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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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Go-and-Do: Tuesday Nights at Little Rock Farmers Market

Image by C. Waynette Traub

We all have another reason to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Little Rock Farmers Market!  

In case you didn't know, in addition to its Saturday hours, the farmers market has started an after-hours shopping time from 3-7 p.m., every Tuesday through August at its regular place in the River Market.

The "Night Market" is entering its third week tonight, and Charlie Oppedisano, retail manager for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the market is excited about the new, mid-week operation.

So far, numbers have been good on Tuesday, even during the first night when weather was less than ideal, Oppedisano said. 

The additional hours offer the perfect opportunity to for folks to stop by after work, and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies before dinner. In addition, Oppedisano said the market is seeing quite a few downtown dwellers coming to shop.

"We think it'll be a positive," he said. "We like the vibe."

The Tuesday market will continue through Aug. 26, so be sure and check it out this summer!

For more information on the Little Rock Farmers Market, check out their Facebook page.

Ferneau's 'Good Food' Moving to Argenta

Executive Chef Donnie Ferneau, Rocket 21

Good news, North Little Rock! Good Food by Ferneau is moving into the old Argenta Market spot on Main Street!

Donnie Ferneau, chef and owner of Good Food, announced it this morning on his new catering and takeout venture's Facebook page. Ferneau said he will be providing dates for the move at a later time.

Good Food is currently located at Pulaski Presbyterian Church in Hillcrest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ferneau's new business focuses on healthy food, both gluten- and sugar-free, for people on the go. 

For more on the business, check out our story here

Donnie Ferneau is Making Some 'Good,' Healthy Food

Executive Chef Donnie Ferneau, Rocket 21

There's a new healthy food option for the busy folks of central Arkansas, and we think you may have heard of the owner.

Good Food by Ferneau is the brainchild of Donnie Ferneau, the former owner and chef at Ferneau in Hillcrest which closed in 2011. His goal for his new catering and takeout business is for busy people who would still like to eat healthy. 

The menu changes frequently, usually every day or every other day, and includes, on average, a few entrees for lunch and dinner, in addition to a salad and a snack or two. Previous menu items have included chicken thighs, shrimp and cauliflower grits, fresh strawberry and pineapple fruit salad and pork carnitas. And he's using as much local food as possible.

The idea is for healthy foodies to be able to come by Ferneau's current spot at Pulaski Presbyterian Church in Hillcrest, get the food to go and eat for lunch, or later at home for dinner. 

"For those with busy lifestyles, after going to the gym or being at work, you don't really want to go out to eat," Ferneau says. "There aren't that many — only a small handful — of healthy food options in Little Rock."

Ferneau says his meals will help his customers stay on clean, healthy food paths during the week. The idea for the healthy food option is something he's always wanted to offer.

"I started being active some time ago, and the one thing I noticed is it's hard to make gains," Ferneau says. "70 percent of the gains you make in the gym are done in the kitchen. If you're working out and not eating right, you're not going to see the results you want."

After leaving the restaurant scene, Ferneau took about a year and a half to study food and dieting. Now, he's ready to share what he's learned with central Arkansas. So far, business has been "overwhelming," Ferneau says.

"I didn't realize it would be this big of a response," he says. "I feel silly for not doing it sooner."

What adds to the welcoming response is the reactions Ferneau says he used to get at his restaurant when he attempted to make healthy dishes.

"They would look at me like I was crazy, and say 'no bacon?' or 'no cream sauce?'" Ferneau said. "It was hard to gauge off the previous clientele."

Now, instead of packing on the pounds, his clientele is shedding them. Ferneau said some of his customers have averaged multiple pounds a week on his meals. 

"I'd say about 90 percent have been happy with the food," Ferneau says.

Most of the meals are between $10-$13. Salads and snacks are usually around $5. Those who sign up for a whole week get 10 meals for $100, which can save between $15-$20. 

In the future, Ferneau says he has plans for shipping his meals nationwide and having dispensaries across central Arkansas.

"One of the main reasons people fall off in eating healthy is because of time," Ferneau says. "It has to be available to them. If we're in, say, North Little Rock, and the customer lives in west Little Rock, there are a lot of shiny signs in between there and here that are going to attract them."

Right now, Ferneau's operation is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in Hillcrest. However, there are rumors his operation could be moving into the Argenta Market location on Main Street in North Little Rock. The grocery story closed in February.

To keep up with the menu from day-to-day, check out Ferneau's Facebook page.

Taste of Tuesday: Healthy Summer Meal Ideas from Elizabeth Finch

Order fresh produce and other local products online for Wednesday pickup at Eggshells Kitchen Co. 

Guys, it's June. You know what that means. It's time to get that beach-ready body for the summer and start feeling good. You know, what you should have been doing for months in advance.

It's okay, we've been procrastinators, too. To help us all out, we've enlisted the help of Elizabeth Finch, a board certified health and nutrition counselor.

She's sharing a few recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. These are meals that are sure to get you on the right track before the summer passes you by. 

For more from Elizabeth, you can check out her stuff on FacebookPinterest and check out her website. Thanks for the help, Elizabeth! We owe you!

Breakfast: Easy Blueberry Overnight Oats

The Ingredients:

•1/2 cup whole rolled oats

•3/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

•1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (Fage 2 percent yogurt is a good choice)

•1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

•3-4 drops liquid stevia, if desired for sweetness

•1/3 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

In a bowl, mix together the rolled oats, almond or coconut milk, Greek yogurt, chia seeds and liquid stevia. Set in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, heat if desired, and top with the blueberries.

Lunch: Spinach Salad in a Jar with Chicken and Honey-Cumin

The Ingredients:

•1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

•3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

•2 teaspoons honey

•small pinch of ground cumin

•small pinch of sea salt

•1 cup cucumber, chopped

•1 cup red onion, chopped

•6 ounces cooked and cubed chicken (or try Beyond Meat's Chicken-Free Strips for a vegetarian version)

•2 tablespoons raisins, preferably without sugar added

•2 tablespoons raw, unsalted pecans, chopped

•3 cups fresh spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, white balsamic, honey, cumin and sea salt. Split the dressing between two wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jars. Add the cucumber and the onion, again splitting between the two jars. Do the same thing with the chicken. Next, add the raisins, pecans and spinach. Seal and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. When time to serve, shake the jar until all the ingredients are covered in the dressing. Unscrew the lid and pour onto a plate if it's available, or enjoy straight from the jar.

Dinner: Almond Butter Veggie Satay

The Ingredients:

•1 cup uncooked quinoa

•2 cups water, vegetable broth or chicken broth

•1/4 cup almond butter

•2 tablespoons rice vinegar

•1 tablespoon tamari or low-sodium soy sauce

•1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

•1/2 tablespoon honey

•1/2 medium red cabbage, thinly sliced

•1 cup carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

•1 medium onion, thinly sliced

•1 cup snow peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

•1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

•3 cloves garlic, minced

•2 tablespoons coconut oil or avocado oil (Coconut oil and avocado oil are both great options for high-heat cooking because of their high-smoke points)

Directions:

Bring water or vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, make the sauce. In a bowl, whisk together the almond butter, rice vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, ginger and honey. Set aside. Heat the coconut or avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables to the skillet and stir fry for 8 minutes, until tender crisp. Lower the heat to medium-low, pour the almond butter sauce over the vegetables and allow to cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. Serve the veggie satay over the cooked quinoa. If you'd like, you can also add cooked meat, chicken or shrimp to this dish.

Snack Ideas

Mid-morning: Green tea with a tablespoon unsweetened almond milk and a few drops of liquid stevia and 1/2 cup fresh berries or any flavor of GT's Synergy kombucha, which is fermented tea that is loaded with antioxidants and probiotics.

Mid-afternoon: Homemade trail mix made with 1/2 ounce raw nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, 1/2 ounce dried fruit, such as cherries or goji berries, and 1 teaspoon of dark chocolate chips (minimum 70 percent cacao).

Cajun's Wharf Now Offering Lunch!

Diners enjoy a sunset on the deck of Cajun's Wharf.

Looking for a new lunch spot? Well, starting today (Wednesday), Cajun's Wharf will begin lunch service!

Now, you won't have to wait until dinner to enjoy great food and an awesome view of the Arkansas River! The restaurant will now be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, check out the website. The restaurant is located at 2400 Cantrell Road.

Tagged > Cajun's Wharf

U.S. Pizza Co. in the Heights is Open!

Image by Lee Hogan

Well, we told you last week this day was coming, and it's finally here! The U.S. Pizza Co. in the Heights has reopened!

The location, at 5524 Kavanaugh Blvd., closed last fall for a huge remodel. Drew Weber, the company's chief operating officer, said the overhaul included bringing down all but one of the original building's walls. Upgrades were also made to the kitchen and landscaping. 

Inside, patrons can have a seat at the bar or at a table. Restaurant-goers can also go outside and enjoy a pizza and beer with a great view of Kavanaugh Boulevard.

U.S. Pizza Co. has 13 locations in Arkansas, including two on Kavanaugh Boulevard in Little Rock. Here's a look at the menu if you plan on stopping by the renovated Heights location. We highly recommend it!

U.S. Pizza Co. in Heights Scheduled to Reopen This Week!

If you've been missing your U.S. Pizza Co. fix in the Heights, you don't have to hold out much longer. According to Drew Weber, the company's chief operating officer, the location at 5524 Kavanaugh Blvd. hopes to reopen sometime this week!

No official reopen date was given.

The Heights location, which first opened in 1987, closed last fall for a hefty remodel that included bringing down all but one wall. In addition to upgrades to the kitchen, patrons can expect to see extensive landscaping when they return. 

Weber said final touch ups are being completed now.

U.S. Pizza Co. has 13 locations throughout the state. For a refresher of what you've been missing the past few months, here's a look at the menu.

Restaurant Roundup: What's Here and What's Coming?

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It's not just you, there has been a lot of restaurant news recently in Little Rock. 

We're excited to see what these new restaurants add to the already amazing food scene in the capital city. With all the recent restaurant happenings, we thought you might like a little refresher course on when and where you can look for these new eating spots.

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Heights Taco & Tamale Co.

Location: 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd. Open Date: Late summer, early fall

The guys at Yellow Rocket Concepts just keep them coming, don't they? With ZaZa's, Big Orange and Local Lime already popular spots in Little Rock, the group, led by Scott McGehee, announced early this month it would be opening another restaurant. This one, Heights Taco & Tamale Co., is coming to Kavanaugh Boulevard in the soon-to-be former home of Browning's Mexican Grill. Browning's is set to remain open through June before making way for HT&T. The latest Yellow Rocket Concepts restaurant will feature authentic Mexican and Spanish dishes — including house-made tamales, burritos, nachos and churros — with a Texas flair. The restaurant will also have a full bar with a complete offering of original margaritas, in addition to local craft beers and house-made sodas. For more on the restaurant, check our story.

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The Pie Hole

Location: All over the capital city! Open Date: Second week of June

Ever been in Fayetteville and enjoyed a great pie from a food truck known as "The Pie Hole"? Well, pretty soon you'll be able to enjoy those sweet treats right here in Little Rock. Just this week, owner Lauren French announced the truck would be coming to set up all over Little Rock and the surrounding areas, including at some of the farmers markets and other neighborhood events. The Pie Hole will also be at the Main Street Food Truck Festival in October. The Pie Hole offers cakes, cookies and pies, ranging from coconut cream, oatmeal cream and fruit to German chocolate. For more information, check out their Facebook page or our story here.

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Baja Grill

Location: 5923 Kavanaugh Blvd. Open Date: Now!

Here's another food truck transplanted to the capital city, but what makes this one even better is it has opened up a brick-and-mortar shop. Baja Grill, once a popular food truck in Benton, announced a few months ago its plans to move to Little Rock and open a restaurant. Those plans came to fruition last week when it opened up in the Heights. Included in its menu, which features a Mexi-Cali cuisine, is a huge variety of tacos, burritos and quesadillas. Check out the menu here (PDF). There is a full bar coming to the restaurant, which will have an emphasis on signature margaritas, but not until July 1. The restaurant is now open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more on the restaurant, check out our story, or view their Facebook page and website.

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Pizzeria Santa Lucia

Location: 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd. Open Date: No official date, but expected by mid-summer

Do you see a theme here? Traveling restaurants opening up brick-and-mortar locations in Little Rock. Add Pizzeria Santa Lucia to that list. You've probably seen their traveling wood oven at events around town. Pretty soon, you'll see them in the Heights at Terry's Finer Foods. Santa Lucia, owned by Jeremy and Jacquelyn Pittman, started work on the restaurant last month. It will feature a classic, Neapolitan style, pizza baking oven from Mario Acunto in Italy. The brick oven will be between 120 and 140 inches in diameter. Jacqueyn Pittman says the establishment, which will have a full bar with an emphasis on craft beer, will seat about 40 people and be more of a gastropub and less of a restaurant. For more on Santa Lucia, check out our story. The restaurant will be open from 5-11 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 5 p.m. to at least midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. More good news, Pittman says she and her husband plan to keep the traveling wood oven operation going. To keep up-to-date with the restaurant, check out Santa Lucia's Facebook page.

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The Pie Shop at Terry's Finer Foods

Location: 5018 Kavanaugh Blvd. Open Date: Now!

Well, Pizzeria Santa Lucia is not the only new development at Terry's Finer Foods, and it's not the only one spearheaded by the Pittmans, who also own Palette Catering and Event Planning. They are also responsible for The Pie Shop at Terry's, which opened in March. The shop offers several varieties of fresh pies, including nut, chocolate and fruit, in addition to several out of the freezer like sausage egg and cheese, key lime, southwestern shepherd's pie and chocolate peanut butter. Slices are $3.99 and whole pies are $20-$32. It's open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Sundays when hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, check out our story and The Pie Shop's Facebook page.

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Location: 314 S. University Ave., Suite 160 Open Date: August

Potbelly Sandwich Shop first opened in Chicago in 1977, and now has more than 300 shops across the country. This summer, the first one is coming to the Natural State and Little Rock. The shop, which specializes in signature sandwiches and hand-dipped milkshakes and features live music, will open in August in the Park Avenue shopping center at 314 S. University Ave., Suite 160. Ryan Hamra, a Little Rock native and operator of North Little Rock's Blue Coast Burrito, will be Potbelly's operating partner. The restaurant's operation and delivery hours have yet to be announced. Check out the shop's menu here.

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Boulevard Bread Co.

Location: 1920 N. Grant St. Expansion Finish Date: August

So far, 2014 has been good to the Heights and its food scene. To add to that, Boulevard Bread Co. announced last month that it was expanding its Heights location to make way for about 50-75 more patrons and double its outdoor seating area. With the expansion will also come a full-service bar. Right now, the bar only offers beer and wine, but soon, it will offer classic cocktails with fresh ingredients. More take-out options and more items in the deli and pantry are also things customers can look forward to in the near future, thanks to the expansion. In addition, the shop's popular Sunday breakfast will extend to Saturday mornings. For more on the expansion, check out our story.

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Taziki's Mediterranean Café

Location: McCain Mall Open Date: Early fall

Late last month, Taziki's announced it was opening another restaurant in central Arkansas. This one will be at McCain Mall next to the Regal McCain Mall Stadium 12 & RPX. The location will have outdoor seating, too. Just like its other locations, the restaurant will offer wholesome, fresh ingredients and flavors with a Mediterranean inspiration. For more information, check out our story.

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Newk's Eatery

Location: 314 S. University Ave., Suite 180 Open Date: Now!

Newk's Eatery opened its third restaurant in central Arkansas in April in Midtown. The restaurant features fresh salads, soups and toasted sandwiches. For a full look at the menu, click here. The location at Park Avenue features indoor and outdoor seating for up to 160 patrons. For more on Newk's, check out our stories here and here, or check out the location's Facebook page.

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U.S. Pizza Co.

Location: 5524 Kavanaugh Blvd. Reopen Date: Next week

If you haven't seen the updates to the U.S. Pizza Co. in the Heights — wow! The location, which originally opened in 1987, closed last fall for some hefty upgrades that included an expanded kitchen and improved landscaping. The company's Chief Operating Officer, Drew Weber, said the Heights restaurant is slated to reopen sometime next week, but did not give a specific date. For more information on the upgrades, check out our story. We'll keep you guys updated!

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Café Brunelle

Location: 17819 Chenal Parkway, Suite C-129 Open Date: Now!

Well, guys, there is another café in Little Rock! This one, Café Brunelle, opened this week and offers a variety of deli-style sandwiches, soups and salads, pastries, and of course, specialty coffees. The shop is locally-owned and has partnered with many local artisans. It hopes to establish itself as a vibrant communal hub. It's just behind lululemon athletic at The Promenade and is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Check out our story for more information , or check out their Facebook page.

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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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