Monthly Feature, By Jim Rassinier
Does anyone else watch food reviews on YouTube? I’ve been watching certain ones for years. One of my favorite channels is Daym Drops, where he reviews fast food items roughly three times a week. He’s normally been on point with his reviews, so when he proclaimed the new KFC Georgia Gold as one of the best pieces of fried chicken he’d ever had? I knew I had to try it.
First off, I’d like to tell a bit of history about KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was started by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1939 as an actual sit-down restaurant. Sales were quite good until 1950, when an interstate built around him, all but destroying his sales, and he eventually auctioned it off, at a considerable loss. But he also had another plan: franchising. In 1952, he went to a friend who owned a restaurant in Utah and taught him his secret recipe. The said business increased so much that in just four years, eight other restaurants were using his recipe and process, which involved the 11 herbs and spices, and a pressure cooker. That was it. The Colonel got 4 cents for every piece of chicken. Less than eight years into the business, he had over 600 franchisees.
Another fun fact was that the Colonel used to randomly stop by Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and sample the gravy. If the gravy wasn’t up to his standards, he’d stop the restaurantuer right there and reteach how to make the gravy. I so wish I’d had that gravy way back then. (I still always have to get their mashed potatoes.)
Anyhoo, I digress. I went into KFC with excited expectations. “Best chicken ever?” That is a bold statement, but I had enjoyed their Nashville Hot, so I was definitely expecting something special.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Georgia Gold, put simply, is just a regular Extra Crispy piece of chicken doused in an oily as hell, greasy, honey mustard barbecue sauce. I found the flavor very off-putting. The worst part? The only bite I mildly liked was when I paired in with the pickle slice. Problem was, they only gave me one measly, little, pathetic pickle slice. I will say that the oil and grease didn’t keep the chicken from being crunchy; it still had a very nice crunch. It was the flavor of that sauce that I found so unappealing.
Would I recommend this? Here’s the thing … I’ve seen several well-respected folks online that said they loved it. I’m not in that group of people. So, no, I absolutely would not recommend. However, if you’re someone who really likes honey mustard barbecue, maybe this is for you.
My only two suggestions: Try the sauce before you order it. And make sure they give you extra pickles!
The latest stop in my affordable lunch series brought me to Terri-Lynn’s BBQ & Deli, a spot that’s been around for 51+ years. I find myself at Terri-Lynn’s every few months, primarily because it’s about a mile from where I work, the food comes out fast, and it’s tasty and affordable.
All and all, TL’s is a perfect place to feature in this new series.
For my most recent lunch, I ordered one of the signature sandwiches, a smoked roast beef and cheddar concoction called Fat Boy. With a name like that, I was expecting more of a mountainous sandwich, but unfortunately, Fat Boy is best suited for a normal-sized appetite. At first glance, it looks like a thin-patty hamburger, but upon close inspection, you’ll realize it’s, in fact, a tender, tightly-packed and shredded roast beef sandwich. The beef is just a tad smokey, not enough to overpower the sandwich’s other ingredients, but just enough to let you know it’s there. Also, the soft, yellow-tinted bun provides the perfect vehicle to get the beef into your mouth. The shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and a thin layer of house-made ranch dressing round out the sandwich.
In the end, this is a very respectable sandwich, one that won’t blow you away but is also sure to satisfy. Given it’s size, I wouldn’t say the $7.76 (includes tax) price tag is a great deal, but it is appropriately priced. And … if you are looking for a very quick lunch, TL’s is your place. The entire dining process took me about 15 minutes, tops.
If you’ve never stopped at Terri-Lynn’s, go check them out. Along with an assortment of sandwiches, they also offer bbq, nachos, tamales, salads, and hot dogs. Judging by the steady stream of customers whenever I’m there, I’d say the place has a solid group of loyal followers.
10102 N Rodney Parham Rd # 2
Hours: Tues-Fri 10:30-3:30; Sat 10:30-5; Closed Sunday and Monday
While the loss of Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Little Rock’s most beloved butcher/sandwich shop, was painful for our town’s culinary scene, it was comforting to hear that veteran restauranteur Tomas Bohm would be taking over the space. Bohm, who also owns The Pantry and The Pantry Crest, is about as well-respected as anyone in the industry, primarily for his consistently quality food and a genuine, service-oriented mentality that permeates throughout his restaurants.
His latest venture will be called District Fare, a deli concept specializing in house-cured meats/provisions and sandwiches, along with offerings of local and international products, grab-and-go dinners, and much more.
For Bohm, the decision to increase his footprint in the popular Hillcrest neighborbood wasn’t an easy one. “I always loved H.A.M., and I thought long and hard about it, but Hillcrest accepted our place on Palm Street and I want to continue to represent this amazing neighborhood and our city.”
Moving forward, Bohm’s biggest challenge will be splitting up his time between the three places. “I will spend a lot of time at District Fare at first, but fortunately, we have a great team of very dedicated people that help me make this possible. One hundred hours a week … here we go!”
District Fare has an estimated opening date of sometime in March or April. Operating hours will be Mon-Sat 11-7, Sun 12-5.
I hear it all of the time on the blog, “There are no good restaurants in North Little Rock. It’s a wasteland of chains.” Not true. Here are 25 places to eat in the area … most local, a few regional chains, but all of them reader suggested. Just click on the links below for more restaurant information, and check out my quick takes on the places I’ve actually dined at (1-25, in alphabetical order).
2. Bobby’s Café
4. Chang Thai & Asian Cuisine
My take: The food here is outstanding, and, depending on who you ask, its the best Thai food in the area. For me, kBird is still better, but that’s taking nothing away from the food at Chang.
6. Cilantros Grill
7. Flyway Brewing
My take: I’ve written about Flway pretty extensively over the past year, mainly because it’s my favorite brewery in town. No matter your preference, Flyway almost assuredly makes a beer that you’ll enjoy. Just save some room for food. The tofu sliders, assortment of soft pretzel offerings, and smoked trout nachos are all outstanding.
10. Hideaway Pizza
My take: Certainly not in my top 10 pizza joints, but Hideaway is a nice place to go with family and friends for good food and a warm atmosphere. The pizza is a bit doughy for my liking, but Hideaway certainly has a loyal following, as evident by its expansion into Arkansas.
11. La Casa Real
My take: This restaurant used to be located off Rodney Parham. I ate there once and remember really enjoying it. I haven’t made it up to the new location, but I’ve heard nothing but good reports. If you adore refried beans, like I do, this is the place for you.
15. Mr. Chengs
My take: I’ve only eaten at Mr. Chengs once and it was a few years ago, but I remember the food being very good. With not a lot of quality Chinese food restaurants in the area, this is definitely a nice option.
16. Mugs Cafe
My take: I haven’t been to Mugs since new ownership, but if things are business as usual, then it’s a great spot for coffee and breakfast items. I’ve also been told they serve one of the better brownies in town, although I can’t personally confirm it.
17. North Bar
18. Ristorante Capeo
My take: If you’re looking for quality Italian food served in a cozy, yet elegant setting, Capeo is a wonderful choice. The Hunter’s Board is a nice start to the meal, and I especially enjoy the pork chop or lasagna entrees.
My take: One of the better restaurants in the area, anything and everything is great at Rosalinda. The pupusas, shrimp soup, fried chicken, and skirt steak with fried plantains are all elite dishes. And if whole, fried fish is your thing, then check out this restaurant.
21. Santo Coyote
22. Skinny J’s
My take: I’ve only been once to this regional chain located in Argenta, but I thought the food was solid.
24. Whole Hog
25. Zaffino’s by Nori
My take: The drive up to Sherwood is definitely worth the fantastic food coming out of Zaffino’s kitchen. Casual and family-friendly, Zaffino’s is an Italian food gem. Definitely order the Italian sausage with mushrooms.