An Unbelievably Good Meal

I absolutely love a good meal.  It can right any wrong, it can make a celebratory experience all the more celebratory, it has healing powers I tell you!

Because of my absolute love of food, I’ve been disappointed in the selection here in AL.

When we were in Washington, we had lots of wonderful places to eat: Daniel’s Broiler, Elliott’s, The Westside Burrito Connection, Fritz European Fry House, Anthony’s, Red Rock Subs, and so many more.

Or, we could drive up to the ferry and eat at Chandler’s in Victoria, BC.

We were never, ever, ever at a loss for good food.

Birmingham, AL, Food

Then, we moved to the Birminham, AL, area.  And, through some trial and error, we’ve found a tiny handful {read: could count on one hand} of places that are decent.

We enjoy The Cheesecake Factory and it’s consistently good food {how is it that no matter where you eat it in the country, it’s always the same?!}, Sho’Nuff BBQ, and Village Tavern.

There are a couple other places that we enjoyed in our more immediate area but they’ve all gone out of business.

Apparently the locals aren’t fond of fresh ground burgers, exceptional fresh-cut fries, and delicious corn muffins…

What the locals are fond of is crap.  I’m just not going to beat around the bush here.

Nine times out of 10, if we get a recommendation from a local, the food is absolutely disgusting.

Really Bad Food

My first experience with this was our trip to Niki’s West.  That was some of the worst food I have ever eaten, I’m not even kidding.

The terrible meal was finished off by a terrible dessert:  lemon icebox pie that was lukewarm and tasted like rancid milk.

Yet, the place was packed and people raved about it.

Then, for our anniversary last year, we ate at Ocean.  This was, hands down, my worst dining experience ever.

Ever.

The staff was pretentious and rude, the food was lousy, and the atmosphere was stuffy and filled with the drunken laughter of what appeared to be washed-up financial advisers…

Sushi should never be lukewarm.  Scallops should not taste like cod liver oil.  I should not have to flag my waiter down for a drink after sitting at a table for at least ten minutes while he spends copious amounts of time at the tables around me.

I should not be treated as an unintelligent country bumpkin who just set foot in the “big city” and doesn’t know the difference between a filet and a ribeye.

I left there absolutely disgusted.

The Meal That Made It All Better

Well, my friends, I am happy to say that last night, Vince and I had a meal that was worth two or three years of waiting.

I remember wanting to eat at Cafe Dupont when we first moved here, but for some reason that didn’t happen.

I just kind of forgot about it after that.

I kept hearing glowing reviews of other restaurants, but there menus were too far out there.

To clarify, we eat some “weird” stuff: snails, for instance.  So if I can eat snails and be OK, then you know a menu has to be really weird for me to not want to eat there.

I hadn’t really heard too much about Cafe Dupont, but something about the way it looked {it’s in an 1870s storefront in the North End neighborhood in downtown Birmingham}, the fact that it supports the slow food movement, and the daily changing menu made me want to go.

I was hoping I wouldn’t be disappointed.

So, instead of heading to the usual dining suspects here, we decided to give the Cafe a try.

Photo Credit

Oh. My.  I have never wanted to hop up and dance a jig in a restaurant like I did last night.

I need a thesaurus to fully convey to you the unbelievable quality, flavor, atmosphere, and service this place had.

Cafe Dupont could seat maybe 50, so it’s nice and quaint.  Love.

We were 30 minutes early for our reservation.  They gave us a table right away.  Love.

The waiter was pleasant and attentive, but didn’t hover.  Love.

The waiter knew about their food: how it was prepared, where they got their ingredients, and could easily recommend dishes.  Double love.

The food was insanely good.

Their bread comes from Mix, another Chef Dupont owned property downtown, just a few blocks away.  It was heavenly.

The butter, oh the butter…  It was made on the premises and was a delicious compound butter made with shallots, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, and probably another thing or two.  Drool.

The seared Ahi tuna with the flavors of orange, soy sauce, and black sesame seeds was phenomenal.

The fried oysters and okra was delicious.

My grilled smoked steak was yummy.  My tomato and mushroom tart was scrumptious, and I hate tomatoes and mushrooms…

Vince’s beef short ribs.  Oh freaking man, those short ribs…  I could have eaten myself silly on those short ribs.  Probably some of the best meat I’ve ever eaten.

And then, my friends, it ended with the best dessert I’ve ever eaten.  I am not even kidding.

Strawberry cobbler.

I think I uttered “Oh my GOD!” after every bite.  It almost brings a tear to my eye thinking about how I don’t know when I’ll have that cobbler again.  It was so unbelievably good.

I cant’ even describe it to you, it was just so, so, so good.

I am now a Chef Dupont convert.  I can’t wait to go back to the Cafe, and to check out Mix {the bakery}.

If he wrote a cookbook, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.  If he did cooking classes, I’d so go.

His food is unlike anything I’ve ever eaten and I’m so grateful I had a chance to share that with Vince.

We had a great time, just the two of us, at our little table.

We talked, it was like old times.  I love Babydoll, but it had been a while since just the two of us had a chance to connect.

Perfect night.