Archive for category Misc.
With March drawing to a close, let’s take a look back on the Little Rock food scene.
A drive out to Benton yielded some of the best tacos in Central Arkansas, courtesy of the wonderfully friendly and talented folks at Baja Grill. Their pig sooie taco is worth the 25-minute drive from Little Rock. I even had the Cuban burrito for leftovers the next day and that was fan-freaking-tastic as well.
Local Lime’s frozen margarita left me wondering whether my “on the rocks” days were officially over.
Maddie’s Place proved to be a mixed bag. The fried grit balls delighted, as did the rabbit and the chicken thighs. But my dumplings (from the rabbit and dumplings) were off—dense and slightly dry. Frankly, just too many of them resided on my plate. The place’s price point needs to come down a bit as well.
To no surprise, Hillcrest Artisan Meats delighted again…and then again. The beef cheeks sandwich continued to amaze, but the real show stopper was this crazy good lentil salad.
We made a trip across the river to North Little Rock and consumed ribs at White Pig Inn. While the ribs and service were fantastic, the barbeque sauce was disappointing.
Speaking of ribs…my friend Kelly Gee (aka The BBQ Gee-nius) made some of the best ever at a house party hosted by he and his lovely wife Erika. Dude needs to enter his ribs into a competition. They’d win.
The SoMa Food Truck Thursdays started back up for the year. What a turnout…I think something like 700 people and several new trucks. I devoured a mini peach bundt cake from the lovely ladies over at Sugar Shack Sweets, as well as a veggie sandwich from Green Cuisine.
My illustrious radio career kicked off—I did a segment on the Alice Stewart Show, talking about The Mighty Rib, along with why eating barbeque makes me burp a lot. Good stuff. I’ll be joining Michael Roberts and Daniel Walker on her show this Friday, March 29th from 7-7:30am. Would love if you could tune in. We promise to entertain!
I was also invited to be a guest judge for the upcoming Jumbo Gumbo Cookoff. I’m so thankful and excited about the opportunity.
My friend Zara, who many of you might know from Twitterverse, is making specialty cakes. I purchased the strawberry lemonade cake and can certainly vouch for its excellence and affordability. Please hit her up on Twitter.
In ‘Never Done that Before’ news—I interviewed Ian from the soon-to-be-opening Stone’s Throw Brewing in downtown LR, while he sat atop some scaffolding. My lower back is still aching, but the future addition of another nano-brewery in the Rock will ease my pain.
A rowdy group of ten met at Ciao Baci for a fantastic meal last Saturday night. My highlights were the cheese grits, rillette, chicken sliders, along with listening to Michael Roberts’ heart stop after he devoured a monster burger (with egg on top).
Recently, there’s been some talk on where to find some good biscuits and gravy around Little Rock. Well, the good news…I did find some legitimate, real-deal biscuits and gravy. The bad news…they’re three hours north in Branson at McFarlain’s Family Restaurant.
Our Spring Break ’13 trip brought us to redneck Vegas in search of amusement parks and wax museums. We found all those things and, of course, biscuits and gravy. Truth be told, I eat b&g just about as much as I go to Branson, which is once every 20 years. It’s hard to imagine a more fattening, gluttonous dish than dense biscuits covered with a mound of hearty gravy.
But at least McFarlain’s is the real deal– no pre-package fake stuff here. Two buttery biscuits are covered with thick, peppery gravy infused with bacon bits and chunks of sausage. You’ll find the biscuits are far superior to the gravy, but together, they do form a nice team.
I was able to tackle one biscuit. Afterwards, regrets and slight depression set in over my almost shameful culinary act. Grown men with high cholesterol have no business eating b&g. But this certainly wasn’t my first, nor last idiotic decision in the name of food journalism.
Here’s hoping that no one finishes an entire order by themselves. Please, for the sake of your own well-being, consider splitting an order with 2…or 10 other individuals.
Finally, if you happen to find some good b&g in Little Rock, please let me know in the comment box. There are some other brave souls out there who would be very appreciative.
As for Branson…here’s to a fabulous Spring Break ’33.
My feelings on barbeque might just surprise you!
Whenever someone asks me about the name of this blog, they immediately want to know my
level of love and expertise for all things barbeque.
In truth, I’m just not a big barbeque guy. Yesterday, however, I did find myself dining with some fellow foodies out in North Little Rock at the White Pig Inn. And while the food was merely good, nothing earth shattering–the company was great. This group clearly knew their way around smoked meats.
But it got me to thinking…why are my barbeque experiences so few and far between? Here’s what I came up with:
1. BBQ Burps What used to be a wonderful side effect is now a pesky problem. The good ol’ bbq burp…that not-so-subtle reminder throughout the day of a glorious meal gone by. Cherished by all, am I right? Not so much. My loving wife has the smelling sense of a rabid bloodhound and can typically detect a bbq burp from three rooms away.
2. Thirst Two hours post barbeque consumption is the official start of my massive water intake. Glass, after glass, after glass…followed by piss, after piss, after piss. It completely ruins my day and makes me feel like a 65-year-old man with an enlarged prostate.
3. Stank The best barbeque joints are the ones where the scent immediately smacks you in the face. The alluring aroma is as comforting as it is magnificent—but certainly a double-edged, smoky sword to the highest degree. Why? Because I end up wearing Brisket de Toilette for the rest of the day and that just ain’t cool.
4.Oh, What a Feeling One rib and a side of potato salad make me feel like Jabba the Hut for the next ten hours. How is this even possible?
5. The Washer When I eat barbeque, I get messy. And when I get messy, I wash my hands…again and again and again. What is it about that darn sauce and my cuticles? It’s like Cheetos to my fingertips, so damn hard to get out and just a constant poor hygiene reminder.
There you have it!
Let me get straight to the point—I didn’t like my slice of cheese pizza at Jay’s Pizza in the River Market food court. I won’t get fancy with an introductory paragraph or a joke or a quick back story.
I just didn’t like this pizza. I wanted to like it.
And this isn’t even about a pizza style preference. I love all kinds—thin crust, deep dish, coal-fire, etc…you name it.
Heck, even the people running the business seemed quite affable and I’ve always been a sucker for the mom and pop spots. This little order-up shop certainly qualifies as such.
This had everything to do with taste (or lack thereof). While the flavors of the blended cheeses and sauce were adequate, the thin, crispy crust was quite bland. Sadly, my dining partner and I foresaw a bleak outcome when the man slid our lukewarm slices from the oven to the counter. Our visions of a fresh, bubbly New York-style pizza quickly vanished and were replaced by a more Pizza Hut-style representation.
It got worse—a fairly small slice of cheese pizza ran $3.25. My buddy’s slice of Italian sausage hit the $3.50 mark and fared no better in the taste department.
Fortunately, citizens of Little Rock have some pretty darn good pizza options—ZAZA’s and Vino’s come to mind. Here’s hoping that Jay’s Pizza can make some adjustments and produce a better product.