So this week, Hillcrest Artisan Meats (or as known to the locals as “HAM”) won its Ham Independence for the second year in a row. Thousands of fans of Hillcrest Artisan meats clicked on a ballot showing their HAM love and as a result HAM gets a fancy acorn fed piece of pork. This year, Arkansans received spirited competition from the fans of The Cheese Shop of Des Moines with Jennifer Miller, the Food writer at the Des Moines Register, as their head cheerleader and smacktalker. After everything was said and done, several people invited Ms. Miller to come to Arkansas.
Well.. Jennifer, oh foodie writer, here’s where I would suggest you go. This is not an extensive list and others will disagree. As a member of the Little Rock Burger Caucus, I must give you a plethora of burger options. This is my list.
Driving from Iowa, I would suggest you take a stop in Bentonville and tour Crystal Bridges and the Walmart Museum. Foodwise. It’s
Crepes Paulette. Yes it’s a food truck. Yes it’s worth it. There are sweet and savory crepes and crepes that are both sweet and savory at the same time.
Keep on driving THEN
Feltner’s Whattaburger in Russellville Arkansas. This place has been making burgers for over 40 years. The menu is simple but good: burgers, fries, shakes, onion rings, chicken stripes. As you walk through you can see the staff assemble your burger. I recommend a burger and a small order of fries. The large is enough to eat for a week.
When you get to Little Rock:
Of course, you have to stop by Hillcrest Artisan Meats. This artisan butcher serves a wide variety of yummy sandwiches during lunch. My favorite is the Georgie which is ham and butter on bread. You can add truffles for $2.00 more. It doesn’t need anything else. If you want to celebrate the beauty of Iowa, you can order the Brick-Pressed Prosciutto (La Quercia’s Prosciutto Americano, provolone, red onion, tomato, arugula, aioli). You can get it with chips or lentil salad. (lentil salad)
For Barbeque, I say Sims. I am a fan of the ribs myself. Just go with it.
Capital Bar and Grill is the hotspot for political movers and shakers. It has beautiful wood interior and a wide variety of cocktails. They serve fried black eyed peas as a free appetizer. I have yet to have a bad meal here. My recommendations: The country fried steak. The burger is a contender for one of the best in Little Rock. The pimento and cheese is slap your Mama good. Also, get the spiced pecans.
Find the Southern Gourmasian (it’s a food truck and it doesn’t have a set location) and get the chicken and dumplings. It is the best cheap dish in Arkansas. Yes BEST DISH IN ARKANSAS.. It comes from a truck. I told you. TRUST!
Mylo Coffee for breakfast is the way to go. They serve a whole host of pastries but foodies have been getting in fights over the Kouign Amann since Mylo first started peddling his wares at farmer’s markets. Okay that link was satire but I do recommend you try a treat with a drink of pour over coffee. You won’t be disappointed.