We are going to be starting a new segment here called RockCity Eats. This will put us in contention with the other 1,200 food bloggers in the city, the only promise we make is not hold back and give it the full RockCity Times treatment.
I wanted to get things started off right here and take you to my current personal favorite restaurant, Local Lime. Note that my favorite is subject to change at any moment and can be bought off for undisclosed sums of cash and or alcohol.
Local Lime has been around for about 6 months now and is started by the same group that brought you Big Orange (my previous favorite) and ZaZa’s. It remains one of the few places in the city that is impossible to just walk into at any given moment and grab a seat. It is not due to lack of space or slow service, it is the good food. While unconfirmed, we have heard rumors that they cook their tacos in heavily addictive narcotics.
Any great meal should start with an even better drink. I’ve had a number of awful meals made better simply because I could barely feel my tongue. While I do not have to worry about that here, a quality cocktail does enhance the dining experience considerably.
First I started off with a couple of waters, because you gotta hydrate. The water included the perfect balance of ice and liquid. The water itself was tasty tap water from good ole Lake Maumelle, none of that nasty tar-sand oil water you get north of the city from Lake Conway. One minor complaint here, I noticed my lemon was significantly smaller than my wife’s. I think the waiter, Cody, ripped me off on this. He obviously favors prettier guest. I’ll be sure to request someone who likes us ugly folk better next time.
Finally after hours of waiting (ok, maybe it was only 3 1/2 minutes) the main course of the cocktail arrived. The Last Word. I’ve found that any time you name a cocktail by a phrase it better be one hell of a drink to live up to the name. This one was exceptional. It was a 3 month barrel aged drink made from Made with Chartreuse Green, Beefeater Gin, Luxardo Maraschino and Lime. I have absolutely no clue what any of that is, but anything with the name Beefeater must be a manly drink.
I took one sip and the beefeater hit me strong. It had great tones of oak from the aging, all around exceptional flavor. I gave my wife a drink and she immediately flushed it down with her glass of water, which contained the good lemon btw. I asked her to comment on the drink and her only response was “That will put hair on your chest”. I assumed this was one of her southern phrases that I never understand. Then I looked down and did notice a substantial increase in chest hair. After finishing I ran to the bathroom and shaved my chest, drank 2 more and a full grizzly bear of a chest was back again. I give a strong nod to the beefeater, good move Local Lime.
The true test of any taco bar is of course the tacos. Now typically I go for the Chicken Mole Enchiladas which is the best damn Mole dish I’ve had outside of California. However Local Lime’s fine marketing person sold me on trying the grilled fish tacos. They have recently changed the grilling process of the tacos and I have to say, it was every bit as good as my Chicken Mole.
The tacos are large filets, as opposed to the chunks you get at some places. It is grilled with enough char to give it tons of flavor and a good crispness without being overcooked. They top it with a chipotle cream sauce. Warning, this sauce has a little kick. After eating the three tacos my mouth was on fire and oddly wanting more. I killed the rest of my glass of water. Cody, quickly seeing a potential situation, brought me another glass. This time with an adequate lemon. For the record Cody, you won your tip back here.
The wife decided to go with beer battered fish tacos, these additionally were very good. They had a nice light batter and a quality fish. The fish itself had a good fresh taste and as my wife describes it “melt in your mouth” consistency. In fact it is quite possible the fish really was melting, I found a substantial amount of drippage coming from the taco (see photo). I wonder how these things will hold up in the summer heat. Still quite good.
Each taco plate comes with two sides. I opted for the cilantro lime rice and the drunken baked beans. The rice here is always exceptional, has a great overall flavor. In fact often I just get two orders of rice and skip the other side all together. I think it is great to splash a little extra lime on it, which they gratefully include on your plate.
The drunken baked beans are typically exceptional as well. I am not sure if they are playing with the recipe a little lately or not, but this time they were substantially different than orders I have had in the past. I would put the old style beans against any BBQ joint in town, which is a little odd being at a taco bar. These were average at best, hopefully they go back to the old style. No pressure here. I’ll just get two rices.
I am going to step out on a limb here and tell you that I rarely get dessert. As I often say though, there is one way to get my attention to the sweet side, adding tons of rum. In fact that has made the 3 Rums Tres Leches here my all time favorite desert. Cody, clearly seeing the need to suck up from the previous lemon fiasco, tried to talk us into some special coconut thing. I wanted none of it, just give me my cake injected with my favorite liquid.
While I am not sure where the 3 Rums Tres Leches gets its name, I suspect it is from the 3 bottles of rum they inject into every single piece. They honestly have to card people when they order this dessert I am told. The cake is soaked in the rum after cooking so it is still fresh and quite alcoholic.
The cake itself is super moist and very wonderful to eat. Frequently you take a bite and it is basically like taking a shot of rum, that might be why I like this cake (Did I mention spiced rum is my favorite liquid?). You seriously have to try this, heck, there have been several occasions where we have just ordered one of these to go, which I am pretty sure is illegal.
After watching my chest hair magically grow from the cocktail and the rum cake my wife left me. I went to the bar and talked them into just giving me a whole cake to myself. A couple of hours, extensive singing, and a few cakes later I finally found someone to take me home.