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Archive for the ‘Greek/Mediterranean’ Category

Makarios in Five Points South

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on September 29, 2012

On a warm autumn night I was sitting on the patio of Makarios Kabob & Grill enjoying the company of friends and trying to enjoy the exotic flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine. There were a diverse array of customers, many whom were of Middle Eastern descent, so that led me to think that this place must have authentic Middle Eastern food.

Since the waitress said they are known for their smoothies, I decided to order the strawberry banana flavor. It was very good after I added a small packet of sugar; next time I’ll just tell them to make it extra sweet. After pondering over the menu and asking the waitress for English translations, we were ready to order. I had the Chicken Shawarma which was charbroiled marinated chicken wrapped in pita bread with garlic sauce & pickles. I only took two bites of this and didn’t like it because the flavor of the garlic sauce overpowered the flavors of everything else. I also ordered a side of grilled vegetables which were very tasty. FYI: Someone else ordered the Chicken Shawarma and they enjoyed it because they asked for the garlic sauce on the side.

The only big hit, in my opinion, was the Makarios Salad; lettuce, olives, beets, feta cheese, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, & fresh dill mixed with homemade dressing. It looked like coleslaw but tasted nothing like it. If I go back, this is what I will order.

One of my other friends got the Fried Kibba, fried lamb, and she seemed to enjoy it.

And another friend got the Shawarma Plate; marinated chicken, lamb kabob, and rice. She also didn’t have any complaints.

Makarios has a unique festive atmosphere, reasonable prices, and good customer service, but this is no place that I must flock back to soon! Try it out and let me know what you think.

Makarios Kabobs & Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted in Five Points South Finds, Greek/Mediterranean | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

VINO

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on November 16, 2011

So I’m just getting in from the grand opening celebration at VINO in English Village (Mountain Brook), they specialize in Greek/Mediterranean/Italian cuisine. The atmosphere was fresh, funky, and modern, and I enjoyed every minute of my visit. There was a buffet that had a few food items from the menu, and one of my favorites were the Vino Apple Fritters, it tasted like a cinnamon roll with pieces of fresh apple, yummy! (There are also some brownie pieces in this pic covered in powdered sugar)

I also made reservations for dinner, and for my entree I ordered the Prime Ribeye Steak with brussel sprouts & butternut squash and skinny fries tossed in a hot sauce.

The two highlights for me were the Vino Apple Fritters and the skinny fries tossed in a hot sauce; the fries only had a hint of spice, not too much. I highly recommend this restaurant because you get tasty quality food and reasonable prices, considering the facade & location.

http://vinobirmingham.com/

Vino on Urbanspoon

Posted in Greek/Mediterranean, Italian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Boxcar Cafe @ Railroad Park

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on April 20, 2011

George Sarris (Birmingham Restauranteur) seems to be taking over Birmingham’s restaurant scene. His latest venture is in Birmingham’s Railroad Park! He recently opened up the Boxcar Cafe under the park’s pavilion near 17th Street South. However,  many of you know that he owns the Fish Market, he’s one of the owners of DoDiYos and Pianeta 3, and he also owns Yellow Bicycle Catering. George is passionate about serving food that captures our attention, and this shows through all of his endeavors.

At the new Boxcar Cafe, George is going out of his “known” element and offering a grab-and-go type restaurant for patrons. In addition, many of you will notice some familiar items on the menu!

The mezze plate ($7) comes with imported olives, cherry tomatoes, pita chips, hummus, Greek cheeses and Sarris’s special blend of extra-virgin olive oil.

Soups include gazpacho ($3.50 a cup) and seafood gumbo ($3.50 a cup/ $5.00 a bowl)

The Greek salad is available either as a side ($3.50) or a large order ($6.75).

Panini selections include grilled cheese ($5), grilled Mediterranean vegetables with goat cheese ($7.50), and rosemary-lemon grilled chicken with caramelized onions and garlic aioli ($7.50). Each comes with a spring mix salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Baklava ($2) and Greek cookies ($2.50 for two) are available for dessert.

Sarris’s Boxcar Cafe is open for lunch seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Within the next couple of weeks, Sarris also plans to open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Posted in Downtown Eats, Greek/Mediterranean, My Favorite Lunch Spots | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

James Jones:The Man Behind “Kairos Kafe & Katering”

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on February 18, 2011

Kairos Kafe & Katering are both owned by James Jones, who is a passionate cook that loves to serve the community. This restaurant is located on University Boulevard in the old Ollie’s BBQ location, next to I65.  My visit here was educational and filled with delicious food and genuine hospitality. The restaurant’s mission statement is “building relationships around food”, and I definitely felt a special bond with everyone that I came in contact with, during my visit. More specifically, Kairos Kafe & Katering are connected to, and have a special relationship with Grace & Truth Ministry. The minister, Steve Longnecker, helped the owner, James, get back on his feet after being incarcerated. In addition, as a child, James loved to watch his grandmother cook, and that is where his dream of owning a restaurant developed.

James and his staff makes all of their food fresh and they try to be innovative with their recipes. For example, the strawberry butter that I had with my roll was tasty. It was similar to butter but had a subtle sweet starwberry flavor. Also James is known for his famous croutons which are made from tortilla bread; they are cut into strips, rolled up, and fried. I’ve never seen croutons like them before, but they sure are tasty. You can see them, a little, in my salad below. This is the “Norma’s Mixed Green Salad”. This was delicious!

James always advises his customers to visit the restaurant’s blog, in order, to get the weekly coupon.

Finally, Kairos Kafe is open Monday-Friday from 10:30am-2:30pm. Kairos Katering is always available upon request.

http://kairoskatering.com/index.html

The story behind Kairos Kafe & Katering is very inspirational and, hopefully, the following video captures the true essence.

Kairos Kafe on Urbanspoon

Posted in Downtown Eats, Featured Chef Stories, Greek/Mediterranean, My Favorite Lunch Spots | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Nabeel’s Cafe & Market

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on January 21, 2011

Nabeel’s Cafe serves Greek  & Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant is quaint and so cozy that it caused me to leave all of my distractions at the door; I was literally transplanted to a  country in Europe.

Next door to the restaurant, is a corner market that allows guests to buy Greek and Mediterranean groceries; such as meats, pastries, drinks, spices, and pre-cooked meals.

Upon our arrival, the owner took our jackets and sat us at a table next to the fire place; I felt so at home. Furthermore, this was the beginning of a “foodtastic” night that I wasn’t expecting!

Our Appetizers consisted of the following:

  • Baked Feta Theologos: Feta seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, & Greek oregano, wrapped in foil and baked. Served with toasted homemade bread. The feta spread was presented in aluminum foil that was shaped like a swan.  The feta spread almost reminded me of a garlic spread, based on taste, not presentation. There is no way to confuse garlic spread with feta spread because of the different textures and the sharp taste of the feta cheese. I gave this dish two thumbs up!

  • Bulgarian Roasted Peppers: Feta cheese with Kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle of basil topped with Bulgarian roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes & sherry tomatoes. Served with Pita Wedges and homemade bread. This tomato and roasted red pepper mixture was good, I’m not used to eating anything like that. The feta served with this dish was milder, so I ate it with the chopped tomatoes, roasted red peppers and pita bread; what an amazing combination of flavors that exploded in my mouth. The olives were a bit too salty for me, but thumbs up!

  • Stuffed Grape Leaves with Feta Cheese:  Grape leaves stuffed with rice and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, with a side of Feta cheese. Served with Pita Wedges.Personally, I wasn’t a fan of this dish. The grape leaves had a poignant flavor that just didn’t agree with my palate. But I was told that this is one of the best selling dishes.

  • Pasta Fagioli: Italian soup made with chicken & tomato broth, pasta, beans, & vegetables. Served with a homemade slice of bread. Mom ordered this dish, and she loves it because she gets it every time that we visit.

  • Horiatiki (Peasant Greek Salad): A mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers, Feta, Kalamata olives, Greek oregano & red onions. Served with homemade bread. Although delicious indeed, this salad is lettuce free. I never knew that I would enjoy a salad so much, that didn’t have lettuce in it. All of the vegetables were fresh and had a sweet tangy taste, from the housemade salad dressing.

(Entree & dessert mentioned in video below)

Our beverages consisted of the restaurant’s special iced mint tea, and it was so refreshing. It wasn’t too minty, but it kept my mouth feeling clean and yearning for more.

The following is based on a scale of 1-10: (1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest)

Ambiance: 9

Service: 10

Food: 9.5

The owner (John Krontiras) and the waiter (John) both gave us stellar service and their undivided attention. Thanks so much! Also, the cooks did an amazing job on everything. I had such a wonderful time; I think that I’ll go back this weekend!

http://www.nabeels.com/

Nabeel's Cafe & Market on Urbanspoon

Where The Locals Eat featured blog

Posted in Bakery, Greek/Mediterranean | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Fish Market Restaurant

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on October 9, 2010

The Fish Market Restaurant on Birmingham’s Southside has been around for about 30 years, and they cook up excellent seafood. The seafood is some of the freshest in Birmingham, inexpensive, tasty, and has a Greek twist. It is unlike any seafood destination in Birmingham. The fish and other seafood items are imported from all over the world.

George Sarris, the brainchild and founder of this dynamic restaurant, knows what the people of Birmingham likes, and he keeps us coming back for more! The Fish Market Restaurant has grown from a tiny store front to a large warehouse that appears to be three floors, but the restaurant only occupies the first floor.

Birminghamians love this place so much, that George currently has several shuttle buses that transport people from various offices downtown and brings them to lunch at The Fish Market.

Diners can eat inside in one of two dining rooms, or on the large covered outdoor patio.

The restaurant also has a private dinning room for events.

The bar is huge and boasts flags from around the world.  It also has a large flat screen television that is viewable to everyone. Normally, customers are watching some type of sporting event.

During my visit I was very impressed with the large wine selection this restaurant had. I think that any “wine aficionado” would love this!

There is never a dull moment, while waiting in line to order food, guests can view the live lobsters and tilapia.

If customers want to cook their own seafood, they can go to the fresh uncooked seafood market area, and get their choice of fish or shellfish to take home.

When mom and I visited The Fish Market Restaurant, we sat at the bar. (If you sit at the bar, a waiter takes your order. If you sit at a table you have to stand in line to place your order) One reason I enjoyed this seat was because I could see the workers opening and cleaning oysters; this was live entertainment in itself.

Our waiter came to take our drink orders, while we looked at the menu. This was my first visit since they changed the format of the menu; it’s much easier to read now because the writing is larger and it is divided into different categories. After about 10 minutes, we were ready to order.

I got the new “Alligator Sausage” which came with fresh homemade sourdough bread and a homemade spicy mustard dipping sauce. My side items were Green Beans and Greek Potatoes. I also had the “Fried Shrimp” with hushpuppies.

I really enjoyed all of my food! The “Alligator Sausage” is new to the menu, and I was one of the first people to try it; I told one of the managers that it should be a keeper. If I hadn’t known any better, I would’ve thought that I was eating pork sausage, because it almost tastes the same. Anyway, the spicy mustard dipping sauce complimented the alligator well, but I didn’t use it that much. I didn’t want the bread because I thought that it was gonna be like any other sourdough bread, however, I was fooled. After biting into it, I discovered that it was still warm and it had a fresh baked taste. I’m happy that I decided to taste it! And as always, my Greek Potatoes and Green Beans were excellent. The Fish Market’s Green Beans are cooked with more spices than how other restaurants prepare them. Lastly, the “Fried Shrimp” were cooked in a tasty batter and they were simply awesome!

Mom had the “Fried Rainbow Trout” which was battered in cornmeal. And it came with hushpuppies and a baked potato.

My mom loves to get her fish cooked in the cornmeal batter ( you have to request that). She had no complaints; she eats at The Fish Market often so it was nothing new to her.

We enjoyed listening to a live band, as we ate. The band only performs on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday nights.

After we finished our meal and paid the bill, we browsed through the large selection of unique Greek dishes (pots, pans, vases, bowls) which are imported here from Greece and Turkey.  You can find these dishes scattered throughout the restaurant and they are for sale.

For those dessert fans, The Fish Market Restaurant has many choices for you to choose from. Two examples are cheesecake & baklava.

Our visit to The Fish Market Restaurant was filled with excitement and good seafood. I feel that there is something on the menu for everyone, and the prices vary upon what you order; but the majority of the prices are reasonable. I also feel that you can’t say you’re from Birmingham, unless you’ve been to the The Fish Market Restaurant; so I suggest you go there and eat some good food!

http://www.birminghammenus.com/thefishmarket/
Fish Market on Urbanspoon

Posted in Downtown Eats, Greek/Mediterranean, Seafood | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ted’s Restaurant

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on September 26, 2010

Today I met Nick at one of Birmingham’s premier dining destinations, Ted’s Restaurant. Ted’s is a family owned meat ‘n’ three restaurant that has graced Birmingham with its presence for many years. It is located on Southside, near UAB. They serve breakfast and lunch to many hungry patrons; I witnessed that today!

Ted’s Restaurant has the feel of an old diner. One of the restaurant’s main color schemes is green.The waiters wear green t-shirts, the padding on the booths are green and the cabinets are green. Did I mention that green is my favorite color, so that might be a reason to make this my new favorite restaurant, lol! However, I’ve got many more reasons on why I enjoyed my experience.

Nick told me to be there at 11am, so that we could beat the crowd. Indeed we did beat the long line, but they weren’t too far behind us. Ted’s Restaurant attracts a diverse crowd of people including, doctors, students, teachers, photographers, retired people, and many more. Everyone seems to love Ted’s!

Upon walking in, the main door, there is a buffet of food on the left with a friendly staff of workers ready to fix your plate. Both of these women were so nice and they just had a positive spirit. There is only a handful of  “meat ‘n’ three” places, that I’ve gone to, in Birmingham where the buffet workers treat you with respect, and are not trying to rush you through the line; furthermore, Ted’s Restaurant is one of them.

The first section of the buffet contained all of the meats, such as baked Greek chicken, beef tips, fried chicken, and fried fish. The next section had all of the veggies, like candied yams, cabbage, and mac & cheese. Once I got my vegetables, I could choose whether I wanted cornbread, a biscuit, or a roll. Next, I grabbed my dessert item from an array of scrumptious looking homemade desserts, which were located above the buffet.

After we got our plates, our waitress directed us to our booth and we began to chow down on our food. Nick got the veggie plate with green beans, broccoli, squash, mac & cheese, and cornbread.

He loves this place!

I had the Greek baked chicken, green beans, corn, mac & cheese, and cornbread. I loved every item of food that I had, especially the cornbread.

For dessert, I ate the peach cobbler.  After the first bite, my eyes rolled into the back of my head twice; ask Nick lol! All of it was “muy delicioso” !(Very delicious). I could taste the freshness of the peaches.

While we where eating I met the manager and the owner, both of these guys are awesome and they know how to please the customers while running a successful business. Every food item that we ate at Ted’s Restaurant, seemed to have been made with love. And I’ve learned that when you cook with love and passion, your food reflects that and everyone loves it!

Ted’s is also available to do the catering for any of your events. Check them out!

http://www.tedsbirmingham.com/

http://bhamrestaurantweek.com/

Posted in Downtown Eats, Greek/Mediterranean, My Favorite Lunch Spots | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Taste of the Mediterranean in Homewood!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on August 2, 2010

Last Saturday I ate dinner on the Mediterranean coast! Lol, not really, I ate at “DoDiYós”, a Mediterranean/Greek restaurant in Homewood (Soho Square), but it felt like I was in the country of Greece. “DoDiYós ” is a distinctive destination for fresh, seasonal flavors from every country that touches the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll find authentic Greek dishes as well as foods from Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. One of the owners is George Sarris, who owns the “Seafood Market” in downtown Birmingham.

I met my friend Kellie for dinner. I arrived at the restaurant about 7:00pm and it was packed; luckily I found a parking spot near the front door. I wanted to do valet parking, but there seemed to be only one person working the valet booth, and he was parking another car. Anyway, I walked into the restaurant and did not expect to see what I saw. In the waiting area, there is a huge beige canopy that drapes from the ceiling and it resembles a tent. This is what divides the waiting area from the eating area.

A number of exotic colors, rich woods, handmade textiles, intriguing antiques and collectibles grace this unique restaurant that has a variety of seating. The whole feel of the interior of “DoDiYós” seems to have a Greek nautical theme. Also there is a lively tapas bar, a fresh market and even a small souk.

The market is pictured below, and here you can buy dishes off the menu “to go”, or you can buy an array of other Mediterranean foods.

The small souk is pictured below, and in this area you can buy a variety of Mediterranean spices and goods.

The hostess took me to the table, where Kellie was waiting on me.  And as we walked, I saw that the restaurant was filled with people.

Finally, I made it to the table and saw Kellie. Before we ordered food, we had to take a little bit of time to reminisce because we haven’t seen each other since May 2009. At this time, a waiter brought us some fresh baked bread and hummus with a side of olives. The “Hummus” consists of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, cayenne pepper, and olive oil. The bread was warm, soft, and good. The “hummus” had just the right amount of consistency and also a great taste; however, we didn’t eat that much of it.

Eventually, our waiter introduced himself and gave us a brief overview of the restaurant; he knew his stuff! We started off with drinks and appetizers. Kellie got the “Raspberry Mojito” and she fell in love with it. The raspberry and mint complimented each other very well she said.

And I got the “Lemon Basil Martini”. The fresh lemon juice wasn’t too sour, but was tangy enough, and there was just the right amount of basil in it. Oh, it was so good!

For an appetizer, we got the “Shrimp Saganaki”. It consisted of feta, fresh steamed shrimp with tomatoes, dill and kalamata olives. It was served on a tarnished brown platter with cubes of loaf bread. You are supposed to eat the bread and the “Shrimp Saganaki” together, but we couldn’t do that because it was the same bread that we had earlier, and we had enough of it already. This dish was authentically Greek, and I can’t compare it to anything American, but it was satisfactorily delicious.

After we ate the appetizer, the waiter took our entree orders. Since the entrees came with a salad, we ate that first. The salad consisted of your standard “Romaine Lettuce”, carrots, and a lite vinaigrette dressing. We could barely taste the vinegar in the salad dressing; however, we could taste the olive oil. Overall, the salad was ok.

Ok, here comes the big moment! The entrees eventually came out and we were both pleased with how our food was presented. Our entrees were covered when the waiters brought them out, and once they were placed in front of us, both waiters lifted the covers simultaneously. This act, definitely gave “DoDiYós” a plus in my book, lol!

Kellie and I ordered, the “Classic Moussaka”. It has layers of eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef beneath saltsa besamel. Ya’ll this dish was so good! The way that it looked, reminded me of lasagna, however, the taste was nowhere near lasagna. I could taste all of the ingredients, plus a nutmeg/cinnamon flavor. Words can’t describe how good this dish was! Kellie enjoyed this dish as well.

Now, ya’ll know that we had to get dessert! So we shared the “Frozen Summer Trio”. This dish allowed us to pick three flavors of sorbet, so we got the peach yogurt, strawberry wine, and lychee. All of the flavors were good, but my favorite was the strawberry wine. Kellie said that this flavor tasted “sexy”, and I must agree. I never had a dish that tasted “sexy” before, but this captured “sexy” in all of its forms. The way it looked, tasted, and the after taste was just pure “sexcellent”. It had the perfect blend of sweetness and wine flavor. I can’t explain anymore, just try it, lol!

“DoDiYós” really provided us with a wonderful unique Mediterranean dining experience. From the interior decor, customer service, food, and market offerings; overall everything was outstanding. This is the perfect place for those who have adventurous taste buds, and also for those whose taste buds are less adventurous. There is something on the menu for everyone and all of it encompasses the Mediterranean flavor. Oh did I mention that you won’t break the bank either!

http://www.dodiyos.com/index.php

http://www.sohosquare.info/

Do Di Yo's on Urbanspoon

Posted in Greek/Mediterranean, Upscale | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My New Experience at Zoës Kitchen

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on June 22, 2010

Sunday afternoon, mom and I went to “Zoës Kitchen” for our normal Sunday lunch. We went to the location in Hoover at “Patton Creek”. The restaurant serves Greek food that allows you to eat on the go, or in a modern, colorful, funky atmosphere. We wanted to eat on the patio, but the weather was so hot that we opted for a table inside.

I’ve eaten here numerous times, however, this time I wanted to order something new, including a new drink too; not sweet tea. So I decided to get the “Spinach Quesadilla” and it came with spinach, scallions, feta, and a side of salsa. To add my own twist, I added caramelized onions and grilled Greek chicken on the quesadilla. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I made an excellent decision because the taste was out of this world. Although, I was not a big fan of the scallions, I just won’t get those next time. My side item was a bowl of fruit and it was made up of pieces of pineapple, green apples, strawberries, oranges, and cantaloupe. I’m sad to say that none of the fruit was really sweet.

Mom enjoyed her food too! She had the “Chicken Roll-Ups” which I normally get. This dish consists of grilled tortillas, grilled chicken, feta, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, salsa, and a side. Her side item was the “Braised White Beans”. When I sampled the beans I could taste the distinct flavor of rosemary and this was a plus for me because I love rosemary. So that means next time I’m definitely going to order the beans!

Oh, by the way the drink that I ordered was the “Homemade Limeade” which had an equal blend of tartness and sweetness; it was very good! To sum it up, I’m glad that I went here with an open mind to try something new because I was very proud of my new choices.

http://www.zoeskitchen.com/

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