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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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