Three men, one food truck…let’s see how this one turned out!
I was joined by Michael Roberts of Eat Arkansas/Arkansas Foodies fame, along with Daniel Walker from Eat Arkansas, for lunch yesterday at the immobile food truck Hot ‘Lanta (located on Asher Ave. near University). As I got out of my car and headed for the order window, Michael relayed to me a little history of the area. This included the invention of a famous hair care product just a stone’s throw away, as well as one of his former acquaintances o.d.-ing in a nearby motel.
Who wouldn’t be hungry after hearing such news?
But the real question was…what in the world were we doing here at this non-descript food truck near the UALR campus? The answer: the rumor of some potentially mean chicken and waffles.
Daniel, a.k.a . Mr. Sugar, went all-in with the c and w’s. I opted for the patty melt with a side of fried okra and bottled water ($7.20 total). Michael selected the fried catfish sandwich and onion rings. As you can probably tell from our ordering, Hot ‘Lanta has very few, if any, menu items that won’t send you to an early death. My fried okra was considered eatin’ healthy.
All three orders were out within ten minutes. While my patty melt was somewhat pedestrian (due to the well-done patty), the fried okra was some of the best I’ve had in a long time—just a perfect fry job on Little Rock’s favorite veggie. The coating was thick, crispy, and not greasy at all. The okra itself was fresh and lacked that slimy texture that can at times make the vegetable a tad underwhelming. And though Michael mocked me for utilizing ketchup, I didn’t even let this mild ribbing deter me from dipping each piece into the sacred condiment. “You eat your okra with ketchup?” (This coming from the guy who slathered hot sauce all over his sandwich.)
“Hell yeah,” said I.
I bet you’re wondering how those chicken and waffles turned out. I can only vouch for the waffle part of the equation. Quite simply, the taste I had will bring me back for more. The sheer deliciousness of that bite was probably one of the bigger culinary surprises from my time in Little Rock. The entrée included a set of four small waffles, each super thick, but not dense. The light interior and crispy outside proved to be a perfect combination to soak up a ton of maple syrup. Throw in some deep fried chicken wings and you’ve got one of the most unhealthy, yet delicious dishes imaginable.
Make no mistake, Hot ‘Lanta is guilty pleasure eating. And we all need a little of that every now and again.
*Photos courtesy of Michael Roberts