Bham Now Eats: Taj Wraps, the Lumbar and keto-friendly cauliflower crust at Slice

Birmingham, Alabama, Taj Wraps, Indian Food, Eastwood Shell Food Mart
Birmingham, Alabama, Taj Wraps, Indian Food, Eastwood Shell Food Mart
Majaraha Chicken Wrap ($5, drink included) from Taj Wraps. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

A writer’s gotta eat. This column documents my foodie adventures in Birmingham. Up this week: Taj Wraps at Eastwood Shell Food Mart (inside a Chester’s Fried Chicken no less), the Lumbar in Pepper Place and Slice Pizza & Brew in Vestavia Hills.

Taj Wraps at Eastwood Shell Food Mart

Birmingham, Alabama, Taj Wraps, Indian Food, Eastwood Shell Food Mart
Taj Wraps launched in October 2018. Check out the menu. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

When I found out that the same family behind Taj India, Birmingham’s oldest Indian restaurant, had begun selling wraps at a gas station near my house, I had to investigate.

Did you know? If you’re craving Taj Wraps and your lunch buddy’s craving Chester’s Fried Chicken, no problem. You can order both at the same place at Eastwood Shell Food Mart.

Birmingham, Alabama, Chester's Fried Chicken, Indian Food, Eastwood Shell Food Mart
Yep, that’s right. Order your Taj Wraps at the Chester’s counter. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

I had the Majaraha Chicken Wrap, which was mild but still full of warm, comforting Indian flavors. My better half went for the Keema (Minced Lamb) Wrap, which had a nice backend heat. Taj Wraps are $5 and come with a drink. Choose between a flour or spinach wrap. We will definitely be back.

Info for Taj Wraps

Address: 7801 Crestwood Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35210
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11AM-9PM (closed Sunday)

The Lumbar

Birmingham, Alabama,Check out the cheese sear on the Green Chile Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich at the Lumbar. Served with Parmesan tots, of course. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now Pepper Place, the Lumbar, chalkboard, Birmingham Eats
Check out the cheese sear on the Green Chile Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich at the Lumbar. Served with Parmesan tots, of course. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

The Lumbar is a new, science-themed bar and food spot in Pepper Place. They’ve got a great beer selection and crafty cocktails. With a menu of hearty sandwiches and dishes based around tots and corn chips, I’m deeming the Lumbar’s food style “post-grad comfort food.”

The food arrives in eco-friendly Folia take-out boxes, which is a plus because the portions are large at the Lumbar and you’ll probably have leftovers. Science and engineering types will dig the clever one-piece design with sections for multiple sauces and cutlery.

Birmingham, Alabama, Pepper Place, the Lumbar, chalkboard, Birmingham Eats
The New Mexican at the Lumbar features grilled sliced ham, carne adovada (red chile pulled pork), mustard, dill pickles and hatch green chile on a toasted Cuban loaf. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

I love the big, old-school chalkboard in the Lumbar’s main seating area. There’s also a pair of plush velvet sofas, plus a separate meeting room. In other words, the Lumbar offers ample opportunity to eat, drink, hang out, work or study, and incubate your next big idea all in the same space.

Birmingham, Alabama, Pepper Place, the Lumbar, chalkboard, Birmingham Eats
Chalkboard at the Lumbar. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

Did you know? Pepper Place, home to the Lumbar and many other restaurants and bars, recently won entertainment district status from the Birmingham City Council.

Info for the Lumbar

Address: 212 29th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
Food Hours: weekdays 11AM-9PM
Bar Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11AM-11PM; Fri. 11AM-midnight; Sat. 4PM-midnight (closed Sunday)

Slice Pizza & Brew in Vestavia Hills

Birmingham, Vestavia, Slice Pizza, Veggie Pesto Pizza, cauliflower pizza crust, keto diet, Birmingham Eats
Veggie Pesto Pizza on a cauliflower crust ($14 after discount) at Slice. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

While the original Slice in Lakeview is an old haunt, this was my first venture to the second location in Vestavia Hills, where I treated a friend to a birthday lunch.

I’m trying to eat more veggies, so I ordered a Veggie Pesto Pizza on a cauliflower crust. Bonus: the cauliflower crust is not only low-carb and keto-friendly (if that’s what you’re going for), but it also costs $3 less than Slice’s regular wheat crust because it’s a little smaller. Verdict: thin, crispy, delicious, hearty enough for two meals—and pretty dang close in taste to traditional pizza crust.

Birmingham, Vestavia, Slice Pizza, Brown Butter Pasta, Birmingham Eats
Slice Brown Butter Pasta with shaved Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, bacon, fresh basil and oregano ($8). Pictured with braised chicken (extra $3). Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

My lunch mate ordered Brown Butter Pasta. Brown butter is simply butter that’s been browned in a skillet to bring out a more complex, nutty flavor. At this point in my life, I’m almost certain there’s not a dish in the world that brown butter can’t make better.

We both had a crispy Wedge Salad. The combo of green goddess dressing and balsamic drizzle (and bacon, of course) is aces.

Birmingham, Vestavia, Slice Pizza, Wedge Salad, Birmingham Eats
Slice Wedge Salad ($6) topped with roma tomato, bacon, house green goddess dressing and balsamic drizzle. Photo by Terri Robertson for Bham Now

Did you know? Slice Pizza & Brew sources ingredients from 14 local farms in and around Birmingham.

Info for Slice Pizza & Brew

Vestavia Address: 3104 Timberlake Dr, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243
Lakeview Address: 725 29th St S Birmingham, AL 35233
Hours: Sun.-Wed. 11AM-10PM; Thurs. 11AM-11PM; Fri.-Sat. 11AM-midnight