Once again, my wife Gail and I will celebrate New Year’s Eve as we have for about fifteen years with an annual treat we reserve for this special night: ribs. Not just any ribs, but ribs from the legendary Memphis establishment officially known as Charlie Vergos Rendezvous. And we’ll eat them in the comfort of our own home in Nashville. Here’s how this rib-sticking tradition got started:
Located in an alley off Union Avenue near The Peabody in Downtown Memphis, The Rendezvous has been a favorite restaurant of mine since I discovered it while attending college in North Mississippi. Like many Ole Miss students, I “majored in Memphis” doing my most studious research in many of the Bluff City’s iconic establishments, including Grisanti’s, Silky’s (on Madison, back then) and The Rendezvous.
The Rendezvous opened in 1948 and has been a famous stop for celebrities and politicians and was mentioned in John Hiatt’s wonderfully gritty song Memphis In the Meantime (“At least we can get ourselves a decent meal down at The Rendezvous”). I couldn’t resist a reference to it myself in a song I wrote called Mackinac Blues (“I tried the Mackinac-style barbecue; Honey, get me down to that Rendezvous”). Click here to listen to my song.
My wife Gail went to Southwestern at Memphis, now known as Rhodes College, and has also been a big Rendezvous fan for years. Not long after we got married, we learned that
The Rendezvous ships ribs packed in dry ice, along with the dry rub, sauce, and popcorn anywhere in the U.S. It’s as easy as it can be and the flavor is just as good as it is when you walk down the dark staircase leading in to the actual restaurant from that Memphis alley.
You can ask for their slaw and beans, as well, and Gail also discovered a killer mustard slaw recipe online not long ago which is found below. Add that to the ribs and what a meal, whether you consider it a great way to end the current year or the best way to get the coming year off on the right foot (we always enjoy leftovers from the “2-slabber” into the first week of January).
So, once again, we’ll avoid the dressed up drunks and amateur drinkers always about in public places on New Year’s Eve and ring in our own “Happy ‘Cue Year” at home.
You can order the ribs anytime of the year and they are shipped by the Memphis-based FedEx, but we choose only to do that for New Year’s Eve to preserve the special occasion status of our tradition. If you want to experience this culinary wonder for yourself, you can call The Rendezvous at 1-888-hogsfly or go to www.hogsfly.com.
Here’s the mustard slaw recipe Gail found online and we wish you a flavorful 2013!
Mustard Slaw recipe (from unknown internet source – but it’s great!)Ingredients: 4 cups shredded cabbage 1 carrot, grated 3 Tablespoons yellow mustard 3 Tablespoons sugar 3 Tablespoons white vinegar 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil Hot sauce to taste 1 teaspoon celery seed Salt and pepper to taste Whisk dressing, fold in to cabbage well
Visit Les Kerr’s web site at www.leskerr.com