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On our way to Atlanta for New Q, we decided that we needed to make time to have a meal at Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill. We’ve been wanting to try Highlands for a long time, but it’s just never worked out for us. After meeting Frank Stitt and getting a taste of his wonderful food during our Southern Foodways Alliance Camp Shoals trip, we decided to spend the night in Birmingham this time and not let anything get in the way. We are so glad that we made that decision.
A meal at Highlands starts with atmosphere. It’s a wonderful space, large enough to seat the crowds of satiated diners, but small enough to feel cozy. The service is absolutely wonderful. Our server knew that we had driven in from Memphis for dinner. As a treat, she brought us complimentary cups of the most amazing mushroom bisque. All three of us ate every bite. I was the last to finish, and Squirrelly, Jr., was definitely watching my bowl to see if I was going to leave anything for him to steal.
The official start to our meal was the Highlands Cured Meat Platter. The in-house made pate, rilettes, and sausages were wonderful. Even Teh Boy enjoyed the pate on toast. Of course, he also enjoyed stealing all of the crispy little cornichons. Why do we take him with us again?
Our entrees were the next item in a beautiful meal. Teh Boy decided to have the lamb tenderloin with mashed potatoes. I think it was probably really good. He absolutely devoured it. Papa Squirrel chose the Pork on Pork (shoulder and fresh bacon). He received a bowl of perfectly cooked pork resting on top of creamy grits and fresh seasonal vegetables.
I was the adventurous one for this meal. I just had to try the veal sweetbreads and squab with sweet pea timbale. The sweetbreads were wonderful, crispy on the outside and meltingly creamy inside. The squab was rich, juicy and full of flavor. The timbale was the perfect essence of fresh spring peas. I was in foodie heaven.
We were stuffed squirrels at this point, but thank goodness we each have a dessert stomach to keep us going! We decided to break in our dessert stomachs slowly by enjoying the cheese and fruit plate. We received generous portions of Brillat-Savarin, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Reblochon and Pointe de Bique served with fresh bread, raspberries, arugula, dried cranberries, and walnuts. I adore cheese, so I was more than pleased, but I will admit that I was surprised when Teh Boy decided that he liked the Reblochon, a classic stinky, gooey French cheese, the best.
We decided to finish off our dessert stomachs with moderation, so we shared the Strawberries with Mascarpone Sabayon. It was cool, and perfectly balanced between sweet and tart with a creaminess that still managed to be light.
It took us a long time to finally go to eat at Highlands, but it was well worth the wait. I think the Squirrel Squad has a new on-the-way-to-Atlanta tradition. And we’re also going to have to devote a weekend soon just to Birmingham.
Highlands Bar and Grill
2011 11th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35205