Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs

While I am sidelined, Sweet Harold has really stepped up to the plate (see what I did there?) and gone above and beyond to do everything possible to help me. While I called out instructions from the den, he made the marinade, got the chicken in to marinate for a few hours while he went back to work, and came home and cooked dinner. On top of that, he even plated and made this great picture for the blog!  Thank you, Sweet Harold! 

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 T. Garlic olive oil
2 T. Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
2 T. Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. Herbes de Provence
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients, and pour into a large Ziploc bag and place chicken into the marinade. Close securely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place a baking rack onto the baking sheet and spray it as well.

Place chicken onto rack and back for 20 - 22 minutes or until chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Serrano Adobo Pork Sandwiches with Rosemary Garlic Mayonnaise

I'm on Week #2 of the foot/leg cast and cooking is still a challenge. So the slow cooker to the rescue! If you're preparing food for a crowd, make a batch of these sandwiches and you'll have friends for life. The heat level can be adjusted by adding more or less of the canned peppers in adobo sauce. Here's the type I used.

The Serrano Honey Balsamic Vinegar adds a subtle heat and sweetness to the pork as well.

I served these on slider style buns, but regular buns or hoagie rolls would work just fine. Take a few minutes and make the Rosemary Garlic Mayonnaise.  These were delicious!

2 cups drained, chopped tomatoes
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. chili powder
3 T. Serrano Honey Balsamic Vinegar
3 T. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 T. honey
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder
Sandwich Buns
Rosemary Garlic Mayonnaise
Lettuce Leaves
Sliced Tomatoes

Process the first seven ingredients in a food processor until mixture is smooth.

Cut pork shoulder in half and place in 5 quart (or larger) slow cooker. Pour tomato mixture over pork. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours. Remove from slow cooker. Cool slightly and shred. Return to the slow cooker to remain warm.

Spread buns with Rosemary Garlic mayo.

Top with shredded pork.

Spread top bun with mayo and place on sandwich and serve!

Adapted from 2001 South Living Annual Recipes.

Rosemary Garlic Mayonnaise

I made this mayonnaise to go with the Serrano Adobo Pork Sandwiches. It definitely complimented the spicy flavor of the sandwiches. This condiment would be delicious on sandwiches or burgers or as a dressing for potato salad.

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1 T. lemon juice
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper

Stir together all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

From 2001 Southern Living Annual Recipes.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Peasant Stew

While thinking of something I could prepare for us to have to this week, I grabbed the 2001 Southern Living Cookbook off the shelf.  I decided I'd try to cook whatever was on the page I opened the book to.

And here we are, Peasant Stew.  I adapted somewhat for the ingredients I had, but this one will definitely be placed in the rotation.

3 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
1 t. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 - 16 oz. Conecuh sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 bay leaf
9 cups chicken stock
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can Italian cut green beans, drained
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. pepper

Add all ingredients into a large Dutch oven (at least 5-quart size). Stir to combine and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, 30 - 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve with cornbread or rolls.


Just wanted to let you know that I took a tumble Friday a week ago. I thought it was a sprained ankle, but further tests showed that it is a break of bones in my foot. I'm going to be off my feet for awhile, but am still managing to do a little cooking.

I didn't want y'all to think I was shrinking on my blog duties! Please leave a note here and let me know you're still out there and reading.  I'm fighting cabin fever and would love to have some messages here!

This is going to take a while to heal.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Cubed Steak with Peppers and Onions

I had a nasty tumble last Friday and have been instructed by the doctor to stay off the sprained ankle for two weeks. I had doubts I'd be doing any cooking whatsoever, but I surprised myself by preparing a slow cooker with a little help from Sweet Harold.

I think y'all will enjoy this one. You can definitely add this one to your "comfort food" or "slow cooker" file.

1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
1 can beef broth
2 envelopes dry onion soup mix
1 T. minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. cubed beef steak
1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise, and then thickly sliced into chunks
1 green bell pepper, thickly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thickly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced
Cooked white rice
Chopped parsley for garnish

Set the slow cooker to high heat setting. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Golden Mushroom Soup, beef broth, and dry onion soup mix. Stir in garlic and freshly ground black pepper.  Add a 1/4 cup or so of this mixture into the slow cooker.

Add a layer of cubed beef steak, top with half of the onion chunks and half of the peppers.

Pour half of the soup mixture over the steak and vegetables.

Repeat layers.

Cover and let cook 3 - 4 hours on high or lower heat to low and let cook 5 - 6 hours.

Serve over cooked rice and top with chopped parsley.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tropical Cole Slaw with Pineapple

Last night I experimented with a new flavor for chicken wings. Here is the result:  Passion Fruit and Blood Orange Chicken Wings.

I tried a new slaw recipe as well for our side dish. The tropical flavors come from crushed pineapple, passion fruit balsamic vinegar, and blood orange olive oil.  Such a fresh, bright taste for this slaw.

1/3 cup of Duke's mayonnaise
16 oz. bag of finely chopped slaw mix
8 oz. can of crushed pineapple in juice (don't drain)
salt to taste
a few grinds of black pepper

In a large bowl, combine whisk together the mayonnaise, oil, and vinegar. 

Fold in slaw mix until thoroughly combine. Add pineapple and combine.

Add salt and pepper and taste. You may need a little more oil and/or vinegar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wing Wednesday: Passionfruit and Blood Orange Chicken Wings

With summer coming to a close, I thought I'd have one last "tropical" burst of flavor for dinner. Passionfruit and Blood Orange with chicken? Oh yes! I started with one of my most favorite condiments: Heinz 57 sauce. Then I mixed and added and tasted and mixed and added and tasted until I had a great balance of sweet, tangy, and citrusy.

For the wings:
1 1/2 lb. chicken wings, separated and tips removed
1/2 t. salt
a few grinds of black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add chicken wings and toss to coat. Let wings marinate while oven preheats.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Place chicken in a single layer.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and drain any accumulated fat.

While the chicken wings bake, make the sauce.

For the sauce:
1/2 cup Heinz 57 sauce
A few grinds of black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together.  Using tongs, place the chicken wings into the bowl of sauce and toss to coat. 

Place wings back into the baking pan, and pour any remaining sauce over wings.  Return to oven for another 10 minutes or so until the sauce glazes onto the wings.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Slow Cooker Hatch Pepper Chili

My boss had some Hatch Pepper seeds this year which he planted and he had a bountiful harvest. He graciously shared with others and I knew I wanted to make Hatch Pepper chili with my batch.

Here's my recipe:

1 1/2 lb. stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. ground chuck (80/20)
1 - 2 T. vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup beef stock
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1 T. chopped garlic
1 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 can of drained and rinsed, pinto beans
10 - 12 medium Hatch chiles, prepared as noted below**

**The easiest way to char the skins off the peppers is to place them on a blazing hot grill and char the peppers until the skins darken and blister up. Remove them from the heat and place them in a sealed plastic bag until they cool. Then you can gently remove the outer layer and remove the seeds. Then, chop!

Heat 1 T. vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add about half the stew meat and let the sear until well browned. Place into the slow cooker and repeat with remaining vegetable oil and stew meat.

Reduce heat to medium-high and add ground beef to skillet, breaking it up well with a wooden spoon and brown well. Add to slow cooker.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions to the skillet and lightly salt. Cook, stirring frequently until onions become golden brown. Remove from heat and add to the slow cooker.

Add beef stock, tomatoes, seasonings, and beans to the meat mixture in the slow cooker and stir to combine.

By this time, the peppers should be cool enough to easily handle. Remove the skin and seeds and discard. Finely chop peppers and add to the chili.

Add the peppers to the chili mixture and stir to combine.

Cook the chili on low for 5 - 6 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, etc.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mediterranean Salmon Patties

I love experimenting with canned salmon. Now before you cringe and say "ewwww," hear me out. Salmon patties made with canned salmon are a Southern staple and delicacy. These have a unique flavor profile due to the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and capers added to the mix! Look for boneless skinless salmon and enjoy experimenting yourself!

If you're not feeding a crowd, or don't want leftovers, feel free to cut the recipe in half.

2 - 14 oz. cans boneless skinless salmon, drained
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 T. finely chopped onions
1 t. minced garlic
1 T. Dijon mustard
4 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt
a few grinds black pepper
1 T. dried Italian seasoning
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 t. capers
2 T. vegetable oil

Add salmon to a large bowl, and carefully break up with a fork. Add next 10 ingredients and gently fold together until well combined.

Add vegetable oil to a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Shape salmon into equal sized patties. Place in skillet and let cook 3 - 4 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. 

Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and continue with remaining salmon.

Crockpot Butterbeans

Whether you call these butterbeans or large limas, a more apt description might be delicious. These are Sweet Harold's favorite dried bean and whenever he requests them, they're on the week's menu.

A soak overnight in cold water helps with the sometimes unpleasant aspect of enjoying protein and fiber packed dried beans.  

The ease of crockpot cooking shines with this recipe. 

1 lb. dried butterbeans, rinsed and sorted
water to cover
1 small ham hock
Salt to taste

Place butterbeans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, drain beans, place in a slow cooker and cover with fresh water. Add the ham hock and cover. Set slow cooker to cook on high 4 - 6 hours or low for 6 - 8 hours.

When beans are soft and cooked through, they're done! Taste and add salt if needed. Depending on the saltiness of the ham hock, additional salt may not be needed.

Serve with Lolly's Cornbread

Lolly's (no sugar added) Cornbread

I am definitely in the "cornbread does not need sugar" camp! Here's my very simple recipe that has stood the test of time since I won 4-H competitions in elementary school!

2 cups of self-rising white cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
2 T. bacon grease

Yes, that's it.  That's the entire recipe.  

I won 1st Place in every 4-H Bread Competition I entered in elementary and junior high school.  I bet you didn't know that, did you?  I decided if the recipe wasn't broken, I wouldn't try to fix it.  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

In a medium mixing bowl, add cornmeal and then slowly stir in buttermilk until it's well blended.  

Put the bacon grease in a cast iron skillet and heat it over medium heat until a drop of the batter sizzles.

Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden brown about 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest in skillet for a few minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Baked Tuscan Herb Grouper

As regular readers of the blog know, grouper is Sweet Harold's favorite fish. This beautiful fish was purchased at the Gulf in May has been waiting patiently in the freezer until tonight. I let it thaw in the fridge today and gave it a quick rinse and patted dry. A few minutes in a hot oven and dinner was served.  Grouper has a nice, clean flavor and cooks quickly. The Tuscan Herb olive oil and seasoning paired well with the fish and didn't overpower.

1 lb. grouper fillet
1 T. Tuscan Garlic Seasoning Blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Rinse the fish and pat dry.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray. Lightly brush fish on both sides with the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Tuscan Garlic Seasoning Blend.

Place on baking sheet and let bake 10 - 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  

Turn on broiler and let fish brown briefly. Serve immediately with lemon or lime wedges.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lolly's Game Day Chili

If we had a nickel for every pot of chili that's cooked on weekends during the Fall Football Season, we could all retire tomorrow! Regular readers of the blog know that I dearly love experimenting with new versions of chili. For this batch, I used equal portions of ground chuck and ground pork. Wow, this chili was tasty!

1 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
a few grinds black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
3 - 4 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground cayenne
2 t. dried Mexican oregano, crushed
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
4 cups beef stock
2 cans Bush's Mixed Chili Beans

In a Dutch oven (at least 5 quarts), heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and jalapenos and cook stirring occasionally. Let the vegetables cook until the onions become translucent. Add garlic and salt and let cook another minute or so.

Add the ground chuck and ground pork, breaking the meat apart with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently until meat is cooked through. Drain any fat that has accumulated in the pot.

Add seasonings, tomatoes, beef stock, and beans. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

Let chili simmer for an hour or two, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with crackers or corn chips and top with your favorite chili toppings.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Asian Sweet Heat Chicken Wings

I knew I was going to have wings for dinner, but I had no idea what flavor they would be. I came home from work, went through my King's Olive Oil selection and went to work mixing and matching and tasting and here is the result!

The wings are seasoned with lemon pepper, ground ginger, and granulated garlic. While they bake, whisk together balsamic vinegars, olive oils, and other ingredients, which simmer to make a sweet, sticky, slightly hot glaze!  Yum!!

2 lbs. chicken wings, separated, tips removed
1 T. lemon pepper
1 T. ground ginger
1 T. granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the wings in a large bowl and sprinkle the lemon pepper, ground ginger, and granulated garlic over the wings. Toss to coat.

Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place wings in a single layer on baking sheet and place in oven for 30 minutes.

While wings are baking, make the glaze.

2 t. low sodium soy sauce
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

In a small saucepan, whisk together the first four ingredients. Place saucepan over low heat and whisk in the garlic olive oil and sesame oil. Bring to a gentle simmer and let glaze thicken. Remove from heat.

Remove wings from oven after the 30 minutes and brush with the glaze. Return to oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and apply another coating of the glaze. Return to oven for 10 - 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Serrano Honey Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Tonight is Fajita Night! Sweet Harold commented after the first bite, "I think this is the best thing you've cooked in a long time." High praise indeed.

I used boneless skinless chicken thighs.  The chicken marinates in a serrano honey and garlic olive oil based marinade. The chicken is grilled and the vegetables are cooked in a large cast iron skillet on the grill. 

For the marinade:
1 T. chili powder
1 T. granulated garlic
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground red pepper
1/2 t. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients and place in a large Ziploc bag. Add 3 - 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs and seal the bag carefully. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

While the chicken marinates, prepare the vegetables.

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced from root end to tip end
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced lengthwise
8 oz. sliced white mushrooms
2 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine well. Set aside.

Preheat grill on high heat. Place chicken on grill and allow to sear for 3 - 4 minutes. Do not attempt to turn chicken until it releases from the grill easily. Lower heat to medium high heat and grill chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Remove from grill and stack the chicken one on top of the other and wrap tightly in foil while you cook the vegetables.

Add 1 T. of oil the skillet and place on the grill over high heat. When an onion slice, placed in the oil sizzles, you're ready to add the remaining vegetables. Isn't that beautiful!?!

Close grill and let vegetables cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Using a  metal spatula, turn the vegetables and allow to continue cooking until vegetables soften and lightly char, but not long enough to become mushy!

Remove from heat. Unwrap chicken thighs and slice against the grain. 

Heat flour tortillas according to package directions (or by placing on the hot grill for about 10 seconds a side). 

Load up that tortilla with the sliced chicken, a nice helping of the vegetables, and top with lime juice, sliced avocado, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cheese Plate Night

On those nights when cooking isn't an option, I like to keep a variety of new cheeses to try. Think outside the box and be open to experimenting with different varieties. We had two new kinds of cheese tonight and loved both of them.

Let's start out with one of my long time favorites:  Stilton Blue which is an English cheese. It's known for a strong aroma and taste. If you've only tried the blue cheese in prepared bottled blue cheese salad dressing, give this one a chance!

Next, Isle of Man White Cheddar which is a hard pressed, firm bodied cheese. It has a subtle, creamy flavor made from pasteurized cow's milk.  An ideal cheese for the entire family.

The next one was a new cheese for me. In fact,  I had never heard of Basket Cheese. It is a salt, soft white cheese shaped from small wicker-textured baskets. It has a very mild flavor with a taste between ricotta and mozzarella made from goat and sheep milk. Due to the very mild flavor of this cheese, I drizzled it with Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and then sprinkled the top with Tuscan Garlic Seasoning blend. We really enjoyed this one.

An another new cheese to try! Isle of Man Cracked Peppercorn Cheddar is a firm, creamy and full flavored cheese. It's blended with cracked black peppercorns which give it a very unique look and quite a bit of zing! It's aged for 10 - 12 months. I can't wait to try this one on a burger!

I added a few other nibbles to go along with the cheese.

Hummus with olive tapenade served with pita bread triangles. 

And my favorite Italian cured meat, capicola. I love it's spicy hot flavor!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Creole Seasoned Wings with Remoulade Sauce

This week's wings are, once again, baked at two different temperatures. Once, at a lower temperature to allow the fat to render down. Then, they are baked for a second time at a higher temperature to allow them to brown and crisp.

Remember to use the low-sodium or reduced salt version of your Creole seasoning. Otherwise, you may find the wings to be too salty.

2 lbs. chicken wings, separated and tips removed
Your favorite brand of reduced salt Creole seasoning

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle liberally with Creole seasoning. Toss to coat and place on the baking sheet in single layer.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and increase heat to 375 degrees F. Bake for an additional 18 - 20 minutes or until wings have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Serve with remoulade sauce.

Don't neglect to make the remoulade sauce. It's very simple to mix together while the wings are baking. And the sauce adds so much to the wings! You don't want to miss out. This version is from John Besh, one of New Orlean's favorite chefs.

1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke's)
1/4 cup Zatarain's Creole mustard
2 T. prepared horseradish
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. white wine vinegar
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. hot sauce
1/2 t. sweet paprika
1/4 t. cayenne
1/4 t. granulated garlic
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well, then add salt. Transfer the sauce to a container with a cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Crawfish Pepper Jack Soup

I had a version of this a few weeks ago at the Plaid Rhino in Hattiesburg. I was determined to duplicate this bowl of heavenly goodness and I think I came very close!

Filled with the trinity (onions, celery, peppers), garlic, Creole seasoning, and of course, crawfish, this soup can be served with rice a'la gumbo or as is. I'll be making this one again.

2 T. olive oil
1 leek, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced (only use the white part and a LITTLE of the green)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and membranes removed, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 - 2 t. Creole seasoning
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded, pulp removed, and diced
1 lb. crawfish tails, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
16 oz. block pepper jack cheese, shredded

In a 5 quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add leeks, onions, jalapenos, and celery. Cook for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook another minute or two.

Lower heat to medium and sprinkle in flour and, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring to thoroughly incorporate the stock into the vegetable mixture. Now's the time to add the Creole seasoning and diced Roma Tomatoes.

Lower heat to a gentle simmer and let cook 25 - 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add crawfish tails and heavy cream. Do NOT allow mixture to boil after the cream has been added.

Slowly add cheese a little bit a time to allow to melt and and blend into the soup. Taste and add additional Creole seasoning and/or salt and pepper, if needed.

Remove from heat and serve immediately. You can serve over rice or with toasted garlic bread. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Dining Out Southeast: Bistro Two Eighteen, Birmingham, AL

We recently went with friends to enjoy an evening in Birmingham. Luckily for us, our visit fell during Birmingham's Restaurant Week. 

Doubly lucky for us, we chose Bistro Two Eighteen.

Here's a blurb from their website:
Bienvenue! Bistro 218 combines the traditions of a French bistro with modern American cuisine. Located at 218 20th Street North, Birmingham native and professionally trained chef owner Tom Saab joins the revival of businesses in downtown Birmingham.
Bistro 218 features the elegant minimalist interior design of traditional French bistros while preserving the historical roots of the building, creating a comfortable romantic atmosphere. Bistro 218 brings French cuisine to every palette. Enjoy your bistro favorites, from quiche to duck confit! We strive to provide quality affordable food and impeccable service to all of our neighborhood friends.
The atmosphere IS comfortable and romantic. The mood changed as more people entered the dining room and the lively fun began. It was never so noisy to hamper conversation.
While perusing the menu, Chef Saab came through the dining room making a last minute check of everything before the dinner service began. He graciously agreed to a photo with me!
To begin our evening, I chose I chose a Sweet Tallulah ($11.00) made with sparkling wine, St. Germain, Lillet, Rose Water, and lemon. My friend chose a French 75 ($10.00) made with Gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup and St. Germain topped with sparkling wine. Both were perfectly mixed, cold and served with appropriate garnishes.
The males of the group selected a Sazerac made with Bulleit Rye Whiksey, Peychaud's Bitters, Demerara Simple Syrup, Absinthe ($12.00).  Look at the PERFECT ice cube in that drink. It's this type of attention to detail that gets your attention! 
The next drink selection was a 1792 Small Batch Bourbon ($10.00). 
No complaints with any of our drink orders.  They were all delicious.
Our server was attentive and helpful with our menu inquiries. Because it was Restaurant Week, one of the options for dinner was a Pre Fixe Menu which included an appetizer, entree, and dessert for a price of $40.00. Everyone in our party chose this option. By doing this, our table had every item offered on this special menu! 
The bread selection offered during our ordering time, was a freshly baked and sliced loaf of warm, soft white bread with herbed butter.
Now on to our first course:
I ordered the New Orleans Style File' Gumbo which included crawfish, shrimp and andouille sausage. Regular readers of the blog know that I abhor a lukewarm soup or gumbo. No problem with that here. This cup was served steaming hot and had the velvet like texture you get when the roux has been perfectly cooked.
The other diners chose the Bistro Chopped Salad with a red wine vinaigrette and Parmesan Tuile. If the saying "we eat with our eyes first" is true, this one is a masterpiece. Everyone agreed this salad with nicely seasoned and dressed lightly with the delicious vinaigrette and loved the Parmesan Tuile.
Now on to the entrees!
Two diners chose the Blackened Louisiana Redfish served over McEwen's yellow corn grits, roast tomato burre blanc, with fried okra. Again, the presentation is exceptional! The fish was nicely seasoned (not too spicy!), perfectly cooked, and the grits won rave reviews. Notice the okra pods which were fried whole and used as a lovely garnish.
Sweet Harold chose the Tournedos au Poivre which translates to tenderloin medallions served with brandy cream sauce, potato gratin and braised kale. He ordered the tenderloin cooked medium rare and it was perfectly cooked. The brandy cream sauce was a nice compliment to the beef. He thoroughly enjoyed his selection.
Last, but not least, I chose the Free Range Chicken Pailards served with lemon butter caper sauce, over creamy risotto. If there is ever an option on the menu which includes "lemon butter caper sauce," I'm ordering! Once again, the presentation was just lovely. You have to agree this plate is almost too pretty to eat! But, no worries, I did eat.  Every bite!

At last! Dessert!! Our table went 2/2 on the selections for this round!

The crème brûlée was just as it should be, a rich custard topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. I did get a bit of this one and it was delicious!

Sweet Harold and I chose the Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart topped with sea salt and caramel. One word:  RICH!  But again, I ate every bite.
If you're in the Birmingham area and desire a unique dining experience with delicious food, an inviting atmosphere, and excellent services, please visit Bistro Two Eighteen. You won't be disappointed.