Archive for category Food Find

10 Can’t Miss Food & Drink Gifts … All Local

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Are you looking for a perfect holiday gift for that special foodie in your life? Here are 10 suggestions that are sure to please…

Izard Chocolate
Local chocolatier, Nathaniel Izard, has a shop located in the heart of Hillcrest (right across the street from Kroger). If you’re not a fan of handcrafted, artisan dark chocolate, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you are … and also enjoy caramels and even fresh roasted coffee, Izard Chocolate is a must-stop. Bars, truffles, and chocolate-dipped caramels are the main draws. Purchase online, at the shop, or at various locations throughout Little Rock. Prices vary.

Pozza’s Pasta
Made in NWA’s Tontitown, this is a dried pasta made with unbleached flour as opposed to a semolina flour. It’s available in 12-ounce packages, including: 100% Whole Wheat, Spinach Spaghetti, Tomato Basil Linguini, Angel Hair, Parsley Linguini, and Traditional Spaghetti and Linguini. Purchase online or from Terry’s Finer Foods. Prices start at $5 per package.

WaterVeg Lettuce
Hey, not every holiday food gift has to be a caloric nightmare. I’m a huge fan of WaterVeg, a Little Rock-based aquaponics company specializing in lettuce delivered right to your doorstep on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Go online to check out membership subscriptions or purchase a gift card. Baskets cost around $12 and that includes delivery.

Bonta Toscana Garlic Sauce
Amy Bradley-Hole sells a divine, slightly spicy garlic sauce that’s perfect on pizza, pasta, or  just about anything that is even remotely edible. You can find it all over Little Rock, including: Stratton’s Market, The Corner Store and More, Kent Walker Artisan Cheese, Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Eggshells, Terry’s Finer Foods, Honeycomb Kitchen Shop (in Rogers). Amy also sets up shop at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Prices start at $7 per jar.

RED Boards
Who in their right mind doesn’t love a handmade cutting board? Local woodworker, Randy Davidson, makes them in a variety of shapes and sizes, including: Arkansas-shaped, Razorback-shaped, checkerboard, squares, rectangles, and he even does custom boards. I purchased one of Randy’s boards last year for my parents and they absolutely love it. Available at Eggshell’s Kitchen Co. Prices range from $49-$165.

Egg Nog at South on Main
You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried David Burnette’s award-winning egg nog at South on Main. Lucky for you, it’s available to purchase this holiday season. Take a quart or two home with you or to a holiday party. Available beginning on December 4th at the restaurant. Price based on current dairy cost and is yet to be determined.

O’Looney’s Shamrock Selections
I’ve really tried to up my wine game over the past few months and a big part of it has to do with O’Looney’s Shamrock Selections, a monthly, curated selection of the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection (usually two bottles) is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Available for gifting in single-month, six-month, and twelve-month increments. Visit the store or go online. Cost is around $60, I think (need to check my credit card statement)

Gift Baskets at Rock Town Distillery
From single barrel whiskey to basil vodka, Rock Town’s products just keep getting better and better. Hard liquor is a great gift for the holidays, and the folks over at Rock Town Distillery are putting together some nice holiday gift baskets. Available to purchase at the distillery on 6th Street. Cost varies, but each basket maxes out at around $80.

Cookie Packages from Ann Potter Baking
Sarah Declerk of Ann Potter Baking is putting together holiday cookie packages, including: 6 decorated shortbread, 6 German chocolate roll-ups, 6 cinnamon roll-ups, and 6 monster cookies. Contact Sarah at annpotterbaking@gmail.com. I recently sampled the German chocolate roll-ups and can tell you they are fantastic. Cost is $45.

Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative
Show that special someone in your life how much you love them by purchasing a membership to Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative. They’ll get a monthly shipmetn of grass-fed, pasture-raised meat. I’ve been a member for over a year, and I not only love the taste and quality of the meats,but also the service. Members get discounted prices and free shipping. Heck, you can even order meat a la carte. Prices vary.

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Food Find: Pozza’s Pasta Now Available Online, At Terry’s Finer Foods

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If you’ve been inside Terry’s Finer Foods recently, you may have noticed a new product on the shelves. Pozza’s Pasta, out of Tontitown in Northwest Arkansas, is now available in several flavors and cuts.

“Pozza’s Pasta is a superior dried pasta, the taste and texture is different than other pasta’s on the shelf. We believe that is because we use regular unbleached flour as opposed to a semolina flour. Most pastas on the market use semolina, which makes the noodle tougher. The semolina is used so that the pasta can be extruded, which is also a big difference. Our pastas are hand cut as opposed to being passed through an extruder,” says co-owner Alison Mhoon.

Pozza’s Pasta is available in 12-ounce packages, including: 100% Whole Wheat, Spinach Spaghetti, Tomato Basil Linguini, Angel Hair, Parsley Linguini, and Traditional Spaghetti and Linguini. If you’re not up for a trip to Terry’s, the pasta can be purchased online (cost $5-6 per box).

Says Mhoon, “Pozza’s Pasta has been around over 40 years. Each new generation has continued to produce pasta the same way our Italian ancestors did when they settled in Tontitown, AR over 100 years ago. We hope that you enjoy eating it as much as we enjoy making it!”

I sampled boxes of the angel hair and parsley linguini and thought each one was absolutely delicious. As you can see from the picture above, I thought the parsley linguini was ideal with a little sautéed spinach, butter, extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan.

Keep an eye out for Pozza’s Pasta to possibly pop up in other stores throughout the Little Rock area in the very near future. Until then, go check out Terry’s or order a few boxes online.

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Food Find: The Waring Digital Rotisserie Turkey Fryer

Fried turkey is a wonderful thing.

Fried turkey is a wonderful thing.

We are constantly on the prowl for cool products!

When big-time Little Rock foodie Steve Shuler invites you over for a dinner party, you just say yes and worry about babysitter logistics at a later time. He can flat out cook and I’m not about to miss out on his latest culinary creations, especially when they’re paired with Joel DiPippa’s libations.

So…what did Steve have in store for us last Friday night? Deep. fried. turkey.

Steve is the proud owner of the Waring Digital Rotisserie Turkey Fryer, and before he instructs others at Williams-Sonoma on how to use the apparatus, he decided to test it out on some friends.

Gone are the days of setting up the turkey fryer in the driveway. No longer must you lower the bird in a vat of bubbling grease and sprint away, all the time praying your buddy doesn’t have to bust out the fire extinguisher.

This fairly compact turkey fryer sits right on your kitchen counter, doesn’t seem to splash oil (if used properly), and isn’t as noisy as one might expect. The best part … unlike traditional fryers, the Waring rotates the bird in a bath of 375-degree oil, allowing the turkey to come up for air during half the cooking process. Watching it is absolutely mesmerizing.

The end result … a beautiful and deliciously juicy turkey that will certainly impress your guests. Heck, even the breast meat was as moist as I’ve ever had it. And because the temperature was digitally-set, the consistent fry-job locked out the grease.

The Waring isn’t cheap, but if you take pride in making that perfect turkey, it’s well worth the investment.

Special thanks to Steve and Jen for having us over!

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Food Find: Fayetteville Ale Trail Features Seven Local Breweries

ale_trail_-2-2We are constantly on the lookout for cool promotions, products, and events!

Ale Trail…now those are two nice words to put side-by-side.

The Fayetteville Visitors Bureau recently announced the launch of the Fayetteville Ale Trail, a self-guided craft beer tour that’s the first of its kind in our great state.

The seven participating breweries include: Apple Blossom Brewing Co., Fossil Cove Brewing Co., Hog Haus Brewing Co., Saddlebock Brewery, Tanglewood Branch Beer Co., Core Brewing
and Distilling Co., and West Mountain Brewing Co.

“We’re so excited to launch the state’s first ale trail. These types of tours are very popular in other states and we want to show off our own unique craft-beer scene all while creating a fun experience for our locals and visitors,” said Fayetteville A&P executive director Marilyn Heifner. “Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas already have an energetic and vibrate nightlife and dining scene – a tour featuring local breweries will further complement and encourage that atmosphere.”

And here’s the best part…it’s free!

Those interested are encouraged to pick up a Fayetteville Ale Trail passport at the Visitors Center on the downtown square, located at 21 S. Block Avenue or at any of the participating breweries. Completed passports can be mailed or brought to the Visitors Bureau for a free ‘I Completed the Fayetteville Ale Trail’ decal. Additionally, a Silipint commemorative glass will be available for purchase at the Visitors Center and select breweries for $10.

For more information, please visit www.fayettevillealetrail.com.

From a personal perspective, I’ve been fortunate enough to check out two breweries in my life, and each experience was fun in its own unique way. And in case you’re wondering, the places were the Sam Adam’s brewery in Boston and Magic Hat in Burlington, Vermont.

Guess it’s time to add to that list.

What breweries have you been to? Any of this list? How was your experience?

Photo provided by Fayetteville Visitors Bureau.

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