Posts Tagged The Pantry

The Dish: Those Cookies at The Pantry

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Monthly Feature, By Jarred Kibbey

Each month, Jarred highlights one of his favorite dishes from around Little Rock.

Pretty much everything that can be said about The Pantry has already been said. Yes, it is delicious. Yes, it is one of the most consistent restaurants in Arkansas. Yes, it is a great value and ran by a great guy. But you already know all of that. What you may not know is that one of the least appreciated dishes in Little Rock is served there and they served with every meal – The Pantry cookies.

They may not look like much and are easy to overlook. A small, unassuming cookie for each patron that is brought with the check. They are no bigger than your thumb and most people think of them as an afterthought, but these cookies are fantastic (which took me many years to actually find out).

My wife and I have been going to The Pantry since we moved to Little Rock six years ago. On our first visit I knew that this was a place that we would be coming back to regularly, but I was completely uninterested in the two boring looking cookies at the end of our meal. So my wife kept eating them on each visit. What she didn’t bother to tell me was how great they are. She just kept hiding this fact from me and eating these “boring” little cookies after each meal. It wasn’t until one visit many years later when they forgot to bring the cookies out that she showed her hand and mentioned to me that they forgot the cookies. It was at this point that I realized there must be something more going on here. They are a simple shortbread cookie with a mixture of finely chopped nuts. Even writing this, it doesn’t sound exciting or even like something I would enjoy, but they are really great. A perfect ending to what is usually a fairly heavy meal (because you have to start with the Pantry Board).

What many people don’t realize is that you can order these cookies on the dessert menu. At $2.50, they are a great value and a much lighter option than the cheesecake or chocolate salami (both great, but you likely already knew that).

So next time you are at The Pantry, pay closer attention to these wonderful little bites at the end of the meal. They are truly a fantastic end to what was likely already a fantastic meal.

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100 of the Best Appetizers in Little Rock

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Skillet Bread at South on Main

 

Save this list, bookmark it, print it out … do whatever you have to do to file it away and use it as the ultimate reference guide for the best appetizers in Little Rock. Below is a combination of reader response and personal favorites. If there are any glaring omissions, please add them to the comment box. Also, make sure to check each restaurant’s current menu, as some of the appetizers are seasonal items.

Bruschetta, Hummus, or Baba Ganoush at YaYa’s
My Take: A friend once told me about the magnificence of YaYa’s baba ganoush and she was absolutely right.

Brussels Sprouts or Fried Hummus Bites at North Bar

Bacon Wrapped Dates, Truffled Deviled Eggs, House Made Ricotta, Cheese Spaetzle, Pomme Frites, Brussels Sprouts at The Pantry
My Take: In retrospect, I probably should have typed “See the entire Starters menu at The Pantry.”

Crawfish Dip with Fried Wontons at Skinny J’s
Crab Au Gratin at Cajun’s Wharf

Skillet Bread, Fried Chicken Livers, Pork Rinds, Fried Oysters or Smoked Oysters at South On Main
My Take: South on Main got a ton of love on this post, as it should, the appetizers are all fantastic. But my personal favorite is the Fried Oyster Steamed Bun, which is listed below.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip at Saddle Creek Grill
Cheese Fries at Rebel Kettle

Pimento Cheese, Bread & Butter Plate, or Smoked Jalapeño Pimento Cheese, or Black Eyed Pea and Poblano Hummus at Lost Forty

Burgundy Mushrooms or Cheese Dip at Dizzy’s
Quail Lollipops, Poutine, or Foie Gras at Table 28

Fried Shrimp at Doe's

Fried Shrimp at Doe’s

 

Fried Shrimp or Tamales at Doe’s Eat Place
Grilled Oysters, Meat Pies, BBQ Nachos, or Truffle Fries at Maddie’s Place

Fried Black Eyed Peas or Spiced Pecans at Capital Bar and Grill
My Take: Those spiced pecans are crazy addictive and an absolute must-get on any visit to CBG.

Spicy Pimento Cheese with Soft Pita Chips at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
The Caprese at Deluca’s

Shrimp Tchoupitoulas, Rose’s Hot Red Pepper Shrimp, Stuffed Mushrooms, Rose’s Fries, Fried Artichoke Hearts, Fried Green Tomatoes, or Cajun Popcorn at The Faded Rose
My Take: Good gracious was TFR mentioned a lot on this thread. All great choices, but give me those wedge fries with the buttermilk dressing any day.

Baba Ganoush at Layla's

Baba Ganoush at Layla’s

 

Onion Rings or Fried Green Tomatoes at Cotham’s in the City
Cheesesteak Egg Rolls at Del Frisco’s Grille
Crab Cakes at Sonny Williams’ Steak Room
Yellowtail or Hamachi Nigiri at Kemuri
Burrata at Raduno
Cheese Fries or Quesadilla at Buffalo Grill
Hummus or Baba Ganoush at Layla’s
Hummus with Pita Bread at Mama’s Gyros Grill
Fried Mozzarella Sticks at Dugan’s Pub

Baked Pimento Cheese at Boulevard Bistro
My Take: I’ve written about this appetizer several times in the past and it really is a unique and delicious spin on a Little Rock classic.

Fried Gulf Oysters or Crispy Chicken Livers at Red Door
Calamari Fries, Tuna Tataki, Spinach Dip, Queso Fundido, or Hot Crab Dip at Trio’s
Salsa Trio at Local Lime
Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp at Samantha’s Tap Room and Wood Grill
Tamale Pie at Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
State Fair Fries (with Side of Jalapeño Ranch) at Big Orange
Crab Stuffed Artichoke at Capers
Tortilla Soup at Casa Manana
Heirloom Tomato Plate, Goat Cheese Moouse or Baked Camembert at Brave New Restaurant
Cheese Dip at Reno’s Argenta Cafe
Ceviche Tostadas at El Porton
Crab Cake at One Eleven at the Capital
Grilled Meatballs and Stuffed Eggplant at Ristorante Capeo
Bread and Butter at Bruno’s Little Italy
Fried Portobello Slices or Shrimp & Brie Quesadillas with Mango Salsa at Loca Luna

Leeks at One Eleven

Leeks at One Eleven

 

Falafel, Tabouleh, Hummus, or Baba Ghanouj at Zam Zam Grill
My Take: I’ve heard good things about this place, probably time to check it out.

Cheese Dip at Riviera Maya
Calamari at Zaffino’s
Tuna Tataki at Hanaroo
Fried Green Tomatoes at The Main Cheese

My Personal Favs
Smoked Trout Nachos at Flyway Brewing
Chicken Nachos at El Palenque
Ceviche at Local Lime
Pupusas at Rosalindas
Fried Oyster Steamed Buns or Cauliflower Popcorn at South on Main
Fried Yuca at La Terraza Rum & Lounge
Pimento Cheese (Toast) or Radishes at The Root
Ceviche at Kemuri
Leeks at One Eleven at the Capital
Triple Dipper at Baja Grill

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Coming Soon to Hillcrest … District Fare

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While the loss of Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Little Rock’s most beloved butcher/sandwich shop, was painful for our town’s culinary scene, it was comforting to hear that veteran restauranteur Tomas Bohm would be taking over the space. Bohm, who also owns The Pantry and The Pantry Crest, is about as well-respected as anyone in the industry, primarily for his consistently quality food and a genuine, service-oriented mentality that permeates throughout his restaurants.

His latest venture will be called District Fare, a deli concept specializing in house-cured meats/provisions and sandwiches, along with offerings of local and international products, grab-and-go dinners, and much more.

For Bohm, the decision to increase his footprint in the popular Hillcrest neighborbood wasn’t an easy one. “I always loved H.A.M., and I thought long and hard about it, but Hillcrest accepted our place on Palm Street and I want to continue to represent this amazing neighborhood and our city.”

Moving forward, Bohm’s biggest challenge will be splitting up his time between the three places. “I will spend a lot of time at District Fare at first, but fortunately, we have a great team of very dedicated people that help me make this possible. One hundred hours a week … here we go!”

District Fare has an estimated opening date of sometime in March or April. Operating hours will be Mon-Sat 11-7, Sun 12-5.

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20 Suggestions for Valentine’s Day in Little Rock

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We’re less than 14 days from Valentine’s Day, which is the perfect time to start looking at menus and making reservations. I’ve scoured the internet to find local menus, specials, and places that are taking reservations. I’m sure there are many more specials, but these are the ones I could find thus far. Also, this is not to say these are the only restaurants you should consider going to on V-Day. If prix fixe menus aren’t your thing, many restaurants are open for business and offering their standard menu. In short, if going out on Valentine’s Day is your thing, check out the info below and click on the links for more details. Finally, if you’re a restaurant who is offering a special that I failed to include below, please message me and I’ll be glad to update the post.

Menus…

The Southern Gourmasian
South on Main: available 2/10, 2/11, 2/14
One Eleven: V-Day hotel package also available
Table 28: V-Day hotel package also available
Cache: available 2/10, 2/11, 2/13, 2/14)
Capeo: 3-course wine dinner, available 2/13 (click the link and scroll down for info)
Vesuvio Bistro
Heritage Grille, Steak and Fin
Del Frisco’s Grille
Canvas at the Arkansas Arts Center

Taking Reservations…

The Pantry and The Pantry Crest
Arthur’s Steakhouse
Kemuri

Other Specials…

Flyway Brewing: The Flyway Bouquet
Rocktown Distillery: Whiskey and Chocolate Pairing, available 2/12
Izard Chocolate: So Hoppy Together, available 2/12
Cocoa Belle Chocolates: Pop Up Shop on 2/10
Cocoa Rouge: Per 1/30 FB update, has delivered fresh chocolate to Eggshells and Colonial Wine and Sprits
2017 Chocolate Fantasy Ball
Blue Cake Company

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