Crestwood Coffee Company cordially invites café connoisseurs to indulge in classic bean juice ($2.05 for a medium), a creamy mocha ($4.50 for a medium), or a frappe ($4 for a medium) while throwing cool fruit smoothies ($3.75 for a medium) into baby volcanoes. Pair potables with bakery bites such as freshly made muffins ($2.25), scones ($2.25), cinnamon rolls ($2.25), and seasonal cobblers ($4). Or, build some missing blocks of your food pyramid with a crisp apple-nut salad ($7). House specialties include homemade, mustardy chicken salad (served à la carte or on whole-wheat bread, $7) and the CCC BLT, loaded with thick peppered bacon, lettuce, and vine-ripened tomatoes ($6). Crestwood Coffee's lunchtime eats are often prepared with local ingredients.
Owner Tomek Wrzesien set out to create his own gallery in the renovated office space that now houses Urban Standard, but he soon drew inspiration from the café culture of his native Poland and instead met the neighborhood's need for eclectic deli fare, freshly baked goods, and boutique beverages. Breakfast offers a variety of old-world eats in addition to down-home staples such as creamy grits with sausage and cheese ($3). Share a stylish luncheon of salads, sandwiches, or grilled paninis with fancy-pants ingredients such as truffle oil, balsamic jam, and homemade pimento cheese. Carnivores can sink canines into Tomek's Polish Street Sandwich, a cavalcade of cured meats and cheese on ciabatta (half $5.50, whole $8.75), whereas vegetarians can rustle up a grilled marinated-tofu sandwich ($7.50) with a small roasted-fennel and goat-cheese salad ($4.50). If a whole meal seems too daunting, sophisticated snackers can adjust their pince-nez while sampling from a list of baked goods that would make Marie Antoinette blush.
The comfy java haven boasts painstakingly selected, high-quality coffee that is hand-roasted daily to sate the discerning palates of caffeinated, neighborhood libation enthusiasts. Ask a well-versed staff member for suggestions or peruse the percolating menu at your own leisure, alighting upon such organically laden goodies as the classically frothy cappuccino ($3) or the macchiato ($2.50), a tasty amalgamation of steamed milk and espresso. The mocha ($3.50–$4) envelops your taste buds in all its mahogany loveliness, whereas the chai ($3.50–$4), coffee's exotic half cousin, is steeped in black tea and sweet spices. Request your beverage chilled for sweltering days or when you're smuggling a diminutive ice sculpture in your mouth. Bask in drinkable irony with a 12-ounce take-home container of decaf espresso ($11.99), ideal for sipping on the front porch or imbibing during laidback concentration parties.
TJ's slow-smokes meats, pairing them with sides composed of fresh ingredients that have never known the molecule-slowing touch of the freezer. The rib sandwich ($6.79) reclines on two slabs of freshly baked bread, and show-stealing open-faced platters of brisket ($8.95), smoked wings ($7.59), or pork ($7.59) scream at two house-made sides, including coleslaw, baked beans, and corn on the cob for looking them in the eyes.
Though admission to the Birmingham Museum of Art's permanent collection is always free, admission to special blockbuster exhibitions may not be. Membership includes one free pass to any ticketed exhibition (family membership includes two passes), special rates on museum classes, invitations to members-only special events, discounts in the museum store, and a slew of other art-enhancing benefits.
Outside of swimming laps in chocolate syrup, smoothies at Smoothie King are the tastiest way to improve your health. Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras), all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.