bhamdining's Profile

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Tomato, Tomatillo, and Corn Salad with Avocado Dressing

I haven't made it so I hate having to assign a rating... I have a question. I'm not familiar with Fresno chiles; anyone have suggestions for a more readily available substitute?

May 18, 2012
bhamdining in Recipes

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Took these to an Easter gathering and they were a huge hit! I didn't have the pickled carrots on top but that didn't slow anybody down.

Apr 08, 2012
bhamdining in Recipes

Loud Music in Restaurants

Maybe I'm being an old fogy, but I hate the trend of loud restaurants with all these hard surfaces and high ceilings that bounce all the noise around. I really miss old-fashioned cozy, intimate, dimly lit restaurants with a little jazz playing in the background for romantic, candlelit dinners.

Apr 06, 2012
bhamdining in Features
2

Why Loire Wines Are Like the Movie "Moneyball"

We've been drinking Loire wines for a while now. My husband's theory is all the "good stuff" in France drains down the Loire (Europe's only wild river) and you can taste it in the wines. In order to get more complex California wines you have to spend a lot of money. We like the complexity and terroir of the Loire wines and many are quite affordable.

Feb 17, 2012
bhamdining in Features

Faux Pas: The Chef Was Texting

I think it depends on the restaurant. We enjoy sitting at the small "chef's counter" at one local restaurant, where the chef, an enthusiastic young guy, loves to talk about his creations when he gets a minute (and sometimes lets us be guinea pigs). Some of the line guys, the ones working right in front of us, seem to welcome the occasional question. But we don't interrupt when they're obviously slammed.

Feb 06, 2012
bhamdining in Features

Epic Christmas Feast: Lost Recipes of the Grand Hotels

My grandmother had more than one celery serving set from when raw celery was something special -- a long narrow shallow serving bowl for the stalks, and small individual dishes for salt for each diner.

Dec 03, 2011
bhamdining in Features

Oughta Be a Law: 10 Crimes Against Food

A martini without vermouth is not a martini, it is just gin (or vodka) shaken with ice! I also rarely order Manhattans out, because there's usually not enough vermouth, or they skip the bitters.

Oct 21, 2011
bhamdining in Features

How Many Fruits and Vegetables Should I Eat: A Visual Guide

When you smother vegetables with mayo, aren't you negating a lot of the health benefits?

May 26, 2011
bhamdining in Features

What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

White Castles are actually a guilty pleasure for me, probably because my family's from St. Louis (but clam strips! ugh!), but Krystal makes White Castles look positively fantastic!

May 05, 2011
bhamdining in Features

Max's Delicatessen revisited -- Birmingham

Love the liver, pastrami and tomato sandwich. And I think it's the only place in town where you can actually get a Chicago-style hot dog with the hot peppers and tomatoes and everything. It is a good thing this is not closer to our house because we would eat it way too much!

Jul 04, 2010
bhamdining in Central South

Looking for dishes in Birmingham area

Got the following question on our Bhamdining.com blog but I'm at a loss for an answer. Can Chowhounds help?

Can you tell me where (within a 30 mile radius) they have gazpacho soup on their summer menu and/or where we can purchase some to take home? Also are there any restaurant where we can order Snails in Black Bean Sauce?

Jul 04, 2010
bhamdining in Central South

Birmingham Getting a FLIP BURGER

No, I love the fries at 5 Guys. They are like homemade. And if you like your burgers basic, 5 Guys is good. (Haven't tried Flip yet.)

Jan 05, 2010
bhamdining in Central South

Moving to Birmingham, AL and need lots of advice (long)

I thought the sandwiches at Kool Korner were delicious (we had a Cuban and a chicken sandwich), and the service, for counter service, was excellent. I never go someplace until they've been open at least a month to avoid those new-restaurant snafus.

Oct 13, 2009
bhamdining in Central South

Moving to Birmingham, AL and need lots of advice (long)

We have had some fantastic meals at Satterfield's. If you haven't been in the past year or two since Haller Magee took over as chef, you should give it another try. He's young, enthusiastic and talented. Sit up at the chef's counter where you can chat with him -- he's almost frenetic, but if you let him know you'd like to try something more innovative, especially if it's not too busy, you never know what he might come up with just with what's on hand.

I love Highlands, and it is indeed the number one place I would send people, but Haller's approach tends to be a little different. Unlike so many of the chefs in this town, he is not from the Frank Stitt school, so he brings a different approach, including dishes that pay homage to New Orleans, where he lives for several years, and his native Mississippi.

Oct 13, 2009
bhamdining in Central South

Birmingham Better DIning w/children

We have a 7-year-old, and one of our favorite places is Silver Coin in Hoover. They are very welcoming of children, but at the same time it's not like going to a "family friendly" joint. Nice atmosphere. Indian families tend to eat later and linger over their food, so if you go at the more usual American time you never have to wait for a table.

Oct 01, 2009
bhamdining in Central South

Crunchy rice in jambalaya and similar dishes

Help! I'm a pretty good cook, and have no problem cooking plain rice. But whenever I try a rice recipe that has other stuff in it, like a jambalaya or a pilaf, the rice always has a hard crunchy center. If I add liquid and cook it until the center is done, by that point the outside is mushy. Anyone have any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Oct 01, 2009
bhamdining in Home Cooking

St. Louis bakery

We ended up doing McArthur's, requested a spice cake with cream cheese icing. Good, but a little dry, I thought, and not spicy enough for my taste.

Aug 13, 2009
bhamdining in General Midwest Archive

Surprise Dinner Parties

We used to have neighbors who loved food like we did and would often get together for a last-minute dinner. Sometimes it was basically potluck, and was always great fun.

Aug 13, 2009
bhamdining in Features

The Real McCoy of Syrups

Wow, single-source maple syrup! Haven't tried that, but I do prefer real maple syrup, and usually buy Grade B. It's less expensive and more flavorful. Even my 6-year-old prefer maple syrup to that Aunt Jemima stuff.

Jul 21, 2009
bhamdining in Features

What’s the Best Drink to Order in a Dive Bar?

Not thinking once, hubby one time ordered a Scotch in a rural Alabama bar. The bartender dug around and pulled out a very dusty bottle of some questionable brand. So he ordered a Crown instead. That they had plenty of, but they were incredulous that he didn't want it with Coke.

Jul 21, 2009
bhamdining in Features

A Starbucks in Sheep's Clothing

I'll have you know we have some excellent local coffee shops here in the Birmingham, Ala., area. Two even roast beans on premise. One of them, Primavera, got a 93 rating for one of their locally roasted coffees from www.coffeereview.com.

In fact when a Starbuck's opened around the corner from one of the local coffee shops a couple of years ago, locals rallied to the independent. The Starbucks was one of the ones closed in that big downsizing recently.

Jul 21, 2009
bhamdining in Features

St. Louis bakery

Looking for a nice bakery in the Webster/Kirkwood area to order a birthday cake for my Dad's 70th. His favorites are spice cake and carrot cake. Any suggestions?

Jul 15, 2009
bhamdining in General Midwest Archive

Birmingham Cheesehounds

I'd agree with the other posts here. V. Richard's is the best bet since Tria's gone. We do buy cheese at Whole Foods; the selection is larger, but it's generally pre-cut. You can ask for samples, and if you really want them to cut it fresh they will do it.

Jul 13, 2009
bhamdining in Central South

Birmingham -- Mr. Chen's

Finally went with hubby and daughter and was very impressed. We're not quite as adventurous as some of our fellow hounds here (sorry, couldn't quite handle the texture of the spicy pig ears), but found plenty to love. Definitely had the steam buns after reading the comments here, and they were delicious as promised. The pan-fried dumplings/pot stickers were great, too -- really homemade taste. The Kung Pao Chicken was a very good rendition, and I liked the eggplant with pork and basil hot pot, although that's a LOT of eggplant! I took about half of it home.

Read our review at http://www.bhamdining.com/mr-chens/.

Jul 13, 2009
bhamdining in Central South

Need St. Louis restaurant for birthday celebration

My dad is celebrating his 70th birthday and we're looking for a nice restaurant where we can make reservations on a Friday night in late July for a party of about 10, including a reasonably well behaved 7 year old. Something not too far from the Webster Groves/Kirkwood area would be nice. One in the party is a nearly-vegetarian (he will eat fish), and we also have diabetics. Suggestions? I don't live in the area and am trying to plan from afar.

Jun 24, 2009
bhamdining in General Midwest Archive

Birmingham AL - help from hounds?

If you're not trying to get 30 to 60 all in one restaurant, I'd definitely recommend Bettola (authentic Neopolitan style pizza), which is in the Pepper Place complex near Sloss Furnace. For some down-home meat-and-three and old-fashioned seafood dishes, try Niki's West near the farmer's market just north of downtown.

Lots of good restaurants in the Southside area just south of downtown. I'm sure you've had Highlands Bar and Grill recommended to you, also Chez FonFon next door, and Ocean and 26 around the corner, all in Five Points South. Little Savannah in the Forest Park area of Southside is small but great. Bottega, Veranda on Highland are near each other on Highland Avenue. A couple of pretty good barbecue joints in the area, including Jim 'N Nick's in Five Points and Golden Rule and Moe's Original both in Lakeview.

Homewood might not be too far afield; Jinsei has fantastic sushi but again is small. GianMarco's is great but fills up two weeks ahead of time.

You can read more about all these restaurants at www.bhamdining.com.

Jun 09, 2009
bhamdining in General South Archive

Does Dog Food Taste Better Than Spam?

They don't say, were these volunteers people who normally eat Pate and other liver-based foods? After all, liver can be an acquired taste. When I was a kid, my mom liked good ol' Oscar Mayer braunschweiger. I couldn't stand it. Today I'd happily eat it, albeit with a pretty good dose of brown mustard. If you don't normally eat and like liverwurst, your reaction might be a lot different from someone who does.

May 08, 2009
bhamdining in Features

Birmingham...Highlands Bar and Grill....

Not much around Ross Bridge, I'm afraid. One of my favorite restaurants, which I think gets overlooked, is Satterfield's in Cahaba Heights. A young, talented chef who offers his own take on dishes, including a lot of New Orleans-influenced. If you like Indian and want to do something a little different, Silver Coin in Hoover is delicious. Jim N' Nick's in Hoover just south of the Galleria is pretty good for barbecue. Tin Roof, off of I-65 at Valleydale exit, offers a variety of smoked meats and sauces. Pat James is not as good as it once was. My personal opinion is that Fox Valley is overrated. Check out www.bhamdining.com for more restaurant info.

May 02, 2009
bhamdining in General South Archive

Birmingham — New Jewish Deli

Went for a late lunch last Friday and loved it! One of the best Reubens I've ever had, incredibly tender and tasty corned beef piled high. And I liked the hearty thick-sliced rye, which was able to stand up to all the meat and dressing and kraut. The chopped liver and pastrami sandwich was also great, although actually just a bit less of the assertive liver might have made for a better balance. Knishes and brown gravy were delish, latke a bit on the done side and a little greasy (but it still disappeared). We'll definitely be back; I didn't have room to try the cheesecake!

Mar 09, 2009
bhamdining in General South Archive

Bham -- New French Place?

Yes, it is legal to bring your own wine to a restaurant, as long as they do not have a liquor license. However, it is illegal to bring wine to an establishment that DOES have a liquor license, although this is often ignored. (I checked into this recently with the ABC.) Yes, Alabama definitely has some weird liquor laws.

Jan 22, 2009
bhamdining in Central South