While most people think of this blog as a food writing site, it’s just as much about food photography. After all, it would be pretty boring to just read descriptions about the food we make and eat without some visual representations, right? Arkansas Foodies has always been a joint venture between two people, a writer and a photographer, and I think that the photography on this blog has been the driving force behind its continued popularity and success. While I always try to come up with something informative and interesting to say about food, Jess manages to do a better job with just a few pictures than anything I could write. Unfortunately, space limitations often mean that a lot of pictures wind up never being published, both on this blog and in our reviews for Eat Arkansas. That’s a real shame, because I count myself lucky to work with one of the best food photographers in this great state of Arkansas. With that in mind, here are some photos that we didn’t use in recent reviews, but I think are quite good.
This is the bluefin Tuna Tartare from our recent review of RJ TAO, the newest restaurant and lounge in the Little Rock Heights neighborhood. It was one of the freshest tasting tuna dishes we’ve ever tried, and although we wanted just a little more of a kick from the briny caper berries, we very much enjoyed it. RJ TAO is making an effort to provide high quality dishes with ingredients not found on any other Central Arkansas menu, and we salute them for it. Plus, the service there is impeccable.
This picture is a combination of our favorite things: it’s Loblolly ice cream served at the Green Corner Store in the SoMa neighborhood in Little Rock. Here’s the difference between Loblolly ice cream and, say, ice cream from a national chain like Coldstone Creamery — Coldstone takes some generic ice cream and makes a big show about folding in your choice of stale, boring toppings. Loblolly finds the freshest ingredients and creates flavors you can’t find anywhere — like the fromage blanc and jalapeno jelly scoop that you can see on the left side of the picture above. Or maybe you’d like their salted caramel ice cream in a crisp, delicious gluten-free cone? And even if ice cream isn’t your thing, the ladies of Loblolly have a huge stock of homemade flavored syrups that allow you to create your perfect soda (I recommend the sarsaparilla).
That’s a chicken quesadilla from Baja Grill in Benton, one of our favorite food trucks around, and one we reviewed for Eat Arkansas. This truck has one of the most unique menus in Central Arkansas — and that includes the brick-and-mortar places, too. Fresh ingredients, delicious recipes, and friendly service make us fans of this Military Road food truck. They’ve got a very faithful following, and once you’ve tried them, you’ll understand why.
Those beauties above are some of the hand-battered shrimp available from Eat My Catfish, a Benton restaurant we like so much that we reviewed them not once, but twice for the Arkansas Times. We’re food truck fanatics here on Foodies, and it’s great to see a place like Eat My Catfish get so successful that they transition from frying fish in the back of a trailer to a comfortable brick-and-mortar location with ample seating both indoors and on a patio. It might be the best catfish in Arkansas — but don’t miss these shrimp.
Our greatest recent discovery came thanks to Jess’ mom and dad in the form of Ron’s Barbecue. We’re of the opinion that the best barbecue is made in small towns, and this Glenwood transplant from Caddo Gap certainly fills the bill. Great brisket, great pork, and great smoked turkey make the addition of excellent sauce and cole slaw all the more better. It’s worth the drive to sample this barbecue from wherever you are in the state.
Lastly, I end with a picture from Vino’s Brew Pub and Pizzeria. Vino’s is easily our favorite place in Little Rock, and since brewmaster Josiah Moody has taken the reigns, their beer has become something that Little Rock should brag about. That picture is their Firehouse Pale Ale, a brew that is a perfect pairing for their excellent pizzas, massive calzones, or just an afternoon that needs a pint or three to become perfect. 7th and Chester is our home on many a Saturday afternoon, and if you haven’t had some Vino’s beer in awhile, you should really get down there to see their new-found creativity in action.
Food writing is, in many ways, a visual medium, and I can’t say enough about how lucky I am to work with a photographer like Jess. From chili cook-offs to filet mignon, she manages to capture things in a way that I can only hope to do justice by with my writing. So here’s to food porn, and here’s to my favorite photographer (and also love of my life), Jess Miller!