Thursday, February 8, 2018

Eating Healthy Has Great Taste At The Joyful Food Company

Did you make a diet change at the beginning of the year and are finding it hard to stick to eating right? Did you make it through your Whole 30 plan?

Well, if not, don't feel bad. Lot's of people fell off of the wagon after a few short weeks. As your gym membership collects dust and your healthy meal kits sit lonely in the fridge, I just want to let you know that there's hope!

The team at The Joyful Food Company has everything you like to eat and more! As Alabama's only 100% Paleo/Gluten friendly food store, they are capable of catering to many of us with special diet requirements or those of us that just want to "clean up" our diets.

*Click photos to enlarge

Elizabeth & Rebecca, the delightful owners of the Joyful Food Company have developed a delicious menu that is not only healthier than most, but actually tastes amazing! They have baked goods, weekly features, guilt-free snacks and even family sized meals. Among the heat & eat family meals are the ready to bake Shepherd's Pie & their infamously delicious Paleo Chili. These items and more can be found in the coolers inside. 

On my recent visit, I was given the opportunity to learn about all of the wonderful products they offer. Their website displays an impressive menu. Whether you are looking for gluten free, nut free or dairy free products, there is definitely something to suit your needs.

 In addition to their own great grab-and-go products, the store is stocked with several local brands. There are popular items from Hornsby Farms,  Piper & Leaf, hand crafted aprons from Thimbletree Studio and much, much more.

 For my lunch I had the Cranberry Walnut Chicken salad bento box. In addition to the chicken salad,  was a serving of plantain chips, savory nut mix and a small serving of salsa. I'm a chicken salad snob. This chicken salad was THE BOMB! It also comes in much larger sizes in their take home containers. 

 For desert I had a couple of their scratch made Chocolate Chip Blondie's. Now, I know you're wondering how can something that sounds SOOOO good be healthy AND taste good. Well trust me on this one. The Blondie's are made using almond butter, free range eggs, honey, organic/fair trade chocolate chips, sea salt & baking soda. Theses melt in your mouth sweets are definitely going to fly off the shelves.

I topped it all off with an ice cold lime flavored LaCroix Sparking Water from their beverage cooler.

For more information on the products listed above or for delivery, please visit
Use Promo Code JOYFUL at check out for 15% off your first order. Follow them on Instagram @thejoyfulfoodco/
Check out their Facebook page

Thanks for reading & sharing this story!  
Enjoy additional photos below.

Thimbletree Studios Aprons

Grain-Free Granola Snacks

Piper & Leaf Tea

Elizabeth, Owner/Baker & Rebecca, Owner/Chef

All products are stamped with a shelf-life date.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Dining With Locals In Birmingham

Hello Birmingham!!

Although I have an "anonymous" 😎 persona, the main focus of The Birmingham Restaurant Raider is to put restaurants in the spotlight & give locals the inside scoop on Birmingham restaurants. 

"Dining With Locals" is a new feature that highlights people & small business owners throughout various parts of town. 

Name: Elaine Lyda
Career: Public Relations Agency Owner
Favorite Restaurant & Dish: Bob Sykes Barbecue
"Bob Sykes BBQ is a family owned & operated restaurant with some of the BEST barbecue in the state. My favorite dish is the BBQ pork sandwich and their smoked turkey is also very tasty!"
 Elaine Lyda Public Relations

NAME: Maurice Mercer
Career: President & CEO of Kat's Grocery Delivery, The Premier Grocery & Prepared Food Delivery Service
Favorite Restaurant & Dish(es):
"I love the gumbo from Cajun Boys and Our PoBoys in Pelham. In Birmingham, I like Cheeseburgers at Mugshots in the Uptown Entertainment District."

NAME: Marjorie Driver
Career: Team Lead Software Developer, Regions Bank
Favorite Restaurant & Dish:I LOVE the Dalai Lamba Melt & The Corn Dog at

NAME: Terry Gray
Career: President, First Response Workplace Conduct Solutions
Favorite Restaurant & Dish: My favorite place is Niki's West Restaurant on Finely Avenue. The Greek chicken is my favorite dish." 

NAME: Abigail Witthauer
Career: Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, Owner of RoverChase LLC
Favorite Restaurant & Dish: Surin of Thailand
"The Supercrunch roll & coconut soup are my all time favorites"

NAME: Van Sykes
Career: Second generation owner/ operator of Bob Sykes BBQ
Favorite Restaurant & Dish: "Other than the fantastic barbecue at Bob Sykes, I like to have an order of the snapper throats at The Bright Star Restaurant."

NAME: Dr. Thomas Dudney
Career: General and cosmetic dentist for over 35 years in Birmingham.
Favorite Dish & Restaurant:  "There are so many great restaurants in Birmingham it is hard to pick one, but I choose Bottega where the menu always changes and the pasta dishes are great. For steaks, my favorite is Fleming's."

NAME: Penelope Witthauer
Career: Executive Director of The RoverChase Foundation
Favorite Restaurant & Dish: "I love to eat brunch and The Village Tavern at The Summit has a wonderful brunch menu and great coffee. My favorite is the omelette with spinach & Gruyere cheese with a side of fresh fruit."

NAME: Arica Scott
Career: Owner of Honey Sweet Things Accessories & Honey Sweet Tees Custom T-Shirts
Favorite Restaurant & Dish: "I like Real & Rosemary. Their menu is WONDERFUL! One my favorites is the collard pesto dip with sliced baguette bread for dipping. You can taste the freshness in all of their food. It definitely leaves you wanting more." 
(On-line & Pop-ups)

For more information on other great restaurants & promotions visit the site at 

What are some of your favorites? 
Let me know! 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Mixing It Up At Pizitz Food Hall

If you grew up in Birmingham during the Pizitz Department Store glory days, being inside of this building will definitely bring back memories. Saturday afternoon's downtown were a lot different back then. 

These days, as a re-purposed structure, an entirely new set of memories are being made. 
 If you have not been to The Pizitz Food Hall in Downtown Birmingham, you gotta go! Plain & simple. 

There is something for EVERY kind of appetite & budget. 

I had a business meeting with a start-up company on a recent Saturday and was excited when the Food Hall was suggested. I'm always jumping at the chance to try something new each time.

We decided to mix it up a little and grab a little grub from more than one food stall. 

From the menu at Ichicoro Imoto, we decided on a couple of Karaage Rice Bowls. Mine consisted of roasted chicken, rice, pickled veggies, ginger, scallions & garlic. My lunch mate's consisted of all of that with an added soft boiled egg. 

One note about Saturday's at The Pizitz Food Hall, although there is ample seating, it gets pretty crowded and it's definitely a day when families gather for brunch & lunch. So arrive early or be prepared for the large crowds.  

We shared an order of ground turkey egg rolls from Mo:Mo: with a house made dipping sauce. These egg rolls are pretty amazing. Although their famous dumplings are a standout, I'd definitely try these again.

 We washed down our meals with water, but later opted to try a couple of craft cocktails from The Louis Bar at The Pizitz Food Hall which is located in the very center of the food hall. In addition to cocktails, they have a vast selection of wine, beer for those over 21. I tried a glass of their eggnog & my lunch mate had the apple cider mimosa. Just the right finishing touch a very productive meeting. 
As usual, The Pizitz Food hall provided a great experience & food variety and makes for a great meeting space. 

Fore more information about these restaurants and other available spaces inside of this historic Birmingham landmark, visit 

120 19th Street North
Birmingham, 35203 

Thanks for reading & sharing! 
"Anonymously Raiding A Restaurant Near You"  

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Exceptional Foundation's Chili Cook-Off

How do you like your chili? Meaty? Spicy? Mild

No matter how you like it, you're guaranteed to find just the right flavor at the 

The 2018 competition is sure to grow in attendance & it's all for a great cause! 

The Exceptional Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1993 to serve mentally and physically challenged individuals in the Greater Birmingham, Alabama area by targeting social and recreational objectives not met by educational institutions or the community at large.

They provide year-round services to individuals with special needs who have reached the age of 21 and no longer receive services from school systems.  Programs are also offered to the school-age exceptional population through after-school activities and a summer camp.  Daily programs include field trip outings, competitive sports teams and various social events. 

I suggest getting an early bird ticket to avoid the line. 
Just go to 

See you there! 

Thanks for reading & sharing, 
The Birmingham Restaurant Raider


March 3, 2018 10:30 to 3:00

Brookwood Village

*Click to enlarge Flyer*


Friday, January 19, 2018

"Raise Your Glasses at BOURBONHAM!"

It's that time of year again!

Bourbon enthusiasts convene in the Magic City to raise money for the National MS Society.
The event called Bourbonham is Birmingham’s premiere Bourbon and BBQ fundraising event for the National MS Society. Whether you are a bourbon aficionado or novice, BourbonHam is definitely a must for all to experience. Bourbon accompanied with award winning BBQ, live music & the National MS Society make for a great southern event for all to attend. With multiple ticketing options to choose from, patrons will have the opportunity of tasting a selection of over 50 different bourbons/whiskeys along with a sampling of award winning BBQ to indulge in while listening to live music.  You can also catch the AFC & NFC playoff games as they are televised at the event.  In addition to great food & bourbon, there will be a live music performance by the band LiveWire.

Be sure to sign up for an opportunity to win a 25 year old bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle.

This event WILL sell out, trust me! To purchase tickets, visit

Remember, this event is a great opportunity to raise money for the National MS Society.
See you there!
Thanks for reading and sharing,
~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
Drink Responsibly.
Need a ride? Get a LYFT.

Sunday 1/21/2018
2:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
2515 6th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35233

On-Line Media Partner

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

D's Tamales Opens On Birmingham's Southside

Having recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary, D’s Tamales To Go, one of Hueytown’s most popular restaurants is expanding their business by adding a new location in Birmingham’s 5 Points South area. On Wednesday January 24, 2018, the restaurant will have a soft opening which will be open to the public. The address is 2012 Magnolia Avenue South Suite R1, Birmingham, AL, directly under the old Cosmos Pizza location. The grand opening will be announced at a later date.

“We have been looking at expanding to a new location in the 5 Points South area for quite some time. The timing and location seemed to be perfect for growth and it’s everything we wanted in a space. We are beyond excited to become a part of the 5 Points South community. Darryl Crockett will still run the Hueytown location, but I will exclusively run the new location. We will offer the same family friendly environment as we do in Hueytown. We will also have new social media platforms and a new app for this location as well as website enhancements”, said Maria Patterson, owner & general manager of D’s Tamales 5 Points South.
In addition to all of their current menu items, D’s Tamales has added several rice side dishes, fish and burritos as well as an expanded salad menu. 

As a convenience to the UAB family, the restaurant will be accepting Blazer Bucks in the very near future. They will offer lunch specials as well and much more.

The hours for the Southside location will be as follows:
Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Monday through Thursday: 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Friday:   11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Saturday: 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

D’s Tamales opened in 2007 in the city of Hueytown. Thanks to the community, it has become one of the most family friendly places to eat in the area. D’s serves a variety of dishes including wings of all heat levels, sandwiches, vegan options and their famous hand crafted tamales, originating from an old family recipe.

Check out their existing website & menu at

Thanks for Reading & Sharing!  
The Birmingham Restaurant Raider ©

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Alabama’s only 100% Paleo-specific bakery has expanded from baked goods to complete Paleo meals. To reflect the changes and updates, the company has re-branded itself as The Joyful Food Company.

The Joyful Food Company was born as Consider It Joy Baking in 2015, but the idea behind it started a few years earlier because of family reasons. 

"Several years ago, my family embraced a grain-free, no processed foods lifestyle to address multiple health issues my son was dealing with, and this meant everything we ate was homemade,” said Elizabeth Wood, the founder.

The changes in diet and lifestyle were a success in Wood’s personal life, but she knew other families were struggling with many of the same issues. While there was vast interest in the Paleo lifestyle by the community, the time commitment, learning curve of new ingredients and the frustration of recipe failures were huge deterrents. 

"I wanted to help, so I did the only thing I knew how to do--I baked! We started small as just a bakery, but soon, customers began asking for meals as well,” Wood said.

That’s when Rebecca Wanagat joined the team. Like Wood, she was a mom on a mission, who educated herself on the Paleo lifestyle in a quest to improve her family's health. Soon the two were selling as many meals as they were muffins! However, many of the citizens haven’t been made aware of the addition of meal options.

To celebrate the growth, “Consider it Joy Baking” will be launched as “The Joyful Food Company” on January 4th, where the community is invited out for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon cutting will take place at 11 am and the team will be hosting a huge giveaway for 4 weeks of Paleo bundles ($396 value).

For more information on The Joyful Food Company , visit their website at

Visit their Facebook page at
Check out their Instagram page as well

Thanks for reading & sharing! 
The Birmingham Restaurant Raider

The Joyful Food Company
759 Shades Mountain Plaza
Bluff Park, AL 35226

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Interstellar Ginger Beer & Exploration Company "Outta This World"

Imagine after thousands of dollars in tuition payments, your kid comes home and tells you that he's decided to be a beer scientist.

Well guess what? It could happen.
Dr. Shane Kelley & Daniel Sims, a pair of long time friends decided to develop a concept that would put the production of ginger beer smack dab in the middle of Alabama and leave an imprint in the brewing world.

According to their website, Shane’s biology background and brewing expertise and Daniel’s sharp business sense, made  Interstellar Beer & Exploration Company  match made in space-heaven!

"Since our launch date of September 9, 2017, Interstellar has been Alabaster’s hot spot for craft brews and good times. Our goal is to provide our community with creative, high quality beers and a lively place to gather on the weekends. We have expanded the brewing universe by offering ginger beers inspired by famous drinks.  We take an innovative “where no man has gone before” approach to recipe creation with two offerings that glow in the dark and we believe we have created something truly unique.  We are not another brewery. 
 We are THE ginger beer brewery."
"Our beers are light and refreshing and they can pack an unexpected punch at 6.5% ABV on average.  They are gluten free and made with 3-stage filtered water, fresh cold-pressed ginger, fresh squeezed citrus juice, and other real ingredients."   
During my visit, Dr. Shane was gracious enough to give us the extensive tour  of the brewery and explain their very impressive  production process & all of the equipment & science that actually goes into creating the distinct flavors of their product line. 

 After the tour & education, we were presented with a flying saucer styled beer flight.
 We tried the Sunspot, Space Mule, Ginger Colada, First Contact &  Zeppelin Ace. All were outstanding! My favorite is the Space Mule. This would pair excellently with Thai food.

 When you visit Interstellar, a must have is their infamous "Sunspot or the Blue Nebula", two beers that actually glow in the dark under  a black light.

Aside from offering a unique beer experience, Interstellar Ginger Beer & Exploration Company offers a fun environment including food trucks, open mic night and other fun activities.

Interested in bringing your entourage? They are available for private events as well.
Currently Groupon is offering a Tour & Tasting Experience at Interstellar.
Visit the link here for the Interstellar Tour & Tasting Experience 
Also visit their facebook page for updated information

Thanks for reading & sharing!
~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider

Interstellar Ginger Beer & Exploration Co.
260 Regency Park Drive
Alabaster, AL 35007