on a random afternoon, be it a weekend or just an afternoon when no one has class. with the open space and a view of the River [because the Mississippi is the only "River"], it's a great Memphis spot.

[image via]
India Palace. India Palace has been one of my happy places since I was in grade school, and it only became more so when I went to college right around the corner. at one point, I was there once a week for dinner with a rotating group of friends. since I started going back and forth between the States and India, the Palace is always one of my first stops when I return and one of my last meals before I leave. I love everything about the place, especially the fact that for the last 10 years, I hardly even get handed a menu, because they already know what I'm going to order. and the free kulfi definitely doesn't hurt, either.

Memphis Zoo. I went to the Memphis Zoo a few times as a kid, but I became a frequent visitor during my Rhodes days. every Tuesday afternoon, all TN residents and students of TN colleges and universities receive free admission, and since the Zoo is across the street from Rhodes, we spent many a nice fall and spring afternoon wandering through Cat Country and hanging out with the howler monkeys. and one of my favourite memories from sophomore year was when we had our Fall Date Party at the Zoo.

[image via]
St Jude Children's Research Hospital. everyone knows about the great work that St Jude does for children with cancer and other diseases. I have had a number of friends who have volunteered, interned, and worked there, I have a few special friends who have been treated there, and I served on the board for Up 'til Dawn my senior year to raise money for St Jude's daily operating costs, so the hospital holds a very special place in my heart.

[image via]
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. I was born cross-eyed and had a number of operations to straighten out my eyes and strengthen my eye muscles, and all of them were at Le Bonheur. my doctor, Dr Hyatt, and all the staff at Le Bonheur were fantastic, and every time I went there, my mother and I had wonderful experiences. Le Bonheur is also where Jacqueline and Curtis Schaffhauser and my brother and I got our tonsils out together circa 1985. needless to say, the Le B played a major role in my childhood.

[image via]
Barnes & Noble. I used to study at Barnes & Noble a lot during my Rhodes days, but I developed a deep affinity for it when I worked at the Germantown Parkway location from May 2006 to July 2007. it was pretty much my universe for those 14 months, and every time I'm back in town, I pay them a visit. just last month, Robert, the Store Manager, told me I can always come back if I need a job.

Kwik Check. as shady as it looks from the outside, that's how amazing the food is once you venture inside. when we were at Rhodes, we were always worried that Kwik Chek was one day going to go out of service, and we wouldn't have access to our Fireball of Freedoms and Dragons and Zeuses and whatnot. luckily [?] for us, during the crazy wind storm of 2003, Kwik Chek was only of only 4 or so restaurants in midtown that had power, so there were lines out the door. the boom in business has brought a number of renovations over the year, and now every time I go back, I'm always a little bit in awe of how far it's come from those early days.

[image via]
Silky's. I know it's a cliche to go to Silky's, but it's cliche because it really is a great place. the guys on the pianos are ridiculously snarky, the outdoor live music is always entertaining, the goats are always good for a laugh, and the divers are a rite of passage for all Memphians.

BB King's. I feel like the name says it all.

King's Palace Cafe. back in the days before I was old enough to get into places like Silky's and BB King's [which was all of my undergraduate days, by the way], I used to be a frequent visitor to King's Palace Cafe. the food is awesome, and the live music is always entertaining. on my photography jaunt on Monday, I ran into the owner / manager as I passed by, and I remembered why I love the place so much. and trust me when I say, the gumbo really is awesome.

Studio on the Square. Studio is the closest cinema to Rhodes, but it got overlooked a lot back in the day because of Peabody Place [see below]. but it was a great place for a Friday afternoon movie jaunt, and it's where I saw the second and third installments of the Lord of the Rings trilogy [complete with Kwik Chek in our bags]. and it's still the best place in Memphis to catch indie films when they release.

[image via]
A-Tan. I don't even know how many countless hours I have spent at A-Tan over the past 13 years. we were there nearly every other week during undergrad, and Cait and I continued to be frequent customers through the year after we graduated as well. in fact, she and I ordered the "salad with ginger dressing" so often that they eventually just gave in and added it to the menu, first as a hand-written add-on and later as an actual item when they printed new menus. and then they added the hibachi side circa 2006! I remember Pete and I were going there for dinner, and on a whim we decided to try out the hibachi side, and we had the whole place to ourselves. it was pretty fantastic, especially for two people such as us who are very easily entertained. I've not been back in a while, but it's on my list of places to get back to in the next few months.

[image via]
Blue Plate Cafe. this was another Memphis staple that I discovered a little late in life, but I guess it's always better late than never, right? Blue Plate is probably my favourite place in town for breakfast, not least because their biscuits are awesome. if anyone's up for a visit, let me know, and I'll be there with bells on.

[image via]
Alfred's. I actually only went to Alfred's for the Pike Halloween parties each year, but there was definitely never a dull moment. I think senior year was my particular favourite, when Ben Carroll, Craig, Sara, and I went as characters from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I was there again recently before a Grizzlies playoff game, and it was a whole different experience. I rather think I would enjoy Alfred's on a non-Halloween party night.

Rendezvous. probably the most famous bbq joint in all of Memphis. the place the tourists flock to for the ribs and their famous dry rib. I'm not going to lie, those ribs and the meat plates are pretty spectacular.

Peabody Place. I know it's closed these days, but it was a mainstay of my Rhodes days, so it has to be mentioned here. I spent so many hours there, using my student discount for movies, playing glow-in-the-dark putt-putt, getting ice cream from Maggie Moo's [and sneaking it into the movies], and running through all the floors of Jillian's. I know why they closed it down, but that doesn't stop the depression that hits whenever I drive or walk past that empty building. rest in peace, dear Peabody Place.

Libertyland. another one that is closed and sadly not even in existence anymore, but one of my favourites from when I was a kid. I think the best was when we took our 6th grade field trip, and I rode the Zippin' Pippin at least 4 times. man, I loved that place.

[image via]
And there you have my favourite places around this great city. It really is a pretty spectacular place.