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The Eat Blog

News and notes on food, fine dining, restaurants and eating in Arkansas. A daily digest of favorite flavors leavened with your comments. E-mail tips and feedback to InArkansas.com Associate Editor Lauren James here.
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Pizzeria Santa Lucia Establishing Shop at Terry's Finer Foods

Image by Steve Shuler, LR Foodcast

Hey, pizza lovers! Good news! Pizzeria Santa Lucia has started work on a brick-and-mortar shop at Terry's Finer Foods in the Heights!

Santa Lucia at Terry's Finer Foods will move into the space that was previously occupied by The Restaurant at Terry's Finer Foods. The Restaurant recently moved to the opposite side of the building, which opened the door for Santa Lucia, and its owners, Jeremy and Jacquelyn Pittman.

The Pittmans, of Palette Catering and Event Planning, already sell some of their processed foods at Terry's Finer Foods, owned by Lex and Ellen Golden, and operate The Pie Shop at Terry's.

Santa Lucia's official open date has not been set yet, but Jacquelyn Pittman said it would be open by mid-summer. The date could be affected by how quickly the Mario Acunto brick oven is shipped from Italy.

"It's a classic, Neapolitan style, pizza baking oven," Jacquelyn Pittman said. 

The oven, between 120 and 140 inches in diameter, will establish residence in a corner of the restaurant, and cook three to five pizzas at a time.

"The oven will come a couple of feet in the window, and mortar around it," Pittman said. "The dome and stack will be on the exterior of the building, and the window will be in the interior."

Pittman said the shop will be "less of a restaurant, and more of a gastropub," and have seating for about 40 patrons. The restaurant will feature a full-service bar, with an emphasis on craft beer.

"The pizza will be classical, similar to what we already offer," Pittman said. For a look at the menu for Santa Lucia's mobile wood oven, click here.

As for the Santa Lucia traveling wood oven, don't worry, it will still be around.

"We will continue to do the catering and community events," Pittman said. "We're just adding the brick-and-mortar."

The restaurant hours will be 5-11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to at least midnight on Friday and Saturday.

"And if the Tuesday through Thursday demands more, the restaurant will be open," Pittman said.

An Update on Lee Richardson, Packet House Grill

Image by Lee Hogan

A for sale sign is shown outside Packet House Grill on Monday, April 14, on Cantrell Road.

Three weeks ago, we were excited to report an ownership change, involving popular chef Lee Richardson, at the Packet House Grill. This week, a for-sale sign popped up in the lawn of the Cantrell Road restaurant.

For the latest on the Richardson-Packet House story, check out this update at our sister publication, Arkansas Business.

Taste of Tuesday: Farmers Salad from South on Main

Image by South on Main

If you've been to South on Main recently, you've noticed (and more than likely enjoyed) the restaurant's new spring lunch and dinner menus.

The menus are filled with new, tasty items! For a full rundown, click here for our story. The folks at South on Main were kind enough to share with us the recipe of one of the new salads on the lunch menu.

The Farmers Salad features fried green tomato, crab salad, celery and tomato jam. It's available now at the restaurant at $6 for a half salad and $10 for a full. If you want to try your hand at making it at home, check out the details below.

Farmers Salad

-For the remoulade:

1 egg

1 anchovy

1 teaspoon capers

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon Dijon

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 cups canola oil

2 tablespoons chopped parlsey

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped chives

-For the salad

1 pound jumbo lump crab

4 whole green tomatoes

6 celery sticks shaved with a peeler and placed in ice water

The process:

Start by making your remoulade.  In the bowl of a food processor add the egg, anchovy, capers and garlic. Pulse these ingredients together until combined. Next, add your vinegar and blend until frothy. While the machine is running, slowly begin to drizzle the oil into the mixture, stopping three times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. When all the oil is added, scrape the finished remoulade into a bowl and stir in the herbs and, if needed, season with salt and black pepper. Set aside in the fridge and begin on the fried green tomatoes.

First, using a small pairing knife, core the green tomatoes. Next, slice ¼” slices from the tomatoes and lay them flat on some paper towels. Season both sides of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Take three pie pans and fill one with flour, one with buttermilk, and one with a mixture of cornmeal and flour. Starting with the flour, coat each tomato in the flour, next, dip them into the buttermilk, then, coat them in the flour/cornmeal mix. As each one is coated set them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.  

Begin to fry the tomatoes by taking a large cast iron skillet and placing it over medium heat. Add about a half cup of canola oil to the pan. When the oil is hot and appears to shimmer, carefully add the tomatoes. Go slow and fry four to five at a time. When they begin to brown, flip them with a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown. After they are cooked place them onto fresh paper towels to drain while you assemble the salad.

In a large bowl combine the crab with some of the remoulade until it is creamy to your liking. Divide the fried green tomatoes between four plates. Top with a generous amount of the crab salad. Drain the celery from the ice water and pat dry. Finish with a pinch of the celery and drizzle around the salad with more remoulade.

South on Main is located at 1304 S. Main St. The restaurant and performance venue is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch Monday through Friday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

Learn from Local Lime's Ben Brainard at Eggshells Cooking Class

Learn how to make the best use of summer produce at a cooking class at Kitchen Co.

Eggshells Kitchen Co. is giving you the opportunity to learn some tricks of the culinary trade from the local chef who runs one of the more popular restaurants in Little Rock.

Ben Brainard, co-owner and operator of Local Lime, will give class participants a night to see the master in action! The cooking class is set for April 28.

In his early days, Brainard studied under chef Scott McGehee — the man behind ventures like Boulevard Bread Co., Big Orange, ZaZa and Local Lime.

It's a night you don't want to miss with a chef at the top of the Little Rock food scene.

The class costs $50, and registration can be completed here. The cost covers a welcome glass of wine and whatever Brainard prepares for dinner. Class participants are free to bring their own beverage for the meal.

The class starts at 6 p.m. at Eggshells, 5501 N. Kavanaugh Blvd., in the Heights.

New Spring Menus Out at South on Main!

Image by Waynette Traub

There is no way to miss South on Main in SoMa.

Get excited, foodies! South on Main just released its spring lunch and dinner menus, and we're already salivating!

Let's start with the lunch menu. There are plenty of tasty options at a good lunch price. 

To get the meal started, South on Main offers snacks — including hand-cut fries, boiled peanuts and fried pickled mushrooms — ranging from $3-$6. Savory soups — carrot, spring onion and potato, and tomato — are $4 for a cup and $6 for a bowl. 

Soma classics, including a chicken salad sandwich and a club with fries, range from $8-$10. Salads — hot chicken liver, kale, farmers, chopped romaine with grilled chicken and mixed greens — are $4-$6 for half and $7-$10 for full.

The main courses include pork chops with granny beans and hoecakes for $10, and chicken thighs with roast jus and dumplins for $12. The priciest item is the trout piquante with rice cake, coming in at $13. 

Oh! And you can add fried egg to any main course for $1.

The dinner menu has fewer choices, but the items sound just as delectable.

Starters range from $7-$12, and include smoked pork cheeks with slaw and potato chips, $8, buffalo quail, $10, and char-grilled oysters, $12.

Entrees like rabbit leg and country ham wrapped loin, $17, grilled ribeye, $24, and striped bass, $23, are sure to leave patrons full and content. All entrees range from $16-$24. 

For a full look at the new menus, check out South on Main's Facebook page or website

South on Main is located at 1304 Main St. in downtown Little Rock. Its open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 5-10 p.m. Saturdays. To stay up-to-date on all things South on Main, sign up for the e-newsletter here.

Tagged > South on Main

Boulevard Bread Co. Heights Location is Expanding

Big news for the Heights area! Boulevard Bread Co. is expanding!

The restaurant and market said it will be expanding into the New Traditions store, its former neighbor at 1920 N. Grant St.

"We have had our eye on the space for a long time, and wanted to expand," Christina Basham, one of Boulevard's owners, said.

Customers can expect to see plenty of changes with the expansion — which has already started and is hoped to be completed by August — but Boulevard owners say the neighborhood feel is not going anywhere.

The add-on will give the Heights location room for about 50 to 75 more people in its main dining area, which currently has about 12 tables. The outdoor dining options are expected to double with the expansion.

Blair Graves, Boulevard manager and retail and cheese buyer, said the location currently has five tables on its deck area and two tables on the sidewalks. With the add-on, patrons can expect a larger outdoor deck and more seating along the sidewalk.

Cocktail lovers will also enjoy the expansion. The Heights location currently offers only beer and wine, but will operate a full bar, focusing on classic cocktails and fresh ingredients.

More take-out options, in addition to a few more items in the deli and pantry, are also planned. Boulevard's lunch menu will stay the same, but the dinner menu will see more items, including appetizers, happy hour snacks and a small dessert menu.

"We just want to focus on doing a few things and doing them well," Graves said. "As opposed to pages and pages of items."

Boulevard's popular Sunday breakfast at the Heights location will also extend to Saturday mornings.

"This is awesome," Basham said of the expansion. "All the things we wanted to do, and now we will have the room and capabilities."

Boulevard Bread Co., owned by Basham and Sonia Schaefer, has four locations throughout Little Rock. 

To keep up with the latest from Boulevard Bread Co., check out the website or Facebook page.

Taste of Tuesday: Strawberry Shortcake from Trio's

Image by Waynette Traub

The cold weather is finally gone. Spring is here.

It's time to put away the hearty soups, and get out the fruits. Strawberries have always been a spring time favorite. With that in mind, we thought you might like a nice Strawberry Shortcake recipe to welcome in the warm temps and sunshine.

This one comes to us from Trio's in Little Rock. Trios is a gourmet shop, located at 8201 Cantrell Road, Suite 100, that operates as an award-winning restaurant and established caterer. For a look at the menus, click here. Trio's says the popular dessert isn't back on the menu yet, but to find out when it is, along with all the other things the restaurant has going on, follow the Facebook page.

We first shared this recipe with you last May, but thought it deserved another post. So here it is:

Strawberry Shortcake

The ingredients:

-For the shortcake

•4 cups flour

•1 1/2 lbs. cold, unsalted butter

•1/2 cup ice cold water

-For strawberries and whipped cream

•Arkansas strawberries, caps removed, washed and sliced

•Sugar

•1 quart heavy cream

•1/2 cup powdered sugar

The process:

-For the shortcake

Place the flour in bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment in place. Cut cold butter into pieces and add several at a time, mixing well each addition, with the mixer running. Alternate butter with water. Mix on medium speed until butter is completed mixed into the flour.

Pull golf ball size pieces of dough from the mass and roll between your palms to make a smooth ball. Flatten each ball onto a sheet pan and make tiny holes in the dough with the lines of a fork to prevent the pastry from puffing up.

Bake in a pre-heated 300-degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool completely and store in a covered container at room temperature for up to three days.

-For strawberries and whipped cream

Place 1/4-cup sugar per 1-quart of sliced strawberries in a large mixing bowl. Place sliced berries on top of the sugar and stir gently. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the berries can release their juices. Chill for two hours before assembling the shortcakes.

Whip cream to soft peaks with the powdered sugar.

To assemble:

Place a baked shortcake round on a serving plate. Ladle strawberries with their juices over the shortcake and top with whipped cream.

In addition to grocery stores, fresh strawberries can be bought at farmers markets across the metro area. For a list of farmers markets in the state, click here.

Popular ones in the metro area include the Little Rock Farmers Market, the Bernice Garden Farmers Market, the Argenta Farmers Market and the Hillcrest Farmers Market.

Food & Foam Fest This Friday at Dickey-Stephens Park

Sample beers, wines and eats at Food & Foam Fest Friday.

What if you could sample more than 250 kinds of beer, wine and food while helping a worthy cause? Oh wait, you can this weekend!

The 17th Annual Food & Foam Fest is set for Friday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. The event gives beer and food lovers the opportunity to combine their adorations into one great night while benefitting the Arthritis Foundation

The fun starts at 6 p.m. Friday, runs to 9 p.m. and includes live music.

General admission to the fest is $40. That gets you a sampling cup, and unlimited beer and food tastings. For just a bit more, $65, you receive the VIP treatment. 

This option gets you inside at 5:15 p.m., exclusive sampling of rare and hard-to-find beer, an official festival T-shirt, a sampling cup and lanyard, and unlimited beer and food tastings.

If you're a designated driver, your ticket only costs $25 and gets you unlimited soda, water and food tastings. Additional donations can be made while purchasing tickets. This year's funds will go toward juvenile arthritis.

To buy tickets or view a complete listing of what is on tap for Friday night, click here. For more information about the festival or Arthritis Foundation Arkansas, check out the Facebook page here.

Dickey-Stephens Park is located at 400 W. Broadway St. in North Little Rock. Must be 21 years old to enter.

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About The Author
What’s new in shopping, the arts, music, travel, fun parties and delicious food in Arkansas? Let Lauren James of InArkansas.com be your guide. An avid shopper, traveler and lover of everything-arts-related, she will show you the best of what Arkansas has to offer. Make InArkansas.com your go-to spot every day to learn the latest in entertainment, dining, attractions, activities and more.
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