The grog and grub at Pirates Cove Marina and Restaurant in coastal Baldwin County are considered essential to anyone’s Alabama culinary checklist. Both the Cove cheeseburger and its Bushwacker frozen drink are on the Alabama Tourism Department’s list of “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama.” Not bad for a ramshackle restaurant where regulars are affectionally known as “riff-raff” and dogs are just as welcome as their human companions.
Blueroot, a new plant-centric restaurant in Birmingham, is a testament to perseverance over pandemic. Owner Jennifer Ryan planned to open the farm-to-table, fast-casual restaurant in the spring of 2020. Blueroot had already built a following as a pop-up at the Market at Pepper Place, a Saturday farmers market that draws up to 10,000 people.
It's PSL season. If you're a stranger to the acronym, that's code for Pumpkin Spice Latte, the fall treat responsible for the pumpkin spice craze. Ever since Starbucks rolled out the seasonal latte in 2003, it seems everyone has gotten in on the act. For many folks, the first sign of fall is pumpkin spice.
It’s easy to spot Grandview Farm’s stand at the Market at Pepper Place on Saturday mornings. Just look for the tie-dyed shirts, logs sprouting with shiitakes, and cartons of other harvested fungi for sale including pink, white, blue, and yellow oyster mushrooms. Charles and Shiyrah Crowther started growing mushrooms while living in southwest Tennessee. But after moving to Shelby County 10 years ago, they found an especially receptive market among Birmingham-area chefs and home cooks.
Milo’s Restaurant has stayed true to its roots over the 75 years since Milo and Bea Carlton opened the original on 31st Street North at 12th Avenue in Birmingham’s Norwood neighborhood. Yes, a few new items have appeared on the menu and the franchise has expanded outside the Magic City. But the basic burger is pretty much the same as Milo started making after returning home from World War II—slathered in a savory sauce he perfected and served with an additional piece of meat dubbed “a little something extra.”
Sure, bagels have ruled for more than a century in New York City and Montreal. But it wasn’t until the 1970s, when Lender’s started selling them nationwide in groceries, that the circular bread and accompanying spreads became universal at tables across the country.
As lead bartender at Automatic Seafood and Oysters in Birmingham, Jose Medina Camacho studies people—their moods, their likes and dislikes, and what they’re eating. That helps him recommend the perfect wine, cocktail, or beer to accompany raw and grilled oysters, fish crudo, duck-fat poached swordfish, or simply cooked fresh catch.
Bois d’Arc Farm in Perry County will celebrate food, family, and fun with a fall festival on October 9, part of a larger effort to expose more people to the organic farm that applies old-school principles to modern agriculture. Better known as BDA, the organically-raised vegetables, pastured meats, and free-range eggs the farm produces have built a loyal following among customers at Birmingham’s Pepper Place farmers market and the city’s most-lauded chefs including Frank Stitt (Bottega, Chez Fonfon, Highlands), Chris Hastings (Hot and Hot, OvenBird), Rob McDaniel (Helen), and Chris Newsome (Ollie Irene.)
Writing about food and beverages is very fulfilling, but this story really hit the sweet spot. I was invited to try the new fall flavors from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at its “scoop shop” in Birmingham.