Thoughts from my recent eating experiences across the Little Rock area..
Someone please stop me from making regular visits to Blue Cake for petit fours. They’re just too addictive, especially any that’s chocolate-based like the Cookies and Cream. A set of four is $10 … a pretty good value for such a tasty treat.
I popped into Guillermo’s yesterday afternoon around 4 p.m. for a quick cup of coffee and was happy to see a crowded coffee shop. I’ve written about how it seems like Guillermo’s has gotten its groove back over the past few months–I’m guessing in large part to new ownership–and everything I saw yesterday definitely supports that claim. My cup of Kenya dark roast was excellent and there was a great vibe throughout the shop. Looks like they now also serve beer and wine and even have a few taps of local beer on the wall.
Did you know One Eleven serves brunch? The small menu is filled with the classics like biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, pancakes, and shrimp and grits, but, during a recent visit, I opted for something a little different … the Duck Salad. It ended up being fairly satisfying, although the smoky duck was a tad overcooked, but did pair well with the tomatoes, candied pecans, and bleu cheese. The biscuits were the hit of the meal. Buttery, a little dense, and just plain wonderful with jam, these biscuits were an absolute hit. What wasn’t a hit was the bland Bloody Mary. It needed more spice and a thicker tomato juice to balance out the nice pour of vodka. All and all, One Eleven’s brunch satisfied but certainly didn’t blow me away. Service was excellent and the quiet, calm atmosphere was second to none.
I tried Slim Chickens for the first time. I hate using “meh” when describing food, but it was meh. To me, that means average … and everything about the chicken was average. The tenders were small, lightly battered, and somewhat dry. Nothing about them screamed, “Get your ass back here and order these!” I loved the accompanying honey mustard and the spicy bbq wings were delightful, but Slims will probably end up being a once or twice a year place for me.
I think it’s still on the menu, so if you enjoy a great piece of red snapper, head to Trio’s for the Silky Snapper. At $25, it ain’t cheap, but the fish is delicious. It comes with a roasted corn grit cake and a tomato-saffron broth with a Tuscan kale sauté. Kudos on the crispy skin.
Taziki’s has got to be one of the most consistently solid restaurants in town. We eat there all of the time. For a fast-casual, regional chain, Taziki’s is about as good as it gets, and that’s meant as a compliment. I recently had a Chicken Caesar Salad and was particularly impressed with the grilled chicken, which was tender and super juicy. Service is always fast and friendly, as was the case during our visit at the location near the outlet mall.
Hanaroo in downtown is such an underrated sushi spot. I went last week for a lunch bento box, which includes a sushi roll, five pieces of assorted fish, and a small salad. All for $10. That’s cheaper than grocery store sushi, which is insanely overpriced, but that’s a discussion for another day. Hanaroo serves up no-frills sushi, and if you’re in the mood for a quick fix, it’s a great option.
Here’s a shocker, our visit to Deluca’s in Hot Springs went very well. The hit was this new Upside Down pizza Anthony is running as a special. Simply put, the cheese and sauce are flipped. Cheese on the bottom, sauce on top … and the end result is some of the finest work to come out of the Deluca’s oven, to date. The shop is closed for the next few weeks, but once it re-opens, head down to Hot Springs and try out this new creation. My guess is that it will end up on the regular menu.
We took an out-of-town guest to Flyway for beer and bites, and she was blown away by the experience. So much so, that we took her back to Flyway the very next day. I write about Flyway a lot, mainly because I go there often and love everything about the place. The food, though, is incredibly underrated. Everything, from the duck confit nachos to the cheddar burger bomb to the soft pretzels, is fantastic.
The Faded Rose had an off night on a recent visit. The culprit was the Thin Fish, a dish I typically adore, but this time around the fish was way too thin, over-battered, and salty. My cheeseburger was fairly average, mainly because of an under-seasoned patty, but the wedge fries with buttermilk ranch were spot-on. Service was fast, friendly, and attentive. Again, I suspect just an off night from a normally consistently good restaurant.