Happy March! Recently, Jake and I took a last minute weekend trip to Birmingham, Alabama. Although Birmingham is not a “typical” tourist attraction, we visited because it’s a place Jake knew he would be ranking very high on his rank list (only 16 days until Match Day!). When planning for our Birmingham weekend, I checked the forecast and was worried because it was showing rain all weekend. I knew I wanted to take blog pictures, so I was frustrated that this was “ruining” my plan. I decided I needed to make the best of things, so I got on Amazon and ordered myself a cute new umbrella and packed my rain boots. I am excited to show what to wear on a rainy spring day.
A special thank you to Cat from www.forkandfrill.com for her fabulous suggestions on what to do/eat in Birmingham. Although we didn’t have time to try all of her suggestions, we loved the ones we tried!
Where We Stayed:
We stayed at an AirBNB in the beautiful historic Forest Park area. This is near The University of Alabama-Birmingham hospital and just minutes from downtown. This was the perfect location for us and was so much more reasonable than a hotel. Our host even had 2 cats, so we really felt at home.
We knew we would want to fully experience Birmingham and would be visiting areas to scope out potential homes in case we move there, so we rented a car for the days and then Ubered to evening activities. We used Enterprise and got a really good deal. The rental car area at the Birmingham is very easy to get in and out of quickly; we were able to walk over and pick up our car in about 2 minutes. Birmingham seems like a very easy to drive in city, as we had no trouble getting from one side of the city to the other pretty quickly at all times of day.
Where To Eat:
Bamboo on 2nd:
Our flight got in just in time for dinner on Friday. We checked into our AirBNB and started our weekend by heading to El Barrio Restaurant. The wait was insanely long since it was prime dinner time, so we put our name on the list with an hour and a half wait. I was starving so we walked around and saw Bamboo on 2nd just across the street. We headed to their bar and got a drink and a sushi roll, the Red Mountain (Shrimp Tempura, Cucumber, Avocado, Cream Cheese, topped with Smoked Eel, Sriracha, and Eel Sauce). If we move to Birmingham I know we will be back. The sushi was fantastic and this is a must-try place!
After our table finally became open, we walked back to El Barrio. I grew up in Texas and am a huge fan of Mexican food. We split some queso and salsa, then split a quesadilla for the entree. The food was not the “typical” Mexican food I expected, but was delicious. The salsa was much more mild than I am used to, but was still tasty. I especially loved the margarita. This restaurant was suggested by a lady in my doctor/med school wife Facebook group.
The Pizitz Food Hall:
This is a new dining hall area that was recommended by several people, with cuisine ranging from sandwiches to ramen noodles. This is located in the heart of downtown, so since we were already down there we stopped for lunch. We tried The Alabama Biscuit Company, where we split the Croque Madame Biscuit (Smoked Ham, Pastured Egg, Grassfed Cheddar, Lemon Herbed Aioli, Fines Herbes ) and we also tried Busy Corner Cheese & Provisions, where we split the Augusta Sandwich (pimento cheese, pickled green tomato on sourdough). We are huuuuge pimento cheese fans, so of course we had to take advantage of enjoying it in the South.
Bettola was where the residents took Jake for dinner the night before his interview at UAB. He liked it so much that he wanted to take me back when we visited together. I started off with a glass of wine. I was a little concerned because they didn’t have my go-to favorite type of wine, cabernet sauvignon. The waitress recommended something that was close to a pinot noir and I enjoyed it. We split the small plate Fudge Farms Pork Meatballs and a pizza for our entree. The best part is they have a brick oven, so the pizza is fabulous. We had the Maialona Pizza (Salame, Cotto Ham, Sausage, Pancetta, Black Olives).
Steel City Pops:
The famous Steel City Pops is originally from Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. This was a delicious treat and a must-do in Birmingham. They rotate flavors seasonally, which is both bad and good. Jake was sad that the banana pudding popsicle he had back in the fall was no longer available, but it had been replaced by a strawberry shortcake popsicle that was still quite good.
Other suggestions that we sadly didn’t get to try:
- Breakfast-Bogue’s Restaurant
- Saturday brunch, Feast & Forest
- Sunday brunch, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
- Anytime: Yo Mama’s
- Holler & Dash
- Olexa’s for dessert
- Farm Bowl Juice & Company
- Bottega, Italian- we drove by and it looked lovely and very fancy
- Hot & Hot Fish Club
- Highlands- this recommendation has been given over and over. It is on the high-end side, so we decided to do something more casual
What to see:
A beautiful historic theater that was built in 1927 by Paramount’s theater chain as its flagship theater for the southeastern region of the US. Although we didn’t see a movie there, I had to get a picture by the Alabama sign. Sadly, I didn’t bring the right camera lens to get the far away shot, so I had to use my iPhone for these.
Drive around Downtown:
We enjoyed getting to see the beautiful downtown. We were pleasantly surprised by how large it is. I hadn’t realized until visiting that Birmingham is actually a decent bit larger than Oklahoma City. Also, in close proximity to the downtown area are a lot of beautiful historic buildings that we enjoyed driving by. Here is a little bit more about the beautiful must-see historic spots.
Birmingham Barons Baseball Field:
If you’re short on time, this can be skipped, but we thought it was cool to see their minor league team’s field, as it is widely considered one of the best and most famous minor league stadiums (Michael Jordan played baseball for them!). We were close by, so it fit into our schedule.
Shopping at The Summit:
This center consists of chain retail stops, so we made a special trip to check it out, as shopping options are very important to me when deciding on cities to live in! Due to the heavy rain we didn’t get out of the car, but we saw there is a Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch and Kate Spade all next to each other. This made my little sorority girl heart happy.
We drove by this area and saw it at a distance. It was really neat and I would visit it on a non-rainy day.
- Railroad Park
- McWane Science Center
- Pepper Place, a Farmer’s Market
Good People Brewing Co.:
Before dinner we stopped by and grabbed a beer. We are not huge craft beer people, but did enjoy the local brewery and atmosphere. It was a neat experience seeing where the beer is brewed
Carrigan’s Public House:
We went there after dinner and loved the atmosphere and drinks. The décor was super cute and casual. There is part of an old bus mounted on the wall where the beer taps are. We saw a lot of people with food that looked delicious too.
- Collins Bar
- Avondale, a hip little area
- Trim Tab Brewing
I hope y’all enjoyed seeing what we did in Birmingham for our rainy weekend. This outfit was styled based on this umbrella I ordered. I had a little trouble making the Burberry rain boots look like spring, so I added blush.
Stay tuned for Monday’s blog post. I am featuring a guest post by Jake. He will be explaining the match process for residency that I have been talking about so much lately!
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