Monthly Archive: April 2014

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...

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St Elias Lebanese food festival

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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...

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Paramount

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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...

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La Libertad

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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...

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CHANGED HANDS: Los Pedros

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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...

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Rafiki’s Grill

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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...

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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...

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Sharks Fish and Chicken

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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...

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Kool Korner Sandwiches

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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...

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Post Office Pies

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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...

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Silvercoin Indian Grill

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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...

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El Taco Loco

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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...

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