Sunday, October 7, 2007

You need not travel to Greece to get good Greek Fare

Saturday afternoon my mother and I had lunch together. We went to Taziki's Restaurant in Inverness at the Colonnade Shopping Center. For a late lunch on Saturday, the place was still packing them in. Although the ordering protocol requires you to wait in line like you would any fast food restaurant, we didn't have to wait long to order and we did receive our order promptly, only minutes after ordering.
We decided to sample a little of everything and forgo a large meal (which in of itself ended up being alot of food). I ordered a plate of sides: pasta salad, basmati rice, and a small greek salad. I also ordered an appetizer of tazaki sauce with sliced pita bread. My mother ordered the toasted egg and olive sandwich. It came with chips and a side dish, in which she chose the roasted potatoes. We both had the sweet tea to drink. I found the rice to be perfectly seasoned. It looked somewhat dry, but upon tasting it was moist and flavorful. The greek salad was flavorful with a greek dressing that had feta cheese in it. The salad itself also had fresh feta, roasted red peppers, black olives and pepperchini peppers. I was a bit disappointed in the lettuce in the salad. It contained allot of stalk on the leaves. Perhaps I am picky, but I just hate the stalk, I prefer just the lettuce leaves. I ended up tearing the lettuce away from the stalk but because almost all of the salad was this way, I was left with little lettuce in the salad.
The basmati rice was very good. It had a hint of cinnamon in it and was flavorful yet I assumed when coupled with something heavier like a meat would allow the accompanying food to be the main feature and not overwhelm with taste. I really enjoyed it. Taziki's only uses fresh ingredients and everything is made to order. It shows in the taste and quality of the food.
My mother and I both commented on the freshness of the taziki sauce, which is a greek "dip" made of yogurt, cucumber, dill and seasoning ($2.50). It was quite good. My mother enjoyed her egg and olive sandwich with was served on toasted buttermilk bread with egg salad, olives, bacon and romaine lettuce ($5.75) sandwich. She could only eat half, allowing me to take the remainder home to my husband. She commented that the roasted potatoe were rstic and good.
Taziki's has outside dining which is shared by neighboring restaurants, The Baha Burger and A Mexican Cantina. While we dined outside with customers eating from all the restaurants, I overheard one patron recommending to another the key lime pie from Baha Grill. Key Lime Pie is certainly one of my weaknesses. Making certain to save room for the pie, we wrapped up our leftovers. I went in the Baha Burger, which is a sister restaurant to Taziki's, and purchased 2 slices of the **homemade key lime pie ($2.50 a slice). While I waited in line to order, I grabbed a menu and noticed the many unique burgers on their menu. I later mentioned it to my dad, who said that he has both read and heard great things about Baha. The burgers are grilled to order. Another unique thing at Baha is the fries that are served alongside the burgers are made of sweet potatoes. I also ordered a side of those of of curiosity, although I was stuffed from the meal prior and could only eat 2, they were great. Naturally sweet, yet not so much that it would not accompany the burgers well. If sweet potato fries are not your thing (give them a try! you might be surprized) there are the standard fries available too.
Back to the was indeed homemade. The crust was a vanilla crumb crust. It was obviously made with true key limes, and even had a little shaved rind on the top. Creamy and a bit tart, it was DELICIOUS!
A last bit of information, or a recommendation rather.....after my mother and I ordered our sampler at Taziki on the way out I noticed a delicious looking dish that a customer was diving into. I asked what it was and she said it was the Friday and Saturday only special (and it was only available those days) called Grilled Chicken with Penne Pasta tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing on a bed of lettuces and feta and fresh ripe tomatoes with fresh basil ($6.95). It smelled and looked wonderful and she volunteered it was wonderful in taste. The restaurant has daily specials, so be sure to check out the chalkboard upon entering. All specials range in price from $6.00-$6.95 and beside the large and flavorful entrees come with a side of chips and the choice of one side: basmati rice, fresh fruit, pasta salad or roasted potatoes (with the exception of the Grilled Chicken and Penne Pasta which does not come with sides)
Greek food is one of my very favorite types of food, always fresh, colorful and flavorful. It was pleased with Taziki's and plan a trip back real soon.

Taziki's Greek Fare
Hours M-F 11AM-8PM
Sat 11AM-6PM

Baha Burger

*Both restaurants are located in the Colonial Shoppes of the Colonnade, off Highway 280 in Birmingham, AL.

Colonnade Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35243

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