Meet and eat with Geek Eats | Rock Candy

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet and eat with Geek Eats

Posted By on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 5:37 PM

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Over the last year, Little Rock has been a hotbed for the young, entrepreneurial culinarian. We’ve seen an impressive amount of growth within local producers and artisans in central Arkansas—people willing to take chances on food, creating things they know and love. There’s a certain confidence in these folks that pushes them forward, as the food culture in this state is perhaps at one of its most fertile moments in years. People are enthusiastic about food, willing to step outside their comfort zones, looking to actively support local producers and restaurants.

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One need look no further than our magnificent farmer’s markets to experience just how fruitful the Arkansas food scene has become. Fresh ideas and exciting new flavors are making weekly appearances at these venues.
One of Little Rock’s latest arrivals is the husband and wife team behind Geek Eats. Jeremy and Bernadette Rhodes, two self-proclaimed geeks, have decided to make their passion for food and flavor known to the world, and have been setting up shop at the Hillcrest and Bernice Gardens farmers markets on weekends since the beginning of June. Their reception has been remarkable and their product is flying off the table like the Millennium Falcon at light speed. After sampling some of their wares for the first time last weekend, it’s easy for me to see why.

What’s with the name? Jeremy tells me (coincidentally, in perfect Klingon), “I look to Wil Wheaton (former cast member of Star Trek: The Next Generation) when people ask me about being geeky…it's about being honest and passionate about things that you love and not afraid to show how much you adore them.” He goes on to say, “I'm really geeky about board games and about food…I started sharing my creations with my friends and family over board games.”

One of these friends was Stephanos Mylonas of Mylo Coffee Co. “We had Stephanos over for dinner one day; I had made some hummus. After he tried some, he was like, ‘Dude, you could totally sell this stuff.’ That was enough for me.” Shortly thereafter, Geek Eats was born.

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Geek Eats specializes in only a handful of foods (currently), but what they do produce, they do exceptionally well. Hummus is at the crux of their operation and they are dishing out a variety of interesting flavors, keeping the crowds coming back for more. They’ve got a classic “original” flavor and a roasted garlic, but they’ve also ventured into more exotic territory with flavors such as lemon-cilantro, black bean-sriracha, and rosemary-black bean. I picked up some of their splendid “carrot curry hummus,” and was struck by the quality and intriguing blend of flavors in the dip. This was a smooth, creamy amalgam of chickpeas and olive oil, a touch of lemon juice, and minced garlic. It’s finished with beautiful sweet notes of fresh carrot and curry. Wonderfully done—alongside some pita chips, the stuff didn’t last an hour in our home.

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We also sampled their bright green “Thai Fighter Pesto.” As gorgeous as the hummus was, I was even more in love with this pesto. Bright, fresh, with a complexity of flavors that made it far superior to your average blended basil concoction. I’m a big proponent of Thai food in general and this pesto was like a sweet Southeast Asian song to my heart. The mixture starts with aromatic Thai basil blended with olive oil. They incorporate classic Thai flavors at this point: peanuts, garlic, Thai chiles, and garlic. It gets a touch of sweet and sour from vinegar, lemon and lime juice. Don’t pass this one up, folks. It’s a wonderful cacophony of flavor.

Before leaving their stand, I was able to sample a bit of their delightful granola. Sweet, nutty, and crunchy—the mixture comes chock full of pecans, oats, sunflower seeds flavored with maple and honey. I dreamt of throwing a handful of the stuff on my morning yogurt and determined to pick some up at my next visit to the market.

The Geek Eats folks are determined to bring a new flavor of pesto or hummus to every market, so there’s essentially no way to get bored with these guys. They’re committed to partnering with local producers, already incorporating fresh produce from Bussey-Scott Urban Gardens and Laughing Stock farms into their products, and using locally made cheeses from Kent Walker Artisan Cheese.

Look for them at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and at the Bernice Gardens Farmers Market on Sundays. Follow their Facebook page to stay updated on their changing menu.

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