Time to Check Out La Terraza Rum & Lounge

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Pernil al Horno

 

Remember Acadia? It was the restaurant located in the heart of Hillcrest off Kavanaugh with the bad ass deck. Well, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, it’s now La Terraza Rum & Lounge—a restaurant specializing in South American dishes, many of which fuse with other flavors from around the world.

The menu is a little different, a characteristic often frowned upon by many Little Rock diners. We love our comfort food dishes, the meat and potatoes, our shrimp and grits … things that have been on menus around here for 30+ years. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, a restaurant like La Terraza not only has a place in Little Rock, but its success, along with other ethnic establishments like kBird and Lulu’s, is absolutely critical for the continued growth of our local food scene.

This is all just a long-winded, soapbox way of saying La Terraza Rum & Lounge is a place you might want to consider checking out.

I did just that on Tuesday afternoon.

My tablemate and I sat outside on the lovely deck and enjoyed some of this springtime weather. Lunch started with a complimentary cup of white bean soup, followed by our order of the beef carpaccio and arepas. We gobbled up both apps and the soup. I was particularly impressed with the beautifully presented carpaccio, which was highlighted by a generous topping of basil aioli. The mini, cheese-filled arepas are purposefully bland (think pupusa) but elevated by a spicy jalapeno jelly. For my entrée, I opted for the Pernil al Horno, a pile of baked, thinly sliced pork, covered in a thin, brown gravy, which came with a pile of black beans and rice and plantains. This dish flat out hit the spot. The pork was tender, and while the plantains were somewhat bland, a forkful with each of the plate’s components was where the dish truly shined. My friend ordered the Stroganoff de Pollo, a creamy concoction of chicken, mustard, and pickles over what were essentially kettle chips. He seemed as pleased with his order as I was with mine.

Overall, the food and service proved to be outstanding, traits that will definitely lead to a return visit. Is La Terraza an elite Little Rock restaurant? It’s still too early to say, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Notes: Menu offers a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches. Other dishes include: paella, grilled salmon, rib-eye served on a hot, lava stone, and arroz con leche. As the name of the restaurant suggests, the menu features several rum-based cocktails. Wine is also available. Hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Arepas

Arepas

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Beef Carpaccio

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Tanner Farm Brings Convenience to Buying Local

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Richard Tanner and his crew out at Tanner Farm in Rison, AR are once again gearing up to bring area folks the very best in local produce. Whether you’re a private citizen or a local business, Tanner Farm has an option for everyone to purchase a variety of fruits and veggies in the upcoming weeks. Let’s take a look at what they have in store…

The Farm Box
This includes eight weeks of six or more varieties of fresh, local, and naturally grown fruits and vegetables, delivered weekly. Tanner Farm has partnered with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield again this year to offer a weekly drop off to their three workplace locations in downtown Little Rock, as well as a new drop off location at Stratton’s Market. You can register for “The Individual Farm Box,” which costs $160 for 8 weekly boxes of produce and is geared for 1-2 people or “The Farm Box,” which costs $280 and is suited for a family of 3-4. There are three payment options available (weekly/monthly/in full) with a 5% discount if paid in full at checkout. Here’s a look at the Thursday downtown delivery schedule: Riverfront Plaza – 11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m., Gaines Building – 12:00 p.m.-12:45 p.m., USAble Building – 1:00 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Stratton’s Market – 2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. (close).

The Commercial Farm Box
The cost is $575 annually for access, account set up, and delivery fees in the 2016 season. This option is available to commercial accounts only, and will allow online order access options, usage reporting, harvest forecast. and will coordinate scheduling and delivery of produce to a business location. According to Tanner Farm, this program will guarantee wholesale pricing and reliable farm-to-chef service for restaurants. There’s also a 10% discount coupon for all online 2016 purchases. Deliveries will be on Thursdays from 7 a.m. -11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Baptist BHealthy Farmer’s Market
This is held on Tuesdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at Baptist Health Main Campus in West Little Rock off I-630.

For those looking to register, just click here to get started. The Summer 2016 season will begin the first week of June, and will continue for 4 – 8 week seasonal sessions. Deadline for sign-up is May 1, 2016. (Image courtesy of Tanner Farm)

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April Offers a Ton of Events in Little Rock

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At the Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market

 

April is an insanely popular month for food and drink events here in Little Rock. And for good reason … everyone wants to take advantage of this fabulous weather. Here’s a rundown of (almost) everything that’s going on, inside and out.

Jazz in the Park is this Wednesday, April 6th from 6-8 p.m. at the River Market. This free jazz concert series will be held in the History Pavilion (at the base of the Junction Bridge) in Riverfront Park on Wednesday nights in April and September. Limited seating is available and lawn chairs are welcome for this family (and leashed pet) friendly event. No coolers, but beer, wine, soft drinks and water are available for sale. This week’s performer is Acoustix with Rod P.

The Good Earth Garden Food Truck Meet-Up is this Thursday, April 7th from 5-8 p.m. at 15601 Cantrell Road.

The West Little Rock Food Truck Festival will be on Saturday, April 9th from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at 6400 Divide Parkway. Click here for event updates.

Flyway Brewing is having its Blues, BBQ, & Beer Fundraiser this Saturday, April 9th from 2-10 p.m. The brewery is partnering with Championship Pitmaster Tony Graham and Head Chef of the Clinton Foundation Gilbert Alaquinez to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Pulled pork and smoked chicken bbq plates will be sold for $10 each. All food proceeds and a portion of beer proceeds will be donated to assist Arkansas families with travel and treatment expenses.

The 2016 Jewish Food and Cultural Festival is on Sunday, April 10th from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium. The festival will include “traditional Jewish foods such as old fashioned corned beef sandwiches, lox, bagels and cream cheese, kosher hot dogs, rugelach and many more wonderful Jewish delicacies.” Admission is free.

The Bernice Garden Farmer’s starts back up this Sunday, April 10th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.. This is a fabulous farmer’s market, so please consider making it down there on Sunday.

Big Orange Midtown offers you the opportunity to have dinner with Tom Schlafly, founder of Schlafly Brewing in St. Louis, on Thursday, April 14th at 6:30 p.m. It’s a 4-course, 5-beer, off-menu dinner. Tickets cost $65. Yellow Rocket does a great job with these types of dinners, and I’m sure this one will be no expection.

CARTI’s Ragin’ Cajun Bash is also on Thursday, April 14th from 6-9 p.m. at War Memorial. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Click here for tickets or call (501) 296-3406.

Wildwood’s 18th Annual Wine & Food Festival is on April 15th from 6:30-9 p.m. inside the Cabe Festival Theatre Center. More than 100 specially selected wines and beers are paired with chef’s edibles. For tickets, click here.

The Root Café is throwing its 2nd Annual Pie Bake-Off & Recipe Swap on Saturday, April 16th at 4:30 p.m. “Bake your best traditional pie for our panel of judges. Bring copies of your recipe to swap with other pie bakers. Judges will award 5 Blue Ribbons and one Best-in-Show award.” This is super fun, laid back event with tons of great pie.

Also on April 16th, Kent Walker Artisan Cheese is looking for “Any Excuse to Party.” Click here for all of the details.

Pulaski Tech’s signature fundraising event has a new name and format. “Diamond Chef Arkansas: Recut” is comprised of a preliminary and final competition, all held on the same day (April 21st from 6-9 p.m.) at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. In previous years, the two stages were held months apart. Event-goers can now also expect heavy hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening instead of a sit-down dinner. Tickets are $125 per person. For more information, click here.

The Dogtown Farmers’ Market gets going on Saturday, April 23rd from 7-10 a.m. at 420 Main Street in Argenta. Chef Matt Bell of South on Main will have a cooking demo and there will be live music by The Salty Dogs. That’s a good combo.

April 23rd is also the date for the International Food Festival at the Islamic Center of Little Rock (3224 Anna Street) from 12-6 p.m.

The Turkish Food Festival will take place Saturday, April 30th from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at The Little Rock Raindrop Turkish House (1501 Market Street). The festival will feature delicious food, culture exhibits, folk dances, music, whirling dervish, children’s area, crafts and more. For tickets, click here.

“90th at Night!” Wild Wines is on April 30th from 7-10 p.m. at the Little Rock Zoo (which turns 90 this year). This is one of the state’s largest food and wine events with food from 50 restaurants and more than 200 high-quality wines to sample donated by O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor. General Admission are $75 in advance and $90 at the door. The Reserve Room Experience is $150 in advance and $200 at the door. Must be 21 or older to attend. Please bring ID. For tickets, click here.

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Mighty Good Recipe: Chinese Mapo Tofu

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I know what some of y’all are thinking. Tofu?!?!? No way in hell I am eating tofu. But before you completely turn your nose up at it, check out this Chinese Mapo Tofu recipe.

I made it a few weeks back and was impressed with how delicious it tasted and how easy it was to make. One of the keys to enjoying tofu is getting a texture/firmness that is to your liking. This recipe uses a firm tofu, a preference of mine, and one that can also stand up to the stir-fry cooking process without breaking apart.

All of the ingredients are super easy to find, and with the exception of maybe the bean sauce, they can all be found at Kroger. I purchased my bean sauce at K Oriental on Bowman for something like $4 a bottle.

Like most stir-fry recipes, the key is prepping all of your ingredients beforehand. Once that pan is piping hot, you better be ready to go. If you’re not a fan of ground pork, you can certainly substitute ground chicken or turkey … or even go vegetarian. I’ve made it both ways (meat/no meat) and was happy each time. This Mapo Tofu goes great over a pile of steamed rice.

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