Monday, December 29, 2014

Salem's Diner - "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" Or At Least How You Like Your Eggs.



It was a rainy Saturday morning. I could hear the sound of rain outside and the sound of thunder. No wait, that's not thunder.... that's my stomach =\

I decided that I would take the journey out to a spot that is famous for it's custom home style breakfast meals. I'd heard a great deal about Salem's Diner in Homewood, AL.
According to their reputation, Salem's is apparently the place to go if you want a warm breakfast, a memorable omelet and  great conversation with lot's of locals. They also received a mention on Late Night with Craig Ferguson. (see the website for the actual clips)

Atmosphere: Salem's is a modest sized eatery. It has booth & bar seating with a couple of tables outside. It seems there were LOTS of regulars and yes, every one knew everyone else by name. The staff appeared to know what many of the guests wanted to eat as they walked in and were seated.
I felt as if I'd walked into the home of a relative or an episode of Cheers.

The Meal: I didn't see a breakfast combination that suited my finicky taste buds at the time. So I ordered everything A la carte. I had orange juice,  cheese grits, cheesy hash browns with diced onions and bell pepper, wheat toast, a slice of grilled Conecuh smoked sausage and a sample of Salem's signature ground sausage patty. While Conecuh sausage is great, the ground sausage patty was PRETTY AMAZING!! During my breakfast I was offered a sample of fig preserves to spread on my toast, eliminating the need for the jelly I'd requested. I am now a fan of fig preserves.

The Service:  I absolutely loved the service. This has to be one of the friendliest restaurants in town.
The entire staff made everyone that walked in feel welcome. I love that. I totally wanted to move in.

The Prices: The prices here are pretty reasonable. Although I designed my own meal completely from the side dish menu, it's more practical to order a breakfast from the plate menu. Salem's also has a great looking lunch menu with all of the sandwich & burger combos under $10 dollars.

If you would like more information about the hours or to view the extended menu at Salem's Diner, visit their website at

Follow them on Twitter at @SalemsDiner1

Check out their Facebook page here Salem's Diner Facebook Page

Thanks for reading,

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Yo' Mama's Meals Made Fresh" Get In!

Each week I receive several suggestions regarding new restaurants and "must try" dishes.

I'd been hearing great things about a happening new spot in the downtown Birmingham area with a snazzy name. Many of the people that I follow on social media were posting tons of awesome photos of the meals served at "Yo Mama's". I decided that I absolutely HAD to get in on the action.

Atmosphere: This is a moderate sized eatery which features  contemporary brick walls with chairs in their signature color of bright green. There's also a generous amount of daylight coming in through the large windows. While ordering at the counter I caught a glimpse of the cooks at work which made my decision just a little harder. This visit took place a little later in the afternoon near the end of their lunch service. As I waited for my food, I swooned over the other lunches that were being delivered to nearby tables. The chicken and waffles seemed to be popular.

The Meal: Despite the social media fame of the chicken and waffles, I had the shrimp tacos: two soft tacos filled with plump shrimp, accompanied by a side of delicious black beans and Spanish rice. I am not the worlds biggest black bean eater, but these were good. Menu items that have the symbol "GF" are gluten free or have a gluten free option.

The Service: I experienced no problems with the service at all during this visit. Everyone was accommodating. They are experiencing the normal "new restaurant" streamlining. If they continue to focus on making sure that everyone knows the menu, that would be a huge plus!

The Price: My lunch was $9.95. I think this was pretty reasonable especially with the current rate of seafood prices.

Overall Experience: I will definitely look at visiting this spot again when I am in the area. Yo' Mama's restaurant is only open Monday-Friday 10:30- 2:30. This is awesome for the downtown lunch crowd. I hope that they take the opportunity to explore expanding their hours of operation. Birmingham social media has been very vocal about this. I have my fingers crossed that one day we will see a dinner menu.

For more information about the menu, catering and to sign up for the "Daily Meal" email alerts, visit 

Follow them on Twitter at  @YoMamasMeals

Grilled shrimp tacos w/ black beans and Spanish rice
*Click to enlarge

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ah Ha! The Greatest Last Minute Gift.. FOOD!

Looking for a last minute gift for that one friend or relative that might be a little picky?
This should be perfect!

Birmingham Originals eGift Card Is The Perfect Holiday Gift
Instantly available gift cards valid at 21 Birmingham Originals’ member restaurants
(Birmingham, Ala.) – Give the gift of local flavor with a Birmingham Originals eGift Card this holiday season. The eGift card is accepted at 21 Birmingham Originals’ member restaurants and can be purchased online at  
The Birmingham Originals eGift Card is instantly available upon purchase, which makes it the perfect gift for last minute shoppers. The cards can be printed, emailed or redeemed from a mobile phone. Gift cards are available in the amounts of $10, $25, $50, $100, $150 and $200 and never expire.
Participating restaurants in the eGift Card program are: 26, Asian Rim, Avo, Bellini’s, Bistro Two Eighteen, Cantina, Cosmo’s Pizza, dg, FoodBar, Homewood Gourmet, Hot & Hot Fish Club, Iz Café, John’s City Diner, Little Savannah, Nabeel’s, Ocean, Silvertron Café, Slice, Ted’s Restaurant, The Bright Star, The J. Clyde and V. Richards. Others may be added.
 “Our eGift Card is a great holiday gift for friends, family and co-workers,” said Jerry Hartley, president of Birmingham Originals and owner/operator of The J. Clyde. “It’s exciting to know people can give the gift of some of Birmingham’s best restaurants.”
For more information, visit
About Birmingham Originals

Birmingham Originals, established in 2002, is an organization of local, independently owned and operated restaurants with passionate restaurateurs seeking to increase awareness of Birmingham’s unique regional flavors and locally produced food, as well as give back to the community in which they serve. With its approximately 65 restaurants and community members ranging from upscale to down-home, the coalition strives to elevate the Birmingham community not only through its food, but also its charitable and cultural contributions.


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Please join the Magic City Bloggers on Thursday December 18, 2014 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. as we partner with World Of Beer in 5 Points South to collect food for The Birmingham Firehouse Shelter.
The Firehouse Shelter provides a wide variety of needs to homeless men in our area.
We will be collecting dry goods and canned goods at this event.
Bring your entourage & have your photo made in the fun photo booth!
For more information about the shelter, please visit
For information about World of Beer and their food menu visit
See you there!
~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
Click to view larger image

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ivory LeShore - A Master of Sweetness

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Tis the season to cheat on diets, Fa-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la! Each holiday season, many of us have the opportunity to try different types of sweet treats. Whether it be an office party or a holiday potluck dinner, you will come face to face with a variety of awesome sweets.

Don't go empty handed. An edible gift from Ivory LeShore's Gourmet Bread Pudding & Cheesecakes would be an awesome holiday addition to any gathering. 

If you have a sweet tooth, then you will love this story. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ivory LeShore III, one of Birmingham's most creative bakers and boy am I glad!
Ivory has been in the culinary world as a cook for over 20 years. Anyone who has cooked with the likes of Chef Franklin Biggs carries a lot of credibility in my book.

In January of 2014 he confidently made the leap of faith to start his own business. He is taking Birmingham by storm with his collection of signature desserts. The popularity of his products have  received the attention of several retailers in the area, most notably V. Richard's market. The ingredients are clearly marked on each label.

In order to be able to convey to you exactly how good his products are, of course I had to face the difficult task of tasting them.

Here is a list of what I sampled:

The White Chocolate bread pudding- served warm, with soft, melted white chocolate in every bite.

The Sweet Potato w/ white chocolate mousse cheesecake-flavored with significant elements of sweet potato throughout.

The Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake w/ white chocolate mousse-a combination of creamy cheesecake, whipped with white chocolate mousse & Reese's candy baked inside!!!!!

Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake- Yes! I know it sounds insane and it also tastes insane! Insanely good that is. This cheesecake is topped w/ a cream cheese icing and pecans, with red velvet cake lining the bottom.  OMG! This is one of those things you have to eat before you die!

And last but not least, the Alabama Goat Cheesecake w/ white chocolate mousse. It should be a sin for ANYTHING to taste this good.
These are only a few items from the collection.

Ivory LeShore's gourmet desserts can be found at the following retail outlets:
  • Cowboys on 280
  • Allen's Food Mart Exxon in McCalla Exit 1
  • Shell on Highland Avenue
  • Chevron on 150 across from The Embassy Suites
  • V.Richards
If you are a retailer or would simply like to order a dessert for your upcoming holiday event or if I've simply made you hungry, you can place an order by calling (205) 218-2057.  
Ivory LeShore's Gourmet Bread Pudding and Cheesecakes offices are located at 3439 Lorna Lane, Hoover, AL.
Follow him on TWITTER
Instagram 4allthatmatters
*minimum orders may apply

All products are labeled and neatly packaged
The lids are off!
A tasty combination of ingredients
Red Velvety Goodness!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dale's Southern Grill- Warm, Southern Deliciousness!

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I have so many places that I've been hearing about and have been "meaning" to go. As I gain new followers, the list keeps growing. Since I can't clone myself, I assume that I'd better buckle down on my foodie bucket list.
Dale's Southern Grill has been around since about 2003. Technically, I've eaten their food in the past, but only at event's catered by the restaurant. I managed to journey over to grab what I anticipated to be one of the best lunches to date.

Atmosphere: I liked the atmosphere. They have a bar, lots of seating. Since I'd taken a late lunch, so  it was not too crowded. I sat in a spacious, but cozy booth next to the bar.
The name "southern grill" definitely suits the place.

The Meal: I had the Hawaiian Sirloin, cooked medium, accented with mango salsa. YES!!!! I'm a mango salsa fanatic so this was a special treat.The number one sign of a good steak is "no steak sauce needed". This perfectly cooked sirloin passed the test. There was also a moist cornbread stick, with side dishes of perfectly roasted new potatoes and turnip greens. On my way out, I ordered a delicious bread pudding with warm rum sauce. I didn't mean to, it just happened.

The Service: The service was ok. Nothing spectacular. I don't like it when I don't get my water or drink refilled. Other than that the service was pretty average this day.

The Price: The Hawaiian sirloin lunch w/ 2 sides was $8.99. The bread pudding dessert was $3.99.

Overall Experience: Their menu looks SO amazing. I'm excited to try something new on my next visit so please send me your recommendations via email, twitter or in a comment below.

For more information about Dale's Southern Grill, please visit
Thanks for reading!

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider