Everest Sushi at the Blue Monkey

Blog friends,

I am happy to report that Everest Sushi, including owner/ chef Abhi and sushi chef Kyle, are safe and sound at the Blue Monkey. Originally, they were at the Blue Monkey just for late nights on the weekend-now they are there Tuesday-Thursday 6pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 9pm-2am.

Mr Foodie and I were there on Tuesday night, and again last night. I had never been to the Blue Monkey before – the place is great! It’s a dark little lounge with good music and attentive bartenders. As we sat down to order our drinks (they have great drink specials every night), they handed us this menu:

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It’s the same menu as before, except it contains my favorite off-menu items-like the Wham Bam Birmingham roll. Blue Monkey is a little too dark for the best photos-rest assured that both nights we ate ourselves silly with all the rolls from this post and this post. The quality was exactly the same as before-top notch.

On Tuesday, Abhi asked us to try a new roll that they haven’t named yet but are calling “the Kyle” for now. Tuna, salmon, avocado, cream cheese, and 3 sauces that I like to use together: an aoli, sriracha, and eel sauce. Spicy and fresh-tasting; the cream cheese (which I usually don’t like) gives it just a little richness.

Sorry for the quality of these photos; we had to use the flashlights on our iPhones to light them. Adds to their character, I say.

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In sum, Everest Sushi is back doing it’s thing and doing it well at Blue Monkey. When you check it out, be sure to order the Kyle roll. It’s one of our new favorites, and I think Kyle really enjoys preparing his namesake roll. Who wouldn’t be excited about having a sushi roll named after them at Everest, even if only temporarily?

Everest Sushi is Back!!

Dear loyal blog fans,

Everest Sushi Lives!

As I previously discussed here and here, Everest Sushi is some of the best sushi in town.
And to our horror, we recently learned that it had lost it’s space at the Red Zone.

But good news-I heard from Abhi just yesterday that he is back in business!

Everest Sushi will now be at the Blue Monkey Lounge at 1318 Cobb Lane in 5 points during the following hours starting tomorrow, December 9:

Tuesday-Thursday 6pm-10pm
Friday-Saturday 9pm-2am.

We will be there to check it out…. Hope you will be too!

And we will probably order one of these (Mr Foodie’s favorite, the Wham Bam Birmingham):

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And one of these (my favorite, the diplomat):

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And one of these (my other favorite, the super eel):

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As you can see, this is going to be a very happy foodie occasion for Mr Foodie and I.

Galley and Garden

We got home early on a Sunday morning from our Thanksgiving trip to Philly, where we ate ourselves silly. It’s a wonder that we had any interest in food at all but – but at 10:30am, we realized our stomachs were grumbling. So we ran through our typical list of favorite Sunday brunch places – Chez Lulu, Continental Bakery Downtown, Big Bad Breakfast, Pancake House. But before we made our final decision, I decided to take a peek at Yelp to see if there were any newcomers to the brunch scene that might be fun to explore. And low and behold, we realized that our city’s newest upscale restaurant serves a yummy looking brunch starting at 10:30. And even better, it’s in our neighborhood. It was meant to be.

Galley and Garden took the spot occupied by Veranda on Highland, so I’ll acknowledge that eating at Galley and Garden was a little bittersweet. My pangs soon went away when I realized just how special this new restaurant was. They totally renovated the place, and now have an incredibly inviting fire pit in the front:

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Here’s the rest of the front of the place:

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I had called for reservations but at 10:30 on a Sunday, the place was surprisingly quiet. I’m not sure if the word has gotten out yet that they do brunch – there was a slow trickle of patrons during the hour or hour and a half we were there.

When we entered, we were greeted enthusiastically by a friendly gentleman who led us to our table. As you probably know if you read the blog, the places we frequent tend to be more on the hole-in-the-wall end of the spectrum. So maybe it especially stood out to me when the man who seated us seamlessly placed a napkin on my lap. This kind of effortless and non-overbearing attentive service continued throughout the meal.

Given our recent Thanksgiving pigging out, we were looking to order either something light, or to exercise excellent portion control. Here were our options:

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After a brief struggle for foodie decision-making power, I guided Mr. Foodie to the obvious best choice: the portion control option using chicken and waffles (one of my favorites) and pork belly dumplings. These stood out to me as dishes that, if extremely unhealthy, ought to be really good.

The dumplings were a stand-out. Tons of delicious pork flavor, and although they used pork belly, they didn’t taste overly fatty or greasy (a good thing). They weren’t exactly light, but they weren’t heavy-they were hearty and crispy, delicious. Served with a fresh brussel sprout slaw. Came with a siracha aoli, sweet and sour sauce, and soy sauce-based sauce for dipping, all of which were excellent. After Mr. Foodie dripped a dollop of the sweet and sour sauce on the white tablecloth, an attentive waiter came by to wipe it off saying “we don’t want that to get on your clothes.” Now, that’s service.

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And now the chicken and waffles. Crispy fried chicken (airline cut, my favorite), nice and salty and juicy, on top of a soft, sweet waffle with just enough syrup and creamy gravy. When we were getting down to the end only salty little skin pieces were left, and they were the best, mixed with the sweet waffles…. mmmm, delicious.

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Galley and Garden is a really wonderful addition to the downtown/5 points brunch scene. I know this is a relatively short post for us-remember, portion control. That just means we will have to come back to fill you in on the rest of the brunch menu. I’m also really looking forward to trying their dinner offerings. Next time it’s a cold night I would love to score a seat on that fire pit patio!

Save Everest Sushi!!

Loyal blog fans,

This is a plea for your help. We have a foodie emergency on our hands. Everest Sushi, which I blogged about here and here, has lost its space at the Red Zone.

I know y’all love Everest because it’s #1 on Urbanapoon’s talk of the town, and my two posts had the most shares of any place I’ve blogged about. Everest is a true Birmingham foodie gem, and even moreso, it’s owner Abhi is a foodie treasure. He is self taught and meticulous about his work. He makes some of the best, most creative and inspired sushi in town. His long term plans are to open an Asian fusion restaurant. We’ve sampled his cooked dishes and they are off the charts.

This blog is about food and restaurants, yes. But what it’s really about is helping the small-time restauranteurs who are doing great things for our city. When people read our blog, a post gets shared, we know it helps. So let’s all help Abhi.

If anyone knows of a new location for Abhi and Everest Sushi, don’t be shy. Comment on this post, or email me directly at whattoeatinbirmingham@gmail.com, and I will get the info to Abhi. He doesn’t need a kitchen, just a table with a hand sink. AND PLEASE SHARE THIS POST in case someone else in your circle of friends has any ideas. As a community of food lovers, we can find a way to Save Everest Sushi!

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill

Mr Foodie and I were running some errands at the Summit (read: guiltily returning some online shopping purchases) and looking for a place to have lunch afterwards. Whenever we visit an area of town, even one we’ve been to a million times, we try to find a new and interesting place to eat. A few Google, Yelp, and Urbanspoon searches revealed a brand new Isreali place on 280 that had been open for less than a week and already seemed to have a dedicated following.

Israeli food is something I grew up with as a kid in Pittsburgh. There used to be an Israeli restaurant in Birmingham but it closed a few years ago, leaving a big void in our food scene. My heart started to race… Could this be our next big foodie discovery?

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill is located in a pretty run of the mill strip mall past Target on 280 (if you’re coming from the city). They already have a nice temporary sign up:

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When you walk in, there’s a wall to your right with photos of a market in Israel to get you in the mood. As we approached the counter, a nice gentleman with a big smile gave us the menu and prepared to take our order. Here is the menu; I love the graphic design!

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And he added “everything else you need to know is here,” pointing to himself. Turns out this was Eli, the owner.

So as usual, we asked him what we should order. And then we noticed this in the background:

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This is schwarma, where meat is grilled for hours or days on a spit. They had chicken and lamb/beef; we went with the latter. Besides that, we told him we wanted to try a little bit of everything. He recommended the vegetarian plate with a side of falafel. Sold.

As we waited for our food, we struck up a conversation with Eli. Originally from Israel, he lived in Chicago for many years. His dream was to open an Israeli restaurant, and when he moved to Birmingham for family a few years ago, he began perfecting some of his grandma’s recipes. The restaurant has only been open for a week, and is the only Israeli place in town. While I don’t know this for sure (correct me if I’m wrong), I believe they are the only place that does schwarma on a spit like the photo I showed. They make everything in house, even the pita, and have lots of gluten free options. All of their meat is organic and shipped in from a farm in the Carolinas daily, and they also receive daily shipments of fresh produce.

After that lead in, we were starving and ready to eat. First, the schwarma. Crispy pieces with pieces that are melt-in-your mouth tender. Fantastic.
Served with rice and Israeli salad. The salad was lemony with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions -the best I have had – it just tasted so fresh.

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Then, the veggies. All amazing. The beets stood out as they were seasoned with a little bit of cumin. The tabbouleh was totally unique-in an effort to be gluten free, Eli uses quinona rather than bulgur wheat. I really dislike the texture of bulgur wheat, so I loved this substitution. The tabouleh was bright and flavorful, the best I’ve had.

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Mr Foodie’s favorite food of all time (no exaggeration, I think) is hummus. Eli told us that this hummus was made with dried chickpeas rather than canned. This makes the texture deliciously creamy. Served with soft, thick homemade pita. Amazing.

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Then the falafel, which were light and crunchy. I’m not usually a big falafel fan but these were great-the best I’ve had, in fact. They might have converted me into a falafel believer. Shown here with homemade tahini (which had a light, delicate sesame seed flavor), a green spicy sauce (not sure what it was, didn’t use it), and the hummus.

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Now in cross section. Isn’t that gorgeous? So green!

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We weren’t really hungry for dessert but, for the sake of our readers, we indulged. Again, everything is homemade. Knafeh, which is a cake made of cheese and toasted pistachios, and light, flaky baklavah. Both fantastic.

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Eli insisted on giving us some Moroccan tea with our dessert, which I highly recommend. Tasted like a menagerie of spices. Hard to explain. Went perfectly with the sweets.

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Can’t wait to go back to test out the rest of the menu, especially the Shakshuka. This is one of only two shakshukas in town as far as I know, and I’ve already blogged about the other one! What a fantastic experience. And what a fantastic addition to our food scene!

Eli's Jerusalem Grill on Urbanspoon

Wilson’s Hot and Sweet Cafe

Mr Foodie here.

When Ms Foodie and I moved to Southside last year, we asked around for tips on great places to eat. One of the things we noticed right away is that our neighborhood has a great international vibe. My guess is this has to do with UAB drawing students and faculty from all over the world. So when we found a hidden ethnic food gem right around the corner we were not surprised.

We started hearing about a place called Wilson’s Market, which we were told sells homemade samosas by the dozen. We then realized we live just a block away. It took us nearly this whole year to figure the place out-so we figured we would pass that knowledge along to you, our loyal readers, so you can begin enjoying the wonders of Wilson’s right away.

Wilsons is mysterious. Like a turducken, or a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I think it can be best described as an Indian carry-out restaurant wrapped in a Wal-Mart wrapped in an Indian grocery store wrapped in a convenience store. Read on.

Wilson’s Market in Southside is located in a simple brick building across the street from Dreamland BBQ and next to a laundromat. At first glance it looks like a typical convenience store.

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When you walk in, there is a cash register with snacks on the counter, large soda cases, and an ice cream freezer is visible along the wall – a convenience store. When you walk up and down the aisles, you find paper towels, pet food, and dish soap. A Wal-Mart. But then you notice the indian frozen food and the large bags of a dozen varieties of rice and lentils. An Indian grocery store. And then there’s this:

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Yup. Wilson’s is a foodie gem hiding in plain sight. This part of the operation is called “Wilson’s Hot and Sweet Cafe.”

At this point, I think I need to take a moment to comment on where the food in the cases comes from and how you procure the food. We were told awhile ago that you can either eat what is in the case, you can call a day ahead for a custom order, or you can eat in and they will heat it up. I know the call ahead thing sounds a little unusual but we plan to try this for a party this winter so we will comment more on that in a future post. As far as the case goes they don’t always seem to have the same items and they don’t always have rice. If they don’t have rice when you stop by ask about their Naan.

I walked over to Wilson’s on my lunch break this past week. I grabbed some chicken tikka masala from the refrigerator case and the gentleman working behind the cash register suggested I try the beef samosas. These were in the heated clear box on the counter a bit to the left of the register. I had not noticed these before and I was really excited to try them.

When I got home, I plated them. [Ms Foodie's editorial comment: isn't this picture like a work of art?]

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I started with the beef samosa. I bit in with a satisfying crunch through several crispy layers of dough. The ground beef was light and had a nice heat to it that was not overpowering. You could still thoroughly enjoy the flavors of the beef, onions, and spices combining with the dough in your mouth. Great texture and flavor all around with minimal grease. A really fantastic samosa. Mine was still warm from the case as I ate it right away but if you are taking it home remember to use your toaster oven to preserve the crispy quality of the dough.

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On to the Chicken Tikka Masala. It has an almost slightly smoky taste. The chicken is juicy and flavorful with the right amount of heat to it. The sauce has a tomato and herb base with a variety of Indian spices making for a complex but well balanced flavor. I liked the sauce so much I will admit I spread it on crackers after all the chicken was gone.

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One serving of Chicken Tikka Masala lasted for three lunches. What a great value.

If you don’t want to do carry out, there are a few booths and they’ll even microwave it for you.

So in sum, check out this unexpected foodie find. I know it sounds a little unconventional, and it is, but hey, that’s why you keep coming back to read this blog, right? So you can brag to your friends that you ate at an Indian restaurant in a Wal-mart in an Indian grocery, all wrapped up in a convenience store.

Wilson's Hot and Sweet Cafe on Urbanspoon

Champy’s Chicken and Tamales

Last Friday, we set out for the Gulf Coast with empty stomachs, hoping we would find a blogworthy surprise within an hour south of Birmingham. As relative newcomers to town, we still have to study the map carefully. Our choices were Pelham, home of our favorite El Salvadorian restaurant La Libertad, or Alabaster, a place we had never been. After some intensive Yelping and Urbanspoon-digging, we read about what sounded like the kind of unique dining experience often discussed but rarely attained on a road trip: a place with fried chicken, Mississippi delta tamales, and blues.

Champy’s is located in a juke joint-inspired building. Can’t miss the sign:

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On the inside, the place is surprisingly huge, with a bar, booths, and lots of tables. We grabbed ourselves a seat at a booth and were immediately greeted by a very friendly waitress who helped us navigate the menu. Although we forgot to photograph it (sorry), I’ll give you the summary: Fried chicken, po boys, and tamales. And sides. Based on her recommendations, we made our selections.

First, the tamales. A little bit of history is in order. Many years ago, before we moved to Bham, we took a road trip through Mississippi. At that time, we learned that there is a long tradition in the delta of making “hot tamales.” These tamales are different from the usual Mexican tamale. They are indigenous to this region, and are thought to originate from interactions of African Americans and Mexican migrant workers (to learn more, see this fantastic article from the Southern Foodways Alliance). In fact, there’s even a Tamale Trail, along which we traveled briefly during a recent Blues-related trip to Clarksdale, MS. On that trip, we ate at 3 different classic Hot Tamale shops. What an experience.

All of that came flooding back when this arrived at our table:

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Now for a close-up:

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Served in a corn husk, these little tamales were made from corn meal and stuffed with perfectly seasoned ground beef. Sometimes, hot tamales can be greasy, or even a little bitter (maybe from the combination of too much cayenne pepper and cumin?). These were delicate and light, but spicy and flavorful. Mr Foodie liked these so much that he forgot his assignment to take a picture of what’s inside the corn husk. Trust us, it looked and tasted like a delicious hot tamale. These tamales were just like what we had in the delta, but, I shudder to say… Better?

Next up, the fried chicken. We got the two piece white meat. Heavily breaded (in a good way), crispy, juicy, and perfectly fried, served hot hot hot (temperature-wise). Probably the best white meat fried chicken I have ever had. Served with creamy cole slaw and baked beans:

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I love that it comes on a slice of white bread. Since this isn’t really an open faced sandwich… It’s a Southern thing, I know.

And then lastly, the catfish po boy. Breaded, fried, and served with horseradish mayo on soft yet crusty bread. The perfect sandwich:

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Now for the side view. See what I mean about the bread? You can see its crusty soft goodness:

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I have to spend a moment on the fries. They were really good, breaded deep fried fries. As I was stuffing my face with them, I noticed a squeeze bottle out of the corner of my eye. Looks like a few others had also noticed this bottle, given it’s well-loved appearance:

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I put some on my plate, started dipping the fries, and – wow. Smoky, sweet, just a little tangy, I have no idea what this stuff is but it’s addictive. I wonder if they sell it… Forgot to check.

As we sat there obviously enjoying the food, our very attentive waitress and the ?manager checked in often and offered helpful tips (the chicken is really temperature hot, be careful!) or information that will be useful on future trips (they often have live blues in the evenings).

To sum it up, Champy’s re-creates what we experienced on our trips to the Delta-great tamales and other southern favorites served in a juke joint atmosphere by warm, friendly people. We can’t wait to return for blues to get the full on Champy’s experience.

Champy's Famous Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Everest Sushi, Part 2

Since our original post only a week ago, Mr Foodie and I have returned not once but twice to Everest Sushi. The first time, it was just us. The second time, our two wonderful, highly discerning foodie friends joined us. We also ran into the president of our local neighborhood association who had decided to stop by based on our first blog post. He joined us too. With 5 people, we were able to order our old favorites (the Wham Bam Birmingham, Beer Battered Roll, and Fire Roll), and also try a few new things. It was unanimous- everything was fantastic.

First off, there are some advantages to eating sushi at a sports bar. For example, if you want to eat something greasy and deep fried, you can. We ordered the fried green beans, which were battered in ?cornmeal and deep fried. Served with ranch. Perfect start to the meal. They went quickly.

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The dumplings. On our first visit, Abhi told us be had been making Nepalese dumplings with ground turkey in a special “tomato vinaigrette”. We had to try them. Sitting in a light, tart tomato sauce with garlic, coriander, and ginger were dumplings with a delicate skin and very meaty center. The flavors all just explode in your mouth. Have never had anything like them anywhere.

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Then, the salmon skin roll. Usually these just have a little sliver of deep fried salmon skin inside. This roll had a half an inch of salmon skin. I don’t think I’ve ever had one this good before. Smoky, crunchy, and delicious.

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Next, the Super Eel roll. Large chunks of grilled eel atop a roll of avocado, crab, and cucumber. Usually I don’t like eel rolls because the eel you get on top is small and slimy. This was big, had a great char to it, and wasn’t slimy at all. Completely changed my mind about eel rolls.

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Then, the diplomat roll. Not on the menu so know to ask for it. Shrimp tempura and something smoky and crunchy on the inside (sorry, should have asked for more details). Salmon or tuna on the outside. The smokiness, crunch, and fresh fish blend together in your mouth.

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Cross-sectional views are so much easier with sushi:

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When we left, the place was hopping. Three couples at the bar, our table, and another table of four nearly filled the little sushi corner. Seems like Everest is quickly becoming a local neighborhood hangout. And since it seems that we are going there three nights a week, there’s a nearly 50% chance that we will see you there!

Everest Sushi on Urbanspoon

Everest Sushi

What I love about this town is that JUST when you think you’ve found every last [fill in the blank], you find one that has been right under your nose, that you’ve never heard of before, and that is as good or better than all of your favorite places.

To find these hidden gems, I occasionally obsessively peruse Yelp and Urbanspoon. Sushi being one of my favorite things in the world, as I have done many times before, last week I did a Yelp search for all the sushi restaurants in the Ham. Imagine my surprise when I found one that is ON MY WALK HOME FROM WORK. In Five Points, Southside. An area I know like the back of my hand, or so I thought.

Now as excited as I get about sushi, I’m also wary. From a food standpoint, there is nothing worse then bad sushi. So, I did some investigative work. I looked through the photos on Yelp-all were beautiful. Found nothing on Urbanspoon (all my hidden gem radar signals were beginning to go off). Found a Facebook page with 25 four-five star reviews. Just one problem…. Where in the world is this place? The address suggested it was somewhere between the Pancake House and Dave’s. So I sent the restaurant a Facebook message and received a very quick reply. It is a sushi bar that is located in the Red Zone Sports Bar Monday-Thursday 5-9 and Friday and Saturday till 10. On Fridays and Saturdays, they reopen from 11pm till 2am (!!) at the Blue Monkey, also in the neighborhood.

I discovered all of this on a Friday and so…. as part of our bloggerly duties, we headed out for a romantic date nite at the Red Zone. Not that I’m mocking the location, but well, could you fault me for being a little timid? I must admit I’ve never eaten sushi, or heard of eating sushi, at what appears to be typical sports bar. I must admit we drove there, chickened out, drove three blocks past it, and then turned around with the understanding that we would eat just one fully cooked roll before doing anything more adventurous.

As we walked down the street, we noticed a moderately sized neon sign for Everest Sushi hanging in the window of the Red Zone. How had I missed this before? When we walked in, we realized the sports bar is actually really nice-spacious with lots of TVs and not overly loud.

Somehow they realized we were in pursuit of sushi and ushered us to the sushi bar. And sho nuff, there it was. A neat and tidy little sushi bar complete with the usual sushi refrigerator and soy sauce canisters. We were immediately greeted by a gentleman who introduced himself as Abhi, the sushi chef. He introduced the two sous chefs as his “helpers” as the bartender quickly took our beverage orders. Something about all of this convinced us that this was more than just a legit operation – it was a true diamond in the rough. Mr Foodie and I exchanged a knowing glance and a text or two to confirm that we would order whatever Abhi said.

Before I get into what we ordered, I’ll show you the menu. Also note that they have a full bar food menu-but we barely glanced at that. Who could eat bar food at a time like this?

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So we put ourselves at Abhi’s mercy. Here’s what we got. Note that some of these are not on the official menu but can be made on request.

First, the Wham Bam Birmingham roll. Tempura shrimp and avocado on the inside. Salmon on the outside. They actually torched it right in front of us.
Finished with toasted sesame seeds, which gave the roll an ever so slightly nutty taste, and horseradish mayo. First of all, I’ve never tasted anything like this. The flavors of the salmon and shrimp with the horseradish worked together perfectly and it was just spicy enough to allow me to breathe well through both nostrils-a good thing. And I mean, just look at this. So beautiful:

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Here’s another look in cross section. Like a work of art:

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Next up, the fire roll (this one’s on the menu). Spicy tuna, avocado and cucumber inside, fresh tuna outside. Topped with house made aioli. On this roll, you could really taste the quality of the ingredients. The tuna tasted so fresh and smooth. Like the ocean. Delicious.

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Next, the hot Asian. Crab on the inside, tuna topped with tempura crunchies on the outside. Again, the freshness shone through. This one was the lightest of the rolls which made it an excellent pairing with the others.

We initially told Abhi that we didn’t want anything deep fried – after what I’ve been eating lately (see ALL previous posts) I’m working on my cholesterol. But he absolutely insisted on having us try the beer battered roll, which he says is his number one seller, without charging us. We couldn’t resist accepting his generous offer. Soon we understood why he was so insistent. I usually dislike fried sushi rolls because they end up being so heavy. This one was light (ok, not healthy, but not greasy or heavy). Filled with salmon and cream cheese, topped with sweet and spicy sauces. We were already stuffed when he brought it to us, but we ate each piece slowly, deliberately, and with our eyes rolling back in our heads from happiness just a little. Fantastic and worth each and every calorie. Here’s the aerial view:

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Now the yummy underbelly:

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As soon as Mr Foodie took his first bite of this feast, he looked at me, then looked at Abhi, and quietly asked, “Where did you learn how to make sushi?” The sushi was such high quality, and so creatively designed, we knew there had to be a good story behind it. And of course, there is. Abhi is from Nepal and worked at the bar at Surin, just around the corner, for many years. After observing the sushi chefs there, he taught himself how to make his own. He tested his recipes on friends until he had perfected them. He loves to make different types of food, especially Asian food- he told us he’s testing out a recipe for Nepalese dumplings that he said we should order next time (yes, please!). Abhi is a genuine restaurant entrepreneur-one that we hope will continue to grow his business. And we hope he will let us interview him for a future Backstory post!

This is what we love about this town. When you take a foodie adventure, not only do you find amazing food, but you meet inspiring people who are eager to share their stories and delighted by people who enjoy their food creations. Everest Sushi is as good as our favorite sushi places in Manhattan and Philly-no doubt. So come for the sushi, but stay to talk to Abhi, watch the game (after all, it’s in a sports bar with a million TVs!), and have an unexpectedly fantastic and unique all-around experience that’s as Birmingham as BBQ or shrimp and grits.

Everest Sushi on Urbanspoon

The Foodies on Flip my Food with Chef Jeff

Hello fellow foodies,

So…. about 2 months ago, something really amazing happened. I received an out of the blue email from a TV producer asking me if Mr Foodie and I would be interested in appearing on a reality TV show that would be coming through town. They were looking for local food people, and told me that food bloggers are always the most passionate about food and fun to hang out with (obviously!). So, they googled “Birmingham food blog” and checked out Urbanspoon, which led them to our little corner of the blogosphere.

A word about the show, Flip My Food with Chef Jeff: Chef Jeff is a guy who started off on the streets of Compton and ended up in prison, which is where he first learned to cook. From there he became a dishwasher at the Bellagio, where he worked his way up to head chef. Lots of reality TV ensued, including this show. The premise is, take unhealthy food and turn it into something healthy. Where better to do that than the Deep South??

The production team asked Mr Foodie and I to create videos talking about our food interests. I’ve shied away from showing my name or pictures on the blog to date but since we are about to be outed on national TV, well, who cares. I have my disguises and can still be anonymous when I need to be, but I’ll show you my face in my audition tape for the show. They were especially interested in our story: two northerners – me a doctor, Mr Foodie a kitchen gadget designer (that got them REALLY excited) – who explored our beloved city through food.

So, Mr Foodie and I joined Chef Jeff on his mobile food truck in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. They told us that they usually like to separate couples, so we each cooked individually with Chef Jeff using recipes based on a list of favorite foods we submitted. Mr. Foodie made fish tacos and even got to use a cheese grater he designed while on air, and I made soba noodles with lobster. We were totally geeking out over what was going on. Here are some behind the scenes shots we took of each other, and a few that the crew was kind enough to take of us:

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So, set your DVRs or ask for that day off now-the show will air around the country on October 31. Here in Bham, it will show on Fox 6, WBRC, on October 31 at 11:30am central. Tune in and let us know what you think!!