Ovenbird LIVE


Loyal blog fans, I’m live blogging from Ovenbird, so let me just cut to the chase:  it’s as good as you hoped it would be.  And more. You can read somewhere else about how awesome everyone expected Ovenbird to be.  That’s the backstory.  And when we heard that they’d be opening tonite, we knew we had to be there to see what all of the fuss was about. Earlier this evening, we attended the Eat Drink Read and Write festival at the Birmingham Public Library, where we were showcased as “human books.”  Earlier today, we realized we would only have a brief hour...


Artisinal Toast Brunch @ Revelator


You never know when you’re going to just walk into a blog post. Mr Foodie and I are part of a Bike and Brunch group that meets on Sunday mornings.  We bike around downtown Bham, typically ending up at the Continental Bakery downtown for croissants and fancy granola.  This weekend, Sunday was overcast and cool-perfect riding weather.  As we coasted down 19th street toward our brunch destination, we decided we preferred to take advantage of the weather and keep riding.  We split a Quest bar (the horror, I know), said goodbye to our riding buddies, and headed south. As we...


Meet us in person at the Eat Drink Read Write festival

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Hey Birminghamster foodies! As you know, we typically try to fly under the radar when we are at a restaurant.  We never want to make any restaurant owners, servers, chefs, or other staff feel nervous or uncomfortable, or as if they have to perform for us.   We are really shooting for having the experience any other diner would have, and the only way to do that is to go unnoticed.  This philosophy is derived a bit from the experiences of Ruth Reichl, a food critic (which we are not, by the way) who famously received different service when she...


Leonard’s BBQ and Burger Hut


Dear Loyal Blog Fans, First, an apology.  It has been 6 weeks (6 weeks!) since our last post.  Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that a plague of several minor yet incapacitating and highly inconvenient illnesses has passed through the Foodie household.  These are illnesses that, let’s say, make it harder to enjoy a delicious multi-course meal.  (Use your imagination.)  And while we had planned to send our unpaid intern and staffers to cover new places – wait a minute, we don’t have any of that.  That was all a fever dream. So, do not think we...


Lichita’s Paleteria y Neveria (popsicle and ice cream parlor)


One of our favorite things about writing this blog is the fact that it is a bidirectional experience.  We love it when our loyal blog fans tell us that we helped them find their new favorite go-to spot or weekend foodie adventure.  But what we love even more is when our loyal blog fans tell us about their favorite new foodie discovery.  When we first started, we found most of our restaurants using Yelp and Urbanspoon (when it existed-RIP, my favorite app).  But now, we spend most of our time following up on tips sent to us by our readers....


Great Wall’s brand new secret Szechuan menu


Fellow foodies, I am writing this post from the parking lot of Great Wall.  We’ve just eaten and are still digesting one of the best meals we’ve had in Birmingham.  Partially because we are too full to drive, and partially because couldn’t bear the thought of you going one more day without knowing about what we just experienced, we are putting this post up in real time. If you read our blog, you know that we are huge fans of Great Wall on Greensprings.  In our prior posts here and here, we talk about how owner Sunny hired a new chef...


Blue Pacific @ the Hoover Food Mart


Take some slow, deep breaths, foodie friends, and let the excitement wash over you. Last week, a friend texted me the menu of what appeared to be a brand new Thai restaurant in Hoover.  I’d never heard of it.  The menu was small but solid, and entrees were listed in both English and Thai.  This seemed like a seal of authenticity of sorts.  I was intrigued, and we arranged to meet there with a group of friends in a few days. This is one of our favorite things to do-nothing gets our hearts pumping faster than the prospect of a...


Ono Ice Kickstarter


Foodies, gather round.  Just last month, we told you about Ono Ice, Birmingham’s very own homemade shave ice stand.  Rebecca, the brains and the muscle behind Ono, is exceptionally creative and talented, using fresh local ingredients and innovative flavor combinations.  Now, she is trying to raise $25,000 to get a truck so she can take Ono to the next icy level.   In 25 years, we’re all going to be saying, remember when Ono got its first truck?  Now they have their own spaceship.  Be a part of history and while you’re at it, get a t-shirt designed by Yellowhammer (that’s...


Bamboo on 2nd

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This post documents the long-awaited arrival of the most unique and certainly one of the best additions to Birmingham’s food scene in recent memory. This place is a game-changer. Its existence acknowledges that in 2015, Birmingham is “ready” for a restaurant that offers top notch pan-Asian cuisine, most of which cannot be found on the menus of even my favorite Chinese, Thai, or Indonesian restaurants in town. I could not be more excited to tell you about Bamboo on 2nd. Mr. Foodie and I first met Abhi in October, 2014, when we accidentally discovered him making the best sushi we...


Roots and Revelry: SNEAK PREVIEW


Roots and Revelry:  SNEAK PREVIEW Once in awhile, Mr. Foodie and I have an opportunity to gain access into Birmingham’s inner foodie circles.  This is a weird thing for me.  I’m by nature an introvert, and as you know, I blog anonymously.  However, once a blog post is up, it often ends up “outing” me to the restaurant owner.  And sometimes, as a result, I get the opportunity to check out some really amazing food and report back to you, my loyal blog fans.  These opportunities usually come out of the blue, when I’m least expecting anything exciting to happen. Last...




At Red Bowl’s Dim Sum a few weekends ago, we struck up a conversation with two very nice ladies across from us who were clearly foodies.  As we bonded over the amazing dumplings and fried eggplant, we shared restaurant recommendations.  Even though we’ve been at this blogging thing for almost two years, we still get recommendations for places we haven’t heard of all the time.  So as we sat there talking about Birmingham’s amazing restaurant scene, we kept our ears open for the next “blogworthy” find.   “Have you tried Brito’s?”  one of our new friends asked, her voice brimming with excitement....


Masaman Thai


As y’all know, we don’t blog negatively.  There’s enough negativity in this world.  Plus, we aren’t professional food critics or experts-we are just two average foodies trying to eat a great meal. However, you may have noticed some food genres are notably absent or nearly absent from our blog.  Take, for instance, Thai food.  Without saying anything negative about any place in particular, I will just say that in our humble opinions, Birmingham hasn’t had a really great Thai restaurant in the time we’ve lived here.  The only really great Thai place around here that we know of is Kati...


Ono Ice


Fellow foodies, I know it’s been awhile.  In our recent post about being on the Birmingham Shines podcast, we explain that our month-long gap in restaurant-related posts isn’t because we’ve gotten lazy or run out of new places to try.  It’s just that while we tried several new places, none of them were blogworthy.  We have standards to uphold and won’t write a post about any old place just to bring in some views and clicks.   Thankfully, this weekend, our month-long drought ended in a big way.  We have 3 or 4 blog posts just from these two days alone.  So...


We’re on this week’s Birmingham Shines podcast, y’all!


So, you may have noticed that our last post was an entire month ago.  No, we have not eaten at every restaurant in Bham — a question we get asked, usually by people who have never been to Bham…. really?!?  Seriously.  We have not moved on to another hobby.  We haven’t lost our creative juices.  To be perfectly honest, and not to sound like snobs, we’ve eaten at several restaurants this month that weren’t blogworthy.  We usually hit a dud or two between winners but this month hasn’t been as fruitful, sadly.  And we will NOT compromise our quality just...


Yo Mama’s Saturday Brunch


So I messed up.  I accidentally released the first paragraph of this post last week, and in the few seconds before I caught my error, a few hundred of you tried to read the post. Which made me think that y’all are jonesing for some good brunch food in the ‘Ham as badly as I am.   So without further ado, I give you my new favorite brunch spot:  Yo Mamas. My soul food foodie friend-the same one who lent her expertise to my post about Robert’s-has been raving about another soul food place right downtown.   After hearing her...


Hotbox at Parkside


Having a food blog has a lot of upsides.  Mainly, it’s a perfect excuse to eat out at great places with new friends.   As a result, we have made more die-hard foodie friends in the past year and a half than ever before.  And we are finding out about must-blog restaurants even sooner than we otherwise would have. Last week, we went to a party at a friend’s amazing downtown loft, where we only knew a handful of people.  As we stood on one of the most spectacular roof decks in the city, taking in the skyline and watching...


Bham Donut Drop


This is an emergency post – I have just eaten a doughnut so amazing that I need to tell the world.  Actually, I’ve eaten four, but that’s not important. For the past several months, my awesome foodie friend Sandy has been telling me about a doughnut startup in town.  These guys have a vision to bring classic cake doughnuts, which are surprisingly hard to find, to the ‘Ham.  And not just any cake doughnuts.  Artisanal, beautiful, seasonally flavored, made from scratch doughnuts.  As of yet, there’s no official name, and no storefront.  Even better-it’s a doughnut delivery service. And even...


Bay Leaf Indian Restaurant


Mr. Foodie and I are constantly trolling Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Facebook for ethnic restaurants that have traditionally been underrepresented in the Ham.  A few months ago, we noticed a new Indian restaurant that was quickly gaining popularity.  We’ve already blogged about two Indian restaurants in town – Taj and Silver Coin – that we really like.  But for a town of this size, it’s always been surprising to me that there aren’t more truly outstanding Indian places.  So when we saw the reviews of Bay Leaf, we wondered if it might fill that void. Bay Leaf is located down 280...


Dim sum (yes, you read that right) at Red Bowl


Please note:   Dim sum is only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30-3!!   Now for the post: If you’ve  ever read this blog before, you know that Mr Foodie and I are huge fans of Birmingham.  As one of my native Alabamian friends likes to say, “you aren’t from here, but you got here as fast as you could.”  That pretty much sums it up.  This is our adopted home. But it’s not surprising that people often ask us if we miss living in Philly or Manhattan.  Our usual response is that of course, there are things we miss...


Nori’s Secret Indonesian Menu-Part 2


In February, we told you about an incredible foodie find.  Birmingham actually has some of the best Indonesian food you’ll find anywhere, and it’s at the unlikeliest of places-a Thai restaurant in a strip mall in Vestavia.  And it’s all because of Marty, their chef who happens to be from Bali.   The first time we went, Marty asked us if he could just cook for us-and we said, um, yes please.  What resulted was an impromptu and unexpected Indonesian feast.  No way to top that.  Except for one thing:  one of my foodie friends knows a lot about Indonesian food....


Clara’s Country Cafe


Mr Foodie and I are always looking to learn more about Alabama, and explore some of the smaller cities near Birmingham.  Last weekend, we had the perfect opportunity.  Some foodie  friends and I (Mr Foodie was out of town) traveled to Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and walk together with thousands of others across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.   What an incredible experience it was. As we shuffled slowly en mass over the bridge in the company of those who made the same walk 50 years earlier, their children, and supporters from all over the world,...


Robert’s Cuisine-a Sunday Soul Food Brunch


Last week, I received an urgent text from one of my foodie friends.  She was perusing our newly redesigned site, and the drop-down menu I created to organize all of our posts, when she made a disturbing discovery.  Apparently, Mr Foodie and I had only blogged about one — one — soul food restaurant.  Admittedly, this was a very serious omission, worthy of an SOS text.   So, with this soul food foodie friend, we are putting on our stretchy pants, doubling our statin dose, and setting out to rectify the situation.  Our first stop:  Robert’s Cuisine. Robert’s is a catering business...


Seoul Restaurant-new owners, authentic Korean food

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Lately, we’ve become fairly obsessed with Korean food. When Mr Foodie and I traveled to Vietnam for my work a few years ago, we had an 18 hour layover in Seoul. Of course, we took a food tour and had our first experience with kimchi jjigae, or kimchi and tofu stew, a dish that that blew our sinuses and our minds. After that, we actively sought Korean food in the US and had some experiences that only reinforced our newfound foodie interest at Woo nam Jeong Stone Bowl House in Atlanta and at the Dolsot house near my family’s home in Cherry Hill, NJ. We’ve...


Nori’s Secret Indonesian Menu


A few months ago, a friend told me that she has a friend who had eaten off of a secret Indonesian menu at a place called Nori Thai and Sushi. All of my foodie radar signals went off. If true, this discovery would cover two holy grails-the secret menu and the foodie urban legend. This could be a big discovery. So I called. I said “Hi. I hear you have a secret Indonesian menu. Is that true?” “Yes, that’s true,” the voice on the other end of the phone replied matter-of-factly. “If I come in, can I eat from that...


Chef John Hall: from Insomnia Pizza to Post Office Pies, from contemporary American cuisine in North Avondale to ?…


Sandy and I met up with Chef John Hall in his modest North Avondale home. Always a host, he offered us drinks as we chatted around his dining table. Almost as soon as we began talking, John let out a laugh and told us, “I never talk this much.” I do believe John may be on the quiet side at times – for example, in last week’s post, I describe his shy, reserved demeanor while serving us at our recent meal. But John is anything but quiet when it comes to his love for food, his cooking philosophy, and his...


Contemporary American cuisine served out of a house in North Avondale


My friends Sandy and Ben took us. We drove through Avondale on 41st Street. We passed Melt, Saws, Post Office Pies, and Avondale Brewery. Then we crossed the tracks. We drove another half mile into a quiet residential neighborhood filled with neat mid century modern homes on tree-lined streets. Then we pulled over. A quiet man greeted us warmly at the door, then disappeared into the kitchen. He looked to be in his early-to-mid 20s, although I later learned he was 33. The place smelled like the best restaurant in France. We entered the man’s living room, took off our...


Birmingham Breadworks


Since we moved to Southside about a year ago, we have been absolutely DYING for great new places to open in our part of town. That might account for why we blogged about Everest Sushi five times in the past month… but who’s counting. So when we heard that Birmingham Breadworks was moving to the neighborhood, we literally ran down there (just a mile and a half from our house!) to check out their Saturday brunch offerings. The shop is located in a old Antique store on 7th Avenue South. The space has been beautifully renovated to show off the...


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),...


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...


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...


Save Everest Sushi!!

**please note: Everest Sushi is now located in the Blue Monkey lounge, 1316 Cobb Lane, hours 6-10pm Tuesday-Thursday, 9pm-2am Friday and Saturday. Now for the original post: 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,...


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...


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...


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...


Everest Sushi, Part 2


**please note: Everest Sushi is now located in the Blue Monkey lounge, 1316 Cobb Lane, hours 6-10pm Tuesday-Thursday, 9pm-2am Friday and Saturday. Everything else is exactly the same! Now for the post: 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...


Everest Sushi


**please note: Everest Sushi is now located in the Blue Monkey lounge, 1316 Cobb Lane, hours 6-10pm Tuesday-Thursday, 9pm-2am Friday and Saturday. Everything else is exactly the same! Now for the original post: 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...


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...


Olive Branch


Last week was our 7 year wedding anniversary. Adorable, I know. Since we’ve been kinda obsessed with this blogging thing lately (have you noticed?), we decided to try a place we had never been to before with the hopes of writing an adorable, romantic blog post about our new find. Well-epic fail. This is not that post, because the place we went was just … meh. We were both so disappointed that we decided to have an anniversary do-over – adorable, yes, I know. At a tried and true local gem that we have been to at least a dozen...


Tropical Grill


Mr. Foodie here. As regular readers may know, I am Ms. Foodie’s fulltime tasting assistant. I also occasionally help out with photos, but this is my first full post here at What to Eat in Birmingham. In order to keep pace with all the yummy tips coming in from our readers, I am going to help out by writing a post here and there from now on. Ms. Foodie and I were jonesin’ for some Jerk chicken as tends to happen from time to time. We decided to check out a tip about a restaurant that sounded like it might...


Ms. Foodie on the radio live this morning!!

Hey y’all! In case anyone wants to tune in, I’m going to be on Baton Rouge’s Talk 107.3 WBRP this morning at 11am central chatting with host Karen Profita about the blog, what to eat in Birmingham, and our amazing Birmingham food scene! Might even mention a restaurant or two if I get the chance…. To tune in, download their iTunes app. There will be a play button at the bottom. Just press play! There’s also a listen live button on the website: http://www.talk1073.com/home/ And if you want to live tweet from the show, my twitter handle is deepsouthfoodie. Update:...


Continental Bakery Downtown


French Colonial/Moroccan soul food brunch in downtown Birmingham. Yes, you read that right. Continental Bakery Downtown is an offshoot of the very popular Continental Bakery and Chez Lulu restaurant in English Village that has always been one of my faves. They started by serving weekday lunch, which is very similar to Chez Lulu’s lunch – outstanding – I’ve visited several times in the past few months and always forgot to take pictures for the blog. Last week, I heard through the grapevine (aka a very helpful fan-thank you!) that they are now open for weekend brunch on Sundays only. So,...


El Girasol


Date night, foodie style. Around 5pm one day last week, I checked my email and noticed that one of my readers had sent me a list of “hidden gems” to try. One of them was El Girasol, described as a fantastic Mexican place where they grill chickens in their parking lot on the weekends. Although it was a Wednesday, something about this made my stomach start to grumble for tacos and guacamole. I called Mr Foodie, and within 15 minutes we were on our way to the Huffman/East Lake neighborhood for an impromptu date night/urban food exploration adventure. El Girasol...


No Secret Menu – the story of Great Wall

This is the story of Great Wall, and also the story of Sunny. Sunny is Great Wall’s owner, and she has been the face of the restaurant for decades. If you have ever been to Great Wall, you have probably been greeted by her always-cheerful personality and warm smile as she takes you to your table. Last week, in between calls for take-out orders and teaching her American customers Chinese one word at a time, Mr Foodie and I had the opportunity to talk to Sunny about her passion for bringing “high-class,” “authentic” Chinese food to Birmingham. History of Great...


Great Wall (alert-includes homemade Dim Sum!)


I have a theory that Birmingham is full of amazing, authentic ethnic restaurants flying under the radar. For authentic Chinese food, most people know about Red Pearl and Mr Chen’s (I think). Earlier this week we blogged about Black Pearl, a Chinese place that’s been around for awhile, but now has a new chef who has introduced more authentic Cantonese dishes. This got me to thinking… Maybe there are other places around with similar stories. All it takes is one chef… And so I started poking around Yelp and Urbanspoon. Great Wall, a Chinese restaurant in Homewood, seemed like exactly...


Black Pearl


Wait wait wait. I know you are about to correct me here. Yes, I know there is a much loved authentic Chinese restaurant and supermarket on Valley Avenue called Red Pearl. This is not that. Read on. Authentic Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese food are my absolute favorite types of food. I think this comes from living in the Vietnamese neighborhood in Philly, which was only a mile from Philly’s Chinatown. (If you are ever going to Philly, let me know and I can make some recommendations.) Then, a few years ago, right before moving here, Mr Foodie and I...


John’s City Diner


A few weeks ago, close friends of ours from Philly visited us for the first time. When you have a food blog, you sorta feel like you should know the perfect restaurant for every occasion. Especially when there are visitors in town. Trust me, I’m not complaining. This means we more often than not get to choose where we eat (poor us!). But back to the story-we had a decision to make. Our friends are very easygoing, but we still agonized over where to take them for dinner. Someplace casual as they had just driven 14 hours to get to...


Big Bad Breakfast


Brunch. That elusive meal. Ever since moving to Bham Mr Foodie and I have been in search of that perfect brunch place. Ok, I know what you are going to say. We do love Over Easy because it’s possible to have a healthy meal there, and we’ve blogged about it here. Other blogworthy brunches that fill important niches are the Pancake House in 5 points (admittedly, it’s a chain, but woah, sourdough pancakes with chocolate chips….), and for lighter fare including TO DIE FOR crepes, Chez Lulu. We will write about those soon, I hope. But, what if, let’s say,...


Kati Thai


Ok, I know, I tricked you. There are so few (if any?) truly authentic Thai options in Bham that when you saw a place you didn’t recognize, your heart skipped a beat. You felt butterflies in your stomach. Well – made you look. This place is actually in Gadsden. So sue me. I would drive an hour for amazing authentic Thai food any day. A few weeks ago, Mr Foodie and I took a road trip north of the Mason-Dixon Line to attend a family reunion in Pennsylvania. We left Birmingham just before 5pm, so predictably, we began to feel...




A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a great neighborhood meat and three in Ensley. I know this may be controversial but-meat and threes have never been my favorite. They seem like they all serve the same greasy flavorless food in too-large quantities. But when I heard about this hole-in-the-wall that gets rave reviews, I had to try it. The other factor drawing me to this particular meat and three was its location in Ensley. At one time, Ensley was a booming steel town outcropping of Birmingham’s city center. It inspired native Erskine Hawkins to compose the famous...


Rib it Up


I have just one thing to say. Rib Tips. What the heck is a rib tip? Yes, I had to look this up, so don’t be ashamed if you do too, that’s what the link is for. Last week, Mr Foodie, some friends, and I decided to try a BBQ joint that had a name I couldn’t resist: Rib It Up. And their self-proclaimed specialty-rib tips. That meaty little gem between the rib and the sternum which is used in St Louis style BBQ is their most popular dish. First, I should mention that Rib It Up sits on 1st...


Butts to Go


This weekend, we made our semi-annual pilgrimage to Ikea in Atlanta. (Ikea, if you’re reading this, Birminghamsters would be overjoyed with a store in our town. That goes double for you, Trader Joes.) Usually we end up coming back from these trips quite late. But this time, we were so excited by our purchases that after stopping by the Concept Cars exhibit at the High Museum (which has reciprocity with the Birmingham Museum of Art so the exhibit was discounted and was amazing!), we headed home in time for dinner on the road. Given the semi-regular frequency of our trips...


Boateng’s Cajun Creations


Several of you readers have told me about this place-it’s been on my “to-visit” list for awhile. My only hesitation was that I’ve never had Cajun food before, and so I was waiting to find the perfect dining companions who could help me navigate the menu. Telling this story to a colleague, she proclaimed extensive experience both eating AND cooking Cajun food (see her awesome cooking blog). One dining partner became two, two became four, and soon we were eight, including Mr Foodie and I. We all met at the restaurant, which is just off of the main drag in...


The Backstory: Rafiki’s Grill – a “taste of Africa in Dixie”

It’s not every day that an African restaurant opens in Birmingham.  Given the excitement that Rafiki’s Grill has generated in the Birmingham foodie community, I wanted to find out the backstory. The inspiration behind Rafiki’s When Charles Gakumo opened Rafiki’s Grill, he was inspired by his wife Ann.  Gakumo is from Nairobi, Kenya, and came to Birmingham to study finance at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) at the age of 21.  Ann is from Florida but grew up mainly in Birmingham.  Gakumo explains, “Taking [Ann] to Africa, and seeing how thrilled she was enjoying the cultures and enjoying...


St Elias Lebanese food festival


One of the many unique attributes of Birmingham’s food scene is its food festivals. I’ve never lived in a place that has such eagerly awaited festivals that really draw the attention of the entire city. Last nite, it seemed like the entire city was at St Elias’ church in Glen Iris for their Lebanese food festival. Not that we’ve been to every food festival in town, but of those that I’ve attended, this one is our overall favorite. It was also the first one we attended after moving to Bham, which gives it some nostalgia for us. But there are...




Lately, I’ve taken great pride in writing about hidden hole-in-the-walls. But sometimes, a girl’s gotta follow the trendy hipsters. But not to the kind of place that makes you feel like you are out of place in an episode of Portlandia. Rather, to a place that’s accessible, and whose quality stands on its own. And so, tonite, I bring you Paramount. This is one of the newest additions to the downtown nightlife scene. I’ve been here a total of 4 times, once at 11pm, once at 9pm, and twice in the past week around 6pm. It is always packed. This...


La Libertad


La Libertad is a coastal town in El Salvador. It’s also a restaurant in Pelham. Tonite, Mr Foodie and I visited the latter. This place was quite a find. I don’t believe we have ever had El Salvadorian food before so I must admit, I’m not an expert and I have no basis for comparison. But what we had, we loved. And it was served by a waitress who had a genuine interest in making sure we enjoyed the food, which made for a fantastic foodie experience. La Libertad can be found-where else-in a strip mall in Pelham. I continue...


Los Pedros


UPDATE 4/30/2015:  I just heard from a very reliable source that ownership has changed and this is not the old Los Pedros we know and love.  I am holding off on moving this post to the graveyard for now but…. It seems like a strong possibility.  Brief moment of silence for the old Los Pedros. Now for the original post: Recently, a friend told me about a taqueria that is his new favorite place to get authentic tacos. When he told me it was on Valley Avenue, in a strip mall in the parking lot behind the Salvation Army, I...


Rafiki’s Grill


As you know, or can tell by the types of places I blog about, I like all kinds of food, so long as its good. But I gravitate towards places that seem unusual for the area. In a state like Alabama, known for its soul food and BBQ, that typically means food from other countries and cultures. Take that a step further-food served in an atmosphere that transports you to a different continent, and introduces you to new people. I’ve spent some time in Botswana and in Vietnam. Being away from home as an American “ex-pat” and walking into an...


The Backstory: Sushi Village 2

A passion for sushi Owen Ou’s passion for sushi began 20 years ago in the kitchen of famed Iron Chef Morimoto‘s restaurant in Manhattan. Originally  from China, Ou moved to the US as a teenager with his parents.  At age 17, he had just finished school, and recalls searching the internet for a job just “to make some money.”  With no prior interest in the restaurant industry – he didn’t even know who Morimoto was – he landed a job as one of his dishwashers. This early experience helped shape the direction of his career. Morimoto recognized Ou’s hardworking spirit and soon began to...


Sharks Fish and Chicken


Last year, a co-worker brought amazing fried chicken to a work baby shower that was reportedly from a chicken shack in a gas station. Sounds good to me. From what I can tell, Shark’s is a mostly Southern chain with several locations in the state. This location is attached to a Sunoco on Greensprings: Mr Foodie and I headed to meet 2 friends there on a weeknight. Once inside, it is apparent that essentially everything on the menu – meat, veggies, pickles-is fried. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been to a place like this before-it was like being...


Kool Korner Sandwiches


There is a full service Cuban restaurant in Birmingham. I repeat, there is a full service Cuban restaurant in Birmingham. How did I miss this??! For the past 2 years, people have been telling me I should check out Kool Korner Sandwiches. There was just one problem-I hate sandwiches. For about 5 years, when I was a teenager, my doctors thought I had a gluten allergy. This was before the days of relatively good gluten-free products at regular grocery stores. As a result, I didn’t eat sandwiches for many years, and never really cared about them once I began eating...


Post Office Pies


You know a neighborhood has arrived when it has a brewery, a top rated BBQ joint, and now, a pizza place that merges them both. When we moved to Birmingham in July 2011, we had heard that something was afoot in Avondale. I remember going to the building that would become Avondale Brewery and getting an impromptu tour. Just eight months later, after we had taken many more formal tours through the brewery, we went to Saw’s on its opening night. Saw’s in Avondale has since been, in my opinion, the best overall BBQ in town. So when Post Office...


Silvercoin Indian Grill


First off, this post is dedicated to my wonderful foodie friend who has much more experience with Indian food than I do. Her knowledge of Indian food is nearly encyclopedic. She deserves credit for helping me figure out the names of some of the foods shown here, and for introducing us to Silvercoin when we moved to Birmingham! Often, when I mention that I have a restaurant blog, an early question that arises is, what is your favorite Indian food in town? Although I do really love Taj and have blogged about it, and also love Mughal and the Sitar...


El Taco Loco


A lot has happened these past few months. Most notably, we moved to Southside. Moving has caused us to get a little distracted-all those pesky boxes, lots of urgent home improvement projects…. Excuses, excuses. But let me tell you, my foodie friends, this move will be great for our blog. It has introduced us to some hidden food havens in this part of town that we can’t wait to share with you. Tonite, I present you the first of these: the Green Springs/Valley Avenue corridor. This area of Homewood is filled with, well, frankly awful looking strip malls. But in...


Taj India


For me, Indian food has been an acquired taste. Until the past 5 years, I’ve avoided anything spicy. I’m not entirely sure why. Until a friend of mine, whose mom is Indian and dad is Pakistani, gave me a life changing piece of advice. We were in Botswana, which has a significant Indian community. Botswana was probably the first place I tried authentic Indian food. My friend told me, if the food is spicy and you can’t handle it, eat it with a little bit of raita to tone it down but preserve the flavors. That advice allowed me to...


El Barrio


Lately, I’ve been writing about places that are completely off the beaten path. Tonite, I’m writing about a place that everybody loves to love. We picked up my father-in-law at the airport tonite around dinnertime. He’s here to help with some home improvement projects, so we wanted to take him to a nice place to eat. Although he’s been to the Ham before, we were excited to show off downtown, which seems to get even cooler by the month. So we went to, in my opinion, the most dependably cool place downtown-El Barrio. El Barrio opened a few months after...


NOW CLOSED-Miami Cafe Xpress


In Memoriam: Miami Cafe Express, we loved your chicken stew and sweet plantains, and the sound of the carwash announcer in the background as we ate your food. Alas, according to your Facebook page, a landlord dispute caused you to close. However, you are in some sort of state suspended halfway between being a restaurant and being a fond memory, as your Facebook page also indicates that you still exist in the form of a catering company. Miami Cafe Express the Restaurant, we bid you aideu. RIP. The original post: If you’ve been following my blog posts, you probably realize...


Gordos Market and Taqueria


As you may know, I’m on a quest to find all the great taquerias of Birmingham – see also my post on Taqueria La Herrudura. Tonight: Gordos. Gordos was the first taqueria I visited after moving to Birmingham. It’s on Valley Avenue in Homewood, in a strip mall. It has 3 parts-a grocery store, a bakery, and of course, the restaurant. The restaurant serves tacos, tamales, gorditas, burritos, and quesadillas. Vegetarians beware-there is meat EVERYWHERE you look – a giant piece of meat hangs next to the register, which we are told is what carnitas looks like before it gets...


Mr. Chen’s


Recently, I heard something I could hardly believe. Mr. Chen’s-arguably the best Chinese restaurant in Birmingham-serves soup dumplings. Mr. Foodie and I lived in Philadelphia for 10 years, which has one of the best Chinatowns in the US. This experience completely spoiled us. We are used to eating non-greasy Chinese food with fresh ingredients, and have come to love dim sum — a Cantonese style of bite sized dining which typically includes dumplings. A really good dumpling – one that isn’t from the freezer section, that is hand made with perfectly seasoned filling – is hard to find. One specific...


El Cazador


Foodie friends, brace yourselves. I’m about to go where no Birmingham food blogger has gone before, and admit a shameful secret. It’s true-occasionally, I eat at one of our city’s dozens of cheap Mexican restaurants. You know the places of which I speak. The places where the decor consists of brightly colored statues of animals; where the servers give you refills on your chips and salsa within seconds of consumption of the last chip, whether you want them to or not; and where the waiters may or may not be wearing sombreros. I am not an expert on Mexican food,...


Reyes Pizza


Birminghamsters, Sometimes, when I am writing my blog posts, I try to think about what distinguishes our city’s food from that of any other small to mid-sized city. You can probably go just about anywhere in the country and, for example, get a great slice of pizza. What I think sets our city apart is the continual emergence of hidden gems that not only create delicious food but make you feel good just by eating there. Reyes Pizza falls squarely in this category. I continually scour Urbanspoon, Facebook, and the Birmingham Business Journal for new restaurant openings. That’s how I...


Taqueria La Herradura


The Alabama Farmer’s Market on Finley Avenue is a real Birmingham gem. It’s actually open 24/7 according to their website (and I once called at 10pm-they answered!). But this post isn’t about the farmers market-it is about the Taqueria. This Taqueria is one of several hole in the wall authentic taco places that I’ve found in the Ham that Mr Foodie and I absolutely adore. I was excited to share the experience with a friend who just moved back to the Magic City with her husband. I’ve met several people lately who are rediscovering Birmingham, or like us, discovering it...


Southern Caribbean


While eating at Tau Poco, I got a great tip about a Jamaican restaurant in Fairfield/Ensley. There are a few Jamaican places in Birmingham. My Foodie Informant’s wife who is from Jamaica apparently likes this one the best. And when he told me that it is essentially inside of a Shell gas station, I knew I had struck foodie gold. So I rounded up Mr Foodie and a few friends and headed to the North Side. We almost missed it – good thing I knew I was looking for a Shell gas station! The atmosphere is bare bones, in a...


Steel City Pops


Who doesn’t like popsicles? I mean, really. Lets keep this short but sweet, literally. A few weeks ago at Trucks by the Tracks, we were starving and the only short line was at Steel City Pops. That’s not because they aren’t popular-it’s because they had 2 simultaneous lines and nothing to cook. First, we had chocolate peanut butter and pomegranate. Note our beautiful city in the background: A little spillage. The horror! That’s the risk you take when eating a popsicle. We must have loved it, because after lunch, we went back for vanilla bean and plum. It’s hard to...


Little Donkey – version. 2.0


I’ve been debating about exactly how to approach this post. I think it makes the most sense to be straightforward, so here goes. Little Donkey has been open for about a year and was much anticipated. Owned by the same people who own Jim N Nicks. It is in a really cool space in Homewood, in the small strip mall where Octane and Steel City Pops moved (after Little Donkey). It is very modern on the outside and inside, with a beautiful patio: A lot of people ate here when it first opened, us included. We actually ate here on...


Slice Pizza


One of the great things about this town is how fast it’s growing. Even though we’ve only been here for a little more than 2 years, we often find ourselves saying, I remember when that place first opened! Slice is one of those places that opened about 2 years ago but has become a favorite. They have a stone oven where they cook their pizzas, which are thin crust and delicious. Recently, we were with a friend and trying to decide where we should eat that has a nice patio. Slice seemed like a good choice. It was a great...


Cafe Dupont


Last month (I know, I’ve been slacking), we went to Cafe Dupont for our anniversary. Cafe Dupont is part of the regional food, farm to table, or Slow Food movement. Way before we were here, in ’04, it was one of the first restaurants to open in the re-emerging downtown area. We had been to Cafe Dupont before, and specifically chose it for our anniversary because while it is definitely a “nice place” (cloth napkins, waiter brushing crumbs from the table between courses, valet parking), it doesn’t feel too pretentious. It’s the kind of place where they will treat you...


Tau Poco


I’m beyond excited about the urban renaissance of downtown Bham. With the recent success of the Rev Birmingham pop up shops and restaurants along 3rd Ave North, downtown just seems all abuzz with a new kind of energy. And, naturally, with new food. I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Chef Chris Dupont’s Tau Poco lunch-only restaurant since I learned about it a few weeks ago. Chef Dupont owns both Cafe Dupont and Mix, both great places. The concept behind Tau Poco is simple and in my mind really appealing-mix and match global street food served in a take-out...


Parish Seafood and Oyster House


Blogosphere friends, I owe you an apology. It has been weeks since my last post. There are photos on my iPhone crying out to be viewed, and stories needing to be told. Top among them is the story and photos from our experience at Parish Seafood & Oyster House. The same great foodie friends who told us about Oscar’s Happy Hour directed us to Parish. I asked how they find out about this stuff – apparently liking dozens of good restaurants on Facebook alerts you to special events. On this particular Friday night, we went to Parish seeking their crab...


Over Easy


When I came down here to interview before we moved, a friend took me to Over Easy. At the time, it had just opened, and was quickly becoming a popular breakfast place. I like to eat breakfast, but am not one to eat much other than cereal or oatmeal. But this weekend, my sister was in town. Due to her intense workout schedule and excellent metabolism, she eats pancakes or waffles for breakfast most days. So, we headed to Over Easy in search of something that would satisfy both of us. Over Easy is located in a small strip mall...


Oscar’s tapas happy hour


Birmingham has a great art museum, with a really classy restaurant inside. I’ve had their brunch before, but that was the extent of it. Our awesome foodie couple friends suggested that we all go for Thursday happy hour, which includes a $15 per person all you can eat tapas buffet. Usually, buffets, especially happy hour buffets, aren’t the greatest quality. This one, however, was incredible. When I saw the oysters, I started to get excited: And then the shrimp: My other favorites were the Mexican dip and spinach dip, served with crusty French bread: Here’s the rest of the spread:...


NOW CLOSED-Freshfully Cafe


In Memoriam: Freshfully Cafe, you brought us delicious (if pricey) sandwiches, fancy fruit salads, and smoothies. Your food was healthy and delicious, and we are not entirely sure what led to your untimely departure. Although your sign has remained, you are most certainly closed. We miss you and will hold you close to our hearts. RIP. Original post: Freshfully is a store that sells local and regional produce, meat, and other products – like honey, granola, and canned preserves. I love going in there when I’m looking for really high quality cooking ingredients. Recently, they started serving lunch Monday-Saturday. I...


26 weekday happy hour


It seemed like an urban legend. I heard from a friend that she had a friend …. who loved to go to this happy hour at 26, one of my favorite restaurants. And it had cheap appetizers. Including sushi. Enough for a meal. Several of which come from their regular menu (which I love-and promise to review soon). Could it be true? Mr Foodie and I, along with two work friends who I love not only for their exceptional conversation skills but also for their ability to eat, were determined to find out. To people who have lived here all...


Flip Burger


I’m not a big fan of chain restaurants as a rule. But does it count as a chain if it only has 3 locations, the first of which is in Birmingham, is part-owned by Richard Blais, a Top Chef All-Stars winner, and was featured by Food and Wine for having burgers that are “over the top”? I might have to reconsider. Enter Flip Burger, a restaurant at the Summit. It is located at the first exit on your left as you enter the mall. This very modern sign greets you at the door, a reflection of what is to come:...


Sushi Village 2


Friends, do not be deterred by its location in a newly revitalized but slightly dingy strip mall. Sushi Village 2 is the real deal. Look for this sign, in the back of Crestwood festival across from the Edge movie theater and behind the ever-classy Bargain Hunt (we once bought a tandem bike there, don’t ask): For the last year since it opened, Sushi Village 2 has been our go to weeknight place. Their sushi and kitchen appetizers and entrees are consistently good, and really cheap. What makes this place really great is the people who run it-when it first got...