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. 

November 2017:

Week of November 12: Flip Burger Boutique 
Flip Burger NY strip burger special Flip Burger french fries onion rings Flip burger strawberry shake strawberry mojito

Food Find: 
NY Strip Burger 

Spirits Find: Strawberry Mojito 

Flip Burger Boutique, located at The Summit, has an interesting list of a dozen different and unique burgers on their lunch and dinner menu. But here’s the beef! There is also a daily burger special and salad special. So we order the burger—a thick patty of ground New York Strip steak, cooked to order and served atop lettuce and topped with tomato, melted Wisconsin Cheese, and slices of thick, crisp bacon on a toasted bun. This beefy burger has it all and is highly recommended. Pair it with their French fries and onion rings—cooked in beef fat. We pair with a scrumptious strawberry shortcake shake and a gorgeous strawberry mojito.  

Week of November 5: Seasons 52 Fresh Grill 
Seasons 52 pear salad Seasons 52 pear salad 2

Food Find:
Bosc Pear Salad Two Ways 

For two separate lunches this week at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill, I opted for varying versions of Seasons 52 Fresh Grill’s Bosc Pear Salad. On my first lunch I chose the Caramelized Bosc Pear and Buratta. It is one of the most beautiful salads I have ever seen or tasted. Plated with wedges of caramelized pear leaning against a bed of arugula, it is served in a 15 year old balsamic, with a touch of honeycomb that just makes the dish. And although it also has prosciutto, I ordered mine without it. This salad called me back again, when I found another version of it on the Harvest Dinner Menu. This menu is available until November 22 for lunch or dinner with fave autumn ingredients. This menu is three courses for $29 and optional wine pairings for $6. This Spinach Salad with Roasted Bosc Pear is served with a bed of spinach crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and pear in thirds propped on the side. Equally delicious, there is a tie for food find this week.  

Week of November 5: Village Tavern

Village Tavern Caymus Suisun Grand Durif Cab

Wine Find:

Caymus-Suisun Grand Durin 

Exclusively at Village Tavern, this Chuck Wagner Petite Sarah is one of the most beautiful new wines I have tasted in years. It is deep purple to black in color, full in body and offers with jammy notes of black fruit and mocha. It is $15 a glass or $60 per bottle while supplies last. Don't miss this wine over the holidays. 

October 2017:

Week of October 29: Bare Naked Noodles Cafe 
Bare Naked Noodles butternut squash spinach lasagna

Food Find: 

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

New for Fall 2017 today is Bare Naked Noodles' Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna! 

I keep Bare Naked Noodles' Handmade Meat Lasagna and MeatBalls in my freezer. They made a homemade meal in half an hour by popping in the oven. But now I have a meatless option! Owner, Linda Croley brought me a taste while delivering my latest Bare Naked Noodles order. So I was the first to try the new dish... And I am in love! This dish has it all. It is colorful and bursting with fresh, fall flavors of sweet and nutty butternut squash, layered with sautéed spinach, on a bed of Bare Naked Noodles Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce. Highly recommended for the holidays. I plan to serve the meat lasagna and this one on the night before Thanksgiving when my family arrives for the weekend. 

Week of October 22: GianMarco's Restaurant 

GianMarco's wine findGianMarco's cheese torta
Food Find: 

Marco's Four Cheese Torta 

Wine Find:
Patient Cottat Sancerre 

Never know what you've got until its gone... After ordering GianMarco's lunch entrees, we decide on Marco's Four Cheese Torta as an app only to be told by our server that it is no longer on menu! Seated near the chef's counter, I teasingly say, "Hey Marco, why did you let Giani take your torta off menu?" He says, "It's back!" And sends us home with one to go, on him. Thank you Marco, and thank you guys for bringing it back! A lot of work to make but so worth it... And leave it to me to pair this Italian dish with a French wine. But I do. Patient Cottat Sancerre is one of my favorite food friendly wines, available by the glass or bottle at GianMarco's. 

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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