What the Duck?!?!

A fun-filled birthday celebration at Grille 29 honoring my bonus sister Theresa was already on level 10 before the exceptionally friendly server came out to announce the night’s features. Before even arriving at the restaurant I’d decided I was ordering the small grilled chicken Caesar salad, their addictive sweet tea with water on the side, and a warm sour cream cake to share so I wasn’t listening to what he was saying until he said gumbo. I’d experienced their gumbo before and quickly blurted out, “Oh, is this the chef’s special four meat gumbo?” To which he replied, “Nawwww, girl. This is his SPECIAL duck and bacon gumbo!” What the duck?!?!? Duck and bacon in gumbo? Duck and bacon in gumbo that I can actually eat because I didn’t run the shellfish “make my face swell” risk? Oh my goodness. I was immediately transported to a Donald and Porky wonderland in my mind and salivating mouth.

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I ordered the gumbo. As the teens of today say, “It gave me life”! Well, not literally, but the meat, sweet, and tender pieces of fowl mixed perfectly as the clear starring feature along with the pork was everything I could have imagined if I had the culinary courage to imagine duck and bacon together in a bowl with plump rice, strongly-flavored stock and all the Cajun  accompaniments required to call a stew in a bowl an actual gumbo.

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That dish, worth every bite, caused me to completely change my order from salad to braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and sweetly sautéed green beans. (Don’t ask me why because I have no answer.) Others ate ginormous barbecue shrimp, perfectly prepared calamari with hidden treats of fried red peppers nestled among the squid, a delightfully fancy cured meat and cheese board, and lobster quesadillas as appetizers which we all sampled.

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The entrees ranged from more quesadillas, their famous Salad 29, Scottish salmon brulee’ with a caramelized onion almost as good as the seafood, more short ribs and other tasty treats.

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Regardless of what we eventually ate the clear star of the show was the duck and bacon gumbo, of which I had to reluctantly share with my sister who ate it off of a saucer with a fork and of which made us all break out into random acts of celebration include hands swinging in the air,  hips wiggling in the seat, lip smacking and across-the-table high fiving. It was THAT good!

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@AngelaMMoore316

WE Community Cafe Offers Perfection on a Plate

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:)

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Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas (Swiss Chard Enchiladas were also devoured right after this pic was taken), Black Beans, Fresh Corn on the Cob and a Chilton County peach

 

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Mixed Greens salad picked from Urban Ministry’s Urban Garden across the street from WE Community Café. As FRESH as it can be!

 

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Enjoying a great lunch at the WE Community Café with some dear friends. (We’re FULL!!!)

@AngelaMMoore316