Archive for category Unique Randomness

Unique Randomness: BBQ News, Buffets Galore, & Table 28 Shines at Italian

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Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

Chef Scott Rains at Table 28 hosted our latest TMR dinner and proved once again why he can hold his own with any chef in this region. Every dish from the 6-course Italian dinner delighted, with highlights including the Warm Tripe Alla Parmigiana, the Grilled Octopus with Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette, and the crowd favorite Fennel Dusted Sweetbreads, Sweet & Sour Onions, Duck Bacon, Brussels, & Vinaigrette. Kudos to Rains and the entire staff for a delightful evening.

Is it just me or is that area off Rodney Parham (near Franke’s) experiencing somewhat of a resurgence? With Al Seraj, Flavor of India, Taj Mahal, and what looks to be an almost open Asia Buffet … it’s time to dub that area Buffet Row. And I mean that in a good way.

What will happen to the old Savoy space? Do you think another high-end restaurant will go in there? Would it succeed? It’s a little bit of a funky location, but not any crazier than Table 28, which is just down the block.

We did a poll over on Facebook this week about the best French fries in Little Rock. A quick scan of responses had Big Orange as the favorite with Maddie’s Place a close second. Hard to argue with that.

As previously stated on Twitter, what is up with so many places dumping mac & cheese on a perfectly good hamburger? Doesn’t this seem ridiculous or am I being overly critical? Probably the latter.

I stumbled upon another fantastic local baker, this time at Sunday’s Bernice Garden Farmers Market. Twiggy’s Treatery, based out of Sherwood, does all sorts of sweet treats, like strawberry tarts, oatmeal cream pies, banana bread, and chocolate chunk cookies (with Izard Chocolate). It was my first time trying them out, so I can only vouch for the oatmeal cream pie, but it was fantastic and definitely will inspire future purchases from Twiggy’s.

My buddy Rob over at WaterVeg has ramped up production of his aquaponic lettuce. For $12 a basket, you get four plants of living produce, one each of red and green Romaine, and red and green Bibb. I just received my first basket the other day and couldn’t be more pleased with the quality and taste. You can order the basket on a weekly, biweekly, and monthly basis, and each one is delivered right to your front door.

Lost Forty is set to up its bbq game with the addition of some monster smokers. This is potentially great news for a city lacking in top-notch bbq. I think the main question now becomes who will run and oversee these bad boys?

Doesn’t that former FRESH Eatery space near the Capitol seem like a wonderful opportunity for someone? While it may not be the ideal dinner destination, it strikes me as a perfect spot for lunch.

Finally, Sharon Woodson over at Honey Pies recently announced that she’ll be going brick and mortar with a WLR location. Sharon is so passionate about what she does, works her tail off, and is determined to make the very best pies around. All the best to her!

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Unique Randomness: Waffle House, Packet House, and a To-Do List for Shackleford

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Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

Apparently, Little Rock now has a new food truck court … or something of that nature … in downtown at 8th/Chester. According to the website, “The Food Truck Stop is the place to get all of the tasty Food Truck Food you crave everyday! It comes equipped with “Inside Seating to relax as you eat!” and “Multiple Food Trucks Daily offering a variety of menus you won’t find anywhere else!” There’s even, “On-site Parking, a large indoor open seating area, clean restrooms, free Wi-Fi and flat screen televisions make this a great place to take a food break everyday!–Oh and yes -we have an on-site bakery with the best sweets in town! –Brown Sugar Bakeshop-Express.” Personally, I’m not going to pass judgment on the place until I go check it out. Here’s hoping this is a quality spot, run right, that can provide an accessible place for our local food trucks. Looks like things get going on January 19.

By now, we’ve all heard the news on the latest development for Packet House. Coincidentally, this news broke hours after I brought up the damn topic. My insanely awesome plan of a rising chef taking over the spot and making it a culinary destination went straight to the shit can. Instead, it will be an exclusive club for politicians who fancy nice cigars. Oh well. In the end, I guess this is better than the place just sitting there vacant for years.

Rock Town Distillery is holding a special barrel tasting event on Friday, January 29th at 5:30. Looks like there’s only 10 spots available, so if you’re interested, better jump on it.

Igibon in WLR closed a couple weeks back.

Anyone else going through kBird withdrawal? I really need my fix. Soon.

I really think that stretch of Shackleford between Markham and Rodney Parham is prime for a Renaissance. Here’s my 5-step plan to make it happen: 1. Tell K-Mart to get a facelift or get the hell out. That store looks like a dump. 2. Make the old Ponchito’s spot into a world-class barbeque joint (ahem…Yellow Rocket). 3. Turn that old Famous Dave’s spot into a Melting Pot. (I know, I know…but you need a decent, well-known chain to help bring the folks out). 4. Make Pho Thanh My re-do its parking lot … for no other reason than I think it sucks. 5. Make the old Kroger across the street into a Trader Joe’s. Boom!

ICYMI, I really liked Lulu’s.

I mentioned Roxy’s Twisted Sandwiches last week … looks like Little Rock’s newest food truck will be having a soft opening in front of Flyway Brewing next month.

I’ve been plugging the Vive La Vie show a lot on my social media. It’s a great show–highlighting personalities in the food and drink world–run by one of my favorite people, Alexia Elichiry of De Nux Distributors. Check it out on KABF 88.3 FM on Friday mornings from 9:30-10. You can even listen through the Listen Live link on the website.

“Was dipping my hair in this pot a bad thing? Because if I had known that was a bad thing, then I wouldn’t have done it.”

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Unique Randomness: Stop Your Whining, NLR

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Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

One complaint I often hear from many NLR readers is how there are no good restaurants in the area. That’s bullshit. Make no mistake, the NLR-area is chalk full of chains, but if you look a little deeper, you’ll find some of the better restaurants in Central Arkansas are right there in Dogtown. Mugs Café, Good Food by Ferneau, and Capeo in the Argenta District are all good. You’ve got Flyway Brewing and Diamond Bear right down the street. Head north and you’ll find Mr. Chengs, Chang Thai, Zaffino’s, and Rosalinda’s. I’ve heard really good things about Scoop Dog, Ira’s Park Hill Grill, and Guadalajara. And these are just a few…there are many more. Hell, you have one of the best donut shops in the country in Mark’s. Could things be better? Yes. Could they be a hell of a lot worse? Absolutely.

Anyone else get a little depressed when you drive by the old Packet House? What a structure…what a location…what potential. I don’t know the logistics on why it just sits there, but I really wish someone would buy the property, lure an awesome chef from a place like Austin, and make it into an elite dining destination.

Eggshells has some really good cooking classes coming up in the very near future, with names like Capi Peck, Scott Rains, and Sarah DeClerk ready to expound on some food knowledge.

You really should be following local pie-maker Honey Pies when you get a free sec. I tried out one of Sharon’s pies at a holiday party and was blown away by her Gingerbread Apple. And this is coming from someone who tends to frown upon eating apple pies. I know…that’s a topic for another day. Anyways, go follow Honey Pies and please consider ordering a pie from Sharon.

Looks like we have ourselves a new food truck. Thanks to Little Rock Soiree for breaking the story on Roxy’s Twisted Sandwiches. Frankly, I know absolutely nothing about this food truck, but I give mad props to the folks for creating something that looks quite unique. Here’s hoping it tastes great as well.

A reader wanted to know if any place(s) in town serve chicken spaghetti. All I could find from my research was that Diane’s Gourmet sells it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any actual restaurants. If you have some suggestions, we’re all ears.

I often wonder how some restaurants stay open in this town. I won’t name names, but I drive by several places all of the time and often see 1-2 cars in front of them, yet the restaurant stays open…for months, hell, years. How is this possible?

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Unique Randomness: Pizza Craze, Soft Openings, and Burned by BBQ

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My random thoughts about anything in the Little Rock food scene and beyond…

Packing the Meat – Is it so wrong to walk into a grocery story, find a $102 piece of meat, stuff it down your pants, and walk out? Apparently so.

Waiting Game – I’m curious … with the boom in destination bbq joints across the country, and with it, insane wait times, how long would you be willing to wait for top-notch ‘cue. 1 hour? 2? 3+? What is your absolute limit? Personally, about 3 hours would be my absolute breaking point, and that would only be for world class bbq. And it would have to be less than 90 degrees outside.

Meat Toss – “Hey, where did you get that second degree burn on your neck?”

Best New Restaurants – Take a list like this one with a grain of salt (no pun intended), but if you’re traveling in the near future, you may want to give it a read and try out a few of these places. I’ve got my eye on Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco.

Pizza Pizza – I love pizza just as much as the next guy, but do you feel like Little Rock has become saturated with pizza joints? We have some really good options–Vino’s, Raduno’s, Damgoode, Terry’s, NYPD, Iriana’s, Bruno’s, Capeo, ZAZA (just to name a few)–but I often wonder if they can all make it. Burgers and pizza rule in this market, as they do in other U.S. cities, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see even more places pop up.

Soft Openings – I agree with this. Enough is enough with these soft openings.

Sweet October – D-Walker and I were just talking about how October is a damn busy month in Little Rock. Festivals, shows, events, dinners … you name it and chances are it’s happening in our town. It would be nice to see the love spread out just a bit across the year, rather than load up on a few fall weekends.

Oishi? – I’m not knocking the place because I’ve actually never eaten there, but Oishi is in such a prime location and yet seems to have so little buzz. It’s right on Kavanaugh in the middle of the Heights and I never hear anything about the restaurant. Have you been? How was it? If I go, any particular dish I should order?

Grass Roots Effort – I love the Grass Roots Coop. Please consider joining.

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