Posts Tagged Heights Taco & Tamale Co.

Comprehensive List of the Best Cheese Dip in Little Rock

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I rarely eat cheese dip. It’s not that I don’t love melted cheese, it’s just not a dish I seek out. That said, I do understand and respect how important cheese dip is to the identity of our local food scene. So, last week I posted this question on Facebook: “What is your absolute favorite cheese dip in the Little Rock area?”

In all, 43 different restaurants were mentioned in the thread, an extremely high, albeit, not surprising number given the extreme popularity of this dish in Little Rock. Here are how the results broke out…

Top 5 Vote Getters

Heights Taco & Tamale Co. (23)
Mexico Chiquito (16)
Big Orange (15)
Local Luna (14)
Dizzy’s (11)

My Take: Commenters have mentioned the dynamite cheese dip from several of these restaurants before on this blog, so I’m not surprised to see so much love and support for these top five. Dizzy’s and Loca Luna are not places in my regular rotation, so I can’t personally attest to them–but it gives me a “no-fail” app to try when I check out these places.

Other Popular Cheese Dips

Local Lime (10), The Fold (8), Lost Forty (7), El Porton (6), La Hacienda (6), Baja Grill (5), Buffalo Grill (5), Senior Tequila’s (5), Canon Grill (4), Casa Manana (4), El Palenque (3), The Faded Rose (3), Gadwall’s (3), Cheers in the Heights (3), Cantina Laredo (3)

My Take: From this list, I’ve had the cheese dip at El Porton, Baja Grill, Local Lime, and The Fold. All were quite enjoyable. Can you believe I’ve never even been to Buffalo Grill? What should I order, besides the cheese dip? Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the food at Canon Grill, Cantina Laredo, or Senior Tequila’s, so I don’t see those cheese dips happening in my immediate future.

Others Receiving Mentions

Purple Cow, Alley Oops, Izzy’s, Super 7, Tacos 4 Life, Taco Pronto, Red Door, Taqueria Karina, Chuy’s, Trio’s, North Bar, Prospect Bar, On the Border, Santo Coyote, Town Pump, Blue Coast Burrito, Samantha’s, Boudreaux’s, Markham Street Grill, Gypsy’s, Cactus Jack’s

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Tacos at Karina & HTT, Burge’s Smoked Turkey Salad

Tacos at Karina

Tacos at Karina

 

Does it get any better than good tacos? The answer is no. They’re so damn tasty, and, at many places, quite inexpensive. Taqueria Karina Café (5309 W. 65th St.) is one such place. They have a variety of tacos, all reasonable (something around $2), and all absolutely delicious. On my most recent visit, I opted for one each of the pastor, lengua, and chicken. The pastor is the one that really stood out, but I also enjoyed the tender chunks of beef in my lengua (tongue) taco, though fully understand this isn’t for everyone. That said, if you enjoy lengua, it’s an excellent option. The tacos are fairly small and topped with chopped, fresh onion, and cilantro, and a hearty appetite can put down three of these bad boys with no problem. I also ordered a side of refried beans, which were good, but had a thinner consistency than I prefer. The kitchen was slow on this particular visit, as it took over 30 minutes for the food to hit the table, pretty poor with such a basic order from one person.

Speaking of tacos, Heights Taco & Tamale Co. now has Ahi tuna tacos on the menu … and they are pretty darn good. They come with crunchy corn shells, but I substituted soft flour for my order. The barely seared tuna is bright and beautiful and pairs well with a dab of guac and fresh jalapeno. For a taco plate, it’s a fairly light offering, which is good because I’m working on my beach bod. The tacos came with rice and bean. Both sides were tasty, especially the smoky beans, and I although I enjoyed the taste of the rice, it was a tad undercooked and little crunchy. All and all, it was a great lunch with wonderful service.

Anyone besides me ever walk into Burge’s and buy a large tub of Smoked Turkey Salad? Before you go rolling your eyes, it took me a week to finish, but oh what glorious week it was … one filled with smoky, salty, pulverized turkey. Sometimes I’d open the fridge at night and grab a quick spoonful. It goes by the nickname “Turkey Crack” and for good reason … it’s absolutely addictive stuff.

You know what’s awesome? Take-out at kBird. Especially when you grab an order of the best dish in Little Rock, the Green Papaya Salad, and head home with it to pig out on your back porch. Sweet, salty, tangy, spicy … this dish covers everything and is always spot-on in execution. Seriously, has anyone ever had a bad green papaya salad at kBird? Is that even a thing?

In what’s becoming almost a weekly trip for me, I once again headed over to the Arkansas Heart Hospital for a bowl of $5 ramen. This one was loaded with shrimp. The toppings change each time and there’s really no telling what surprise lies ahead when it comes to the ingredients. Crab, scallops, pulled pork, pork belly … you name it.  Remember folks, the ramen is only served on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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Hitting Up David’s Burgers, The Wunderbus, Doe’s, and Baja Grill

Tacos at Baja Grill

Tacos at Baja Grill

 

Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

I love David’s Burgers just as much as the next guy. Heck, it’s definitely in the discussion for top 3 burgers in town, but can they ease up on the salt shaker at the WLR location? My chicken burger, which also now seems like a thinner patty (meaning: less meat), was way over-seasoned. Don’t get me wrong, I ate every bite, but I spent the rest of the night sucking down water like I was wandering around a desert. That said, the fries, which I’ve never been blown away with, were the best I’ve ever had at David’s. The crispy, not-so-greasy exterior will get you excited about them being all-you-can-eat. Per usual, the service at David’s was stellar.

How can you not like Doe’s Eat Place? Just walking into the place feels like a warm Little Rock hug. Last Friday, my two tablemates and I split a 3-pound Porterhouse cooked medium rare, which includes all of the fixings (dipping toast, fries, and soaked salad). We also polished off some Delta-style tamales with chili. The steak was excellent, especially the filet side, and although it wasn’t the best version I’ve had at Doe’s, it did have that signature crust and perfectly cooked medium-rare interior. And the sides? I could eat a large tub of the soaked soaked if it was socially acceptable, and the fries and bread are the ideal vehicles for meat-juice dipping. Once again, Doe’s proves that solid food, reasonable prices, and excellent service are the keys to longevity in the Little Rock market.

Enough about the old go-to’s like Doe’s and David’s. Have you checked out the still new-ish food truck called The Wunderbus (Wayfaring Germanic Cuisine)? I caught them while wandering around the Cornbread Festival and was blown away by The Floki, a pork/beef meatball sandwich with a rich, mushroom/onion/tomato sauce on a Sidney & Sons French bun. Simply put, the sandwich ($12) was absolutely fantastic, so good, in fact, that I returned 10 minutes later to order another one because my kids wolfed down the first sandwich. I’ve been on record as saying our food truck scene in this area is currently way down. Several trucks have folded and the ones that are left often lack creativity. Not The Wunderbus. Much like The Southern Gourmasian, this is a food truck to get genuinely excited about. The food comes out in a timely manner, is fun, creative, different, and above all … delicious. Follow them on Facebook to see where they’ll be next.

It’s been too damn long since my last visit to Baja Grill in the Heights. Remember when everyone was saying that location was jinxed? Seems like Baja has put that ridiculous notion to rest. And they do it with a simple menu, comprised predominately of tacos and burritos. Per usual, I ordered one each of the Cuban and Pig Sooie tacos, the latter being a non-traditional offering of pork, barbeque sauce, and pickled red onions … all resting on two, white corn tortillas. Each taco is $4.50 and you can add a side of rice and beans for $2.25. Part of me just wishes it would come as a complete plate and just charge me $11.25 for the entire shebang … but I get why they structure the menu this way. Anyways, we sat on the patio and enjoyed some of this wonderful summer/fall weather.

Quick Hits: The sausage and cheese kolaches at the Shipley’s on Shackleford are my favorite in town. I wish we have more options, but for now, these will do. I had an hour to kill the other night, so I headed over to Heights Taco & Tamale Co. for a $5 happy hour frozen margarita. It hit the spot. Why do I continue to eat Kroger sushi? It’s overpriced and woefully below average, but it still has a once-a-month hold on me. Boulevard still serves the best cup of coffee in town, but Honey Pies, The Root, and Trio’s (they use dark roast Westrock) are also excellent options, just to name a few.

 

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