Eric Velasco

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About Eric Velasco

Eric Velasco is a freelance writer based in Birmingham. He has written for local, regional and national publications for nearly four decades, and was a longtime contributor to Birmingham Magazine. When he’s not cooking, he’s eating.

Where to find the best Easter sweets and desserts in Alabama

2023-03-26T13:53:29-05:00By |Food & Drink|

When I was growing up, it wasn’t officially Easter until I opened the door to our clothes dryer. That’s where my mother, Juanita “The Easter Bunny” Velasco, always stashed my basket filled with candy, a chocolate bunny, and other sweet treats nestled on a bed of fake grass. To this day, I instinctively check the dryer on Easter Sunday. One never knows. Maybe your Easter Bunny will grace your basket or dinner table with treats from one of these Alabama bakeries or gourmet sweet shops.

Eat all the crawfish you want at these Alabama festivals

2023-03-26T13:22:16-05:00By |Festivals, Food & Drink|

In early spring, when the weather grows warmer and the rain picks up across southern Louisiana, the farmed and wild crawfish that grow there reach a perfect balance of size and flavor. Whether you call them crayfish, crawdads, crawdaddies, ecrevisse, mudbugs, or crawfish, these small lobster-looking freshwater crustaceans reach their peak around then in Louisiana, which produces up to 95 percent of the nation’s harvest. Crawfish season in bayou country generally runs from November into early summer, but spring time is prime time. By Easter, farmed and wild crawfish are abundant through the Southeast region, including restaurants and markets across Alabama. But while crawfish is a popular protein for those observing Lent, most Alabamians really don’t need much of an excuse to fill a plate, pop out some tail meat to eat, and then repeat. No surprise, then, that April is the month for crawfish-themed festivals across Alabama. Whether or not you opt to suck the crawfish heads is your choice.

6 Alabama farmers markets to check out this spring

2023-03-26T13:54:44-05:00By |Food & Drink|

It’s prime time for farmers markets to open across Alabama. A few may start earlier in the year, generally when the first strawberries grown nearby are ripe enough to pick. But April is the most popular month for market seasons to begin. At the beginning, you’ll see more arts and crafts, cut flowers, and prepared goods than fresh food. But in April farmers in Alabama are harvesting cauliflower, cabbages, lettuces, onions, spinach, and early squash. Hens are laying fresh eggs. And vendors that sell frozen meat or seafood are fully stocked. Alabama is blessed with so many places where people can connect with the people who produce their food—eating produce at its peak nutrition and flavor while also supporting family farms and local economies. Here are some of the Alabama markets opening in April, where locals can reap what nearby farmers sow.

6 barbecue festivals to attend this spring in Alabama

2023-03-11T14:22:19-06:00By |Festivals, Food & Drink|

Barbecue is so integral to the diet of average Alabamians it might as well be considered its own food group. Several festivals scheduled through May pay tribute to our favorite smoked meats, cooked low and slow. Some of the events double as competitions—for bragging rights as well as cash. Others serve their ’cue with a side of tunes (blues music seems to pair particularly well). All support worthy causes. Here are 6 barbecue festivals that will get you fired up for spring.

The House of Found Objects is Birmingham’s most intriguing bar

2023-03-04T13:05:47-06:00By |Food & Drink|

Art and cocktails intertwine at The House of Found Objects, the latest creation from the bard of Birmingham bars, Feizal Valli (The Collins Bar, The Atomic Lounge). And the customers themselves are part of the performance. As you’re led through the bar to be seated, you might pass by the “Elvis Table,” where patrons have donned white “Vegas Elvis” jumpsuits. Artwork over the booth pays tribute to The King. That group sits next to a table of drinkers wearing Sesame Street costumes. Their friend, dressed as Cookie Monster, is working the room handing out coooo-keees.

Try Jeni’s Ice Cream’s new Ted Lasso flavor at its Birmingham locations

2023-03-02T14:13:33-06:00By |Food & Drink|

Fans of the hit show “Ted Lasso” have a new way to enjoy the hit streaming program when its third season begins on March 15. Jeni’s Ice Cream has rolled out a limited-edition flavor called Biscuits with the Boss, which pays tribute to a running theme in the show in which the main character delivers a daily tin of “biscuits” (we call them shortbread cookies) to share with his boss.

6 popular food festivals to attend in Birmingham this spring

2023-03-02T14:14:37-06:00By |Food & Drink|

It’s no secret: Birmingham takes food very seriously. Fancy or simple, it must be great to pass muster in the Magic City. Several food festivals this spring reflect the metro area’s longstanding cultural and religious diversity. Two events in April are held by a local Maronite Catholic congregation that dates back more than a century, and the Levite Jewish Community center (Birmingham’s earliest synagogues date to 1889, 1903, and 1907). The Birmingham Taco Fest honors what is arguably one of Birmingham’s favorite casual foods. Mexican-style taquerias, Tex-Mex restaurants, and even suburban adaptations have proliferated with the growth of the Mexican-American population across Alabama in recent decades. Sample the best of Birmingham’s restaurants, or chow down on chili for a cause. Work your way down this list in March, April, and May and gain a greater appreciation for the melting pot that feeds metro Birmingham.

6 Alabama beer and wine festivals happening this spring

2023-03-02T13:23:25-06:00By |Food & Drink|

When spring is sprung, getting outside and enjoying a beer or some wine tops many weekend checklists. So, it’s no surprise a few wine and beer festivals are on tap across Alabama this spring. The season foams up with two ultimate signs of spring, beer and the blooming plants and trees at Bellengrath Gardens in the Theodore community in Mobile County. Here are the ABCs on Alabama’s spring wine and beer festivals, including events in Albertville, Birmingham, and Calera.

7 fun and funky food festivals in Alabama this spring

2023-03-07T10:22:20-06:00By |Food & Drink|

From collard greens to poke salat, several spring festivals in Alabama are showcases for an iconic food, often one that’s emblematic of its home. Sausages introduced by immigrants who founded Elberta in the early 1900s are celebrated there with the German Sausage Festival in late March. A 140-year-old mill in Childersburg builds its late-April fun around the corn grits it produces.  From chocolate in Mobile to chicken wings in Vestavia Hills, food has a prominent place in festivals across the state in March, April, and May. 

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