Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Favorite Things - p.4

These are some of my favorite things that are unique to Birmingham. If you haven't checked them out, I suggest you do!

Silvertron Cafe - It is definitely one of my favorite places that is unique to Birmingham. Unlike most unique, local places it's not crazy expensive. It has changed hands a few times, but always seems to stay great. It's decorated with the unique work of local artists (another local plus!) and old pictures of it when it was a TV repair shop. It's in a great neighborhood with a lot of character, too!

The Tutwiler Hotel - It's a really neat place. Even though it's now technically a Hampton Inn, I love it. I really respect them for their "save a landmark" movement and for keeping the unique, old feeling of the place. The building has been restored, and the hallways and all the guest rooms are decorated with old maps and photos of Birmingham, some dating back to the 1800s. Whenever we stay there we spend HOURS wandering the halls to look at all the photos and read the descriptions of the pictures. The service is probably the best I've experienced anywhere, which is another bonus.

The Blue Monkey - I don't like bars. There's just something about them that make me uneasy. But I really like the Blue Monkey because it has a laid back feel (even when it's packed) and a lot of great drinks. As far as value, I'm really not in a position to comment, but the drinks are tasty and the service is good! If I were ever to get the hair-brained idea to go out for drinks or want to party, it'd probably be there!

White Flowers - I have loved White Flowers for as long as I can remember. I remember going with my mom a million years ago (probably circa 1992) when they were still in a corner shop in Brookwood Village and it was just like a fairy land because everything was white, it smelled of fresh flowers, and there was soft music playing that made the whole atmosphere absolutely magical. To this day, whenever I walk in, I feel like I'm 7 years old again and walking into a fairyland. They primarily sell shirts (although they have lots of gifty things now) and the pictures of flowers are all done from the owner's garden. My very first White Flowers shirt had a picture of a baby bunny on it. I have had several others, but that is probably still my favorite. Last year I bought myself a new shirt with the same picture and I love it. I would fill my whole wardrobe with White Flowers shirts if I thought I could get away with it (and afford it!)

The Alabama Theater - I love old theaters. There is just something about the whispers of glamour and prestige that attach themselves to those old velvet curtains that just hypnotize me. The fact that this one still has the old Wurlitzer organ just makes it that much more fun. Plus, the fact that it's nowhere near as large as most performance venues of today is a major plus. I love the intimate feel, that going to the theater is something to be savored! I'm not going to lie, the seats could definitely be more comfortable. But there's something about even the seats that is just awesome. I've never seen a movie there, but would like to at some point. Anyone want to go see the Wizard of Oz with the orchestra in April?

Vulcan - I'm a sucker for beautiful views and Vulcan has some of the best. I had never been up there until Jeff's and my first date. A year later he proposed to me up there. We haven't been back since, but it's still a beautiful place. It's got some neat history, too. And I promise you won't find anything like his giant bronzed butt anywhere else!

One place I would love to put on my favorites and can't is Daniel George restaurant in Mountain Brook. I want to because they have great gourmet food the likes of which I have never personally seen. The chefs are the founders and are both life-long locals. They embrace the movement of using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients of the highest quality. They take real pride in what they do. So why can't I put it on my list of favorites? Well, I've never eaten there in person! I saw Chef George McMillan do a cooking expo at the Southern Women's Show and loved every second of it. I wanted to pack him up in my bag and just bring him home with me and have him teach me every wonderful trick he knows. When it was over I was a little scared, but I tried his sample of pan-seared trout with fresh basil and orzo with roasted red pepper coulis. Sounds impressive doesn't it? It was actually very simple, but more importantly it was delicious! This was the first time I've ever eaten fish and really enjoyed it. As a general rule I don't do seafood (unless it's fried crab claws and a margarita!) I always meant to write Chef McMillan a thank you note for doing his expo, but never did. I feel like now it would be kind of silly, but I guess better late than never! I have no doubt that once I do finally eat at Daniel George it will also make the favorites list!

So now tell me some of your favorites! If you're not from Birmingham (or don't have any Birmingham favorites) tell me your favorites from wherever you live!

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