Archive for category Food Find

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

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.


Food Find: Arkansas Chef’s Culinary Classic Set for September 17th

footer-logoWe are constantly on the prowl for cool cooking events!

The Arkansas Chef’s Culinary Classic, now in its 10th year, will be held on Tuesday, September 17 at the Statehouse Convention Center (Hall 4). Chefs from all over Arkansas will compete in four categories: appetizer, soup/salad, entrée and dessert.

After the blind judging, the public can buy tickets to try all the entries. Judging starts at 4:30 p.m. and the dinner/silent auction begins at 6:30 p.m. There is also a silent auction that benefits scholarships for hospitality students, and a beer and wine tasting.

Guests can purchase tickets to try the entries for $45 per person–a wine and beer tasting, sponsored by Glazer’s, along with the after party, are included in that price.

(Deviled Egg) 2012 1st Place, Appetizer: Adam Hanry, Camp Mitchell Retreat Center

(Deviled Egg) 1st Place, Appetizer: Adam Hanry, Camp Mitchell Retreat Center

“This is one of our favorite and most anticipated events of the year. I truly believe Arkansas has some of the most talented chefs and best restaurants that you can find anywhere,” said Holly Heer, Director of Membership & Special Events for the Arkansas Hospitality Association. “Not only does this event bring recognition to those chefs, but guests who purchase tickets actually get to taste what’s entered while being able to interact with the chefs. The chefs love the event as well. It really is a lot of fun.”

At the trade show, there’s also a 2-day Iron Chef competition (September 18-19). The competition is open to eight eligible chefs from restaurants, country clubs or catering businesses that are members of the Arkansas Hospitality Association. Bragging rights are on the line! As part of the challenge, contestants must use a “mystery basket” announced at the competition.

Celebs Donnie Ferneau and Alyson Courtney

Celebs Donnie Ferneau and Alyson Courtney

Included in the competition is a celebrity heat where local celebrities are paired with chefs. Last year’s celebrity winners were Melinda Mayo (Channel 7 News) and chef Dan Capello, along with runner-up Alyson Courtney (Channel 7 News) and chef Donnie Ferneau (pictured above).

For more information, please check out the Arkansas Hospitality Association’s website.

Photos courtesy of AHA.

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The Grilling Book and Youngblood Grassfed Farm’s Ribs…the Perfect Marriage

2013-05-07 16.55.51We are constantly on the prowl for cool products!

What happens when you order some local, grassfed pork spareribs one week, and a few days later a beautiful grilling cookbook shows up on your doorstep?

You grill, of course!

I can personally attest that great things happen when you combine the on-point Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs recipe (from Bon Appetit’s The Grilling Book) with Youngblood Grassfed Farm’s spareribs.

I made a few adjustments to the recipe (page 158). These modifications were solely based on ingredients currently in my possession.

Truth be told, I was more preoccupied with the suggested cooking technique—a low and slow oven-to-grill process that would hopefully yield excellent results.

Mission accomplished.

I coated the rack of ribs with a standard dry rub, wrapped them in some foil, and baked for three hours at 325 degrees. I then threw the ribs on my gas grill and basted with a bbq sauce/pan drippings mixture which created a beautiful shellacked coating.

I’ve never made better ribs at home—a testament to both the recipe and high quality product.

And as for The Grilling Book, it’s really hard for me to imagine a more fantastic cooking reference guide. I’ve been walking around with it all week, just thumbing through the pages and getting excited about all the things I’ll eventually prepare from it.

The Grilling Book includes more than 380 recipes, all of which have been previously published in Bon Appetit. Everything from grilling lamb to fish to veggies, as well as preparing sauces and cocktails, is included in the book. There are also techniques such as: Steps to a Perfect Steak, How to Muddle Like a Pro, and Steps to Tasty Flatbreads.

I’m really just scratching the surface of what this book has to offer. Think of it as a 400+-page encyclopedia volume with inviting pictures and approachable recipes.

I started with the ribs…but I can guarantee you other recipes are right around the corner.

*The cookbook was complimentary, but the opinions are my own.

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4th Annual Jumbo Gumbo Cook Off

3879_485933324779367_2115274827_nCool food events are always going on around town here in Little Rock.

The 4th Annual Jumbo Gumbo Cook Off will be held on Friday, April 5th (from 5-9pm) at the Little Rock River Market Pavilions. Tickets cost $20 at the gate, $15 in advance, and kids 5 and under are free!

All the gumbo you can eat doesn’t sound bad. But if you’re more inclined to cook rather than eat, prospective chefs are encouraged to enter the cook off. Team registration is just $75. Prizes and awards include: 1st Place ($500), 2nd Place ($250), 3rd Place ($100), as well as the Silver Spork, People’s Choice, Best Booth, Team Spirit, and Hottest Gumbo awards.

“I’m delighted that this year they have added a new award that teams may also receive. A handful of us local foodies of Arkansas will be handing out a Silver Spork award to the team that we determine to be the best. The monetary awards are still judged by strict criteria by the four local chef judges, but we have this opportunity to take part,” said Thanh Rasico of Red Kitchen Recipes.

I’ll be joining Thanh and others for this area of judging. Really looking forward to it!

The cook off benefits the Allen School:
The Allen School serves children, from birth to 5, diagnosed with conditions including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and other developmental delays. The school staff is dedicated to providing the perfect balance of education and inspiration. A combination of early childhood teachers, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals work together with physical, speech, and occupational therapists to tailor programs that maximize each child’s potential.

For more event information, please call 501-301-4824 or check out or

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