I'm back from a week in New York, where my family gathered to celebrate my step-daughter's law school graduation. There were 13 of us, including four from France, so we found ourselves looking for restaurants with big tables, which led us to a wonderful Mexican place in Williamsburg, a cool Russian/Turkish restaurant, and, most interestingly, a Korean barbecue joint.
Why the Korean barbecue concept hasn't caught on big in Memphis is beyond me. It's perfect for us. There's fire. There's food. There's booze. Barbecue pits are built into the dining tables. As you watch, the pits are filled with red-hot charcoal and covered with a grill. Then the waitstaff starts putting stuff on the grill — savory meats, fresh seafood, sliced vegetables — and you eat until you can eat no more. Add fruity drinks or wine if desired. See also, beer. See also, karaoke.
Yeah, so after you eat and maybe get a little happy, you are lured upstairs to private karaoke rooms. You rent one that's sized appropriately for your party, close the door, grab the mics, and sing your tipsy little hearts out. Dancing on the conveniently placed low tables is optional. Especially with Abba. I have pictures.
And not to sound like a Seinfeld routine, but what's the deal with NYC cabbies these days? Not so long ago, you'd jump in a cab, say "375 Broome," and off you'd go, no questions asked. Now, all you get are questions.
"We're going to the corner of Lorimar and Skillman in Williamsburg."
"I don't know where that is," says the cabbie. "What bridge should I take?"
After a variation of this conversation happened for the third time, we developed a standard answer: "Just a minute, let me check MY PHONE'S GPS."
Then we held the phone near the driver's ear and let Siri direct him. I have no explanation for the influx of geographically challenged cabbies in New York, except to speculate that in the smartphone era they've learned that most of their passengers will have definite opinions on how to get somewhere. It's reverse evolution. Siri-ously.
Back in Memphis last weekend, my wife and I tried the greenline for the first time. We have crappy bikes, and I was worried about big hills or slipping a chain miles from nowhere. But we had a great time. The trail is cool, shady, mostly flat, and filled with friendly folks. At the end of our ride, we stopped and enjoyed food and refreshments at Cruiser's with lots of other greenliners. Very civilized. Like a big city or something.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...