Birmingham – Eater’s Guide

Fair warning before you dive into this very long post about food – if you’re not hungry now, you absolutely will be by the end. And if you’re not? Well, you should probably see a doctor about that…

At the beginning of November, my friend and I traveled down to Birmingham, Alabama (first time for both of us!) for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference. I know that sounds boring, and I promise I won’t talk about it in this post.

I’ll be the first to admit that the South has its issues, but food is definitely not one of them. If you follow the blog or my Instagram, you know I love food, and I love traveling because I get to eat lots of new food. Birmingham was the best of both worlds.

Our flight got us there super early on Thursday, so of course after we checked in, our first goal was to find food, which ultimately led us to The Pizitz Food Hall.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect place for our first stop in Birmingham! It’s similar to the food court at a mall, except way more fabulous. It was pretty empty when we arrived (Thursday at about 11am), but I bet this place is hopping and so much fun later in the day!

This gorgeous bar is right in the middle of the action with storefronts and restaurants on all sides.

Hannah showing off her tuna poke bowl from Ono Poke

As soon as I walked in, my eyes locked on The Alabama Biscuit Company (I’m so predictable). The menu isn’t big, but what is on there will make your mouth water.

It was hard to choose between The Alabama Biscuit (Maple Butter Sauce, Soaked and Roasted Pecans), the Goat Cheese, Pecan, and Honey Biscuit (Soaked and Roasted Pecans, Stone Hollow Goat Cheese, Local Honey Drizzle), and the Special (cheese, bacon, fried chicken, and a lemon aioli)…but fried chicken and bacon is really hard to turn down. Again, I’m so predictable.

The Alabama Biscuit Company is all about local and organic, and their biscuits are advertised as being made from sprouted, stone milled ancient grain. I was definitely a fan and would recommend a stop for a delicious biscuit.

I loved this wheelbarrow with floating apples featured in the hall’s lobby. Such a cute and eye-catching set-up for people walking in!

 

We did a little exploring around this part of the city and made sure we did our check-in for the conference. We ended up grabbing some pizza near our hotel for early dinner and had an event to attend at the Civil Rights Institute that night. I was convinced the event was a dinner, but there were only some small appetizers (and Hannah couldn’t even eat most of it because it was bread and cheese), so we ordered some carry out from the restaurant attached to our hotel. If you’re

The next morning we made our way to The Red Cat Coffeehouse which was definitely one of our best decisions of the weekend!

Y’all, I would give anything to have a little coffee shop like this in my tiny town. I really miss having a place to go sit and work while drinking some delicious coffee. My favorite memory of writing my dissertation (I realize how weird that is to say) was going to JoZoara coffee shop in Murfreesboro (I just saw that it’s closed now and that makes me so sad) every Friday morning and writing my little heart out with the sound of people and music in the background. I’d write for several hours, and if I was really productive, would even stay through lunch. I really miss having that space.

But returning from memory lane…

It was hard to make a drink decision, but I went with the Persian latte – almond and white chocolate, yes ma’am! Even though they had a delicious selection of pastries and baked goodies (even gluten free!), I wanted something hefty and savory, so the breakfast bowl (cheddar grits topped with an egg and bacon or sausage) was the breakfast winner.

Basically, if I lived in Birmingham, I’d be here ALL THE TIME.

After some conferencing, it was time for more exploration, which also means more food. If you missed my previous post that featured some of my favorite murals and landmarks from Birmingham, be sure to check it out for my story on the “satanic” fountain. On our way to this “satanic” fountain, we passed a pho restaurant that Hannah got really excited about. I had never experienced pho before, so she talked me into being adventurous. It was so good, and filling! The bowls don’t look as large as they were in real life.

Pho Pho is located in the Five Points section of Birmingham. I was definitely a fan, so if you find yourself wandering around looking for the ram-headed storyteller, stop in for some pho after you find him.

My sweet tooth is a major problem, and I really struggle when I can’t have something sweet after a meal. I can’t bake cookies without having a place to take them because I will legit eat half the batch in one day. I envy people who don’t like sweets – I’d have to do a lot less running if I were one of those people. But speaking of cookies…

I’m a little embarrassed to say that this chocolate peanut butter deluxe bigwich cookie from Insomnia Cookies was just for me. Yes, it really was as big as it looks, yes, it was incredibly delicious, and yes, I ate it in the hotel bed. No, I did not eat it in one sitting.

Insomnia delivers, which would be a big problem if I lived in Birmingham. I guess the positive of living in a small town is that there are fewer temptations?

Saturday was conference day. We just grabbed some coffee in the coffee shop attached to the hotel, so I only had a small scone. After I chaired a session, it was time to refuel before our afternoon presentation, so we Ubered to a Puerto Rican restaurant.

The food looks really good, but it kind of lacked flavor. The plantains, which we were both super excited about, weren’t sweet, which is what we were both wanting and felt a bit disappointed over. The restaurant was super tiny and the one girl who was waitress/hostess/cashier ignored us for a solid five minutes which was incredibly awkward since we were only one of three “couples” there. Wouldn’t recommend.

We felt like since we were in Alabama, we had to test out the bbq. We asked one of our Uber drivers where the best bbq joints were, and I was shocked by his recommendations. One was Jim ‘n Nicks, which is fine for a chain, but wasn’t what I was expecting as his first recommendation.

Since he wasn’t much help, I looked all over Yelp and decided that we had to try Saw’s Soul Kitchen in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham (which is super cute and has that up-and-coming, trendy, young feel to it!).

If you’re looking for frilly and fancy, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you want super tasty bbq, I highly recommend it! They also have stuffed taters (they were out when we went). Baked potatoes filled with bbq and sauce are one of my absolute favorite meals 🙂

And luckily I still had half of my Insomnia cookie waiting on me for dessert!

It’s hard to believe there’s still one more day of food to write about! Our goal for the last day was to make sure we spent some time at Kelly Ingram park which is where a lot of violence took place during the civil rights movement. My next post will highlight that.

We took off Sunday morning to track down some coffee at Revelator Coffee. Although the coffee was delicious, it was in a super tiny cup and was not cheap. It was also in a gorgeous building, but maybe was a little too boujee for me. They didn’t have food, so, of course, that was next on our list. We decided on Harvest at The Redmont Hotel. I’m not usually one to eat at a hotel restaurant, but this was a good choice! It was also really packed, so we figured that was a good sign.

They have a breakfast buffet, but we both ordered off the menu.

I could eat French toast at every meal and was really happy with how good (and pretty!) theirs was. If you’re heading to Harvest for breakfast, make sure you’re an early riser because it’s only served from 6:30-9:30.

Kelly Ingram park was our next stop and we spent quite a while there reading and taking in the memorials and monuments.

After some more exploring and one more conference panel, it was time to stuff our faces again before the shuttle took us to the airport. We didn’t want to venture too far from the hotel, so we decided to try some chicken from Eugene’s Hot Chicken, which was another restaurant that constantly came up in my food searches as a top recommendation in Birmingham. I can’t remember what level of heat I chose for my tenders, but they were tasty, especially dipped in their honey mustard sauce…in fact, I could tear into some right now!

In looking back through these posts, I’ve learned something important about myself. I love a good food picture that really gets deep down in there. I’ve also been reminded that I love food, maybe a little too much?

If you’ve visited or live in Birmingham, what’s your favorite food spot? I definitely want to go back, so what do I absolutely have to try next time? Let me know in the comments!

14 Comments

  1. janna says:

    wow, I never knew Birmingham had so much to offer from a culinary standpoint! The food looked great, and the cookie and the Persian latte were right up my alley! thanks for sharing.

    Like

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