It’s Time to Check Out Honey Pies

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When Daniel Walker touts pie, you take notice. He’d been telling me about Little Rock’s newest pie-maker, Honey Pies, a few weeks back, and how I needed to put it on my radar of things to try out. Is there a better endorsement in this town?

To be honest, I typically don’t seek out desserts like Walker does. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweet treats, but Walker would give up a kidney if it meant a lifetime of free donuts.

So when he brought over a Gingerbread Apple Pie from Honey Pies on New Years Eve, I knew it would be legit.

It was.

Don’t believe me?  Just take a look at owner Sharon Woodson’s picture.

As you can see, Sharon takes great pride in presentation, but this is not at the expense of taste. She also uses top quality ingredients in this 9-inch, deep-dish pie, including organic apples, organic sugar, Saigon cinnamon, and organic heavy cream. For the crust, she uses organic unbleached flour, organic dark brown sugar, hormone-free butter, molasses, organic milk, Saigon cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, and salt. Says Woodson, “High quality ingredients are absolutely essential when creating a nuanced flavor profile. Skimping on quality compromises flavor and that’s just a deal breaker for me. When I’m feeding my family, I want to know where our groceries come from, as it’s very important to me to use all natural ingredients. That’s easier when produce is organic and locally sourced. Taking care of my family is my highest priority and Honey Pies let’s me extend that care into our community.”

For me, it’s the crust that separates Sharon’s pies from the competition, as was the case with her seasonal pear pie. I love pears, but rarely, if ever, have I eaten a pear pie. Sharon’s is loaded with the fruit and highlighted by a top layer of lightly sugared crust. Nothing about this pie is over-the-top, rather, the beauty is in its simplicity, relying on superior ingredients to elevate the taste.

So, just why did Woodson get into the baking business?

“As a small girl, I always followed my grandmother around the kitchen helping everywhere I could. Baking keeps me grounded and helps me feel closer to my family and friends. Honey Pies is a natural extension of my need to grow my baking dreams and help my family bond over a pie like my grandmother would have baked,” says Woodson.

Here’s hoping her baking dreams keep on growing.

Need to Know …
Most pies cost $24 (sweet and savory options available, including honey pecan, apple, chocolate fudge brownie, coconut cream, maple oatmeal, pear, gingerbread apple, cowboy quiche)
-Design your own pie ($24)
-Take and bake chicken pot pie ($32)
-Delivery is available
-Special Promotion on January 23rd, National Pie Day … free delivery
-Gluten-free option
-The website is second to none … with a detailed description of each pie.
-Sharon even maintains a blog on the site.

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Great Restaurant Service in Little Rock, January Edition

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While food plays an overwhelmingly large role in your overall happiness with restaurants, it’s the quality service that helps ensure a perfect dining experience. Each month, readers chime in on Facebook, telling us about great service they received at a local restaurant. Here are the responses for January.

Abigail E.: Any Yellow Rocket place has always been friendly and more than accommodating.

Brittany S.: Aisha at The Pantry Crest is the best!!!!
My Take: The only thing that shocks me is that The Pantry (Crest) was only mentioned one time. The restaurant has notoriously excellent service.

Bradley J.: Matt and/or Matt at Another Round Pub always treat me like family! In fact the entire staff does! I love that place.

Amy B-H.: By kid request, we went to Shorty Smalls on Monday. Our server blew us away. I gave her a fat tip. Wish I could remember her name.

Alexia: The gals at Maddie’s never disappoint.
My Take: I completely echo this sentiment. The service as Maddie’s Place is always so friendly and efficient … and very honest. They never steer you wrong with a suggestion.

Dobie H.: No matter how crowded HAM is Victoria and Brandon always are so nice and prompt.

Kim E.: Wayne, at Capi’s and, now, Trio’s, rocks!

Andrew B.: Layla’s wins for me this month – always friendly and quick.
My Take: The service at Layla’s is solid, but the real draw is the food.

Kaye M.: Kemuri always has top notch service.

Ananth R.: Aaron at Heights Taco & Tamale Co. provides hands down the best service we get anywhere in town.

Billy S.: David’s at Gateway blew my mind last weekend. Most attentive service at a burger joint ever.

Whitney H.: The staff at Three Fold is AWESOME!!!! Super friendly and always go above and beyond!
My Take: Part of Three Fold’s greatness is quickly moving folks through the line … in a friendly manner.

Carla K.: Justin and Carlos at Cantina Laredo have treated us like family for so long that we go there as much to see them as we do for the food.

Jay M.: Aaron at Vesuvio did a great job last Friday. Also want to second the great job Carlos does at Cantina Laredo.

Please keep them coming for February and thank you to those who participated! BTW…if you’d like to leave some comments in box below about some fantastic service you’ve recently received, please feel free to do so.

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The WLR Food Scene is on the Rise

Al Seraj

Al Seraj

 

Right off the bat, for the sanity of this post, let’s consider everything west of 430 to be WLR.

Even with the recent closures of 1620 Savoy, Igibon, and Ponchito’s, one could make the argument that the food scene in this area of town is really starting to improve.

Anchoring things down out west are longtime residents like The Pantry, Arthur’s, and The Terrace.

Heck, you can always get a good lunch at Franke’s, Pho Thanh My, and Chi’s. Some of the better burgers in town are found at David’s and Big Orange. Need a good cup of coffee? Keep driving past Starbuck’s in favor of Guillermo’s. Local Lime has the best margarita in Little Rock. In the mood to crush some chicken wings? Lazy Pete’s is the place to go. Got a sweet tooth? Mickey’s still serves up my favorite cupcakes and at a very reasonable price. Even fine-dining is about to get a facelift, as folks can expect to see renovations to Table 28 in 2016.

My point is this … if you get past many of the larger chains infiltrating the area, WLR has developed a solid foundation of restaurants, at least over the past 4 years since I’ve lived here. What’s exciting to me are those newer, somewhat smaller places that have popped up over the past 4-5 months, restaurants like Flavor of India, Al Seraj, and most recently, Lulu’s Latin Rotisserie & Grill.

The $10 lunch buffet at Al Seraj, featuring items like hummus, baba ghanoush, chicken shawarma, and falafel is really worth checking out. And if you read the blog this week, you already know how I feel about Lulu’s. The steak, alone, is worth one Saturday night of your time. Flavor of India is a perfect spot to pop-in on a weeknight for some quick take out.

It’s this diversity in cuisines that truly has me excited about how much the WLR food scene has grown … and where it’s heading.

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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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