Let me start by saying that I’m not a drinker. Gasp! I know…LOL! I am, however, an eater, hence a blog site devoted to food. So when someone mentions happy hour I immediately think food rather than liquid elixirs. To the person who introduced me to the Happy Hour also known as Ruth’s Chris Makes Me Happy, I offer a heartfelt, stomach-full THANK YOU!
The Happy Hour at the Embassy Suites Birmingham was a certified delight. And the fact that I could enjoy succulent lamb chop lollipops, top-quality sliders (three ways), perfectly prepared and presented ahi tuna and more, all for under $15 each made my “happy” even happier.
As if the deal on the dishes couldn’t get any sweeter they do have some pocket-friendly prices on several adult beverages…AND…for a nonstop foodie like myself, I was thrilled to find out that this Happy Hour is like the Energizer Bunny. It goes on and on, seven days a week.
So, if you happen to swing by Ruth’s Chris after work, following a weekend of shopping, to watch the game or enjoy an evening tete-de-tete, plan to enjoy and PLEASE save a lamb chop lollipop for me!
WE Eat Together Fundraiser is returning with an evening of delectable foods from WE Community Cafe, live music, a silent auction, and big city fun with friends overlooking the breathtaking landscape of downtown Birmingham. The event is set for Thursday, May 25th from 5:30pm-7:30pm on the stunning Kress Rooftop atop the Kress Building located at 301 19th Street North, Birmingham, AL. Tickets are only $50. WE Eat Together Fundraiser benefits the healthy living programs of Urban Ministry, including WE Community Gardens, an urban oasis where young men are trained and employed in areas of gardening, composting, and bee keeping to then sell fresh, affordable produce or give to those in need and WE Community Cafe, a pay-as-you-can social enterprise cafe in the heart of West End which feeds people from all walks of life, and employs inner city interns to increase economic opportunity and professional development.
Have you ever wondered what happens when you find a gift card nearly a year old, book a reservation four weeks out, decide to take the day off, clear your hubby’s schedule, dress up a tad, and see what the food fuss is about? I’ll tell you what happens. What happens is the total elevation of ones […]
Who’s the next great American chef? Chances are it’s one of the uber-talented students from Birmingham’s Wenonah High School. On April 10th, students from the school’s Academy of Culinary Arts displayed their cooking skills to a crowd of educators, community leaders, family and friends as they competed in A Taste of Wind Creek’s “Ready. Set. Cook.” sponsored by Wind Creek Casino and Hotel and held at Innovation Depot. The winning prize? One thousand dollars donated to the school’s culinary arts program. The other winning prize? Well, that’s simple says the student’s culinary arts instructor Diann Pilgrim. “This event provides another opportunity for exposure for our students. It will show them that they can accept any challenge and succeed in it,” she said. And boy, did they succeed!
In a battle of the best, school seniors were pitted against juniors in a three-person team of chefs-in-training who raced the clock ala “Chopped” style to prepare a five-ingredient dessert which was a surprise to them just minutes before the one hour given to prepare the dish. There was sweat. There was panic. There were giggles. There was lots of prepping and even more taste-testing. In the end there were two amazing desserts which emerged from the teen food geniuses. Chef Brandon Thrash, culinary instructor at Wind Creek’s Atmore location coached the future chefs as needed while they prepared their dishes. He said this event was Wind Creek’s specific effort to focus on the educational component of culinary arts. “It’s important to give back to the state who gives us so much. We want these students to know they are capable of being successful in this industry starting now,” said Chef Brandon.
Somehow I was chosen to be a judge. I not only got to watch the action unfold up-close, but I was also able to be one of the first to taste the undeniably delicious finished products of Chocolate Mousse with Fried Banana and Caramel Syrupserved up by the Grub Club, also known as the 11th Grade team, and the winning dish of Strawberry Mille Fuille with Basil Syrup from the 12th Grade team also known as 17 Flavors. The dishes prepared by the students could rival that of a seasoned expert any day.
While students hurriedly prepared their dishes under the watchful eye of the glaring media lights and cameras, and onlookers gazing from the outside of the glassed kitchen, the hundreds of guests in attendance were treated to a treat, for lack of a better phrase, by the renowned chefs of Wind Creek Casino. A Taste of Wind Creek not only placed a spotlight on the up-and-coming chefs of tomorrow, it also allowed the culinary arts scene right here in Alabama and right at Wind Creek’s casinos to shine. Guests feasted on foods from four stations including fried green tomato and prawn stack with crab cakes and brandy cocktail sauce, a (super-succulent) beef tenderloin carving station where the chimichurri sauce settled perfectly on the tender loin which was perched atop a warm roll and topped with microgreens, vanilla crème brûlée crisped to perfection with a surprise raspberry bottom, and shrimp and grits with crawfish tasso gravy and sausage from the hotel’s upscale FIRE Steak House. I was in foodie heaven! FIRE and I will meet again for sure.
Wind Creek is traveling across Alabama to promote the importance of workforce development and how vital it is to reach people at a young age to help develop their skills. Through a partnership with Birmingham Ed Foundation, Birmingham City Schools and Wind Creek, the Wenonah High School students were fortunate to be included on the tour and empowered for the future. “Wind Creek wants to offer more training and skills to better the industry. Being here with these students is very important to us,” said Chef Peter D. Andrea. Next stop for the Taste of Wind Creek Tour is May 3rd in Huntsville with a summer menu coming soon. If you see me in Huntsville please save a seat and a shrimp for me.
A recent trip for my job landed me in Orlando, Florida. Known as home to the Mouse, it, for me, is now home to some of the best, most fresh and flavorful foods I’ve had in a long, long time. While there, my husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy the buffet breakfast from the beautiful Caribe Royale Resort, and its Calypso’s Pool Bar and Grill Restaurant, where we enjoyed great food and watched some great b-ball.
We feasted Moroccan-style at Epcot’s Spice Road Table and experienced the most succulent coriander-crusted rack of lamb on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice, and engulfed the spiciest spicy lamb sausage and crispiest calamari we’ve had in…well, forever. Even the water, on that warm March day was especially crisp and refreshing.
We enjoyed the BEST seafood known to this man and woman from Johnnie’s Hideaway, so much so, we went twice during our five-day visit. The ooey, gooey, cheesy, buttery bread (which put Quincy’s, O’Charley’s and Logan’s to shame at the same time), the fresh seafood, the wait staff, the ambiance, the elixirs, everything was PERFECT!
Rounding out our trip was a trip to Disney Springs where we ventured into Mexican cuisine at the ultra-chic Frontera Cocina from one of my favorite superstar chef’s Rick Bayless. Succulent carnitas with melt-in-your-mouth pork and buttery black beans hit the spot for me. For the hubs? Only the best Red Chile Chicken Enchiladas would do.
All-in-all, between an impactful work conference, and combined vacation/honeymoon/birthday celebration, the feasts of Florida were the perfect backdrop to a perfect getaway.@AngelaMichele316
I was first introduced to K&J’s Elegant Pastries when they opened less than two minutes from my parent’s home in Alabaster. Running in quickly to see what all of the fuss was about I was pleasantly surprised by the moist, sweet, but not too sweet taste of the sweet potato cupcake my then four-year-old niece and I tried. I would soon find out that this was a customer favorite.
Fast-forward two years later, while searching for a secret cake for my secret wedding I was planning, my mother, still living less than two minutes from the quaint, little storefront shop, stopped by and had a conversation about cakes which would lead to a love affair with their pastry perfection. Not only was their price much lower than any I’d found on my own while searching the web, but I would come to find out on December 30, 2016 that their taste and presentation for my beloved caramel (top tier), lemon (middle tier) and chocolate layered (bottom tier) wedding cake was second to none. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
I came to find out that my wedding cake was one of the last orders taken for a while as they prepared to move from the first location into what I was told would be a beautiful new place more centrally located in the “mainstreet” section of Alabaster, and as the cupcake fairies would have it, closer to my house.
For WEEKS my family and I road by the location which was to be their new location waiting on their opening. When the doors finally opened on February 18th we all had a planned family engagement and missed it. No worries. This foodie is for real. We’ve made up for it, and then some since then, visiting at least once weekly or close to it for one dessert of another (Hey, judge ye not…LOL!)
Every. Single. Thing. we’ve eaten from the beautifully decorated pink pastry boutique has been stellar. The family-friendly atmosphere and welcoming staff only make the cakes, cupcakes, milkshakes, cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats that much more enjoyable.
The new K&J’s Elegant Pastries is located at 236 1st Street South in Alabaster, and can easily be seen just off of its Highway 31 location, or often from the line of cars outside of the door. The space is truly elegant and upscale, while remaining warm and welcoming. It’s the ideal spot to satisfy a sweet tooth or perfect place to host a cupcake party…(hint, hint, husband!)
The 75th Magic City Classic was just that, MAGIC! If you’re not familiar with the magic which is “The Classic”, it’s a large, and long-standing college rivalry pitting Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University in a battle of the best of football and half-time spectaculars, which also includes a week of epic tailgating, fashion, parties, comedy shows, concerts and more. Think of 75,000+ people converging in one place for one purpose….a GOOD time. And that would be the #mcc.
I had the privilege to again spend time in the VIP tailgate “Chill Zone” hosted by Coors Light. For a second year in a row, this experience did not disappoint! The adult beverage bosses served up a festive atmosphere right in the heart of the magical madness and had something to offer for all, even those non-drinkers like me. The floating crowd of alumni and supporters were welcomed into the zone to a feel which was like an uber-upscale family reunion with your favorite old and soon-to-be new friends. Per usual, there was delicious food. I mean the food was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!! (And I love food so I know food.) The picnic theme with burgers, hot dogs, pork sliders, pasta salad, garden salad, uber-SWEET corn on the cob, baked beans and plentiful liquid refreshments, of course including Coors Light, was the ideal back drop for the 88 degree October weather game-goers were surprised by. The food was hot, fresh and replenished often by a doting team who was always watching and making sure all was better than well. Little extras like that make a foodie like me really, really happy. Former Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta star and radio personality Traci Steele http://tracisteele.com/ was on the scene in a fabulous jumpsuit, might I add, along with legendary (and still cute) hip-hop DJ, DJ D-Nice, both bringing a party vibe to the hot “Chill Zone” which made one want to wobble right smack dab in the middle of the sun-drenched crowd. Joining them was life-style specialist Kenny Burns, and the return of none other than rapper and reality star Yung Joc, who, was one of my favorite entertainers at the tailgate last year too. Even in the midst of sizzling sun and scorching, hot temps, the Coors Light VIP Chill Zone was a breath of fresh air.
As if the celebratory atmosphere wasn’t enough, Coors Light extended their hospitality and HBCU support to the half-time show by presenting a $20,000 scholarship donation which was equally divided among the schools for students 21 or older. It just doesn’t get any more magical than that. Cheers, Coors Light! Here’s to more Classic magic.
Have you ever been to Birmingham’s Urban Standard for breakfast? If not, you should go. Why? Because it’s good!
Urban Standard is southern charm at its best with a backdrop ideal for business deals, book reading, people watching, girlfriend get-togethers or the occasional jaunt across the street to pick up a quick bite of breakfast as I’ve done a time or two. It’s located in a quaint space with beautifully welcoming décor and is convenient to downtown’s city center just off of 2nd Avenue North by the main post office. The food is fantastic! Lunch is delish, especially the Grilled Chicken Panino with extra balsamic jam, but breakfast is the real deal if you’re in the mood for fresh, cooked-to-order, often local and always yummy fare.
One morning, after rushing out of the house forgetting breakfast I decided to order my standard McEwen and Sons creamy “wipe the cheese off of your chin” organic, stoneground grits saturated with cheese and perfectly partnered with grilled Conecuh sausage on the side. My usual (Ah-Mazing) Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffin wasn’t speaking to me like it usually does so I threw caution and calories to the wind and ordered a Chilton County Peach cupcake. My. World. Was. Changed.
Urban Standard is a go-to as far as I’m concerned. So why don’t you go.
WE Community Café located within Urban Ministry at 1229 Cotton Avenue SW has been opened since March 9th. The place, in my totally biased opinion, is a little piece of Heaven right in Birmingham’s West End where on any given Wednesday between 11am and 2pm you can see people from every walk of life coming together to break bread in peace, unity and love.
The chatter-ridden space is inviting as it welcomes those from varying socio-economic status, zip codes, backgrounds, educational opportunities and lifestyles. The former soup kitchen of more than 30 years now turned into a social enterprise “pay-as-you-can” café with the recommended donation of $5 ushers diners further in to the bustling food line just beside beautiful dark brown wood tables and shiny new chairs, while sweet R&B and inspirational tunes bellow out of the speakers. (Note, if you can’t pay, no worries. It’s already handled on your behalf. That’s the beauty of WE Community Café.) The amazingly friendly and knowledgeable staff of seasoned chefs and western-area young adults participating in Urban Ministry’s paid, intensive internship program continue to set the atmosphere for what is sure to be a dining experience to remember and want to repeat. But it’s the food that ties it all together as an unspoken unifier of the masses weekly offering perfection on the plate for just about every palate preference. Want southern cuisine and food which speaks to the soul? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want a great hangout for your friends and you to gush, pose and take pictures of food which is picture worthy? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want fresh produce? On any given Wednesday they will have it right from their very own mind-blowing garden. Want vegan and vegetarian options? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want flavor-filled international-themed and regional dishes? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want clean, organic foods? On any given Wednesday they will have it. Want aromatic teas that will make you stand in line more times that you’d be proud to admit? On any given Wednesday they will have it…and so much more. You should pay them a visit! And look for me. I’ll be one of the ones with a HUGE satisfied smile on my face:)
The initial installment of what must be a repeat performance was nothing less than spectacular. It was Heaven on Earth for a foodie like me. My friends and I, some of which came in from Baltimore and Charlotte just to experience the experience, were thoroughly pleased with this perfect park feast. It truly was a festival in every sense of the word. The mood was the electric. The crowd was eclectic. The food samplings were superb and the people watching at an all-time high. My one complaint, if any, is that I must wait a year in order to again enjoy all that this trendsetting event has to offer. Kudos to the organizers and the brains behind the Atlanta Brunch Festival.
Enjoy scenes of some of what I enjoyed…and make plans to be there next year. Get there early. Pay extra for VIP. Bring your best friends and your best walking shoes. Clear space on your camera and clear space on your proverbial plate for all things Atlanta Brunch Festival. Your tummy will thank you.