Tag Archives: Greek

Hometown Foodstalking- Saw’s BBQ and DoDiYos

In part two of my Magic City adventures, I discovered two new favorite spots. Since I was home for the holidays for 10 whole days, I had the chance to strike a nice balance between visiting my old favorites and trying out some new up and comers.

I am going to attempt to write about Saw’s BBQ without jealous tears streaming down my face. This is my new favorite place in Birmingham. I wish I lived there so I could go once a week. Had it been open during the SPC days, I have a feeling our trio would have spent many a lunch hour(s) here.

My dad and I shared an obscene amount of food for two people- but hey, how else are you going to try it all, right? I had the pulled pork plate with mac and cheese and turnip greens. He had the chicken plate with turnip greens and deviled eggs. We also got a plate of ribs to share. With the exception of the ribs, which I thought were above average but not my all-time favorites, I adored everything we ate. The pork is Carolina- style, pulled into large chunks and doused with a sweet, vinegary sauce. I’m no expert on this style (would like to get Miss Em or Allred’s opinion to verify) but I think Saw’s does a pretty darn good version for an Alabama ‘que purveyor. The smoked chicken features a strictly Bama white sauce. Ordinarily I wouldn’t go for this, given my aversion to white sauces/creamy things (mayo, sour cream, yogurt, etc.), but this I loved (and yes, I realize there is most likely mayo in that sauce- ignorance is bliss, people).  The chicken was juicy and the sauce had a great acidic kick to balance the creaminess. Thanks to Saw’s, I discovered that I do indeed like turnip greens, and the other sides were tasty as well. Long story short, I can’t wait to go back for more. Saw’s has taken its place as an “old favorite” to return to when I am home in B’ham.

Pork plate, turnip greens, mac & cheese

Chicken plate, turnip greens, deviled egg

Ribs

I was really excited about checking out this next newcomer on the Birmingham restaurant scene. DoDiYos is the brainchild of two of the most storied restaurant families in Magic City history, the Sarris family and the Kanakis family. As a (very strange) kid, I went through a phase where boiled shrimp was my favorite food. I remember going to the Sarris’s Fish Market with my family many a time to satisfy my craving. This new venture is a more upscale version of the Mediterranean and Greek foods these families have perfected. Greek food just so happens to be one of my favorite cuisines, so needless to say,  I had high hopes.

Greek lamb meatballs

The camera was shaking from the deliciousness. Basque-style mussels.

Connie Kanakis' Snapper. A classic.

Shrimp kebabs

Diples for dessert. It's anyone's guess how to pronounce that. We still don't know. Fried pastry ribbons with sugared almonds and honey.

I think the pictures speak for themselves, but everything we ate was just fabulous. The menu was so extensive that it made my head spin- in a very good way. You could visit DoDiYos dozens of times and not even scratch the surface of good-looking menu items (I could, anyway). They also serve lunch, and from what I can tell, that menu is a very fair representation of their many good offerings. It’s a good option for those on a budget who’d like to try it out before taking the plunge for dinner. The only issue with lunch: probably not okay for you to order that great Greek wine we had- but you most likely wouldn’t be sorry if you did.

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Houston eats, take-out edition

I eat a lot of take-out meals. I’m a single 20-something- I think most of us do. While I do love cooking, it’s a little challenging to create multiple meals every week for just one person. So I rely on take-out when I’m in the mood for a hot meal, but not in the mood to cook it. I’ve had some success recently after branching out from Pei Wei (my go-to take-out spot)- allow me to share.

First up is Al’s Quick Stop. Just like another Al’s (that I’m sure everyone reading this knows my undying love for), this place specializes in gyros. This place is also a dump, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s actually a convenience store, right next to the favorite Montrose bar/restaurant/music venue, Rudyard’s (or Rudz if you’re in the know).

Grainy Blackberry picture of the menu. Gotta get me an iPhone.

Grainy Blackberry picture of the menu. Gotta get me an iPhone.

I don’t know too many people that are willing to risk gas station food for a good gyro, so one day when I was in the neighborhood, I grabbed a gyro, some fries, and a canned Dr. Pepper from the gas station area to go. The total for these three items was around $6 or $7, which is UNBELIEVABLY cheap in my opinion. And I love cheap.

One of my favorite foods, the gyro

One of my favorite foods, the gyro

Hand-cut fries

Hand-cut fries

I have to say, I was really impressed. The gyro meat was just how I like it- a little crunchy on the outside, but not overcooked. Interestingly, the two gyros I’ve had here in Houston (Niko Niko’s and now Al’s), have both been served in this way- meat and veggies folded inside a pita like a taco. Back home at my other favorite Al’s in Birmingham, gyros are rolled into a thin pita with lettuce and tomato, like a wrap. I prefer the Houston method much better. I love the pillowy pita bread that they use at Al’s Quick Stop. I hear the fries are hand-cut, and they proved to be very tasty, although they didn’t survive the car ride home very well.

Al’s does have a small seating area next to the order counter, and I may try that out one day to see how the fries are fresh out of the fryer. If you are squeamish about eating at a convenience store, get it to go and pretend you got it from Niko’s. It’s much better in my opinion.

Next up is Pierson and Company BBQ, a shack that dishes out some of the city’s best ‘que in North Houston.

Bread in a ziploc bag. Nice touch.

Bread in a ziploc bag. Nice touch.

Mmmmm carne...

Mmmmm carne...

Rib in cross-section

Rib in cross-section

They weren't kidding when they said "small" peach cobbler

They weren't kidding when they said "small" peach cobbler

Author’s note: I drafted this post around 2 months ago and then completely forgot about it. In the spirit of moving forward and getting back into this blogging thing (for reals), I’ll add one last addition to Houston take-out and then keep on truckin’!

DSC03088

Tacos al Pastor from 100% Taquito in Houston. Pork, pineapple chunks, and cilantro in a corn tortilla. The meat was too gristley for me.

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Also from 100% Taquito, but this I would go back for. Corn tossed in lime juice and chile powder. So simple, so delicious.