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Order online or via phone. Info at maryclaremacarons.com. Pick-up available at Hillcrest Artisan Meats.
McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant
Glorious excess. Fat and moist hand-rolled tamales are the base, topped with slow-cooked Great Northern beans speckled with bits of smoked meat. Then a scattering of McClard's fine chopped barbecue. Then a heavy dose of grated yellow cheese. Oh, and I forgot the Fritos. All but the most serious eaters opt for a "half-spread." Optional, but obligatory (trust us), is a side of McClard's lightly dressed cole slaw.
505 Albert Pike Road, Hot Springs.
Mercado San Jose
It's not every day that you get to squirt salsa on your sandwich. Here, buttered rolls take a trip to the flat-top, coming out hot, toasty, and crunchy. Fill with your choice of meat plus cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, avocado and refried beans. It's only made better with an accompanying cold bottle of pineapple Jarritos.
7411 Geyer Springs Road.
Lox and bagel
It's a trip to the Big Apple without the hassle of cab fares. Smoked salmon, whipped cream cheese, thinly sliced red onion, briny capers and red tomato slices all sit atop a chewy "everything" bagel with toasted garlic, poppy seed, and sesame. Eat enough of these things and you'll swear you can see the Empire State building out the bagel shop window.
10848 Maumelle Blvd., North Little Rock.
Crazy Spicy Chicken
Don't be fooled by the normal version of this dish: The kitchen at Chen's will up the heat to crazy levels on this stir-fry on request. Just ask for "extra heat." The result is a plate of crisp-fried chicken and seitan bits that burns with the excellent fire of Sichuan peppers. Don't fight the heat; get a cup of hot tea and sweat your way to satiety.
3901 S. University Ave.
Mylo Coffee Co.
It may be hard to believe that the single greatest pastry in Little Rock can be found at a bakery without a storefront, currently operating only on Saturday at a farmers market, serving baked goods off plastic tables on a sidewalk. Nevertheless, Mylo's kouign amann is the pastry all other pastries aspire to be. Multilayered puff pastry, rich with butter, sweet with caramelized sugar, flaky and delicate — they sell fast, so get there early or you'll be driven to mourning until the next Saturday rolls around.
2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. (Hillcrest Farmers Market).
In a time before refrigeration, our forebears learned to use smoke, salt and sugar to cure and preserve meats. Lucky for us, the results are so delicious that you can still find these meat products around despite the advent of the walk-in cooler. One of the most perfect combinations is found at Tomas Bohm's Pantry Restaurant, which takes prosciutto, country pate, and thin-shaved pork loin and adds some bratwurst, spicy mustard, and a selection of cheese and olives to make the entire thing a perfect feast of an appetizer.
11401 Rodney Parham Road.
Pho Thanh My
With serving bowls the size of craters, it's difficult not to fill up on pho at this humble Vietnamese establishment. But you've done yourself a disservice if you pass up the banh mi with char-glazed pork. There's a perfect interplay of sweet, tender pork with raw julienned carrots, thinly sliced cucumber, a handful of cilantro sprigs and jalapeno.
302 N. Shackleford Road.
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