Around the Rock: A Quick Cocktail at Big Orange Midtown

 

My weekly views…

I rarely, if ever, lead with a cocktail mention on these weekly Around the Rock pieces, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have The Morris #2, and all its beauty, featured right from the start. It’s from the creative mind of Dylan Yelenich, bartender connoisseur at Big Orange Midtown. The drink is comprised of Pig’s Nose Scotch, St. Germain, green chartreuse, lemon juice and Herbsaint. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, The Morris #2 is also delightfully refreshing, as well as unbelievably smooth—a perfect cocktail for this time of year.

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Believe it or not, I finally paid my first visit to the ever-popular Trio’s. I had heard rumors about this famous strawberry shortcake, but instead opted for a dessert of key lime pie. My meal, however, started with the Jazzy Blackened Shrimp, an entrée that ate more like an appetizer. Chili, garlic and cumin-rubbed shrimp rested in roasted red pepper coulis with chunks of cucumber. Trio’s gets an “A” for creativity, but a “C” for execution. I enjoyed the seasoned shrimp, but unfortunately, they were overcooked. And the plate’s portion size was small and needed a starch, such as a bed of white rice, to make it eat more like an entrée. As for my piece of key lime pie? It was spot-on … light and smooth with a powerful lime flavor and delicious graham cracker crust.

Mark it down, yet another successful lunch visit to South on Main. My Trout Piquante and Rice Cake exemplified everything this restaurant is about—which is elevating southern cuisine with modern, yet unpretentious techniques. Two mild, lightly fried strips of trout sit atop a pile of tender greens and a golden brown rice cake. The plate is topped off with a nice dollop of fresh piquante/salsa, which brings moisture to the dish and ties everything together. The trout comes from North Carolina, the rice is from Arkansas and the dish’s inspiration definitely exudes popular elements of both southern and southwestern cuisines.

Chi’s (on Markham) does it again, this time with the Mama Chi’s Spicy Fish. Tender, melt-in-your mouth chunks of pan fried flounder are drenched in a spicy, soupy Sichuan sauce. The level of heat will get your attention, but fear not, the dish is appropriately spicy.

Congrats to pitmasters Kelly Gee of Gee Que BBQ and chef Ken Dempsey of E’s Bistro whose teams brought home the hardware at last week’s Buzz BQ in NLR. Kelly secured a 3rd place in the pork category (professional division) and Ken finished 2nd in chicken. Huge accomplishment!

And the news…

Speaking of E’s Bistro, they’re now selling beer and wine, and if you want to BYOW, they charge a $10 corkage fee.

The Greek Food Festival is this weekend! Festivities begin on Friday, May 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., continue on Saturday, May 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and wraps up on Sunday, May 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission, parking and trolley service to the festival are free.

As a reminder, this month’s Westover Food Truck Wednesday has been moved to May 21 from 5-8 p.m. at the Westover Hills Presbyterian Church parking lot. Per usual, many of Little Rock’s most popular food trucks will be in attendance (Waffle Wagon, The Southern Gourmasian, Southern Salt Food Company and others). Also, be on the lookout for Beast Food Truck, which will run in place of Black Hound BarBQ this month!

And finally … after a 1-year hiatus, the Hillcrest Bug Bash is back! There will be mudbugs, bbq and live music at the 500 Block of N.Tyler. The event runs this Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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Around the Rock: A Quick Cocktail at Big Orange Midtown