Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” It’s easy to say this quote exemplifies Katie Dixon. Whether she is taking her kids to extracurricular activities, catering a party, running her restaurant, taking family trips to Chilé, or taping episodes of “Food Network Star,” she’s constantly moving and she finds a way to balance it all.
If you aren’t familiar with Dixon, crawl out from under the rock you’ve been living under and look her up. She competed on the television show “MasterChef” and is currently on “Food Network Star.” In the short time that I’ve known Katie, I’ve yet to try her food. Let’s say I was eager to finally try the Birdhouse.
A Pleasant Surprise
As Brittany, Allison and I drove west to meet Evan at the Birdhouse Café for our Food With Friends dinner, I was informed I wasn’t looking for a shopping center or stand-alone restaurant. Allison told me I would be pulling in at B&S Appliance Store on Highway 98, out in the OG near Lake Serene (where all the streets are a little fishy). A café in an appliance store? This was a new one for me.
When we walked in, I felt as if I was walking into a furniture store showroom. One exception would be that this showroom had kitchens in it. The Birdhouse Café is located in a corner of the store and I navigated through a gauntlet of kitchens to see the café’s setup. The décor is so trendy and beautiful. I was definitely getting a West Elm vibe from the place. “It’s like an Anthropology with a restaurant in it,” Brittany said. It has a very bright, homey feel with pretty plants, alluring light fixtures and unique seating.
We were greeted by Taylor Hurt, one of the chefs at the BC. She gave us free range to peruse the place and check out the menu. Some restaurants have an open concept kitchen where you can see the food being prepared, but not like this. We are in the kitchen. This is truly a unique aspect that Birdhouse provides. I imagine this would be a very easy place to host a cooking class.
As I started to look over the menu on the wall, the names of the dishes are what jumped out to me. Katie later told us that pretty much every item on the menu is named after her family and friends. This is a great aspect and I really love the idea behind it. Anyone can have a salad and name it something generic, but when you name a salad “The Mexican Wrestler” … watch out now! So, let’s talk about the food.
Birdhouse Café prides itself on being a healthy option for diners. They have many different options and there is definitely something for everyone. We started our meal with some samplings of a few of the smoothies BC makes. Here’s the rundown:
Youngster – Allison’s choice. This strawberry banana smoothie will make you feel like a youngster.
Kicking Tires and Lighting Fires – Evan’s choice. This protein shake has blueberries, strawberry, banana, and kale. You’ll definitely be lighting some fires after this smoothie. Kale yeah!
Sweet as Sunday Morning – Brittany’s choice. This delectable protein shake has banana and peanut butter. It’s not just a clever name.
Fast Car – My choice. This banana smoothie comes with vanilla whey, cinnamon, coconut and almond milk. This smoothie was right up my alley.
One of the amazing facts I learned about Birdhouse Café upon my visit, is they are an intermediary for people who order produce from local farmers. Being an intermediary allows them to receive different ingredients from which to use in their dishes. This allows the chefs at BC to have daily specials featuring fresh veggies. Some of these delicious ingredients were in the soups that we sampled.
Roasted Corn Soup – the perfect texture and seasoning. The folks at Birdhouse definitely let the ingredient shine.
Carrot soup – speaking of letting the ingredients shine, let me tell you about this carrot soup, it was awesome! They hit us with a little bit of tangy tartness by adding some a balsamic reduction, but this soup will make you turn up (I literally drank it out of the bowl. Don’t tell my mom.)
After the soups, we moved on to the salads. You know we had to sample the Mexican Wrestler.
The Mexican Wrestler features mixed greens topped with corn, tomato, red onion, black eyed peas, avocado, and homemade croutons. This was a delicious healthy salad and I love me some avocado.
Another salad we sampled was the ‘Curry in a Hurry’. This was definitely a crowd pleaser.
Curry in a Hurry features mixed greens topped with curry chicken salad and cashews. The taste and flavor of the curry chicken salad was amazing. This was one of the favorites among the Food with Friends group.
On to the breakfast and lunch sandwiches:
L M N O P – toasted sprouted bread topped with avocado, red pepper flakes, greens, and tomato. This is a play on avocado toast and all the elements pair well together.
The Dillon – this breakfast plate is mushroom, egg, roasted red pepper, spinach and Swiss cheese served over a quinoa cake. Did you just say a quinoa cake? I did. I just said a quinoa cake.
The Hubert – a fantastic turkey avocado sandwich with spinach and a chipotle mayo. The sandwiches here are great. The sprouted bread is delightful.
The Heavy Tee is a beautiful pressed sandwich that comes with bacon, brie, green apple, spinach, and turkey. This was another crowd pleaser and I barely even got to try this one because everyone went ham on it.
As we sat with our bellies all full of healthy deliciousness, wondering what our next move was. Katie brought out our last dish to try. It was time to try an açai bowl. I’d never tried an açai bowl, so this was new for me as well as some of my FWF’s peeps. For those who don’t know, an açai bowl is comprised of frozen açai (açai is a berry from South America and is known for packing anti-oxidants and valuable nutrients), fresh fruit, and granola.
We sampled the Risi Piecey, an acai bowl containing coconut, peanut butter, strawberries, and banana. This thing was heavenly. I was caught a little off guard by the frozen acai, but still went to town on this one. Evan doesn’t eat coconut, so I decided to eat his portion. Sometimes you have to take one for the team.
We lingered for a good while and talked with Katie about the restaurant and life. Katie said she initially planned to open the restaurant closer to USM but things didn’t really pan out, but how nice it has been to be where she is now. The staff that she has working at Birdhouse Café is an exceptional group of women and they’re doing great work. Each brings a lot of experience in food service.
All in all, this was an amazing Food With Friends experience. I highly recommend checking out the Birdhouse Café and trying everything on the menu. There is a palatable dish for everyone. They definitely have something to bring a little balance to your life.
Promotional consideration for Food with Friends is provided by Birdhouse Cafe´.