Big B'ham Weekend
...do people in Birmingham actually refer to their city as "B'ham"?
Anyhoo, Mrs shipwreck and I are off to Birmingham tonight for an evening of dining, a night at The Redmont, and a morning recording of Says You, our favorite radio word-game show. Having said that, my choice in our one indulgent (read 'over $50') meal was a long and hard one. I received some wonderful tips from a few older posts on this forum as well some good Birmingham dining sites.
I settled on the Hot & Hot Fish Club (http://www.hotandhotfishclub.com/) since I don't eat meat apart from seafood and Mrs shipwreck can't resist good atmosphere. Expect a full report.
Are there other sites / food experiences we should not miss? I've been to Birmingham a few times but those times often involved driving to a concert (from Atlanta), attending the concert, turning around and heading home to get a few hours sleep so I don't know much about the town.
Thanks in advance.
My husband and I are both vegetarians. When we're in Bham (and yes, I occasionally vocalize that) we enjoy:
1. Chez Lulu (1911 Cahaba Road)-French/Continental. Amazing baked goods and many veg options
2. La Paz (99 Euclid Ave.). Good Mexican place; a good number of tasty veg options
3. Surin (1918 11th Ave. S.) Thai; A few good veg options.
4. Dave's Pizza (1819 29th Ave. S.); Wonderful pizza place with a large number of veg pizzas
I adore Surin! I've not had anything there I didn't like. Great nori maki, thai noodle bowl. spice beef salad, massaman, duck . . . I could go on and one.
Sadly, the same can't be said for La Paz. I've been so disappointed the last 3 times I ate there. The service was poor, the place was a bit dirty, and the food just wasn't what it used to be.
Dave's has wonderful pizza. Lot's of different combo options.
Bottletree Cafe has great vegan options plus they have live music too! Their chili was even voted best in the city!! It beat out the meat lovers chili even . . .
I've never vocalized "B'ham". It's just quicker to type it that way. However, there are some of us around who refer to it as "the 'Ham" in casual conversation.
Hot & Hot Fish Club is a wonderful dining experience. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Another fab seafood place is Ocean located in Southside. Of course, my favorite is Highland's Bar & Grill. Another fine dining choice around is Cafe Dupont. And although I haven't tried it (yet), I'm hearing wonderful things about Martini's in Hoover. Oh, and don't forget Local in Vestavia Hills.
Sadly I missed all of your comments before we left. Overall it was a fantastic trip! Despite some latecomings and a bit of illness we definitely enjoyed Birmingham.
We arrived at Hot & Hot a bit later than our reservations had prescribed: first of all it took us longer than we thought in leaving Atlanta and then, well, we just couldn't find the place. Despite its cumbersome location the building itself was a treat. The sign on the door read its name in bronze like you would expect to find on the front entrance to some sort of explorers club. The decor and atmosphere was elegant and warm, as well as intimate; star bulbs illuminated the windows, the rest covered in dim orange light (as opposed to white, of course). The first thing that struck me as we sat down was the salt and pepper arranged in two shallow, clay fish bowls. No shakers here!
The service was good but nothing to write home about. I started with a Knob Creek and Ginger Ale, which was fine and about the price you'd expect for a cocktail out. Next came the bread and butter, simply par for the course. As we waited on our entrees we observed casually the open kitchen where the chefs slaved away with their comically long-brimmed caps. We also noticed the other guests getting more and more loaded - to be continued.
I ordered the Hot and Hot Shrimp & Grits which was simply fantastic! Moderate size shrimp (21-25 count if I had to guess) served as what I could best describe as a hot ceviche: very citrusy with loads of fresh tomatos, onions, peppers and the like. The grits complimented the shrimp well, with a smooth and mellow flavor to contrast the bright sauce it came in. A definite winner.
Mrs shipwreck ordered the Garganelli Pasta with clams and sausage. This was another great dish, nothing life changing but excellent nonetheless. I was most pleased with the handmade pasta. The sauce was very subtle with the bits of sausage/pancetta (I cheated) and clam standing out amidst the mushrooms and pasta. Both entrees were impressive.
Dessert was a bit of a flop. We ordered the chocolate souffle which came out a little flat and, well, not very flavorful. Luckily the waitress was aware and deducted it from our bill. So, again, not disgusting but a dessert one would expect more of from such an establishment. The evening was fine, despite some drunken shouting and impromptu dancing from other patrons, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
After our radio show the next day we were just looking for a place to eat and wound up in Five Points at the Five Points Grill. Compared to Hot & Hot it might as well have been Chilis but we had a fine meal of crab dip and a split blackened fish sandwich. Not bad.
Next we head to B'ham we'll probably try out some of the other places and try to hit a few galleries as well. Good times!
A few quick suggestions, on a more casual note.
Dreamland - Ribs, oh you dont eat meat...nevermind...sushi and curry at Thai House on 7th Ave South one block east of Richard Arrington has become one of my favorites!
On a little more upscale note...Botega Cafe for lunch on Saturday, closed Sunday, is always a can't miss. And not too expensive we usually spend $50-70 for 2.
Open Door Cafe for Jazz Brunch on Sunday is a good choice as well IMO, but it is a bit of a drive for you I think, and make sure to call and make reservations.
Enjoy Birmingham, I look forward to your review of Hot and Hot. I've hard many good things, but I have not been yet.