30th Street Cakes Now Open

“Ring by Spring”, a common phrase thrown around on the local campus of Samford University. The idea that many graduating seniors will be engaged by  their spring semester has led engaged Samford senior Mary Michael Maddox to capitalize on the phenomenon, and her passion for baking, and open up her very own local wedding cake company. 30th Streets Cakes officially launched March 2 in the kitchen of Mary Michael’s little apartment in Highland Park.

 

After years of helping her mom out in the kitchen of their family farmhouse in Dothan, Alabama, her daily rituals became her youthful passion which has now led to the start of her first business as she begins the journey of “adulting”. Mary Michael believes in the essence of celebration and strives to create a cake worthy for anyone’s BIG day or  anything else worth celebrating. In her biography online she talks about the abundance of celebrations and parties her family threw growing up, she says, “basically anything you can think of, we threw a party for. And when there was a party, there was a cake.”

Mary Michael’s love for the small and simple details of a celebration are visibly seen in her work. Her cakes are simple and elegant with whimsical strokes of frosting laced with wild botanicals. “I believe that our generation has moved passed the desire for perfect elegant cakes and more towards the desire for the natural and simple look.” She finds joy in not only the finished product but also in the process of creating a cake, an art of sorts.  “My goal is to create more of an artisanal style of cake.” says, Mary Michael.

If you are throwing an upcoming party or looking for the perfect wedding cake, send Mary Michael an email or stop by her website: www.30thstreetcakes.com. She would love to sit down with you over a good cup of coffee and talk celebrations.

Hungry? Get a Taste of Homewood

On Thursday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m., all of your favorite Homewood eateries will come together for the 16th annual “Taste of Homewood”.

Hosted by the Homewood Chamber of Commerce and presented by the Homewood Star, 30 Homewood restaurants are gathering in Rosewood Hall to provide food and drink samples to the over 400 hungry patrons they expect to host. New restaurants to the vendor lineup include biscuit specialist Holler & Dash, to-go caterer Lunchbox Express and seafood chain The Shrimp Basket.

Each restaurant will give eaters a glimpse into their cuisines, encouraging them to return for a meal and explore other areas of Homewood. Allen Barlow will provide acoustic music for guests to enjoy while dining and socializing.

To encourage socialization, Homewood Chamber of Commerce communications manager Sarah Anne Elliott suggests using the hashtag #tasteofhomewood on social media posts throughout the night.

“This year we are encouraging attendees to use the hashtag #tasteofhomewood to post on social media and be entered to win a Shop Homewood Instagift gift card and the chance for their photo to be featured in the marketing of next year’s event,” Elliott said. Entries will be taken from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tickets are $30 until the day of the event, when they will increase to $40 at the door. The proceeds go to Chamber of Commerce scholarships and Homewood community development. Brings the kids, too! Children under six enter free.

Interested in visiting one of the featured restaurants ahead of time or stopping for a full meal following the event? Click on the map below to explore the locations of your tasty options.

 

Big Spoon Creamery – Which ice cream sandwich are you?

dribbble.com//Todd Helzer
dribbble.com//Todd Helzer
Big Spoon Creamery creates artisan crafted ice cream that is sure to impress. You can follow them on instagram @bigspoonbham to track down their truck or cart.
Take the quiz to find out which one of their signature sammie suits you best? These culinary creations include: Choc dipped Pistachio, Octane Coffee Caramel, Brown Butter Apple
, Salted Caramel
, Pumpkin Gingersnap
 and Cookies n’ Cream.

Pepper Place is Back

Birmingham’s favorite farmers market is back on Saturday, April 9th. It is open from 7 a.m. to noon rain or shine.

Pepper Place began in 2000 in provide a connection between family farmers and the people of Birmingham, Alabama. Since then is has grown from a few tents to over 100 tents spread across parking lots and streets around Pepper Place. The market has hosted around 10,000 people every Saturday at the height of the season.

All of the vendors are based in Alabama and are the actual growers, joined by their family members and friends.

Shoppers can expect bedding plants, herbs, lettuces, asparagus, and strawberries to be in season for the spring and as it gets closer to summer blackberries, blueberries, peaches and mushrooms. Alongside of the fresh produce market goers can find bakers and cooks who serve food to eat and take home, from breakfast food to dessert. As well as food, Pepper Place hosts Alabama artists, artisans and craftspeople with unique items to decorate with or give as a gift.

The address is:
2829 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233

A list of vendors can be found here:

http://www.pepperplacemarket.com/vendors/

Cajun Cook-off this Weekend at Railroad Park

Here it comes! The Sixth Annual Girls Inc. Cajun Cook-off is steaming down the tracks to Railroad Park, “Bringing the Big Easy to the Magic City” Saturday April 9 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Hosted by The Committee of 25, which is the Girls Inc.’s Junior Board, and presented by Publix Super Market Charities, the cook-off will feature a family friendly atmosphere spiced with the Cajun aromas of foods such as jambalaya, gumbo, bread pudding, shrimp and grits, po’boys and more.

Twenty to 25 amateur cooks will prepare these dishes for the chance of taking home trophies from the taste-testing contest.

Live zydeco music by the Swamp Poppas will provide additional flavor to the day, accompanied by a silent auction, kids’ activities and a performance by Girls Inc. program participants.

Connie Hill, President and Chief Executive Officer for Girls Inc. said that the Cajun Cook-off, which is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, expands each year in order to create a more “memorable and fun” experience for attenders.

“Through this year’s event participation and fundraising efforts,” Hill said, “Girls Inc. hopes to raise $80,000 to support our efforts to provide vital and innovative educational programs to school-age girls in Central Alabama.”

These programs are dedicated to “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.”

Tickets can be purchased at bhamcajuncookoff.com, $20 for adults and $5 for kids ages three to ten. Children under three years of age may attend for free.

009Cajun2015
Photo courtesy of Connie Hill

 

 

Top 3 Places to Brunch

When the weekend rolls around, it always seems fitting to gather with friends and enjoy brunch. This is a special meal to sit around at a table and enjoy delicious foods that satisfy both breakfast and lunch desires. Birmingham has many unique restaurants that cater to this appetite. Here are a few special brunch spots in the Birmingham area that have a pleasing atmosphere and delicious eats.

THE PANTRY BY STONE HOLLOW FARMSTEAD

17 Dexter Ave. 205.803.3585
Hours of Operation Monday Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday , 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed Sundays

The Pantry is filled with high quality, locally grown and imported artisan food. Not only does the fresh food taste amazing, but the atmosphere matches the level of food perfectly-a quaint area with a rustic homey feel. Popular brunch dishes include avocado toast and Belgian waffles. The Pantry has a farm in Harpersville, Alabama. “This is where we source from and we have many different foods for sale inside of their Pantry location,” Deborah Stone, founder of Stone Hollow Farmstead said. Whether it is the lovely detail on their handcrafted meals or the details of decor, you will fall in love with The Pantry the moment you walk in.

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TRATTORIA CENTRALE
207A 20th St. N. 205.202.5612
Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday Breakfast: 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Monday -Friday Lunch: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The locally sourced Italian cuisine at Tratotria Centrale will leave you wanting more. Located in the heart of downtown Birmingham, this sidewalk cafe specializes in pizzas, pastas, soups, salads and more. Most commonly around town, they are known for their Sunday brunch. Trattoria Centrale’s brunch is an experience you can not get anywhere else in Birmingham. You feel like you have been transported to Italy as you sit outside and people watch. While sticking to its Italian roots, Trattoria Centrale mixes in Southern ties to create an unforgettable Sunday brunch experience.

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OVER EASY CAFE
358 Hollywood Blvd. 205.639.1910
Hours of Operation
Tuesday-Friday Breakfast: 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
Saturday + Sunday : 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Mondays

Over Easy is a great brunch option any day, in any mood. The cuisine is has options for everyone. Whether you want healthy or greasy, hearty or light, sweet or salty, Over Easy does it all and does it all really well. Local ingredients are used whenever possible. The food looks amazing and tastes even better. Over Easy has a simple and fun atmosphere and the most tasty unique breakfast dishes like specialty french toast and omelets.

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There is more to Melt than grilled cheese

Melt's fried Oreos
Melt’s fried Oreos

Melt has been bringing decadent and unique grilled cheeses to the streets of Birmingham since 2011. Recently, the popular food truck decided to open a brick-and-mortar establishment in the Avondale community. The restaurant serves all of your food-truck favorites and much more, including desserts.

Any fan of fair food must add Melt’s fried Oreos to their list of top Birmingham eats. The crispy batter mixes with the warm Oreo to create an indulgent treat. Five to an order, they’re perfect to share!

 

Melt’s restaurant is located at 4105 4th Ave. S. in the Avondale community. They are open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The food truck, also known as Matilda, is available for private parties, events and catering. Find more information at meltbham.com.

Sweet tooth still not satisfied? Keep an eye out for more Birmingham desserts featured in the next print publication of Exodus.

Klingler’s: A Birmingham Treat

Klingler's black forest torte is a long-time Birmingham favorite, and it's not hard to see why.
Klingler’s black forest torte is a long-time Birmingham favorite, and it’s not hard to see why.

In a Vestavia Hills shopping center, tucked away behind an understated storefront, is a European-style Birmingham gem. Since 1982, family-owned Klingler’s European Bakery has dished up a variety of treats in a quirky, German folk-style atmosphere. Banana custard French toast and strawberry blintzes, as well as heartier fare like sauerkraut and sausages, are noteworthy menu items.

There’s one treat, however, for which Klingler’s has earned much acclaim. Their black forest torte was named a “dish to eat before you die” by the Year of Alabama Food and ranked in Birmingham magazine’s Best of Birmingham.

Exodus staff took on the task of putting these claims to the test, and we were not disappointed. The moist chocolate cake, which sells for $5.50 per slice, is filled with whipped cream and cherries and topped with chocolate shavings.

Don’t take our word for it, though – this is a dish you should try for yourself.

Klingler’s is located at 621 Montgomery Highway in Vestavia Hills. They are open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Find more information at www.klinglers.com.

Sweet tooth still not satisfied? Keep an eye out for more Birmingham desserts featured in the next print publication of Exodus.

Chili for a Cause

More than 100 chili-cooking teams will battle for judges' and people's choice awards.
More than 100 chili-cooking teams will battle for judges’ and people’s choice awards.
The Exceptional Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, its Annual Chili Cook-Off, will be held on Saturday, March 7 in the Brookwood Village parking lot from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

More than 100 area teams will bring their best chili recipes and vie for a variety of prizes, including Grand Prize, 1st Runner Up, People’s Choice Award and Spirit Award. A panel of community judges will sample the chili, and the public is invited to sample the chilis and donate to the Foundation.

Advance tickets will be sold online at www.exceptionalfoundation.org or at the Exceptional Foundation for $10. Day-of tickets will be available for $15. All proceeds from the Cook-Off go toward the work of the Exceptional Foundation.

The Exceptional Foundation provides year-round social and recreational activities for mentally and physically challenged adults. Programs include competitive sports teams, field trips and social events. The Foundation serves over 400 individuals in the greater Birmingham area through its programs each year.

Fresh From the Field

Story and Photos by Virginia H. Harris

Nothing says fresh like the seasonal produce you can find at a local farmers market, and thanks to a recent push to “buy local,” farmers markets are enjoying a revival. If you’re craving farm fresh produce for your table, check out these markets in the Birmingham area.

 

 

Sign welcoming patrons to the Alabama Farmers Market.
Sign welcoming patrons to the Alabama Farmers Market.

Alabama Farmers Market

Undoubtedly the largest market in the state, The Alabama Farmers Market attracts 207 member growers from throughout Alabama along with 14 retail vendors and private flea market sellers. The market is open year-round but spring, summer and fall are the prime seasons to find locally-grown goods. Get lost among the vendors and you just might leave with more than a basket of tomatoes.

Where: 344 Finley Ave. W
Why: Enjoy the huge variety any day of the year.
www.alabamafarmersmarket.org

Mt. Laurel Farms

If you’re looking to go for a drive on one of Birmingham’s beautiful spring Saturdays, located 30 minutes down Highway 280 East is Mt. Laurel, a town akin to Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. The organic farm stand is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, year-round providing seasonal vegetables straight from the field. If you’re craving a day-trip, the Farmers Market and Craft Fair offers organically grown produce, freshly baked pies and cakes as well as crafts and artwork. The fair is open from 8 a.m.to noon each Saturday from May to October.

A Mt. Laurel sidewalk boasts fresh flowers for your spring beds.
A Mt. Laurel sidewalk boasts fresh flowers for your spring beds.

Where: 5 Mt. Laurel Ave.
Why: Get outside of the city and enjoy the small town atmosphere of this neighborhood.
www.mtlaurel.com

Pepper Place Market

Located in the Lakeview district of downtown Birmingham is an oasis of rural goodness.  While perusing the freshest produce available in downtown, enjoy live music, a cooking demonstration or just chat with the locals. The market opens on April 16, 2011 and runs every Saturday until Dec. 17, rain or shine. For the 2011 season, the market partnered with the Alabama Department of Tourism to promote and celebrate Alabama’s musical heritage with The Year of Alabama Music. Pepper Place promotes various local musicians and artists throughout the year as part of this statewide celebration.

Fresh peppers at Pepper Place Market (Photo by Lauren Womack)
Fresh peppers at Pepper Place Market

Where: 2829 Second Ave. S
Why: Jump start your day by arriving early and supporting local farmers.
www.pepperplacemarket.com