Thoughts on my recent eating experiences around Little Rock…

A cool, brisk Saturday morning inspired a visit to the Hillcrest Farmers Market where I ran into many familiar faces, and, of course, purchased several local products. Two that really stood out were the Strawberry Pop Tart at Twiggy’s Treatery and the Lemon Zest & Cilantro Hummus at Geek Eats. The former is this absolutely adorable food trailer that sets up at farmers markets and sells sweet treats, many of which incorporate a variety of local ingredients, including this amazing pop tart with Barnhill Orchards strawberries. The filling was tart and subtly sweet and the surrounding crust was baked just right. I highly recommend checking them out. As for Geek Eats, I’ve always enjoyed his hummus, but this Lemon Zest & Cilantro is my new favorite, primarily because I am addicted to anything with cilantro.

Not to go all gaga over a chain, but when something is good, dammit, who cares whether it’s local or not?  Case and point … Everything Bundt Cakes. Those little bundtlettes they sell for $4 are reasonably priced and taste great, especially the lemon cake.

Lunch at Café Bossa Nova was a big success. I ordered the Mahi-Mahi Tacos, which included deep fried mahi-mahi strips with Napa cabbage, pink chipotle sauce, mango radish salsa and fresh cilantro, resting on two lightly grilled corn tortillas. The tacos came with a side of black beans and rice. Simply put, the entire plate was perfection. The fresh, bright flavors of the toppings really paired well with the mild fish. And I could eat a vat, not a small cup, of that rice and beans. Bossa Nova is such an underrated spot, and while I know they have their loyal group of regulars, given its delicious food and prime location, the restaurant should be even more popular than what it is.

Quick … what’s one of the best dishes in all of Little Rock? Answer: The Board at The Pantry. For $21.95, you get a collection of house made meats, including: smoked turkey, Hungarian sausage, bratwurst, cured pork belly, country terrine, and liver pâté, along with an assortment of breads, cheeses, and pickled vegetables. I’ve written and fawned over this dish for years now, and I’ve yet to tire of it. It’s the ideal meal starter for a group of 4-6 people.

The Tuna Poke Bowl at Trio’s is the real deal. It’s a bowl of raw Hawaiian Ahi mixed with soy, ginger, sesame oil and spices, and comes with edamame, mango, warm sushi rice, avocado, watermelon radishes, toasted sesame seeds and English cucumber. It will be on the menu for the next few weeks and I highly recommend ordering it.

I walked into Flyway Brewing last Sunday at 2:30 p.m. to have a beer and watch some basketball at the bar. When I arrived, there must have been 10 people in the entire place. When the game was over about two hours later, Flyway was packed with a line 20 folks deep. It was Tom Petty’s fault.

Dear Arkansas Heart Hospital, I’m writing this short note to inform you I had a lapse in judgment last week. Unfortunately, I strayed and decided to eat the ramen at the Kroger in the Heights. They have a nice ramen station, much like you do, and I had heard some good things, but you’re still my ramen of choice. Plus, they charge almost $9 a bowl, far more than the $5 I’ve foolishly grown accustomed to with you. You’ve spoiled me so. Anyways, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.

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