When it comes to what to do in Birmingham, it ultimately comes down to what’s cooking. When you have company in from out of town are you going to take them to Vulcan or Chez FonFon? And maybe that’s the way it is everywhere. You go to Paris, you remember the food and wine. You go to grandmother’s house, you remember the food and family. If you go to the Greek Festival coming up in Birmingham, you are not going to remember it for Plato, Archimedes, or Aristotle. Souvlakia, more likely. Men, try not to notice the Greek dancing in front of your wives. But what is the main thing Greek immigrants like the Sarris’s and the Cassimus’s brought to Birmingham: food.
That is what is old in Birmingham.
When you look at what is new in Birmingham, it’s food, too. From Ore getting a buzz it doesn’t need from Taylor Hicks to upstart Brother Zeke’s BBQ taking on the established Jim n Nick’s across the street, Birmingham just likes to eat.
When you look at the events we like to go to, like Western’s Fall Food and Wine Festival at the Birmingham Zoo, we are happy to raise money for the Emmet O’Neal Library and it is nice the zoo has staff circulating through the crowd with lemurs and snakes, but the interest is limited in those beings inasmuch as we are not allowed to eat them. The Limeaux’s gumbo may be what we will most remember when it comes to slipsliding, crawling creatures. If we remember much of anything after 650 wines within the Zoo’s event space confines.
So don’t forget to get with the local social program, take a look at the reader’s poll for our special Menu of Menus restaurant issue, and fill it out online at www.bhamweekly.com. Yes, we keep working the bugs out of the website. This week we discovered there were still two places you could click and end up filling out last year’s survey. If you found one that listed Joy Young’s as a choice for Best New Restaurant, you might want to go back and try again to be sure to be counted in 2011.
You will also see that focus on food in our pages this week. You have no doubt been enjoying the food memories of local chef Franklin Biggs, who joins Christiana Roussel as our newest food writer, and Franklin will also be the chef at the upcoming Ecofest, which will raise money for environmental causes by, what else, promising to feed us. Check out the Green Page and new outdoor writer Peter Mock-Jordan is writing about the Cahaba River Society’s recent Fish Fry. Comedian Chris Davis, who will search anywhere for some way to crack a joke, gets in on the act with a new kind of grumbling sound associated with an empty stomach.
Frank Fleming, in the In Studio feature on artists at work, kept with the hospitality and consumption themes with an offer of moonshine to inspire the photographer. Even Haley Castille, whose focus in life is spiritual inspiration, writeing in the Inspire section created for such metaphysical insight and social consciousness, can’t stop talking about feeding your face. And, moving from food to spirits, we are introducing a new wine writer who is new in town and experiencing for the first time the food and wine ways of Birmingham, Alexis Douglas, Certified Sommelier. What more scientific proof do you need that Birminghamians devote a disproportionate share of their waking thoughts to eating and drinking?
So what else are you going to do while you are going out to eat? Of course, you want to look good doing it. Tonya Jones Salon took on the challenge. The subject was a caucasian male that stylist Cindi Horton ran across by serendipitous chance, suitably unkempt if not uncouth, a basic savage when it comes to suave style revealed even in our most casual eateries and coffee shops. Find out next week if it is even possible to do anything about it.