Though we love a good pumpkin spice, well--anything--we think there are far more notable fall dishes around the Little Rock metropolitan area. This second installment of our weekly feature Friday Five features five of the most intriguing autumn eats in the greater Little Rock area!
These edibles make us change colors like the maple leaves in our backyard. Next time you're out and about, think about stopping by one of these local establishments for a taste of the season.
You won't find any bottled pumpkin pie spice in these. They're the best of Southern ingenuity. Away we go:
5 Little Rock Fall Foods You've Got to Try
1. Capital Bar & Grill - Tawny Pumpkin Cocktail
Consider this the grown-up version of the pumpkin spice latte. We like just about everything the Capital Bar does, and it's one of our favorite places to grab a Moscow Mule, but we're unabashed suckers for this cocktail.
The cocktail's comprised of Graham's 10-Year Tawny Port and Kirk & Sweeney 12-Year Rum, blended with house-spiced pumpkin butter, a hint of lemon, and a dash of maple syrup. Um, yum.
2. Baja Grill - Honey Chipotle Burrito
We know. You probably think a burrito has nothing to do with autumn. We're here to tell you--nicely, as we do--that you're wrong. Mexi-Cali cuisine at Baja Grill, one of our new favorite haunts, is on to something with this burrito.
The artfully smoked shredded pork tossed in a slightly sweet, endlessly smoky honey chipotle sauce is the perfect transition into the fall season. The light sweetness of honey is summer's last stand, while the rich flavor profile of chipotle peppers tastes almost like a fall sunset. A heap of melted cheese, beautifully cooked onions (sweet but not too sweet, crisp but not too crisp), lettuce that ain't limp, and a lime-salt vinaigrette top the burrito.
You'll be a believer after one bite. Pinky swear.
P.S. Get the queso, y'all. It's good, too.
3. South on Main - Pork Cheek with Pumpkin Jam
We love seasonal menus. They take the freshest (and therefore tastiest) ingredients and put them front & center on our plates. A little food spotlight, if you will. South on Main's been doing a food spotlight awfully well since its inception last year. We were waiting to see what fall flavors Chef Matt Bell would bring to the menu.Sure, pumpkin may be an obvious choice for fall flavor, but Matt Bell's pork cheek with pumpkin jam is anything but obvious. We're always amazed by his way to turn the most down-home, rustic dishes into works of art. Or maybe, just maybe, he alerts us to the haute cuisine to be found in what we traditionally blow off as "simple Southern" dishes.
4. Local Lime - Butternut Squash and Adobo Tamale
There's just something comforting about butternut squash, honestly, and while we never would have thought to put it in a tamale, the fine folks at Local Lime (thankfully) have imaginations that would.
Enter this dish: roasted butternut squash that is then hand-mixed with the traditional corn masa. Add a little cilantro, tomatillo salsa, and sour cream, and you've got a masterful, savory ode to autumn the way only our friends at Local Lime could create.
5. Waffle Wagon - Sweet Potato Waffle (COMING SOON!)
Alright, y'all, this is a bit of a sneak peek. Matt & Melissa, the grand don and donna of Little Rock favorite food truck Waffle Wagon, have informed me that their spin on fall will take shape in the form of a sweet potato waffle. We're talking homemade sweet potato pie filling--local sweet taters and secret spices (they'd have to kill you if they told you) mixed into waffle batter.
We recommend you stop by the Main Street Food Truck Festival (before you come hang with us at Chili Fights in the Heights, of course) on October 4th, as that's when Matt & Melissa say it'll make its debut. You can even bring us one! Thanks for offering! ;)
Why not share this post with some of your friends? Take them with you to try these Little Rock lovelies!
Did we miss your favorite local fall dish? Let us know what it is in the comments! We're making a list and checking it twice (wait... wrong season) so we can make sure to get all the autumn eats Little Rock has to offer!
And, as always, our best wishes for your dishes!