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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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Kent's Downtown serving Barbecue and More Thursday-Sunday Evenings

Get a bratwurst to go at Kent's Downtown.

Sometimes you need some sustenance to make it through an exhausting evening of revelry in the River Market. But your'e having too much fun to settle into a seat at a restaurant and eat a full-fledged meal.

Coming to your rescue is portable food from Kent's Downtown. Using a window that opens onto President Clinton Boulevard, Kent's is serving barbecue, Polish sausage sandwiches, bratwurst sandwiches, and dinner plates from 6 p.m.-midnight Thursdays-Sundays. With any luck (and the proper amount of patronage), Kent's hopes to expand the service to seven nights a week.

The evening service had its grand opening on Tuesday, April 27 -- the same day the River Market Farmers' Market opened.

To learn more call (501) 375-1900. 

Spanish-Themed Wine Dinner at Starving Artist Cafe Wednesday

Spring in Spain is the theme of Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. wine dinner at Starving Artist Cafe. Chef Jason Morell's menu consists of Spanish delights, paired with a selection of Spanish wines chosen by sommelier Jeff Nelson.

There will be three courses and three wines. Here's the menu with accompanying wines:

First Course

  • Sweet Sausage and Lentils on Mixed Greens with Sherry Vinaigrette
  • Zapadorado Verdejo

 Second Course

  • Spice-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak with Salsa Verde
  • Campo Marin Crianza

 Third Course

  • Orange Creme Rice Pudding
  • Segura Viuda Brut Rose Cava

 Cost is $50 (includes food, wine, tax and gratuity). For reservations or more information call (501) 372-7976 or click here. 

Pizza at Ciao on Tuesdays, Plus New Wines This Weekend

Try a seven-inch pizza for lunch at Ciao on Tuesdays.

Ciao is offering seven-inch personal size pizzas as a lunch special from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays. 

The choices are:

  • Pepperoni Pie with a double layer of dry cured pepperoni
  • Classic Vegetarian with red onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and Roma tomatoes
  • Tony's Deluxe with pepperoni, bell pepper, mushrooms, red onion, and cherrywood smoked bacon.

Each pie is $5.99. Mangia!

Can't make it to lunch? Ciao will be featuring two new wines from Chile at dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. The red is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot. It has a well structured body with notes of cassis and chocolate on the palate following aromas of blackberry, currants, and coffee beans.

The white is a crisp and intense blend of Viognier and Chardonnay with notes of ripe apricots, exotic fruits, and a creamy finish. They're priced at $6 for a glass, $26 for a bottle.

 

 

 

InArkansas.Com Cooks: Strawberry and Cream Pie

Strawberry Pie

Tasty treats are seldom good for you. Strawberries are an exception -- eight medium strawberries contain a mere 45 calories and provide fiber, folate and more vitamin C than one orange.

They're irresistible, glowing brightly in those cute little baskets in groceries and farmers' markets. But just because the berries you see are beautiful doesn't mean the whole basket is flawaless. Even at the height of the season, you can buy a bad box of berries (well, I certainly can, and often do). 

Here are a few guidelines to follow when making your selection.

  • Look for plump, firm, dry berries with strong color. Strawberries don't ripen after they're picked.
  • Gently shake the box. The berries should move freely; if they stick to each other, rot has begun to set in and there may be a moldy berry hidden down in the bunch.
  • Check the underside of the basket. If there are juice stains, pick another container that's dry and free of stains.

I like this recipe because it uses berries that are less than perfect as well as plump, pretty ones.

Strawberry and Cream Pie

You'll need:

  • 6 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 9-inch baked pastry shell
  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream

Remove stems from strawberries. Mash two cups of the berries. Halve or quarter remaining berries and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the mashed berries, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Continue cooking and stirring for two minutes. Cool this mixture for 30 minutes.

Fold remaining berries into the cooled mixture. Spoon into the pastry shell.

Cover and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours and up to 24 hours.

Top with whipped cream before serving.

Makes eight servings.

Wine Tastings at Diversion, Cheers in Maumelle on Tuesday

Art of Wine Festival offers numerous events at Walton Arts Center.

White wines are ideal for picnics, parties and al fresco dinners, pairing well with summer foods like seafood, pasta, salads, grilled vegetables, pates and fresh cheeses. Come to Diversion to get guidance from Bruce Cochran and James Cripps on which wines, including pinot grigios, sauvignon blanc sand chardonnays, work best with a summer-seasoned menu.

Cost is $10 (cash or check only, please). Diversion is at 611 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. Call (501) 414-0409.

Cheers in Maumelle, 1901 Club Manor Drive, is hosting a tasting of wines from Boulevard Wine & Spirits along with fruit, cheese and crackers at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.  Stop by to sip and savor:

  • Hess Sauvignon Blanc (sells for $11.99)
  • Penfold's Hyland Chardonnay ($11.99)
  • Trapiche Malbec ($11.99)
  • Hess Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.99)
  • Bell Syrah ($19.99)

 Cost is $15, payable at the door. Call (501) 771-9463.

Lunch at Acadia: Suitable for Spring

A salad from Acadia Restaurant in Hillcrest

Several staff members of Arkansas Business ventured out of downtown to Acadia in Hillcrest, which started serving lunch March 1. After a pleasant time spent on the gorgeous three-tiered deck, here's their consensus:

We highly recommend Acadia for lunch. The service is fast and friendly. The atmosphere and noise level would be perfect for a small group or a larger one and the quality of the food for the price is right on the money.

To read the entire review click here. 

Bravo! Opening May 28 in Promenade at Chenal

Pastas are plentiful at Bravo!, opening May 28 in the Promenade at Chenal.

Bravo! Cucina Italiana is opening May 28 in the Promenade at Chenal in west Little Rock.

The restaurant's Italian menu offers dishes such as Artichoke and Spinach Formaggio, Romano-Crusted Chicken Salad, Petite Filets and Jumbo Shrimp, Eggplant Parmesan, Grilled Salmon Salad and Penne Mediterranean plus desserts including tiramisu and cheesecake. Entrees range from $10 to $28.

Special offerings will include a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Wednesday Martini Nights. Happy hour is from 3-7 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close Monday through Friday. 

The restaurant, whose executive chef is Jeff Chandler, has an ancient Roman ruins setting with arched colonnades, hand-crafted Italian reliefs, antique doors, walls covered in Venetian plaster, Arabescato marble from Italy and wrought-iron chandeliers.  

Parties of 12 or more can call ahead and have a table set up and waiting for them. A broad choice of Italian cuisine makes Bravo!! a good choice for take-out and catering. Curbside-To-Go service will cut down on pickup time.

The white tablecloth-casual eatery will offer indoor seating for more than 250, outdoor terrace dining and a private dining room for up to 65 guests. Hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

To see a full menu click here. 

Shopping for Produce: What Do Those Stickers Mean?

The 9 on this label indicates the produce is organic.

Those little stickers on grocery store produce have another purpose besides annoying you when you bite into a piece of fruit. They contain information that helps make sure you're getting what you're paying for.

Price look-up (PLU) codes contain numbers that cashiers use to ring up your purchases (you also need them when using a self-checkout terminal at a grocery store). But there's more to learn from the codes, according to Consumer Reports' May issue of Shopsmart:

A five-digit number that starts with a 9 means the item is organic.

A four-digit code beginning with a 3 or 4 means the produce is probably conventionally grown -- regular small lemons, for example, are labeled 4033. Large lemons are labeled 4053. Small organic lemons are labeled 94033. Large are 94053.

A five-digit code that starts with an 8 means the item is genetically modified -- it has genes from other organisms. These are rare because only genetically modified versions of corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, papaya and squash are widely sold.

To learn more about genetically altered foods 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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