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What's cooking/capsule reviews April 21 

WHAT'S COOKING Zygo Energy Vodka, made by Icon Brands, will makes its debut in Arkansas at Nu Cuisine Lounge on April 29, with a kickoff party co-sponsored by the Arkansas Times beginning at 9 p.m. With the trend among younger bar patrons of Red Bull and premium vodka drinks, Icon created the Zygo vodka with taurine, d-ribose, guarana and yerba mate. The company has dubbed the liquor the “Morning Vodka,” meaning that it will help keep drinkers going past the midnight hour. The vodka was launched in the New York City market in January 2003. Arkansas will be the 31st state in which Zygo is sold, and while it can be consumed straight up, Nu Cuisine Lounge will roll out a list of specialty drinks with Zygo at the April 29 unveiling. The Zygo cocktail specials will be served from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., and entertainment will include a bongo drum performance and musical sounds from DJ Flow. Call 378-7500 for more information. At the same time Zygo is unveiled at the restaurant, Nu Cuisine Lounge will be officially celebrating its new outdoor dining and outdoor lounging areas of the restaurant. Work was being wrapped up on the outdoor areas, which are on the west facing wall of the Stone Ward Building at Cumberland and Markham streets. Diners can enjoy the outdoors sections now. Opening day for North Little Rock’s new Fire Mountain steakhouse, an upscale steak restaurant from the Ryan’s chain, is May 18. The restaurant is at 4800 E. McCain Blvd., just west of the post office. CAPSULE REVIEWS CAFFE MOCHA This was formerly a San Francisco Bread Co. location and few changes have been made. Our first try one Friday evening with the new owners was an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the JFK rush hour. Our only problem was trying to figure out what to order from the vast coffee, salad, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, soup and pastry menu. We settled for a marinated chicken basil panini and a chicken Florentine panini. Both sandwiches came on a hot crispy, rather hard focaccia bread, which when bitten into would cause the cheesy chicken contents to flood out. Whatever dropped out, we just ate with a fork. The same bread was used to make a kid’s menu cheese pizza, which disappeared swiftly. A big thick chunk of cheesecake with caramel and nut topping was devoured by our group. The menu claims the cheesecake is homemade, but we thought not (and a phone call later confirmed so). But no matter, it was still great. And although the deck seating outside looked inviting (except for the traffic noise), we instead lingered inside on big overstuffed leather chairs, Jimi Hendrix music and playing checkers, winding down another fast-paced work week. 4905 JFK Blvd., 791-7322, BLD Seven days a week $-$$ CC. Catering and delivery available. SPUNKY PIG BBQ We were treated last weekend to one of the best pork barbecue sandwiches we’ve had in a very long time anywhere at this new restaurant, which is part of a grocery store/gas station outside Heber headed toward Searcy. A few tables of the store are set aside in the front for diners. The chopped pork was fresh off the smoker, and flavorful with just the right amount of hickory smoke. Creamy cole slaw completed the sandwich. Sweet tea was the drink of choice. The jumbo size ($3.99) sandwich was substantially larger than the regular ($2.99), but the regular was plenty big enough. The menu has beef sandwiches and plates, pork plates, chicken and ribs ($5.99 for a half rack, $11.99 for a slab) and sides, all at nice prices, and rest assured on our next trip on Highway 25, we’re stopping at the Spunky Pig. 9 Pangburn Road (Intersection of Highways 25 and 16), 501-206-0444. LD Mon.-Sat. $ CC No alc
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