My Favorite New Restaurant in Birmingham: Tropicaleo
I had the amazing privelege of attending the soft opening for Tropicaleo. If you haven't heard of Tropicaleo yet, stop what you are doing and read this. After that, go eat the best Puerto Rican food in Alabama! They are currently serving lunch in the kitchen of Crestwood Tavern (until their new location opens in Avondale) Mon-Fri from 11-3 and brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10-3.
Ok, so back to the opening. As soon as I entered Crestwood Tavern the smell of earthy spices filled my senses. I had my first taste of this delcious food at the Woodlawn Street Market and the anticipation of putting this food in my mouth for the second time was almost too much to handle.
First Maria served us Wholesome Soda. Wholesome soda is a brand new local company who makes soda from organic fresh ingredients. I chose gingerale and Tony chose orange-lime.
I think he likes it!
Next we were given a basket of traditional Puerto Rican sweet bread. You guys.... this bread. I mean seriously. It is perfectly crisp with a light brushing of olive oil and hint of honey on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Tropicaleo prides themselves in their low gluten menu and choose not to make the bread in house. Using Marai and Gabriel's recipe, It is made by one of our awesome local bakeries Continental bakery and y'all it is delicious.
Here is me eating the bread, then telling Tony how good the bread is. (A moving, happy Jessica makes for a blurry picture).
And now for the main event! Tony ordered Aranitas and Chorizo and I ordered Mofongo Stuffed Chicken. As I bit into the chicken stuffed with mofongo I recognized a familiarity that I couldn't quite pinpoint. Then I moved on to the delicately fried plantains and realized why it all tasted so familiar. As a teenager one of my best friend's mom, who was from Colombia, used to make us fried plantains. They were amazing and I haven't tasted anything like them since until Tropicaleo.
Tony thoroughly enjoyed his meal as well, and I admit I snuck a bite of the chorizo (humanely and locally sourced) and it was out of this world! The rice and beans is packed with flavor and had a wonderful smooth texture.
As the crowds started to flood Crestwood Tavern and Gabriel started taking orders faster than anything I have ever seen. It is easy to see that Gabriel and Maria will be successful in our city because of their friendliness and obvious passion for what they do. I strongly encourage you to go out and eat their amazing food and get to know them! You will be happy you did.
Here is their current menu (the menu above was for the opening event only).