Tuesday, January 26, 2016

PROFILE: VITTLES of Birmingham, "Poppin' Up The Ladder of Success"

Over the last few years, I'd gone to "pop up" restaurants and "secret suppers" in Atlanta, Georgia. I've always been fascinated by those events and wished out loud that someone in Birmingham would grasp this concept and run with it. As of today, there are several start-ups that are taking the "pop-up restaurant" idea to another level. One of those companies is VITTLES here in Birmingham.

The recent VITTLES pop-up dinner at Tavern on 1st  brought out a massive crowd and after that crowd left, another crowd came in. I guess it's safe to assume that the night was a huge success for the VITTLES gang. The service was awesome, the food was insane!  Everything sounded great so I tried a variety of things from their menu.

First, I sampled the  Charcuterie. This was a perfect combination. All of the flavors from the charcuterie platter blended extremely well.  Then I tried the Chicken Fried Wings. If you've never had wings that nearly melt in your mouth, you definitely want to try these. They were absolutely amazing! So amazing that I'd walk from Hoover to Miami to eat them. After the wings I tried the Smoked Pork Tenderloin sandwich with a side of house fried chips. I'm always impressed when chefs make chips from freshly sliced potatoes instead of pouring them from a bag. The chips were light, crunchy and not at all greasy. The tenderloin was flavorful and moist. This was one of the best sandwiches I've had so far this year. I could definitely go for another very soon. Last but not least, I tried the Apple Fritters. These came with a light dusting of powdered sugar and caramel sauce drizzled on top. I love that word, "drizzle". The fritters were light, not too over-the-top with sweetness, but just right.
Overall, I enjoyed everything I tried. I had to fight with myself not to try the other two items from the menu. Next time!

If you have not been to Tavern on 1st, please check them out. It's a GREAT new business and it's RAIDER APPROVED!
Follow the crew at VITTLES for catering info or to be notified about their next pop-up dinner. You don't want to miss it!
Wishing much success to to Justin, Peter and Matt.
*VittlesBham.com is under construction* Stay tuned.
Enjoy the pics below & thank you for reading and sharing.

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider

"Anonymously Raiding A Restaurant Near You!"

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The Chicken Fried Wings
Smoked Pork Tenderloin sandwich with house made chips
Apple Fritters

Monday, January 18, 2016

SkyCastle Gastro Lounge - "Birmingham's Next Big Hit"

After waiting through several months of "opening soon" updates, Lakeview's newest addition recently opened it's doors.  Sky Castle Gastro Lounge  Offers a wide variety of amazing twists on American classics and more. Their menu consists of lots of choices from  "Swingin' Appetizers" to  salads as well as small & large plate items. 

Atmosphere: This joint is jumping! Since Sky Castle is in its grand opening stage & lots of people are patiently waiting to get in to see what the fuss is all about. There was about an hour wait, however, we were seated within 5 minutes of arrival due to my charm =) There is plenty of seating. Just inside, there is lounge seating to the right. There is also table seating in addition to ample bar seating. The lighting is unique and definitely enhances the atmosphere.

The Meal: My dinner companion was elated to try out this new spot as well. Especially since it was her birthday and I was treating (Hi Mrs. Ogletree). We started out with an appetizer of the Harissa Hummus: delicious hummus with highlights of garlic along with basil & pesto. This was accompanied with charred flatbread for dipping.  If you're a hummus fan, you will appreciate the flavor infusion of this appetizer.
From the small plate menu, my dinner companion had the Korean BBQ wings: a generous order of moist ,delicious wings topped with a drizzle of white barbecue sauce and fresh sliced jalapeno peppers. From the large plate menu, I opted for the Bourbon Glazed Mississippi Quail: a seasoned  bird atop red bean gnocchi, smoked andouille sausage, baby turnips and collard greens. If you are a hearty eater, I'd strongly suggest having an appetizer or small plate item before ordering this. While I enjoyed it, I typically like larger portions than offered with this quail dish. For dessert, we shared the root beer cake. Mmmm hmmm! This dessert is the truth! The root beer cake is topped with a scoop of beer infused ice cream (no it doesn't taste like beer) and on top of THAT, a carefully formed waterfall of popcorn drizzled in caramel.

The Prices: The prices are pretty standard for a concept restaurant such as this. We were not blown over by the pricing of any of their food items.

The Staff: The staff was great! They were VERY busy, but everyone we encountered was very accommodating and attentive.

Overall Experience: I can't wait to get back to SkyCastle Gastro Lounge to try other menu items. From the shortened wait time, to exploring the meal and celebrating with Mrs. O, the evening was 100% fantastic!

For more information about SkyCastle Gastro Lounge, visit their website at  http://skycastlegastrolounge.com/
Follow them on Twitter at @SkyCastleBham
Check out their tantalizing pics on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/skycastlebham/

Thanks so much for reading and sharing this review!

~The Birmingham Restaurant Raider
Anonymously Raiding a Restaurant Near You!! 
Enter the #RaidBham photo contest on twitter 

Harissa Hummus

Korean BBQ Wings

The Mississippi Bourbon Quail (I named him Dan Quail)

The Root Beer Cake (a must try)