Food Scoop "Birmingham"

Food and Travel

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

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A new yogurt shop at The Summit!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on September 26, 2011

Pinkberry, the number one tart frozen yogurt brand, will open its doors in Birmingham this fall at The Summit Birmingham.  The newest Pinkberry location marks the arrival of the first Pinkberry in Alabama. It will be in the former location of 32° Degrees.

Pinkberry is a one-of-a-kind frozen yogurt experience.  The addition of Pinkberry will introduce Birmingham to the refreshing flavors and sophisticated style for which the international brand is known.  Russell Pate and Porter and Courtney Mason, Birmingham natives and local business owners, are the Pinkberry area developers for Alabama.

The new Birmingham location will serve six distinctive Pinkberry flavors: the signature Original flavor, a sweet and tangy yogurt with a refreshing finish; a rich, indulgent Chocolate; Mango, a fruity and light flavor made with authentic Alphonso mango puree; Pomegranate, a bold and tangy flavor made with 100% California-grown pure pomegranate juice; Pumpkin, a fall favorite with pumpkin and spice undertones; and a featured flavor that rotates seasonally.

Customers can personalize every yogurt experience with any combination of delicious toppings. At Pinkberry, uncompromising quality is paramount and the toppings bar is no exception.  Each topping is selected with the highest quality standards, such as Grade-A fresh fruit that is hand-cut daily in-store, organic gummy bears with no high fructose corn-syrup, all natural honey almond granola, 100% pure pomegranate juice, or rich, premium Belgian chocolate shavings.  Every item is thoughtfully selected as a unique and delicious complement to the various Pinkberry frozen yogurt flavors.

In addition to frozen yogurt and toppings for immediate consumption, Pinkberry also offers Pinkberry Take Home, 25 ounces of Pinkberry, swirled-to-order and packed on ice to ensure your Swirly Goodness will get home safely to your freezer.  Pinkberry also offers Fruit Parfaits, Smoothies, and Fresh Fruit Bowls as fresh, satisfying choices for any time of day.

Furthermore, I know that Pinkberry is an international chain, but I still wanted to write about it since it is making its debut in Alabama!

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A night to remember at The J. Clyde!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on August 15, 2011

On a warm night, a group of friends and I gathered on the back patio of The J. Clyde, in Five Points South. There were about 10 of us and we started the night off with drinks. It took us a little while to decide what we wanted to drink because this place is known for their huge beer selection. So I got the JK’s Scrumpy Cider, which was a sweet apple flavored cider beer; I can’t stand beer but this wasn’t your ordinary beer.

After ordering drinks, we ordered and ate our appetizers. One person got the Fried Sauerkraut Balls, unusual but good! Several people ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes, a staple this restaurant is known for. The green tomatoes were delicious but I feel that the batter needed just a tad more salt. Someone else got the Italian Style Stuffed Mushrooms, they enjoyed those and I did too. Also at this time other people started to get the house salad that came with their entree.

                                                                                                          Fried Sauerkraut Balls

                                                                                                         Fried Green Tomatoes

                                                                                                   Italian Style Stuffed Mushrooms

While waiting on our entrees, the waiter brought our drink refills, and while he was delivering the drinks he accidentally dropped the tray; drinks and glass went everywhere including on three of my friends. Just a little bit of liquid got on my pants. In all, no one was hurt, but they just got wet and had a little bit of chipped glass in their laps. Furthermore, I understand it was an accident and the waiter did apologize, but the manager didn’t seem to really take interest in the situation until we brought it to his attention. If we hadn’t told him about the spill, nothing would’ve happened in regards to a discount. In the end he did give the affected people a discount, but I feel that we had to almost beg for it.

Eventually, the entrees started to come out; I had the Chicken Cakes which were similar to crab cakes. I enjoyed the spicy seasoning in these delicious cakes and also the remoulade sauce. On the plate there were two medium sized chicken cakes along with a salad mixture.


Two people ordered the Fish & Chips, one person liked this dish and the other didn’t. The main complaint was that the fish batter was too bland and the fish was served greasy, cold and hard. But the other person enjoyed this particular dish. So you be the judge!

One girl had the Parchment Baked Tilapia and she said that it was yummy! The Bavarian Sausage was a hit along with the Asiago Pasta/Chicken.

                                                                              Parchment Baked Tilapia

                                                                              Bavarian Sausage

                                                                                 Asiago Pasta

Everyone had a mixed opinion about The J. Clyde but we all agreed that it is a fun place to order drinks and enjoy Fried Green Tomatoes, but it’s not a place to expect a quiet dinner and order a tasty gourmet meal. And I also think the prices for certain entrees are too expensive for it to be the kind of restaurant/bar that it is. You should also know that I liked what I ordered and would definitely order it again, however I was simply irked since we had to almost initiate an apology from the manager; due to the spill.

So now you know what this means, you gotta tell me what you think about The J. Clyde. I can’t wait to hear it!

J. Clyde on Urbanspoon

Posted in Bars, Five Points South Finds | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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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Let’s do brunch at “Over Easy”!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on August 8, 2011

Over Easy is a breakfast/brunch hotspot between Homewood and Mountain Brook (Hollywood area) that screams “retro”. Over Easy is located in a modern retro style shopping center that includes a Beal bank, Mexico Lindo, and a ABC Beverage Store.

I ordered “The Standard” which was supposed to include three buttermilk pancakes, two eggs cooked to order, and a choice of meat. However, I modified it to include one pancake, one scrambled egg, and three pieces of bacon. I’m so glad that I reduced the size because I couldn’t even eat all of what I had. The pancake was fluffy and a little salty; the sweet flavor of the maple syrup kinda covered up the salty taste, it was good. The egg was kinda bland but ok, and the bacon was extra delicious, not greasy. To drink I had a small glass of apple juice. And in total my bill was $8.88, not bad huh!

My friend had “The One Egg Breakfast” which comes with one egg cooked to order, choice of meat, grits or hash browns, toast or biscuit. So she got hash browns, stone ground organic blue cheese grits (the mozzarella cheese was at the bottom of the bowl and sprinkled on top, not stirred in), a biscuit, and a scrambled egg. They forgot to bring the scrambled egg out, so it came a few minutes after the entree. As we ate, she told me that she would have preferred the cheese to be mixed in and melted with the grits. Her drink was a glass of milk and her bill was about $8.00 as well.

Basically the food was quick, delicious, filling, and cheap. However, please keep in mind that some days you might have to wait for a table, but most of the time there is no wait. We definitely enjoyed our visit, to Over Easy, and will return very soon!

Over Easy on Urbanspoon

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Quesadilla at Izzo’s!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on August 1, 2011

Sunday I met some friends, from out of town, at Izzo’s Illegal Burrito in The Summit (near Pottery Barn). Once I stood in line and looked over the menu, I decided to order a quesadilla made with a cayenne tortilla; in it I had grilled steak, grilled onions, and salsa verde. And on the side I had a small cup of the Illegal Sauce (spicy southwestern sauce, similar to ranch), to dip the quesadilla in. Overall, I thought the price was kinda expensive and the food was okay. The price of my meal was $ 12.75 and it came with complimentary nachos; I had to pay for each additional topping. I  would compare this authentic high-end fast food restaurant to Moe’s Southwest Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, & Qdoba. Furthermore, the only thing that made my quesadilla taste different was the cayenne tortilla because it added a little kick to it. On the other hand, I must admit that the quesadilla was a nice size and wasn’t skimpy at all; I was only able to eat two halves. Now it’s your turn to visit Izzo’s and let me know what you think!

Izzo's Illegal Burrito on Urbanspoon

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Can you say “Pinches Tacos”!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on June 17, 2011

Ok so I’m just getting in from Pinches Tacos and I couldn’t wait to write this review. Pinches has an authentic name and definitely an authentic vibe, with food that is “muy delicioso”! It is located in Homewood, AL in the Hallman Hill Condo Complex (Downtown Homewood). So if you want authentic/tasty quick Mexican cuisine, this is your place.

The reason I know that this place is authentic is because I lived and traveled throughout Mexico and the food at Pinches Tacos reminds me of the food I ate in Mexico. This is some of the real stuff ya’ll!

A friend and I visited Pinches for the first time on Tuesday of this week; I was so impressed with the quality and taste of the food that I had to go back (tonight) and bring two other friends with me so they could try it. I must admit that this experience was even better than the first because I got to meet the owner (Ty Taylor), the Executive Chef (Manuel Anaya), and add the tasty cuisine and good company, what more can I ask for!

“Our mission is simple, to provide you the best taco experience by using high quality meats and seafood, fresh garden vegetables, hand made tortillas and high quality artisan breads.”  Furthermore, I feel that the staff lives up to every aspect of this mission statement!

Thanks to Ty Taylor, we are fortunate, in Birmingham, to have this new eclectic Mexican eatery. The Anaya family started Pinches Tacos in Los Angeles, California by sharing their family recipes with the public. For your information, this is the only Pinches Tacos location outside of Los Angeles, thanks again Ty! The menu is fairly basic, it consists of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, sopes, tortas, flautas, quesadilla, and a few other food items. You can order each of these with your choice of meat, seafood, or a vegetarian option. Pinches has a Happy Hour on Monday-Friday (3pm-7pm) with a variety of Mexican & American sodas, margaritas, beer, and wine. On Saturdays and Sundays they serve “desayuno” (brunch) with various Mexican dishes, and on Friday nights they have live music.

Now more details about the food; tonight I ordered the Asada Taco (grilled angus beef taco with salsa verde) and the Guacamole/Chips/Salsa. All of this was simply “delicioso” because I could tell that it was served fresh and made from the heart. The soft shell taco was authentic because the tortilla was made from corn and not from flour; I prefer the corn tortilla.  The tacos are fairly small, so if you’re hungry you might want to order more than one.  I could tell that the salsa is made from fresh tomatoes, it was kind of watery but still good. The guacamole seemed like it was made while we waited; it had a good consistency and was also fresh. Also I kept asking for the salsa verde like it was going out of season. I poured it on my taco and I dipped my chips in it as well.

To drink, all of us ordered  the Blood Orange Margarita, and can I just say “dulce y fuerte” (sweet & strong). I really enjoyed it and would have gotten another if I wasn’t driving.

Jay ordered a variety of tacos that consisted of the Pollo Mole (chicken & mole), Asada (grilled angus beef), AlPastor (slow broiled marinated pork). With this he got rice, beans, and chips. He had no complaints and was just left wondering why I just told him about this restaurant lol!

Marcus had the Pollo Enchilada (chicken) and it comes with 3 per order, along with salsa roja, beans, & rice (he got a double order of rice). He said this food was so good that he will drive back from Tuscaloosa, just to have it again.

Lastly, the prices are so reasonable especially for the high-quality of food that you receive. I really enjoyed Pinches Tacos and I’m going back probably this weekend lol!

http://pinchestacos.com/

Pinches Tacos on Urbanspoon

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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 »

New Restaurants

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on March 23, 2011

I have some exciting news about new restaurants that will be opening up in the Birmingham area, very soon. Check them out:

  • Momma Goldberg’s Deli and McKee’s Irish Pub will be opening in the new Cityville Condos on 20th Street South, near UAB. Each of these restaurants will offer indoor and outdoor patio seating. I’ve never had anything from McKee’s Irish Pub, but I do know that Momma G’s reminds me of my exciting college days at Auburn, and did I also mention that I love their salads, nachos, and sandwiches.
  • Traditions Restaurant at Park Place Towers, across from Linn Park and next to Sneaky Pete’s , just opened and they offer southern cooking with very reasonably priced daily meat-and-three lunch specials. Their breakfast features made-to-order omelets and fresh baked biscuits. Call 327-7999 for more info.


Diners will have a new restaurant option in the mid-town area of Downtown. Sweet Tea Restaurant is expected to open in April and will be located at the corner of 3rd Ave South and 22nd Street. Operator Mike Skaran says the restaurant will offer a southern inspired menu serving breakfast and a cafeteria style lunch, with table seating and an extended menu for dinner, which will include wine and cocktails. I can’t wait to see how a cafeteria style lunch restaurant is going to switch gears and serve wine and cocktails!

  • Izzo’s Illegal Burrito will open its first Alabama location at The Summit in Birmingham (former Coach storefront). The restaurant is a Mexican fast-casual concept that specializes in hand-rolled burritos, tacos, quesadillas and nachos from a made-from-scratch  kitchen. I’m eager to see how this is going to work out since there is already another Mexican restaurant (Chuy’s) located at The Summit.

 

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A Taste of France in Birmingham!

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on February 28, 2011

There are not too many French restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama, but tonight a group of 13 friends and I were fortunate enough to eat at one of them, Cafe de Paris. The restaurant is located in the Lakeview District, near St. Vincents Hospital.

Cafe de Paris is a quaint and quiet restaurant that is the brainchild of two local French chefs. Their goal is to make us, Southerners, aware of the exquisite flavors of French cuisine. Upon entering the restaurant, I felt like I was in good hands with our two waiters and the host; they answered our every whim and they all worked well together. The staff embraces a typical European attitude, which is to not rush customers in any way. This means the food was brought out at a leisurely pace and the staff made sure that we savored every moment of our visit. For example, between each course we waited for approximately 30-45 minutes for the next one. We definitely weren’t rushed by any means!

However, while we waited for our food the waiters kept bringing us baskets of homemade bread chips. The bread chips were small pieces of bread that were slightly crunchy but still very soft; the bread had somewhat of a sweet taste. The bread was served warm and we spread butter on top of each piece, for an extra flavor. I couldn’t get enough of this bread, it was excellent!

Furthermore, our group ordered from a special menu, that consisted of the following:

Appetizers:

Tomato Salad with chopped cherry tomatoes, a spring lettuce mix, and a lite vinaigrette. The person who had this dish says that it was ok, but she wasn’t a fan of the vinaigrette.

French Onion Soup with a french onion broth, chopped onions, topped off with  a piece of toasted bread (same bread as I mentioned above) and shredded cheddar melted cheese. Many people, including myself, ordered this dish and it received rave reviews. I was very pleased with the taste because I’m normally not a fan of French Onion Soup, but I really enjoyed this version.

The Shrimp Cocktail wasn’t on our special menu. It consisted of a nice silver bowl of salad(lettuce, tomato, avocado) and it had five medium sized steamed shrimp on the rim of the bowl. This dish was served with a special dipping sauce for the shrimp and I guess you could also use it as a salad dressing. Those who sampled this dish all agreed that the sauce had a very familiar taste. Furthermore, the person that ordered this appetizer wasn’t too pleased with the taste of the shrimp or the special dressing.

Stuffed Grape Leaves consisted of cooked grape leaves stuffed with tuna fish salad, and tomatoes. The grape leaves were topped off with caramelized onions. Not many people liked the taste of this dish, but I must say that I really enjoyed it.

Chicken Salad Twist consisted of a pesto grilled chicken salad on top of a ritz cracker. This appetizer was a hit that everyone loved.

Entrees:

Grilled Chateau Tender Beef consisted of medium strips of  grilled steak, roasted potatoes, steamed cabbage, grilled onions, and a special gravy. Everyone who ordered this dish, only had positive things to say about it. The steak was tender and seasoned well.

Crusted Tilapia consisted of a large piece of pan seared tilapia encrusted in bread crumbs (some people say they didn’t get enough fish), roasted potatoes, steamed cabbage, chopped tomatoes, grilled onions, and a special white sauce. I ordered this dish, and I must say that I’m very particular about any fish that I order, and this fish had a few bones in it. Personally, I can’t stand fish with bones because I’m constantly trying not to swallow one. Despite the bones being in the fish, the fish had a good taste and everything else was good. Everyone who ordered this felt the same way, especially about the few bones in the fish.

Pan Seared Salmon consisted of  medium sized  pieces of seared salmon, roasted potatoes, steamed cabbage, tomatoes, and a special sauce. Everyone who had this dish seemed to have been satisfied.

Desserts:

Bread Pudding consisted of homemade bread pudding with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, and chocolate & caramel swirls. I hate to say that none of us liked this dish, each person had their reasons, but my reasons were that it was hard, it didn’t have a good taste, and it wasn’t warm enough for my standards. Only one person ate it all, and that’s because he doesn’t like to waist food. In order to make up for this, our waiter, brought out another dessert for us to share. It was the Chocolate Truffle Cake and we all loved it! It was served hot and consisted of a chocolate cake filled with rich melting chocolate and topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Each person was able to get one bite of this dessert. I would definitely order this again!

Poached Pear in a Red Wine consisted of  a pear poached in red wine, topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzles of chocolate. Only one person ordered this dish because we all thought that the bread pudding was going to be amazing. The recipient of this dessert definitely enjoyed it, I sampled it, and I must say that it was rather tasty. I would also order this again.

Our visit to Cafe de Paris was filled with exciting new dishes and we enjoyed trying each one. Some of the food tasted wonderful and some of the food was not as good. It all boils down to personal taste! But I will say that the chefs at Cafe de Paris are passionate about making good food and they are willing to accommodate guests in any way that they can.

I really appreciated the wonderful customer service, and a highlight of the night was Serge (one of the chefs and owners of the restaurant) coming to visit our table after we ate, and he thanked us for visiting the restaurant in French, and then he translated what he said in English. The staff treated us like royalty and I had an exciting Parisian experience!

http://www.cafedeparis.us/

Café de Paris on Urbanspoon

Posted in Date Night, Downtown Eats, French | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »