Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My trip to Memphis (Pt 2)

 I wish this picture was real! I don't ever like taking those silly green screen pictures (growing up  around Hollywood they're basically everywhere), but I could not pass this up. I was joking with my mom that I really look like I could have been in the real picture in the 1960's, and that my name would have been Diane or Nancy and that I was the president of his fan club, or his little sister if he ever had one.

Day two was just as busy as day one was. In a really silly move, I had reserved us the back booth at the Arcade Restaurant for 9 am, which really for us was 7 am, and we were exhausted. When we got to the restaurant, I couldn't help but fall in love with the old blue and pink booths. I ordered the famous sweet potato pancakes, and they were amaaazing. I think I need to learn how to make these at home so I can have them whenever I have the craving. Elvis' booth was adorned with some photos of him, and wasn't particularly interesting, but I liked thinking that he sat in the same booth once and maybe even had the same meal as me.

After we ate, we drove over to Sun Studio to see where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins recorded some of their most popular early hits. I truly felt like I'd stepped back in time, and I love that feeling. The bottom floor was a shop for Sun Studio merchandise, along with a cafe (where Elvis signed his first contract with Sam Phillips!) I picked up a couple of shirts for myself and Chris, and then we headed upstairs for the tour. The tour guide was funny, and I just loved every second of it. The top floor was dedicated to the original artifacts of the artists who were part of Sun, like old guitars, clothing, records, etc. Then we walked downstairs to the "church", aka the studio where it all happened. I can't believe I got to stand there (or rather sit on the piano bench that they had all once used). I even got to fake sing into the famous microphone!


After Sun, we decided to be crazy (well, it was already planned, so we were already crazy) and drove an hour and a half into Tupelo, Mississippi to see where Elvis was born and first grew up. We did some Yelp research and found ourselves dining at a restaurant called the Neon Pig which was an exit before the one into Elvis' neighborhood, and were SO pleased with what we discovered. It was a cool, hip little cafe with a butcher shop and a shelf of homemade goodies to take home such as sauces, dry pasta, local coffee, etc. I ordered something I don't think I'll ever forget: It was a chicken sandwich but the bread was a steamed bun, and it was presented like a taco, with crispy chopped chicken, pickles, bacon and harissa. Oh my god. It's one of those dishes that you can still taste whenever you think about it, even if it's been months or years!

The house that Elvis was born in was as small as everyone says, and it really does put things into perspective. I had learned a while ago that Vernon (Elvis' dad) built this house himself, and that is truly unbelievable. I'm so glad I was able to visit. We also sat inside the church he attended, and the museum was fun, as well.

After Tupelo, we headed back into Memphis so that I could catch my Elvis Radio interview live. The plaza was empty by that point because tours to the mansion were over, and that gave the experience a pretty intimate feel. There were still a few people walking around, sitting on the benches to listen to Elvis Radio. Little did I know when we got there, that George Klein (Elvis' oldest friend since middle school) was finishing up his Friday radio show. I knew that he did that show, but had forgotten he might be there. Jim (the DJ who interviewed me) saw us outside the booth and waved to us, and later came out to say that George wanted to meet us and to talk business with my mom. I can't believe that I got to meet him! He is such a sweet man, and has lived such a crazy life. On top of having history with Elvis, he wrote an amazing book recounting his friendship with Elvis, along with being one of the most famous radio dj's and tv hosts of all time in the music world. It was an honor to meet him. He gave me a copy of his book and signed the inside jacket! I was freaking out, and still am a little bit. And my interview was so fun to hear! I put my phone up to the outside speaker and recorded it, and I'm so happy to have that forever.

You'd think by this point we'd be too tired to do anything else, but by 6 pm we were off to have dinner at Flight in the downtown area. Flight is a cool concept because you can pick and choose three small plates as your "flight", or choose regular portions (but what fun is that?) and you can order wine flights, too! We opted for their harvest salad, and flight of veal scallopini (I'm not normally a veal girl, but it was my mom's choice), chicken and waffles, and red snapper) which all were delicious. My mom also killed a gigantic mosquito afterwards which caused a funny scene, and once we were done eating, we made our way to Gibson's Donuts! It's amazing how much I can eat. But there's always room for a donut.

All in all, Friday was a day full of laughs, great food, history, hearing my interview and meeting George! I didn't want the day to end, and Saturday was our last day. More on that tomorrow! :)

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