One of the best parts about food blogging (at least for me) is coming up with new ideas for regular pieces. It’s what I enjoyed most during my time with the Houston Press and certainly still rings true with TMR.
Say hello to Buzz Word…a new weekly feature, designed to increase interaction among Little Rock foodies! On Sunday evenings, I will post a “buzz word” on The Mighty Rib Facebook page. The word could be anything food related (ie… steak, cheddar cheese, Swiss chard). I will then ask for reader suggestions on one dish that includes the “buzz word” of the week. All suggestions go into a hat, one is picked, dish is eaten, review is written…all within a week’s time.
The suggested dish can be a reader’s favorite dish, something they despise, or just something they’ve never ordered. Either way, good or bad…I will give my completely honest take on the dish.
Got it? Get it? Good!
So, let’s get to our first official entry.
This week’s “buzz word” was mushrooms. We had some wonderful dish suggestions, many of which I plan to eventually eat.
The selected dish was Lee E.’s turkey burger with mushrooms and Swiss cheese from Big Orange.
Admittedly, I was a bit stoked. For one thing, Lee knows his shit. The dude won MVP on our recent Eat Memphis Bro Trip just from his restaurant recommendations alone. Secondly, I’d been hearing good things about Big Orange’s turkey burger from several individuals. It’s always, “Have you tried their turkey burger? It will surprise you.”
Sure enough, it did.
I kept my burger order simple. It came with the ½-inch turkey patty, an ample portion of melted Swiss cheese, along with those grilled mushrooms–all resting on BO’s signature bun. Nothing else. Sure, I was hoping the mushrooms would shine (which they did), but I wanted to see if the 98% fat free ground turkey would be tasty, without drowning in numerous condiments and toppings.
I was hooked after just one bite–both surprised and intrigued by the overall juiciness of the burger. Lee’s suggestion of adding the mushrooms was spot-on. Their natural juices tremendously elevated the burger’s overall taste.
The tall, soft signature bun did its job as well, holding the entire burger together throughout consumption.
Big Orange’s turkey burger was an absolute hit, and for someone with high cholesterol (me), having a healthy option so close to home is welcomed.
Thanks, Lee…and thanks to everyone who wrote in this week. Check out my FB Sunday night for the next Buzz Word!
One thing I’ve learned from growing up in Houston is that if it’s unseasonably cool outside, take advantage of it immediately. That’s exactly what I did last Friday with the family, as Central Arkansas temps (along with the humidity) dipped about eight degrees cooler than normal.
Earlier in the day, I took to Twitter, in search of restaurant patio recommendations. @KittyMcArthur suggested I give NYPD Pizza in WLR a try. Kitty spoke highly of not only their pizza, but also the wonderful patio with great views of the hillside.
Sure enough, NYPD did not disappoint. We took advantage of a “computer glitch” that enabled us to order draft beers at Happy Hour prices (even though it was a Friday). I polished off an ice cold Sam Adams Summer Ale and before I knew it our Rosalie’s Vegetarian Pie had arrived at the table.
The 18-inch pizza was covered with an even distribution of onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. The toppings were plentiful, but not so much as to compromise the integrity of the crust. The cheese was stringy—a true hallmark of freshness.
The crust…oh my, the crust! It was neither thick, nor thin, and had a slightly crispy bite to it. I wouldn’t quite characterize it as NY-style, but don’t read anything negative into those words. Also, one of my favorite aspects of the pie was that subtly acidic tomato sauce. It’s easy for sauce to get lost in the presence of outstanding crust and toppings. This proved not to be the case.
The bottom line…NYPD Pizza prepared an excellent pizza, coupled with fair pricing and attentive service for my family’s first visit. It won’t be our last. Count me in as a future regular.
Dare I say NYPD falls into my top 5 pizza places in Little Rock?
Let’s get right to my rankings (from worst to first)…
18. Bangkok Alley: Without question, the bottom feeder on this list. From the comical name, to the disastrous sushi roll, to the 17-year-old manager, to the pregnant waitress fanning herself in the corner—Bangkok Alley was a complete train wreck. And I take full blame for the entire experience. I was brash and cocky, having just dined across the street at a 4-star restaurant and thought a Bangkok Alley pop-in would be harmless. Boy, was I wrong! Feeling complete shame for the entire experience, I picked up the check. I fully expect to be ridiculed for years to come by the group. Rating: Horrendous
17. McEwin’s: We ended up splitting cabbage and steak appetizers at McEwin’s—which yielded a completely forgettable experience. My whiskey sour was probably the worst I’d ever tasted and both starters were terrible. Dry steak, overly sweet cabbage, and bad bartending drop this place way down my list. Side note: absolutely nothing excited me about their menu. Rating: Bad
16. The Arcade Restaurant: At one time, I’m guessing Arcade was quite a spot. Sadly, those days seem to be long gone. The wait staff was disinterested and the overall atmosphere was depressing. Most diners pride themselves in fast, courteous service…but Arcade could care less. The only saving grace was the slightly above average sweet potato pancakes. Our peanut butter and banana sandwich wasn’t brought to an adequate temp and even my glass of water tasted funky. Rating: Sad
15. The Germantown Commissary: Not even fair to be ranked anywhere on this list, as we only sampled a small portion of the Brunswick stew. But I gotta say…I was pretty uninspired with my few bites of stew. The base was overly sweet from the barbecue sauce and there were just way too many lima beans for my liking. Rating: Incomplete
A look back on what’s been going on around Little Rock.
A few weeks back, I checked out Chuy’s on a soft opening. We kicked off the complimentary dinner at the much ballyhooed restaurant with a small bowl of guacamole and a standard margarita on the rocks. The guac was smooth and creamy, not bogged down with too many ingredients, which I often like—yet something lacked with this version. I’m thinking a little cilantro and a squeeze of lemon would have done wonders for the appetizer. The margarita was fairly pedestrian, certainly not memorable, but a perfect libation to wash away the pains of any long work week. My Elvis Presley Memorial Combo entree was filled with enchiladas, all well-executed and tasty. I especially enjoyed the plate’s refried beans, which had a thicker consistency than most you’ll find in Little Rock. All and all, Chuy’s Little Rock is exactly how I remembered with my Texas experiences—very solid Tex-Mex food with a fun atmosphere. This West Little Rock location should do very well.
Here’s my latest stint on The Alice Stewart Show with Dan Walker and Michael Roberts.
I’ve been hitting up several of our wonderful farmers markets on the weekends. It’s really tough to beat a cup of Mylo’s coffee (and one of their pastries) on a Saturday morning at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. From there, I generally mosey over to The Southern Gourmasian food truck for the omelet with shiitakes and carmelized onions. Before heading out, I typically stop by the North Pulaski and Freckle Face Farm booths to stock up on meats and vegetables. Sunday’s Bernice Garden Farmers Market is just as good. I generally go to one farmers market or the other each weekend and encourage you to do the same. Support local.
Just get the shredded chicken salad bowl at Rock N’ Tacos and thank me later.
We had a great LR Foodie Feed-Up at Baja Grill out in Benton last week. Our 16-person turnout included Twitterers: @jkeller459, @MosaicGrl, @KDReep, @Daniel_P_Walker, @hillbillypharma, and @alicetweet. Please go follow all of these accounts and really become an active part of the Little Rock social media food scene. It’s a growing community, filled with great people. Also, keep a lookout for our next gathering. We’ll try to do these informal meet-ups every few weeks. All are welcomed (kids included). Special thanks to Craig at Baja Grill for showing us a great time. He and his hospitable crew are churning out some delicious food.
A tip of the hat goes out to The Gees and The Shulers for making my family’s first Arkansas Memorial Day Weekend a truly memorable one. Their parties produced some of the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten as well as fantastic company. Kelly (and friends) did the whole damn hog and Steve smoked two pork butts and nine racks of baby back ribs. Insane! Thanks to you and your families.
I highly recommend the breakfast burrito (with grilled veggies) at Milford Track. The eggs inside are light and fluffy and the vegetables are cooked just right.
On Friday, I’ll be at the Southern Roots: An Evening of Local Food and Farmers. Won’t you join me?Finally…this Saturday, five super cool dudes will be heading to Memphis for an All Weekend Food Bro Trip. We plan to hit up 15 of the city’s top eating establishments and promise to tell the world our story if we make it back alive. I’m pretty sure nothing like this in the history of mankind has even been attempted.