what we ordered: Little Donkey

We FINALLY went to Little Donkey a couple of weeks ago with my sister Brynn and her husband. I had been dying to try this Mexican-barbecue fusion spot in Homewood for oh so long.
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There has been plenty of buzz about this restaurant, as it is founded by Birmingham restauranteurs Nick Pihakis and Joshua Gentry of our beloved local chain, Jim ‘N Nick’s. Pihakis and Gentry took their homegrown, slow-cooked barbecue expertise and used that to season their take on Mexican fare. What I appreciate very much about this place is that this is apparent throughout the experience.

We started off with horchata! What else? This is a nostalgic drink for me. It takes me back to family trips to La Fogata in the San Fernando Valley. Little Donkey’s version of this sweet beverage is rice water flavored with almond, cinnamon and vanilla.
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We also snacked on their chips and salsa, which had a deep, savory roasted flavor. Of course, my only issue here was that just one basket was complimentary.
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For lunch, I enjoyed the Torta de Cerdo, or the Drunken Hog, which a cross between a Southern pulled pork sandwich and a Mexican torta. Tender, Jim ‘N Nick’s-reminiscent pork was topped with pinto beans, pickled red onions, cheese and guacamole with their homemade bread. It also came with tomato broth on the side for dunking. Biting into this tasted as a torta should, with a bit of Southern comfort.
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As my side, I chose the elote—street vendor-style corn on the cob topped with crema, cotija cheese and cayenne.

And truly, one of the best tamales I have ever tasted lives at this restaurant (Arguijos, don’t be mad! Notice I said ONE of the best). My sister ordered a taco alongside a pork tamal.
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I reached over and grabbed a bite of it with my fork, and the tamal sang. The maza was so well flavored and moist, and the meat was as tender as could be. Both components married each other in flavor—you could taste it.

And finally – one of my favorite things – was La Concoccion: Mexican rice topped with black beans, cotija, a poached egg (omg!) and green onions. Decadent, comforting, perfect. I’m so making this at home.
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We didn’t stay for dessert … we ran over to Steel City Pops next door! Tales of that adventure are coming soon. Have you visited Little Donkey? What do you like to order?
Little Donkey on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “what we ordered: Little Donkey

  1. Hi Brett! I’m a new follower of yours. I found you through a review you linked with Urbanspoon, and long story short realized that your sister works with my husband. Small world. I love your reviews of local restaurants. We seem to have a hard time deciding on (read: agreeing on) a restaurant when we go out, so we may use your reviews as a guide to exploring the foods of Birmingham! We love (LOVE) Steel City Pops and have always wondered how the Donkey was while peering at it from afar. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but seems like you guys had a great experience so we will have to check it out!

    • Emma! Both my sister and her husband work at Southern Nuclear! I will ask Brynn about you and your husband. (I may already know of him? Who knows..) I had also heard mixed reviews about Little Donkey, and it seems Urbanspoon reflects that, too. But I was really pleasantly surprised when I went. My guess is maybe they got off to a rough start? Still – I’d really encourage you to check it out. I haven’t tried them, but I also hear their cocktails are great. Good idea for a date night??

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