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Diamond Bear Brewing to release Southern Blonde in cans

Picture 2North Little Rock-based brewery Diamond Bear is moving into the world of craft cans this summer. The brewery’s Southern Blonde will be available in cans by the end of July.

Diamond Bear Brewing owner Russ Melton says that the recipe for the brew has also been “tweaked to make it more like a session beer, more of a Caribbean lager than anything else.”

The cans are being manufactured in Olive Branch, Miss. Melton says Southern Blonde will now only be distributed in cans, while the rest of Diamond Bear’s line will remain available in bottles.

“The canned segment is 60 percent of the market, and we’re excited to really open that up,” Melton says.

Look for the cans to hit Arkansas shelves around July 14.… Read more >

Arkansas dining year in review

Can you believe it’s already time for our ‘Year in Review’ stories? This article originally appeared in the December issue of Arkansas Life. Grab a copy on stands now!

The past year was a packed one for Little Rock’s bar and restaurant scene. From buzzed-about openings and patios packed with margarita-crazed masses to quick name changes and new local brew options, we sorted through the year to come with our list of the best—and worst—moments in central Arkansas food this year.

Brick and mortar

Central Arkansas locavores have long been supportive of the area’s farmers markets and food trucks, which is why it didn’t come as much of a surprise when several alfresco favorites leveraged their success into covered locales this past year. Hot Dog Mike raised funds to move from slinging dogs via cart to a small River Market storefront. Crowdsourced funding also helped Little Rock chef Travis McConnell move one step closer to a butcher shop and restaurant when he raised more than $8,000 online, drawing on the fan base that swarms his stall at the Bernice Garden Farmers Market on a weekly basis. Fellow farmers-market staple Mylo Coffee Co. also took a big step in 2013, … Read more >

Outstanding in the Field returns with Little Rock chefs Matt Bell, Alexis Jones

Foodies with $180 to spare will want to mark their calendars for Oct. 10 when roving dinner party Outstanding in the Field returns to Arkansas.

The dinner will take place at Delta Sol Farm in Proctor (near West Memphis) and feature food prepared by Little Rock and Memphis chefs led by Kelly English of Memphis’ Restaurant Iris along with Memphis chefs Andrew Ticers and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Jonathan Magallanes of Las Tortugas. Repping Little Rock will be Matt Bell of South on Main and Alexis Jones of Natchez. (If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our recent Q&A with Jones here.)

Outstanding in the Field 2012 in Scott, Arkansas. Photo by Arshia Kahn

Outstanding in the Field 2012 in Scott, Arkansas at Scott Heritage Farm. Photo by Arshia Khan

Outstanding in the field travels around North American in a red ’53 bus to do ultra farm-to-table dinners. The group was last in Arkansas in September 2012 for a dinner in Scott, Arkansas. (Check out some stellar photos from the dinner at Scott Heritage Farm, by Arshia Khan here)

The Oct. 10 meal will be a mix of “Old World Italian, French-Creole and Mexican street food cooking styles” OITF founder Jim Denevan said in … Read more >

No one warned me about the cheese dip, Little Rock

The pleading excuse of “I’m not from around here” is starting to wear thin. I’ve been an Arkansan for something like 43 weeks. I’ve reluctantly chanted something about a Pig Sooie and bravely ventured to Cajun’s Warf (once). I’ve driven from West Memphis to Arkadelphia to Mountain View to Bentonville. At this point, I’m from around here.
But some things still remain a mystery to this Chicago transplant.

First up: Cheese dip. Somebody could have warned me about all this cheese dip. Where the outside world is comfortable ordering up queso at their neighborhood Mexican spot, Little Rock takes it to another level. Out to a $30 a plate dinner with your significant other? Cheese dip. Lunch with the girls downtown? Cheese dip. An order of enchiladas? Yeah, just dump the cheese dip on top. White or yellow, spicy or mild, plain or with mix-ins, nearly every restaurant in town has their own version of this stuff. And yes, I know about the World Cheese Dip Championship.
A few weeks ago I was out of town for a few days and when I came back, I even found myself craving an order of cheese dip. You win, Little Rock.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STEVE KEESEE

Arkansas

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