I had heard about it. Was told it was good. But had never tried it myself.
I did this week. And it’s seriously legit. Breakfast from Byron’s Smokehouse.
When I walked into the Auburn restaurant, I didn’t know what to order, so I selected the breakfast plate with two eggs.
Along with the eggs, which I could get fried or scrambled, I received a choice of meat, grits or fried potatoes and toast or biscuit. My choices were ham, fried potatoes and toast. I also got my eggs scrambled.
I got my food to-go, so it didn’t really hit me of how much food I received until I opened my container. It was a lot food for $6.54 with tax.
I normally don’t go for ham, but I’m glad I did. It had a great flavor. It was my favorite part of the plate, even though I love toast (and yes, you can love toast). I thought the fried potatoes were good too, and the eggs were scrambled perfectly (and yes, it’s possible to mess up eggs. Is someone looking at me?).
It was a great meal and a filling one.
It took me way too long to try breakfast from Byron’s, but I should look on the bright side. I can make up for lost time.
There are days – and especially these days – when we look for comfort. Things we gravitate to. Things we know.
Food fits in that category for some, and I happily raise my hand. And those foods and/or dishes can be as varied as their admirers, as well as the cuisines.
Mexican food is a comfort for me, and I thought it should be my choice for this week’s food review. That’s why I visited El Patron Mexican Grill in Opelika.
For those who have read me before, you know my affinity for taco salads, but I felt I should change it up. After a look at the restaurant’s menu, which offers quite a bit, I settled on the ground beef quesadillas.
The quesadillas are served with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes and guacamole. All fabulous things in my book (I particularly love sliced and diced tomatoes, especially with cooked beef.)
The ground beef had a lovely seasoning. I really enjoyed it. And the quesadillas were plentifully packed. The guacamole was also quite good. And I can be kind of picky when it comes to guacamole.
The meal was substantial, and that’s before the chips and salsa I also received. The salsa had a delightful kick by the way. With tax, my order was $10.63. A great price.
Mexican food was a good choice and so was El Patron.
Full disclosure. I love coffee. That’s not to say all coffee is created equal, but I do love a good cup of joe, which means I’m always on the lookout.
I also have a bit (maybe more than a bit) of a sweet tooth, so this week’s food review was right up my alley. I visited Toomer’s Coffee Roasters in Opelika.
Quite of bit of its menu caught my eye, and it was hard to decide. Did I want one of the artisan cookies or one of the oatmeal squares? Which coffee to choose? They all looked good.
I decided to get a 16-ounce plain latte using 2 percent milk. Toomer’s Coffee gives you a milk choice (skim, 2 percent, whole, half-and-half or almond milk) and a number of flavor choices. I also ordered the Chocolate Sable Artisan Cookie. The homemade cookie “is a rich dark chocolate base infused with Ghirardelli chocolate chips.” Yes, please.
The cookie, which was pretty big, smelled wonderful. The smell hit me when I took it out of the bag. It also tasted as great as it smelled. A chocolate lover’s kind of cookie. And the latte was just right. I was delighted with my choices. With tax, the price was $6.54.
The owners of this local business were so kind and helpful. I truly enjoyed visiting this shop and will keep going back. Besides, there’s more food, which includes a veggie frittata, and drinks to try.
I am a sucker for guacamole. Ever since I was a child, my family and I would make it a family recipe at home that was passed down from my dad’s side of the family.
Rarely do I find a place that makes guacamole as good as my family’s, but Acre may be the best place to get some outside of my own home.
Acre has been my favorite Auburn restaurant since my nineteenth birthday, when I went for there for the first time to celebrate.
Over the last several weeks I have been craving food from a restaurant. I’ve been trying to limit my curbside pickups to save money, but this week I decided to treat myself to a meal from Acre.
Acre has cut down on its delivery and pick-up menu to make things easier on its staff, but the quality is still very much there. I chose the delivery option with Tiger Town To Go. It came right on time and the driver even honored my request of just leaving the meal outside of my front door.
Of course, when I ordered, I had to get a side of the goat cheese guacamole and smoked paprika chips. That first amazing bite led me to call my mom to brag.
I couldn’t just have guacamole for dinner — although I may have wanted to — so I also ordered the original Acre burger with white cheddar.
The burger comes with fries on the side and all of the food was still hot when it arrived at my door.
The guacamole was creamy, flavorful and a perfect combination with the paprika chips. The burger was cooked to my specifications, with a delicious charcoal onion jam on top and crispy fries on the side.
Acre also offers wines, craft beers and cocktail mixes through curbside pickup. So if you’ve had a tough day at work, or even at home, and need the pick-me-up, Acre has your back.
Overall, the pandemic has failed to stop Acre from upholding its famous reputation of amazing food and good service. I would gladly order curbside or pickup from the restaurant again until they can re-open their doors and I would encourage anyone else to do so as well.
My sentiment of food trucks has never changed. Genius.
And there’s this sort of in-the-know-vibe to them. Want to try one of the best (fill the blank) in town, you need to check out this food truck I went to.
That could have been a quote from me this week when I tried Drive-by Tacos. I’ve been wanting to try the food truck for a while. Honestly, it shouldn’t have taken me so long.
I went to its website to check for its locations and hours and to peruse its menu. A lot of tacos grabbed my attention, but I kept coming back to two — the Aloha Chicken Taco (“Shoyu chicken on a bed of rice with pineapple ginger broccoli slaw and lime sour cream”) and the Thai Chicken Taco (“Thai chicken on a bed of arugula with Asian slaw and lime sour cream”). Both were medium hot.
I decided to order one of each.
The tacos were really good. The seasonings for each were wonderful and, of course, distinct. The Aloha Chicken Taco was my favorite because of the pineapple ginger broccoli slaw. It just brightened the taco. I would love to have that slaw by the pint.
They were also very filling. I ordered a side of tortilla chips to go with my tacos, but I didn’t finish them because I was so full from the tacos.
Drive-by Tacos is definitely worth a visit. It has some of the best tacos in town.
It was a long time ago in a land far, far away (when I lived in the United Kingdom) that I first had Indian cuisine. It was in this lovely restaurant in the town I lived in, one that was quite popular.
I was learning about my dishes as I ate, and it remains one of the best meals (and neatest experiences) I’ve ever had. I also became a fan of Indian food.
Fast forward to this week’s food review when I tried Good Karma. The food at this Auburn restaurant of “Indian Inspired Eats” will be something I want to eat again and again.
I ordered Good Karma’s Naan Entree. With the entrees, you choose your protein and your sauce and, of course, this particular entree comes with naan bread. My protein was chicken, and my sauce was tikka masala. The restaurant offers other entrees as well.
I also decided to get a side and went for the Vegetable Samosa. Other sides are available, which include naan bread and garlic naan bread.
When I lifted the to-go lid off my chicken tikka masala, it smelled amazing. After the first bite, I torn into the rest of it, using my naan bread of course, which was equally good. The sauce was fantastic. I even used it on my Samosa, which was substantial, by the way.
I knew I was going to order the meal again after I finished. But the Basmati Rice Bowl Entree is also on my list.
Shrimp and Grits has to be one of the best food combinations around. I’ve loved grits since I was a child and developed a love for shrimp as I got older.
I’m always intrigued when I see the dish on a menu, but don’t always order it. That changed this week when I made my selection from Cafe One Twenty Three in Opelika.
When I went to the restaurant’s website, I selected its Social Distancing Menu (since that’s what we’re doing these days) and took a look at the offerings. The Shrimp and Grits instantly jumped out at me, even though I saw other dishes I would happily order.
But I had made up my mind, and at $12 before tax, I thought it was a great price. Here’s the description: “Creamy Stone-Ground Grits, Crème Fraiche, Scallions.”
When I made the call to make the order, I asked if I could have a small amount of scallions. Not the biggest fan. But the gentleman on the other end said he could put them on the side for me. Thank you kind sir.
I so enjoyed my meal. The shrimp were plump, delicious and plenty, and the grits were just as good. The addition of crème fraiche really pulled it all together.
If you love Shrimp and Grits, these are definitely worth a try. And if you’ve never had the dish, it’s never too late to try something new.
Like some of you (or maybe most of you), I have a tendency to gravitate to what I know I like. Food is no different.
But in a quest of opening horizons, it’s good to try something different. I did that when selecting a dish from El Rey De Todos Mexican Grill & Cantina this week.
The menu for the Auburn restaurant offers a number of things, but I focused on its lunch specials. I would have normally gone for the taco salad because…well, I won’t bore you with my adoration for the taco salad … but since I was trying something new, I settled on the Enchiladas Verdes.
I’m typically a red sauce girl, but this dish had verde sauce, a green sauce (hence the name). You get a choice of two beef, chicken or cheese enchiladas, which is covered in verde sauce, as well as rice and beans. The meal also comes with lettuce, sour cream and tomatoes.
And, of course, chips and salsa was also part of my to-go order. I even asked about it to make sure it came with the order.
My chicken enchiladas tasted great with the verde sauce, so much so I think I may ask if I can get the sauce on the side when ordering other meals. The chicken had a wonderful seasoning. I truly enjoyed my meal, even the refried beans.
I guess I’ve always seen refried beans as a side I could easily do without when eating Mexican food, but not this time. El Rey’s were good.
I will have to try the restaurant’s taco salad — how can I not — but trying something new definitely worked out for me.
This week’s food review found me at Byron’s Smokehouse in Auburn.
I’m determined to try the restaurant’s breakfast, but this time I had the barbecue. I wasn’t disappointed.
Sometimes I’m ahead of the game and have an idea of what I want to order before I walk into a place. I’m afraid that wasn’t the case this time, but the person at the register was patient and helpful.
I finally settled on a chipped plate, which came with two sides. I choose baked beans and coleslaw. I also had a choice of bread. For me, that was a no-brainer. I received two slices of white bread with my order.
The barbecue was really good. I mean really good, as was the sauce. The barbecue had a great flavor, and you how important sauces are to me. I also enjoyed my baked beans and coleslaw. With tax, my meal was $9.54. A nice price, especially with the amount of food you receive.
I’m still going to try Byron’s breakfast, but more of its barbecue is also in my future.
I feel in love with poké when I lived in Houston three years ago. It became one of my go-to dishes during Lent.
I’ve been praying to the poké gods ever since I returned to Auburn, hoping that a poké shop would open in the Opelika-Auburn area.
And then finally my prayers were answered; Pokémen opened in Opelika near Tiger Town. Cue the singing angels.
Pokémen offers your own poké bowls, ramen and other small bites. Think of Chipotle but with poké bowls.
For those of you who don’t know what poké is, it is a Hawaiian dish comprised of diced, raw fish served over rice or lettuce and topped with vegetables and an array of sauces. Trust me, it’s delicious.
I was so excited to try Pokémen on Friday. I didn’t eat much of the day in order to prepare for my “Lenten-approved” meal.
Pokémen offers three poké bowl sizes — small, medium and large. I decided to get a medium, which allows you to pick three types of protein.
I had my choice of rice or spring mix to be my base.Naturally, I chose all spring mix. Next, I chose my protein, which ended up being a combination of shrimp, scallops and tofu.
Pokémen also offers chicken, tuna, salmon, albacore, octopus and a few other protein choices.
After my protein was in the bowl, I got to pick my toppings, my favorite part. It was hard to choose from all of the options, but I ended up getting pineapple, edamame, seaweed, carrot, crab meat, corn and cucumber. I also added dried, roasted garlic.
The final choice was the sauce. I ended up getting ponzu and spicy mayo.
My bowl ended up costing a little more than $12, a great deal for the amount of seafood.
I decided to take my bowl home to eat so I could binge watch Netflix’s “Love is Blind” while enjoying dinner.
It was so hard for me to wait to eat until I got home, but it was well worth it. The bowl was excellent. It reminded me of the bowls that I would get in Houston.
I finished the bowl in a matter of minutes and found myself asking if it would be acceptable to eat there every week.
I realize you can have beautiful hamburgers, but, for me, if it doesn’t taste good, I could care less if it makes a nice picture. It’s beautiful if it’s good.
When I visited Jefferson’s in Opelika for my food review, I had a good hamburger.
Since the restaurant highlights its burgers in its sign, I decided to try one. And since one of the burgers on the menu is called a Jefferson’s Burger, I figured that should be my choice.
According to the menu, the burger has American cheese, Applewood-smoked bacon, Smokey BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. It also came with a choice of a side.
I nixed the onion and chose crinkle fries as my side. I also decided to order the fried pickles as an appetizer because the menu said it was a house specialty. With tax, my order came to $14.16.
The burger was great. I’m glad I ordered. It was big, and I got a lot of fries too. A second guessed my decision to get an appetizer because there was plenty of food for the main course, but I did enjoy the fried pickles. And there were plenty of those.
This was my first visit to Jefferson’s. I loved the feel of the place. I noticed the outside seating as I walked toward the entrance. There was plenty of seating inside, which included seating at the bar. It’s the kind of place that becomes a regular hang out.
I understand that frozen yogurt isn’t something you’d typically treat yourself to in the winter, especially considering the amount of rain we’ve had in the area lately. But a craving is a craving, and as such must be satisfied.
Frozen yogurt, for me, combines the flavor of creamy frozen treats with the fun of random toppings making for an enjoyable moment of childlike joy. To find my little pick-me-up, I went to Freeze Yogurt Bar in downtown Auburn.
Overall, the bar’s menu features a number of fro-yo flavors with tart, creamy and vegan options serving four different flavors each day. If yogurt isn’t your thing, there are also acai bowl and smoothie options.
I chose two flavors on the day of my visit, lemonade whip and classic tart, with sliced strawberries and chocolate chip cookie dough bits for my topping.
The serving sizes aren’t named according to the amount of frozen yogurt they hold, rather just as numbers, so I settled with a snack size cup three. With my two flavors and two toppings, my order came out to $8.
Though both flavors had their own tartness, I genuinely couldn’t taste the difference. As far as flavor is concerned, I can honestly say that I’ve had better. The saving grace for my midday snack was the cookie dough bits.
I know I sound like a broken record, but hear me out on this one. I found a secret oasis of fresh fruit in Opelika.
You probably know by now that I love healthy foods including, but not limited to, salads, fruit, parfaits, protein shakes and smoothies.
I’m always on the hunt to find someplace new in the area where I can eat the healthy foods I love, and this was the week that I found just the right place.
La Botanera Frutas y Snacks is a tiny Mexican snack bar in Opelika that serves up traditional Mexican snacks and numerous fruit-centered items.
Tucked into Saugahatchee Square, La Botanera is a hidden gem in the shopping center. You almost wouldn’t know it was there unless you frequented the shopping center.
Lucky for me, I drive past the shopping center at least once a week and saw a sign stating that La Botanera was now open.
After thinking about trying the snack bar numerous times, I finally pulled the trigger on my way home from work one day and stopped in for a fresh snack.
La Botanera’s menu is mostly in Spanish, but thankfully it had an English translation with it. There were so many delicious options to choose from such as tostada de camaron, Paninis, chamoyada, fruta mix, fruit crepes and smoothies.
I was pretty hungry so I opted for a more filling snack, the bionic yogurt which is served with fresh fruits, granola, coconut and nuts. It sounded right up my ally.
The total for my yogurt, plus tip, came out to just under $8, not terrible for a filling, healthy snack and tip.
I watched the chef make my yogurt, slicing the numerous fruits and carefully layering the toppings.
The finished product looked amazing, to say the least. It was the perfect pink color and had lots of coconut shavings and toasted pecans on top and the bottom.
I was going to save my yogurt for a snack after getting home from working a basketball game, but the yogurt looked too good to wait to eat it.
My decision to dive in sooner rather than later was the best decision of the day. It was amazing. The yogurt was packed full of fruits and had just the right amount of granola, coconut and pecans. I was in heaven.
After finishing the yogurt, I thought to myself, “same time next week?”
You know that relaxed feeling when you walk into a shop or café? When you know you want to browse at its offerings, sit awhile to enjoy your food and then make plans to do it again.
I got that feeling again this week when I visited The Cup and Saucer in Auburn.
Cup and Saucer offers a lunch that is dine-in or takeout in addition to its take-home meals and catering service. In fact, I browsed the frozen casseroles and other items in its freezer, as well as what was in its fridge, taking notes of all I wanted to try while I waited for my food. And there were so many things I wanted to try … and plan to.
But for this visit, I ordered the lunch combo with one side. I decided to get Cup and Saucer’s chicken salad on its homemade bread. I picked fruit as my side, and the combo also includes a cookie.
My sandwich was piled high with some of the best chicken salad I have ever tasted. It was absolutely delicious, and the bread left me craving a loaf of it. I even wanted to order more cookies. My meal, with tax, came to $8.16.
I’ve never eaten at a Mexican restaurant I didn’t absolutely love, and El Rey De Todos Mexican Grill and Cantina is no different.
What I love the most about Mexican food isn’t just the perfect balance of savory and rich flavors. It’s how the orders are grouped together in such a way that you end up pleasantly full afterwards, instead of bursting at the seams.
A burrito makes for a satisfying lunch, while an enchilada makes for a filling dinner.
That being said and having decided on El Rey’s for lunch, I went with the chicken chimichanga from their lunch combinations menu. While waiting for my order, my waiter brought out an order of chips and salsa.
I’m pretty sure it’s just common knowledge that the chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants will always and forever be superior to anything you could buy in the store.
You know that your food is going to be good when you can hear it sizzling before its set on the table. Remember, I said I’ve never eaten at a Mexican restaurant I didn’t absolutely love. From the rice, to the chicken, to the side serving of guacamole, everything was delicious.
The servings were no bigger or smaller than they would have been at other restaurants like it, yet with the last forkful I was left pleasantly full and still able to button by pants.
Including a drink, my lunch came to a total of $12.26 before gratuity.
Some of my favorite bookstore memories as a child were made at Boarders. My favorite memory has to be drinking a chai tea latte with my mom while splitting a pastry at the coffee shop inside the store.
Now that I’m older and live far away from home, sometimes I get the craving for a hot chai tea latte in hopes of reliving one of my favorite memories.
This week I found myself really wanting to relive that memory, so I decided to go to One Bike Coffee in Auburn for a chai tea latte and a pastry.
When I walked into the coffee shop, I knew I made the right choice of where to go for my nostalgic drink.
Deciding on what drink to order was easy — a small chai tea latte with non-fat milk. Now, deciding what pastry to get was much more difficult.
One Bike Coffee had numerous choices of cakes, muffins and scones. They all looked so good.
I ended up going with a raspberry white chocolate scone to go with my drink. The person who took my order even asked if I wanted my scone warmed up. Um, yes please.
The total cost of my treat was a little more than $6, which, in my opinion, is not overly expensive for a local coffee shop.
It didn’t take long after I ordered to receive my warmed scone and chai latte. I decided to take my mid-afternoon snack to go since I was having a very busy day.
Once I got into my car, the smell of the scone overcame me. It smelled like the most delicious scone I have ever smelled.
Then came the first bite, it was divine. It was warm, lightly sweet and the perfect texture. It was by far the best scone I have ever tasted.
The chai latte was also delicious. As soon as I took my first sip, I slipped back into the memory of sitting with my mom at Boarders drinking chai and hanging out.
Probably like many, I do love a great sandwich. And for this food review I was on the hunt for another one.
I found one such sandwich at Irish Bred Pub in Opelika.
The downtown restaurant offers a number of sandwiches on its menu. From reading their descriptions, I figured I couldn’t go wrong, but my eye kept moving back to the Shannon Chicken Sandwich. It’s grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise and avocado on a toasted Kaiser roll.
The sandwiches are also served with a choice of beer battered fries or homemade chips.
I nixed the onion on the Shannon Chicken Sandwich and chose the homemade chips.
Since I got my food to-go, I didn’t take a look at my meal until I got back to the office. The first thing I said when I opened my box: “That looks good.” And it was.
The grilled chicken tasted great. In fact, all the ingredients worked well together, especially the avocado and bacon. It was definitely a winner. I’m glad I ordered it. The homemade chips were also nice, and there were plenty of them.
With tax, my order was $9.81. A good price, I thought. Count on me to order this meal again.