I love showing off Birmingham, and I’m not alone. The Birmingham Restaurant Week Preview Party offers a glimpse into some of the city’s awesome venues, and last night’s third-annual event drew hundreds of visitors to Vulcan Park and Museum. It’s got an amazing view, an iron statue and a museum filled with local history. What more could you ask for?
Well, food and drink, of course. And last night, there was plenty of it. My first stop was Avondale Brewing Company’s table, where I grabbed a sample of the Vanillaphant Porter. I’m a regular at the brewery, but it’s also fun to pair my favorite beverages with food that I can’t normally get while I’m in Avondale. I started with sauteed shrimp with Greek feta from Nabeel’s (OK, in part because it was the table closest to the beer. But let’s be real, I also love both shrimp and Mediterranean dishes). While that wasn’t an ideal match, the shrimp was flavorful and will definitely be on my list next time I swing by the Homewood institution.
Maki Fresh’s Blitz Bowl, added to their menu today, was a better match for my beer. The combination of braised brisket, Brussels, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, scallions and miso gravy was a savory, rich treat. The staff also offered samples of the Vulcan Roll, which includes chicken, yellow bell peppers, cream cheese, sundried tomato and a spicy sauce, and lemon ginger bars.
I also stopped by Ted’s Restaurant’s table for a sample of their squash casserole, which my friend Josh declared “just like momma made it.” (I love my mom’s squash casserole, but she uses canned squash. Which I probably shouldn’t tell you. Ted’s was definitely not like my momma made it.) And there were certainly all kinds of cuisines on display; La Paz offered a taste of its Cuban quesadilla, which was a bit spicy for my incredibly delicate sensibilities but was a big hit with my friends.
I cleansed my palate with Good People Brown Ale before heading off to my next destination. And yes, I’ll freely admit I missed a lot of tasty food last night. But there’s so much more to come! I’m looking forward to spending as much time as I can manage at BRW’s participating restaurants during the course of the next 10 days. And of course, I’ll continue to write about them here. I’ve got Ore, Little Donkey, MetroPrime Steakhouse and Vino on my list. What’s on yours?
On a personal note, I’m thrilled that the event benefited Vulcan Park and Museum. If memory serves correctly, when my grandfather and namesake died, the family asked that donations be made to Vulcan in lieu of flowers. I try to spend a few minutes remembering him each time I’m there.
(OK, I admit it. I’m a terrible photographer.)