Paramount

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 restaurant/bar is an amazing indoor-outdoor space. Tonite, the weather was beautiful. We sat just inside the patio, where we could still feel the breeze. I’ve also sat at the bar, which is beautiful. The entire place, including a huge back room, is filled with vintage arcade games. This gives the place a really unique feel. As Mr Foodie likes to say, it’s the kind of place where, if we found it on a road trip, we would feel like we found something truly unique that doesn’t exist anywhere else and want to tell all of our friends about it.

This is the kind of place where you expect to find good drinks. But the food here is shockingly good. Maybe not so shocking, since these are the El Barrio guys. And regardless of the hour, once ordered, the food arrives quickly, also an impressive feature given how busy the place is.

This post includes photos from the two meals eaten here in the past week-both with a foodie friend who liked it so much the first time she requested to go back a second time. OK, if you insist….

Small plates

First, the Ploughman’s Platter. Delicious bread, smoked trout dip, pimento cheese, sausage, candied bacon, salami, and olives. OUT OF THIS WORLD. Ordered this both times and devoured it both times. I have to apologize because this photo just does not do it justice:

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Sandwiches

They have other main courses-notably burgers and hot dogs-but I’ve always stuck with the sandwiches.

Grilled cheese with gouda, goat cheese, mozzarella, and sundried tomatoes on sourdough. The best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. Shown with fries with garlic mayo. Addictive.

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Then there’s a creation called “Going back to Cali”-chicken, avocado, basil, and lime on sourdough. This is quite possibly the only healthy thing on the menu-and it is fantastic. The combination of avocado and chicken is a bit like a lighter version of chicken salad, and with the delicious bread, it’s perfect.

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And finally, the Fun Guy. Balsamic marinated mushrooms, mozzarella, garlic mayo, and greens. I’m not typically a fan of balsamic vinegar but I wanted something lighter after my recent fried meals (see my last several posts), and wanted to try something new (I had the chicken last time). The chicken is still my favorite (I’m a sucker for anything avocado), but this is also hearty and delicious. Served on thick ?homemade pita bread.

I’m hopeful that this place will continue to be a strong presence in the Birmingham nightlife and and also food scene. It’s off to a great start, that’s for sure.

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