Each month, I will be recapping my favorite food from restaurants in Little Rock and around Arkansas. Even though these dishes are listed in ranking order, I consider all of them ones I would highly recommend. Here are my top 10 dishes in June.
- 8-Layer Dip at Mockingbird Bar and Tacos
We have all heard of 7-layer dip, but Mockingbird Bar and Tacos raised the bar just a bit with their 8-Layer Dip. It comes with house-made guacamole, chili sour cream, Central American red beans, pickled onions, pico de gallo, shredded cheddar, fresh cilantro, and is topped with crumbled queso fresco.
- Quiche at Humble Crumb Bakery
Yes, the cinnamon rolls at Humble Crumb Bakery are irresistible, but so too is this quiche, a light and fluffy offering laced with bacon. I am not even a huge fan of quiche, but the bakery’s version is just too good not to mention.
- Rare Beef Pho at Mike’s Café
First and foremost, if you are getting this dish as takeout, do not freak out by the thin slices of raw beef. They are supposed to be raw, cooked only after submerging in the piping hot broth. A pile of noodles, Thai basil, sliced jalapenos, and sprouts complete this bowl of comfort food. Watch out for those jalapenos though, as Mike’s has left in the seeds.
- Coconut Cream Fried Pie at Morrison’s Fried Pies
If there is a better fried pie in all of Arkansas, I’ve yet to find it. But what makes Morrison’s fried pies so special? They are not greasy and a thicker, yet flaky crust holds up to the abundant filling. In this case, you just cannot beat the coconut cream, a custard filling with shredded coconut that tastes best after an hour in the refrigerator.
- Fried Catfish at Emma Lee’s
I am always on the prowl for great fried catfish. An argument could be made it’s the State Dish of Arkansas. Well, add Emma Lee’s version to the list of recommended options. The family-run soul food restaurant on Park Avenue in Hot Springs keeps things very simple with their crispy, lightly seasoned fried catfish strips.
- The Dirty Bird Vegan Cold Cut at MeMe’s Twisted Potato and More
While I am not vegan, I appreciate all well-executed and tasty food and was excited to try out the Dirty Bird Vegan Cold Cut at Meme’s. Highlights include tender strips of seitan that will look and remind you of chicken (for those of you fellow meat eaters), served on a massive, super soft roll and accompanied by a schmear of guacamole, bed of kale, and addictive sweet dressing.
- Thai Chop Salad at Big Orange Midtown
Speaking of addictive dressings, I could drink Big Orange’s Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette Dressing by the gallon. I have written about this salad for years, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Featuring mixed lettuce, red peppers, tomato, fresh jalapeno, peanuts, cilantro, and basil, the Thai Chop is at its best when topped with chunks of medium-rare ribeye.
- Cajun Turkey Sandwich at Uncle T’s Food Mart
This sandwich is all about taking a few simple ingredients and executing them to perfection. A pile of shaved, deli-sliced turkey breast, along with tomato, American cheese, mayo, and pickles, lie between two pieces of wheat bread. For $6, it can’t be beat. Go check out Uncle T’s on the corner of 14th/MLK.
- Sweet Potato Pie at Lindsey’s BBQ
I always equate eating sweet potato pie with the holidays, but when your friend brings over a slice to your home in the middle of June, you do not say no. The pie was some of the very best I’ve eaten, mainly because of the thin, buttery crust and smooth sweet potato filling.
- Lasagna Pizza at My Little Pizzeria
It is time for you to make the drive to Benton for pizza at My Little Pizzeria. This is true New York-style pizza with a thin, foldable crust, and, in the case of the Lasagna, a combination of toppings that make it the best pie in the Little Rock area. Generous amounts of ground beef, marinara, Parmesan, and mozzarella are only eclipsed by the inclusion of the cool, creamy ricotta.