Around the Rock: Food Trucks, Big Orange Midtown and a Host of Events

My weekly food views…

Boy, last Saturday was a gorgeous day to attend the Main Food Truck Festival Street. We arrived early to beat the crowds, which is always a sound decision for popular food events. Unfortunately, my limited sampling of the food proved to be mostly pedestrian. Katmandu MoMo’s dumplings were flavorful, yet small, and a set of five, along with two tiny spring rolls, ran $8. We then hit up Cheto for some deluxe nachos. These proved to be nothing more than the elevated ballpark variety, which I happen to enjoy, but tend to expect more from a food truck. Finally, my pumpkin whoopie pie from The Pie Hole, although undersized for its $4 price tag, exploded with pumpkin flavor and truly represented one of the better sweet treats I’ve had in town.

Head to The Pantry and try a beer from Moody Brews. I had my first one during the restaurant’s Oktoberfest and found myself loving Josiah Moody’s latest brew.

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And though it’s gone until next year, go ahead and plan to attend next year’s Oktoberfest at The Pantry, which offered the opportunity to enjoy buffet-style some of the its signature dishes, pretzels from Arkansas Fresh Bakery and beer in a relaxed atmosphere.

Kudos to the crew over at Big Orange Midtown for teaming up with Four Roses Whiskey to host yet another 4-course, fun-filled dinner event. Highlights of the meal included Lee Edward’s An American Abroad, a mildly sweet drink with Four Rose’s Single Barrel, served room temperature, as well as a pizetta with warm figs, Pecorino and pancetta, executed by chef Scott McGehee, who also put on a nice showing with his smoked brisket. The star of the evening, however, was chef Autumn Hill and her take on a deconstructed s’more. The highly technical dessert was both beautiful and tasty. And while each component was delicious, the serving of chocolate espresso panna cotta stole the show.

And the news…

Come celebrate southern food and culture at Ron Robinson Theater on Saturday, October 18th, starting at 6:00 p.m. The cost is about $11 and tickets can be purchased right here. There will be an alleyway reception with bites from Matthew Bell of South on Main, Travis McConnell of Butcher & Public and Sally Mengel of Loblolly Creamery., along with music by Phillip Rex Huddleston, Thom Asewicz, Lee Petray and James Szenher Heck. Beverages from Stone’s Throw Brewing, Moody Brews and Chateau Aux ARC. will even be available to purchase in the theater lobby. A screening of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s “Pride & Joy,” will follow the reception, along with a panel discussion moderated by yours truly.

On Sunday, October 19th, The Root Cafe will host the 3rd Annual Little Rock Hot Pepper Eating Contest from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in the cafe’s courtyard at 1500 S. Main St. Twelve brave contestants will chew and swallow a variety of spicy peppers grown by Doug Smith and the Dunbar Community Garden Project. Attendance is free and open to the public. Participants who would like to sign up should come by the cafe; $10 registration fee holds your spot and will be returned to you on the day of the contest.

Executive chef Andreas Kisler and The Peabody Hotel will host the Best of the Mid-South Friends of Beard Benefit Dinner on Saturday, November 8th in Memphis. Little Rock’s very own chef Matthew Bell of South on Main will be there representing Arkansas as part of the 6-course dinner. The cost of the dinner with wine pairings is $175 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $200 for non-members, plus tax and gratuity. For more information or to make a reservation, please call The Peabody at 901-529-4183. Proceeds will benefit The James Beard Foundation and Methodist Foundation, Hospital Transplant Fund.

Solfood Catering is traveling this fall and winter to film their travel/foodie show called “Vegans Get Plenty.” On Saturday, October 11th at 4:00 p.m., come wish them well and make a donation to the trip, while enjoying some food and good company. Dinner is $15. For more details, click here.

Eggshell Kitchen Co.’s latest class features cocktail master Lee Edwards. Click here for the full details on an evening you won’t want to miss.

Pulaski Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute will host a Food Day panel discussion and food demonstrations with chefs, farmers and doctors on October 23rd to discuss how food choices affect the community, environment, economy, and public health. The discussion begins at 11:00 a.m. in the Celebrity Chef Theatre at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute, 13000 Interstate 30.

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Around the Rock: Food Trucks, Big Orange Midtown and a Host of Events