Voices of Huntsville | Rachel Brown’s How to survive a new city—Delicious ways to explore Huntsville!
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Rachel Brown, aka Rocket City Dietitian, May 2021,
Rachel Brown’s How to survive a new city—
Delicious ways to explore Huntsville!
I am a wife, mom of two, dog mom, dietitian, and the tastebuds behind @RocketCityDietitian. I grew up moving every few years all across the country as an army brat. It’s not easy being the ‘new kid’ all the time. Insert my survival skill of adapting to a new city: make it your own.
Exploring my new city helped me feel more comfortable and familiar with my new town and therefore making it my own. You will always initially feel like your old town was better with this and that- but a more helpful approach is to ‘find the good’, find what makes your new city unique.
Huntsville was a new city for me in 2016, moving here from Nashville, TN, a city where I had lived the longest my entire life.
My love language is food, always has been. My parents claim my first word was ‘hamburger’ followed by the word ‘eat’. My passion for food continued as I was deciding my major in college, Dietetics, the study of the relationship between food, nutrition, and health. I loved food so much I got a degree in it! I have been taking pictures of my food before phone cameras and would pull out my neon green camera to document the delicious foods I was eating.
When we arrived in Huntsville, I made it my mission to explore the food scene. My first exploration brought me to Lowe Mill, where I discovered an artisan tea shop, Piper & Leaf, and loved that they served the tea in refillable glass jars (how eco-conscious!) On that same trip, Pizzelle’s Confections caught my attention and I knew I was going to be ok in this new city of mine: Huntsville, Alabama. It’s amazing how much good quality local food can make one instantly feel at home, safe and that everything will be just fine.
I worked briefly at Huntsville Hospital as a registered dietitian before having my second child. We made the decision for me to stay at home while we raised our two young children. I as someone who is not one that can stay in one place for long needed to get out and explore. Kids in tow, baby wearing and strollering around town, we explored. I started a Facebook and Instagram page called Rocket City Dietitian documenting the local Huntsville foods and places we explored, adding in some nutrition tips here and there. Our local restaurants and unique places are what make Huntsville, Huntsville.
I love when people who have lived here their entire lives thank me for sharing about places in town they never knew existed-helping locals and others new to town explore and love our city, and the things that make it unique are why I love to do what I do.
Some uniquely Huntsville places I love:
Piper & Leaf has all locally crafted teas. Buy one of the refillable glass jars. You get a discount on refills. Pro Huntsville tip: keep these in your car at all times. You never know when a P&L craving will come. With 3 locations in the Huntsville area- you’ll be ready to go. Store them in an insulated lunch bag to protect them. You can also get custom koozies for them at area shops.
Pizzelles Confections has beautifully crafted artisan chocolates that now ship nationwide. Boxes of chocolates, drinks, drinking chocolate bombs and desserts. My favorites: Goodbye Earl (earl grey) and 7th Street (Rosemary) truffles, the Bill Effin Murray bar, and their earl grey mini cakes!
Gold Sprint Coffee—It’s a vibe in this old car repair shop-turned-independent quality coffee shop. True story: I took my dying plants to Gold Sprint to live a better life (with permission from the shop). The Galaxy latte is naturally blue using butterfly pea flower and edible gold star sprinkles and they also have the best chai latte in town. Come for the coffee, stay for the vibes.
Domaine South—this wine bar and bistro is located on the square downtown and it is my go-to place for a date night/girls night where you can sit, have an amazing time talking, and enjoying great wine with one of the best places for a charcuterie board in town.
Good Company Café is a great brunch and lunch spot with pastries, cakes, custom cakes, sandwiches, lattes, and mimosas. Meet up with friends or bring your kids along to this south Huntsville restaurant and patio.
Hamley Bake Shoppe is a must-stop bakery and café located just north of Huntsville in Meridianville. It’s in the perfect spot to go to before or after going to several u-pick farms of Huntsville (see more about those below). Themed days like Harry Potter Day are a must experience! Baker Stephanie crafts macaroons, cakes, cookies, hot chocolate bombs, cupcakes, lattes, and more. Patio and indoor seating.
Huntsville has done a great job repurposing buildings and here are my top favorites:
Campus 805: Old middle school repurposed! This great venue includes: Straight to Ale – Restaurant and brewery with a hidden bar behind old school lockers, Yellow Hammer – Pizza & brewery, Pints & Pixels: Family-friendly arcade, skee ball, and beer, Civil Axe: Axe throwing!
Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment: Truly a unique Huntsville destination. This is an old mill that has transformed into a local artisan market that houses over 250 artist studios. Have fun exploring all the restaurants, including one of the highest-rated Vegan food in the country, Chef Will is here. Pottery wheel classes, grown-up swings, comedy theater, printing press, cat café, vintage arcade, meadery (coming soon!), a whiskey distillery and so much more to enjoy and discover within these walls. And the eats—The Veggie/Chef Will/Happy Tummy/Pofta International Crepes/Dragons Forge Cafe/Suzy Pops/Pizzelles Confections/Piper & Leaf Tea to name a few!
StoveHouse: Former stove factory that has transformed into a multi-use space. Food garden, shopping, exercise classes, live music, and a rooftop bar. It is a perfect spot to eat with families. There is a kid area to run around, the bar for drinks, and music.
If you’re wanting yet another connection to your new town, frequent the farmer’s markets and U-Pick Flower & Produce Farms. Some of my favorites include:
Lavender Wynde: U-pick lavender farm
Hubert Tulip & Sunflower Farm
Isoms Orchard Flowers & Sunflower
Zooks Orchard: blueberries & honey
Browns Strawberry Farm: U-pick strawberries
Scotts Orchard: apples & peaches
RockHouse Alpaca Farm: pet & feed alpacas
Our favorite Farmers Market is Greene Street Market (right in the heart of downtown Huntsville)
And then be sure and check out Community Supported Agriculture Programs (CSA): fresh locally grown produce delivered to your door: Henry’s Family Farm and Duncan Farm’s CSA & their Huntsville Compost Program.
Get out and explore! This is how you make Huntsville not just the city you live in, but your home.
Rachel Brown is a food-loving Dietitian that promotes a positive relationship with food and a mom of two young kids always looking for fun activities for her kids and for date nights exploring all that Huntsville and north Alabama has to offer. Follow her food adventures and ‘all foods fit’ approach to food and nutrition on Facebook and Instagram @RocketCityDietitian.
Rachel, what a great Voices of Huntsville! We cannot thank you enough for this virtual tour via our tastebuds through Huntsville. We love that there are so many places and ways to explore this great place we call home. Grab a fork and go try it all! And be sure and give @RocketCityDietitian a follow for more great food reviews, recipes, and ideas!
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