Archive for category Q to the A

Q to the A: Patti Stobaugh of Stoby’s & PattiCakes Bakery

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Patti Stobaugh gives us an update on Stoby’s in Conway, how she got into the food business, what to expect from her in the future, and even her three favorite movies.

What is your official title?
I’m the co-owner of Stoby’s and PattiCakes Bakery.

How much of your time is spent with PattiCakes and how much with Stoby’s?
Prior to THE fire, I’d say it was 95% PattiCakes and 5% Stoby’s. Now it is about 50/50.

How long has PattiCakes been around?
We first opened in Russellville (next to Stoby’s) on October 17, 2006. The Conway location opened on November 11, 2010. We sold the Russellville PattiCakes in June 2011.

You married into the food business, how was that transition at first?
I have always been a foodie, even before it was cool. That is one of the reasons David and I hit it off so well from day one. I was working as a corporate accountant at the time and really never liked the accounting field. The food business was a great diversion. When I quit my job, David had hoped I would take over our accounting. I really, really didn’t want to. It took a while to sort that out, but we finally did.

What’s some of the biggest challenges of running multiple restaurants?
Consistency

What’s a typical day for you look like?
This is the best part of the food business … no two days are the same! I am an early riser. It is when I do my best thinking. Supporting our community is a top priority. I am the one out more in public, while David is the behind the scene brains. Because we are in business together and we are empty nesters, it seems we work all the time. But we enjoy it.

What’s the strangest request you’ve received at the bakery?
Anatomically correct cakes. We don’t do them. Hearing some people attempt to describe what they want is the best part!

Regarding Stoby’s, you suffered a major fire and had to rebuild from the ground up … how has that gone and what can diners expect from the new Stoby’s?
In one word … slow! We never expected a total fire loss. Because Stoby’s was in a building that has primarily been a restaurant since the 1940’s and home to Stoby’s since 1980, it was a lovable dump. And I mean that in the kindest way possible. Bringing the restaurant up to 2016 standards, making it ADA compliant, complying with the requests made by the City of Conway, all took time during the design phase. Initially, we planned to rebuild exactly as it was, with the required updates. Our building is on the corner of Donaghey and Robinson, an intersection that is now quite busy. The city disallowed ten parking spaces that had cars backing into that busy intersection. We completely understand that decision. However, that was the first domino that fell regarding changes to be made. Our final design plan was to replicate the original dining room with an obvious addition. The end goal being if someone didn’t know we had suffered a fire loss, they would think we remodeled and added on. We will have twice as much dining space, more parking and you no longer will have to walk through the kitchen to use the restroom.

What is your ETA on Stoby’s re-opening?
Late summer 2017, hopefully sooner.

I gotta ask you about Stoby’s famous cheese dip … was it a hit from day one or did its popularity take a little time?
That was David’s invention. His desire was to make a mild enough cheese dip for children to get hooked on. Then the kids would bring their parents to eat at Stoby’s! It caught on immediately.

Outside of the rebuild, what are you looking to accomplish professionally in the next 2-3 years?
I would like to attend culinary school so that I understand the science of food. Although I come from a family of great cooks, I would like to understand the why behind what I’ve been taught by the important cooks in my formative years.

Now for some fun…

What’s your favorite movie?
I don’t have one. I have three … Chariots of Fire, The Intouchables and The Shawshank Redemption.

What are you five favorite restaurants in Little Rock?
The Pantry, South on Main, The Fold, Samantha’s and Trio’s

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
Paula Deen. She is a hot mess.

If you could go to any concert, who would it be and who would you take?
Tina Turner with my hubs. If he didn’t want to go, I would go with my only friend that would sing louder than me, Beckye Ezell.

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Honey Pies Opens in WLR, Q/A with Owner Sharon Woodson

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Good news … Honey Pies is officially open, well, let’s call it a soft open. Owner Sharon Woodson gives us all the details on the new storefront and what to expect now and in the future.

Let’s get this out of the way, what is your estimated opening date for the Honey Pies shop?
Right now I need to be spending my time organizing the store front but customers love my pies and the orders keep coming. Opening the doors this week with a soft opening makes the most sense right now while I continue getting everything ready.

What will your eventual hours be once you get settled?
This week I’ll be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM with my hand-made pies and Loblolly Ice Cream. Next week, I’ll add coffee to the menu and hope to expand into the morning hours with full coffee service next month. We’ll host a grand opening party later in August.

What is the address of the storefront?
Honey Pies is located at 315 North Bowman Road, Suite 14, Little Rock in the Colonnade shopping center on Bowman Curve.

I was just in your shop and think the space is beautiful. What was your inspiration behind the design?
Thank you for the kind compliment! I am 100% in love with how the space turned out. The credit goes to Laure at L. Antonetti Design. I definitely wanted the space to be bright and have the welcoming feel of a southern kitchen. In the south we say the kitchen is the heart of the home and Laure completely nailed that concept.

What kind of pies can customers expect to see on a regular basis, and will you sell both whole pies and pie-by-the-slice?
We will bake pies daily for walk in customers and continue taking special orders. Additionally, there will be a rotating selection of sliced pies, Loblolly Ice Cream, cookies, brownies and other pastries to enjoy in our dining area or to take with you to-go. Honey Pies made it this far by listening to our customers and asking what they would like to see. Keeping us focused on our customers’ needs will continue to be my top priority.

I’ve always known you to be big on collaborations and supporting other local businesses. How do you plan to incorporate these partnerships into what you’ll be doing at the shop?
We set aside some space in the shop to showcase a small market of local items. We partnered with Me and McGee Produce, LK Rustic, Geri’s Jams & Jellies, Loblolly Creamery, & Leiva’s Coffee. We’re also working on several ideas to promote Arkansas’ No Kid Hungry program and are involved with events with Little Rock’s Taste of the Finest and Women’s Own Worth.

You have a huge presence at various food truck events. Will this continue?
I hope so! I took a big leap of faith and swapped my SUV for a cute little Honey Pies delivery van named “Honey.” We plan to utilize her for catering, deliveries and food truck events so you’ll continue to see us all around the community.

I’ve tried many of your pies … for someone who’s never had one, what would you say makes them unique?
Butter! There are lots of places who make their own pie filling, but the major difference in our pies is the quality of our ingredients and the crust. Most bakeries buy pre-shaped frozen dough or make their own crust using shortening to keep the dough easy to work with. This cuts cost but also cuts flavor. At Honey Pies, we don’t believe in taking short cuts and instead use butter just as my grandmother did. We love to boast our crusts are rolled by hand and baked with love. Sometimes we joke our crusts are rolled by hand and baked with butter. Everything we offer is made from scratch and I’m a firm believer that little details add up to big differences. Butter is more difficult to work with and more expensive, but it’s absolutely worth it in the end.

How long have you been making pie?
I honestly have no idea; I think I just always have! I was in the kitchen standing on a chair cooking with my grandmother as a little girl and have continued her methods through today.

You’re taking over the lease for the space formerly occupied by BASH Burger. What do you foresee happening with that?
Tell me what you’d like to see! We’d love to know what our community would like to see in the space. The main goal right now is getting the dining room ready to re-open. We have been working hard renovating and have plans to reopen the space as a restaurant with the same attention to detail you find at Honey Pies.

What are you looking forward to most about having your own shop?
I am looking forward to a slower paced environment and making more connections within our community. Being on the food truck circuit, my interaction with our community feels very rushed. Honey Pies is really an extension of my home and I love the thought of being able to welcome our community inside our Honey Pies home and host all of the new friends I have made while making new friends along the way.

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Q to the A: Talking Food with Kelley Bass

Vino's Pizza

Vino’s Pizza

1. Where were you born and how long have you lived in Little Rock? I was born at St. Vincent Infirmary, moved to Bryant when I was 8, returned to Little Rock after college graduation in 1981 and other than living in Springfield, Mo., from 1992 to mid-1995, I’ve been in Little Rock ever since.

2. What cuisine would you rate as your most favorite? I’d have to say Mexican, or at least Tex-Mex. I adore high-quality guacamole, cheese dip and tamales. And you can take the other basic Mex ingredients and combine them in almost any way and I’ll like the result. I used to frequent a greasy-spoon place called Pancho’s La Casita that was in a pink building on Broadway just east of Interstate 30, where every dish looked the same. We called it “brown with cheese.” Great low-rent stuff.

3. What city (that you’ve never been to) would you enjoy visiting solely for the food? Nice, France. Best country to eat in the world (sorry, Italy) with painfully fresh seafood to boot.

4. Where’s the best place you’ve eaten in the past year, and what did you order? Brave New Restaurant. Heirloom tomato platter as an appetizer and pan-seared walleye with a blueberry beurre blanc for the main course.

5. Where is your go-to Little Rock pizza place? Vino’s. Been eating pizza there for decades, but my last pie was the best I’ve ever had — sausage and mushroom with extra cheese. Damn, it was fine. (Love Iriana’s, too, and Gusano’s — the traditional, not Chicago style — is underrated by most.)

6. What Little Rock chef would you have cook in your home…and what would you have he/she prepare? Paul Novicky, who has been off the scene for years. I’d let him design the multi-course menu, but I’d ask that it include a soup and a fish dish with a sauce. Soups and sauces often reveal a chef’s level of expertise, in my opinion. And he was the culinary brains behind the much-missed Spaule in the Heights, for years LR’s top fine-dining spot.

7. You have to put together a 3-course meal (app, entree, and dessert) from three different Little Rock restaurants. What would be your choices to create this perfect meal? Doe’s tamales, the evening fish special from Brave New and banana pudding from the Capital Bar and Grill. Schizophrenic theme for the meal, but each course is excellent in its own inimitable way. If you’ve never had the CB&G’s banana pudding, do it. Now.

8. Where’s the last place you ate for lunch and what did you order? Business lunch at Bosco’s — blackened fish sandwich (served just as a filet with no bread or lettuce/tomato) with remoulade and fries. Got extra remoulade and used that for both the fish and the fries.

9. What Little Rock restaurant have you never eaten at that might surprise people? Romano’s Macaroni Grill. I tried to go a couple of times when it first opened but there were really long waits. I just never got back. I rarely do national chains, and I rarely eat in West Little Rock (other than The Pantry), so I guess I’ll never go, and I’m sure that won’t bother me too much.

10. What Arkansas celebrity, dead or alive, would you enjoy having a drink with? Johnny Cash — no doubt about it. Would love to hear his stories and generally bask in his considerable brilliance. (Billy Bob Thornton would be No. 2 for same reasons.)

Kelley has been reviewing restaurants (for publications like the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Times) for more than 25 years.

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Q to the A: Catching Up With Thanh Rasico of Red Kitchen Recipes

The Squid at Table 28. Perfect appetizer!

The Squid at Table 28. Perfect appetizer!

Ever wonder what other foodies are thinking? Me too! Special thanks to Thanh Rasico for her participation!

1. Where were you born and how long have you lived in Little Rock? I was born in Qui Nhon, a South Central coastal city in Vietnam. I narrowly escaped during the fall of Saigon as a baby, then our family was sponsored by a Catholic family in Nashville, AR and I have been in Little Rock since August 1992.

2. How would you describe the Little Rock dining scene? I think it’s very community – oriented, personal, global, and eclectic. We’ve all gotten really close in the last few years it seems. Fancy Pants Foodie Christie Ison mentioned in a post after a recent Arkansas Women Bloggers conference about how my friend Chef Donnie Ferneau was a great friend to the food community. It’s true. So many chefs and restaurant owners are our friends. They know that there are those of us who respect what they do so much, we blog, Tweet, and Facebook about their delicious & beautiful offerings when we receive them. I was fortunate enough to experience food in Forty – Two at the Clinton Library in the kitchen, watching the executive chef and sous chefs prepare then plate food with such care and precision, I felt how personal it was. They want their food to be enjoyed. Such people pleasers. We have so many wonderful choices from around the globe from Indian, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Southern, BBQ, and Greek in my opinion. I love the eclectic choices that you can find all over Little Rock from Argenta to South on Main to Southwest Little Rock. Each time I walk into Chi’s in West Little Rock, the same guy greets me with such warmth, it’s like I’m entering his home. He knows what kind of wine I like, too. That’s the kind of personal touch I love in the dining scene of Little Rock.

3. What city (that you’ve never been to) would you enjoy visiting solely for the food? Just one? No? Okay, I think Boston, Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley, and Parma, Italy!

4. Where’s the best place you’ve eaten in the past year, and what did you order? Table 28 has been the best restaurant I’ve eaten in the past year because their style of food truly matches my taste. It reminds me a lot of Ferneau, which was my favorite for years, and I spent 4 birthday celebrations there with great friends. For my bday this past October, I was at Table 28. We had Tabasco butter quail bird lollipops, wagyu carpaccio, bone marrow, sea bass, lamb, boursin filet, asparagus, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and the tongue and cheek. We all shared. SO Good!

5. What are a few of your guilty pleasure food items? The McRib from McDonalds – a once a year thing. I have to have it though. Gus’s Fried Chicken, although I’m on a break there since they totally botched up my last to – go order. The Peking duck at Chi’s – crispy skin and all.

6. What are your three favorite dishes to cook? Duck breast, lamb chops, and shirataki noodles with calamari.

Will Thanh give Gus's another shot?

Will Thanh give Gus’s another shot?

7. You have to put together a 3-course meal (app, entree, and dessert) from three different Little Rock restaurants. What would be your choices to create this perfect meal? Is this meal free? Then my current dream 3 – course meal would be: An appetizer from Table 28: their tender, delicious squid that melts in your mouth. Then the wagyu ribeye from Arthur’s – so much flavor! Medium rare. And Vesuvio’s Chocolate Tort a la mode with Raspberry Sauce.

8. Where’s the last place you ate for lunch and what did you order? The Afterthought Bistro: Truffle Parmesan Fries for an appetizer split with 5 office friends, a cup of Clam Chowder, and Salad add Ahi Tuna……soooo good!!!!

9. What Little Rock restaurant have you never eaten at that might surprise people?
I don’t think there is one. I hate that I never ate at Sir Loins Inn. I always wanted to, but hated that I didn’t get to. Jacque & Suzanne’s was another legendary place that closed before I went. Among other notable eateries…I haven’t had Mylo’s or The Waffle Wagon, but I know I need to!

10. What is your absolute favorite small town restaurant in Arkansas? Eureka Springs – Local Flavor, DeVitos, Ermilios, and Rogue’s Manor

Please check out Thanh’s blog … Red Kitchen Recipes!

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