Category: Strip mall food

Two Ethiopian Restaurants in Birmingham! Meet Red Sea Ethiopian and Mediterranean

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If you would have told us at the start of 2017 that Birmingham would have not one, but two Ethiopian restaurants, we might not have believed it. But here we are, and we’re delighted to report that the second Ethiopian restaurant to open in the Magic City is another must-visit. Red Sea Ethiopian and Mediterranean opened September 1. Nestled next to the new Halal Supermarket on Greensprings (which opened the same day), it’s a welcome new addition to our food landscape. (Ghion Cultural Hall, which opened in the Pizitz Food Hall in March, was the first Ethiopian to open in Birmingham.) We spent...

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Paradise Biryani Point

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This post is very long overdue. Last year, we noticed that a new Indian place popped up on Yelp. We waited for a few good reviews to come in and verified with Indian-Anerican friends before venturing 20 minutes (ok, we know that’s not so far) down I-65. If you’re coming from I-65, it’s on Montgomery Highway one strip mall past Steak and Shake, in the same strip mall as Hobby Lobby and India Heritage. Don’t go based on the address in Google maps; just use these directions. Here’s the exterior: We had an incredible meal, much better than the other...

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Pho 280

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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....

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Matzoh ball soup at Eli’s Jerusalem Grill

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Y’all, this is an urgent, emergency post.  As you may know from prior posts, I’m Jewish.  My religious background gives me (and every other Jewish person in the world) the right to talk with complete authority about Jewish food. One of the only, only things that I dislike about Birmingham is its lack of acceptable Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish food.  Like the kind of food you would find at a real New York kosher-style deli.  And the most important of all of the beloved deli foods is chicken soup, and more specifically, matzoh ball soup.   If you’ve never had...

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

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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....

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Bay Leaf Indian Restaurant

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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...

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Nori’s Secret Indonesian Menu-Part 2

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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....

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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...

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Eli’s Jerusalem Grill

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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...

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Black Pearl

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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...

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Big Bad Breakfast

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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,...

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Kati Thai

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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...

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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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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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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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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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Taj India

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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...

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Gordos Market and Taqueria

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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...

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Mr. Chen’s

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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...

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Reyes Pizza

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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...

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Over Easy

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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...

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Flip Burger

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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:...

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Sushi Village 2

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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...

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