Monthly Archives: August 2013

Pickled figs? Yes, please. Natchez is an adventure in brine.

For more on pickling, check out my article in the September issue of Arkansas Life, on stands soon.

Alexis Jones has never met a fruit or vegetable she couldn’t pickle.

After tackling the method while working with chef John Currence in Oxford, Miss., Jones has tried seemingly everything from savory pickled green beans to just-tart-enough pickled blueberries and cider-like pickled apples at her downtown Little Rock restaurant, Natchez.

“They’re good palate cleansers and add notes to foods that you don’t usually see,” Jones says.

They are also relatively inexpensive and fast to make, making pickling an attractive option for people trying to get into the throwback art of canning.

“Preserving and canning are obviously making a comeback, and I think that has a little bit to do with the pickling phenomenon coming on,” Jones says.

Jones isn’t the only one trying to pickle anything but cucumbers lately. The trend has been so prevalent that IFC’s Portlandia poked fun in a skit featuring the stars pickling CD jewel cases, parking tickets and broken shoes, exclaiming “We can pickle that!”

While many chefs prefer to serve pickles with cheese and charcuterie pairings, Jones tends to incorporate hers directly into dishes. The … Read more >

Let’s do (new) lunch

Filling out a form at a doctor’s office the other day, I came to question that I hadn’t thought about since high school: What are your hobbies or activities?

"Light" lunch at Big Orange in Midtown.

“Light” lunch at Big Orange in Midtown.

I had to give several minutes of heavy thought to whether or not I could write down “eating.”

When it comes to my favorite meal of the day, I just really don’t want to choose between my kids, you know?

But given a real Sophie’s Choice, I’m opting for lunch.

It’s partially because of my mid-day location. Working downtown gives me access to more than your average sandwich line. And with lunch, it’s easier to convince yourself that a little calorie splurge is worth it. Because you’re totally just eating carrots and hummus for dinner, right?

But one of the real reasons behind my recent increased love for lunch is the options that have popped up semi-nearby lately. In the span of a week or so I’ve taken down sandwiches, salads and soup at Big Orange Midtown, Mugs Cafe and South on Main and (spoiler alert) each was worth returning for.

By now, the reviews for Big Orange Midtown and South on Main … Read more >

Big Orange Midtown is ready for your happy hour

I’ve been hearing good things about Big Orange since I first moved to Little Rock last fall.

But every time I was about to check the place out, their then freshly-opened sister-restaurant Local Lime would suck me in for a can’t-be-beat margarita and I was done for.

A lengthy wait for a seat combined with the drive out to West Little Rock was always enough to keep groups from heading that way, especially for happy hour.

The Barrel-Aged Negroni at Big Orange Midtown is happy hour-worthy

The Barrel-Aged Negroni at Big Orange Midtown is happy hour-worthy

Cracking open the menus for our first taste of Big Orange Midtown last week (review in the next issue of Sync!), I only had one true moment of disappointment: It was noon, on a weekday, my boss was sitting across from me and I had an interview scheduled that afternoon. In short: This was no drinking lunch.

That the Big Orange group of restaurants serve up some serious drinks is nothing new. Bar manager Lee Edwards and their team of bartenders are being constantly (and rightfully) praised for their work in bringing quality craft and classic cocktails

to central Arkansas. They also have a hard-to-beat beer lineup. Really, there is no good reason you’re … Read more >