Chez Fon Fon
An impromptu, but necessary trip has taken us to Birmingham, Alabama to search for a temporary home for the next year. Upon comparing schedules, my husband and I realized that we are basically two ships passing in the night. We decided to hop on an Amtrak and leave the baby home with his Nana. This is the first time we have both left him in someone else's care since he came home from the NICU. I'm kind of glad the trip was so last minute, otherwise I may have over-thought everything, especially the leaving the baby part. But it seems to have been a wise decision based on a few factors -- he won't miss his therapy and home health appointments, we will be exploring the downtown area of an unfamiliar city, and mom and dad could probably use some time alone as a couple after quite a stressful two year stretch of law school and a jarring induction into the medically complex world we now live in. Plus the fact that it was so last minute made it like ripping of a band-aid. One, t - oh shit band aids off, baby's home and we're halfway to Alabama.
The train ride was quite pleasant and productive. We booked a sleeping car so I was able to nap, which was really nice after a 4am wake up call. We even had wifi so I had a phone meeting with my pal Eileen Chao of @interviewreadynow to tie up loose ends on my resumé. Having been self employed for about a decade, I haven't made one in years, and now that we're moving it seems like a wise idea to have it handy in case I apply for some work. I even had time to read a good portion of my required reading for my upcoming yoga teacher training. I could get used to this whole not having to drive thing.
We arrive at the station in Birmingham to discover that taxis are not so abundant, but since we have nothing better to do, we decide to walk to our hotel. A twenty minute trek through downtown Birmingham, including the medical district we will most likely become very familiar with, leads us to our hotel near Five Points South. We decide to stay within walking distance for dinner since Chris has to study and since our next two days are full of appointments. It doesn't take long for us to stumble upon a quaint little restaurant that seems to be quite popular, even in the early hours of the evening. Based on the enticing menu, crowded bar, and quaint setting, we decide to make it a date.
There were tons of things I wanted to try on the menu, but I went for the fish with couscous topped with a cucumber salad. It was one of the best dishes I've ever had. Chris had the salmon, and we both shared some grilled asparagus. The food was outstanding, the service was excellent, and the wine menu was quite impressive. We will definitely be back for the year we will call Birmingham "home". I especially want to try the famous crab cakes which are only served on Thursdays. There's something especially seductive about exclusivity -- don't you think? I see another date night in our near future.
My one and only bugaboo was the music. In such a charming French restaurant, I want the whole experience, the aroma of fresh bread and garlic wafting through the air as I'm wrapped in the romantic sounds of an accordion accompanied by the longing cry of a violin. Maybe, as a professional musician, I'm the only one noticing these things, but if I'm eating French food on a date with my husband, I want to feel like I'm in France. A little Django Reinhardt and Edith Piaf would have been the cherry on top. It's not the only restaurant that plays disco and pop during dinner, but the difference in music versus the decor and atmosphere was quite jarring. At least to little old music snob me.
I would highly recommend this spot for anyone visiting Birmingham! Whether for Happy Hour or a full course meal, including desert crafted by a James Beard award nominee. C'est Bon!