Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.
We'll be honest. (Good idea, you say.) It had been awhile since we dined at Delicious Temptations. In fact, our most salient memory of the West Little Rock eatery stretches back to when we were in short pants — or jams, probably — and the restaurant's pita pizzas were bribe enough to keep us on the level during the long shopping trips that followed.
Twenty years and four owners later, Delicious Temptations continues to serve bribe-worthy fare. Call it an Arkansas spin on California cuisine, food that often tilts healthy but never sacrifices taste for a low calorie count.
Sandwiches dominate the extensive menu. Among the cold offerings are the Grasshopper, Avocado Sunshine, Outrageous Organic and the Chicken Cashew Crunch. They come veggie heavy, usually with sprouts, ever the signifier of healthy eating. A whole-wheat pita pocket is the standard ingredient holder, but wheat, rye, sourdough and croissants (for 50 cents extra) are available on request. All the cold sandwiches can be converted into salads.
Hot sandwiches include typical grill items like burgers, a BLT, a patty melt and grilled chicken sandwiches and more unique fare like an open face crab melt served on an English muffin.
On our first trip to the eatery, we stayed mainly on the cold sandwich side of the menu. We tried the Chicken Cashew Crunch on a croissant, a chicken salad sandwich with lettuce, cashews and sprouts. The chicken salad was hearty and tangy — just the dish for an early spring day — but we were a little surprised, though not overly troubled, to find the cashews not mixed in the salad, but garnished on top. Our companion went for the Don't Jive Me Turkey, possibly only because it was the best-named sandwich on the menu. He wished he'd fully explored the bread options beyond the pita, but otherwise had no complaints with the combination of lean ham, turkey breast, tomato, Swiss cheese, sprouts and the house dressing, a mix heavy on yogurt, with ranch and mayonnaise.
To augment the chicken salad, we tried the gazpacho, a spicy and tasty version of the cold Spanish soup. Our companion sampled the house salad, which he praised for its house-made croutons and provolone cheese, and a pita pizza with Mozzarella cheese. A few days later he said he was headed back to get another of the snack-sized appetizers.
We ventured back for brunch on a subsequent Saturday. We were pressed for time, and as a testament to Delicious Temptations' kitchen, were in and out in 30 minutes. Omelets and eggs Benedict star on the breakfast menu, which is available at lunch, too. Our breakfast companion skipped over inventive versions of eggs Benedict, like Eggs Temptations (the normal ingredients plus crab meat and artichoke hearts), California Benedict (with Canadian bacon, avocado and tomato) and the eggs Benedict Florentine (Canadian bacon and spinach), in favor of the Arkansas version (read: not heart-healthy), the Old Fashioned Benedict, a poached egg with sausage on a biscuit slathered with gravy. He sopped up every last drop. We tried a short stack of whole-wheat blueberry pancakes (also available in a yogurt-based batter) and wished the batter had been a touch sweeter, but, hey, the syrup worked just fine.
Our service, on each visit, was solicitous without being fussy. We were curious but skeptical about the restaurant's cranberry iced tea, so our waitress brought us a sample (it was a little watery, but we stuck). She was quick, too, with recommendations and answers to menu questions.
We'll be back. Much, much, much sooner.
11220 N. Rodney Parham Road
There are far too few local spots that offer their breakfast menu at lunch. Delicious Temptations might have the best to offer. Plus, possibly the biggest, and surely the healthiest, sandwich menu in town. Heart healthy is the buzzword.
8 a.m.–2:30 p.m. daily.
No alcohol. Credit cards.