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BHM - Current favorite, light(er) dishes this summer at local restaurants?

I just had the Summer Salad (field peas, corn, tomatoes and cucumbers in a preserved lemon vinaigrette) with shrimp from Shindigs. It was excellent, and was very light.

Jul 10, 2012
pinotboy in Central South

Monday Business Lunch during December - Birmingham

Bottega Cafe is open for lunch on Mondays, but I don't think they take reservations.

Dec 08, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham...Best choice of cured meats

Yes, it is going in the space next door to the restaurant. But construction has been running way behind schedule.

Nov 21, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - Favorite "cheap" eats/dishes?

Downtown on 20th Street in between 3rd and 2nd Avenues North.

Jul 05, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - Favorite "cheap" eats/dishes?

A couple of weeks ago I came across an $8.00 dish that needed to be added to this old thread: The bucatini at Trattoria Centrale (formerly Za Za), made with sweet corn, bacon, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese cream. Great stuff! It is the Friday lunch special (and is only served on that day) over the summer.

Jun 29, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham: Chez Fon Fon Wins Best Burger

Fon Fon absolutely deserved the win. If they have a contest for best fries, it ought to win that as well.

Jun 10, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Pete's Famous Hot Dogs in Bham, AL - owner dies unexpectedly

Eating at Pete's was always an experience. Gus could be a bit like Seinfled's "Soup Nazi." Many times I would go in and order a "special" dog and he would ask, "Hey buddy, are you going to have a pint of buttermilk with your hot dog?" (A lot of the old timers would order exactly that, although the thought of buttermilk with a hot dog made me nauseous).

When he asked that he knew full well that I was going to order a Grapico, which I had been doing for years. It was just his little way of trying to have some fun with his customers.

I am not sure that I agree with the sentiment about his family keeping it going, as a good bit of the attraction of the place was Gus himself. Rest in peace.

Apr 06, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham: GianMarco's

BD,

Glad to hear that you had such a good experience. I live in Edgewood and am at GianMarco's once a week or so--regulars like me always sit at the bar so that we don't have to make a reservation. However, we also know that, depending on the crowd that evening, you may not find a seat if you are not there by @ 5:30.

I have been eating there on avearge a couple of times a month since the restaurant opened 8 years ago and I have found the food and service to be consistently top-notch.

Feb 22, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Hot and Hot -- first visit

H&H is not really seafood-focused, per se. The name is a bit misleading, as it comes from the name of Hastings' great-grandfather's mens' club (I think I have that right). I would say that they are known as much for their wild game dishes as they are for the seafood dishes.

I have seen people order two apps there instead of a main, so I don't think they would have any problem with you doing that. You really miss out if you skip dessert there; the doughnuts are excellent, but my absolute favorite is the chocolate souffle with creme anglaise. I almost never end a meal there without the souffle.

Feb 21, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Alabaster Area

I would put Bettola in the same class with GianMarco's and Bottega. Although they were initially known primarily for their Neapolitan-style pizza, they also do a really good job with their pasta dishes.

If you work downtown, it is convenient to stop by Pepper Place on your way home for an early dinner.

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Bettola
2901 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Jan 11, 2011
pinotboy in Central South

Pre-1980 Hot Dog Joints In Birmingham Alabama

Chef,

I second Gus's--very good dogs. What you say about Pete's Famous is probably accurate--the old gray mare may not be what she once was. But, it's probably worth a trip just to see the owner, Gus Koutroulakis. In some ways, he is like Birmingham's own version of the "Soup Nazi."

Here is a link to a web site that lists various hot dog joints around the country:

http://hotdogshops.com/AL-CT.html

It is incomplete at best, but you might see a name or two listed you want to try.

Dec 20, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham Downtown lunch on Saturday

Bottletree, which is in Avondale (very close to downtown), is open for lunch on Saturdays and is very good. See: http://www.thebottletree.com/btmenu.html

As bovinekid points out, Urban Standard is open as well. If you are into hot dogs, two longtime establishments, Pete's Famous and Gus's, are also open. Beyond that, not much else will be open on Saturday.

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Urban Standard
Birmingham, AL, Birmingham, AL

Dec 09, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - Bettola's New Sister, Lack of a Full-Time Sommelier, and Chocolate Block

Cantina is on the other side. If you are facing Bettola, then the new addition is to the right. I think that is the space where Zoe's corporate offices were.

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Bettola
2901 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Aug 13, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - Bettola's New Sister, Lack of a Full-Time Sommelier, and Chocolate Block

They are. I have never seen another grocery store where you can get the type of help that Western provides when it comes to vino.

Aug 13, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - Bettola's New Sister, Lack of a Full-Time Sommelier, and Chocolate Block

Bettola's "new sister" will be next door to the existing space and has been under construction for a while. I forgot to ask Jim the last time I was in there when it will open, but will check with him the next time I am there.

As far as I know, there is not a restaurant in town that has a sommelier. Copper Grill kinda/sorta had one, but as you point out, it has been closed for years.

As a wine geek, I can tell you that you are not missing a great deal with Chocolate Block. It is a perfectly fine Syrah/Grenache/Cabernet blend, but I don't know what all the fuss is about. I actually think that a lot of people are in love with it for no reason other than the name.

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Bettola
2901 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Aug 12, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham: Brick & Tin

Been twice. It is excellent! He bakes his own bread, and it shows; in some ways, the bread is actually the star of the show.

Don't go there expecting an enormous sandwich, or you will be disappointed. He does not load up the sandwiches with a lot of meat; rather, he uses a judicious amount of top-notch ingredients. I have had the Catalan (serrano ham, manchego cheese and heirloom tomatoes) and the Cuban (slow-roasted pork shoulder, country ham, pickled pepper relish and Gruyere cheese) and loved both of them.

Get there early (no later than 11:30). The word has gotten out about it, and they are absolutely slammed by noon.

Jul 16, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham -- Cafe de Paris

The French place that was in the space currently occupied by Fire was Cafe Julien. Prior to moving to Crestline, Cafe Julien had previously been in a strip mall on Highway 31 in Vestavia. It did not last long in Crestline--I think it closed shortly after 9/11 when restaurant business declined sharply. One of the owners, Alain Ehrhardt, went on to open Jean Rene's thereafter.

Big Daddy, I agree with your comments above about Cafe de Paris: It is pretty good, but they are a little too high for what you get. Then again, they are not the only restaurant in town with that pricing philosophy.

Jul 13, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham -- Cafe de Paris

The French place you speak of in Vestavia was Jean Rene's. It was in the space that Sekisui is now in (assuming it is still there--have not been there in years). They had a fantastic lobster bisque, and they did a really good job with venison, duck and other wild game.

I miss that place.

Jul 12, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Velma's Place: Trussville Alabama

I have been once or twice, but was not even aware that they serve food. It is basically a beer joint. There was karaoke going on when I was there, if my beer-soaked memory serves me well.

Jul 08, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Best Birmingham restaurant open Sunday, July 4? Brunch OR dinner

I would go with Highlands over Hot and Hot for Saturday night dinner. Although Hot and Hot is capable of matching Highlands on a good night, it is a lot more inconsistent in my experience.

Sunday brunch:

Chez Lulu--http://www.chezlulu.us/ (They are also open for dinner on Sunday
)Trattoria Centrale--http://zazabirmingham.com/
Dyron's--http://www.dyronslowcountry.com/Dyron...

Sunday dinner:

Fire--http://www.firebirmingham.com/?page_i... (Also open for Sunday brunch
)Jinsei--http://www.birminghamrestaurants.com/...

Although the places above are usually open on Sundays, I strongly suggest that you call ahead to make sure they are this Sunday in light of Independence Day.

Jul 02, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Joe Patti's Seafood.

I think we may be getting close to the referee throwing a flag for "piling on" and assessing us with a 15-yard penalty. :)

May 16, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Taco Truck in Tarrant AL

It is good to know that there is more than one taco truck in the Birmingham area. Prior to your post, the only taco truck I was aware of is on West Valley Avenue in Homewood (formally known as Taqueria Guzman). They have the best tacos I have had in town (I like them slightly better than the ones at Gordo's).

But, I will have to make a trip to Tarrant for a little comparison. Thanks for the heads-up.

Apr 28, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birthday Dinner in Birmingham

I eat at both places on a regular basis, and they are both excellent. I would describe the atmosphere at both place as upscale casual. Bettola has more of a hip, youthful vibe (if that is what you are looking for).

Also, don't feel as though you are locked in to pizza at Bettola--the pasta and other entrees there are top-notch too.

If you want to go to GianMarco's this weekend, it may be too late to get a reservation (they tend to book up a week in advance). I would call today to check. Bettola does not take reservations.

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Bettola
2901 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Apr 15, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birthday Dinner in Birmingham

Agreed on Avo--don't roll the dice on a birthday dinner. The prices are roughly equivalent to Highlands, but the food is not in the same league.

Apr 15, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham -- King Cake

It looks as though Edgar's has them. See:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Birming...

Jan 25, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham-suggestions for tonight!!

It is in the former location of Copper Grill. They are noted for their rotisserie cooked chicken. See: http://www.zearestaurants.com/site.php

I have been once, had the chicken, and it was pretty good. I did not think that it is worth a special trip for, but if you are at the mall doing some shopping, it is a good option.

Jan 25, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Raw Oysters in Birmingham

Highlands usually has around four selections as well, and they are uniformly excellent.

Jan 24, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Bham area - Let's talk barbecue

The downtown location in the Regions/Harbert Building does not cook on premises. Beyond that, I don't know if there are any others that do not.

Jan 23, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - new, or new to you?

Regarding Avo/Dram, I have only been to Avo once and had a not-so-great steak that set me back the better part of $35. So, I am in no hurry to go back there.

Dram is not bad; basically, it is a place to get a burger (or other sandwich) and fries. The burger is pretty good, but certainly not on the level of Chez Fonfon. If you find yourself in Mtn. Brook Village and want a burger it is a good option, but I would certainly not call it "destination dining."

I have heard good things about Chuck's Fish, but have yet to make it there.

Jan 19, 2010
pinotboy in Central South

Birmingham - new, or new to you?

Some places that have opened in the past year:

Do Di Yos
Dyron's Lowcountry
Chuck's Fish
Avo/Dram
Za Za Trattoria

Jan 19, 2010
pinotboy in Central South