I love my city. I mean that with the utmost sincerity. When it comes to the foodstuff, there is always somewhere new to try. No wonder Birmingham, Alabama is creating a name for itself as an up-and-coming culinary city!
Not long ago, I went on a field trip (yes, I just called it that) in this city I love. I’d made plans to play catch-up with an old high school mate of mine. I was going to settle for only a quick phone call, but I thought meeting him in person over food would be more appropriate. We agreed to meet at Urban Standard, a local coffee shop located in the contemporary loft district of downtown Birmingham. We both ordered a grilled cheese sandwich made with cheddar, american, and an herbed goat cheese spread accompanied with a jelly for dipping; kettle chips; an iced tea for me, soda for him; and we shared a [tofu] urban noodle bowl. I don’t know about him, but I was as “full as a tick,” as the idiom goes.
We ate while we discussed changes in Birmingham, its natives, traveling and living abroad, retro cars, Nike kicks, music . . . whew! I even had the pleasure to meet a local musician my friend occasionally plays for. Just in casual conversation with her, she reminded me of an artist . . . someone like Janis Joplin or maybe Carly Simon. She told me about her upcoming shows and gave me her card for me to come see her performances. (As much as I love music, I just might do that!)
After we ate and talked for awhile, we made a quick stop in Faith Skateboard Supply next door–a first visit for me. Arranged with an entire wall of skateboard gear and Vans . . . the shop must be a skater’s dream place.
“You want to go to Steel City Pops?” my friend asked, and we were soon driving on the streets of the Southside on our way to Homewood where the popsicle eatery is located. I’d been trying to go there for over a year. I was craving something sweet anyway and it was a hot summer day, so it was the perfect time to cool off with a frozen gourmet treat. It appeared like we weren’t the only ones who had that idea since the place was crowded with patrons waiting to get their hands on a bizarrely mixed popsicle. I mean, kids, moms, dads, girlfriends everywhere . . . nowhere to sit inside; people were standing in the doorway waiting to order, that’s just how packed tight the little cozy eatery was.
Of course Steel City Pops has typical “safe” flavors like watermelon, strawberry, or peach for those who prefer one of the fruit variety. I wanted to be daring and try one of the more odd flavors, though; maple bacon with bourbon to be exact. Wait . . . what?!
I had a good time that day trying new things in the city of Birmingham with my good friend. Had I settled on calling him instead, I wouldn’t have had the chance to enjoy eating a popsicle laced with bacon bits. (Oh. I enjoyed his company, too.) But on that day, I was reminded of how there are so many more restaurants my appetite for delicious food wants to explore in the city I love. Someday, I will try those restaurants. It’s only a matter of deciding where to go to next.