Sample and share. That's the Babalu way!
(Disclaimer: This is not a paid promotion. The owners of Babalu don't even even know about me. I just enjoy sharing the restaurants I love and hope you like reading about them!)
Let me introduce to you one of our favorite local restaurants in Jackson, so far. Babalu Tacos & Tapas restaurant is located in the historic Fondren neighborhood, serving Spanish style tapas and gourmet tacos with a Southern flair.
Well before our first visit, we had kept hearing from friends that we needed to try this place. We finally made it there for our first time early last year, during our first date after Simon was born. We've been back a couple of times and have loved every experience.
Babalu diners are welcomed with a charming exterior, and what my husband likes to call a "hipster" interior. 😉 It's actually industrial, in my opinion, and fun. Arrive early, because the wait can be long...like 2 hours long. I did receive a tip that you can call the restaurant when you're on your way there and get your name on the waiting list (if there is a list started). This should shorten the time you have to wait to be seated after you arrive.
The food is fresh and the menu is unique. The goal at Babalu is that you order to share. We like to order a variety of tacos (as pictured above), but our favorites right now are the Carne El Cerdo Taco and the Baba Burger.
Served inside house-made tortillas, the Carne El Cerdo Tacos (pictured above) are stuffed with a smokin' pork belly slathered with a chipotle-citrus BBQ sauce, and topped with roasted peanut slaw and cotija cheese. We order a plate of three to share every time, which means the two of us are usually battling over the third one. 😉
We tried the Baba Burger during our last visit and it's weird to me that a Spanish tapas restaurant is now one of my favorite places to go for a burger. Listen to this and tell me you're not dying to try it: Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef, roasted Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, white cheddar, avocado, applewood smoked bacon, and chipotle aioli. All sandwiched between a sweet sourdough bun. Description is straight from their menu, but reviewed directly from my taste buds. If you like gourmet burgers with layers of flavor, you will love this! Order the small, though. It's plenty large enough.
The Queso Blanco Dip is not what we were expecting as we are used to being served a bowl of creamy dip. Instead, their white cheese dip is made of real Mexican cheeses resulting in a thicker and stringy cheese. Although I usually prefer a typical Mexcian restaurant white cheese dip over pretty much anything, Babalu's Queso Blanco Dip is delightful!
Guacamole is made fresh at your table where you can customize the ingredients you want included. As far as the other appetizers listed on the menu, I heard recently I need to try the Black Eyed Pea Hummus. It will be difficult for me to give up the Queso Blanco and the Guac, but next time you better believe I'm trying that hummus!
I'm not much of a drinker, but there is a good selection of cocktails, beer and wine. I did have the White Sangria during one dinner and really enjoyed it.
Most of all, we love the atmosphere at Babalu. It's a great place for many occasions, such as date night, family outings, outdoor dining and to impress your out of town friends. You will be tickled with the projected film on the wall rolling silent reruns of "I Love Lucy" episodes.
(Another tip, Fondren District, where Babalu is located, is one of the locations in Mississippi where the movie "The Help" was filmed. Before or after dinner at Babalu, jot across the street into Brent's Drugs, a soda fountain. Then walk up the street to the stretch of shops on North State Street. You'll find it all familiar if you saw the movie.) 😉
If you're in the Jackson, MS area and looking for a unique and fresh dining experience, try Babalu Tacos & Tapas.