Category: cheap eats

Lichita’s Ice Cream and Popsicles: A Pizitz Food Hall Story

trio-copy

As you know, we love Lichita’s. We can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since we first visited their small storefront on Valley Avenue. When we first sat down with Bayer last year to brainstorm about our wish list for Pizitz stalls, we pulled up our Lichita’s post and collectively drooled over how great it would be to have them in the building. And now, a little over a year later, it’s become a reality. Here’s the story of the man behind Lichita’s, our good friend Eloy Garcia. Photo credits go to our good friends at Yellowhammer Creative....

More

Travis Chicago Style: Birmingham’s First Food Truck

IMG_0018.JPG

This post is a little longer than most, but bear with us: it’s worth it. We first heard about Travis at an Alloy Thai pop up dinner last year. One of the other diners told us about a truck that shows up at special events. She had found him at a Veterans’ Day Parade once. His burgers and dogs were famed to be the best in Birmingham. I immediately began to do some research. My usual tactics-a thorough search of Google and all social media sites-revealed one of those auto-generated Facebook pages entitled, “Travis Chicago Style Polish & Bear Burger.”...

More

Pho 280

IMG_6167-0.jpg

As you may know from some of our prior posts, we love Vietnamese food.  Mr Foodie and I spent several weeks in Vietnam right before we moved to Alabama in 2011.  In Philly, we lived in Passyunk Square, a neighborhood home to the two most famous (but not the best) cheesesteak places in town, a vibrant Hispanic community that gives rise to some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had, and,  Little Saigon.  Within 5 blocks of our house, we had access to some of the most delicious (and inexpensive) Vietnamese food I’ve had in the U.S. or in Vietnam....

More

Miss Dots

IMG_5975

As you’ve probably figured out, we recently hit a little bit of a dry spell foodie-wise.  It’s been almost a month since our last restaurant post, and it’s not for lack of trying – we just hadn’t eaten anywhere blogtacular. We were at a get-together last week and were complaining about this serious first-world problem.  And of course, even folks we had just met were doing their best to help us – this is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-pitch-in kind of town.   After naming several places (blogged about that one, don’t care for that one), one woman piped up:  “Well, have you...

More

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

IMG_4857-0.jpg

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....

More

Blue Pacific @ the Hoover Food Mart

IMG_4746-0.jpg

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...

More

Brito’s

IMG_4262.JPG

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....

More

Hotbox at Parkside

IMG_3960-0.JPG

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...

More

Bham Doughnut Drop / We Have Doughtnuts

IMG_3929.JPG

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...

More

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

IMG_0004.JPG

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...

More

Clara’s Country Cafe

IMG_3823-0.JPG

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,...

More

Birmingham Breadworks

IMG_3575.JPG

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...

More

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill

IMG_3317.JPG

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...

More

Champy’s Chicken and Tamales

IMG_3259.JPG

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...

More

El Girasol

IMG_2887.JPG

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...

More

Jasmine’s

20140720-090450-32690339.jpg

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...

More

Rib it Up

20140619-105219-39139069.jpg

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...

More

La Libertad

20140422-064322

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...

More

CHANGED HANDS: Los Pedros

20140426-143905.jpg

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...

More

Rafiki’s Grill

20140421-162229.jpg

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...

More

Sharks Fish and Chicken

20140417-231858.jpg

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...

More

El Taco Loco

20140405-231115.jpg

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...

More

Taj India

20140119-080021.jpg

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...

More

NOW CLOSED-Miami Cafe Xpress

20140111-170253.jpg

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...

More

Gordos Market and Taqueria

20140111-101100.jpg

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...

More

Mr. Chen’s

20140106-155521.jpg

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...

More

El Cazador

20140106-153015.jpg

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,...

More

Reyes Pizza

20131211-151252.jpg

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...

More

Taqueria La Herradura

20131103-163339.jpg

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...

More

Southern Caribbean

20131020-030813.jpg

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...

More

26 weekday happy hour

20130906-151943.jpg

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...

More

Sushi Village 2

20130902-175531.jpg

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...

More