Once again, we find ourselves reporting on more international recognition for the absolutely brilliant Rock Town Distillery in the SoMa neighborhood. This time around, the adulation is coming from the 2019 iteration of The Whisky Bible, written by renowned whiskey connoisseur Jim Murray. Four different Rock Town spirits received a 94/100 rating this time around:
- Arkansas Bourbon
- Arkansas Rye
- Single Barrel Bourbon
- 7th Anniversary Sherry Cask Wheat Whiskey
While you can read Murray’s reviews for yourself in the new book, the quip that stands out to me is what he said about Rock Town’s Arkansas Rye Whiskey, describing it as better “than some ryes made by the established distilleries of Kentucky.” I absolutely agree; Rock Town’s rye is now the only one I keep at home. The Sherry Cask Wheat Whiskey may be gone, but you can still get the other three highly praised spirits at Rock Town Distillery and liquor stores around town.
We reported late last week that the owners of Ira’s Restaurant had cut ties with chef Ira Mittelman and renamed the eatery to Allsopp & Chapple Restaurant + Bar. Now it appears the divorce between the two parties is even more complete, as Allsopp & Chapple has completely overhauled the restaurant’s menu. Not a single entrée or appetizer from Ira’s remains in the lineup. Instead, the new menu appears to be pretty standard fare for a higher-end establishment. The jaw-dropper is the $89 Tomahawk Ribeye that’s meant to be shared. Prices up and down the menu are comparable to restaurants like One Eleven at the Capital and Cache. The transition has happened very quickly, and we haven’t had a chance to sink our teeth into the new dishes, though we will report back when we do.
This year’s Diamond Chef competition is ready for the first round of voting. 12 candidates have submitted videos on why they should be the next Diamond chef. The top voted chefs move on to the next round of the cooking competition. You can see the videos and cast your vote here.
As you’re reading this, it is almost certainly either getting ready to rain or actually pouring. That’s why you should consider turning that porch light off tonight and heading to one of a number of Halloween parties at Arkansas restaurants. Proof Bar + Lounge and Blue Canoe Brewing Company are throwing Halloween bashes for the bar crowd. South on Main is hosting a Stranger Things-themed party, complete with musical guests Dazz and Brie. At the Corner is hosting a haunted brunch-style dinner, and The Pizzeria in the Heights is mixing up some Halloween-styled tiki cocktails for the evening’s festivities. I’m sure there are plenty more Halloween events I’m missing, so make sure to scour your favorite restaurant’s Facebook page and have some fun tonight supporting Central Arkansas restaurants.
And make sure you save some of your partying energy for this weekend because there is a glut of events and activities around town. The River Market Pavilion will host the first Arkansas Whiskey Festival from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. Or you can enjoy the always-popular Chili Fights in the Heights. And of course (permit me one final shameless plug), this Saturday is HarvestFest in Hillcrest with 12 local food trucks and nine Central Arkansas breweries in the beer garden (disclosure: I serve as chair of HarvestFest). The weather for Saturday is looking picture perfect, so get out of the house and go enjoy some great food and drink this weekend.
With the fall weather finally here, menus around town are shifting to match the season. That’s also true of bar menus, like the one at Petit and Keet. We stopped in for a sampling of the newest drinks and found a lineup of expert riffs on classic cocktails.