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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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Recipe Demonstration, Bluegrass at Hot Springs Farmers Market Saturday

Hot Springs Farmers Market

Come to Hot Springs Saturday (June 19) when the Historic Downtown Hot Springs Farmers Market welcomes Chef Patti Scott from The Culinary District and the Cooper Road Bluegrass Band to its pavilion at 121 Orange St., Hot Springs. The Farmers Market operates from 6-11 a.m., and music will be played from 9-11 a.m.

Shoppers can purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked breads and other baked goods, plants, herbs, flowers, jams, jellies, honey, fresh meat products and eggs and hand-crafted artisan items.

This week will feature al honey cornbread recipe demonstration, sampling and recipe giveaway by Chef Scott. The cornbread’s key ingredient is Richard's Honey, a popular local honey that has been offered at the market for several years.

Parking is available on the north side of the pavilion near the transportation depot and near the south end of the pavilion. This week will also begin the move of all crafters and artisans to the east side of the market pavilion.

Arkansas produce currently in season includes beans, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, melon, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, okra, new potatoes, plums, peppers, tomatoes, squash and more.

The Hot Springs Farmers Market is open from 6-11 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through October.  

 

 

Guillermo's Gourmet Grounds is Growing

Image by Lori Sparkman

Hans Oliver of Guillermo's Gourmet Grounds

Micro coffee roaster Guillermo’s Gourmet Grounds at 10700 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, has expanded its coffee house and wholesale coffee roasting facility from 1,000 square feet to 2,300 square feet to keep up with wholesale and retail sales demand, according to vice president and master roaster Hans Oliver.

Using beans from Kenya, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia, Guillermo's roasts its coffee daily by hand in small batches. allowing the beans' natural sugars, oils and unique flavors to develop. The result, Oliver says, is a fuller and more satisfying cup.

The shop sells coffees (regular, flavored and decaffeinated) by the cup (try the hand-crafted lattes) and by the bag (whole bean and ground). A regularly changing menu of sandwiches, muffins, desserts, and sodas is served. Coffee grinders, loose leaf tea, French press coffee makers, mugs and gift packs are also available.

Guillermo's is open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information call (501) 228-4448 or click here. 

Prix Fixe Menu on Tuesdays at Crowne Plaza's Cafe 201

Come to Crowne Plaza's Cafe 201 (201 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock) for a special summer Prix Fixe Menus from 5-10 p.m. each Tuesday. Enjoy a three-course dinner -- starter, entree and dessert -- for $20. There will be a a selection of bottlled wines for half price, along with half-price martinis.

Here's the menu special for today (June 15):

Starter -- choice of:

  • Mango Avocado Bread Salad with pickled red onion and orange jerk vinaigrette
  • Cassis Salad with mixed greens, orange sections, dried cranberry, candied pecans and black currant vinaigrette

Main Course -- choice of:

  • Pesto Baked Red Snapper with angel hair provencal and tomato aoli
  • Pan Fried Chicken Breast with smoked tomato compound butter
  • 10-ounce Angus Ribeye with house fried onion rings and gorgonzola hollandaise

Dessert

Nutella Strawberry Shortcake

 

Changes Keep Improving Menu at The House

According to a restaurant review in the June 14 issue of Arkansas Business, from the time it opened a year ago, The House has done yeoman's work in reinforcing that old saw about change being the only constant in life. The hours, service method, chefs and menu have each been modified since the Hillcrest eatery's inception.

That's not uncommon for a young restaurant. Fortunately, the focus on good food and drink has been consistent despite the other fluctuations.

To read a full review of the House, located at 722 N. Palm St., Little Rock, click here.

Watch First Match of The World Cup at Vino's

Watch World Cup Soccer at Vino's.

Vino's will be showing the first USA match of the 2010 World Cup soccer competition in South Africa on HD TVs and a big screen in the back room starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday (June 12).

Cheer on Team USA while enjoying $2 off whole pizzas and $3.25 pints of Vino's Fire House Pale Ale. 

For those who support Team England, there will be $3.25 bottles of New Castle Brown Ale and $3.25 pints of Bass. Oh, and $2 off whole pizzas for you too.

Admission is free. For more information call Chris New at (501) 375-8466. 

Possible Breach of Credit at Two Dixie Cafe Locations

Dixie Restaurants was contacted in regard to a potential breach of credit and debit card information at two Dixie Cafe locations in Little Rock and Hot Springs, according to a news release issued by Dixie Restaurants' CEO Alan Roberts. The company is working with law enforcement officials to determine the origin and extent of data that has been compromised. There is no evidence at this time of any data compromise at any other Dixie Cafe restaurant location.

Dixie Restaurants encourages patrons who used a credit or debit card from Feb. 1, 2010 to June 8, 2010 at the Dixie Cafe location at 3623 Central Ave., Hot Springs or the Dixie Cafe at 10700 Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock to contact their bank or credit card issuer immediately. Patrons who suspect unauthorized activity should report it to the bank that issued the credit or debit card as well as appropriate law enforcement authorities, the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission (877-438-4338).

Patrons should also consider placing a fraud alert on their credit files. An initial fraud alert, which lasts for 90 days, requires potential creditors to use reasonable policies and procedures to verify a customer’s identity before issuing credit in his/her name. To place an alert, calls can be made to any one of the following credit reporting agencies:

  • Experian (888) 397-3742
  • Equifax (800) 525-6285
  • Trans-Union (800) 680- 7289

One call places an alert with all three agencies. Patrons then will receive letters from all three agencies, confirming that the alert is in place and letting patrons know how to obtain a free copy of their credit report.

To read the full release click here. 

Juanita's to Change Hours of Operation

Starting June 21, Juanita's, 1300 Main St., Little Rock (501-372-1228), will serve lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and dinner from 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 

Here's the statement on the restaurant's website:

Beginning Monday, June 21, we will be changing our hours of operation. We will continue to be open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday- Friday for lunch, and we will be open for dinner service from 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.

The operating hours for the bar will mirror the restaurant with the exception of happy hour, special engagements, and live performances. You will still be able to keep up with the show schedule on our calendar page.

Many of you may ask why we're doing this. The answer is simple -- our operating costs have consistently outweighed our sales figures on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights for some time, with few exceptions. We decided that our efforts would be better spent making your dinner experience excellent three nights a week than it would be to continue trying to attract dinner customers early in the week, when fewer people are out for dinner.

Keo Piemaker's Concoction Among the South's Best

Image by : Jennifer Davick

Coconut pie at Charlotte's Eats and Sweets in Keo

Southern Living magazine, based in Birmingham, Ala., sampled 70 varieties of pies from Texas to Virginia and named 17 as the best of the bunch in its June issue, on newsstands now.

Coming in at No. 4 is the coconut pie from Charlotte's Eats and Sweets in Keo. “The meringue atop one of Charlotte Bowls’ coconut pies stands almost as tall as a five-pound bag of sugar … but the Arkansas pie master doesn’t limit her baked concoctions just to coconut; she also makes a dozen other varieties from caramel to chocolate,” reports Southern Living.

Charlotte’s pie secret: “I use a Crisco-based crust. When making the recipe that’s on the can, never add extra flour --too much flour toughens a crust.”

The magazine's other selections include:

1. Blackberry pie at Mom's Apple Pie Col., Leesburg, Va. 

“Avis Renshaw (Mom of Mom’s Apple Pie Company) makes delicious desserts throughout the year, but her pies really reach their peak in summer when the berries ripen,” according to Southern Living. “She piles berries on top of a cool combination of cream cheese and fruit glaze spread on a thin bottom crust, then she covers everything with more berry glaze.”

Avis’ Pie Secret: “Always use less sugar than the recipe calls for. The most exciting thing about the fruit that’s picked right is that the flavor is intense -- the more sugar you use, the more you dilute the pure flavor.”

2. Pecan pie at Carolina Cider Co., Yemasee, S.C.

Located off Interstate 95 between Charleston and Savannah, Jessica and Tristan Lehnert’s roadside shop sells locally made goods, including pies by baker Laurel Goodman of Sweet Cakes. “They’re all good, but her pecan version is extraordinary,” writes Southern Living. “The buttery texture of the baked pecans pairs nicely with a filling that’s neither too syrupy nor too sweet.”

Laurel’s pie secret: “Definitely use vegetable shortening or lard in the crust, not butter.”

3. Buttermilk pie from Cutie Pies, Austin, Texas

Jaynie "The Pie Queen" Buckingham works magic inside a pink-and-green four-foot by eight-foot trailer in downtown Austin. Out of this small, quirky space, she serves one of the world’s best buttermilk pies. "Yes, best,” according to Southern Living.

Jaynie’s pie secret: “I use this crust recipe: 1 cup flour, ½ cup shortening, and ¼ cup nearly frozen water. Put the water in a bowl in the freezer until ice chips form on top -- not all the way frozen -- and then pour it onto the flour and shortening while you’re making the dough.”

5. Empire Apple Pie from Pielab, Greensboro, Ala. 

Project M, a group of young graphic designers, set up PieLab on Main Street last July. It’s part bakery, culinary school and design studio that teaches area youth how to make pies, and then sells slices for $2 ($3 a la mode).

PieLab’s pie secret: “We avoid using whole wheat flour because it tends to make the crust too dry,” says Breanne Kostyk, one of the team members at PieLab. “Instead we add wheat germ to all-purpose flour, which gives the crust a nutty flavor.”

To read the full story in Southern Living click here. 

 

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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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