Archive for category Misc.

November Edition: 10 Dishes You Need to Know

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For reasons unbeknownst to me, certain dishes seem to fall under the radar. Every few months I’ll highlight some of these dishes, tell you what makes them so good, and hopefully inspire you to check them out for yourself, if you haven’t done so already. In no particular order, here are the 10 Dishes You Need to Know.

Skillet Bread at South on Main
This is a rotating menu item, so you’re best option is to ask for it and see if the restaurant has all of the ingredients to whip some up. Think of this as a doughier naan covered in shredded brisket, cheese, and whatever else chef Bell wants to put on top. Next time you’re at SoM, cozy up to the bar and polish off this skillet bread with an Old Fashioned.

Fried Quail at Natchez
Certain restaurants are just good at frying things. Natchez is one of those places … and nothing tops their fried quail–a small, delicate bird which holds up well to the deep frying and is typically paired with a faro and diced root vegetables at the downtown Little Rock restaurant.

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Pork Tamales at La Regional
I am constantly on the prowl for good, traditional, non-Delta tamales. La Regional’s pork variety are the absolute best I’ve come across in the area—better than Izzy’s and better than the Jalisco food truck in front of Colonial on Markham (which are both excellent). The pork-to-masa ratio is damn near 1-to-1, the meat is super tender and each tamale is about $1. This is the time of year to really enjoy tamales, so bring it on down to La Regional in SWLR.

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Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish at Chi’s on Markham
I’m guessing this dish is often overlooked by the general public, but the delicate pieces of white fish resting in a thick and spicy sauce, makes it a must-order each time I’m at this Chi’s location. It’s certainly not a stand-alone dish, but rather, it’s best paired with other dishes like beef chow fun and moo goo gai pan.

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Egg White Omelet at Mugs Café
Sometimes you just want a good ol’ omelet for breakfast and it’s nice to know you can get one that won’t clog your arteries at Mugs Café. Frying an egg to perfection should never be taken for granted and Mugs knows does it better than just about anyone in the area. Remove the egg yolks, add some roasted veggies, and you’ve got yourself a fine breakfast.

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Mixed Grill at Desi Den
Never heard of Desi Den? This Indian restaurant located near I-30 in Bryant is a hidden gem! If you’re unfamiliar with the cuisine, opt for the mixed grill, which is a sizzling skillet full of chicken vindaloo, shrimp, broccoli, asparagus and other assorted items.

The Works at Trio’s
Technically, this sandwich probably shouldn’t be on a list like this. I’m guessing most Little Rockers know The Works, but hey, maybe you need a reminder of the sandwich’s excellence. How does grilled pimiento cheese on sourdough bread with poblano peppers, thin, fried green tomatoes and bacon, sound? Creamy, crunchy, tart and a little spicy—it’s all there!

Broiled Atlantic Salmon at Ciao Baci
This dish has my name written all over it. I love both salmon and grilled Romaine, and the chef Owen gets all crazy and adds fried onion rings and beet hash to the mix. I’m in. It’s also doesn’t hurt that Ciao Baci isn’t stingy with its fish portions.

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Black Cod Samfaina at The Terrace
Speaking of fish, my goodness, have you tried the black cod samfaina at The Terrace? Also, why has it taken me damn near three years to eat at this restaurant? Shame on me! This beautiful piece of pan-seared cod is accompanied by a deliciously salty ragu of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and onions.

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Calzone at The Pizzeria at Terry’s
Do you love a classic, Neo-style pizza? Well then, The Pizzeria at Terry’s is the place for you. And if you enjoy said pizza but instead like it folded in half and stuffed with various ingredients and topped with Bonta Toscana Garlic Sauce, then order the calzone. It’s both chewy and crispy, with just enough char on the edges to impart that wonderful smoky flavor.

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10 Dishes You Need to Know in Little Rock

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For reasons unbeknownst to me, certain dishes seem to fall under the radar. Every few months I’ll highlight some of these dishes, tell you what makes them so good, and hopefully inspire you to check them out for yourself, if you haven’t done so already. In no particular order, here are the 10 Dishes You Need to Know.

Bibimbap at Hanaroo
Bibim…what? Bibimbap is a very traditional hot pot Korean dish filled with rice and vegetables and topped with a soft-boiled egg. While most folks order Hanaroo’s sushi, the often overlooked bibimbap is where it’s at. This is Korean comfort food at its best, and if you’re willing to branch out just a bit, Hanaroo’s bibimbap is a great option.

Greek Salad at Little Greek Restaurant
Yes, save the speech … I know Little Greek is a chain, but it’s a really good chain. Is it better than Layla’s? No. But their Greek salad, loaded with onions, beets, fresh greens and potato salad, is dynamite.

Meat Pies at Maddie’s Place
Heck, pass on the shrimp and grits and fried catfish for once and order the meat pies as an entrée. They’ll be sure to please. Rich cuts of beef inside a flaky, buttery empanada-like crust doesn’t sound like a bad lunch to me.

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Cheesecake at The Pantry
Cool name aside, forgo The Pantry’s chocolate salami in favor of their cheesecake. This is coming from someone who isn’t a huge fan of cheesecake. It’s the best I’ve come across in Little Rock, due in large part to that insanely awesome brûléed top. The thing is a work of art.

Chicken Sandwich at David’s Burgers
Why on earth would you walk into David’s and order a chicken sandwich (instead of a typical beef burger) every now and then? Two reasons. One, your fat ass might be interested in living past 45, and two, it’s pretty tasty. David’s does things differently by putting a slight grind to the chicken. This yields a thin patty that stays juicy throughout the grilling process.

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Chicken Tostada at Taqueria Karina
This beauty is comprised of a crispy fried tostada lined with a thin layer of refried beans, then topped with marinated chicken, diced tomatoes, lettuce, grilled onions, cheese and sour cream. Resist the temptation to smash the entire concoction into your pie hole, as most of it will end up on your khakis (speaking from experience).

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Cheeseburger at Terry’s Finer Foods
Yes, I’m a hypocrite, but sometimes a good cheeseburger can cure all that ails you. We love our burgers here in Little Rock, but I’m not sure many people know about the one at Terry’s. It’s a thicker patty covered in cheese (of your choice) and served on a soft bun with all the usual fixings. It’s classic and simple and oh so good.

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Sauteed Mushroom in Oyster Sauce at Fantastic China
I adore this dish’s simplicity. All you’re talking about is some chopped mushrooms and green onions in a delicate, sweet and savory oyster sauce, but it really hits the spot. This light dish makes for a perfect during-the-week lunch.

Rabbit Fettuccine at Natchez
Granted, you might walk into Natchez and the rabbit fettuccine isn’t even on the menu that day. But switching things up has always been a trademark of the menu, and the rabbit fettuccine’s inclusion on this list is really just a general endorsement of Natchez’s fantastic handmade pasta.

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Cherry Shaved Ice at Le Pops
Everyone goes into Le Pops with one thing on the mind … popsicles! But have you tried one of Laurie’s hand-shaved ices? Get the cherry (real cherry syrup) and watch how fast you gobble up the powdery snow.

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Stopping by the Hillcrest Farmers Market

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Ten-year-old N. Shalin is back with her monthly take on food in Little Rock!

The farmers market is a great place to get local and fresh fruits and veggies! The Hillcrest Farmers Market is set up on Kavanaugh and is open from 7 a.m-noon on Saturdays. They always have great booths and products. There is anything from pastries to pasta sauce!

One of the venders is The Pie Hole food truck, which sells dynamite pies. I tried their lime icebox pie and it was delicious! Some of their other options are the Boston cream pie and the chicken pot pie.

The Bonta Toscana booth is amazing! They sell a divine garlic sauce that you can put on pizza, pasta and more. The sauce has a little heat to it, but is very mild.

Also, Arkansas Fresh Bakery is a great vendor to purchase bread products. Everything they make is local and fresh! Did you know that a lot of their bread products are sold at many restaurants a cross Little Rock?

Bodacious Farms is another great vendor at the market. They sell lots of fruits and veggies. I recently purchased some of their tomatoes and okra, which were great!

Freckle Face Farm is a great place to buy meat like bacon and sausage. Mylo Coffee Co. is a pastry and coffee vendor which does fantastic sweet treats.

As you can see, the Hillcrest Farmers Market is a great place to buy fresh and local food.

By: N. Shalin

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Eat Dallas: Dan in Real Life

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Last Saturday morning, four dudes (myself included) jumped into a car and headed down to Dallas for a weekend filled with food gluttony. Make no mistake, we all ate a lot, but one member, Daniel F-ing Walker, truly separated himself from the group with his massive appetite. Here’s how his day went:

Dale’s Donuts (in Benton)
(1) buttermilk donut, (1) apple fritter and (12) donut holes

Commentary: Within 20 minutes of the start to our mini-vacation, the group was already in awe of Daniel’s greatness (insanity?). As you can see, he took down a face-sized fritter, along with a pile of holes.

CBD Provisions
(3) fried chicken legs, (1) bowl of mac and cheese, (1) cup of fried Brussels sprouts, (2) Dr. Peppers and random bites of cornbread and chili

Commentary: Pretty par for the course with Walker. He had gone 3+ hours without eating, so I knew he’d tear it up, without going too far. The problem? Within 30 minutes, we’d be at a pizza joint.

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Cane Rosso
(1/2) of a 13-inch Neo-style pizza

Commentary: Dan didn’t overdo it at Cane Rosso. Granted, the thin pizza crust wasn’t loaded down with cheese. But the other toppings, like sausage, bacon, and mushrooms, were quite substantial. And half a pizza is still half a pizza … especially when you’ve consumed five donuts for breakfast.

Top Pot Doughnuts
(4) donuts and (1) apple fritter

Commentary: Complete insanity has set in. No, you’re not seeing things…we headed straight to the doughnut shop after Cane Rosso, where Dan took down even more donuts. “I have to have something sweet after a big meal.”

Whole Foods
(1) cherry vanilla soda and numerous samples of food

Commentary: During my 20-minute chair massage at Whole Foods (damn proud of it), Daniel took time to reflect on his day’s eating habits. While doing so, he crushed a soda and various food samples.

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Tei-An
(1) dumpling, (3) pieces of sushi, (1/2) cup of soba noodles, (2) shrimp, mushrooms and (4) pieces of veggie tempura

Commentary: Pretty respectable dinner … maybe for someone who has eaten a VERY light breakfast and lunch. But, as you can see, that was not the case with Mr. Walker. At this point in the evening, he was starting to hate life. But not enough to miss out on…

Angry Dog
(2-3) cups of tortilla chips, (1/2) cup of salsa, (1/2) cup of queso, (3) Dr. Peppers

Commentary: Just a little snack, right? Wrong … that’s a lot of food for 10 p.m.

Fuel City Tacos
(3) street tacos, a few bites of a beef burrito, and (2) king-sized candy bars

Commentary: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little late night snack, is there?

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