Restaurants


Chip and I enjoy having a lunch date every now and then.

I have wanted to try out The Root Cafe for a while. It is on South Main in Little Rock, AR. The Root has several fun neighboring shops and restaurants.

The Root Cafe

The Root is all about “Building Community through local food!” They use as many products as possible from small local farms. Their menu even notes where items originate.

Locavore Sign

I arrived at the cafe before my date. There was quite a crowd, so I jumped in line.

The place is small. It used to be a dairy bar. Being elbow to elbow with other customers, I felt a little rude whipping out my phone to snap photos.

Keeping a sharp eye out for my date, I studied the menu while I waited in line.

I ended up having to let several folks jump me in line before Chip arrived.  Fortunately, we had studied the menu options on-line a bit the night before, so I knew what he wanted.

He showed up just as I was about to order his Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich and fries.

Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich

French Fries

The bread for the sandwich came from one of the fun neighbors I mentioned, Boulevard Bread Company.

I had the Praline Salad. It was full of praline pecans. The dressing was a spicy cumin vinaigrette and it was very yummy. The salad was served with “seasonal” fruit. So, yours might look different when you go.

Praline Salad

Dining indoors was a little cramped. We ended up on the side porch. There is also a front porch dining area as well as a small garden area. All were full!

porch dining

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at The Root. It felt very urban.

The food was really good. I loved the salad dressing on my salad. I stole a couple of Chip’s fries. They were quite tasty, too. I think next time, I will have a burger and sweet potato fries. I saw several being delivered to tables. They looked amazing.

Chip enjoyed the bread and the egg salad. However, being an egg salad connoisseurs, he was disappointed with the way the egg salad squished out of the bun. He recommends toast.

They had a display case full of lovely desserts. Sorry, no picture of the case. I did snap a shot of the HUGE Chocolate Chip Cookie we split.

Huge Chocolate Chip Cookie

After mowing down the cookie, we headed across the street to MOXY Modern Mercantile. It is a fun little shop with lots of unique gift items…

like this giant pencil!

Giant Pencil

 

The Root Cafe is a fun lunch date destination. Check it out!

Beautiful weather here in central Arkansas today-High of about 70˚!

Saturdays, if we don’t have to run off somewhere, our family tends to sleep in a bit. I usually make pancakes-some with chocolate chip-some without. If the weather is agreeable, Chip and I like to sit on the porch in our pjs and sip coffee while we solve the world’s problems.

Since today was going to be so nice, we decided to do something a little different.

We have been trying to get back into exercising. This week we went on a couple of bike rides. I walked around town a little. One day, while the girls were at piano lessons,  I made my Dad go walking with me on some hills. I don’t think he liked the hills very much.

We live where there are NO hills. FLAT! I really felt the need to walk on some hills!

So, this morning Chip and I headed to one of my favorite neighborhoods in Little Rock to walk–Hillcrest.

I love the houses. I love the trees. I love the shops and restaurants. Sigh!

Our plan was to sleep in a little, go walk, find a smoothie place and be home around 1:00.

Hillcrest

Lab Parking

This sign cracked me up for some reason. I guess I expected to see a black Labrador sitting there or something!

Remember the reason we wanted to go to Hillcrest? Hills!

hill 2

hill 3

hill

I’m sure I will be wobbly tomorrow.

Hillcrest Lookout

walking trails

I only took a couple of pictures of houses because I was walking. There are just so many quaint houses in Hillcrest though!

curved porch

The Siegle-Donham House

We eventually wandered into Rosalia’s Bakery in search of smoothies. It is right next door to Cafe Bossa Nova. Come to find out, they are owned by the same folks. The restaurant sure smelled good.

Rosalia's Bakery

They didn’t have smoothies, but they did have these…

Yucca Puffs

The bakery shares a parking lot with pizza place we really like, Damgoode Pies. We have always called it “Darngoode Pies”. If you go, be sure to get the pink sauce. It’s my favorite!

Damgoode Pies

Down the street was Hillcrest Artisan Meats! (I have to add that I got a little giggle adding my website address to a picture of a pig!)

Pig

I was very excited to step in to H.A.M. I have been following them on Facebook for a while. We didn’t get to eat there today. Remember, we were on a smoothie hunt. We WILL go back!

H.A.M.

Here is a little peak inside…

eat sign

artisan cheeses

artisan meats

samples

salts

vegetarian

Taking a walk break.

IheartHillcrest

Well, all we could find in Hillcrest was coffee shops. We hopped in the truck and headed up the road to The Heights–another of my favorite neighborhoods–in search of smoothies.

We struck gold at Red Mango.

Red Mango

straws

Chip got the Mango-Pineapple Smoothie and I had the Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Smoothie. We also picked up a fancy water for later.

smoothies

We ended up liking each other’s smoothie better than our own. So,we shared them both as we strolled up and down the street.

Red Mango is right next door to Cupcakes on Kavanaugh–yum!

Cupcakes on Kavanaugh

We saw a barber pole along the way. When you are a Sweet Adeline, you notice these things.

Barber Poll

There are lots of neat shops and galleries and such in the Heights.

Chrome gallery

Ozark Outdoor was a must see for Chip. They had lots of cool hiking and running-type stuff in there.

Ozark Outdoor

Just across the street was a Eggshells Kitchen Co. I was like a kid in a candy shop!

Eggshells Kitchen Co

I was glad we had out Blackberry Pomegranate water to enjoy on the way home.

Mountain Valley Sparkling Water

What a great Saturday morning! We even made it home by 1:00.

What did you do on your Saturday morning?

The hubs and I went on a little lunch date last week.

selfie

Aren’t we goofy and cute?!

Chip works at Arkansas Blue Cross. His company has recently opened a restaurant in their main building. Since Chip is “the camera man” he was instrumental in helping with some of the restaurant’s photographs as well as some of the graphics. He has been talking about The Green Leaf Grill for months! He’s even gotten to eat there several times. Finally, I talked him in to taking ME!

sinage

It was a beautiful day to be in downtown Little Rock, especially in February. Just look at that blue sky!

It was quite busy at the Green Leaf Grill. There are many ordering options–deli, grill, pizza, entrée, salad and more.

chefs on the line

green beans

chef at work

Salads are made to order right in front of you.

salad bar

Fresh, local ingredients are used every day.

grilled chicken

blue cookware

They even have a pizza oven!

pizza oven

Chip had the Ham and Swiss Panini on a pretzel roll with sweet potato fries. He thoroughly enjoyed his meal.

ham and swiss

He offered me a bite, but my plate was so full I didn’t think I could spare the room.

I chose the Grilled Flat Iron Steak. It was served on a bed of greens and edamame with red and yellow beet chips.

steak

Oh, my goodness! It was so yummy! The steak was perfectly cooked. I had never had a yellow beet. They are good! I liked them better than the red beets!  I really liked having the edamame in with the greens. I need to remember to get some next time I’m at the store.

There is a cookie bar where you can package your own cookies to take back to the office. I didn’t have room for cookies. I guess I have to save room next time. Oh, there will be a next time!

cookie bar

Thanks for the great meal, Chef! Look, I’m a dork! I had to have my picture with Chef Jason.

with the chef

The Green Leaf Grill is located at 601 South Gaines in downtown Little Rock, AR.

They are opened for breakfast Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 9:30 am

Lunch is served Monday-Friday 10:45 am – 2:00 pm

Be sure to check their menu weekly for specials.

Which would you choose–Chip’s sandwich and fries or my steak and salad?

Happy 2013 everyone!

The kids went back to school today. Therefore, life must return to “normal”. Normal, I suppose, includes a blog post! So, we have come to the point in the year, the first post of the year, where I tell you all the stats from last year.

Why? Why do I feel I must do this? Peer pressure? Everyone else is doing it!

If you are a regular around here, none of these posts will be new to you.

However, if you are new, maybe you’ll see something you like and go investigate.

Here goes…

According to the statisticians at WordPress, thank you very much, these are the posts that got the most views in 2012. (Strangely enough, all of the Top 5 are actually from 2011. I guess I can look at that in a couple of different ways…1) Stuff I wrote about in 2012 wasn’t as interesting as 2011 topics, or 2) These posts have staying power–like a little black dress! We’ll go with #2.

#5 Christmas Tree Tour

Bible made from a matchbox and alphabet pasta

Bible made from a matchbox and alphabet pasta

#4 Tie Dyed Fingernails

swirling polish 4

#3 Linguini Salad

Linguini Salad finished

#2 Christmas Party Food

CheeseMan

#1 Dr. Seuss Snacks

proud moment

I had a hard time trying to decide my favorite post of 2012.

I have to say, I was extremely happy to finally finish the Impressionist series. You can see the entire series here. Part X is here.

waiting to go inside

I piggy-backed this post in the BLOGtober series I did with Arkansas Women Bloggers. That was fun too. You can see that series here.

I think my favorite new recipe I tried was Cannellini Beans. Y’all, it is just so good!

spooning beans

Looking back on 2012, we really did a lot! We ate great food, at home and off of trucks! We visited family and friends. We crafted.

My favorite thing we did last year was make a pirate movie with the kids and some of their friends, then hosted the premier for the movie.

The planning, the scrounging, the cooking…it was all good!

table 2

And now, here are the Critics’ favorites.

Critics’ Corner

Chip:

Favorite dish–Pork Chops and Field Peas

ready to serve

Favorite Restaurant–The Bavarian Chef

Schweineschnitzel

Favorite Event–Movie Premier

watching movie

Megan:

Taste–Bud Biscuits

15-hot biscuits

Coolness–Butterfly Cupcakes

completed butterflies

Creative Title–Help! I ate something green!

more kale

Fun–Bocce Ball

bocce ball 1

Gross–Welch’s Fruit FIZZ

box

Katie:

Great Wolf Lodge!

main attraction

Strawberry Delight!

Strawberries outside

Thank you for following my little blog. Whether you are a subscriber to the blog or the Facebook page, get here from Pinterest, or stop by at random, your visits, “likes” and comments are appreciated!

Now I know why people do the “year in review” post…happy memories! I plan on making some more in 2013! I hope you are there to share them with me.

This weekend I had the privilege of going to the 3rd Annual World Cheese Dip Championship in Little Rock, AR. Even cooler is that I got to go as “media”. I had press passes for me and my photographer! We took this opportunity to have a little date. The girls don’t like cheese dip anyway.

It was a gorgeous day–maybe about five degrees warmer than I would have liked but lovely just the same.

The festival ran from 11AM-3PM. We got there a little after noon. After asking around about what the procedure was for sampling the dips, we were told to get ourselves a bag of chips. We stood in the line for a while. When we reached the front, all they had left was crumbs. The folks at the chip booth assured us that chips were on the way. Since we were next in line to receive chips, we decided to wait for their arrival.

Hooray! The chips are here! It really was not too long of a wait. At least we had shade!

Let the tasting begin!

There were two categories–professional and amateur.

Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro had a very cute booth, complete with chandelier. Their dip was pretty good. It was a little heavy on the cilantro for my taste. ANY cilantro is just about too much cilantro for my taste. Plus they served their dip cold. I prefer my cheese dip warm.

Moe’s Southwest Grill had some tasty dip. It was a little salty. That might have been the chips though. They passed out coupons for their restaurant, nothing like a little bribery.

I have to say I was a little disappointed in Stoby’s. I LOVE Stoby’s. However, I am used to their yellow cheese dip. At this event they were only passing out samples the white. I didn’t care for it as much.

Who should I see at the Dogtown booth but my friend Becky from high school! She made the booth all cute! Becky is a great decorator/designer. She has been featured in  At Home in Arkansas magazine. I’m sure she has a long list of credentials. I’m still waiting for her to just get on Facebook.

She and her husband Kevin were there trying to help the reigning champion reclaim his title!

The dip was good, lots of cumin.

I took my Pork Chop Tuesday bag as my purse. I guess I am guilty of a little shameless self-promotion.

You could definitely spot the folks who had been to the festival in the past. They came prepared for the task of cheese dip juggling. A simple muffin tin made a nice carrier.

I forgot to take a count of just how many booths there were there for the contest.

We tasted them all–all but one– dum, dum, dum. (okay, that was supposed to sound like dramatic “who done it” music!)

This guy…

He did have a nice display of colorful peppers.

We knew, however, once we smelled his dip, there was no way we were eating it. It hurt our throats just to smell it! Call me a chicken if you want, but I didn’t want to eat anything with a ghost pepper in it!

Our sampling continued. Some were better than others. Some seemed like they had been watered down a bit. There was one that, I promise, to me, tasted like hot dogs. Some had meat; others had spinach.

There was one competitor from Austin, TX that had some very–different dip. I later found out that their cheese dip had Parmesan cheese, raisins, capers, and cranberries. Not my favorite.

My vote went to these guys…

They had very yummy dip, in addition to a fun booth.

Here are the official results:

2012 World Cheese Dip Championship Award Winners

 

Best booth design:
Concheeztadors

Most Innovative:
Papi Tino’s (Austin, Tx) (w/ Parmesan, raisins, capers, cranberries)

People’s Champion:
Mitchell Williams Law Firm (Amateur)
Dizzy’s (Professional)

Little Dipper (Second Prize):
UAMS (Amateur)
US Pizza (Professional)

Big Dipper (Grand Prize):
Concheeztadors (Amateur Division)
Dizzy’s (Professional)

You can go here to see what the awards were if you are curious.

A big thanks to my photographer hubby! You can see more of his work at Chip Bayer Photography.

A big thanks to John, the head cheese dip,  for the press passes!

Day 4 of BLOGtober Fest!

Today’s challenge was entitled “Fall Back”. Today is the day we are supposed to promote a post from the past.

Thinking about the topic, I first thought of my very first post called “Never Again Cookies”.  They were just so yummy but just so much trouble.

Then I thought of this post for Dr. Seuss snacks, because it seems to be well liked.

As I continued down memory lane looking at old blog posts, I realized that I never finished the Impressionist series. I had only one post left. That is so bad. It was over a year ago!

You can see the entire series over on the This and That page under The Impressionists Series.

So, here today, I finally will finish up the Impressionists! Hopefully this post will whet your appetite for the rest of the series.

Well, we finally made it to the Arts Center. Going to the exhibit was the whole reason we did the Impressionist study to begin with.

Mom and Dad went with us, so Dad took this great picture of me and the girls.

Megan even chose to wear that particular shirt because it looked like an Impressionistic painting.

There was no photography allowed at the exhibit.

The best I can do I show you the program guide.

We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. The artwork was quite impressive. It meant so much more to the girls, and to me, to have done our little study. I think it is something we will always remember.

We had lunch at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock. I just love that place. Everything is so yummy! I like the fun urban atmosphere as well.

Even though it was warm and windy, we ate outside, just like the Impressionists would have. Turkey sandwiches on croissants!

Unfortunately, a man came and sat next to us and lit up a cigarette. Yuck! That made out outdoor experience not quite as nice but probably even more authentic!

After our lunch experience, we decided to head inside for dessert. Créme Bruleé!

You talk about yummy, now!

I think they liked the dessert time better than lunch time. Duh! It’s dessert! We were in the cool, non-breezy, non-smokey building!

Here is what the girls thought of the experience.

Megan:

I much preferred actually doing the art to going to the exhibit. I was very glad to have studied about the Impressionists, because it enabled me to appreciate the art more. Getting a taste of French food was like icing on the cake. It felt almost like being an Impressionist sitting in a café discussing art.

Of the ones we did, I most enjoyed the first one and the Degas. I liked the first because it was new and exciting. I liked the Degas because I had fun making it an all-day event and replicating glass. Of the ones that we saw, I like the “Blue Dancers” by Degas and “The Foggy Parliament” by Monet.

Katie:

The exhibit was very fun! There were two paintings that I can think of off of the top of my head. One was “Seascape–Isle of Shoals” by Chlide Hassam, and the other was “Paysage de mer (Seascape)” by Gustave Courbet. They were both extremely pretty, so real!

After the exhibit, we went to Community Bakery for lunch. We ate outside (like the French) and watched the traffic go by. We ate croissants with turkey inside, also chips and of course, drank water (like the French-kidding!) Then for dessert we had crème brulée, a famous French dish.

All in all, it was a great day!

P.S. I also got to paint and sketch, and watch a funny video about Monet.

I learned that when Monet got older, he got cataracts and saw a lot of yellow. A while later, he could see clearly again, thanks to some doctors.

My favorite part of the “learning” was the activities! My favorite painting was my fall leaf!

The Main Street Food Truck Festival was this past weekend. I was very excited about going. You may remember our first food truck experience in Washington, D.C. Megan had an invitational marching contest she had to attend, so she didn’t get to go with us. The band brought home all ONES and is ready for their contest next weekend!

Chip, Katie and I started on our adventure. As soon as we hit the Interstate rain started to fall.

There was just a little rain at first. The farther down the road we went, the sky grew darker and the raindrops fatter.

Our spirits would not be dampened, however! We were prepared for cold, not for wet. So, we went by Chip’s office where he transformed some trash bags into rain ponchos. There were some Target shopping bags in a drawer that worked nicely as headgear. I’m afraid Katie will be scarred for life! ha!

Chip had the camera strapped around his neck UNDER his poncho. It was too much trouble to pass the camera back and forth, so he didn’t get in any of the pictures. I think that may have been by design.

If you go to the link above, you can see all the vendors who were supposed to be there. I don’t know if the all made it or not.

There is also a list  here on the Festival’s Facebook page.

In addition to the food trucks, Etsy Little Rock had several vendors set up inside the old Main Street Mall. I know they were glad to be inside. We were glad, too. It gave us a warm, dry place to hang out for a while.

Designs by Luvmibug & Tim

The Twisted Purl

Orbiting Debris

We had lots of fun looking. We were saving our money, however, to buy food!

Katie and I really wanted to sample the Sugar Shack for dessert. Sadly, they were closed when we came back to their truck.

Chip stood in line with Katie. She wanted a cheese quesadilla. I don’t remember the name of the truck.

She thoroughly enjoyed it!

I stood in line at Philly’s for a couple of cheese steak sandwiches.

The sandwiches were wonderful!

We headed home after we ate. It was good to sit in the warm while we waited for Megan to come home.

We all rested and got cleaned up for the evening. We had more fun in store.

Chip’s company was sponsoring a night at the symphony. So, we took full advantage of the opportunity to hear the Arkansas Symphony. The show was a tribute to the Beatles–the Classical Mystery Tour–complete with four Beatles impersonators. We sang along to all the classic Beatles hits. The performers were super! They called it the greatest concert the Beatles never gave. With a full orchestra behind them, the impersonators were able to sing lots of songs from the Sgt. Pepper album.

We all had a great evening. The girls even got autographs afterward. Unfortunately, we left the camera at home.

What a day!

On our way to and from Washington D.C., we passed by the town of Fredericksburg, VA. What used to be a train depot had been converted to a restaurant. The name caught our attention–The Bavarian Chef. We made plans to drive over to Fredericksburg the next day to explore.

We decided to go for a late lunch/early supper.

We all like the idea of eating in a converted depot. Hey, look! Chip and I are both in this picture–

–and this one, ha!

We about had the place to ourselves since it was about 3:30.

Nana and Bud spent a few years in Germany. They were very familiar with German cuisine. I can only remember going to one other German restaurant, Guisella’s. (It was in Zionsville, IN when we lived there. It has since closed.)

The menu looked great. Please go to the link at the top of this post to get to the menu. I tried to add it here but had issues.

I guess only food bloggers let their food get cold while they insist on taking pictures.

Chip and Bud both had the Schweineschnitzel–crispy breaded pork tenderloin, served with French fries and homemade applesauce.

Nana had the potato pancakes with applesauce.

Katie’s choice was the Hänsel and Gretel chicken from the “Für Die Kinder” section of the menu.

Megan got the Mandel Schnitzel–pork medallions crusted with almonds served in a honey strawberry gin sauce. It was really good!

Mine was the best though. I had the Käsespätzle–housemade German pasta in creamy bacon & cheese sauce topped with crispy onions.

Mine was definitely the fanciest! I would have never thought to put a flower on a dish of macaroni and cheese.

It was amazingly delicious! The noodles were very fat and dense and yummy. Of course I am a big-time mac and cheese girl. This was mac and cheese on steroids! Wow!

I highly recommend stopping by The Bavarian Chef for a meal if you are in the area.

Here I am with the chef and our waitress, on the far right, and another waitress who was just coming to work!

Yes, I’m a dork…the signs on the restroom doors were really cute. I had to show them.

This is the poster that was on the wall by our table. It reminded me of some plates my grandparents used to have.

Chip and I are fans of a show that comes on the Cooking Channel called Eat Street. It is basically a show about food trucks. The show has featured trucks in DC. Since we were going to be there I thought it would be fun to track down some food trucks.

As we were heading back downtown after our Georgetown explorations, we asked a girl on the bus if she knew the prime food truck spot.

She directed us to Franklin Square.

Franklin Square did not disappoint. There were 8-12 different food trucks lining the park. I assume this is a daily thing since there were tons of people having their lunches in the park.

There was a pie truck that served sweet AND savory pies. There was a barbecue truck that served, well, barbecue. There were hamburger trucks, fish trucks, Mexican food trucks, Indian food trucks…there were a lot of trucks.

We must have been famished! The only thing we had really done thus far in DC was eat a cupcake!

It was getting close to lunch time, so we ate!

After checking out the trucks, Nana went with the barbecue. She got a HUGE sandwich. She said it was good. Sorry, I didn’t get any pics.

The rest of us headed over to the Halal Grill.

Personally, I was very excited to have the food truck experience. Eating at Halal Grill was great! Mohammad, the owner, was very nice and personable, which goes a long way in my book!

We all had the Chicken on Pita. The kids opted for no “salad” on theirs.

Oh, man! Was it ever good! I’m salivating just thinking about it.

It looks spicy, but it isn’t too spicy–just yummy!

I’m sure their other offerings are just as delicious. If I ever make it back that way, I’ll be getting the Chicken on Pita again. Can’t help it.

The weather was just right for a picnic in the park. You may have noticed our jackets. The high was about 79˚ the day we were there–in June!

You can see where the Halal Grill truck will be next by following the link.

Our first adventure in DC was getting out of Union Station! Finding the right bus in the bus terminal was a bit of a challenge.

I’m starting to think this blog series is about public transportation! Planes-Trains-and Automobiles, ok buses!

Once we found our bus we were off to Georgetown Cupcake!

This cupcake shop is famous for being featured on TLC‘s DC Cupcakes.

This is the menu they have available in the store. One side is the flavor schedule. The other side is the flavor descriptions. Naturally that info is on their website as well.

Here are some of the yummies we saw in the window.

It was so hard to choose.

We finally all made up our minds. Our treats were packed in the Georgetown Cupcakes’ signature pink box.

These were out choices from top left clockwise:

Bud-Chocolate2

Nana-Chocolate Coconut

Katie-Big Apple Crunch

Megan-White Chocolate Raspberry

Peggy-Chocolate Ganache

Chip-Toffee Crunch

We cut each cupcake into six pieces, so we could all taste each flavor.

It is really hard to say which one was the BEST. I think my favorite two were the Big Apple Crunch and the Chocolate Coconut, I think. They were all good!

We all enjoyed our trip to Georgetown Cupcakes!

On our way to the bus stop we couldn’t help but stop in Dean & Deluca, a gourmet food shop.

Ooooo, I could have spent a lot of time in this place!

What a great start to our day! If you are in the D.C. area, take a little time to hang out in Georgetown. You’ll be glad you did.

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