A look back on my week of food in Little Rock!

This week was certainly a nice mixture of dining out and cooking at home. During the week, I prepared an Asian stir-fry, highlighted by some wonderful pork cutlets from Freckle Face Farm. I just can’t recommend enough the delicious and high quality meat they produce. Kudos, Mitchell! Definitely stop by their booth at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

I prepared some chicken parm the following evening with a bottle of garlic sauce given to me by the ever so nice Amy Bradley-Hole. Other Little Rock foodies can attest to the amazing-ness of the product. The sauce is bursting with flavor and has a nice slow, back end burn to it. Correct me if I’m wrong Amy, but I believe several of the sauce’s ingredients, including the tomatoes and olive oil, come straight from Italy.

Switching gears, our family dinner at the local Mellow Mushroom proved to be quite disastrous. This was my first experience with MM, and admittedly, I was somewhat excited. The place is five minutes from my house and is super kid-friendly. Unfortunately, just about everything related to our meal was a train wreck. Our two, 12-inch (small) pizza pies took 45 minutes to reach the table. One of them, the Holy Shiitake was completely undercooked. The crust, both soggy and oily, tasted like a bad soft pretzel you’d get at a baseball game. To make matters worse, my wife found a hair imbedded in the crust. I can safely say it’s one-and-done for me and Mellow Mushroom.

Celery Soup from Natchez

Celery Soup from Natchez

On the opposite end of the spectrum was our Saturday dinner at Natchez. Wow, people…you need to get over there. The place is a hidden gem (especially as a dinner destination), due in large part to its off-the-beaten-path, downtown location. But don’t let that stop you from going. My tile fish with lentils and roasted grapes, along with bites from other diners’ dishes–including the shrimp, chicken livers, and pork–were all fabulous. Save room for one of their fabulous desserts, prepared by my friend and recent Natchez addition, Zara Abbasi Wilkerson. Don’t think twice ordering the triple chocolate torte if it happens to be on the menu on your particular visit.

I stopped by Stone’s Throw Brewery for the first time. The place is a perfect neighborhood watering hole and a nice addition to the downtown scene. Honestly, I’ve never had a beer this muddy looking, by found it to have a delicious taste. Best of luck to the crew over there…it will be fun watching STB grow.

Is a week complete without a visit to Hillcrest Artisan Meats? I say no! In fact, I made two visits. Brandon had a few remaining scraps of the contest-winning La Quercia prosciutto. The stuff literally melts on your tongue.

Burgandy Okra from Willow Springs Market Garden

Burgandy Okra from Willow Springs Market Garden

Even though I missed out on Saturday’s Hillcrest Farmers Market, I was able to attend the one at Bernice Garden on Sunday morning. Once again, I overspent…but it was so worth it. Highlights included Geek Eat’s caramelized onion hummus ($4), as well as the peach preserves ($12) from Goatroper. The hummus proved to be my favorite one of GE’s assortment, and the awesomeness of Goatroper’s peach preserves is almost beyond words. I slathered some on a piece of bread from Mylo’s … then followed that up by devouring several spoonfuls straight from the jar.

Thanks to Willow Springs Market Garden, I was also able to partake in my inaugural consumption of burgundy okra and pawpaw. The first tastes like regular okra, but, as you might have guessed, is burgundy in color (turns green when you cook it). The latter is a tropical-like fruit with innards that are both soft and creamy, with a mild banana custard-y flavor. Very cool!

The breakfast tacos at Mug’s Cafe are delightful. For $4, you get two corn tortillas, each topped with a fried egg and pico. I highly recommend you give them a try.

What did you eat this week?

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Mark Robertson August 19, 2013 at 7:51 am

Nice article and couldn’t agree more with most of your assessments. However Paw Paw is a native Arkansas plant (not a tropical) and can be grown in your own yard as well as can be found across the state in may of our forests.

The Mighty Rib August 19, 2013 at 7:56 am

My apologies, you are correct…I should have referred to it as a tropical-like fruit. In fact, I will add it right now.

Thank you!

Scott McGehee August 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

SO appreciate the Locally Owned and farmers market suggestions! Great article and very much appreciated!

-Scott McGehee

EY August 21, 2013 at 6:05 am

I’ve gotten take out twice from MM and been sorely disappointed both times. The first time, I got a salad and said “I love US Pizza’s Salad Supreme, so if this doesn’t compare to that, please let me know”. I was assured that it did. Uhhh, not even close. At USP, a small salad supreme is nearly busting out of the to go container. At MM, there was plenty of room. Not good. Nor was it particularly good.
A bit later, I tried their pizza. To say I like pizza is to say I like oxygen. And I’ll eat any pizza that’s nearby. I tried the Holy Shiitake and was underwhelmed. There is too much good pizza here to eat theirs.
Can’t wait to try Geek Eats hummus!

    The Mighty Rib August 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

    EY, good to hear from you!

    I emailed a formal complaint to MM management. They were quick to get back to me, but the response was very “stock.” Oh well, not going back anyways…even if the pizza was great, it’s just too expensive!

    Let me know what you think about Geek Eats…I’m seriously addicted to that stuff. Great people as well.

    Thanks for reading…and responding.

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