First Stop: Niki's West
Why? Because it's Niki's West. And my tour would be lacking without it. One doesn't eat at or go to Niki's West. No, no. You experience Niki's West.
Last weekend, my friends and I were discussing Niki's West....
Adam: Elizabeth, quick. What do you do when you get the wrong meat on your plate?
Me: You just take it!!! No. Questions. at. Niki's. West.
Rhett: When do you need to have your order decided?
Me: Before you pick up your tray. Duh.
Upon entering Niki's, you immediately find yourself in an S-shaped line formed by iron railing. But, don't be fooled. This line moves quickly. You have a total of three turns before you find yourself at the front. And you need every bit of this time.
Did I mention the line moves quickly? You feel like a cow being herded to the watering hole. You walk and contemplate the 5-7 meat options. Before you know it, you're looking at the trays and napkin-wrapped silverware. It's time. Time to order.
I whisper to my Dad, "I always get nervous right here."
Me: I'm afraid I'm going to choke.
Staff: How can I help you today, ma'am?
Me: Fried chicken, please.
I'm quickly shuffled down the cafeteria-style line with a barrage of questions "What can I get for you?", "How can I help you, ma'am?" No time to contemplate. The pressure is mounting.
Which is how I found myself blurting out, "Turnip greens!......Fried okra!.......Creamed corn!......Cornbread."
I couldn't make up my mind, so I got everything that I wanted. I couldn't stop and contemplate. That would be against the rules of Niki's West.
Second Stop: Little Savannah
I enjoyed drinks and dinner later that evening. My first time at Little Savannah. The interior is relaxed and cozy. The cocktails - less than stellar, but my meal was delicious. We started with fried cornmeal-crusted oysters and crawfish bisque. Next, I enjoyed the lamb shank and pappardelle pasta in a creamy sauce that warranted sopping at the end of the meal. Though I restrained myself.
Third Stop: Bistro 218
New to Birmingham and new to me. It's a French bistro located in a restored building in downtown Birmingham. The atmosphere was vraiment francais. Hexagonal white tile, banquette seating and antique serving stations. While I've heard they have a great dinner menu, I met friends for lunch. Great lunch menu that has some of the dinner offerings. The steak frites was good, my favorite part of that combo being the "frites." My friends both ordered the quiche and it looked every bit amazing.