Henry James could not have been more right. But just for this post, I'd like to substitute "summer afternoon" with "late-spring afternoon." What a glorious late-spring afternoon I had this past weekend!
It started with a trip to the optometrist (which isn't part of this post 'cause that's boring). My roommate and I hit up some local farmers' markets, Pepper Place Saturday Market and Homewood's new Urban Cookhouse, then a fun burger bar, Flip Burger Boutique. We ended the day with the too-cool yogurt place, Yogurt Mountain, in Cahaba Heights.
If you live near Birmingham, or if you ever find yourself here for some reason, I encourage a trip to Pepper Place Market on a Saturday morning. It's a wonderful open-air market for local farmers, artisans, crafters, and gardeners. They also conduct a cooking demonstration with a local chef every Saturday, and during the week (as well as on Saturdays) the new General Store sells a variety of local and regional specialties - including Alabama-shaped cutting boards and soaps, blue corn grits, honey, wine, and cheeses. Cool, right?
Farmers' markets are little treasures and gems in their communities and towns. They are a source of fresh, locally-grown (and often organic or all-natural) vegetables, fruit, herbs, and artisanal foods. If you haven't, I encourage you to find one near you and make it a regular part of your Saturday morning. I load up on veggies and fruit Saturday morning, cook Saturday and Sunday, then enjoy the delicious meals for the rest of the week. You know the food is real. You know where it came from, and you know it's good.
This Saturday I picked up some beautiful yellow squash and broccoli, and some chives and oregano for my little herb garden. My roommate got a jar of yummy pepper jelly.
Later this week I'll share some recipes you can use this summer when you pick up your own yummy locally-grown veggies. And hopefully, I'll also be able to post about my cute little herb garden and patio.
For now, some pictures...
After the beautiful veggies and flowers, we headed to The Summit for delish burgers at Flip Burger Boutique. Owner and Chef Richard Blais (of Top Chef fame) has created a very fun, hip burger bar. And we're not talking normal cheese burgers and fries. Oh no!
I had the shrimp burger with tempura okra (and the most amazing dipping sauce). My roommate, Amy, had the Buffalo Chicken Burger, which was the Burger of the Day that day. This wasn't our first time at Flip, so we decided to try something different, something new. Our new burgers were great, but we've settled on our favorites.
Mine is the Butcher's Cut. Hers is the Faux-lafel. And we both dig the tempura okra. Unfortunately, there are only two Flips right now - Birmingham and Atlanta. But, again, if you find yourself down here, make it a point to stop by. You will not be disappointed, and be sure to get a milkshake. My favorite: Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow or Banana Pudding. (I can't decide.) Don't split it with a friend, though. You both should get two different ones and then swap. They're that good!