Who doesn’t love a good sundae (or five) for dinner?
A group of more than 20 Little Rock foodies met at the Green Corner Store last Thursday evening for the Loblolly Creamery Sundae Extravaganza. This was our third such meet-up in the past several months, the others having been held at The Pantry and Guillermo’s Coffeehouse.
What did Loblolly’s crew of Sally, Rachel, and Dan have in store for us? The answer…five fabulously unique sample sundaes:
Ice cream sundae: Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream with Rock Town Distillery smoked whiskey caramel, smoked pecans, whipped cream, and house-made maraschino cherry
Custard sundae: Saffron custard with cardamom poached figs, toasted almonds, and candied rose petals
Non-dairy sundae: Ginger coconut ice cream with dark chocolate drizzle, whipped coconut cream, and black sesame toffee
Sorbet sundae: Local strawberry and elderflower sorbet with champagne cake and Chantilly cream
Sherbet sundae: Lime basil sherbet with roasted mango sauce and crushed meringues
Each sundae had wonderfully distinct ingredients, such as the whiskey caramel, cardamom and poached figs, and roasted mango sauce. The sherbet-based sundae was my favorite. The texture of the crushed meringues blended so well with the sweet mango sauce and cool, citrusy sherbet. The sundae was both light and refreshing and provided a perfect end point to the tastings.
One component that really blew the audience away was the candied rose petal on the custard sundae. This beautiful crystallized creation just shattered in your mouth upon consumption–a very cool sensation.
Also, the ice cream-based sundae deserves some recognition. With five main components, it definitely had the most going on, but it all worked. Other members weren’t as enthused when caramel sauce froze, but I loved it! And don’t even get me started on the maraschino cherry! It was pure perfection!
Loblolly’s love and attention to detail permeate throughout their ice cream, custard, sorbet, and sherbet.
What this place adds to our food scene is immeasurable. Not every city has an amazing artisan creamery.
Little Rock does.
On Friday, May 31st (6-9 p.m.), celebrate a new growing season at the Arkansas Local Food Network’s Southern Roots: An Evening of Local Food and Farmers, hosted in partnership with The Oxford American.
The event will be held at The Oxford American’s highly anticipated new space on Main Street and will feature South on Main’s Chef Matt Bell’s delicious, Southern-inspired menu designed around the food locally grown by ALFN’s farmers.
The event will showcase locally-brewed beer by Flyway Brewery and Stone’s Throw Brewery and a signature cocktail featuring Rocktown Distillery’s gold medal winning, locally-sourced and produced liquors. While enjoying the best of Arkansas’s food and drinks, we’ll listen to live music from the Amy Garland Band and get to know the local farmers and artisans who provided the night’s refreshments. Proceeds from the fundraiser and silent auction will support ALFN’s next edition of the FRESH Local Food Directory, which is available all over Central Arkansas and provides location and contact information for everything happening in our local food movement.
Tickets: $60 per person, including all food and beverages.
**Get your ticket for only $50 until May 10th!**
Where: Oxford American/South on Main, 1300 S. Main St, Little Rock AR
Tickets available at arlocalfoodnetwork.org, ALFN’s Food Club pickup, and the Green Corner Store. Eventbrite ticket sales at: http://arlocalfoodnetwork.eventbrite.com
I used my last Pie Hole entry as an opportunity to blast Little Rock eateries for their lack of social media use as it pertains to growing business and reaching an audience. It was a broad, brushstroke criticism, as I chose not to single out specific restaurants. Truthfully, there were just too many establishments to criticize and I often like to keep things short and sweet.
Over the past few months since the piece, that word “criticism” has been stuck in my brain. The more and more I read…the more I realize there’s a large population in Little Rock that just doesn’t like any form of criticism, as it pertains to food.
There’s almost this “how dare you” mentality going on, not only from readers and commenters, but also from restaurants and food shop owners. Does this sound familiar?: “I’ve been going to X restaurant for 12 years and they’ve never made a bad pasta primavera.”
Look….there’s only a handful of individuals in this town who even write about food on a regular basis. Do you really think they are trying to tear down a business through negative words? Think again—it’s really just the opposite.
I get it, a person’s business is their livelihood, their dream, their everything. Writing negative things about it should never be taken lightly. Posts can quickly go viral, and a writer would never want to maliciously hurt someone’s business. But without some constructive criticism from time-to-time, how can things improve?
Don’t we want to raise the culinary bar in Little Rock? How can this be done if everything is already perfect? As writers, it’s our responsibility to highlight the good but also mention the bad. Maybe, just maybe, a restaurant owner will read our review and think: “Hey, they might be right. Maybe I do need to change this up a bit.” This could potentially lead to more customers and higher profits.
As a blogger, I’m somewhat of a business owner. Sure, I don’t make any money from The Mighty Rib, but I maintain this site as if it was bringing in the dough. That’s to say I care about it…tremendously. And if someone wrote negative comments about an aspect of my writing, of course I’d take it personally and be disappointed, but I’d also certainly take it to heart.
What if they’re right? Shouldn’t I first look at it from their critical perspective? Instead of saying “how dare you” maybe I should say “how can I get better?” What if I chose to build off the criticism, rather than let it tear me down? Heck, I could potentially end up with more readers, more comments, and an overall stronger blog.
Little Rock, it’s time to take the high road when it comes to accepting criticism. It could lead to great things.
Typically, I delve right into the recipe, but there’s a little back story this time around.
Last weekend, I decided to get up early and hit two local farmers’ markets—the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market and Argenta Farmers’ Market. When I go to markets like these, I never truly have a purpose in mind other than to be open to buying just about anything that jumps out at me.
I go frequently enough now that many of the wonderful vendors are getting to know me, like, for example, Mitchell from Freckle Face Farm. Seeing Mitchell means one thing: the imminent purchasing of a meat product. On this day, I bought two packages of tenderized pork cutlets and then quickly got into my car and headed out across the river to the Argenta District.
The Argenta Farmer’s Market was bustling–this being only its second weekend open of the season. Plus, across the street, the Argenta Market was celebrating its 3rd anniversary and had vendors scattered throughout the store.
With Mitchell’s cutlets as my centerpiece, I set out to find other local items that would pair well with the pork. Once inside the Argenta Market, I took a slight food diversion when I ran into Stephanie Hamling of Southern Girl Soapery. On a side note, please check out Stephanie’s FB page and consider “liking” and purchasing some of her fine soaps. They not only smell wonderful, but they’re also gentle on the skin and look really cool!
Back to the food.
I was all set. Today’s menu would read: All Arkansas Sandwich
Take the cutlets and rinse under water. Pat dry with some paper towels. In the meantime, heat up a ½ cup of vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat. In a bowl, add ½ cup of flour and 1 tablespoon of a mixed seasoning of your choice (I used Rendezvous). Take another bowl and add two eggs, salt and pepper…whisk and set aside. Once the oil is hot, dip each cutlet into the egg, then the flour mixture, and set in fryer. Fry each side for approx. 7 minutes. Cut buns in half, add pork, and drizzle with hot sauce.
From the tender pork to the soft buns to the sweet and spicy sauce, I guarantee you’ll love everything about this almost-all-local sandwich.