Posts Tagged Heights Taco & Tamale

Soft Pretzels, Mr. Chen’s, and One Awesome Mojito

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Thoughts from my recent food adventures around Little Rock…

I know many folks love Mr. Chen’s, and while I’m not saying the place is bad by any stretch of the imagination, I am saying it gets a little too much credit for being the best Chinese food in Little Rock. I wasn’t overly impressed with the Salted Crispy Chicken dish, which, as expected, was salty, but its real shame was the lack of an accompanying sauce with the chicken. Again, it wasn’t bad, but could have been a lot better. I was also a bit underwhelmed by the Taiwanese Pan Fried Noodles, a plate highlighted by tender beef and shrimp, but there was also this lackluster pile of noodles which proved almost too difficult to cut.

So, just where is the best Chinese food in Little Rock? To me, it’s Fantastic China … and my lunchtime combo of oyster sauce with mushrooms, fried rice, and fried spring roll did nothing do dissuade me from that line of thinking.

Count me as a fan of Flyway’s new array of soft pretzels, which includes a lavender salt pretzel with honey mustard that I devoured with my pale ale at the bar, while my bar mate crushed the espresso salt pretzel with stout chocolate sauce. If you’re looking for a unique sweet treat, this is one is for you. Flyway has a variety of pretzels now on its regular menu which pair wonderfully with a their selection of beer.

A quick shout out to the folks over at Mugs Café. I popped in a few weeks back, and, as always, loved my cup of coffee. The place is so consistent, seems to always have a steady flow of customers, and is a true gem for the Argenta District in NLR.

Am I saying Al Seraj is a Top 10 restaurant in Little Rock? No. I won’t compare it with the likes of Table 28, South on Main, One Eleven, etc. But the $10 lunch buffet of Mediterranean delights makes the restaurant 100%, without a doubt, one of the best fast casual spots in town. BTW … if you’re interested, I think the dinner buffet costs a buck or two more.

I finally tried the frozen mojito at Heights Taco & Tamale and damn was it good. This drink, along with Local Lime’s frozen margarita, proves Yellow Rocket has truly mastered the frozen cocktail concept. Well done. And as for HTT, it really needs to be said … what a gorgeous bar. Also, props on that massive flat-screen television right in the dead center.

After the UALR men’s basketball game the other night, my buddy and I had dinner and beers at The Pantry Crest. The place was hopping but our food orders came out fast, no small feat when a restaurant is that full. My seared salmon with spinach, quinoa, and charred asparagus was absolutely perfect, as was my friend’s burger (so I was told…never got a bite). Seared salmon is not a sexy dish, especially at a place like The Pantry Crest, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, order it.

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The Dish: Ensalada Del Sol at Heights Taco & Tamale Co.

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Last Friday marked my third visit to the popular Heights Taco & Tamale Co. in the Heights neighborhood. Admittedly, I’ve still yet to try some of the more popular dishes like the tamales, cheese dip, Ark-Mex enchiladas, or the pulled pork tacos. My first visit was a quick, late evening pop-in to try the chocolate cake. The second time around, I sat at the bar and downed a plate of bean and cheese nachos.

So, here I was with part of my fam on a blistering hot early afternoon in Little Rock, and the thought of eating enchiladas and tacos was none too appealing. I scanned the menu in search of some lighter options and came across the Ensalada del Sol. The description hooked me, “Grilled Citrus Shrimp, Mango, Avocado, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette.”

The Yellow Rocket knows a thing or two about creating dynamite salads (see Big Orange and ZAZA), so I had high hopes for HTT’s Ensalada del Sol ($12.50). The salad was beautifully presented with skewers of medium-sized, well-seasoned shrimp resting atop a bed of crisp, chopped romaine lettuce. Perfectly ripe slices of avocado and mango sat on the edges. I quickly removed the tails of each shrimp, cut the mango and avocado into smaller pieces, poured the dressing, and tossed all of the ingredients together.

Ten minutes later, I had polished off the entire plate. In short, the salad was fantastic. The shrimp were cooked just right, and together with the fresh mango and creamy avocado, along with the light vinaigrette, provided for a perfect summertime lunch. It’s worth noting that the mango was so good, I almost ordered another side plate of the fruit.

Would I order this salad again? Absolutely. And it’s nice to know I can walk into a restaurant like this and be able to order a lighter option when I’m not in the mood to be weighed down by heavier bean and cheese based dishes.

Worth noting: On Friday at noon, our party of three was able to sit immediately. I mention this because waits during peak times have reached upwards of 1.5 hours. Also, the service was excellent throughout the meal.

Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
5805 Kavanaugh Blvd
501.313.4848
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (kitchen) 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (bar)

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