Around the Rock: News & Views from the Little Rock Food Scene

My views…

I finally made a long overdue first visit to Delicious Temptations. While it was only one breakfast and we didn’t order a variety of dishes, I failed to come away all that impressed with the meal. Unfortunately, my cup of Westrock Coffee was very weak, and although this may seem like a small detail, as a coffee lover, nothing is more annoying that a weak cup of Joe. The oatmeal, as expected, was fairly pedestrian, but hey, it’s oatmeal. That said, it was a tad dry. A few bites of my daughter’s blueberry pancake made me wonder if anything about this quick breakfast would bring me back to the restaurant anytime soon. Was the pancake bad? Certainly not, but it was a little dense, and I typically favor a fluffier version.

Shockingly, I also paid my first visit to the Franke’s downtown location. Crazy, I know, as I often expound on the guilty pleasure dining experience that is Franke’s Cafeteria. I’m just a sucker for those fried chicken tenders and eggplant casserole. Obviously, the food is the same as the WLR location, but there’s just something I still prefer about my usual spot.

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I’ve lumped both heavy criticism and lofty praise on Ciao Baci in the past year. There’s no question some great food comes out of its kitchen, but my recent Umami Burger certainly was the best to date. Dare I say it was one of the top burgers I’ve eaten in Little Rock? Yes, it was that good. The thick, medium-cooked patty with soy shiitakes and onion jam is sure to delight even the pickiest of burger critics.

My beloved David’s Burgers finally started marketing what we already took for granted: “endless fries.” One of the best parts about David’s is sitting down after our order and being greeted at the table with a pile of fresh fries. It’s a brilliant strategy and one that helps to keep us walking through the door on a consistent basis.

I found the duck gumbo at South on Main to be a worthy addition to the restaurant’s new seasonal menu. Cozy up to the bar with a bowl of it, along with a Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch (served neat).

And the news…

Who doesn’t love them some paella? This from Eggshells Kitchen Co.: “Enjoy an evening with Chef Brian Kelley at Eggshells Kitchen Co. on February 20, 2015 as he prepares Paella, the national dish of Spain. Those with shellfish allergies have nothing to fear- the variant the Chef will be preparing will utilize chicken and sausage, rather than seafood. ” Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased here. Also, Eggshell’s kids cooking classes are back! Check out all of the details for the February 12th class.

Looks like WLR has themselves a food truck event … and it sounds like a good one. The West Little Rock Food Truck Festival is set for Saturday, February 21st from 11AM-2PM at Chenal Pointe at The Divide (6400 Divide Pkwy). The usual cast will be there, including The Beast, Katmandu MoMo, The Southern Gourmasian, Hot Rod Weiners, Waffle Wagon and The Pie Hole.

Looking for a good cause to support? “The 7th annual Big Red Ball Charitable Foundation’s Chili with a Kick event benefiting Youth Home will be happening February 21st at Dickey-Stephens Park. This year’s event will feature fun and games for all ages including a draft style adult kickball tournament played on the Dickey-Stephens baseball field, a chili cook-off, a jalapeno eating contest, acoustic local music, arts and crafts from local artists and vendors, and grilled burgers and dogs and a super fun Kids Zone for your little ones. Our CWAK Kids Zone includes bouncy houses, face painting, carnival games, balloons, kickball, and more!” $5 for all-you-can-eat chili and live music.

This sounds fun … A Beer & Brats Brunch with Bonnie Montgomery on Sunday, February 21st from 1:30PM-4:30Pm at The Capital Hotel. “Lost Forty Brewing, Bonnie Montgomery and The Capital Bar & Grill are coming together for a completely new CBG experience. Join us for a beer, brats and folk focused Sunday brunch featuring live music from Arkansas’s own Bonnie Montgomery while dining on the Capital Hotel Bar and Grill’s new House Made Bratwurst plates highlighted by an array of our year round and seasonal brews.”

Little Rock’s 34th Annual Soup Sunday benefiting Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families will be held on Sunday, February 8th from 4:00PM – 7:00PM at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Regular admission tickets are $25 for adults through February 6th at 5PM After that, tickets are $30. VIP tickets are $50, $5 for children ages 5-17, and children younger than 5 are free. “Payne Harding of Cache will be our VIP chef this time. Event sponsors and VIP ticket holders can enjoy his signature soup (we’ve heard rumors he’s preparing truffled lobster and corn chowder), along with complimentary wine and beer provided by Glazer’s. We’ll also have the perfect desserts to end your meal.”

Reminder to chefs, managers and restaurant owners…please send us any “help wanted” information as it pertains to your business. We will include the details in our weekly email update and post a round-up of new jobs each Friday.

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Around the Rock: News & Views from the Little Rock Food Scene