Posts Tagged Izard Chocolate

10 Can’t Miss Food & Drink Gifts … All Local

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Are you looking for a perfect holiday gift for that special foodie in your life? Here are 10 suggestions that are sure to please…

Izard Chocolate
Local chocolatier, Nathaniel Izard, has a shop located in the heart of Hillcrest (right across the street from Kroger). If you’re not a fan of handcrafted, artisan dark chocolate, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you are … and also enjoy caramels and even fresh roasted coffee, Izard Chocolate is a must-stop. Bars, truffles, and chocolate-dipped caramels are the main draws. Purchase online, at the shop, or at various locations throughout Little Rock. Prices vary.

Pozza’s Pasta
Made in NWA’s Tontitown, this is a dried pasta made with unbleached flour as opposed to a semolina flour. It’s available in 12-ounce packages, including: 100% Whole Wheat, Spinach Spaghetti, Tomato Basil Linguini, Angel Hair, Parsley Linguini, and Traditional Spaghetti and Linguini. Purchase online or from Terry’s Finer Foods. Prices start at $5 per package.

WaterVeg Lettuce
Hey, not every holiday food gift has to be a caloric nightmare. I’m a huge fan of WaterVeg, a Little Rock-based aquaponics company specializing in lettuce delivered right to your doorstep on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Go online to check out membership subscriptions or purchase a gift card. Baskets cost around $12 and that includes delivery.

Bonta Toscana Garlic Sauce
Amy Bradley-Hole sells a divine, slightly spicy garlic sauce that’s perfect on pizza, pasta, or  just about anything that is even remotely edible. You can find it all over Little Rock, including: Stratton’s Market, The Corner Store and More, Kent Walker Artisan Cheese, Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Eggshells, Terry’s Finer Foods, Honeycomb Kitchen Shop (in Rogers). Amy also sets up shop at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Prices start at $7 per jar.

RED Boards
Who in their right mind doesn’t love a handmade cutting board? Local woodworker, Randy Davidson, makes them in a variety of shapes and sizes, including: Arkansas-shaped, Razorback-shaped, checkerboard, squares, rectangles, and he even does custom boards. I purchased one of Randy’s boards last year for my parents and they absolutely love it. Available at Eggshell’s Kitchen Co. Prices range from $49-$165.

Egg Nog at South on Main
You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried David Burnette’s award-winning egg nog at South on Main. Lucky for you, it’s available to purchase this holiday season. Take a quart or two home with you or to a holiday party. Available beginning on December 4th at the restaurant. Price based on current dairy cost and is yet to be determined.

O’Looney’s Shamrock Selections
I’ve really tried to up my wine game over the past few months and a big part of it has to do with O’Looney’s Shamrock Selections, a monthly, curated selection of the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection (usually two bottles) is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Available for gifting in single-month, six-month, and twelve-month increments. Visit the store or go online. Cost is around $60, I think (need to check my credit card statement)

Gift Baskets at Rock Town Distillery
From single barrel whiskey to basil vodka, Rock Town’s products just keep getting better and better. Hard liquor is a great gift for the holidays, and the folks over at Rock Town Distillery are putting together some nice holiday gift baskets. Available to purchase at the distillery on 6th Street. Cost varies, but each basket maxes out at around $80.

Cookie Packages from Ann Potter Baking
Sarah Declerk of Ann Potter Baking is putting together holiday cookie packages, including: 6 decorated shortbread, 6 German chocolate roll-ups, 6 cinnamon roll-ups, and 6 monster cookies. Contact Sarah at annpotterbaking@gmail.com. I recently sampled the German chocolate roll-ups and can tell you they are fantastic. Cost is $45.

Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative
Show that special someone in your life how much you love them by purchasing a membership to Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative. They’ll get a monthly shipmetn of grass-fed, pasture-raised meat. I’ve been a member for over a year, and I not only love the taste and quality of the meats,but also the service. Members get discounted prices and free shipping. Heck, you can even order meat a la carte. Prices vary.

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Thoughts on Trio’s, The Root Cafe, and Izard Chocolate

From The Root Cafe's Dinner in October

From The Root Cafe’s Dinner in October

 

Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

The annual TMR dinner at Trio’s“An Evening in Oaxaca”–was held last Thursday night in the Pavilion Room adjacent to the restaurant. Co-owner Capi Peck, Chef Shanna Merriweather, and crew put together a delicious 5-course meal for 50 guests, highlighting many of the ingredients and cooking techniques Peck picked up on her recent visit to Oaxaca, Mexico. The evening started with an open bar, which included a variety of tasty, mezcal-inspired cocktails created by Merrick Fagan, along with wine selections from Alexia Elichiry of De Nux Distributors. A table sat near the bar area, filled with guacamole, molotes (imagine an empanada), elote (street corn), and chapulines (grasshoppers) for entering guests to start the meal. Truth be told, I think many folks, including myself, loaded up on these starters, and by the time the actual 1st course hit the table, stomach space was at a premium. Here’s a quick run-down of the rest of the menu: (1st Course) shrimp cocktail with cactus, (2nd Course) squash blossom quesadillas, (3rd Course) Grilled beef tenderloin in four-chile sauce with chicharrones and chile de arbol, corn tortillas with Oaxacan red mole, chayote with roasted poblanos, quesillo, and chepiles, and black beans, and (4th Course) flan, pastel de tres leches, and copita de mezcal. From start to finish, the food was truly fantastic, and while I had to wave the white flag by the middle of the third course, I can tell you every dish was planned and executed to near perfection. Peck knows her way around a dynamite shrimp cocktail and this one with its bits of cactus was no exception. I also loved the perfectly cooked, medium rare tenderloin topped with the chile sauce, but felt like the bits of chicharones were a little tough and added a texture that wasn’t needed on the plate. This was all part of a main entree course that included the star of the evening, an intensely flavored red mole. Peck, herself, made the rounds to each table, topping dishes with the extra sauce while gabbing with guests, something no one in this town does better. Kudos to Peck and her entire staff for once again pulling off an amazing evening.

I attended The Root Cafe’s “Dinner in October” the following night. If you’re thinking, “Wait, The Root is open for dinner?’ The answer is no, not quite yet, but they will be probably sometime in early 2017. For now, diners can get a taste of things to come, as ownership puts together these monthly communal dinners in The Root’s charming, one-of-a-kind setting. Chef Jonathan Arrington and Pastry Chef Sara Slimp created a masterful, 5-course dinner that had a touch of sophistication, while still holding on to The Root’s unpretentious qualities. Highlights of the evening included a gorgeous plate of  red and black lentils (pictured above) with turnips, carrots, and apples, along with the main entree, a plate of pork belly, pinto beans, pickled boy choy, and cornbread pudding. While the dessert course of honey molasses layer cake was also a winner, the cake itself was a tad dry, but fortunately, had this amazing ginger infused, orange cream frosting that was also elevated by a spicy red chile sauce. Long story short … the food, company, and service were all fantastic. Keep an eye out on The Root’s Facebook page for details on the next ticketed dinner, which is typically held on the second Friday night of each month. I would not hesitate to sign up. The Root also does an open seating dinner on the 4th Friday of each month.

Have you ever been inside the Izard Chocolate storefront located just across the street from Hillcrest Kroger? You should. It’s a cool place and owner Nathaniel Izard is making a variety of excellent dark chocolate. Come to find out, he’s also starting to roast some of his own small-batch coffee. I’ve yet to try it, but if the coffee is anything like the chocolate, it should be a nice addition to the mix.

Speaking of coffee, did you know Honey Pies makes one of the better cups in town? I’m partial to their pour-over, which uses Leiva’s Coffee. And this from the store…”For every cup of coffee you buy, we donate a meal to a hungry child in Central Arkansas.”  Just a heads up, Honey Pies new-ish hours are Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m -7 p.m.

Quick hits: I sat at South on Main’s bar and downed an Old Fashioned while listening to the tunes of Shawn Camp last Wednesday night. Just an overall great evening. Taziki’s is quietly one of the best take-out options in town. The chicken pasta salad on the weekend is a must-order. Juice Bar in Midtown (near Big Orange Midtown) serves this wildly addictive acai bowl. It’s filled with 15+ healthy ingredients and perfect for breakfast. The Pantry does it again …  my go-to salmon wrap for lunch never disappoints. Shout out to our server, Bonnie, who once again proved why the restaurant has some of the very best food and service in town.

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