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One of my new favorite lunch spots: Edgar’s Bakery

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on February 12, 2013

When you hear Edgar’s Bakery you probably think of their popular Strawberry or Caramel cake! But I think of how its become one of my new favorite lunch spots. The atmosphere is cozy, prices reasonable, and the sandwiches are delicious; and to make it easier, there are several locations around town for you to visit.

The first time I went there for lunch, I ordered The “T” Bird which consists of Hickory smoked turkey, mozzarella cheese, Applewood-smoked bacon, leaf lettuce & ripe tomatoes on a scratch made and toasted challah bread. And it comes with two sides, all for $6.95 plus tax. My sides were fresh fruit and potato chips. I really enjoyed the fresh sweet taste of the challah bread.

photo(74)

Last week, I ordered the Cranapple Jack which consists of Hickory smoked turkey, Applewood smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, sweet apple butter & leaf lettuce on cranberry walnut bread. It also comes with two sides, all for $7.45 plus tax. This time my sides were pasta salad and fresh fruit. I was in the mood for a toasted sandwich so I asked the cook to toast the cranberry walnut bread and I think it made the sandwich taste even better. This is my favorite sandwich and I want it again, I might even go back this week to get it lol. I would also order the pasta salad again.

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Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Edgar’s cakes but they have plenty of them for you to choose from. Anyway, definitely stop by Edgar’s Bakery for a wholesome tasty lunch, and a plethora of other options for dessert.

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El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on April 30, 2012

El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar is currently a “happenin” spot, in downtown Birmingham, that serves authentic multi-regional Mexican cuisine! I recently dined there on a Friday night and the crowd spilled onto the sidewalk; fortunately, I beat the crowd and didn’t have to wait. This restaurante is not that big, but large enough. The atmosphere and food are so vibrant and authentic that it leaves people wishing the space was a bit larger. Anyway, my large party and I sat in the front of the restaurant in what I call the “lounge/appetizer” area.

We ordered appetizers and drinks first. I had the fresh tortilla chips, guacamole, and the El Barrio Margarita. All of this was delicious! The chips were crispy & hot with just the right amount of salt, the guacamole was of the perfect consistency. The signature margarita was ok, but I really enjoyed the Grapefruit Margarita with extra simple syrup, the best.

For my entree I had the Roasted Chile Relleno which consisted of a poblano pepper stuffed with black beans, cactus, monterey jack cheese & roasted garlic cream; all served over a bed of Spanish rice. Even though this dish didn’t consist of any meat, it was exceptional. I will definitely be ordering it again.

The prices were reasonable and the customer service that we received was excellent, despite the large crowd. The only issue I had was finding a parking space. Furthermore, El Barrio Restaurante Y Bar brings somewhat of a new flavor and vibe to the city of Birmingham and I definitely recommend that you give it a try!

El Barrio on Urbanspoon

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

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 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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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 »

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 »

Spoonfed Grill (The Food Truck)

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on January 25, 2011

Spoonfed Grill is the beginning of a new food concept in Birmingham; basically, the food comes to you. This mobile restaurant truck is colorful, has a large flat screen tv, serves “Nuvo Mexican-American” cuisine, and the menu changes almost daily.

In order to find out where Spoonfed Grill will be for the day, you must go to their website or find them on twitter; they always tweet their locations. But they spend much of their time at the corner of 5th Avenue North and 20th Street North (in front of the Wells Fargo skyscraper).

Spoonfed Grill has reasonable prices, for example, my Apple Cranberry Quesadilla, Cilantro Lime Rice and drink only cost $9.

  • Apple Cranberry Quesadilla: goat cheese, grilled quesadilla bread, balsamic roasted red onions, grilled steak, sauteed apples

Finally, they are open for breakfast, lunch, and are available to cater your events.

 

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

Classic Italian at “GianMarco’s”

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on November 13, 2010

Classic Italian food, in an intimate setting. This is what I experienced at GianMarco’s, when I had two special friends visit Birmingham. They wanted to try a local Italian restaurant, not a chain restaurant, and this was one of the first places that I thought of.

GianMarco’s is located in the neighborhood of Edgewood (near Homewood).

The interior almost reminds me of a “classic mob scene” in New York, specifically the movie “The Godfather”. However, a more modernized version. It’s a white table-cloth restaurant, but yet the atmosphere is casual. The expansive bar is in the small half of the restaurant, and the dining room is in the large half. All of the seats, in the dining room, allow patrons to view the cooks preparing meals in the kitchen.

I was the first person to arrive at our dinner, at GianMarco’s. The host took me to our table, which was in the middle of the restaurant; allowing me to see everyone and everything. Not long after I sat down, our waiter came over and placed a black cloth napkin in my lap, and asked me what I wanted to drink. Despite being at a fine Italian restaurant, I wanted an alcoholic beverage other than wine, something classy & unique, but I didn’t see anything on the menu. So the waiter had the bartender make me a special drink called a “Washington Apple”.

It reminded me of a “Sour Apple Martini” except it was red in color, and had more of a fruity/apple taste. I really enjoyed it, and the waiter made me feel extra special; this definitely gave him some points in my book.

Eventually my friends, from Auburn & Huntsville, arrived. The waiter placed the black cloth napkins in their laps as well, and took their drink orders. When he came back with the drinks, he brought a basket of freshly made warm Italian Bread, a vase of olive oil, and a bowl of salt.

We put a little olive oil on a plate, and sprinkled salt & pepper in the olive oil. This became the dip for our Italian Bread. We enjoyed dipping our fresh bread in this mixture.

Next the waiter took our antipasti (appetizer) and entree orders.

For an antipasti, we ordered the Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Parmesan, basil and crostini.

The dip was served warm, and the crostini (bread chips) were crunchy & salty. I enjoyed the subtle garlic taste of the dip, and I’m glad that it wasn’t filled with too many artichokes; I’m not a big fan of them.

After catching up with each others lives, it was time for our entrees to come out. My friend Katherine, ordered the “RIGATONI AI QUATTRO FORMAGGI asiago, fontina, gorgonzola and mozzarella; simmered in cream with prosciutto and fresh sage .”

She said this dish, itself, was worth the drive to Birmingham. I was so pleased to hear that excellent complement.

Her mom had the “LINGUINE CLAM SAUCE littleneck clams steamed in garlic, evo, white wine and Red chili flake finished with parsley and basil .”

She really enjoyed this dish. Furthermore, she said that his was some of the best Italian food that she has ever eaten.

I kept it simple and ordered the “FETTUCCINE ALFREDO with Shrimp”. I wasn’t in the mood for anything too complicated.

This entree was so delicious, the Alfredo sauce was extremely creamy, the noodles seemed to almost be homemade because of their tender/yet soft texture. And even though there weren’t too many shrimp in this particular dish, they were large enough to make up for the lack of; these shrimp were freshly caught from the Gulf of Mexico. I’m also pleased to say that this whole dish was seasoned to perfection, allowing me to enjoy every minute of it. Even though this was a trite dish, it definitely didn’t have a trite taste. For a special touch, I had the waiter add some fresh Parmesan cheese on top.

Since we were all satisfied with our entrees, we wanted to get dessert but we were each too full to order one per self. So we shared the “APPLE CROSTATA WITH CINNAMON GELATO AND CARMEL.”


It was “bellisimo” at its finest! This was a perfect twist to the standard apple pie with vanilla ice cream. The dessert was served warm with cinnamon gelato on the top and caramel drizzled all over. I must admit that it was really sweet, but we enjoyed every bite.

GianMarco’s was the perfect destination for my out-of-town guests; they enjoyed the ambiance, the impeccable customer service, and the succulent food. I would say that the price point is moderate to expensive, however, what we had was well worth every penny. And if you plan on visiting,  please make reservations ahead of time.

http://www.birminghamrestaurants.com/guide.asp?action=menu&rid=142197

Where The Locals Eat featured blog

GianMarco's on Urbanspoon

Posted in Italian, Upscale | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »