Military Masquerade, Maciel's Highland, The Gray Canary

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Guests - and a reporter - donned masks at the Military Masquerade. - LACEY HUDMAN
  • Lacey Hudman
  • Guests - and a reporter - donned masks at the Military Masquerade.

I saw a stack of purple cardboard top hats with “Mardi Gras” written on them in Kroger’s closeout section after Lent began. If I’m not mistaken, I didn’t see the hats the next day. Someone probably bought them to wear that weekend.

The point I’m trying to make is people love to wear masks and costumes in Memphis whether it’s’ before or after Halloween, Mardi Gras, El Cinco de Mayo or Day of the Dead. I’ve covered many a costume party, which, apparently, was held just because it’s fun to dress up.



It’s difficult for me to wear a mask because I wear glasses, but many people wore masks at the second annual Military Masquerade, which was held Feb. 17 in the Cadre Building. Alpha Omega Veterans Services, a nonprofit that aids homeless and disabled veterans, hosted the event.

DeJaVu catered the event along with Erling Jensen: The Restaurant. Gary Williams told me he’s planning to re-open DeJaVu on Florida in mid March. I can’t wait. I particularly can’t wait for some of his gumbo. The shrimp etouffee at the party was fabulous.


The Mighty Souls Brass Band performed along with a special appearance by Al Kapone and his band. The event also featured a silent auction and live auctions.

The evening began with a “second line,” which is where guests and musicians parade down the street carrying umbrellas (oddly enough - it wasn’t actually raining during the parade) and waved handkerchiefs.

About 120 attended the event, said Stephanie Beliles, who chaired this year’s and last year’s masquerade parties.

Beliles came up with the masks and the Mardi Gras theme. “February is the month of love and good times, so it’s a perfect time to celebrate our veterans," she said. "That’s the reason why we choose to do this event. ‘Cause it’s 100 percent celebration.”

ARS/Rescue Rooter was the “Medal of Honor” event sponsor.

Cordell Walker, executive director of  Alpha Omega Veterans Services, and Mayor Jim Strickland at the Military Masquerade. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Cordell Walker, executive director of Alpha Omega Veterans Services, and Mayor Jim Strickland at the Military Masquerade.

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Manuel and Lisha Martinez at Maciel's Highland soft opening. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Manuel and Lisha Martinez at Maciel's Highland soft opening.


Friends and family attended Maciel’s on Highland’s soft opening, which was held Feb. 15 at the new restaurant on the Highland Strip.

Among those families was owners Manuel Martinez and his wife, Lisha, and their son, Preston.

Mexican food flowed from kitchen to table to about 60 people who attended the event, held two days before the restaurant opened to the public.

Maciel’s Highland, like its Downtown location, offers traditional cooking, which is more like everyday cooking in Mexico. Maciel’s Highland also features a bar, where customers can get their favorite drinks as well as traditional Mexican mixed drinks,


Bubba Ezell, Andrew Ticer, Mark Parker and Michael Hudman at The Gray Canary grand opening. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bubba Ezell, Andrew Ticer, Mark Parker and Michael Hudman at The Gray Canary grand opening.

………


The Gray Canary was singing Feb. 20 as guests packed into the new Andrew Ticer/Michael Hudman restaurant, which is housed in the Old Dominick Distillery.

The five course meal was prepared by Ticer and Hudman along with John Currence, Tien Ho, Cassidee Dabney and Kayla Palmer. A host of chefs assisted with the dinner.

The dinner - open fire is the theme at Gray Canary - included ember-roasted vegetables, spinalis, roasted wild mushroom veloute and Blackberry Farm grits with preserved summer vegetables.

Palmer brought more smiles with her tiny shortcake dessert with kumquat, white chocolate, black pepper, pistachio and meyer lemon gelato.

Brad Thomas Parsons manned the Amari cart for guests, who didn’t want dinner to end.


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