Each month I will be recapping my favorite food from restaurants in Little Rock and around Arkansas.
Here are my top 10 dishes in August.
Chicken Tortilla Soup at Baja Grill (Heights location)
I have written ad nauseam about this soup through the years, so its inclusion on this list should not be a big surprise. And while the takeout version is understandably a slightly lesser version of the in-house product, there is still no denying its greatness. Per usual, the smokey chunks of chicken rule the day, along with sliced avocado, crispy fried tortilla chips, and a hearty broth.
Arkansas Tomato BLT at Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom
The big separator between Raduno’s BLT and many others on the market is the Boulevard focaccia. Everything else is what we’ve come expect from a great BLT in these parts–the juicy local tomato, the perfectly fried thin strips of bacon, lettuce, and a heavy hand of mayonnaise. But its brilliant use of focaccia is what makes it stand out.
Tater Tots at Rosie’s Pot & Kettle Cafe
Wait, what? Why would something as simple as tater tots land here? For one thing, I love tater tots. Second, this is my list, so you will just have to deal with it. All kidding aside, I truly respect when the fry job yields a super crispy, non-greasy exterior. It’s easier said than done, so props to the folks at Rosie’s for pulling it off.
Southwestern Hashbrown Casserole at Lost Forty Brewing
Speaking of potatoes, I loved Lost Forty’s Southwestern Hashbrown Casserole, a brunch side item that I made into an entrée by topping it with a fried egg. The potatoes are laden with cheese and have a nice, subtle heat from the roasted bits of green chiles. Crack open the egg yolk and let it seep into the rest of the dish.
Pineapple and Dulce de Leche Kolache at Wild Sweet William’s Bakery
The folks over at Wild Sweet William’s Bakery in Searcy get creative on the weekends. I happened to hit them on a Saturday morning when the Pineapple and Dulce de Leche Kolache was available, and like all their baked goods, it was an absolute hit. The combination of the little chunks of pineapple with the sweet caramel sauce had me hoping this kolache makes a return in the future.
Chicken & Hot Pepper Cheese Po-Boy at The Faded Rose
I am not quite sure what prompted me to order what could have been a boring chicken sandwich from a place that specializes in fried shrimp, catfish, shrimp and grits, and crawfish etouffee. Maybe I viewed it as a challenge. Whatever the case, The Faded Rose’s Chicken & Hot Pepper Cheese Po-Boy was so good that I went back the next week and got it again. I loved the juicy, cheese-soaked chicken breast on Leidenheimer bread, but it was those thick slices of grilled onion that put this po-boy over the top.
People’s Choice Burger at Ciao Baci
By now, many of you know that this is my favorite cheeseburger in town. And yes, I realize rating burgers is a highly subjective topic, but currently, this one reigns supreme for me. If you enjoy a thicker patty topped with plentiful fixings, Ciao Baci’s People’s Choice Burger is for you. Order it medium, sit back, and wait for greatness.
Tacos al Pastor at Tacos El Gordo
When it comes to tacos, I will always opt for pork over beef, as is the case when I am at the Tacos El Gordo food trailer on JFK Boulevard in North Little Rock. Their pastor tacos with tender bits of pork are absolutely fantastic. The meat comes sliced right off the spit from the rotating vertical meat broiler, then loaded into corn tortillas and topped with cilantro and chopped raw onion.
Double Cheeseburger at Morrilton Drive Inn
This is just a good ol’ fashioned, sloppy dairy bar cheeseburger. The meat is greasy, and the crazy amount of toppings make it a joyous mess to eat. If you really want to clog the arteries, pair it with one of Morrilton Drive Inn’s Oreo cyclones.
Sliced Brisket at KnightFire BBQ
Smoking brisket is difficult and time-consuming, or so I’ve been told. I’ve never attempted it myself because I think it is difficult and time-consuming. When done right, the sliced fatty beef almost melts in your mouth, as is the case at the KnightFire BBQ trailer in Searcy. Their version has a beautiful, well-seasoned bark. If you’re into jazzing things up a bit, it even comes in a taco.