The Around Town Round-Up

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Little Rock’s food scene is at an all-time high. With it, comes an increase in writing on blogs, publications and social media. This is a good thing. These insights and opinions get people talking, helping lead to a stronger food community. The Around Town Round-Up grabs links from a variety of sources throughout the city, putting them all in one post for your reading pleasure. So, let’s get to it.

I was watching television the other morning and saw Julianne Bitely talking food. This is her “Holistic Health and Nutrition” blog. Check it out.

Are you up for some of the biggest food challenges in Central Arkansas? If so, go to Sync Weekly for a full rundown of what’s out there (I’ll even be witnessing one of these this weekend).

Restaurant reviewer connoisseur Emily Van Zandt takes on One Eleven.

Steve Shuler has the first look at Good Food by Ferneau and Butcher & Public.

You know who’s back? Daniel Walker, that’s who. Here’s a look at his latest installment of Cheers and Jeers. He’s doing more cheering than jeering this time around.

Looking for ways to use apples in your baking? Lee Hogan has you covered.

Joel DiPippa gives you his views (including Best Bar, Best Bartender, and Best Happy Hour) in this in-depth “Toast of the Town” post. What’s your favorite bar in town?

This one is a few months old…but what a great read on Rex Nelson’s Southern Fried.

Chef Matt McClure is very good at his job. Don’t believe me? Check out this post from Kat Robinson.

In my latest installment of Around the Rock, I take a look at Baja Grill, Mylo Coffee, Co., South on Main and Little Greek.

Down in Hot Springs, Louis Williams (Next Level) gives you the skinny on Pupuseria Mi Chalateca.

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Restaurant Review: El Palenque is the Real Deal

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I’ve been to El Palenque, the WLR taqueria tucked in the corner of an obscure strip center off Rodney Parham, several times over the past few years, and I’ve never had anything but excellent meals.

I felt it was time to write a formal review.

So, here we are.

The atmosphere: El Palenque’s atmosphere is everything you’d expect from a traditional taqueria—small, warm and inviting, with a steady flow of adoring customers. The restaurant walls have recently been painted with a beautiful mural that really gives the place a wonderful feel. It’s an open kitchen concept (which I love), so you’ll always see and hear the experienced chef banging around, doing his thing.

The service: Diners can expect prompt, attentive and friendly service. The chip basket is always full, as are the drinks, and the food never arrives more than 10-15 minutes after the order.

The cost: The prices are about as reasonable as it gets. Recently, our table of four got out of there for about $50, and that included tip and an order with three entrees, two a la carte items, guacamole and two alcoholic beverages. In short, given the high quality of food, the prices are more than fair at El Palenque. Heck, it’s downright inexpensive.

The food: The food! Yes, the most important part. What doesn’t this restaurant do well? If you dig guilty pleasure, high caloric gut bombs, opt for the chicken nachos. Split them with a tablemate or be prepared to jog ten miles the following day to sweat out the guilt. This monster plate of chips is covered in cheese sauce and all the standard fixings. Those with smaller appetites should consider ordering the shrimp burrito, which is filled with plump, yet not overcooked shrimp. Nothing annoys me more than those cooked-to-hell, pea-sized shrimp, and happily, you won’t find them at El Palenque. The tortas are excellent, as are the chicken verde enchiladas and the beef tacos. For lovers of spicier dishes, check out the Camarones ala Diabla, a plate filled with a smoky adobo sauce (which the chef can tailor to your desired level of heat). Finally, good guacamole is essential, but El Palenque misses the mark just a bit. While I enjoyed its chunkiness, this guac needed a heavy dose of salt and lime.

The verdict: El Palenque is not only one of the top Mexican food restaurants in Little Rock, it’s one of the top restaurants, period. Yes … El Palenque is that good! And if you don’t believe me, ask anyone of the dedicated neighborhood patrons who come back time after time.

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The Around Town Round-Up

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Little Rock’s food scene is at an all-time high. With it, comes an increase in writing on blogs, publications and social media. This is a good thing. These insights and opinions get people talking, helping lead to a stronger, more active food community. The Around Town Round-Up grabs links from a variety of sources throughout the city, putting them all in one post for your reading pleasure. So, let’s get to it.

On Arkansas Bites, Emily Van Zandt not only broke the news of a restaurant closing but also found out about the new tenant.

Michael Robert tells you how to build a proper charcuterie platter.

We’ll count Hot Springs as part of the Little Rock food community. Check out this new blog from Louis Williams on all the happenings from the Spa City.

“Taste of the Outdoors” wants food participants. Find out everything you need to know on LR Foodcast.

Mark your calendars (so says Little Rock Soiree) for the Potbelly Sandwich Shop opening.

Kat Robinson takes a look at the Toyko House sushi over on Tie Dye Travels.

Who doesn’t enjoy a well-made Manhattan? Check out Southern Ash and learn how to make one with your home bar. BTW…your home bar will never reach the level of Joel’s, but that’s ok.

Are you looking for some great food deals in North Little Rock? Boom.

Arkansas Mirepoix are pickling fools.

Thanh is about to leave us for Portland, but not before she gives a rundown of Little Rock restaurants she’ll miss most. Did she hit the nail on the head?

Learn how to make a Veggie Potato Frittata from Fancy Pant Foodie.

And how’s about some game day goodies from Eggshells Kitchen Co.?

Got a blog I missed…shoot me a note below to let me know!

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Around Town: AGFC’s Taste of the Outdoors

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This one sounds interesting…

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is attempting “to introduce people interested in sustainable, local and organic food to hunting.”

Got your attention?

The program, called Taste of the Outdoors, seeks applicants 18 or older, all who have little or no hunting experience. Twelve applicants will be selected to participate in the five-part series program designed to teach the basics of harvesting, processing and preparing wild game.

Tentative Schedule:
Sept. 20: Hunter education/firearms training
Oct. 11: Deer hunt
Oct. 14: Deer processing
Nov. 22 Squirrel hunt
Dec. 4 Wild game potluck

Other details:
-The AGFC will accept applications September 1-14.
-Preference will be given to applicants from central Arkansas “who enjoy outdoors and have a favorable view of hunting.”
-Program cost is only $25 (price of an Arkansas Hunting License).
-To apply, visit agfc.com and click on the Taste of Outdoors banner.
-For more information, contact Ben Batten at 501.978.7317 or email at Ben.Batten@agfc.ar.gov

*Photo by: Mike Wintroath, AGFC Photographer

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