Alabama

Sky Castle Gastro Lounge Review

Looking for a casual restaurant, with an upbeat vibe, and upscale, but affordable food? Look no further than Lakeview’s newest Foodie Haven… Sky Castle Gastro Lounge!  Chef Haller Magee has upgraded Lakeview’s culinary offerings in an innovative way that is guaranteed to be a neighborhood favorite!

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gastro 3

What Did I Sample?

For Snacks our table devoured the Roasted Cauliflower and Radish Toast!  Both are highly recommended!  The snacks added enough flavor to wet my appetite while leaving room for my entrée!

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gastro

As for main dishes, it was all about the red meat!  The Sky Castle Burger could be up for awards in the near future!  And that’s saying a lot since Birmingham is home to some pretty fine burgers!  The homemade bread and butter pickles paired nicely with the tomato jam, caramelized onions, and smoked cheddar cheese! It’s a triple threat guaranteed to give you flavor explosion!

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gastro 2

I can also personally vouch for the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs that were served with a butternut squash puree and charred brussels sprouts! The short ribs were packed with flavor and seasoned with perfection! Well done Sky Castle!!!

What a great environment to watch your favorite sports team, catch up with good friends, and celebrate good food!  Great memories will be had at Sky Castle Gastro Lounge! This establishment adds new personality to the Birmingham food scene!

6 Local Birmingham Eats

Support our lovely city of Birmingham by eating local!

Babalu

The best part about their food: locally grown! One of my favorite dishes involved their delicious grits that are grown in Wilsonville, AL, McEwen & Sons. They were the perfect amount of flavor underneath the Braised Beef Short Rib, which was also amazing. The portions are the exact right amount for full satiety without being too large.

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When you taste their food you can tell that it is made with care and fresh, fresh, fresh! Their food items are made daily and even their margaritas are made with fresh ingredients (I highly recommend their baba-rita).

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They are partnered with Jones Valley Teaching Farm, a non-profit organization, to promote the education on locally grown foods. Jones Valley Teaching Farm is dedicated to educating the young community on what these fresh foods can do for your body! They provide many opportunities to volunteer and get involved here.

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Sprout and Pour

Sprout & Pour has been around Alabama for some time at various farmers markets but has just opened a storefront in the heart of Edgewood!  Sprout & Pour is family owned and uses fresh and local produce to make their cold pressed juices and serves up whole food smoothies!  Many juicing techniques lose key nutrients in their methods, but Sprout & Pour utilizes a cold-pressed method that preserves the vital nutrients in the local produce they use to create their nutrient dense treats!!

Galley and Garden

The galley is the kitchen and the garden is the area for you to enjoy your delicious meal. The chef, James Boyce, originates from Huntsville and owns three successful restaurants there. The restaurant has only been open for a short time and already has stirred talk around the town. The menu features modern American-French style with southern influences. I recommend trying the Grilled Hearts of Romaine salad and Pan Roasted Gulf Mangrove Snapper.

Dreamcakes

Dreamcakes is a locally owned bakery in the heart of Edgewood!  This bakery shares the cupcake love by sending cupcake trucks around the city!!! The creative team at Dreamcakes are consistently impressive at serving up whimsical excitement throughout the year with cupcake flavors and festive treats!  For example, during a pit-stop in October, the Wednesday special was the Sorting Hat cupcake. The Sorting Hat is Harry Potter themed and underneath the chocolate dipped topping is a SURPRISE FLAVOR! Nothing gets me like a hidden surprise inside a delicious cupcake.  Besides cupcakes there are cakes, brownies, chocolate strawberries, macaroons, and oatmeal crème pies. The shop is quaint and in the perfect area to eat outside and walk around to shop locally afterwards.  NutriFocusRD urges everyone to experience this unique & delectable bakery!!!

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Oli.O

Another family owned operation, Oli.O sells fresh olive oils and balsamic vinegars. These oils are from all over the world including: Spain, Italy, South Africa, Australia, California, and more! The shop provides tastings so you can see which oil or vinegar your taste buds prefer! One of my favorite new things to test out in recipes is infused olive oils and Oli.O has some great varieties like: chipotle, cilantro and roasted onion, organic basil, organic butter, and more! If you check out their website, they provide some recipes for your everyday needs.

Hotbox

Hotbox is considered a “permanent food stand” in the courtyard of Parkside in Avondale. I love the Avondale area, especially on a warn day when you can grab a dish at surrounding restaurants and eat at Avondale Brewery. Hotbox would be perfect for that very idea! Their menu has so much variety I would not know how to describe it besides: my perfect menu. Spicy soba noodles, beets and bok choy, carnitas tostada, and pork belly drunken noodle are on the top of my list. My mouth is watering as I type…

Therese Bridges

Learning to Leave with Leftovers!

Two weekends ago my mom and dad came to Birmingham to spend the weekend with me and finish up Christmas shopping!  I was so excited about their visit because my parents have always loved Christmas so they bring the Christmas spirit and excitement with them wherever they go!  To me, being around family is part of celebrating this holiday!

They arrived on Friday and were kind enough to take April and I to dinner and the restaurant was my choice!  Since I was in the mood for a good baked potato and a warm meal, I chose Firebirds (http://www.firebirdsrestaurants.com ;  191 Main Street, Patton Creek Shopping Center, Hoover, AL 35244  Phone: 205-733-2002) located at Patton Creek in Hoover!  I can confidently recommend this restaurant to everyone because the menu has a wide variety so it is guaranteed to please the largest of crowds.

For a lot of individuals, dining out can be stressful.  I hate to know that people have avoided social situations and spending time with friends and family because their eating disorder is screaming louder than they can handle!  I encourage everyone to follow two simple rules: ORDER EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT, NOT WHAT YOUR DIET OR EATING DISORDER WANTS & YOU DON’T HAVE TO FINISH YOUR PLATE!  Somewhere along the way, most southerners feel the pressure to eat everything on their plate!  Part of the dining experience is enjoy the taste, textures, and aromas of foods which can only truly happen if one is eating mindfully!

At Firebirds, April ordered the Grilled Salmon with Spiced Green Beans and Baked Potato which came out portioned very reasonable.  Her portions would deem eating 100%. My dad and I ordered the Coconut Shrimp, which was a large portion and could have been shared if we had known the amount. Especially since we both enjoyed a cup of Smoked Tomato Bisque (my all time favorite soup!) before our meal arrived!

The meal was fantastic and it came with another favorite menu item of mine, the tortilla slaw!! This delicious slaw has pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips, cabbage, and dressing!  Instead of getting overwhelmed by the serving size, I simply enjoyed eating and knew that my body would let me know when it has had enough!

Once my body tuned me in to its fullness, I asked for a box to take the shrimp home! My dad also had leftovers so I packed his shrimp up as well!  On Sunday, I prepared Mike and I dinner using the leftovers and we enjoyed a wonderful meal without the large expense! I placed the warmed coconut shrimp on top of a romaine salad topped with chopped pecans, apples, cranberries, and grapes marinated in raspberry vinaigrette dressing!

If your portions are extremely large, Be creative! Use leftovers so you can enjoy the meal over & over!