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Southern Italian Flare in Birmingham!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on May 29, 2012

Recently I met some local foodies at Bettola Restaurant, which is located at Pepper Place in the Lakeview District. This quaint, dynamic, & eclectic eatery serves up authentic Southern Italian food. Several of their classic dishes include the signature Neopolitan pizzas that are cooked in a wood-fired Neapolitan pizza oven— which was handcrafted in Naples, Italy and shipped to Birmingham. This oven is capable of cooking a pizza in 90 seconds.

This was my first visit to Bettola and I had no idea what to expect, but let’s just say that I’m so glad that I visited. Upon arriving to dinner, I saw my guests sitting on the outdoor patio and I began to greet each and every one. And as we slowly began to trickle in, the atmosphere seemed to liven up and greatness was being created. On this warm evening, I met a diverse group of people that seemed to be a wonderful reflection of this great city and community of Birmingham. More specifically, my large party consisted of people of different races, ages, occupations, perspectives, and many more various characteristics. Earlier in the day, I was wondering how would I get all of these people to converse amongst each other because I thought that these various differences would be a hindrance, however, I was completely wrong. The conversation just flowed throughout the entire night.

I was amazed to see that the restaurant had assigned just one waitress to take care of 14 people, but she did an amazing job. Our experience was truly personalized by the restaurant and the customer service that we received rivaled that of many others. Everyone started out with drinks, homemade bread & marinated olives (contain pits/seeds). Not long after, the staff surprised us and brought out complementary antipasti’s for the entire table. These antipasti’s included a calamari dish, prepared by the owner especially for us; it consisted of squid, arugula, garbanzo beans, and thinly sliced ginger. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, but a few other people felt differently about it.

The next antipasti was served to us on a long wooden board, which had prosciutto, capicola ham, house sausage, salame mostrano (salami), two special types of cheese, pickled vegetables, & dried apricots in a housemade glaze. Everyone loved at least one thing from this special dish.

After enjoying the drinks and antipasti’s, I discovered that this was going to be a long night because I still had to order an entree and a dessert, but I definitely wasn’t complaining. For an entree I ordered the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (pasta) which was made with House-Made Tagliatelle Pasta, Ragu Bolognese, Two-Year Aged Parmigiano Reggiano. This dish was delicious and filling; I would order it again.

Everyone else ordered a variety of dishes, but the main dish that our group ordered were the variety of signature pizzas. For example, here is the Quattro Stagioni which is made with Cotto Ham, Artichokes, Mushrooms, Black Olives.

Not everyone got a dessert, but I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. So I got the Torta di Mandorle which consisted of Burnt Butter-Vanilla-Almond Cake, Mascarpone Cream, Toasted Almonds. It was scrumptious but there was no way that I could eat it all. The cake was moist on the inside and had a wonderful vanilla almond flavor.

The lady sitting next to me ordered the Torta Cioccolata Warm Truffle Chocolate Baked in Toasted Almond Tart, Espresso Gelato, Toasted Almonds. She really enjoyed this dish and I sampled it; it was good but I’m not a big fan of coffee flavored ice cream and it was really rich.

Overall our entire restaurant experience was phenomenal and I can’t wait to return. The owner and chef James Lewis has definitely created a gem. The prices range from $15-$25 per entree. So I encourage you to visit Bettola Restaurant and sample the authentic flavors of Southern Italy, without even having to leave Birmingham. Grazie!

Bettola on Urbanspoon

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A dining experience that no one should experience

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on May 24, 2012

So I walked in and was greeted by the hostess. She was very friendly and seated me in a booth with no light, I asked to be moved to another booth that had light and she did that with no problem. Like 2 minutes later, my guest came in and sat down with me and we began to look at the menu and talk about what we would possibly order.

5 minutes went by and no waiter had taken our drink order or even acknowledged our presence, 10 minutes went by, 15 minutes went by and waiters are serving other tables around us but we are still sitting there parched and wondering what is going on (btw it wasn’t crowded). Eventually, it’s been 20 minutes since we arrived and none of the waiters had interacted with us. My guest goes to tell the manager about what is going on, and he comes to the table and is apologetic but it doesn’t seem to be sincere. He takes our drink orders and has a waiter bring them out to us immediately. The waiter doesn’t speak or offer any interaction with us, he just puts the drinks down and asks us if we are ready to order.

My guest and I looked at each other because we both knew that something was awkward, the waiter was trying to be nice but wasn’t plausible with it and definitely not sincere. We told him that we didn’t like the way we had been neglected and we didn’t appreciate the attitude that he had, and we got up and left. On our way out, the manager looked at us and didn’t even ask “why we were leaving”, he just did a quick glance and pretended not to see us.

MAYBE I’M ASKING TOO MUCH, BUT THIS IS NOT HOW CUSTOMERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TREATED!

I’ve eaten at this particular restaurant in the Summit, which is known for their authentic pizzas, many many times and only had a problem once; the manager did compensate us for that particular issue. But this incident takes the cake, of all of the dining experiences that I’ve had, I’ve never felt like a second class degraded citizen like I did tonight. I don’t plan on returning until the management has been revamped.

On the other hand, I’d like to thank J. Alexanders and our awesome waitress for revamping the night and serving us delicious food with awesome customer service. You’re awesome Carlee!

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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SLICE is at it again!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on January 22, 2012

Slice Pizza & Brew is at it again!! They have a new appetizer for a limited time only. The Burrata Caprese Salad will be offered while ingredients last. The artisan cheese used in the salad, burrata, is a unique and seasonal mozzarella cheese that is available only during certain times of the year and shipped in from Vermont. As you cut into the firm outer layer, the smooth filling of mozzarella and cream slowly melt onto your plate providing your taste buds with a rich buttery flavor. The burrata cheese is paired with tomatoes and fresh basil leaves, with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette on top to create the flawless taste of the Burrata Caprese Salad.

http://www.slicebirmingham.com/

Slice Stone Pizza & Brew on Urbanspoon

Posted in Bars, Downtown Eats, Italian, Pizza | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A pizzeria outside of the city

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on August 11, 2011

The other night I was at a friend’s house and we ordered Buck’s Pizza. This establishment is located in Warrior, Alabama and they delivered to Morris (near Gardendale). We kept it simple and got a large pepperoni pizza with a side of mild chicken wings. It took about an hour for them to deliver the pizza, but once we got it, we were pleased.

In my opinion the pizza portion was very good, not too greasy and it had a tasty sauce, however, the crust was bland and needed more flavor; perhaps some butter or a special Italian seasoning on it. The chicken wings were a decent size and they came with a large cup of ranch dressing for dipping. We really enjoyed those wings because they had a delicious seasoning on them. There were about ten wings, and before we knew it they were all gone!

In all, the food was tasty. So if you are ever in the Warrior/Morris/Gardendale area give Buck’s Pizza a try! The food is fairly priced and the menu consists of pizzas, hoagies, strombolis, salads, chicken wings, and a few side items.

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A “Pizza” of Italy in Georgetown

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on July 11, 2010

One hot day while in D.C., we decided to go sightseeing and shopping in Georgetown. The area is home to “Georgetown University” and has the feel of a large, yet quaint college town. The area is filled with old money; many prominent politicians and other people live in this neighborhood. Many of the buildings are old and rugged on the outside, but modernized on the inside.  The main street that runs through Georgetown is “M Street” and it is filled with various shops and restaurants; we spent a lot of time here. Before we started shopping, my uncle took us to one of his favorite pizza restaurants, “Pizzeria Paradiso”, located on “M Street”.

“Pizzeria Paradiso” is known for making authentic, quality pizza that is cooked in a open wood-burning oven. They are also known for serving some of the best beer brews in the nation. The restaurant is committed to quality and to using the finest ingredients. I went here thinking that it would be the same as any other pizza place, but I was fooled. When I arrived at the bright yellow front door, and saw that it had been highly rated by “Zagat”, I knew that this was the place to be. For those of you who don’t know about “Zagat”, it consists of a group of world-renowned food critics that rate only some of the finest restaurants in the world. Furthermore, I thought to myself that this place has to be excellent if “Zagat” came here.

“Pizzeria Paradiso” has a true Italian flair and this is shown in the authentic flavor of the pizzas. The restaurant isn’t that big and it was packed with people, but we waited only five minutes for a table.  While we were waiting, part of my family saw the menu and said no, this won’t be good, but I convinced them to stick around and try it out. Boy, am I glad we stayed!

To drink, I had the “Sparkling Lemonade” which is their signature lemonade mixture, that is added to sparkling water. It had an equal blend of sweetness and tartness; it was very tasty!

All of us ordered something different, and while we waited on our entrees, my uncle and I ate a small bowl of complimentary olives that were rubbed in olive oil and a little salt.

When the food arrived, I had the “Bianca Pizza” which came with basil, fresh tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. I added pepperoni and zucchini on the pizza for $3.00 extra. The tomato sauce wasn’t pureed like all of the others I’ve had; I could actually taste pieces of tomato in the sauce, it was chunky and had a unique taste. My pizza was the smallest size on the menu, I think a 9′, and it was one of the best pizzas that I have ever had.

My grandmother and my uncle had a pizza, my mom had an Italian salad, and my aunt had a unique selection of Italian meats, cheeses, and crackers. They all enjoyed their food and our modern rustic Italian experience!

http://www.eatyourpizza.com/about-us/

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