Monday, September 9, 2013


In downtown Tuscaloosa, there is a cute little German bakery. And, I still find tons of Tuscaloosa residents who don't know about it. Edelweiss has been open for several years in their location in Temerson Square. And, recently I have been stopping in more and more for coffee and snacks. They will soon show up in the blog post about wifi around town that I hope to post soon.

Recently, I joined friends for lunch on a Friday. We all had the special of the day, pork chop schnitzel. Each day they have a special and then they also have soup, sandwich, and bratwurst options too. The pork chop schnitzel was really delicious. We each received two pork chops and a German potato salad with a rye bread. It was plenty to bring home for a second meal. In case you haven't had schnitzel before, it is pretty much a fried pork chop. The potato salad was very different. It looked like it should be served hot, like a potato casserole. But, it was more like room temperature and not a mayonnaise based potato salad like we are all so familiar with having. Sorry, I don't really have any great ways of explaining the taste. Here is a picture of all the yumminess.

My friend had recently had one of the other daily specials and thought that it was better. So, I am anxious to get back in and try some more things! I know I love the pretzel rolls they have. And, they have been doing pretzel rolls since before pretzel rolls were popular (see Wendy's, Ruby Tuesdays, and Sonic).
I also love a lot of the pastries, muffins, and breakfast goodies. The crumb cake has always been a favorite.  And, I had a ham and cheese croissant for breakfast a few months ago that was great. I should have taken a picture. Here is a picture of my latte and white chocolate raspberry scone from a recent breakfast/work visit.

 And, earlier in the summer I had a latte with an amazing cherry and cream cheese Danish. Yum!

So, if you haven't visited Edleweiss I would suggest you do. They are only open during the day, so no dinner dates here. But, they have a front patio area, so as the weather gets cooler, it will be a great spot for coffee, a sweet treat, or a unique lunch. it is so very cool that we have a little touch of Germany right here in Tuscaloosa. 

Steel City Pops

I am slow getting this post done. I have visited the newest Tuscaloosa sweet treat option, Steel City Pops, three times now and I just remembered to take pictures on this last visit. Oops. Steel City Pops opened a little over a month ago in downtown Tuscaloosa. The location on University Boulevard across from City Hall is conveniently located.

Steel City Pops may be new to TTown, but they have been around Birmingham for a while. I visited the location in Homewood once before so I knew the quality popsicle I was going to get. The location here has a giant chalkboard giving you the flavor options available. They have fruity and creamy. The favors change some with some constants and some that come and go. For one pop, you will pay $3.00. It's not a cheap treat, but it's competitive with what I would pay for ice cream, yogurt, a cupcake or cookies most anywhere else in town. And, I know these are homemade, made with quality ingredients and fairly healthy, as a dessert goes. :)

So,  on this visit I had a fruity pop and so did my friend. Before this visit, I had gotten the coconut, peach, and buttermilk. This time I had the cucumber lime.  The fruity and creamy are basically what you would think. The creamy is a little thicker and heavier but oh so yummy. The coconut is my favorite so far. But, in the hot heat of August, the cucumber lime was very refreshing and a light and delicious option. Neither the cucumber or the lime flavor was overpowering. I thought it was great. 

My friend had the sweet tea pop. Online, it said this was made with sweet tea, duh, and lemon zest.  She was worried the lemon would be too powerful, but she was really pleased and loved her selection.

What a cool new spot in town. You could go daily for weeks and still not have tasted all the flavors. But, it would be fun to try. I think my next flavor to try may be avocado. It just sounds so interesting. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chuck's Fish

Chuck's is probably one of the most popular restaurants in Tuscaloosa.  It usually doesn't matter if its a weeknight, weekend, summer break, or football season, the crowd is happening at Chuck's. This is a sister restaurant to Harbor Docks in Destin and the also popular Five in Downtown Tuscaloosa. Chuck's focuses on seafood and had a wonderful sushi menu. Actually, sushi is almost always what I get when I go. Last year I did a post on the YPT sushi making class at Chuck's, but I haven done a post on the restaurant itself.

The location is perfect. The building is a multi level open feel downtown on Greensboro. It does get a little loud because it is so open, but last night didn't seem as bad. It's a great place for a date night, group dinner, or girls night, which is what Mollie and I had last night. Mollie was visiting from Memphis and was dying to have Chuck's sushi and says no where in Memphis has sushi this good. 

We started with the tuna dip. I forgot to take a picture but there is a good portion of dip served with toast pieces. Sometimes tuna dip can be too smoky for me, but this had a great flavor and like I said, the portion was good for the price. 

I ordered the Amazon roll and the Dharma roll. The Amazon was a tuna roll with avocado and crab salad on top. It is very similar to the Backdown Roll that I had gotten before only with tuna inside instead of on top. Both are delicious. These are filling rolls. The crab salad takes the roll to the next level. 
The Dharma roll has crab, shrimp, and conch. It is a simpler roll, the one in the picture without everything on top, but the favors are good. This roll is fully cooked so it can be a safe bet for the person who isn't a big sushi person. 

Mollie ordered the Backdown Roll and a special roll that isn't on the menu, the Screaming O. I already gave a little explanation of the Backdown, but it's got shrimp inside with tuna and crab salad on top. And, it's so tasty! I think it's my favorite on the menu. 
The Screaming O is a baked roll. I can't remember what is in the roll but it has smoked salmon on top with a really tasty sauce on it. 

The sushi at Chuck's is my favorite in town. On Tuesday nights they do $2 off sushi rolls for everyone and half price drinks for ladies. Things may get backed up and it may take a while to get your food, but that's a great deal! The prices at Chuck's aren't cheap but the atmosphere and food are worth it. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mr. Chen's

Mr. Chen's is the newest Chinese restaurant in Tuscaloosa. The location is convenient but isn't much for ambiance. Mr. Chen's is in the Oz Music shopping center off 15th Street. Not only is this a restaurant, but there is an Asian market too. You actually walk through the market to get to the dining area.  For months, I had heard people mention (or post on Facebook) about this new restaurant, and I had been wanting to try it. We just got around to it a couple of weekends ago.

Wes, Abigail and I went for Sunday lunch and had a great experience. It seems to be well liked by the Asian community in town and that day was representative of that. We felt like that was a strong indicator that the food was going to be good. I will say Wes and I both ordered the lunch special, but it looked like the tables with Asian diners had a more authentic and family style service. So, we might be missing some great dishes by trying the things with which we are more familiar.

We started with the steamed dumplings. I think this was my favorite part of the meal. I am not always a huge fan of dumplings, but these were some of the best I have had. They were very fresh, had a good flavor, and we ate them all.
Steamed dumplings
I mentioned we both ordered the lunch special for our meals. That comes with a main dish, a soup, and either steamed or fried rice. Both of us ordered the egg drop soup. While the soup was fine, I didn't think it was anything to shout about. On my next visit, I tried the hot & sour soup and it was delicious. That is definitely the one I would order in the future.
Egg Drop Soup
 For my meal, I ordered sesame chicken and fried rice. While it was good, I almost immediately regretted my decision of ordering it. It is just one of those Chinese dishes that seems so safe and uninteresting. If you are a sesame chicken fan, this is a perfectly fine option. However, on my next visit, I ordered something different. It is a great amount of food. We easily had left overs to take home. The fried rice was really good. I don't like it as much as the Japanese fried rice you find around town, but had a great quality of rice that make the texture really interesting to me. And, the egg roll was delicious. It was one of the best parts of the meal.
Sesame Chicken, fried rice, and egg roll
Wes had the Mongolian beef. It was yummy! This is his favorite dish and the one he orders just about any time we have Chinese. He liked this version better than our regular Chinese place here in town. I had a bite and as I said before, it was yummy. I'm not sure how to describe the taste. It isn't really spicy or sweet but it has just a touch of both. He did a better job ordering than I did.
Mongolian Beef
If you are a Chinese food fan, Mr. Chen's is a must try. I definitely think there are lots more menu items I want to try. I went with a client for lunch and had the Mongolian Chicken. It was really good, but I still liked the Mongolian Beef better. Mandy had the Kung Pao Chicken and says it is great too. Again, the atmosphere isn't anything to shout about but the food is really good. The Sunday we went the service was quick and the waitress was very nice.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Epiphany and a weeknight out

If you are looking for a nice meal or even a great weeknight deal, look no farther than Epiphany in downtown Tuscaloosa. I consider myself pretty "in the know" about things going on in Tuscaloosa, but somehow I totally missed that Epiphany has half price small plates Monday-Thursday 5-7pm. And, if you aren't familiar with this restaurant, the small plates aren't boring, bland appetizers. Their focus on bringing fresh, local, and upscale food to Tuscaloosa. With the words Farm to Table on the building, you know they desire to provide fresh, local, food. And that's what you find with items on the menu from places like Buhl and Coker.  And, the menu changes often. In fact, the night we went, the bartender mentioned the menu would be changing the next night. I think we have been hesitant to  go to Epiphany because of the price. But, it really wouldn't be that far off some of the other restaurants we go to more often.  And, for a nice night out, I certainly think this would be one of the best options in Tuscaloosa.

For the half price deal, you have to sit at the bar, out front, or at one of the high top bar tables. We don't mind doing that at all. In fact, on this visit, we asked our bartender, Anthony, lots of questions about different menu items and we really enjoyed talking with him. They serve a lot of local Alabama beer and Wes tried one from Huntsville. The have a nice wine list but a limited number of them are served by the glass. It seemed there was at least one of each type of grape, but often times, just that one. All of that is good with me, though.

We started with the bread service. This is a freshly made brown sugar bread served with a homemade pork butter. The slightly sweet bread paired wonderfully with the slightly salty butter.
Bread service with pork butter

We then shared four small plates. We probably could have even done just three, but that would have meant we didn't try one of these dishes, and I have no idea which one was my least favorite. We had shrimp cakes, roasted mushrooms, stuffed squash blossoms, and a polenta dish.
All four of our small plates

The shrimp cakes were similar to the more commonly seen crab cakes. They were topped with a radish salad which didn't have a ton of flavor but gave a nice crunch to the dish. The sauce, apricot and pickled peach purée, had a great flavor with the shrimp cakes. In all, this dish was fresh, not too heavy, and delicious.
shrimp cakes

The roasted wild mushroom dish was probably both Wes and my favorite. It was served with crispy pork, which tasted like yummy bacon in the dish. It also jalapenos that had me a little worried. I am not a fan of things that are too spicy. But, we didn't outright eat the peppers, so the spiciness was not too strong and the dish as a whole had the best flavor, texture, and was just delicious.
roasted wild mushrooms
One of the specials that night was the stuffed squash blossoms. The blossoms were filled with goat cheese and ricotta, lightly breaded and fried. They were served with fried crooked neck squash, mustard greens and topped with a green goddess dressing. YUM! It was all amazing. I love greens and Wes doesn't, so I probably lucked out and got every bite of those.
fried squash blossoms
And, finally, we had the polenta dish served with crispy chicken skin, soft cooked farm egg, cheddar, and wild mushrooms. What can go wrong when you throw some crispy chicken skin in a dish? With the egg, cheese, and polenta, this dish had the taste and feel of an almost breakfast or brunch item. It wasn't too rich but had tons of flavor in every bite.
As I said before, all the food we had this night was amazing. You certainly have a higher quality food and atmosphere at Epiphany than you would at other restaurants in Tuscaloosa. With the uniqueness of the dishes, I think this is more on par with what you would expect in a bigger city. And, in general, Tuscaloosa just doesn't have too much of that.  And, with the half price small plates during the week, we were able to spend a reasonable amount for a nicer night out and enjoy special food.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

On A Roll /Fifth and Main

On A Roll was formerly Fifth and Main in downtown Northport. What a quaint and adorable area downtown Northport is. I went to lunch last week with my friend Rebecca and we got lucky that this June day was cool enough (and not too humid) that we could sit outside. With a few tables out front, you are able to enjoy the small town feel of Main Avenue. This is a great lunch spot with a variety of salads, sandwiches, soups, and combos on the menu.
Sitting outside on Main Ave in Northport

For this meal, I had one of the daily specials. I had the caprese sandwich with chicken.  On the menu, you will find the caprese sandwich without chicken and I would imagine that to be just as good. I love anything with pesto and I'm likely to pick it off the menu. This flavorful sandwich had tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, pesto, and this day, chicken. It is served with chips.
Chicken Caprese Sandwich
 Rebecca had a salad on our visit. I believe it was the Cobb with chicken. You can see it looks great. The dressing was a vinaigrette and it and the salad got approval from Rebecca. 

The next time I visited On A Roll, I had the pimento cheese BLT and it was delicious. It was a part of my sandwich and salad combo. I got the Lewis salad that had avocado,black beans, yellow peppers and onions and a vinaigrette dressing. I'm not sure these two items were meant to be served together but it certainly worked for me. I was with a client and I convinced her to split the rainbow cake with me. This is their signature cake that has a layer of strawberry, key lime, and orange covered in a delicious cream cheese frosting. I really wish I had thought to take a picture. Hmmm, maybe I need to stop in just to get another piece (for the sake of the blog of course).  This cake was amazing. We kept debating which flavor was the best and had a terrible time deciding.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Another Broken Egg

If you are looking for a great breakfast or brunch spot here in town, Another Broken Egg is the place. About a year ago, Another Broken Egg opened their Tuscaloosa location at the new River Walk. Just off Jack Warner Parkway, this location has great views of the river, a patio, and the quality food that you get at all their other locations. Of course this is a pretty casual place since its breakfast and lunch only. But they also have a full bar which means mimosas and bloody marys. And they serve their coffee in these really cool mugs.
Menu with signature coffee mug

I have been several times for lunch and breakfast since they opened, but I always get breakfast food. On this last visit I had the veggie omelet with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and goat cheese. The omelet comes with their potatoes and English muffin. I love the way goat cheese tastes in the omelet.
Veggie omlet

Another one of my usual items is the skinny omelet that also has goat cheese, asparagus, and tomatoes but is made with only egg whites. Both omelets are delicious. And there is a lot to love about the potatoes and English muffin. The English muffin is denser than one you might buy in the store. Oh, and it comes with whipped butter that is light and fluffy. The potatoes have always been fresh with just enough crispiness but aren't overdone. They have a light seasoning on them.

I went with two girlfriends this trip after we visited the farmer's market one Saturday morning. Deidra got the black bean sliders. I didn't try them but they looked really cool so I wanted a picture for the blog. She said they had a little bit of a kick to them. I think it was the "slaw" topping that had some peppers in it.  The black bean burger was between two small pancakes and topped with the slaw.
black bean sliders
It has been great to add a breakfast spot to the mix here in T-town. And, it is even better that the food has been delicious each time I have been. The only complaint, or more of an issue, is the wait that you will often find, especially on a Saturday morning. But, that is a good sign and of course you can't really do much about that.