Wade on Birmingham

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‘Bizarre Foods America’ on Birmingham

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Chef Andrew Zimmern featured the Birmingham food scene in the most recent episode of “Bizarre Foods America.” It premiered Monday on the Travel Channel.

Zimmern visited the city in January to visit restaurants, a UAB lab and a pig farm, as seen in the clips below.

Video: Andrew Zimmern’s Top Five favorite Birmingham eats

Video: Visiting the Peanut Depot on Morris Avenue
in downtown Birmingham

Video: A pig farm just outside Birmingham

Video: Checking out Shindigs Food Truck and Hot and
Hot Fish Club with chef Chris Hastings

Video: Researchers at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham develop sea urchins in the lab.

Andrew Zimmern tours Birmingham

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Andrew Zimmern

Chef Andrew Zimmern filmed outings Jan. 15 through Thursday around Birmingham for his show, “Bizarre Foods America.”

See his journey narrated by him on social media, including a stop in Bayou La Batre beforehand.

Andrew Zimmern tours Birmingham

Chef Andrew Zimmern filmed outings Jan. 15-17, 2013, around Birmingham, Ala., for his show, "Bizarre Foods America." [http://bit.ly/YhQPwA] See his journey narrated by him on social media, including a stop in Bayou La Batre beforehand.

Storified by Wade Kwon· Tue, Jan 22 2013 08:55:19

List of Zimmern’s Birmingham stops on Foursquare
Andrew Zimmern was here #bhamChef Andrew Zimmern filmed outings Jan. 15-17, 2013, around Birmingham, Ala., for his show, "Bizarre Foods America." http://bit.ly/YhQPwA

Bayou La Batre

10pm in rural ‘Bama, dinner was TacoBell. Sour cream gun is same tool that makes spritz cookies and yes, the chalupa is a Bizarre FoodAndrew Zimmern
10 pound cow nose taken w bow …. It’s been a good night so far w warm fromt ahead of the cold snapchefaz
Sugar Rush [Facebook]
Donuts of the decade at Sugar Rush in Bayou La Batre Alabama …. Amazing find!chefaz
Oyster shucking house in Bayou la Batre…. Vietnamese community is culturally rich here and dominates the seafood trade in terms of employmentchefaz
Shrimp and fish traps along w Smell from porch tells me I am eating Vietnamese food… Appliances and scrap metal in yard remind me I am in the Southchefaz
Lunch in a Vietnamese home in Bayou La Batre. Fermented shrimp , fermented fish salad, pork belly with homemade shrimp paste…chefaz
Visual definition of a clusterfuck. Splitting crew and equipment en route to show location 2of 3.chefaz
Fermented shrimp from scratch. Pour sugar an fish sauce syrup over raw shrimp. Let sit in jar in sun for month. Add green papaya and garlic, store for 60 days in fridge and you have finished product at bottom left of pic. Insane condimentchefaz
.@kittenwithawhip @eatocracy This ones for you http://twitpic.com/bvaafeAndrew Zimmern
It was an honor to be a guide for the big hoss @chefaz and the #BizarreFoodsAmerica crew around #BayouLaBatre!vit_pham


Biology lesson at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Draining sperm from an east coast urchin at UAB…. Aquaculture!chefaz
14 day old urchin under electron microscope at UAB labschefaz
3 weeks old, urchin inverts itself and sprouts feelers and needles. Amazingchefaz
Mapping year old urchin feed trails in algae bedschefaz
Look closely between the needles and you can see the feet extended moving food to the urchin mouth. You never see that!chefaz
Urchin on right has feelers extended to grasp food and reposition its body. UAB research aimed to develop way to save this wild food by offering restocking and aquaculture options to a frighteningly popular market for these tasty critterschefaz
Fresh live urchin from UAB’s pilot program to create viable product to meet escalating demand for uni. The stuff is incredible. Game changer.chefaz
.@potlikker @johntedge @kittenwithawhip Lunch for one at Niki’s West in Birmingham…. A stunnerchefaz
Stewed tomatoes w toasted bread ‘dumplings’ at Niki’s might be tops in my book. I ate 2 bowls.chefaz
Real succotash …. Can’t stop eating it…Niki’s Westchefaz
@andrewzimmern @johntedge @potlikker HUMINAH! I’m gonna need to know more about that slaw sauce, sir.Kat Kinsman
@kittenwithawhip Have you not been B’ham? Niki’s has a finely shaved cabbage w salt and house made "real French" dressing that is amazingAndrew Zimmern
@andrewzimmern Ooooh! I went to B’ham but save for a Piggly Wiggly jaunt with @jennifervcole, didn’t get to explore. Gonna fix that in ’13.Kat Kinsman
Love Nikki’s West. @potlikker oral history for back story: http://southernfoodways.org/documentary/oh…@andrewzimmern @johntedge @kittenwithawhipJohn T Edge
Wanna see the Magic City? Check out @instagrambham , cool account that I stumbled on posting my own B’ham photos on @chefazAndrew Zimmern
Eat well & support #Alabama fishermen & foragers @HotnHotFishClub http://ow.ly/gQ1Tr #restaurantsAndrew Zimmern
Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q
Ribs at Miss Myra’schefaz
Entry way ….wall of fame of pigs at Miss Myra’s…. Can’t wait to try the chicken w white saucechefaz
Another hour and these are readychefaz
BBQ chicken at miss Myra’s in B’ham AL. Quite possibly best I have ever eaten… Amazing , check out the skin…!!chefaz
Miss Myra’s ribs…. Ray Sokolov called them the best he ever tasted… Can’t disagree. And the green beans are etherealchefaz
Best bbq chicken and best banana pudding I have ever eaten…top five ribs for sure, top ten in potato salad, green beans and slaw…incredible food at Miss Myra’s in B’hamchefaz
@andrewzimmern Thank you for choosing Miss Myras it was awesome having you and your crew to choose us to dine with thank you very muchMyra Wheat
@dauphinlover21 Thx Myra! Say hi to your dad and grandma for me , what a great time last mightAndrew Zimmern
Talking with chef Chris Hastings
Welcome to AL! “@andrewzimmern: Real succotash …. Can’t stop eating it…Niki’s West http://instagr.am/p/Ug9JASIK_1/”Chris Hastings
@chrishastings00 Great seeing you today! Looking forward to cooking with you tomorrow. Thrilled to be eating my way around your townAndrew Zimmern
@andrewzimmern This city is our little secret AZ. An honor to share it with you!Chris Hastings
Talking with Chad Fisher and chef Frank Stitt
It’s neat that @andrewzimmern’s been making the rounds in #Bham today. He’s at Ms. Myra’s now, one of my favs. Where would you send him?Chad Fisher
@RegsCoffeeHouse @ChadFisher77 @andrewzimmern @SliceBirmingham @dreamlandbbq @sawsbbq @littlesavannah I second those choices!Frank Stitt
@FrankStitt @RegsCoffeeHouse @ChadFisher77 @SliceBirmingham @dreamlandbbq @sawsbbq @littlesavannahFrank has my attention. Done.Andrew Zimmern
Talking with Justin Bieber
Both @andrewzimmern AND @justinbieber in Birmingham today. Twitter is going to explode.UAB Students
I think B’ham might not survive! RT @UABStudents: Both @andrewzimmern AND @justinbieber in Birmingham today. Twitter is going to explode.Andrew Zimmern
.@justinbieber You and I are both in B’ham today and tonight. Wanna grab some dinner later? Couple of places ya gotta see before you go.Andrew Zimmern
.@justinbieber You need to leave me your number when you leave a message on my phone, call back options blocked on your service plan.#kidsAndrew Zimmern
Gridlock at my hotel because of Bieber Fever in B’ham. Local Walgreens reports mascara scarcity at record levelsAndrew Zimmern
.@andrewzimmern, did you and @justinbieber ever meet up in Birmingham? The world wants to know!HuffPost Food
@HuffPostFood @justinbieber The Beebs flew in and out, and stood me up! Lesson learned, never make firm dinner plans with a teen idolAndrew Zimmern
Lunch at Red Pearl in B’ham. Great asian in back of SuperOriental marketchefaz
Red Pearl’s stellar eggplant and garlicchefaz
Red Pearl’s chile flecked chitlins with blood cake, tofu and pickled vegchefaz
Shindigs …. Superb B’ham food truck. Real. Good. Food.chefaz
Ras al Hanout braised goat on cous cous w foraged micro greens from Shindig!chefaz
Shindig’s fried chicken livers w grits, greens and satsuma beurre blancchefaz
@andrewzimmern Great time hanging out and cooking w/ you yesterday you and your team are amazing. Safe travels!Chris Hastings
@chrishastings00 pleasure was all mine. You have an amazing gift my friend.Pics rolling out this morning. Brilliant food, better companyAndrew Zimmern
Brassicas and other foraged greens at Hot & Hot courtesy of @chrishastings00chefaz
.@Chrishastings00 …Same greens on plate w grille mushrooms,pine meringue, mushroom taffy and Meyer lemon. Dish is called Walk in the Woods and comes from one foragers moment in time collecting one morning. Brilliant. Delicious.chefaz
.@chrishastings00 shrimp and grits with Benton ham and urchin saucechefaz
Hot & Hot pig skin noodle bowl from @chrishastings00chefaz
Bon white quail w blood sauce and offal forcemeat stuffed pasta from .@chrishastings00chefaz
Interview: 5 Questions with Hot & Hot Fish Club #Chef /Owner Chris Hastings. http://ow.ly/gU8eo #restaurants #alabamaAndrew Zimmern
Hot and Hot Fish ClubWhen Chris and Idie Hastings opened Hot and Hot Fish club in 1995 they were ahead of the farm-to-table craze, using locally sourced ingre…
Chris Hastings’ Alabama BouillabaisseFor the Seafood Broth 12 head-on large hoppers (or large pink shrimp) 12 snapper jowls 6 long, thin strips of orange peel, white pith rem…
Eagles restaurant in B’ham in shadow of Cipco factory… A lost era represented here… Amazing chow, scratch cooking, soulful and gorgeouschefaz
Neck bones on left, oxtail on right. Heavenly. Eagles restaurant. B’hamchefaz
.@johntedge @potlikker These neck bones and oxtails at Eagles in B’ham are as good as it gets. Stunners …chefaz
@andrewzimmern You’re a neck man from way back…John T Edge
Ain’t that the truth. Thinking of you gorgeous. RT @johntedge: @andrewzimmern You’re a neck man from way back…Andrew Zimmern
Lunch at Eagleschefaz
Real peach cobbler at Eagles . Check out the crust!chefaz
Thanks to @andrewzimmern and crew for stopping by and making our day!Lockerz
Here’s my post on @andrewzimmern’s visit to @EaglesCafe in B’ham today, w/ pix from @tamikabham http://bit.ly/Wkm7gSBob Carlton
Flurries in B’ham. Not a canned good left on grocery shelf anywhere. City braced for Snowmageddon.chefaz
Only place you find a bigger picture of @rodneyscottbbq than the one @jimnnicksbbq is in my house! Lunch is in play!chefaz
BBQ shoulder sandwich @jimnnicksbbq is in hall of fame IMHOchefaz
.@jimnnicksbbq brisket ribs pork turkey platter w sides… Thx Nick Pihakis, you are all about excellence!chefaz
Lemon pie @jimnnicksbbqchefaz
Birmingham snowshowers …once in a blue moonchefaz
Just spent last few hours bailing out my crew!Club raided by Bham PD, 13 dancers arrested | http://al.com http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/01/illegal_strip_club_raided_by_b.htmlAndrew Zimmern
Typical day in Alabama. Boudin noir from @FatBackTeam pigs & rosé. Thanks @cochonbutcher @jimnnicksbbq @andrewzimmernLockerz
@Angiemosier @FatBackTeam @cochonbutcher @jimnnicksbbq Thx to you all for an amazing day. Truly, you are all the gold standardAndrew Zimmern
.@cochonbutcher You two have now set a record! 3 bizarre foods eps… see you at the Super Bowl…chefaz
Hog heaven… Step one from @fatbackteamchefaz
Some hogs just taste better! @fatbackteam @cochonbutcher @jimnnicksbbqchefaz
Can’t beat that! @fatbackteam @cochonbutcher @jimnnicksbbqchefaz
Boom! @cochonbutcher @jimnnicksbbq @fatbackteamchefaz
Birmingham dinner event with guess who??? @jennifervcole in the house getting her goat groove on.chefaz
Thursday night private dinner club at Fish Market… Superb meal from George Sarris , note goat head in bottom right. Insane soup with yogurt and herbs…chefaz
Barns make the best sets thanks to @mrattnight and @tommystewardchefaz
Sweet Home Alabama. Thank you for an amazing week. From top to bottom a breathtaking and delicious culturechefaz

Wade Kwon is a communications consultant based in Birmingham, Ala. He has also been a journalist for 25 years.

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My day at Freshfully

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Working the grand opening at Birmingham’s newest grocery store

My day at Freshfully

Working the grand opening at Birmingham’s newest grocery store

Storified by Wade Kwon · Tue, May 08 2012 12:12:36

Gray skies are dreary but balloons are cheery! http://instagr.am/p/KKsay-Lxux/Freshfully
My friends Jen Barnett and Sam Brasseale launched their business Freshfully in 2011, a Birmingham-based site where shoppers can order boxes of produce, meat and pantry items, all from Alabama farmers.

Last week, they opened their first grocery store as the winners of Occupy Avondale, a contest offering 6 months free rent in a retail space across the street from Avondale Brewing Company.
I spent a few days volunteering in the Freshfully market to help them with their grand opening. Take a look at all the great community activity from my first day on Thursday …
Emily Brown gave the rundown on all 3 days’ worth of cooking, music and more for the grand opening celebration.
Freshfully – Birmingham | Freshfully Grand OpeningFreshfully Grand Opening. May 3-5, Avondale. By: Emily Brown | Posted on: 04/ 23/2012. C31641rorhe9d709. Thanks to all of our supporters…
My friend Tamika Moore of the Birmingham News shot a terrific gallery of photos from the grand opening, including the founders Sam and Jen. (Read Marty Swant’s accompanying story.)
Freshfully opens Avondale market | FacebookFacebook
Slinging radishes, serenading shoppers. (@ Freshfully w/ @atticusrominger) http://4sq.com/JWEPIXWade Kwon
We saw a steady (sometimes overwhelming) stream of shoppers and residents throughout the grand opening. At one point, the store became flooded with well-wishers for the official ribbon cutting. In addition, the Birmingham News, ABC 33/40 and Fox 6 were on hand to cover the ceremony.
Ribbon cutting! http://pic.twitter.com/kr0sDPm7thePiècedeRésistance
Freshfully Market Ribbon Cutting | FacebookFacebook
Congrats to the @freshfully team on their ribbon cutting today! Come down and try the local tastes. Yum http://ow.ly/i/BsAoBirmingham Mtn Radio
Occupy Avondale winner @Freshfully’s @jenbarnett being interviewed for grand opening. Congrats!MainStreetBirmingham
Before opening each morning, I helped sort the produce, ensuring that only the best ones filled the bins. (Not to worry, the leftovers went to shelters and compost bins.)

You won’t see shoppers at supermarkets sharing their finds often, but you will at Freshfully. They are genuinely excited to show off the market’s locally grown and made wares. (See more photos from fans on Freshfully’s Facebook page.)
Grand opening @freshfully http://instagr.am/p/KLIWtVMo_H/Mallory Brasseale
@scottschablow @MezzoEnekes Eat your heart out. Bought it @Freshfully. @BelleChevre http://pic.twitter.com/LHrQvbAxSheree Martin
Let us indulge in lettuce. #Freshfullydee
Cute AL basket I got for free at Freshfully http://instagr.am/p/KLlGL9K1Sf/SayBre Photography
Getting some local produce at Freshfully! @ Freshfully http://instagr.am/p/KLflv2JnNe/Ryan McAnulty
Officially for sale at Freshfully in Birmingham http://instagr.am/p/KLgGdMq1QJ/SayBre Photography
The celebration included community members giving out free samples, discussing their products and enjoying the happy crowds wandering the aisles.

The Shindigs food truck parked out front, helping to promote its new box lunches to be sold at Freshfully. Other restaurants such as Urban Cookhouse and Chez Lulu also have grab-and-go meals there. The Chez Lulu turkey sandwich was delicious — I wolfed it down in about 3 minutes on my very short break that day.
The Shindig’s truck is here! Also, get a dollar off a beer at Avondale Brewing with your Freshfully receipt!Freshfully
Plus some steamed buns from @ShindigsTrucks! @ Freshfully http://instagr.am/p/KLiQ_XpnOt/Ryan McAnulty
We have grab & go lunches! @ Freshfully http://instagr.am/p/KK4BDuLxif/Freshfully
Right now at Freshfully: music by Bert Trotman, Birmingham Mountain Radio live, and free Indie Candy!Freshfully
Out at the grand opening of @Freshfully! Stop by do meet our founders and farm manager! http://lockerz.com/s/206206948AVAIL
One of my favorite finds was Pièce de RésistanceSyrah Gilley, founder of the McCalla-based specialty cookie company, came by to show off her latest batch.

She decorates each sugar cookie by hand, and the results are spectacular. I was blown away by the logos for Avondale Brewing and Freshfully on the treats (and they went fast).
Freshfully cookie display! Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and helped celebrate the Grand Opening!… http://fb.me/1QzjS7U9hthePiècedeRésistance
Freshfully opens Avondale market | FacebookFacebook
OK, these are too cute– and yummy! Delicious ABC sugar cookies at Freshfully, hand made by Syrah Gilley of the… http://fb.me/1JmzPoXlwAvondale Brewing Co.
OK, these are too cute– and yummy! DeliciousFacebook
Being a neighborhood market means seeing neighbors stop by, of course. What better way to celebrate Freshfully’s debut than with friends old and new.
Fab @freshfully market stocked w/ Alabama goods! "Checked out" by @wadeontweets & @bjessicabush http://instagr.am/p/KLTQQCTWby/JamiesRabbits
@JamiesRabbits "checked out", ey?? I knew @WadeOnTweets Had a thing for you! @Freshfully is where it’s happenin’!ObjectivityRach
Le Grand Opening! (@ Freshfully w/ @solepixel) [pic]: http://4sq.com/K4Bk1kPierce
Grand Opening! (@ Freshfully w/ 2 others) [pic]: http://4sq.com/IIOCDcbrian dichiara
What could be better? @ShindigsTrucks and @CantinaonWheels dinner, @AvondaleBrewing beer, and @Freshfully’s grand opening.Jason Horn
GREAT first visit to @Freshfully. Super friendly staff, awesome products and finally got to chat with @WadeOnTweets and @FinerGrind, too!Amber Roberson
Now we’re having Jason Grover from Fridays on My Mind and Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale cocktails!Freshfully
Hot tea with local honey I bought at @freshfully on Tuesday. Mmmmm. #warmsthecocklesSherri Ross

Additional coverage …

Review of FreshfullyOn Wednesday before the Digital City movie event I went to visit Freshfully. This new business in the Avondale area of Birmingham feature…
Freshfully celebrates Avondale openingBIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC)- Two days after it opened its doors for business in the historic community of Avondale, Birmingham-based grocery st…
Freshfully opens its doorsThe owners of Freshfully won the Occupy Avondale contest and received six months free rent in the new store.
I posted 13 photos on Facebook in the album "Freshfully Market Ribbon Cutting" http://fb.me/1QtJdcLwnBuy Alabamas Best
A look inside the Freshfully market in AvondalePosted: Thursday, May 03, 2012, 9:13 PM Freshfully, a market for Alabama farmers to sell their local produce, cheese, meats, nuts, honey …

Additional photos

Wade and Ms. Peanut Felicia Jackson!
I’m not saying that Wade Kwon is doing …Facebook
Wade with Freshfully marketing director Jessica Bush.
Just dropped in (finally) to @freshfully, and look at who I ran in to.. @bjessicabush @wadeont @ Freshfully http://instagr.am/p/KOK8-bBfMp/LK Whitney
Wade and Jen
See the post at my site with a bonus video. And see more photos in my Facebook album.

Video: A look inside the Freshfully market

Hard to swallow: Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce

Monday, March 5th, 2012

A Lake Martin product has a “savage” and apparent blessing of supermarkets statewide

We know how great Alabama food is, and we have 10 more months to tell the story. But not every product shows us at our best.

The state tourism department declared 2012 as the Year of Alabama Food for its annual themed campaign. I have pointed out that the diversity is sorely lacking in the featured restaurants [Facebook | Google+], but we’ll save that discussion for another day. The state’s first food-themed travel campaign was in 2005.

While the Year of Alabama Food spotlights restaurants and their dishes, another lesser-known program has been running since 2004, Buy Alabama’s Best.

This ongoing campaign by the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers focuses on homegrown products. During this month and September, an undisclosed portion of proceeds from sales of these products goes to Children’s of Alabama. The Buy Alabama’s Best logo on supermarket shelves marks which ones are members.

For instance, this one.

Mike Elliott's BBQ Sauce label

The label for Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce, made in Lake Martin

This is Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce, made in Lake Martin.

With more than 10,000 products in a typical supermarket, you may have missed it. But alongside Milo’s sweet tea, Sister Schubert’s homemade rolls, Bud’s Best Cookies and John’s slaw dressing, Mike Elliott’s sauce is among the featured Alabama few.

Mike Elliott's BBQ Sauce, Western Supermarket, Southside

Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce, with the Buy Alabama’s Best logo,
on the shelf at Western Supermarket on Southside

(We’re not entirely sure Mike Elliott’s product is an official Buy Alabama’s Best member, since it’s not listed as a manufacturer on the website.)

Update March 6: Ellie Smotherman Taylor, executive director of the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association, said in an email: “Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce is not part of the AFMPA and also not affiliated with the Buy Alabama’s Best campaign.”

Mike Elliott, a k a Michael WilsonOriginally from Birmingham, Mike Elliott — a k a Michael Wilson — has lived in Lake Martin since 1997. He worked in the restaurant business and started bottling his sauce 1 year ago this month, according to his website.

Asked by email about his label, Elliott said, “My ‘logo’ is a long story. He is a character that has been with me for quite some time.

“He’s meant to portrait that once trying my sauce that it will turn you into a savage and will do anything to get some of that savory sauce.”

The “savage” depicted on the label echoes centuries-old stereotypes of the black community, ones that continue to rile in Alabama. In June, the corruption “bingo” trial revealed that state Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale had called black customers of a Greene County casino “aborigines.”  The remarks sparked public outrage and condemnation. (He apologized for his comments 3 months later and is currently running for Congress.)

Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce can be found across Alabama, including Winn Dixie. In Birmingham, it’s in Alabama Goods in Homewood, Piggly Wiggly on Clairmont, V. Richards in Forest Park and Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook and on Southside.

Mike Elliott's BBQ Sauce, Western Supermarket, Mountain Brook

Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce, at the Western Supermarket
in Mountain Brook

Mike Elliott's BBQ Sauce, V. Richards, Forest Park

Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce, on the meat/seafood display
case at V. Richards

Mike Elliott's BBQ Sauce, Piggly Wiggly, Clairmont

Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce, at the Piggly Wiggly on Clairmont

I have to wonder if the buyers for those supermarket chains ever considered if the label would offend customers.

As the state increases its food and dining promotion, shoppers will see even more of Alabama’s homegrown merchandise, a move Elliott supports.

“I’m an Alabama-made product,” he said. “I believe and support all Alabama-made products from Millie Ray’s sweet rolls to Dirt Road Gourmet and Conecuh Sausage. If Alabamians would look within, it’s amazing what this state has to offer.”

Update June 17: Mike Elliott sent the following via email:

“Folks, I’m really at awe here that this conversation is still going on. First of all, some of your comments are directed to me, Mike Elliott, as if I have been participating in this dialog, which I have not.

“Once Wade ambushed me into his article about my product and published his attempt to destroy what I had worked so hard for, I have not commented on any of the feeds. He lied to me when he made his first inquiry about my product. Then, when he made up such a ridiculous story about it, I decided not to participate.

“I appreciate all of the people that have stood behind me, because I had no intentions of offending or insulting anyone. Since most of my customers happen to be black it never crossed my mind that my logo would become so controversial. I see the faces and reactions of people that try my sauce when I participate in farmer and flea markets. The sauce is amazing, and despite people like Wade, it’s growing rapidly.

“But it’s not my intent to offend anyone. Even the ones that have nothing better to do then find something that they can make themselves feel like they are so above the rest. So my new label is out and now in most stores in the Lake Martin area.

“It will be in all of the Birmingham stores before the 4th of July. The new label is more colorful, more festive and unless you have a problem with roasting a pig, it should be unoffensive to everyone.”

Mike Elliott's BBQ Sauce 2012 label

New label for Mike Elliott’s BBQ Sauce

Wade’s note: Elliott contends that he was misled on the story and that it was “made up.” I stand by my reporting, still have the emails exchanged and have invited him to point out any errors for correction.

Birmingham Restaurant Week under way

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

A new promotion for local restaurants started this week.

Birmingham Restaurant Week

The first Birmingham Restaurant Week invites diners to sample dozens of restaurants and bars across town for special menus at fixed prices of $10.10, $20.10 and $30.10. Try sushi, pizza, Mediterranean, barbecue, French, Southern and other styles in this 9-day celebration, which started Friday and runs through Sept. 25.

The preview party took place Wednesday at Hotel Highland Conference Center in Five Points South. So popular was the event that food ran out by 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Birmingham Restaurant Week official site. Or visit the event’s Facebook page or Twitter account, @bhamrestweek.

Participating restaurants


  • Bottega
  • Century Restaurant and Bar
  • Dreamland BBQ
  • The H Bar
  • Highlands Bar and Grill
  • Jinsei
  • Little Savannah
  • Maki Fresh
  • Michael’s Restaurant
  • Ocean
  • Veranda on Highland


  • Bottletree Cafe
  • Brannon’s Public House
  • Cafe de Paris
  • Chez Fonfon
  • Cosmo’s Pizza
  • Crestline Seafood Company
  • Culinard Cafe at the Palisades
  • Dodiyos
  • The H Bar
  • Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
  • John’s City Diner
  • La Cocina
  • La Paz
  • Mafiaoza’s
  • Maki Fresh
  • Nabeel’s Cafe and Market
  • Rojo
  • Silvertron Cafe
  • Sol y Luna
  • 26
  • V. Richards
  • The Wine Loft


  • Bottega Cafe
  • Brannon’s Public House
  • Brick and Tin
  • Cosmo’s Pizza
  • Crestwood Coffee Company
  • Dodiyos
  • Dreamland BBQ
  • The Gardens Cafe by Kathy G
  • The H Bar
  • Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
  • La Cocina
  • Maki Fresh
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Michael’s Restaurant
  • Ted’s Restaurant
  • Urban Standard

Participating bars

  • Bottletree Cafe
  • The H Bar
  • The J. Clyde
  • Lou’s Pub

Which restaurant will you try? Let us know in the comments.


Birmingham’s Best Eats: Three lessons from the series

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Birmingham's Best Eats

Great food writing, like great food, leaves you stuffed, but still wanting more.

In August, we featured Birmingham’s Best Eats, a daily look at food around town. Our team of bloggers shared new recipes, cooking ideas, restaurants, even obscure food finds. I learned so much from them that I wanted to pass along the lessons from the series.

1. One of Birmingham’s hidden strengths is food. Living here makes it somewhat difficult to gain perspective, but Birmingham is a destination for dining. The metro area is written up regularly by travel writers in national and regional publications. Sure, the obligatory civil rights struggles are always mentioned, but usually followed by a rave about a Frank Stitt operation or a barbecue joint in town.

We continue to find our way as a city, in direction, in leadership, in education, in jobs. But in food, we are strong. We boast diversity in types, prices and ethnic choices. We continue to expand in both homegrown and chain restaurants.

And more importantly, we value the importance of knowing food well. What is food’s true cost? Where did it come from? How was it prepared? How do we make it better at home?

2. We have much more to learn (and teach) when it comes to food. Many of my friends are foodies. As such, it’s easy to assume everyone knows their way around the kitchen or a menu.

During our special Best Eats live chat, I was reminded that while interest has grown in different ways to nourish ourselves, uncertainty remains a common deterrent. So if you’re looking to try a new type of dining — Indian, sushi, soul food — you might not immediately run to the nearest restaurant and attempt to decipher the menu.

If you don’t cook regularly, you might feel overwhelmed at trying a complicated new recipe. Talking about all these Birmingham food options is fine and wonderful — unless everyone isn’t speaking the same language.

As food bloggers, we must continue to reach out to those who want to learn more but aren’t sure about the next step. And we must share everything we can about food, everything we love about growing it, cooking it, eating it.

If you want to learn more about food, ask questions. Have a friend go with you to that untried restaurant to help you make good choices on the menu. Take a class, visit a farmer’s market and write about your experiences online.

3. We’ve barely begun. We covered a lot of territory in 31 days. But we also left a lot unsaid.

  • What is a food desert, and how does this affect Birmingham? Who is working on the issue?
  • Who are the up-and-coming professional chefs in town?
  • Where are the best places to take cooking classes?
  • Which farmer’s market has the best selection? the best prices? the most variety?
  • What Birmingham needs in terms of dining options is …

Maybe you can be the next great food blogger to answer these questions.

If you love food, join us at the table. We have plenty of room.

What do you want to explore when it comes to Birmingham’s best eats? Let us know in the comments.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Photo by Kenny Louie, Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Cook-off! The Thomas Keller vs. Frank Stitt Challenge

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Pork loin, Frank Stitt

Roast Pork Loin Stuffed with Rosemary, Bacon, and Onions,
from a recipe in “Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.”
Photos by Jason Horn.

By Jason Horn

I make a dish a week (or so) from “Ad Hoc at Home,” by Thomas Keller, arguably America’s greatest chef. Everything’s made from scratch, using time- and labor-intensive methods.

Birmingham's Best EatsIt is my summertime personal quest, The Thomas Keller Challenge, documented on the Messy Epicure.

But how would Keller fare against Birmingham’s indisputably best chef, Frank Stitt?

The plan

  1. Choose similar recipes from “Ad Hoc at Home” and “Frank Stitt’s Southern Table” [aff. links]: stuffed pork roast and coconut cake.
  2. Spend a day-and-a-half in an orgy of cooking.
  3. Have foodie friends over to judge the fracas.

The results

I’m sad to report that our hometown contender put up a valiant effort, but came up short.

Both roasts were delicious, but Keller’s version was legendary, while Stitt’s recipe merely great. I think the brining in Keller’s instructions left the pork perfectly moist. The fig and balsamic jam stuffing was sublime as well.

Stitt won the cake battle, though only by a nose. Both versions had some issues: Keller’s cake is a bit dry, while Stitt’s cake collapsed after baking (this seven-layer cake had just five layers). Of the near-identical meringue frostings, Keller’s recipe is much easier to make. My ultimate coconut cake would pair Stitt’s pastry-cream filling and rich cake with Keller’s meringue.

Recipes, after the jump …


Birmingham’s Best Eats: Gulf shrimp bring sweetness to Greek salad

Monday, August 30th, 2010

By Brian Heptinstall

In creating a recipe that best represents Alabama, I couldn’t help but think of the shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. The quality of the shrimp hasn’t suffered one bit despite the recent BP oil spill disaster.

Birmingham's Best EatsI came up with Greek Salad with Gulf Shrimp, a simple, yet perfectly matched summer salad that takes a cue from Birmingham’s rich Greek culture.

The salad alone isn’t necessarily special, but the sweetness coming from the grilled shrimp adds another layer of flavor you can get only from the Gulf. For another great taste, try grilling these shrimp with Old Bay or Creole seasoning.

• • •

Greek Salad with Gulf Shrimp

Photo by Brian Heptinstall.

Greek Salad with Gulf Shrimp

  • Preparation time: 30-45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 4-6



  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup olive oil


  • 1 package spring salad mix
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 jar kalamata olives, pitted, sliced
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 3-5 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Dressing: In a bowl, add all ingredients together except the olive oil. Mix well, and slowly add in oil while constantly stirring. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, be sure to stir again as the dressing might separate.

Salad: Place the spring/romaine mix in a bowl big enough to toss the salad. Add feta, tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. Refrigerate.

(Use your judgment in ingredient quantities for the salad. We suggest making the salad in layers.)

Place shrimp on skewers. Right before placing the shrimp on hot grill, drizzle with olive oil and lightly dust with salt and pepper (Old Bay or Creole seasoning would also be good). Grill shrimp until done, and remove from heat. (Be careful not to burn yourself when taking shrimp off the skewers.)

Add shrimp to the salad. Pour dressing, toss and serve.

• • •


• • •

Brian HeptinstallGadsden native Brian Heptinstall (@bheptin) writes the AL.com blog Food and Farce and produces how-to videos featuring his favorite foods from Walt Disney World on A Taste of Disney. A classically trained chef, he has worked in several top kitchens including Mar-A-Lago, the Four Seasons, Il Cioppino Italian Restaurant and the PGA Resort and Spa.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Trattoria Centrale brunch means pizza topped with … an egg

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Trattoria Centrale

Trattoria Centrale offers breakfast on weekdays, but
Breakfast ’Za during Sunday brunch only. Photo by Brad Daly.

By Glenny Brock and Brad Daly

Pizza for breakfast is often inelegant. Even the finest pie can lose its piquancy after being stored overnight in cardboard next to desiccating lemon wedges and other odds and ends in your refrigerator.

Birmingham's Best EatsHappily, the guys at Trattoria Centrale have a decidedly different approach to early morning pizza: They put an egg on it.

“The egg functions as the sauce,” says Geoff Lockert, co-owner of the downtown pizzeria. “Even on a breakfast pizza, we could use other things for the sauce, but we feel the egg creates a good bit of texture.”

Trattoria Centrale serves Breakfast ’Za ($3 per slice) at Sunday brunch only. Lockert’s partner Brian Somershield starts the pie with dough, then adds diced potatoes, scallions, bacon, sausage, mozzarella, Fontina and Pecorino Romano. Each serving is made to order: Somershield fries an egg as soon as a slice goes in the oven.

“On the pickup, we pull the pizza out and put the egg on it right when the yolk is nice and runny,” Lockert says. “We add a little salt and pepper, and that’s it.”

The result is nearly a religious experience. Once you’ve had Trattoria Centrale-style pizza for breakfast, cold leftovers just won’t cut it.

• • •

Trattoria Centrale

  • 207 20th St. N., downtown [map]
  • (205) 202-5612
  • Trattoriacentrale.com
  • Hours: 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday

• • •


• • •

Glenny Brock

Brad DalyWriter Glenny Brock (@glennybrock) and photographer Brad Daly (@bwdaly) launched the Birmingham food blog Stay Hungry (@stayhungrybham) in June. He cooks, she writes, and they both eat, thoughtfully.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Cole porter — taking home slaw from Zoës Kitchen

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Zoe's Kitchen - slaw

The marinated slaw from Zoës Kitchen pairs
cabbage with feta. Photo by John-Bryan Hopkins.

By John-Bryan Hopkins

Nothing says Southern at a family get-together, potluck or cookout like a bowl of slaw sitting alongside deviled eggs and baked beans. Coleslaw seems to be a common thread that pulls these meals together.

Birmingham's Best Eats(“Coleslaw” is an anglicization of the Dutch word koolsla, a shortening of koolsalade, meaning “cabbage salad.”)

Unfortunately, I’ve never been a fan, being more of a meat-and-potatoes guy when it comes to Southern food. (Side dishes are those “other things” littering the table.) The first thing that comes to mind is the milky, mushy, chopped cabbage/carrot concoction — usually too sweet for my taste.

That was until I stumbled upon the marinated slaw at Zoës Kitchen a couple of years ago. My opinions completely changed in a single bite. The fresh, thinly sliced white cabbage paired with feta cheese and a little olive oil makes for a wonderful combination.

Soon, slaw went from a rare side dish to a staple in the refrigerator. It is not uncommon to find me visiting the Birmingham-based chain to replenish my stockpile of quart-size containers ($6.95).

Choosing the right side dish can make or break a meal. I haven’t found many things that don’t go well with this slaw. Zoës’ version hits it out of the ballpark and onto my plate every time.

• • •

Zoës Kitchen

• • •


• • •

John-Bryan HopkinsBirmingham’s John-Bryan Hopkins loves talking about food facts, their origins and, most of all, what food means to us.

His site/blog is Foodimentary (@Foodimentary).

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: The best barbecue in town? Miss Myra’s in Vestavia Hills

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Miss Myra's Pit Bar-B-Q

Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q serves chicken superior
to the other joints in Birmingham.
Photos by Jason Horn.

By Jason Horn

One barbecue rule we’ve found to be universal: The more anthropomorphic the pigs on the sign or in the restaurant, the better the food. Don’t laugh, it’s true.

Birmingham's Best EatsMiss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q has shelves covered with dozens of pigs, doing all kinds of human activities. This red-roofed cathedral of smoked chicken sits just a couple blocks from the Summit shopping center, in the Cahaba Heights section of Vestavia Hills.

Inside, the place resembles all great barbecue joints: a little dingy, a little dark and featuring at least two photos of the legendary Bear.

But the food.

It’s chicken that makes Miss Myra’s the best in town. This restaurant’s version is five times smokier than anyone else’s, perfectly juicy and the reason Alabama white sauce was invented. (That’s a barbecue sauce based in mayonnaise, rather than tomato sauce.) A dark-meat plate ($6.25) consists of a leg and thigh, bread, a pickle and two side dishes.

Make sure to order a deviled egg for one side dish. They’re the absolute best we’ve ever had: nice and mustard-tangy but still creamy and dense.

And don’t forget a slice of home-style pie ($2.75). Four or five kinds are on display daily, from Key lime to coconut to a lemon meringue that’s a good 4 inches tall. All are delicious.

Miss Myra's Pit Bar-B-Q

Key lime pie is one of the handful of varieties
available at Miss Myra’s every day.

• • •

Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q

  • 3278 Cahaba Heights Road, Vestavia Hills [map]
  • (205) 967-6004
  • Missmyrasbbq.com
  • Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday

• • •


• • •

Jason HornJason Horn (@messyepicure) is a Birmingham writer, sometime culinary student and big fan of zombie movies who blogs at The Messy Epicure.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: The beginner’s guide to Birmingham-area Asian grocery stores

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Asian groceries

Stock your pantry with the right ingredients by
exploring the Asian markets across Birmingham.
Photo by Jen Barnett.

By Jen Barnett

The Birmingham grocery-scape has become increasingly dotted with Asian, Latin and other ethnic markets. Foreign by nature for many of us, they can seem especially intimidating if you’re accustomed to today’s massive chain supermarkets, where products are mostly familiar and layouts are homogeneously streamlined to move you from buggies to produce to meat.

Birmingham's Best EatsWhy would you need to visit an Asian market anyway? After all, Publix has rice noodles and coconut milk.

But it carries only one brand of coconut milk, one kind of rice noodle. It’s like buying groceries at the gas station.

Plus, the convenience-store selection also carries convenience-store prices. Shopping at the Asian market can save you 20 percent or more on ingredients such as sticky rice, seaweed wraps and fish sauce.

(One caveat to newbies: Some markets have a unique fishy smell you might not be used to. Tolerable, maybe, but not always conducive to browsing.)

Asian recipes are often quick and easy, especially if you have ingredients on hand. We visited several Asian grocery stores across town and compiled this list of favorite markets to get you started.

Asian Super Market

  • 3065 Lorna Road, Ste. D, Hoover [map]
  • (205) 822-0140
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Note: Very friendly owner who will answer any questions.

Super Oriental Market

  • 243 West Valley Ave., Homewood [map]
  • (205) 945-9558
  • Superorientalmarket.com
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
  • Note: Huge store with food plus gifts, cookware, appliances and the Red Pearl Restaurant.

Chai’s Oriental Food Store

  • 2133 Seventh Ave. S., Southside [map]
  • (205) 324-4873
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Note: Nice people in a small shop next to Thai House, which is also recommended.

Asian Food Market

  • 22 Green Springs Highway, Homewood [map]
  • (205) 941-1009
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday
  • Note: Small Korean restaurant next door with affordable prices and friendly owners.

• • •


• • •

Jen BarnettJen Barnett is the managing editor of VisitSouth.com, a travel hub with tips on where to stay, what to do and where to eat in the South. Her favorite dish in Birmingham is her mom’s fresh veggie plate, but she didn’t bring enough for everyone, so she won’t mention it again.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Tailgating, the Magic City way

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

tailgate party

Whether at the stadium or in your back yard,
bring a little Birmingham to your tailgate party.
Photo by Richelle Antipolo (CC).

By Sean Kelley

With college football season starting‚ it’s time to tailgate. Whether you’re headed to the Plains, tailgating in T-Town, cooking out in town or just gathering around the HD in your living room, serve a little Birmingham to your guests.

Birmingham's Best EatsMeat: Nothing says class like steak at a tailgate party. But before you reach for the A1, consider dressing up your beef with Dale’s Seasoning, first bottled in Birmingham in 1946 and works on steak, hamburger and chicken.

Serving barbecue instead? Several Birmingham barbecue joints sell their sauces at the register or in supermarkets. Our favorite is Saw’s BBQ in Homewood, but you can also get sauce from Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q in Bessemer and Golden Rule Bar-B-Q, among others.

Chips and dip: Nothing says football in the South like Golden Flake. Seriously, the snack food company has sponsored everyone from the Bear to Gene Chizik. Plus, its potato chips have been a Birmingham tradition since 1923. And while Auburn and Alabama may no longer play in Magic City, Golden Flake still does.

And what better to accompany your chip than a dip that’s all Birmingham? Pick up a tub of Party Dip from Barber’s Dairy from the grocery store.

Side dish: While you’re at the market, grab a head of cabbage and a bottle of John’s Famous Angel Hair Slaw and Salad Dressing, created by Birmingham restaurateur John Proferis. Just be sure to slice your cabbage thin.

Dessert: Put out a bowl of Bud’s Best Cookies, a Birmingham tradition for more than 40 years. Or serve a treat from one of Birmingham’s distinctive bakeries. Pick up a dozen cupcakes from Urban Standard downtown or a tailgating party tray from Savage’s Bakery in Homewood, themed for your team.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready for kickoff, Birmingham-style.

• • •


• • •

Sean KelleySean Kelley (@seankelley) is a Birmingham health writer and food lover as well as writer, editor and online content manager for Everwell.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Max’s Delicatessen — anatomy of a Reuben

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Max's Delicatessen - Reuben sandwich

At Max’s Delicatessen at the Colonnade, the regular Reuben
comes with corned beef and Russian dressing.
Photo by Brad Daly.

By Glenny Brock and Brad Daly

Taking inspiration from the great delis of Detroit and New York, Max’s Delicatessen at the Colonnade features more than 40 sandwiches. But the standout on the menu is the Reuben ($8.99), which comes with a pickle slice and choice of cole slaw, fresh fruit or potato salad.

Birmingham's Best EatsThe sandwich, always on rye, includes a combination of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The difference is in the dressing: Some delis serve it with Thousand Island, others use Russian. Max’s is one of the latter, but with three variations. The regular Reuben comes with Russian dressing. The Russian Reuben features pastrami instead of corned beef.

And the Rachel is a smoked turkey sandwich dressed like a Reuben. (Max’s doesn’t offer the variation known as the Southern Reuben, one slathered in barbecue sauce.)

The massive sandwich has a range of piquant flavors: savory and mildly spicy meat, tart dressing and mellow rye. These tastes combine into something distinctive and delicious. Perhaps the only way the sandwich comes up short is by being too tall — unless you pull off some of the meat, it’s the kind of sandwich you have to eat with a knife and fork.

While the menu has a few vegetarian options, most of the setups are meant for meat-lovers. The three dozen non-Reuben sandwiches fall under the combination sandwiches, classic sandwiches or open faces. Other fare includes soups, salads, hamburgers and hot dogs.

• • •

Max’s Delicatessen

  • The Colonnade, U.S. 280 and I-459 [map]
  • (205) 968-7600
  • Maxsdelionline.com
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week

• • •


Video: In the kitchen at Max’s Delicatessen.

• • •

Glenny Brock

Brad DalyWriter Glenny Brock (@glennybrock) and photographer Brad Daly (@bwdaly) launched the Birmingham food blog Stay Hungry (@stayhungrybham) in June. He cooks, she writes, and they both eat, thoughtfully.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Nabeel’s Cafe in Homewood offers fine authentic Greek fare

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Nabeel's Cafe and Market, Homewood, Alabama

The moussaka at Nabeel’s Café in Homewood
is comforting and authentic. Photos by Celeste Ward.

By Celeste Ward

Nabeel’s Café constantly bustles with happy patrons for a reason: The food is authentic, fresh and lip-smackingly delicious.

Birmingham's Best EatsUpon stepping through the doors of the Homewood restaurant, you’re transported to a cozy cafe reminiscent of those in Europe. The atmosphere is casual, intimate and charming; the staff, equally wonderful. Even the private booths make the experience more enjoyable.

You’re sure to find something to suit your fancy on the extensive menu of Greek and Mediterranean fare. We were certainly smitten from the start.

Nabeel's Cafe and Market, Homewood, Alabama

The bruschetta was one of the highlights of our evening.

Nabeel's Cafe and Market, Homewood, Alabama

The Greek salad with grilled chicken tastes fresh and scrumptious.

For dinner, we started with the bruschetta ($7.95), without a doubt, the best we’ve ever had. Fried eggplant is the star of the dish, paired beautifully with the fresh basil, tomatoes, feta and roasted peppers from northern Greece. We also sipped on a refreshing glass of iced mint tea ($1.89).

The moussaka ($9.95) was fabulous! This eggplant-ground beef casserole tasted like a closely guarded family recipe. It comes with a small Greek salad on the side.

We also had an entree-size Greek salad topped with grilled chicken ($7.95), piled high with classic ingredients, including fresh pita wedges and the most amazing kalamata olives you’ll ever eat.

We ended with a little piece of heaven, the finest tiramisu ($4.95) around, pictured at left.

While there, don’t miss a visit to the adjoining market which has a plethora of the best international ingredients available.

• • •

Nabeel’s Café and Market

  • 1706 Oxmoor Road, Homewood [map]
  • (205) 879-9292
  • Nabeels.com
  • Hours: 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday (market open 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday).

• • •


• • •

Celeste WardCeleste Ward is a Birmingham blogger passionate about food and photography. Her food blog Sugar and Spice by Celeste, founded in 2007, has been featured on the Cooking Channel website and AL.com.

• • •

Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!