Posts Tagged Flyway

El Palenque Take-Out Comes Up Short, Flyway and The Root Shine

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You know I love El Palenque. Heck, I’ve written about my favorite hole-in-the-wall many times over the past few years, and usually, in glowing terms. Unfortunately, Saturday’s take-out came up way short. There are certain dishes I  typically order at El P, like the shrimp burrito or chicken nachos, but this time around I went with an unknown, the Bistek a la Mexicana, which came with a sizeable portion of sliced beef and grilled onions, green peppers, and tomatoes. The beef was bland, tough, and fairly chewy and was only saved by the accompanying, tasty grilled onions. I’m not a huge fan of green bell peppers, especially when they’re cut into huge chunks. Also, serving what was basically fajitas with soft, corn tortillas, instead of flour, was also a mistake. On the positive side, I love the new interior of the restaurant. The décor is a little over-the-top for such a small place, but I like how all of the tables and chairs have individualized art work.

The Root Café continues to impress. In a rare move, I decided to eat dinner at the popular SoMa restaurant, then turn right back around and eat breakfast there the next morning. Both ended up being excellent meals. By now, you’re probably wondering why I give so much damn love to the place. The simple truth is I enjoy the food and the space, and I’m just very comfortable dining at The Root. For dinner, we shared a variety of appetizers, including the “Toast” which came with slathered pimento cheese topped with relish, the bacon deviled eggs, the fried beef empanadas, and the radishes. Everything, and I mean everything, was spot-on. And while I enjoyed my shiitake with quinoa entrée, I’m beginning to think that ordering the “small” plates at The Root is the way to go. This offers you a ton of variety and the price is quite affordable. For breakfast the next day, I kept things simple with my donut muffin, although I did snag a few bites of my tablemates’ pancakes and Root Benny. All were great, proving once again that The Root still serves the absolute best breakfast in town.

Flyway Brewing continues to serve excellent bar food to go along with quality beer. I’ve been tad critical of Flyway about small portion sizes and that issue seems to be a thing of the past. I ordered last weekend’s Special, the catfish po’boy with pickled carrots, okra, and a side of remoulade. The two pieces of catfish were thin, perfectly fried and extended a good inch past both sides of the bun. I washed it all down with a crisp, blonde beer that was light and quite refreshing. As always, service was fast, friendly, and super attentive. Flyway has that wonderful neighborhood vibe to it and I highly recommend checking the place out if you haven’t done so already.

Get the calamari fries appetizer at Trio’s. Strips of calamari “steak” (no tentacles here) are served with a delicious heirloom tomato marinara and fried pepper rings. The appetizer was large, so I also ordered a small side Peck Salad and treated the calamari as my entrée. That was a pro move on my part.

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Quick Thoughts on Deluca’s, McClard’s, Flyway, and Mike’s Cafe

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Some quick thoughts for my latest eating experiences…

Nachos at Flyway: I’m a regular at Flyway Brewing. Overall, it’s the best-tasting beer being produced in this area, and more often than not, the bar bites match the beer’s deliciousness. This was the case with my order of Gator Nachos, a Saturday special in honor of the Hogs taking on the Florida Gators. Rather than pile a bunch of toppings over a mess of chips, Flyway does their nachos on an individual basis … with a small hunk of alligator being the main attraction this time around. Eating alligator always sounds cooler than it tastes. In truth, it’s taste is rather mundane, so it really comes down to the accompanying ingredients, which on this afternoon was a fantastic bean and corn relish, along with pickled okra and carrots.

South on Main’s Cheeseburger: South on Main was open last night for a special concert by local artist Elise Davis. The restaurant’s usual menu was replaced by a collection of comfort food dishes like spaghetti, cheeseburgers, and fried chicken. I opted for an appetizer of boudin balls, along with a cheeseburger and waffle fries. The waffle fries were so good that my tablemate and I got another order. And don’t get me started on the cheeseburger. Although last night’s version was a slightly different take on South on Main’s typical double patty nighttime concoction, the slightly pressed mound of beef was as juicy as can be, and once again proved why it’s one of the best burgers in town.

I Heart Deluca’s: You know I love Deluca’s. Hell, I tell anyone who’s willing to listen about Anthony Valinoti’s pizza in Hot Springs. I love it so much that I rarely eat anywhere else in town. But … I actually went down there and dined at another restaurant. Feeling extreme guilt after our lunch, I had to stop by Deluca’s and get two pizzas to-go. Folks, no shocker here, but it’s just not the same. This is pizza that needs to be eaten at the restaurant. Consider this public service announcement.

The Cue at McClard’s: Yes, I finally went to McClard’s BBQ. It took me damn near five years, but I did it. And there were many things I loved about this iconic Hot Springs restaurant, like the parking lot’s smoky aroma, the warm and cozy interior, and the insanely addictive Half Spread (tamale, Fritos, chopped beef, beans, onions, and cheese) gut bomb.  Sure, it’s a total guilty pleasure, but it’s one I could see myself eating once or twice a year. It’s flat out tasty. I can’t say the same about the rather pedestrian chopped pork sandwich. Simply put, none of that wonderful smoke I caught a whiff of in the parking lot made its way into the meat.

Quick Stop at Rock Town Distillery: Had my first taste of the 12-month aged Rock Town’s barley bourbon whiskey … and I loved it. So much so that I bought a bottle (think it was $39) for the impending Thanksgiving holiday. In a word, this whiskey is very smooth. I may have also left with a bottle of the coffee liqueur made with Leiva’s Coffee.

Cookies for the Holidays: Sarah Declerk of Ann Potter Baking is putting together holiday cookie packages. The Thanksgiving package includes 2 dozen cookies for $45. There will be 6 decorated shortbread in a Thanksgiving theme, 6 German chocolate roll-ups, 6 cinnamon roll-ups, and 6 monster cookies. Pre-orders are needed and encouraged (annpotterbaking@gmail.com), and while it might be too late to get in on Thanksgiving, I’m told a similar package will be available for Christmas. I recently sampled the German chocolate roll-ups and can tell you they are fantastic.

Vermicelli Bowl at Mike’s Cafe: Does Mike’s Cafe (near UALR campus) ever disappoint? The answer is no. It doesn’t. If you’ve never been, please go, order either a vermicelli bowl or the pho and report back. Mike’s is such an underrated restaurant.

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