Update March 2016 Ms Miles has been nominated for yet another James Beard Award.
Dolester Miles is one of USA’s best pastry chefs. Now, national media have started to figure out what Alabamians have known for decades: when you eat at Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill you’d do well to save room for dessert as Ms. Miles puts out some of the finest pastries on God’s green earth.
When I was in culinary school back in the 90s, I’d save up money from my job baking desserts, and visit Highlands perhaps two or three times a year. Even back then it was high dollar but worth every penny as you’re assured of having one of the best meals in the Southeast.
Chef Miles hangs her hat on the humble lemon, making a wide variety of sweet treats based on this common fruit. But she’s no one trick pony. Her Bailey’s chocolate cake is one for the ages, an embolism of high butter fat and cocoa. And do not, under any circumstances skip her sweet potato cheesecake.
Many contemporary dessert chefs are lost in la la land. They love to paint on plates with plastic nozzles, smoke some birch leaves, maybe deconstruct some Marlboro Reds and infuse them into gin and spew the result across their sad sack weirdness; Not Miles, she’s creating Sunday Go To Meeting pastries. Simple, rich, soul satisfying, and she’s been doing so in a temple of fine dining in Birmingham, Alabama since 1982.
I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Chef Miles to win the James Beard award for outstanding pastry chef, but on my infrequent visits to Alabama I make a beeline for Highlands and eat light on the main menu so I can save room for the star of the show: Mile’s ethereal desserts.
Hours of operation:
4:00 pm | Tuesday – Friday
5:00 pm | Saturday
5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Tuesday – Saturday
2011 Highland Avenue