My recent food adventures around Little Rock…

ZAZA’s Salad & Pizza
Is there a better casual lunch spot to take a group of out-of-towners than ZAZA? I say no. Our friends from Houston seemed to really enjoy the restaurant this past weekend. I guess the Margherita and Green & White pizzas, along with the Sante Fe South and Petit Jean Ranch salads, didn’t hurt ZAZA’s cause. Hey Green & White, where have you been all my life? I never would have thought to order this surprisingly tasty pizza. Glad my friends did … and shared. The heavy hand of garlic, subtle lemon flavor, and the caramelized onions give the Green & White a uniqueness that’s seldom scene in these parts as it pertains to pizza. The Petit Jean Ranch salad, loaded with bacon and ham, is always good, and while I really enjoyed my Sante Fe South with a mixture of red cabbage, avocado, black beans, and corn, it’s high time ZAZA ditched the chunks of chicken that taste and resemble those of the frozen Tyson variety. The bland, heavily breaded chicken is a distraction to an otherwise beautifully executed and tasty salad. Finally, it may seem like a small detail to some folks, but I absolutely love ZAZA’s soda fountain area, which along with David’s Burgers, cranks out the best Diet Dr. Pepper in town.

Wednesday Night at SoM
About once a month, you can generally find me eating good food, partaking in a cocktail, and listening to music on Wednesday nights during South on Main’s Local Live concert. Last week, I was fortunate enough to watch the Heather Smith Band as they damn near blew the roof off the place during a spirited musical performance. My old fashioned, as always, was spot-on and paired well with our appetizer of fried oysters with cucumber, fresh mint, and slivers of radish and jalapenos. I enjoyed this meal starter but felt it was a tad dry–a slight criticism I’ve had with a few South on Main dishes in the past–and could have benefited from a little moisture in the form of possibly a dipping sauce. Our entrees of pan seared catfish with field peas, green beans, and cornmeal pancakes, along with a smoky, perfectly cooked pork chop with fried pickled okra, were happily gobbled up. While I loved my catfish plate, especially those delightful pancakes, the highlight of the meal was that one bite of my buddy’s pork chop. Afterwards, I was tempted to grab the remaining bone off his plate and gnaw on it in the parking lot like a rabid dog. I finished the meal with a delicious cup of coffee and a moist, albeit slightly small, piece of coconut cake. Great food, drinks, and service, along a festive atmosphere, made for a wonderful evening at South on Main.

And More Pizza … at NYPD
NYPD Pizza, in far WLR, is a nice little spot for solid pizza. The restaurant also has a very underrated patio, a great feature, especially during this time of year. We ordered The Queens Deluxe Pie, a supreme pizza which has become our NYPD go-to order. The restaurant isn’t stingy with toppings and somehow the thin, crisp crust is able to hold up under all the mushrooms, Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers and cheese. Pass on the calzone. It’s not bad, but a bit too cheesy, even for this mozzarella and ricotta cheese lover. Regarding service, we’ve eaten at NYPD probably ten times over the course of three years and it’s always fast, friendly and very attentive.

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