Plenty of Pride & Joy at Ron Robinson Theater

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What an enjoyable evening last Saturday night at the Ron Robinson Theater! Foodies got together for beers, bites, the viewing of Southern Foodways Alliance’s Pride & Joy and a discussion panel comprised of food and drink heavyweights Chef Matt Bell (South on Main), Chef Travis McConnell (Butcher & Public), Sally Mengel (Loblolly Creamery), Ian Beard (Stone’s Throw Brewing), Cody Hopkins (Falling Sky Farm) and Josiah Moody (Moody Brews), and moderated by yours truly.

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Things got going at 6 p.m. with nibbles of food in the alleyway provided by Bell, Mengel and McConnell. Truthfully, speaking in front of folks kind of kills my appetite, so I passed on the food. But walking around and listening to others indicated things were well-received.

Before I knew it, 6:50 p.m. had arrived and it was time to grab a Moody Brews beer in the lobby and take my seat for Pride & Joy. This Joe York documentary captures the essence of the Southern food culture by spotlighting icons such as Allan Benton of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Earl Cruze of Cruze Dairy Farm and Arkansas’ own Rhoda Adams of Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales, just to name a few. The film proves not only to be informative, but profoundly inspirational and at times funny, as you view one segment after another of passionate people dedicating their lives to food.

After the movie, most of the crowd stuck around and listened to some of Little Rock’s finest talk food, drink, ice cream and causes like No Kid Hungry—a perfect transition as many of their stories were similar to those of the people highlighted in the film and certainly resonated with the audience.

The entire evening only cost $10 a ticket (which included the film and food), an amazingly reasonable price for an evening filled with such culture. Here’s hoping the crew over at Ron Robinson puts together more of these evenings.

Little Rock needs them.

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Around Town: Charities, Local Eateries Team Up

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With the holidays quickly approaching, charitable events are in full swing around Little Rock. Fortunately, many of our area restaurant owners and/or chefs, along with small food/drink business owners are playing a integral part in helping to ensure memorable and successful events.

Here’s a rundown of upcoming events:

1. Come Celebrate the 25th Annual Silent Sunday this Sunday, October 26th from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center. “Sponsored by the Central Arkansas Independent Restaurant Operators, Silent Sunday has become one of the most anticipated fall events in central Arkansas. All the proceeds from this exciting event go directly to technology programs at the Arkansas School for the Deaf. Again this year, Central Arkansas’ best independent restaurants will bring their signature dishes to form the biggest tasting buffet in Arkansas. With just one ticket you can sample delicious dishes from each of our participating restaurants.” Advance tickets are $25 for adults ($30 at the door) and $12 for kids 6-12.

2. Central Arkansas Signature Chefs Auction will be held Tuesday, October 28th (6 p.m.) at the Wally Allen Ballroom inside the Statehouse Convention Center. “Supporters will enjoy a variety of wines, music, culinary offerings from many of Little Rock’s top restaurants, and premiere live and silent auctions with unique items. There will also be a Fund the Mission component that allows our guests to donate directly to our mission. Proceeds raised by Signature Chefs Auction directly benefit the local chapter of March of Dimes enabling the funding of local research grants, community services, education and advocacy to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality everywhere.” And rumor has it Sally Mengel of Loblolly Creamery will be providing a trio of mini ice cream sammies for the event! For ticket information, please click here.

3. Youth Home’s newest annual event, The Next Course, will be held in the Great Hall of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library on October 30th. A wine reception begins at 6 p.m. and the first course will be served at 7 p.m. “The Next Course is a unique and fresh take on the typical fundraiser in Little Rock. Executive Chefs Stephen Burrow from Clinton Presidential Center and Shane Henderson from Ben E. Keith, along with Clinton Presidential Center sous and pastry chefs, will lead guests in an instructional culinary experience, course by course. Wine will be served with dinner; seating is limited to 192. Individual tickets are $125, sponsorship starts at $1500. All of the proceeds from this evening will be used to purchase, repair, and update kitchen equipment for the residential and day treatment campus located on Colonel Glenn Road. The kitchen prepares over 114,000 meals per year.”

4. The Arkansas Gladney Family Association will host Raise A Glass for Gladney on Thursday, November 6th at the Arkansas Arts Center (6-9 p.m.), a wine tasting and live auction benefitting the Gladney Fund. You can also expect cupcakes provided by Kelly Marks of Sweet Love. Tickets are $75 each.

5. South on Main’s owner/chef Matt Bell teams up with four other chefs, including Felicia Suzanne of Felicia Suzanne’s in Memphis, Travis McConnell of Butcher & Public, Jeff Owens of Ciao Baci and Kelli Marks of Sweet Love to host a multi-course dinner, benefitting No Kid Hungry on November 10th at South on Main. Reception starts at 6 p.m. and features cocktails from David Burnette of South on Main and Lee Edwards of Yellow Rocket Concepts. Funds raised will support No Kid Hungry’s efforts in Arkansas. Tickets are $150 each, with a variety of packages, as well as sponsorships opportunities available.

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The Little Rock Food Blogger Round-Up

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Little Rock’s food scene is at an all-time high. With it, comes an increase in writing on blogs, publications and social media. This is a good thing. These insights and opinions get people talking, helping lead to a stronger food community. The Little Rock Food Blogger Round-Up grabs links from a variety of sources throughout the city, putting them all in one post for your reading pleasure. So, let’s get to it.

In the mood for some Fattoush? Ever heard of Fattoush? Just want any excuse imaginable to say Fattoush? Christie over at Fancy Pants Foodie has you covered.

Georgeanne at Eggshells Kitchen Co. offers up 5 Discontinued Foods We Tots Miss. Hint: the KFC Doubledown makes an appearance.

Kat Robinson checks out Glasgow’s from her recent expedition up to Bentonville.

In need of a good cocktail? Joel DiPippa from Southern Ash brings you The Spice Road. It just sounds cool and I’m sure it’s quite tasty.

Speaking of libations … Sync’s Nate Olsen has this feature on One Eleven’s Lee Ingold. While you’re there, check out the bad ass pic from Arshia Khan.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good rub? Or two? In one post.

Did you know our favorite ice cream shop in town has some new seasonal flavors? They do … and yours truly tells you about all of them over on Rock City Eats.

Only one man can pick a fight between two muffins. And that man is Daniel F-ing Walker. His latest food fight pits heavyweights Mylo Coffee Co. and The Root Café.

Here’s Little Rock Soiree’s sneak peak at the soon-to-be-opening Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co.

And finally … Delicious Life serves up this Turkey Bolognese recipe.

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Around Town: 7th Annual B Street Rib Off

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Hey, I like ribs.

And if you like ribs and all things BBQ, then come on out to the 7th Annual B Street Rib Off, which benefits the American Cancer Society, on Saturday, November 1st at Argenta Plaza in the Argenta Arts District of North Little Rock. This year’s event will feature a BBQ cooking competition that includes ribs, chicken, an “Anything But” category, as well as the popular side dishes contest. All proceeds from the 2014 B Street Rib Off will benefit the Arkansas chapter of the American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas.

Interested in participating?

BBQ Teams – Sign up at www.BStreetRibOff.org (early registration discount ends October 11th)
Public – Judge the side dish competition for $5
Public – Sign up to judge the “Anything But” category upon arrival. Winners will be drawn around noon.

“The B. Street Rib Off is here again and we, at the American Cancer Society, are so grateful for the cooking teams who continue to support our mission to finish the fight against cancer. I would like to encourage everyone to come out and fill up on some delicious food while supporting the American Cancer Society’s mission of helping people stay well, get well, finding cures and fighting back!” said Sherri Jones, American Cancer Society – Senior Representative, Community Engagement

The B Street Rib Off has given more than $6,000 to the American Cancer Society of Central Arkansas. The B Street Rib Off board of directors plan to raise $5,000 with the 2014 event.

The B Street Rib Off was founded in 2008 by Jason Brown, Justin Hinton and Matthew Ross as a friendly competition. After increased interest, the three friends turned the annual event into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization now boasts a ten person board of directors that consists of Jason Brown, North Little Rock; Casey Cardin, Little Rock; Sean Conrad, Little Rock; Bentley Grissom, Jonesboro; Bradley Grissom, Jonesboro; Jeremy Hinton, Little Rock; Justin Hinton, Little Rock; Matthew Ross, Little Rock; Marshall Sigsby, Jonesboro; Joshua Wingo, West Memphis.

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