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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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There's More on the Menu at Maddie's Place

Maddie's Place chef/owner Brian Deloney is celebrating his funky, friendly restaurant's 18-month anniversary by adding a bunch of appealing items to the formerly short, sweet menu. 

New appetizers: House Smoked Salmon Dip with grilled pita bread chips, $6

Spicy Boiled Shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce, $7

Lump Crab Cakes with chile lime butter sauce and cilantro crema, $9

New po-boys: Ham and Cheese, Spicy Chicken, Pulled Pork, each $7

New entrees: Spicy Shrimp Boil with andouille, corn and potatoes, $16

Mississippi Catfish with slow-cooked greens, blackeyed peas and Creole tomato glaze, $15

Fish Tacos with cilantro lime slaw, chipotle aioli and fresh tomato relish, $10

Panned Pork lion with cornbread pudding, smothered green beans and homemade Worchestershire, $15

To see the full menu click here. 

Maddie's is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For more information call (501) 660-4040.

ACAC's Membership Picnic, Dance Party Today

Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative will hold a membership appreciation picnic from 4-7 p.m. today at Allsopp Park softball field at the corner of Cantrell Road and Cedar Hill Road in Little Rock.

Enjoy a kickball game, hot dogs and drinks. Admission is free.

Not a member? This is a good opportunity to become a supporter of community art and find out more of what the Arkansas Community Arts Co-op is about. Volunteer membership is free if you lend your time to the organization. Contributor membership is $20 a year and Sustainer membership is a bank draft of at least 5$ a month. Learn more by clicking here

After the picnic, the ACAC presents Dance 'til You Disintegrate, a dance party fund-raiser for ACAC's Fashion Exhibition coming in July. DJs Cameron Holifield and Michael Inscoe will supply the music, and there will be a dance contest with prizes. It'll be held from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. at The Union, 3421 Old Cantrell Road. Admission is $3 for members, $5 for others. You must be  18 or over to attend. 

For more information call (501) 244-2979.

Rock Town Distillery Is In High Spirits

The arrival of a 250-gallon copper pot still marks the opening of Rock Town Distillery, a 15,000-SF distillery and warehouse at 1216 E. Sixth St. near Heifer International in Little Rock.

The still will allow Rock Town Distillery to begin production of handmade premium small batch distilled spirits -- Brandon's Vodka and Brandon's Gin -- and to start aging Brandon's Bourbon. Each will be made from Arkansas grains.

Phil Brandon of Little Rock is the founder and president of the distillery. 

Brandon’s products should be found in bars, restaurants and liquor stores throughout Arkansas by September. Glazer's of Arkansas, the state’s largest wine and spirits wholesaler, will be its distributor. The spirits will be sold in 750ml bottles.

To read the full story in click here.

Blades & Birdies at Hot Springs Farmers Market Saturday

Vendor Denny Holst of Blades & Birdies sharpens a patron’s garden tools during a recent Saturday at the Historic Downtown Hot Springs Farmers Market.

Along with Arkansas-grown vegetables and fruits, baked goods, meats, eggs and handcrafts, the Downtown Hot Springs Farmers Market, 121 Orange St., Hot Springs is offering the services of Denny Holst’s Blades & Birdies Saturday (June 26).

Blades & Birdies is a mobile professional knife and scissors sharpening company that also provides golf club reconditioning and re-gripping.

The Farmers’ Market operates from 6-11 a.m. Live music will be played from 9-11 a.m.

Market-goers 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.

Blades & Birdies' rates are $2.50 for a knife blade, $6 for scissors, and $8 for lawn mower blades. Free estimates are available. 

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

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

Cooks are Wild About Graters From Russellville-based Microplane

Microplane 2 in 1 rotary grater, $19.95

Microplane graters have been praised in the New York Times, Washington Post, and most cooking magazines. Their unique design -- once used in woodworking -- has been adapted to the kitchen with effective results.

The reason why Microplane graters and kitchen tools are so precise is because the company uses a patented chemical process to create extremely sharp cutting surfaces. Other companies use stamped teeth in their graters, which become dull over time. 

Microplane specializes in box graters, ribbon graters, spice graters, large shavers (for hard cheese and chocolate), extra-coarse graters (for grating onions, soft cheeses and cabbage), grater sets, slicers, sea salt shavers and more. To view the full line click here. There's free shipping on orders of $75 or more.

Learn Dutch Oven Cooking at Lake Ouachita State Park

Learn how to cook on a Dutch oven. 

Lake Ouachita State Park is offering a Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop from 5-8 p.m. June 26.

Through hands-on participation, class members will learn how to make several desserts including pineapple upside down cake, peach cobbler, lemon cake, and chocolate cherry cake. There will also be a demonstration on how to make biscuits and cornbread over an open fire.

Information on purchasing and caring for Dutch ovens plus details on how to control temperature and how to cook with coals will be covered. Bring your own drinks to the visitor center picnic area. The fee is $5 per person. No experience is necessary.

Cookbooks will be available at a discounted price of $10 for participants.

Reservations are required. Contact the park at (501) 767-8148, ext. 229. 



Bravo! Cucina Italiana Adds New Menu Items

Bravo!! Cucina Italiana Menu Items

Bravo! Cucina Italiana in the Promenade at Chenal (at the intersection of Chenal Parkway and Rahling Road in west Little Rock) has added new lunch and dinner items.

New dinner menu choices include:

  • Antipasti Chopped Salad (appetizer): Traditional Italian meats, cheeses, olives and pickled vegetables tossed with red onions, garbanzo beans, escarole and red wine vinaigrette.
  • Mahi Mahi Rustica: Pan seared on a bed of roasted carrots, fennel and red onions, escarole and tomatoes in a delicate broth garnished with crispy shoestring potatoes.
  • Chilled Shrimp & Spicy Spinach Salad: With arugula, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, jicama, red peppers and cilantro in a spicy citrus vinaigrette with feta and crispy pasta strips.
  • Verduta Pizza: Roasted asparagus, portobellos, tomatoes and red onions with fontina and boursin cheeses finished with fresh basil.
  • Rigatoni Melanzana: Roasted eggplant, fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella topped with fresh basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Spaghettini Carbonara: Tossed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, pancetta, asparagus, egg yolk and black pepper.

Lunch menu items:

  • Tuscan Tomato Flatbread: Warm flatbread with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, topped with tomato slices, fresh basil and field greens.
  • Tuscan Grilled Chicken Sandwich on a focaccia roll with green onion mayonnaise and spicy Tuscan slaw. Served with an arugula salad of roasted Roma tomatoes, gorgonzola, Mediterranean grain, lemon and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Margherita Panini & Zuppa: Lightly grilled brioche layered with roasted Roma tomatoes, pesto, fresh mozzarella and Provolone cheeses, served with Soup Del Giorno.
  • Antipasti Chopped Salad & Zuppa: Traditional Italian meats, cheeses, olives and pickled vegetables, red onions, garbanzo beans, escarole and red wine vinaigrette with Soup Del Giorno.
  • Arugula Salad (side salad): With roasted Roma tomatoes, gorgonzola, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Chilled Shrimp & Spicy Spinach Salad: With arugula, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, jicama, red peppers, and cilantro in a spicy citrus vinaigrette with feta and crispy pasta strips.
  • Verduta Pizza: Roasted asparagus, portobellos, tomatoes and red onions with fontina and boursin cheeses finished with fresh basil.
  • Rigatoni Melanzana: Roasted eggplant, fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella topped with fresh basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Spaghettini Carbonara: Tossed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, pancetta, asparagus, egg yolk and black pepper.

Bravo! is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Special offerings include a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.03 p.m. and Wednesday Martini Nights. Happy Hour is from 3-7 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close Monday-Friday.

To place to-go orders online click here. 


Find the Right Restaurant on

Image by James Groves
Brave New Restaurant, an award-winning bistro by Chef Peter Brave, offers casual dining in a comfortable, art-filled atmosphere overlooking the Arkansas River in the Riverdale neighborhood of Little Rock.

Want to find a restaurant with a full bar? Or one that's family-friendly? Takes reservations? Has free wifi? Use the restaurant search on

Here's how: Pull up the landing page. You'll see 'Find Restaurants' on the right side of the page. Type in the name of the city you want to search, and hit the arrow to search. 

When the Search box appears, drop down to Category and choose from a wide range of parameters, among them Beer and Wine Only, Breakfast, Brunch, Family Friendly, Full Bar, No Alcohol, Outdoor Dining, Soiree Recommends, and Takeout. Then hit the Search arrow again. You'll get a list of all the restaurants in the city you selected that offer the services you want.

It's easy and a whole lot more efficient than searching restaurant websites or calling one restaurant after another. 

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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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