We’ve been in Birmingham, Alabama for almost four months now. We spend almost all of our time working (me) and going to school/doing school work (David). After that, we do the Things You Have To Do When You’re Not Beyonce (ie, laundry, general house cleaning, making appointments, and running errands). When that’s done, we usually have just enough time to eat something and fall into bed. Needless to say, we haven’t explored nearly as much of our new city as we would like. This is not a list of “best places to go in Birmingham”–we haven’t been to nearly enough places yet to make that list. This is just a little sampling of what we’ve enjoyed so far in the city.
Pork and greens at Saw’s Soul Kitchen | This was our first meal as Birmingham residents, eaten with my parents and sister a half hour after we finished moving into our new house. Saw’s is a hole in the wall in the Avondale neighborhood. The pork and greens is essentially a Styrofoam cafeteria tray covered in cheese grits, topped with collared greens, pulled pork, and onion rings (in that order). David swears by it.
Walking or riding bikes in Railroad Park | David took me to Railroad after we had been here a couple of weeks and I promptly fell in love. It reminds me of the Highline in NYC, that same kind of slightly other-worldly feeling. It’s always full of people running, biking, skate boarding, and hanging out. If you come during the golden hour you can count on stumbling into at least one photo shoot–some are significantly more awkward than others.
Chicken Panino at Urban Standard | Such a wonderful sandwich–chicken & bacon & herbs, but the crispy grilled bread is the hero here. They also have excellent granola and a good breakfast.
Break up cookie at Church Street Books & Coffee | We had one of these at an event that Church Street was catering and David immediately found out the source of said dessert. It’s basically a sea salt chocolate chip cookie… but it’s the best sea salt chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever had. We’ve since visited them at their Crestline location, where they also have a tiny but impeccably curated book selection.
Browsing the shelves at the Little Professor | I don’t think I’ve ever met an independent bookstore I didn’t like–and the Little Professor is no exception. They have a great selection (especially for such a small space) and a sweet small town feel (love the book club display).
Seeing a show at the Alabama Theatre | We went to see Sufjan Stevens here this fall (and have since been back for a Christmas movie). The show was great, but the building almost overshadowed it. Built in the 20s, the restoration is incredible–everything from the flashing sign in the front to the gold leaf paint makes it such a special place. Pretty sure someone could read Google’s Terms & Conditions from the stage and it would feel magical.
Coffee at Octane or Revelator | I’m not a participant in coffee-related things, but David loves Octane and Revelator, both for studying and drinking coffee. He says “get the nitro cold brew at Octane and a Chemex at Relevator.” For what it’s worth from a non coffee person I like Octane’s baked goods and Revelator sells yummy caramels by the register.
Laughing at ArcStories | As I explained to David, “It’s kind of like a LIVE EPISODE of This American Life.” We’ve been to this local story-telling event twice and loved every minute of it. Entertaining, inspiring, a great community organization. Probably my favorite thing we’ve done here in Birmingham
Buttermilk pops at Steel City | Thanks to David’s employment there, we regularly have Steel City pops at home… and we’re still not tired of them. Buttermilk (tastes like cheesecake), Chocolate, Lime, and Maple Bacon Bourbon are favorites in our house.
Walking around Jones Valley Farm | We live two blocks from Jones Valley’s flagship site. One of my favorite weekend morning things to do here is to take a walk to the farm and just wander. It’s obviously a functional farm, but the way everything is laid out is so beautiful to me… plus there’s just something kind of fun about seeing chickens run around on a farm located smack in the middle of a bunch of tall buildings.
Dinner at El Barrio | We tried this place out a couple of weeks ago after hearing rave reviews. It lived up to the hype. Everything was fresh, interesting, and delicious. Plus it just looks really cool inside. No reservations, go early on the weekend if you want to beat the crowd.
That’s just a little bit of what we’ve been up to in the magic city. Would love to hear recommendations from others–we have a lot of time off this month (thanks to careers with generous holiday breaks) and we’re excited to explore more!
photo compliments of brother’s iPhone and a pile of rusty metal
upon which said iPhone was propped.