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Q to the A: Catching Up With Thanh Rasico of Red Kitchen Recipes

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Ever wonder what other foodies are thinking? Me too! Special thanks to Thanh Rasico for her participation!

1. Where were you born and how long have you lived in Little Rock? I was born in Qui Nhon, a South Central coastal city in Vietnam. I narrowly escaped during the fall of Saigon as a baby, then our family was sponsored by a Catholic family in Nashville, AR and I have been in Little Rock since August 1992.

2. How would you describe the Little Rock dining scene? I think it’s very community – oriented, personal, global, and eclectic. We’ve all gotten really close in the last few years it seems. Fancy Pants Foodie Christie Ison mentioned in a post after a recent Arkansas Women Bloggers conference about how my friend Chef Donnie Ferneau was a great friend to the food community. It’s true. So many chefs and restaurant owners are our friends. They know that there are those of us who respect what they do so much, we blog, Tweet, and Facebook about their delicious & beautiful offerings when we receive them. I was fortunate enough to experience food in Forty – Two at the Clinton Library in the kitchen, watching the executive chef and sous chefs prepare then plate food with such care and precision, I felt how personal it was. They want their food to be enjoyed. Such people pleasers. We have so many wonderful choices from around the globe from Indian, Italian, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, Southern, BBQ, and Greek in my opinion. I love the eclectic choices that you can find all over Little Rock from Argenta to South on Main to Southwest Little Rock. Each time I walk into Chi’s in West Little Rock, the same guy greets me with such warmth, it’s like I’m entering his home. He knows what kind of wine I like, too. That’s the kind of personal touch I love in the dining scene of Little Rock.

3. What city (that you’ve never been to) would you enjoy visiting solely for the food? Just one? No? Okay, I think Boston, Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley, and Parma, Italy!

4. Where’s the best place you’ve eaten in the past year, and what did you order? Table 28 has been the best restaurant I’ve eaten in the past year because their style of food truly matches my taste. It reminds me a lot of Ferneau, which was my favorite for years, and I spent 4 birthday celebrations there with great friends. For my bday this past October, I was at Table 28. We had Tabasco butter quail bird lollipops, wagyu carpaccio, bone marrow, sea bass, lamb, boursin filet, asparagus, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and the tongue and cheek. We all shared. SO Good!

5. What are a few of your guilty pleasure food items? The McRib from McDonalds – a once a year thing. I have to have it though. Gus’s Fried Chicken, although I’m on a break there since they totally botched up my last to – go order. The Peking duck at Chi’s – crispy skin and all.

6. What are your three favorite dishes to cook? Duck breast, lamb chops, and shirataki noodles with calamari.

Will Thanh give Gus's another shot?
Will Thanh give Gus’s another shot?

7. You have to put together a 3-course meal (app, entree, and dessert) from three different Little Rock restaurants. What would be your choices to create this perfect meal? Is this meal free? Then my current dream 3 – course meal would be: An appetizer from Table 28: their tender, delicious squid that melts in your mouth. Then the wagyu ribeye from Arthur’s – so much flavor! Medium rare. And Vesuvio’s Chocolate Tort a la mode with Raspberry Sauce.

8. Where’s the last place you ate for lunch and what did you order? The Afterthought Bistro: Truffle Parmesan Fries for an appetizer split with 5 office friends, a cup of Clam Chowder, and Salad add Ahi Tuna……soooo good!!!!

9. What Little Rock restaurant have you never eaten at that might surprise people?
I don’t think there is one. I hate that I never ate at Sir Loins Inn. I always wanted to, but hated that I didn’t get to. Jacque & Suzanne’s was another legendary place that closed before I went. Among other notable eateries…I haven’t had Mylo’s or The Waffle Wagon, but I know I need to!

10. What is your absolute favorite small town restaurant in Arkansas? Eureka Springs – Local Flavor, DeVitos, Ermilios, and Rogue’s Manor

Please check out Thanh’s blog … Red Kitchen Recipes!