The Remagicing of Birmingham

dream

 

I’ve been reading Fannie Flagg’s I Still Dream About You, and it has made me look into so many aspects of Birmingham’s history. One is the refurbishing/reopening of  many lovely buildings downtown, most of which I’ve yet to see. Such as….

 

Florentine Building

Located at Second Avenue North and Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard, it first opened in 1926 and has always been an events center. It sat empty for about six and a half years until Corretti Catering bought it and remodeled it. It has a newly renovated ballroom and they hope to have a cafe open for lunch in April.

 

Redmont Hotel

This  hotel first opened in 1925, and some of it’s original features are the 10-foot chandelier, marble staircase, moldings and iron railings found in the lobby. Harvest Restaurant & Bar on the ground floor is a fine-dining restaurant that serves farm-to-table fare with an Italian twist. The hotel’s Cafe 2101 serves pastries and other treats made on-site, along with Revelator coffee.  Two ballrooms and two board rooms make up most of the meeting room space and there are 120 guest rooms. There is also a new rooftop lounge. The Redmont Hotel Birmingham is located downtown at 2101 Fifth Avenue North.

 

Pizitz Food Hall

The Pizitz Building was built in 1925, but it had been vacant since the early 1980s. It recently reopened with restaurants, retail and apartments. Pizitz Food Hall  is a unique dining experience with a wide variety of vendors, from traditional burgers to Asian to Ethiopian to Israeli cuisine.

Thomas Jefferson Tower

The twenty story Thomas Jefferson Tower, completed in 1929, had been  vacant since 1982. The 96 renovated apartments are ideal for living in the middle of the magic of Bham.  The newly opened  Roots and Revelry restaurant here is worth a visit.

 

Lyric Theatre

The Lyric Theatre, built in 1914 for vaudeville shows, underwent an $11 million restoration project and relit its  marquee in 2013. It features a restored 38-foot mural, “Allegory of the Muses,” that was painted by local artist Harry Hawkins.

 

The Carver Theatre

Now known as the Carver Performing Arts Center, it was originally opened in 1935 as one of the first movie houses for African-Americans to see first-run films. It closed in the 1980s, but reopened in 1993 and is now the location of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

 

The Empire Building

This Classical Revival style 16-story building was built in 1909 and was the tallest building in Alabama at the time. After being remodeled, it reopened as City National Bank. It was again sold in 2012. After a $27 million renovation, it is now experiencing new life as the Empire Hotel, which includes a restaurant and rooftop bar.

 

ledz2

photo – Hannah Scofield

Led z

photo – Hannah Scofield

The Alabama Theatre

Now this is one I have been in. And I love it. I’ve been in similar – perhaps sister- theatres in Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida. They are all lovely. The Alabama, built in 1927  as a classic movie palace with gorgeous  Art Deco style, underwent a major renovation and restoration in the late ’90s.
Birmingham has indeed once again earned the right to be called the Magic City.

Full Pantry

 

I’d like to introduce you to Madison Murphy and her unique business, Full Pantry. This is a locally based grocery shopping service with a personal touch. Madison has a heart for her customers that can’t be beat. But first, how does it all work?

It’s simple. You place your grocery order by midnight the day before you want it. There is a form online, but you can also email, call, or text. So very flexible. The other flexible part is the variety of stores. You can choose from any store in the Greater Birmingham area, even The Market at Pepper Place, and Full Pantry delivers from Columbiana to Bessemer. My first order was from Trader Joe’s (can you say Cookie Butter?) because I don’t get over near the Summit very often, so this was an ideal choice for me. I placed the order on a Monday afternoon, and received a text with a one hour delivery window for the next day. Easy peasy.

You can learn more about the business by visiting the website.  But I’d like to tell you a little more about Madison.

This vibrant, organized, initiative-taking entrepreneur is only 24 years old, yet wise and caring beyond her years. She started the business not only with a goal of making money, but as a way to offer a service and minister to those with a need. She is experienced in serving others, as she helps her mother care for two grandmothers with dementia. In addition, she teaches piano, traveling to the homes of her students. She has to be super organized to pull it all off, which she does and does well.

As a native Birmingham girl, Madison wants to promote local businesses. Not only can you get essentials and non-grocery items like toilet paper from a Publix or Wal-Mart, but you can also get farm fresh products in season from Mountain Meadows Farm or natural supplements from Organic Harvest.

Full Pantry is ideal for working parents, moms of little ones, and shut-ins. One client, a mother of ten, depends on the weekly personal delivery. Regular customers appreciate knowing that when they say “milk” they will get what they want, whether whole or low-fat. Because their personal shopper knows their preferences.

If you are feeling overwhelmed after a long work day, tired of fighting through the supermarket with toddlers in tow, or can’t get out of the house, Full Pantry is your answer. You can rest assured that your shopper will have your best interests at heart.

You can also check them out on facebook and instagram. And soon on twitter!

Third Quarter Recap

 

3q1

October is almost over and I just realized I didn’t write a third quarter recap at the end of September. So, for what it’s worth, here are the highlights of my third quarter:

  • We kept our daughter’s dog, Poca, for over a month while she was in Columbia, South America. Things started out well, but after the second fight, in which Loretta received a puncture wound, we kept the two dogs separate. It was fine, though, as each one got special attention.
  • I went to McAlister’s Deli for the first time. The Orange Cranberry Club was delish!
  • Joined Grace Covenant Baptist Church and began making new friends
  • Subbed in some new schools. including McAdory Middle, McAdory High, Pleasant Grove High, West Elementary, Hueytown Middle, Oak Mountain Middle, Helena Middle, Helena High
  • Attended a few Saturday Write Club meetings at the Hoover Library
  • Went on five hikes
  • Took lots of pictures around Bham
  • Went to Jacksonville and squeezed in a lot of visits. Got to see my  cousin Paula for the first time in over 15 years
  • Spent a morning at Jacksonville Beach
  • Started the Kindred Spirit Book Club  – it’s online, so if you are interested, leave me a comment or email me.
  • Started Round Two of the Capture the ‘Ham Small Group/Photo Group3q2

And now to finish the year well!

 

Half the Year Gone

People are always asking, “Where did the time go?” The time goes in big and small moments, some memorable and some wasted. You can read my highlights of the first quarter of 2016 HERE.

Here are some highlights of the second quarter of my year:

  1. I got my taxes done on time
  2. Discovered Ruffner Mountain
  3. Finished out the year subbing – you can read some of those adventures HERE.  This also included the last three days of school with a great bunch of 8th graders  IMG_4822
  4. Flew to Tampa to spend time with fam. This included a late afternoon at Clearwater Beach and a gorgeous sunset sunset 
  5. Read lots of books – You can check out what I’ve read so far this year here on my Pinterest board
  6.  Made several trips to Pepper Place Market
  7. With more time in the summer, I checked out movies from the Hoover Library. It’s also a great place for lunch or a coffee!
  8. Discovered: Over Easy Cafe – delish!; Hillsboro Trail; Lazy Boy BBQ in Helena (great pork – best for take-out); Twisted Root Burger  in Vestavia (you  must check out the Chuck Norris wall!)
  9. First-time visit to Clanton for Peach Festival – highlight was getting peach ice cream.
  10. Got the first pedicure in over four years at Riveria Nails & Spa in Hoover. – so nice!
  11. Enjoyed watching the Braves beat the Marlins in Atlanta with hubby and daughter. braves

 

Looking forward to the rest of 2016!

Redneck Foods

photo by Ryan McGuire

photo by Ryan McGuire

I realized yesterday as I was reviewing a restaurant, that two of the choices I made from menus in June both had the word REDNECK in them. First there was the Redneck Pot Pie at HomeGrown in Asheville, NC. This dish was suggested by my son and it was delish! It’s a pot pie made with BBQ chicken, cheesy grits, and a buttermilk biscuit – all in one. There is also a Redneck Cuban on their menu – perhaps next time?

Later in June we went to Dave Poe’s BBQ in Marietta, GA. Here I got the Redneck Lasagna. Man oh man was it good! It’s their creamy mac-n-cheese mixed with Brunswick stew. So excellent!

This got me to thinking – what other “redneck” foods have I savored in my life? The first thing I thought of was fried bologna sandwiches. We made this as kids – it was probably one of the first things I ever “cooked”.  Fast forward to the microwave age of my kids, and they made bologna bowls. They would put a piece of bologna on top of an inverted bowl in the microwave and nuke it. I can’t remember what went in it, but I’m pretty sure cheese was involved.

Here’s a similar version – The Hillbilly Bologna Pizza – watch below:

Please share your favorite REDNECK foods in the comment section!