Alabama Food Blog

Can’t Miss Alabama Food Events: December

As the year wraps up, so does our 2016untitled-design-1 calendar of food events. End 2016 on a delicious note with these final festivities!

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Warm Up with Alabama’s Best Winter Eats


As the temperatures begin to drop in Alabama, it’s time to start thinking about the best places to warm up with delicious seasonal dishes!

Whether it’s a grilled cheese, a bowl of soup or a hot beverage, here are some of Alabama’s coziest treats:


Classic Melt and Tomato Basil Soup from Melt
Birmingham, Alabama

Get cozy and order this classic grilled cheese complete with cheddar, monterey jack & american cheeses on Texas toast with a side of warm and delicious Tomato Basil Soup! The concept behind MELT is simple: a modern twist on a classic comfort food. The menu is approachable and the food is scrumptious. There is something about going back to basics that just makes sense.

Milky Way Latte from Eclipse Coffee and Books
Montevallo, Alabama

This coffee drink is out of this world! Treat yourself to a chocolate, caramel and vanilla treat while perusing the books at Eclipse! Eclipse Coffee & Books has been in Montevallo since 2001. Originally it was designed to be a coffee and bookstore but has evolved over the years to be a cafe, bar, meeting place, music and special event venue, study space, catering operation and overall hang out.

Chicken Posole from Cactus Flower Cafe
Dothan, Alabama

A bowl of our traditional hominy stew, thick, rich, in a spicy base made from red chilies shipped from New Mexico. Garnished with lime, scallions, and cilantro.

Chicken and Waffles from Acre
Auburn, Alabama

Nothing will warm you up inside like a good meal of real Southern comfort food! Enjoy a plate of a fried chicken breast, Vermont maple syrup, cinnamon-ancho chili butter and toasted pecans atop fluffy waffles. Acre is a restaurant that celebrates Southern Hospitality and the fresh harvest provided by the local community.

Ricotta Gnocchi from Epiphany
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Get ready for Thanksgiving with the fall flavors in Epiphany’s Ricotta Gnocchi! Sweet potato and lamb bacon bolognese, scarlett turnip and horseradish are all included in this dish. Epiphany is a farm-to-fork upscale casual restaurant dedicated to providing Tuscaloosa with a unique culinary experience featuring a seasonal, locally sourced, constantly evolving menu.

Dining Out in Alabama on Thanksgiving

High angle view of festive table and people eating

Whether you just don’t want to cook that Thanksgiving meal or you just burned the turkey, have no worries, because a delicious Thanksgiving feast is still an option! Restaurants all across Alabama are opening their doors for you this holiday, so take your pick…


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The 2016 Alabama Food Gift Guide

fuji4887Each year as the holidays draw near, we share some of our favorite Alabama food products with you to inspire your gift-buying for those special foodies in your life. From legendary Alabama food staples to brand-new products, we’ve included something for everyone on your list. And while you’re at it, you might as well add your favorites to a wish list of your own!

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Everything But Pumpkin: Alabama’s Unique Fall Tastes


There’s more to fall’s palate than pumpkin, and Alabama knows it. Treat your taste buds to autumn’s full array of flavors: apple cinnamon, pecan praline, sweet potato and more!

Stop by any (or all) of these Alabama restaurants to get your own taste of fall!


Cinnamon Apple Pop from Steel City Pops
Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama

Try one of the many delicious fall flavors now available at Steel City Pops locations across the state! As an added bonus this year, you can have your pop dipped, drizzled or dusted with additional topping like caramel, sea salt and white chocolate. Yum!

Oktorberfest Beer from Cahaba Brewing Company
Birmingham, Alabama

Our Fall seasonal is our take on an Oktoberfest style beer.  Brewed with continental malts, a generous amount of noble hops, and a unique twist on the fermenting yeast, Oktoberfest is one of our favorite beers.  It’s malty, full body, and well balanced hop character make it a perfect fall beer to enjoy with your friends.

Pecan Praline or Sweet Potato Cupcakes from Twist Cupcakes
Mobile, Alabama

Try one of these delicious seasonal flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth this fall! Twist Cupcakes is committed to providing fresh, made-from-scratch cupcakes and other delicious sweet treats.

Gluten Free Apple Bread from Turbo Coffee
Florence, Alabama

In addition to getting a coffee pick-me-up, make sure to have a taste of Turbo Coffee’s homemade Apple Bread! This trendy coffee shop in Florence is the perfect place to escape the chilly air and warm up.

Caramel Apple Pie from Pie Lab
Greensboro, Alabama

At Pie Lab, they believe pie is Joy. It is Bliss. It is what is eaten when families and friends gather. When it is made, it is made by hands with love for people to enjoy and savor. Where there is happiness, very often we find pie. At Pie Lab, they strive to create a superior product, using the right techniques, striving for perfection, and that extends to their delicious Caramel Apple Pie!

Alabama Restaurant Feature: Saigon Noodle House

We sat down with one of Birmingham’s favorite Vietnamese restaurants to kick off our new restaurant feature series where we will spotlight a different place every month! Saigon Noodle house has two Birmingham locations, one on 280 and one in Avondale, and offers the exotic and delicious flavors of South Vietnam! Continue reading to learn more.


Why Alabama? Why Birmingham?2

After fleeing Vietnam, settling in New Orleans, then moving to Birmingham in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, our founders opened the original Saigon Noodle House on Highway 280 in 2009. Pairing with Jim ‘N Nick’s founder Nick Pihakis & his Fresh Hospitality restaurant group (also responsible for Big Bad Breakfast, Little Donkey, & Taziki’s – to name a few), we then sought out the perfect place to open a new location. With what’s been going on and everyone finally realizing the food, entertainment, and residential potential all around downtown Birmingham, specifically Avondale, we knew we wanted to be a part of this new and exciting scene. Our search led us to the old Bottletree building on 3rd Avenue South. With a fun, lively atmosphere, full bar, and fresh authentic food, we are thrilled to add another great spot, as well as a little diversity to the mix!

Where did the concept for Saigon Noodle House come from?4

An homage to the recipes and flavors of their father’s original food cart in Vietnam, our founders wanted to bring a taste of their homeland to the American south. Then, as with all Fresh Hospitality concepts, we start with a commitment to excellence – meaning fresh, never-frozen ingredients (we grow our own Thai Basil!), chef-inspired dishes, and no shortcuts. When you begin with those things, everything else falls into place.

What’s your favorite thing about the food scene here?

That it’s growing and getting noticed! Over the past few years, we have seen a huge influx of restaurants and chefs coming into our city, and they aren’t just coming in, they are succeeding. From James Beard award-winning chef concepts to smaller, family-owned joints, the diversity you have now when picking a place to eat is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, Birmingham has always had a great food scene, but with even more respected restaurants comes even more notoriety and that’s not bad for anyone.

How has it been since you opened?5

We are loving it! Incredibly positive reviews and our love of the process keeps us happy! But ask anyone, opening a restaurant is hard work. Even after the building is built and ingredients are ordered, you still deal with the most important part: people to serve it to! And for them to come in, they have to know we are here. So getting our name out there and letting folks know we are ready to please, as well as convincing some sticklers to try something a little outside the box, is our main goal now. That and our bar should be full every night! It’s really something to see!

Signature dish?

The fan favorite is probably our famous spring rolls. Hand-rolled to order, they are packed with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs grown right in our garden, lettuce, cucumber, a crunchy rice paper stick, and your choice of char-grilled pork, gulf shrimp, char-grilled pork AND gulf shrimp, chicken or tofu. We also take great pride in creating the traditional Pho soups from South Vietnam. As a result, the broths (chicken, beef, or veggie) are lighter, sweeter, and fresher. Served with a plate of Thai Basil from our garden, bean sprouts, jalapenos and lime for the perfect mix of healthy and hearty – and with three different bowl sizes, it works for a light lunch or a full dinner.


Can’t Miss Food Events: November 2016

PeanutsTaste of Monroeville & Market, Monroeville
November 3

Explore more than 30 vendors with art, antiques, silver, apparel, jewelry and more, entertainment and refreshments.

First Fridays Florence, Florence
November 4

Join friends, family or co-workers to experience the wonderfully festive atmosphere of First Fridays in Downtown Florence! On the first Friday of each month from March through December, Historic Downtown Florence comes alive with art, music, shopping and entertainment for the whole family. Enjoy the sights and sounds around every corner – dine in one of our fine restaurants – shop at our galleries and stores – or take a leisurely stroll to enjoy one-of-a-kind arts and the finest live music around!

Alabama Pecan Festival, Mobile
November 4-6

This family-oriented festival at the Tillman’s Corner Community Center features a carnival atmosphere with rides, food, face painting, arts and crafts, and jewelry. Free grandstand events include a classic country and western show, a Sunday gospel show with topnotch entertainers, and more. Bring the grandparents and bring the kids. There is something for everyone. Friday, 5 p.m. until; Saturday, 9 a.m. until; Sunday, 11 a.m. until. Admission and parking are free. Call 251-401-5555 for more information. The event is held annually on the first full weekend of November.

9th Annual Oyster Cook Off at The Hangout, Gulf Shores
November 4-6

Held annually on the white sands of the Alabama coastline in the heart of the Gulf Coast, the first weekend of November, this year’s Oyster Cook-off will bring together celebrity chefs from across the U.S. as well as a long list of well-known Gulf coast restaurateurs.

Moss Rock Festival, Hoover
November 5-6

On November 5 and 6, 2016 Hoover, Alabama will be a regional focus for art, design and environmental lovers everywhere with the return of the 9th Annual MOSS ROCK FESTIVAL. This highly anticipated one-of-a-kind outdoor eco-creative festival, which in 2012 welcomed 15,000 visitors to The Preserve in Hoover, will explore nature and eco-ideas in the same breath with art and design. There is something around every corner for visitors to discover at MRF. So, grab the whole family and get outside this Fall! Admission is FREE. Hours are 10 am-5 pm Saturday and 10 am-4 pm Sunday.

St. Nicholas Annual Food Festival, Brookside
November 5-6

Established in 1894, the current temple was erected in 1916 and renovated in 1965. Tours of the temple are available. The Sisterhood of St. Olga prepares food and pastries from recipes handed down from Slovak relatives and friends who immigrated to Brookside from Western Ukraine and Slovakia. Enjoy the Russian Beriozka Store with imported gifts and souvenirs and ethnic music and dancing. Food is take-out or eat in. First Saturday and Sunday in November each year. Over 32 consecutive years. Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-5.

National Peanut Festival, Dothan
November 4-13

The nation’s largest peanut festival is held each fall to honor peanut growers and to celebrate the harvest season. Festivities include amusement rides, animal shows, agricultural displays, concerts, beauty pageants, arts and crafts displays, contests, food, a two-hour parade and tons of peanuts. Fri., 5-11 p.m.; Sat., noon until; Mon., 5-10 p.m.; Tues., 3-10 p.m.; Wed., 5-10 p.m.; Thurs., 4-10 p.m.

Pepper Place Saturday Market, Birmingham
Every Saturday in November

Visit the region’s farming families who grow fruits and vegetables, and enjoy live music, a light breakfast and cooking demonstrations with Birmingham’s finest chefs. The Market at Pepper Place will be hosting a Makers Village that is being held every Saturday through Oct. 1, rain or shine, in the parking lot of Oven Bird restaurant on 28th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues South. It will feature 25 tents and display areas with a rotating collection of Alabama makers, plus live and DJ’d music, ready-to-eat food and drink, and weekly demonstrations, workshops, and lectures in Scene Gallery, adjacent to the display area. For more information see


Some like it hot: 6 must-try Alabama coffee shops

Whether you’re a java novice or you grind your own beans, the coffee scene in Alabama has something for everyone. From sweet specialty drinks to no-frills caffeination, you’re sure to find your next regular spot among these local favorites. Read More >