You’re stuck inside. You’re not working, everything is closed…you’ve got nothing better to do than sit on your computer (while the electricity is still intact) and read Eat Arkansas. There are worse ways to spend your time. So, why not give us the dish on what you’re eating! It’s a good day for some feedback, and that’s what we’re after here on Feed Feedback Friday.
What were you guys going on about last week?
SusieQ was assigned pies at her Thanksgiving feast. She tells us of her “Heritage Pumpkin pie, made with brown sugar & buttermilk. Also made a Coconut custard pie, recipes courtesy of Charleston Receipts Cookbook.” I’m gonna have to look into this Heritage pie business, sounds excellent. Raven’s Turkey Day featured some unconventional dishes, all of which sounded delightful. His “feast included homemade rigatoni with ricotta, homemade sausage and gravy. Amazing taste and so comforting.” Raven, got any leftovers? Kevin took his “father-in-law out for a wonderful drink at BO Midtown. Lee Edwards nailed it with the NY Sours.” Lee Edwards is a master mixologist. I don’t doubt this statement in the least. Big Fun made “two pecan pies for the T-giving feast — one my usual recipe (the one of the back of the Karo light syrup bottle and one the recipe off the bottle of Steen's dark cane syrup the redhead and I procured a little more than a year ago in New Orleans.” He found the Karo version delightful, the Steen’s not so much.
So what’s on your mind. Let us hear it.
The greatest food day of the year has come and gone. Wipe away your tears, friends. It will be back next year. Right now it’s time to focus on buying as much as you can, as fast as you can, no matter the cost.
Seriously though, what did you eat yesterday? Please tell me there was pie…it would be a crime if you did not eat pie yesterday.
Maybe even more importantly, how are you utilizing your leftovers? I’m sure some of you have some good uses for that turkey.
With all your family in town this weekend, please, eat local. Your local restaurants are working extra hard this time of year to feed this city, and they deserve your support.
And so, once again, we ask for your cherished feedback…what you’re eating, where it’s happening, what you like, and what you despise. We want to hear it all. Go time.
It’s that time again. Our weekly feature in which you get the chance to mouth off on whatever you’ve been eating lately. A little segment we like to call Food Feedback Friday.
Did you check out Michael’s print review of The Blind Pig in West Little Rock? He’s claiming they’ve got some of the finest hot dogs in town. Which reminds me…when is Green Cart Deli going to get down here again? Been too long.
I’ve got the review in this week’s Times—the newest WLR Mediterranean joint, Anatolia. I’ve had a couple fairly uninspiring experiences…but if you’ve had something you’ve enjoyed there, I’d love to hear about it. Don’t want to write them off completely yet.
Hugh Mann had some very high praise for South on Main after his first visit. He describes the ribeye as “perfectly medium rare, and was as succulent as any we've had.” The catfish also gets high marks; he calls it “perfectly cooked, nice and flaky and just lightly seasoned.” I can’t disagree. SoM is probably serving up the finest catfish in Little Rock.
Kevin reports on some fine duck he sampled at Ciao Baci…I was there, it was good.
Your turn. Go forth and feedback.
We’re creeping up on the greatest food event of the year, and I gotta say, I’m quite excited for Thanksgiving. More on that later…
Here’s a few things going on around town:
This past Wednesday evening, I joined some of my fellow food truck loving friends for the Westover Hills Food Truck Meet. It was a bit nippy outside, but this did not dampen spirits in the least…especially with the high level of cooking we were seeing from the small fleet of truck that came out that night. I was craving Southern Gourmasian and went with their brisket sandwich with sweet plum barbecue sauce and housemade chips. It was lovely. But I managed to procure a nibble off of Kevin Shalin’s spicy chicken and dumplings and I remain convinced it’s one of the greatest dishes coming out of a truck in the entire known universe.
Joel DiPippa was kind enough to slide me a morsel of his Waffle Wagon selection—a sweet potato cornbread waffle smeared with boursin cheese, topped with maple seared Falling Sky Farm pork belly. Do I even need to tell you how it tasted? No…because it’s every bit as great as you are imagining it to be. I did not stop there with the Waffle Wagon folks, though. Megan Boyd of Bacon Selfies offered up a quarter of her Granny Smith apple stuffed waffle, and I ordered the banana brown sugar stuffed waffle. As expected, all were superb. I watched DiPippa join Jason and Shelle Stormoe (of Arkansas Mirepoix) in gulping down a few fantastic looking pies from Pizzeria Santa Lucia. Alas, they were gone before I could even weasel a slice. Next time, PSL. Next time.
I also got a small sample of the pulled pork from the Jacksonville truck, Blackhound BBQ. The pulled pork was decent, I’d be happy to try more, but I found the ribs to be slightly tougher than I like them. I also managed to gobble down a couple ginger cookies from kBird, and they are every bit as good as you all have made them out to be…I appreciate the recommendation.
Big thanks to Matt Clark and Melissa Melton (owners of Waffle Wagon) for organizing the event. They even brought a small, portable campfire device and provided DIY s’mores. Kudos.
Scott McGehee and the crew at Big Orange held a fantastic event earlier this week, the High West Distillery Whiskey Dinner. While McGehee pushed out the eats, the bartender/mixology crew of Lee Edwards, Ben Bell, and Dylan Yelenich provided the libations. I’ll let you read all the juicy details over at Kevin’s blog The Mighty Rib. Personally, I’m excited to see McGehee rolling up his sleeves and flexing his culinary muscles a bit in the kitchen. Sure, he’s done great things with pizza, burgers, and pizza in this town, but the guy can flat-out cook, and it’s nice to see him let his hair down a bit and dish out such high level food. Looking forward to getting in on one of their future events.
The Pulaski County Youth Services is selling pies this holiday season in support of youth programs throughout Pulaski County. Supporters may also order pies to be sent to a local charity— Our House Shelter, The Dorcas House, The One Inc., The Union Rescue Mission, and PCYS Our Club are among a few of the selected charities. All pies are $10 and options include apple, chocolate cream, pecan, pumpkin, coconut cream, and Boston cream. Orders due by Nov. 18th. For details visit pulaskicountyyouthservices.org or call 501-340-8250.
And speaking of Thanksgiving, Justin Patterson of The Southern Gourmasian is offering to lighten the load a bit this year and save you some stress in the kitchen. He’s selling family-style Thanksgiving dishes with a Gourmasian twist—items such as butternut squash soup with gingerbread croutons, scallion cornbread stuffing with Benton’s bacon and shiitake mushrooms, or apple cider and five-spice glazed turkey breast. Check out the menu here, and get your orders in by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm November 25th.
And let’s not forget about Food Feedback Friday! Go.
It’s cooling down out there, but the Little Rock food scene is still hot. We’re keeping warm with a number of spectacular dishes around The Rock lately…just keep it tuned into Eat Arkansas for all your dining needs.
Here’s a few things happening around town:
First, a plug for a nice piece written by my friend, Kevin Shalin at The Mighty Rib. He’s assembled a write-up on the state of social media use among Little Rock restaurants. I’m similarly baffled by most businesses’ inability to embrace the wonderful opportunities afforded through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Personally, I find that a strong social media presence significantly influences my decisions on where to eat. If I can see what’s being served on a daily basis or which of my friends are eating there, I’m much more likely to eat at such an establishment. Get on board with social media, Little Rock…you are only hurting yourself by neglecting to do so.
Next week, we’ll see the return of the Westover Hills Wednesday Food Truck Meet. The event will be held in the Heights at 6400 Richard Hardie Drive from 5-8 pm. Check out the Facebook group here. You’ll find kBird, Southern Gourmasian, Waffle Wagon (folks, if you haven’t tried these guys yet, make this your life’s mission), Pizzeria Santa Lucia, and Blackhound BBQ (a newish outfit out of Jacksonville I plan on sampling). I’ll be there, come say hello. I’ve been longing for a good food truck rally since the closure of the Bernice Gardens events.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans is a nonprofit organization that helps celebrate the history and culture of food and drink from all over the South. The organization hopes to place a permanent Arkansas exhibit in the museum, what would hopefully be a 15,00 sq. foot space honoring the culinary culture of The Natural State. There will be a fundraiser for the Arkansas exhibit on Thursday, November 21 at the Capital Hotel from 6:30 to 9 pm. The event will feature food and wine stations featuring pairings of Arkansas food with Presqu’ile wines. The cost is $125 per person. For information and an invitation to the event email email@example.com.
AND…it’s Food Feedback Friday. You know what to do.
After my yearly Halloween candy bender—in which I single handedly devoured 14 king-sized Payday bars, 13 Reese’s peanut butter cups, 3 pounds of peanut M&M’s, and 8 Almond Joys—I’m looking forward a savory, sweet-free weekend…well, maybe a short trip to Loblolly is in order. Maybe Cupcakes on Kavanaugh. But that’s it.
Speaking of sweet, this weekend, you can get a sampling of “The New Cheesecake Company’s” wares at the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, Saturday from 10 am to noon. You’ll remember I wrote about them here—I’m not kidding when I say it’s bound to be one of the best cheesecakes you’ve ever wrapped your lips around.
Remember, there’s lots of beer to be drunk tonight.
So what have y’all been eating? Last week on FFF, SusieQ tried out the steak burrito at Luna Maya Burrito. She says, “This is a big burrito y'all,” and seemed to be pleased with her meal. Susie also lets us know about the new Shark’s Fried Fish on Fair Park near US Pizza. Mordy has mixed feelings about a recent venture to South on Main. She gives her apps—beet and goat cheese salad, and fried green tomatoes with jumbo lump crab—“two thumbs up.” She describes all her entrees as “fantastic,” which included catfish, rabbit boudin, and pork chop. She was, however, disappointed with desserts, especially the “overdone sugar cookies” and the “pretty meh” donuts. Dana described a great experience at the 2nd Vegan Dinner Club at Café 5501.
Alright, your turn to weigh in.
It’s your favorite part of the week, Arkansas. That wonderful time where you get a chance to sound off and tell us what’s good to eat around the Natural State. We value your feedback and we love to hear from you.
Last week on FFF, ARFoodie sang the praises of the Catfish Hole in NLR stating, “Great slaw, pickles and onions are put on the table when you sit down. If you can get past the dudes with overalls and no shirts, it's a good meal.” Mordy, who I was fortunate to meet at one of our local farmer’s markets recently, shares that she and her family “enjoyed some of Edward's Food Giant's chicken sausages for dinner this week.” John McGraw stopped in on “Superior Bath House in Hot Springs for coffee one day, had a really tasty blueberry gelato. Went back for beer the next day, had some very tasty chili and an interesting Black-eyed Pea Hummus.” MEnLR was in the mood to talk onion rings and found a respectable version at Homer’s. On his plate he found some of the “prettiest, darkish yellow, grease popping ONION RINGS! Who would have thunk that Homers had GOOD ONION RINGS?” Hugh Mann was fixin’ up some pork butt at home. He relates, “I almost always put pork butts on the smoker, but I just didn't feel like messing with all that. A couple hours before I put it in the oven, I coated it with a nice schmear of yellow mustard, minced garlic, rosemary, and black pepper. It turned out pretty nice.”
It’s that time again. A time for reflection, for contemplation, for meditation. What’s filling your belly this week? What’s speaking to your taste buds at the moment? A time we like to call Food Feedback Friday. You run the show, sharing with us what you’re eating and what you think about it.
You’re probably all aware that the State Fair begins today, Oct 11, and runs until Oct 20. Personally, I’m not a big fair person, but I know some folks simply flip for deep-fried anything. If you are such a person, you might enjoy the preview Kat Robinson has put together over on her blog (here). She’s done a nice display of many of the foods that will be offered this year at the fair. Note: if you attend and happen to eat the “Mega Burger” pictured on her site, please send me a photo. This is a feat that should be documented for all mankind to behold, and I’ll do my best to help you gain some level of infamy.
For years, my colleague, Michael Roberts, has regretted the day he turned down a job offer made by the Food Network to work as Guy Fieri’s stunt double—a job which essentially involved eating atomic chili peppers, mysterious deep-fried road kill dishes from small town diners in the West Virginia backwoods, the occasional lamb testicle, and anything drenched in “donkey sauce.” He’d do the eating and then the real Fieri would swoop in a give a hearty, “That’s too legit to quit!” or “I’m on a train to Flavortown!” Sounded like a pretty good gig. I’ve heard Michael say at least a dozen times, “I coulda been a star, a real somebody.” But recently, he finally got another shot to appear on television in a KTHV segment in which he discussed the Little Rock food scene. He was joined by some guy named Matt Bell, who apparently owns some restaurant or something. They elaborate on the food culture surrounding central Arkansas and why Little Rock is no longer being overlooked by the rest of the culinary world and why we’re starting to finally make a name for ourselves on a more national level. You can check out his segment at this link.
So, go on and leave us your feedback. We’re all hungry to hear it.
We hope you all had a chance to see the “favorite food trucks” guide Michael and I put together for the big Main Street Food Truck event going on tomorrow. If you haven’t checked it out yet, read about it here with all the details on the event.
This week I was fortunate to finally get a taste of one of Little Rock’s newest food trucks, which will also be at the event tomorrow, The Waffle Wagon. Michael sung their praises a while back, and I gotta just add my endorsement of this place. My waffle, made with Dunbar pear and brown sugar, was spectacular. I’d honestly rank it among the best waffles I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was soft and warm, the brown sugar forming caramelized crispy bits where it came in contact with the hot iron. I had expected something much more gaudy and unrefined, but this was subtle, sweet, and delicious. Check these guys out, you will not regret it.
Another spectacular opportunity for any serious foodies out there is the “Outstanding in the Field” event happening next week. This is a touring dinner group that travels around the country putting together true farm-to-table dinners—in a field and on a farm. And they recruit some seriously heavy hitters of the culinary world. Their event next week takes place at the Delta Sol Farm in Proctor, AR (20 miles east of Memphis). From Memphis, they’re bringing Kelly English of the acclaimed Restaurant Iris, Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen (which I wrote about recently after a food tour of Memphis), and Jonathan Magallanes of Las Tortugas (which I also sampled on said food trip, and it was wonderful). Representing Little Rock will be Alexis Jones of Natchez and Matt Bell of South on Main…which, of course you all know, are no lightweights in the kitchen either. Personally, I’m pleased to see a few of our local chefs getting this kind of attention; it’s very much deserved. The event will be held at 2 pm, on Oct 10. Tickets are $180 per person. So yeah, it ain’t cheap, and it ain’t particularly nearby, but this is sure to be one of the most spectacular Arkansas food events of the year. For more details or to nab tickets, check out their website.
And yes, it’s Food Feedback Friday. You know the drill. Let us know what you are eating and what you think about it.
Can you believe it? It’s already Friday…and that means it’s time for you to give us the dirt on all the happenings in your corner of the world. It’s time for Food Feedback Friday.
Plenty to be excited about around Little Rock. What were you all willing to share with us last week? Here’s a bit of what we heard:
E.W. Swan is now touting the burger at H.A.M. as “my new favorite in town…perfectly charred and seasoned, tender and juicy burger.” I’m not going to argue with you, E.W., there ain’t a bad thing in that entire shop. RazorbackArmyVet was less than pleased with Copeland’s in Shackleford Crossing. After sampling the crab claw, gumbo, seafood chowder, and stuffed shrimp, ArmyVet declares the place to be “disappointing and just okay.” He continues by wishing they’d just eaten at J. Gumbo’s instead, where “a bowl of J Gumbo's voodoo chicken with bumblebee stew would have been better, and about $40 less.” Again, I can’t argue with this statement. While J. Gumbo’s is a chain, I’m continually impressed with a handful of their stews. Numbernine had “eaten out way too much this past week,” but too the family for dinner at Rock n’ Tacos. “Their mango salsa is yummy & what a treat to have about 4 or 5 salsas to choose from and they are free! The street tacos continued to be good—I prefer the carnitas & spouse likes carne asada.”
It’s a wonderful time to be eating in Arkansas. The weather is cooling down a bit, and there’s plenty of opportunities to do some outdoor dining. Food trucks are in full swing and you can finally enjoy some Southern Gourmasian on a street corner without melting into a puddle of sweat and spicy dumplings. Harvestfest is this weekend in Hillcrest—a great place to find a plethora of locally made art, jewelry, clothing, and culinary delights. Haygood BBQ will be there offering “smoked pork and beef brisket sandwiches, turkey legs, and ribs.” kBird will be peddling their popular “Southeast Asian street food,” Le Pops will be offering their all-natural, handmade ice lollies. You’ll find Repicci’s Italian Ice offering their version of the classic frozen Italian sweet treat. One of my personal favorites, Sugar Shack Sweets, Little Rock’s only dessert food truck, will be there with their fine assortment of cupcakes, cookies, and cake balls. There’ll be a booth operated by the distinguished Root Café, you’ll find the incomparable offerings of The Southern Gourmasian (arguably the best food truck in Arkansas), TNT BBQ, and several other popcorn, hot dog, and snack food vendors. There’s no reason for you to leave the event hungry.
Last week on FFF, RazorbackArmyVet had some kind things to say about Arkansas’ Best Wings in Sherwood—thoroughly enjoying “the tried and true (and our fave) spicy garlic. They are simply the best wings we have ever had.” Arkhobbit supported ArmyVet’s claim. Thanh recommended an “awesome redfish dish from Maddie's Place,” MEnLR sung the praises of Lassis Inn stating, “If you have a hankerin' for a mess of catfish...this be the place to be! The catfish was good...ok, better than good, almost the best I ever had. I had the Catfish Steaks and they were good sized and full of flavor.” Truth be told, I almost never have a hankerin’ for catfish, but with praise like this, I’m very tempted to see what all the fuss is about. With regards to Lassis Inn, What’sthat? shared this article from Oxford American. CBurns had a wonderful experience with The Waffle Wagon and had some nice things to say about their classic chicken and waffles. “The waffle was fluffy and sweetish and the 3 chicken strips were large, crispy, and drenched in hot sauce.”
Little Rock continues to see a steady number of restaurant openings with the passing weeks—it’s honestly difficult to keep up sometimes. But this is a good problem to have. We’ve already reported on the openings of Anatolia, Starlite Diner, South on Main, the new location of Vesuvio, and Table 28. There’s a number of places we’ve still got at the top of our “to try” list as well—the newly opened Café 5501 (in the former RJ Tao space), Fonda (in the former Bumpy’s Tex Mex space, and which I’ve heard good things about from Thanh Rasico and Kevin Shalin), Cantina Cinco de Mayo in WLR, and Dickey’s BBQ in Bryant. There’s surely something out there that will tickle your fancy—get out there and eat.
Last week on Food Feedback Friday, Big Fun found that Homer’s (the original) hit a homer at lunch. He “was shocked — SHOCKED! — at how much we loved our food.” He goes on to say, “We both had purple hulls, and they were as good as we've ever eaten, just salty enough and so flavorful. The buttered squash clearly has a healthy dose of sugar, which I wouldn't have chosen, but damn it was tasty.” Arkhobbit had “one of the best lunches of the year at Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro in the Rivermaket.” She was very pleased with the “ Sicilian Dip,” stating that it was “fantastic...very, very tender roast beef.” SusieQ is also singing the praises of the new Fonda on N. Bowman. She and her group were impressed with their chorizo and poblano fajitas, mix-n-match taco plate with carnitas and grilled chicken breast, and shrimp cerviche. I’m definitely going to have to get down to this place soon. Goof noticed that “Home Fresh was being cleaned up and I believe I saw a hand lettered sign that said burrito.” Anyone got any more info on this? I would not be upset with a great burrito joint.
***UPDATE: I drove by the former Home Fresh Burgers location on Cantrell. There's a sign out front that says, "Luna Maya Burritos opening soon." Thanks for the tip, Goof***
So, whatcha got for is this week? Feedback now or forever hold your peace.
(Bonus points if you can tell me where that pizza, pictured above, is from.)
It’s tailgate time people. Football is on everyone’s brain right now. But you gotta eat, right? What are you eating at the game? What are you dragging to your tailgate? There is nothing that makes a football game more enjoyable than a cold drink and good food. You know there will be lots of good eatin’ where I’ll be camped out tomorrow.
So what were you all talking about last week on Food Feedback Friday?
Hugh Mann was quite impressed with the newish Vietnamese joint down on Asher, Mike’s Café. He was particularly fond of his “CO'M TÁM DAC BIET , which consisted of fried shrimp cake, Chinese sausage, pork chop and shredded pork over broken rice.” The fact that I have yet to try this place saddens me deeply, need to rectify this soon. MEnLR visited the new Anatolia in WLR. He had some mixed opinions about the place, calling the beef gyro, “so dry as to lead me to think it was really beef jerky.” He was impressed with the lentil soup, stating that “if they stay in business long enough, I can see myself stopping in on a cold day for some hot lentil soup and warm pita bread.” Numbernine got around to the new Mexican joint out in WLR on Rahling Rd, Cantina Cinco de Mayo, sampling the “quesadillas, fajitas, & taquitos—all were good.” Conwegian reports to us on the return of Banana Leaf and finds that the “dosas are good, the malai kofta on the August menu was fabulous, and a co-worker really liked the biryani.”
Got something to tell us about? Go on and leave your valuable feedback.
The smell of football is in the air and everyone around town is giddy for the return of the Razorbacks. I’m mostly excited for the eats during tailgating, but I may glance in on the game a time or two. I’m probably going to be dragging along some sausages to my tailgating excursions…Hillcrest Artisan Meats does some of the best in town, but Edward’s Food Giant ain’t far behind them. I’d love to get my hands on some of Travis McConnell’s sausages as well, those little morsels of porky bliss. Wings are in order at some point, and I’m looking towards ZAZA, Chicken King, and The Tavern to meet my needs.
Well, it’s time to give us your feedback. Last week, here’s what you all had to say:
RazorbackArmyVet had some tough words for David’s Burgers in NLR, calling it, “Disappointing. Not a terrible burger, but there was some taste to it that, to me, that was just a bit ‘off.’ Fries were OK, just not quite as crispy as I like.” Mcmm had a fantastic time at Acadia and proclaims that “I've lived in Little Rock most of my life, and I can say with conviction that not trying Acadia before now has been one of the great mistakes of my twenty-five years.” She was particularly impressed with the “creamy cheese grits that accompanied
Give it to us. Feedback time is upon us.
There’s certainly a lot of culinary plans in motion in Little Rock at the moment. Lots of chefs opening new restaurants, lots of old favorites expanding to new digs, and lots of new faces hitting the culinary scene. There is no shortage of rumors flying around town; every once in a while one finds its way in our ear. Keep your eyes on Eat Arkansas, and we’ll report them all as soon as we get confirmation. We promise, great things are coming.
Once again we take time for your feedback on this beautiful Friday. Last week, here’s what you had to say:
Raven made it to South on Main and left “impressed with the chicken liver salad and the whole place overall. Some of best fried chicken livers I've had lately. The salad just worked with the bacon pieces, blue cheese crumbles, radishes and crispy lettuce.” Superdan left us one of the most epic feedbacks ever—as he puts it, “I pretty much died and went to food feedback heaven.” Notably, he too had many wonderful things to say about Natchez. “A dinner here was the highlight of the week…my entree was probably the single best plate of food I've eaten at months. Gnocci that were like pillows of pasta from the sky, served on creamed kale, with a whole bunch of fried chicken livers on top.” Always good to see liver getting a little love. Big Fun finally made it to Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken and found that the “chicken was remarkably tender. It seemed like it had been prepared in a pressure cooker; it was that moist. Doubt it but who cares. Like the somewhat subtle red pepper bite and the not crispy but still not wimpy batter.”
Lastly, Michael and I were once again joined by our partner-in-crime, Kevin Shalin, on the Alice Stewart Show last week to talk food. You can hear it all below.
The local (JV Farms, Bismarck) artisan brats poached in beer, with some of that spicy…
I was late to the store, so I've been getting by on Low Fat Italian…
Phone is possessed and has a mind of its own. Wasn't finished withy thought. Wheee!…
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