Archive for category Around Town

Readers’ Guide to Great Desserts in Little Rock

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Cheesecake at The Pantry

I asked it … “What is your favorite dessert at a Little Rock restaurant?” And you came through with 50+ suggestions of great desserts from around town. Check them out below, and if you do get a sweet tooth, definitely make sure with the restaurant beforehand, as some of these desserts are seasonal. Thank you to everyone who commented on the thread!

Any Pie or Cake at Alley Oops
My Take: This was the only suggestion that was mentioned multiple times but was never specific in which dessert to order. I’ve had the strawberry cake at AO and it was fantastic.

Apple Cheesecake at Baja Grill
Banana Cream Pie Milkshake at Big Orange

Blueberry Lemon Bread Pudding, Four-Layer Delight Pie (aka Possum Pie), Tres Leches at Bossa Nova
My Take: I’ve never had dessert at Bossa Nova, but after reading this thread, and it getting multiple suggestions, that will soon change.

Chocolate Creme Brûlée at Brave New Restaurant
Flourless Chocolate Cake at Bruno’s Little Italy
Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae at The Buffalo Grill
Chocolate Creme Brûlée at The Butcher Shop Steakhouse
Mexican Brownie at Cantina Laredo
Dark Chocolate Torte, Panna Cotta at Capeo

Banana Pudding at Capital Bar and Grill
My Take: 100% no bullshit here … this is the best dessert in Little Rock. Talk about insanely addictive.

Tres Leches at Chuy’s
Six Layer Chocolate Ganache Cake at Community Bakery
Cheesecake at Copeland’s
Hot Milk Cake at Dempsey Bakery

Churros at El Torito
My Take: This was my addition to the list, mainly because El Torito doesn’t get a lot of attention and their baked goods are legit.

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Dessert Counter at Franke’s

 

Bread Pudding at The Faded Rose
Cinnamon Creme Pie, Peach Cobbler at Franke’s
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake at Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
Fudge Brownie Pie at Honey Pies
Bread Pudding, Strawberry Shortcake at Izzy’s

Ginger Cookies at kBird
My Take: They don’t always bake them, but if you see a jar of ginger cookies sitting by the register, buy them all and thank me later.

Cappuccino Creme Brûlée at Kemuri

Ginger Cookie at kBird

Ginger Cookie at kBird

 

Bread Pudding, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie at Maddie’s Place
My Take: I can only vouch for the bread pudding, but it’s truly glorious.

Baklava at Mama’s Gyros Grill
Chocolate Banana Muffin at Mylo Coffee Co.

Pom Pom Pom at One Eleven
My Take: There should be like 20 desserts from One Eleven included on this list.

Ice Box Pie at Oyster Bar

Apple Torte, Cheesecake, Chocolate Salami, Nutella Creme Brûlée at The Pantry
My Take: The cheesecake got the most mentions on this thread, as it should. If you’ve never had it, just get it. Simple, plain, and no added toppings. The magic is in the crust.

Brownie, Fudge Ice Cream Pecan Ball at The Pizzeria
Chocolate Creme Brûlée at Cafe Prego
Shakes at Purple Cow
Chocolate Sack, Tres Leches at SO
Banana cake at Soul Fish

Fudge Brownie Pie at Honey Pies

Fudge Brownie Pie at Honey Pies

 

Sticky Toffee Pudding at Table 28
My Take: Surprised there was no mention of Chef Rains’ s’mores dessert. Consider this the official mention.

Chocolate Creme Brûlée at The Terrace

Arkansas Strawberry Shortcake, Bailey’s Cheesecake, Banana Delight, Raspberry Cream Pie at Trio’s
My Take: They take a freaking tray around after every meal, so you knew Trio’s would land on this list multiple times. I think the strawberry shortcake is a tad overrated. Pro tip…order the banana delight and top it with strawberries.

Phyllo-Wrapped Brownie at YaYa’s
Gelato at ZAZA

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Breakfast Options in Little Rock Are Limited, But Do Exist

Biscuits & Gravy at The Root

Biscuits & Gravy at The Root

 

I hear it all the time … “We really lack in breakfast options here in Little Rock .”  It’s a fair assessment, and while the food scene would be much improved with more quality breakfast spots, for this post, I wanted to focus on what we do have … and break things down into various groups.

Group 1 – Places I’d Highly Recommend (3)

The Root Cafe, At the Corner, Boulevard Bistro

Details: These three places are the three elite breakfast options in town. At the Corner and The Root both have great pancakes, but the go-to items are the breakfast burrito at At the Corner and the biscuits and gravy at The Root. The smoked salmon bialy and The Breakfast Sandwich are the stars at Boulevard.

Group 2 – Places I’ve Never Had Breakfast At, But Would be Shocked if it Wasn’t Great (2)

One Eleven at the Capital, Leo’s Greek Castle

Details: Granted, One Eleven is a pretty upscale place for breakfast, something many of us just aren’t looking for. But if you’re in the area and want to treat yourself to something special,  I imagine the breakfast at One Eleven is pretty fantastic. In terms of atmosphere, Leo’s is the complete opposite of One Eleven, but if the breakfast is half as good as their cheeseburger, then we’ve got ourselves a winner.

Group 3 – Places I’ve Never Been To, But REALLY Want to Try (2)

Taqueria Guadalajara, Gadwall’s Grill

Details: I give folks shit all the time for not getting in their cars and literally driving the extra mile to eat at different restaurants across the city. But I can be a hypocrite at times, because the reason I’ve never been to either Guadalajara or Gadwall’s is directly related to distance. From the looks of it, Guadalajara has a limited, 4-item breakfast. Gadwall’s does biscuits with chocolate gravy, from what I’m told.

Group 4 – Places I Know Nothing About, But Were Mentioned on the Blog (4)

BJ’s Market Cafe, Red Door, Littlefields, B Side

Details: As stated, I know nothing about the breakfast at these places. Maybe you do … and maybe they are great.

Group 5 – Place That is Just Plain Solid, But Not Spectacular (1)

Mugs Cafe

Details: Mugs Cafe has changed ownership and I haven’t been there in several months, but the place always served a very solid breakfast, including dishes like an egg-white omelet and breakfast tacos. The service has always been consistent, and although the menu won’t wow you, I’ve never left Mugs disappointed.

Group 6 – Places I Know Exist, But Ain’t Knocking Down the Door to Try (6)

Ozark Country Restaurant, Homer’s East and West, DownHome Restaurant & Catering, Frontier Diner, Delicious Temptations

Details: I haven’t heard many good things about Ozark, and while I’ve had good lunches at Homer’s East, the dinner at Homer’s West didn’t inspire a return visit. Truthfully, I’ve eaten breakfast at DownHome once, right when it first opened, but didn’t care for the food. That said, it was early in its existence, and it wouldn’t surprise me if things got a lot better. Frontier Diner makes a mean patty melt for lunch but is a difficult location for me to get to in the morning.

Group 7 – Places to Grab a Quick Donut, Pastry, Smoothie, Etc. (3)

Mark’s Do-Nut Shop, Mylo Coffee Co., I Love Juice Bar, El Torito

Details: Of course there are more than three of these types of places in town, but these are the three I recommend for a quick bite. The chocolate banana muffin at Mylo is elite and donuts at Mark’s are the best you’ll find in this area. Get the Acai Bowl at I Love Juice Bar … you’ll be good ’til lunch.

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My $7.00 Lunch at Bobby’s Country Cookin’

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The latest stop in my affordable lunch series brought me to Bobby’s Country Cookin’, a lunch-only, cafeteria-style restaurant in West Little Rock. I’d been to Bobby’s once before, but that was a few years ago, so I was really itching to get back and see if the place was as solid as I remembered.

Long story short … it was.

Bobby’s is no-frills and all business, evident by the folks who file in and head straight towards the food counter. I arrived at 10:55 a.m. and was surprised to see at least 15 other people were already eating in the restaurant. Apparently, I’m not the only 85-year-old who likes to eat at 11 a.m.. By 11:15, the place was at 75% capacity. I imagine Bobby’s has a very loyal clientele.

The selection of food isn’t overly expansive, and that’s a good thing. The restaurant is known for its crispy fried chicken, which is available daily, and although I didn’t order any, it definitely passed the eyeball test. It looked super crunchy. Other main entree offerings include: chicken fried steak, meatloaf, beef stroganoff, fried pork chop, and lasagna, among others dishes. Just make sure to check Bobby’s website for a daily menu because items rotate in and out. Vegetable sides include: green beans, corn, carrots, purple hull peas, fried okra, pinto beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed cabbage, sweet peas, Great Northern beans, macaroni and cheese. You can even order from a variety of pies for dessert.

Because this series is about keeping the price low, I opted for the Veggie Plate, which consists of three veggies and a roll. As you can see, I went with the mashed potatoes and gravy, purple hull peas, and fried okra. Everything, including that deliciously addictive roll, was excellent. I was particularly impressed with the crunchy batter on the okra, along with the tender purple hull peas that had bits of bacon scattered throughout. The combination of peas and mashed potatoes hit me just right.

The entire meal (with tax) came to exactly $7 … a great deal for a stick-to-your-ribs lunch. Bobby’s staff was warm and friendly and the entire dining experience took 20 minutes, start to finish.

Bobby’s is an underrated hidden gem, but those who know about it, know it’s good.

Bobby’s Country Cookin’
301 N Shackleford Rd
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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Time to Mark the Local Food Calendars

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Get ready, Little Rock, it’s that time of year. Temps are still cool but the events, both outdoor and indoor, are heating up…

The 9th annual Dentalways B Street Rib Off will take place on Saturday, April 29th at Argenta Plaza in NLR. The event features a BBQ cooking competition focused on amateur cooking teams and organizers donate all proceeds from the event to the American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas. There will also be live music, a few of Central Arkansas’s most popular food trucks, beverages from local breweries and a raffle that includes merchandise from several Arkansas retailers. Teams interested in cooking for the competition can register at BStreetRibOff.org. Anyone can attend the event and judge the People’s Choice category for a small donation.

Arkansas Times is having a Margarita Fest.

Food Truck Festivals of America is rolling into Little Rock for the Arkansas Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, which takes place on Saturday, April 22 from 12-6pm at the Outlets of Little Rock.Some of the participating food trucks include: Black Hound BBQ, Cajun Sno, Cyprus Knee Food – Cajun cuisine, Jude’s Delight, Loblolly Creamery, Philly Fresh Water Ice, and Wunderbus. Breweries represented include: Apple Blossom, COOP, Destihl, Schlafly, Sonoma Cider, SweetWater, and Victory. General admission tickets are available for purchase in advance for $5 or at the gate for $10. There are also special VIP HOUR tickets available for $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. These tickets will get you one free dessert, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, and early access from 11 a.m.-noon. Children 12 and under are admitted for free. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit www.foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com.

Springfest is this Saturday.

The 20th Annual Food & Foam Fest will be on April 14th at Dickey Stephens Park in NLR. 400 craft beers, ciders, wine, and fun libations will be available to sample, plus food tastings from
Kent Walker Artisan Cheese, Vino’s Brewpub, Whole Foods, Black Angus, Moe’s Southwest Grille, Mellow Mushroom, Shorty Smalls, Cantina Laredo, and Old Chicago. Make sure to purchase your tickets right here.

Your favorite pizza maker, Anthony Valinoti, will be in the kitchen this Wednesday night, March 29th at South on Main. I have no idea what the hell he has in store, but I’m betting it will be amazing. This “Hot Springs Invasion” also includes musician Chuck Dobson, who takes the stage at 8 p.m. as part of the restaurant’s Sessions series. Call (501) 244-9660 to reserve a table.

On Sunday, April 23rd from 1-5 p.m., ZAZA Heights celebrates nine years in business with a patio/parking lot celebration. Attendees will get to meet local farmers, enjoy a mini farmers market, listen to bluegrass music, drink Lost Forty Brewing beer from the outdoor beer tent, and even munch on pizza prepared in ZAZA’s mobile wood oven. The Wunderbus will also be in attendance. You’ll even be able to learn more about the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and have a chance to donate much-needed kitchen items for Arkansans in need. Items needed include: measuring spoons, measuring cups, cutting boards (preferably flexible cutting mats), paring knives, colanders, frying pans (8 and 10 inch), medium sauce pans, mixing bowls, spatulas, tongs, whisks, and thermometers. Bring three or more items and get a free small gelato.

Rebel Kettle turns 1 … time to celebrate. On April 1st, there’s Beer and Loathing in Little Rock.

The Heights Corner Market is having it’s Grand Opening this Friday, March 31st from 3-6 p.m. The first 100 customers to come in will get a free custom Heights Corner Market shopping tote to use again when grocery shopping.

The 2017 Jewish Food Festival is set for Sunday, April 30th from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium and will include traditional Jewish foods such as old fashioned corned beef sandwiches, lox, bagels and cream cheese, kosher hot dogs, rugelach and many more wonderful Jewish delicacies. Admission is free.

$30 all-you-can-eat crawfish at The Tavern Sports Grill sounds pretty awesome.

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