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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 Associate Editor Lauren James here.
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Taste of Tuesday: Must-Have Soups for Fall

Gallery by Shutterstock


The weather is cooler, the leaves start to turn, there is pumpkin carving and hay rides, and football is in full swing. Hello, our favorite season. Another stellar part of fall is comfort food. September, October and November is the time for the warm, hearty stuff.

It doesn't get much warmer or much heartier than soup. Here are a few of our go-to soups for you to enjoy.

Homemade Tomato Soup


Tomato soup has always been a classic, and it's not expected to change anytime soon. There's just something about the simplicity of it all. And nothing ties it together like a good grilled cheese sandwich on the side. Here's a homemade recipe for the timeless class from

Chicken Noodle Soup


Here's another classic. Whether you're not feeling too hot, or you looking for something to warm you up, chicken noodle soup has always been a go-to. Campbell's has always been associated with chicken noodle soup, so in honor of that, here's a recipe from them.



There's just something about a good chill, isn't there? The amount of chili cook-offs every fall in the South goes to show the love affair between the tasty meal in a bowl and those below the Mason-Dixon line. Put it together with a good hot dog or some Fritos and you're really cooking. Here's a recipe for an All-American Chili from

Chicken & Dumplings


Another staple in the South, and with good reason. I mean, talk about a comfort food. And it never fails, everyone's grandma has the best recipe. Just in case yours doesn't, or you'd just like to try out a new recipe, here's one from Pillsbury.

Beef Stew


This one is for those that think soup isn't a real meal — which, of course, it is. You've got meat, potatoes and veggies. What else do you need to constitute a meal? This one is from

Potato Soup


Another great soup in the fall, or anytime of the year, is potato. There's the creaminess, the chunks of potato and the tidbits of bacon, cheese and celery. In a lot of ways, it's a baked potato in a bowl, and it's good. This one is from everyone's favorite Southern cook, the Pioneer Woman.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup


This is another great, hearty choice. With broccoli, carrots, added in with a creamy, cheesy base, there's not much you can't like about this soup. Here's a recipe from Taste of Home.

Tortilla Soup


This one has come on strong in recent years. The country's obsession with Mexican-style food has finally made its way in the form of a soup. It's simple and tasty, and also gives you the spicy flair you're looking for while warming yourself up with a nice bowl of soup. This recipe is from Food & Wine.

Taste of Tuesday: Five Ways to Use Apples This Baking Season

Gallery by Shutterstock


It's baking season, y'all! 

A quick look at the extended Little Rock forecast could lead you to believe fall is just around the corner.

We're here to usher in — and welcome with open arms! — the new season and cooler temps with several apple recipes that will have you hoping for hayrides and falling leaves in no time.

Cinnamon Baked Apples


This dish has been a fall favorite for years. And when you look at the recipe items, it's easy to see why. It's got it all: Cinnamon, apples, butter and brown sugar. Warm and served in a bowl, it literally screams, "It's fall! Eat me!"

Here's a video recipe from Southern Living. Warning: It's going to be hard for those of you without immediate access to cinnamon baked apples to watch.

Apple Cookies


Apples and cookies? Together? Who knew it was possible? Regardless, this one sounds quite tasty. This recipe, which throws in peanut butter and brown sugar, comes from Taste of Home.

Apple Fritters


Ah, the apple fritter. It's really become a favorite for all apple lovers, especially in the South. Call me crazy, but I think it has something to do with deep frying and being a delectable sweet. Here's a recipe from Betty Crocker.

Apple Pie


It's impossible to leave out the apple pie. It's a dish that will always be the quintessential way to eat apples. Here's a recipe from Pillsbury.

Candy Apples


Doesn't this just have fall written all over it? Candy apples have always been the staple of fairs in the South and will continue as such into the foreseeable future. Here's a recipe for home from Southern Plate.

Taste of Tuesday: Five Ways to Use Blackberries


With a few weeks left of blackberry season in Arkansas, we thought we'd share a few tasty ways you can incorporate the delectable berry into some dishes around the house while they last. 

There are plenty of options but these are some of our favorites.



With just about any berry it seems the cobbler is the staple. The blackberry is no different. Most recipes have the essentials — blackberries, sugar, flour and whipped cream. Here's one from Williams-Sonoma.



If the cobbler is the staple, jam is the glue. The South is known for both, and the blackberry plays a vital role in each. Here's a homemade jam recipe from



The smoothie is an option that has come on strong as of late. The smoothie serves quite a few purposes. It's tasty, can be healthy if you don't go crazy with the ingredients and you won't have the guilt that is associated with scarfing down an entire blackberry cobbler by yourself. This one from Yummly adds in a banana.



The tart is another great option for using your fresh blackberries. It gives you the the sweet dessert you're craving, but once again, it's not a whole cobbler. This recipe comes from the Food Network.



If you're looking for a good weekend breakfast option, look no further than blackberry pancakes. It's sweet and fruity, all in one dish. This particular recipe comes from Betty Crocker.

Go-and-Do: Second Annual Iron Sommelier at YaYa's Euro Bistro

Ya Ya's Euro Bistro in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley offers outdoor dining in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Iron Sommelier at YaYa's Euro Bistro is back and the restaurant wants you to be a judge in the contest this Wednesday night.

For $125, you can enjoy 10 incredible courses, paired with 16 delicious wines, and help pick Arkansas' Top Sommelier. The competing sommeliers are Christopher Ortiz, the defending champion Jeff Yant, Keegan Sparks and Amanda Bragg.

Seating is limited. To reserve your spot, call 821-1144. The contest is set for 6-10 p.m. Wednesday.

Ya Ya's is located at 17711 Chenal Parkway at The Promenade in Little Rock. For more information, check out the Facebook page.

Kemuri to Open in Hillcrest Next Week

Image by Kemuri/Facebook

The newest sushi spot in town is opening Aug. 21.

Kemuri, the latest and greatest from Jerry Barakat, will offer seafood, sushi and smoked meats. The restaurant will be located at 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd, the former home of Rocket 21 and Ferneau. 

According to the restaurant's Facebook page, the spot will open Aug. 21 and will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Barakat, who also owns Ocean's, told Soirée in July the restaurant's theme and offerings had been a dream of his for more than 20 years. He promises nothing but the freshest foods at his newest venture.

"i don't care about the cost, as long as it is fresh and quality food," he said.

The restaurant will be about 4,800-SF with room for 150 inside and 30 outside, and will serve alcohol. 

Capital Hotel Restaurant Reveal Tonight

Image by Capital Hotel

The Capital Hotel in Little Rock, located at 111 W. Markham St., was recently added to the Southern Living Hotel Collection, a list of independent four- and five-star hotels, resorts and inns across the South.

The wait is almost over. The Capital Hotel's restaurant, formerly known as Ashley's, is nearing a reopen date. 

Ashley's closed in May for renovations that included hardwood floors in place of carpet, artwork in place of mirrors, and natural light permeating through open windows in place of drapes. Hotel management hopes the revamped restaurant can become a more welcoming restaurant and a place people in the capital city frequent, instead of coming only for special occasions.

The Capital Hotel has invited the media to view the changes at the restaurant — which is more than likely going to include the reveal of the restaurant's new name and a reopen date — tonight (Thursday).

Be sure and follow us to keep up with what you can expect when the restaurant reopens!

The Pantry Crest to Open in September

Image by Steve Shuler

Good news for Hillcrest foodies!

The Pantry Crest, located at 722 N. Palm St., is expected to open in September, according to a report from Arkansas Business.

Tomas Bohm has been involved in the renovation of the two-story house, which has previously housed restaurants like The House and Sufficient Grounds.

Bohm is also the owner of the Pantry, located at 11401 Rodney Parham Road, and told Arkansas Business he's thinking of having a soft opening at the Hillcrest location before it officially opens. For the full report, check out the story at our sister publication.

Taste of Tuesday: Roasted Sweet Potato and Feta Salad from P. Allen Smith

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We've got a salad we think could be a hit at your next summer party.

This one, Roasted Sweet Potato and Feta Salad, comes to us from P. Allen Smith and is a perfect option for your next gathering. It includes a dressing that has dijon mustard and honey, a topping of sweet potatoes and red onion. 

This particular recipe takes an hour and 10 minutes to prepare and served eight people. For more recipes from P. Allen Smith, in addition to gardening and lifestyle news, click here.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Feta Salad

The Ingredients:


•1/4 cup red wine vinegar

•2 tablespoons dijon mustard

•2 teaspoons honey

•3/4 cup olive oil

•1 teaspoon kosher salt


•4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled, diced

•2 red onion, cut to wedges

•2 teaspoons kosher salt

•1/2 teaspoon black pepper, cracked

•1/4 cup olive oil


•1 lb. baby spinach, rinsed

•6 oz. Feta cheese, diced

•black pepper, ground

The Process:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the sweet potatoes, red onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and drizzle with the 1/4 cup olive oil; toss to coat well. Spread the mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the vegetables, and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. The onions should be well cooked and caramelized and the sweet potatoes brown around the edges.

While the vegetables are cooking, combine all the dressing ingredients (1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons honey, 3/4 cup, olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, cracked) in a blender or food processor and process until combined.

Arrange the spinach in a shallow bowl or on a platter, and scatter the warm onions and sweet potatoes over it (If the spinach wilts a bit, all the better). Drizzle with the dressing. Scatter the feta over the top. Grind some pepper over the salad, and serve immediately.

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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 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 your go-to spot every day to learn the latest in entertainment, dining, attractions, activities and more.
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