Reviews

the gardens cafe les dames eventA Feminine Affair  

The Gardens Café host private event for Les Dames d’Escoffier. 

By Jan Walsh 

Les Dames d’Escoffier, Birmingham Chapter welcomed new members this week at The Gardens Café by Kathy G. Located at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the cafe was the perfect place to have this annual event. 

Kathy G. and Co. is a favorite caterer for many brides to be. And this elegant café boasts a patio, bar, and staircase, which leads upstairs to its private space where our event was held. 

Here Kathy Mezrano and her son, Chef Jason wowed us Dames with a gorgeous and generous display of appetizers and a wine bar—both served on golden, raw silk tablecloths. The buffet included a scrumptious spread of chicken kabobs, roasted vegetables, flatbread, stuffed mushrooms, tapenade, hummus, dips, spreads, and strawberry cheesecake bites. Chef’s selection of flavors blended together beautifully making a delicious meal. 

LDEI is an invitational organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy, mentoring and philanthropy. Our annual fund raiser, Southern Soirée will be held at Jones Valley Teaching Farm on October 7 at 4:30. This sunset dinner features Birmingham’s best chefs and restaurant owners, and the silent auction includes lots donated by local restaurants and Dames. One of the silent auction lots includes a behind the scenes visit with me at Highlands Bar and Grill as Dolester Miles, Outstanding Pastry Chef 2018, James Beard Foundation Awards, demos a famous recipe. The recipe will be published on BirminghamRestaurants.com. Proceeds will provide grants and scholarships to support women in the culinary arts. 

In addition to private events, such as ours, The Gardens Café is open for lunch Tuesday through Fridays.



ovenbird tailgate to go menuTouch Down 

OvenBird’s “Tailgate To Go” menu scores big! 

By Jan Walsh 

Do you enjoy preparing tailgate fare before heading to the ballgame? Me neither. OvenBird’s Chris and Idie Hastings understand. And their Tailgate To Go menu is a winner, whether you are headed to the game or to your own big screen TV. 


Tailgaters and homebodies just need to call in your order at 957-6686 by 5:00 each Wednesday and your tailgate fare will be ready for pick up on Saturday. I did just that, and today we settle in front of the big screen with OvenBird’s real food that travels well and pairs well with football. 

Smoky aromas of golden roasted chicken rise from its aluminum pan, which kept it piping hot during its trip from the restaurant to the house. There is nothing like food cooked over an open fire, and each piece of this comforting bird is moist and flavorful. Our sides of delicious potato salad and Brussel sprout salad add comfort and texture to round out the plate. The tasty and tangy quart of potato salad is made of wonderful little fingerling potatoes, cut bite sized, with bits of Chorizo, in a tasty whole grain mustard and cilantro base. The salad is a divine mix of chopped sprouts, topped with finely shredded Idiazabal cheese, generous slices of Jamon (Spanish bacon), and fresh orange slices. And just like that we started a new football tradition of take out from OvenBird. Other options from the tailgate menu that we look forward to trying next time include black beans and rice, braised greens, bread pudding and their handcrafted cocktail mix. 




seasons 52 avocado toast brunch Flavorful and Fulfilling 

The fresh food at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill makes me feel good. 

By Jan Walsh 

There is nothing better than leaving a restaurant feeling good about what you just ate—and wanting to come back again soon. And this is just how I feel after brunch at Seasons 52. 

Pasture raised eggs are the only eggs I eat, so they call my name from several dishes on the brunch menu. I decide on the Avocado Toast from the brunch menu and we select the Whole Roasted Cauliflower, for sharing, from the lunch menu. And I paired it with a Peach Bellini. 

Seasons 52 whole roasted cauliflower appetizer The Cauliflower is roasted with a divine sauce of Gruyère, cheddar, and Parmesan cheeses. The sauce is so good that we order extra as we dig towards the center of the vegetable in this interactive dish. It eats much like tortilla chips and queso dip, only healthier. I never knew cauliflower could be so good and will be back for more. 

The Avocado Toast is topped with two pasture-raised, fried eggs served with their deep golden-orange yolks sunny side up. The eggs meld with the toybox tomatoes, pickled red onion, cilantro, avocado and 15-year aged balsamic, which are layered below on the thick sliced toast. And on first cut the yolks drizzle onto the tiny red tomatoes, and melts in my mouth. And accompanying the toast is a generous helping of tender, roasted asparagus. 
Both the Avocado Toast and Whole Roasted Cauliflower are highly recommended. 

seasons 52 peach bellini Seasons 52’s weekend brunch is available from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. both Saturday and Sundays. They are also open for lunch and dinner seven days a week

View Seasons 52 Fresh Grill Profile 









taco mama veggie quesadillaVegetarian Mexican 

Veggie Mix Quesadilla is hearty and healthy.

By Jan Walsh

I am always on the search for vegetarian options. And I found a new favorite at Taco Mama. The Veggie Mix Quesadilla includes a unique cilantro lime rice, plump black beans, and grilled onions inside and is accompanied by toppings of lettuce, tomato, and fresh guacamole. I pile the toppings on, dig into the four wedges, and veg out! 


taco mama skinny margaritaI recommend pairing the Veggie Quesadilla with a Skinny Margarita, which is low in carbs but high in flavor. This refreshing, delicious drink is lacking nothing other than carbs. I discovered it awhile back, and it has been my go to margarita ever since. 

Taco Mama boasts five Birmingham metro locations at 119, Crestline, Homewood, and The Waites, and The Summit.

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big bad breakfast skillet casserole

Skillet Breakfast


Big Bad Breakfast’s Breakfast Scramble has it all. 

By Jan Walsh 


You had me at skillet. I can’t resist ordering dishes cooked in their own skillet. Something about that black, cast iron makes me feel at home. And the flavors are often more profound due to being cooked in small batches. 



big bad breakfast fresh squeezed orange juice Today we take the advice of Big Bad Breakfast’s Chef, John Currence who has the scramble as one of his five “breakfast picks for attractive folks on the go.” Humor intended. And I pair with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. The skillet arrives piping hot and is filled with crumbled buttermilk biscuit, McEwen and Sons Grits, crumbled bacon, tomato gravy, and eggs poached to perfection atop. One cut into the yolk, and it runs down into the scrambled skillet of goodness below. Each golden bite is flavorful and full of palate pleasing textures. Highly recommended to those on the go or if you want to savor the moment. Big Bad Breakfast has two local restaurants, 5361 Hwy 280 and in Homewood at 1926 29th Avenue South.

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