At the end of each month, I will take a look back at all of the wonderful things I have eaten over the past 30 days. Here are my Top 10 Dishes in November.
Chili at Big Orange Midtown
The only knock on Big Orange’s chili is that it comes with a side of crackers, rather than my beloved Fritos. So while I am averse to sneaking a mini package into the restaurant, I am certainly on board with a to-go order to pair with my beloved chips. As for the chili itself, expect a beef-laden variety with a few beans scattered throughout and an overall subtle spiciness. It’s darn near perfect.
Gyro at Ali Baba
Speaking of darn near perfect: the gyro at Ali Baba. What this messy concoction lacks in appearance, it makes up for in the taste department. The handheld comes with a soft pita loaded — and I mean loaded — with shaved gyro meat, chopped tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. Ali Baba is a hidden gem across from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus that certainly deserves your attention.
Margherita Pizza at Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom
Let me cut right to the chase. Raduno’s pizza used to be quite average. That is no longer the case. This Margherita pizza with a light Pomodoro, along with fresh mozzarella and basil was the best pizza I’ve eaten inside Little Rock. Why? The crust. I love how it’s super thin, chewy, yet crispy, and has just a little resistance to each bite, if that makes sense.
Wagyu Nachos at Allsopp & Chapple
Who wants to jump on board the Allsopp & Chapple train with me? I’ve been praising this Main Street restaurant for several months, thanks to an upward trajectory rooted in fantastic food and service. The wagyu nachos provide another example of a well-executed appetizer that’s both fun to eat and absolutely delicious. Props on using fried wontons for chips and the inclusion of high-quality beef.
Morning Routine Poutine at The Breakfast Tray Food Truck
At 44 years of age, tackling a breakfast poutine loaded with home fries, cheese sauce, sausage cream gravy, bacon crumbles and fried egg at 8:30 a.m. is probably not the smartest decision, but YOLO, right? The nice folks at The Breakfast Tray Food Truck aren’t stingy with portions, as evident by taking one glance at this gut buster.
Mexican Ramen (Birria Style) at Camp Taco
Folks have been raving about Camp Taco’s Mexican ramen, so I had to find out for myself if the taste warranted the hype. It does. The rich, flavorful broth comes topped with a small pile of shredded beef, the latter of which proved to be the star. Ramen noodles, purple slaw, avocado, radish, pickled carrot and a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg reside in the bowl as well, making for a signature dish at the already popular restaurant.
Duck Egg Rolls at Trio’s
Who makes the best egg roll in Little Rock? Trio’s does. I know, it’s crazy to read and even crazier for me to type, but that’s the truth. Unfortunately, the duck egg roll is a rotating appetizer, so by the time you read this, it will already be gone from the menu. The egg roll comes loaded with carrot, cabbage and bits of duck meat.
The Volkswagen at Second Helping Hot Dogs
First and foremost, I like what Second Helping Hot Dogs is doing, which is donating a portion of every sale and 100 percent of tips to those in need. It’s fantastic. But philanthropic acts aside, this is a food truck first, which means the grub better be good. And it is. My Volkswagen dog with sauerkraut, stone-ground mustard and chopped fresh onion comes on a soft bun. It’s essential to upgrade to a Nathan’s all-beef jumbo dog for $1.50 more.
Chili-Citrus Roasted Salmon Salad at Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
The folks at Yellow Rocket Concepts certainly know how to make a good salad, as evident once again with their Chili-Citrus Roasted Salmon at Heights Taco. Roasted salmon, romaine, tomato, cucumber, poblano and bell peppers, sweet corn, watermelon radish, avocado, jalapeno and cilantro, along with smoked tomato vinaigrette dressing all help land the dish on this list.
Fried Cauliflower at Petit & Keet
Listen, I know cauliflower isn’t for everyone, but I am confident that Petit & Keet can change your mind about the vegetable. Dipping each piece in tempura batter, followed by a deep-fry job, tends to do wonders in the taste department. Just make sure to save room for the fried Brussels sprouts. I honestly don’t know which appetizer is better.
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