Marre and Allen lemon pieBirmingham Restaurants is excited to announce our new weekly features!

Each week our publisher, Jan Walsh dines and discovers. Then she shares her fave food and wine or spirit finds of the week. These are often fresh and new to restaurants' menus, or sometimes it is a dish or wine that has been previously overlooked. Our foodie following is already loving to discover new dishes and wines, and learn what makes them so special. Bookmark this page and watch it grow. Here are Walsh's fresh finds so far... 

October 2017:

Week of October 15: Marre & Allen Bar + Kitchen 

Marre Allen rice bowl marre allen new fashioned cocktail Food Find:
Rice Bowl 

Spirits Find:
New Fashioned

Marre and Allen Bar and Kitchen is my favorite new restaurant. It is located inside the Birmingham Marriott, at 3590 Grandview Parkway (off Highway 280, across highway from Grandview Medical Center). Here Chef Chad Schofield incorporates local and regional, in season, fruits and vegetables into his made from scratch dishes. I recently did a menu tasting and am back for more of the Rice Bowl. It is available with white or brown rice, accompanied by baby kale, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, and Buckhead Valley Pepperjack. This delicious dish layered in hearty textures and fresh flavors. Added protein options include Joyce Farms Chicken, Gulf Shrimp, Harris Ranch Ribeye Steak, and Citrus Braised Pork. Today I opt for the brown rice and chicken. I do not know the secret to Chef Schofield’s braise or marinade for this succulent, flavorful chicken. But it adds another dimension to this delicious dish. And the portion proves to be more than I can eat, so I take home half for tomorrow’s at home lunch. From the Bar, my new favorite cocktail is the New Fashioned. Not my daddy’s bourbon, this cocktail is ruby, amber in color with smooth notes of cherry and and blood orange. 

Week of October 8: Bellini's Ristorante & Bar 

Bellini's wood grilled caesar salad

Food Find: 
Wood Grilled Caesar Salad (for take out) 

Wine Find:
In lieu of featuring one bottle of wine this week, please buy a bottle of Cali wine, and pray for Cali wine country fire victims.

I have long been a fan of the Wood Grilled Caesar at Bellini's Ristorante & Bar. But I have never ordered it for takeout for fear it would not take out well, given it has both hot and cold components. But I was wrong. Bellini's knows how to pack it up for takeout. Each item: grilled onions, anchovy, tomatoes, croutons, and two types of dressing, balsamic and Caesar have their own container, keeping them at proper temps. And the lettuce stayed warm off the grill all the way home. It was as delicious at home as it is in the restaurant. Loved my new take out find! 

Week of October 1: Hot and Hot Fish Club 
hot and hot flaming cocktail hot and hot crab tart
Food Find: 
Bayou La Batre Crab Pie

Spirits Find:
That's Not My Tie 

Chef Chris Hastings' latest Hot and Hot Fish Club menu is full of fall fare. But I got my last taste of summer tomatoes with this scrumptious crab pie topped with blistered cherry tomatoes, and served with bacon, crispy shallots, and sherry vinaigrette salad. And my cocktail gives new meaning to "hot" (flaming not tasting) on Hot and Hot's Farm to Glass specialty cocktail list. I asked my server how to put out the flame. He said to blow it out. I asked if I could make a wish, and he said, "Absolutely." I closed my eyes, made a wish, and blew out the flame... and so far it seems to be coming true. Try this drink and no need to wait for your birthday for wishes to come true. 

September 2017: 
Week of September 24: Galley & Garden 
Galley and Garden Buttered halibutgalley and garden wine

Food Find: 

Buttered Halibut will soon be on the fall menu at Galley and Garden. 

Wine Find: 
Louis De Grenelle Saumur Rosé is light, crisp, and food friendly. 

"Executive Chef, James Boyce hosted us for a preview of the upcoming Fall 2017 menu this week. One of the exceptional dishes was this buttered halibut. It is among the best fish dishes I have ever tasted! The grapefruit adds a touch of acidity to this buttery fish that melts in my mouth. The rosé makes a perfect pairing for the fish and comes from the last remaining family-owned property of the major Saumur sparkling producers. This 100 percent Cabernet Franc wine is fermented and aged in tank, and produced using the Méthode Champenoise." - Jan Walsh 

Week of September 17: Bottega Cafe 
bottega burrata bottega buratta cut open Bottega Cafe Terry Scott
Food Find:
 Burrata with grilled bread, garlic, grated tomato, olive oil is a true Italian delicacy. 

Wine Find: New Cava, is available by the glass or bottle, at Bottega Cafe, Raventos i Blanc 2015, a high quality Cava with a hint of salt on the palate. 

"Burrata means buttered in Italian. And this gorgeous artisanal cheese has a solid shell on the outside and a soft, buttery, creamy textured cheese on the inside, which flows out when cut. Slather it on the bread for a bite of heaven. I added a hint of salt to it and the tomato topped bread. I so appreciate that Frank Stitt keeps salt and pepper on his tables so I do not have to take my own or ask for it." - Jan Walsh 

Week of September 10: Bistro 218 
bistro 218 pinto gris Bistro 218 fried chicken

Food Find:
Fingers & Frites on Bistro 218 lunch menu for only $9

Wine Find:
  Rafael Palacios Bolo Godello Valdeorras Eyrie Pinot Gris Dundee Hills 2015, is new to wine list: round, dry and light with notes of pear and citrus.

"If you work or live downtown and Bistro 218 is not one of your lunch faves, you don't deserve to eat! Both the chicken and fries are fried in Non-GMO oil. In fact, everything at Bistro 218 is made without GMOs, making it safe for those avoiding GMOs (such as myself) to order anything on the menu here."  - Jan Walsh 


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