Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Offical - Bacon is Lame.

Do you know when I realized bacon was lame? As soon as I saw people getting bacon tatoos...seriously, people have them. I don't think I could take another celebrity chef tout the magical mystery that is bacon. Baconmania is the most obvioius annoyance of the New Meat Hipsterism! I'm speaking of the mindless worship of meat and the "lesser cuts" that's been so popular amongst Williamsburg wannabe's for the last four years.

But how good is bacon? It's good enough to have a monthly feature in Maxim magazine, good enough to have a bacon flavored vodka, and good enough to have a bacon scent tshirt...just pulling your chain about the last one, but I wouldn't be surprised. Bacon is so good that despite all of this bullshit, bacon is still good. It's lame, but good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Praise and Give Thanks To You Palaeortyx!

I love a good ritual, especially ones that revolve around food, and especially those that involve meat! I guess it's the nerd in me that got really excited when I made the obvious connection that our most beloved bird has dinosaur ancestors.
Specifically, Palaeortyx! Palaeortyx, lived in the Eocene Epoch 56 to 34 million years ago, when another familiar order was making it's debut...stinky, dirty, fucking primates...bizarre.

Palaeortyx gave rise to an order of birds called Galliformes, which include chickens, grouse, quails, pheasants, and...drum roll please...the majestic turkey.

The pilgrims were too busy stealing from the natives to write cookbooks, but here's an American recipe for roast fowl from 1590, so it's pretty damn likely that the pilgrims would have done something along these lines:

"Prepare them to trusse; then make a farcing meat with marrow or beefe filet, with the liver of the fowle minced very small; and mix it with grated bread, the yolkes of hard eggs minced, Mace and Nutmeg beat, the tops of Thyme minced very small, and Salt; incorporate all these together with hard eggs and Verjuice, then cut the skin off the fowle betwixt the legs and the body, before it is trussed, and put in your finger to raise the skin from the flesh, but take care you break not the skin; then farce it full with this meat, and trusse the leggs close to keep in this meat; then spit them and roast them, sitting a dish under to save the gravy, which mixe with a little Claret, sliced Nutmeg, a little of that farced meat, and Salt; then give it two or three Walms on the fire, and beat it up thick with the yolk of a raw egg and a peice of Butter, with a little minc'd Lemmon and serve it up in the dish with the fowle."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The New and Improved Greenhouse Grille.

Here's another restaurant that's making Fayetteville proud, with hippy sensibilities and a penchant for locavorism. The new space is lightyears ahead of the old dark and dingy ex-Greek restaurant by Pizza Hut. It was hard to take them seriously and appreciate their food before, and I hate to be so damn shallow, but the new place really shines a whole new light on Greenhouse Grille. They've moved into Wilma's old spot, and before Wilma's it was Mason de Tarte, which I'm surprised didn't have more longevity. Anyway, the new space is It's in up and coming South Fayetteville, (Hillbilly Williamsburg) located adjacent to the mill building, and the restaurant's parking lot is home to the Thursday Fayetteville Farmers Market...surprise..surprise. That's a shocker right, hippy restaurant with a farmers market in the parking lot? I was thoroughly impressed with the organic and natural hand soap in the restrooms, and natural Blue Sky soda selection. Really got me primed for the experience and in touch with my inner flower child.

It's decorated well, and they've spent some time thinking about the acoustics. There were cool little Bose cube speakers throughout, and these weird foam acoustic dampening things in all the corners. They feature live music on the weekends, and looked like they have events going on all through the week too. Fairly big names, if you're hip to the jamband scene.

I'm usually not one for hippy restaurants, but this place is more than just sprout sandwiches on multi grain bread and a juice bar. How many hippy restaurants do you know of where you can get an organic filet mignon over a bed of lobster risotto? Not too many I'd be willing to bet, at least not in NWA, and if you do know of another place, introduce me to your dealer because you're smoking primo shit.

I had a Fred Flintstone sized organic pork chop, with a wild mushroom and stone ground mustard crust. It was amazing, honestly the best pork chop that I have EVER had. It was cooked perfectly, still a little pink inside and exceedingly tender. This pork actually had flavor, thank god it wasn't just the other white meat!! Even though this pork had natural flavor, let's face it pork can be a little bland, so the crust was a perfect salty, sour, crusty counterpoint, to the pork's juicy tenderness. My pork chop was served with super creamy bourbon sweet potatoes, and super fresh sauteed sugar snap peas. It was refreshing having a pureed starch for a change, the sweet potato puree was super silky and smooth. "Textured" or "Chunky" starches are way to 90's.

My girlfriend had the buffalo strip steak, which was cooked well, but a little on the gristly side. It was served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, textured or rustic or chunky, or whatever the hell you want to call them. The sweet roasted garlic in the potatoes made up for their being overly chunky.

Our friend had the lemon infused meatloaf, with mashed potatoes. I didn't taste it, but he said it tasted like someone got a little over zealous with the lemons and the micro plane grater. His girlfriend had the organic grass fed filet mignon over lobster risotto, he also mentioned to her that she would owe him certain favors later after ordering the most expensive thing on the menu...wink..wink..nod..nod. I tasted the risotto, it had a nice lobster flavor, and an adequate amount of lobster. Although, I'm not sure how local the lobster was, they failed to comment on that.

The above dishes were all on their specials menu, so they were doing sort of a fall/winter comfort food thing. Definitely nice to see some seasonality also. There's nothing worse than being served tomatoes in mid November.

Like all hippy restaurants, Greenhouse Grille has been seduced by the siren song of their most coveted spice...cumin. It was featured PROMINENTLY in almost every dish. I feared for a moment that they might slip some cumin in my beer.

The service was better than expected, our waitress was professional and attentive, not too spacey or weird. The table was set The prices were fair, we had several pricey organic unfiltered beers of course, and our bill was $76, not including tip.

Overall Greenhouse Grille is a must. They're doing all the right things: local, sustainable, organic, with class. Greenhouse Grille is definitely a good trip..wink..wink..nod..nod.

Sunday, October 18, 2009 identity crisis.

I'm not really sure what Bordinos is. It's billed as "Fine Dining" and "Italian", but both of these fail to aptly describe this place. I guess if you put a capellini Bolegnaise on your menu you can call yourself Italian. Bordinos is about as Italian as Pizza Hut. And if you the dim the lights in the dining room and serve on linen you can call yourself fine dining.
The biggest problem with Bordinos is that it's is unabashedly resting it's fat "Italian" ass on it's laurels. This place could be so much more, especially at the prices they're charging. Case in point...they're crappy menus. When I'm paying $50 for an entree, I want to read a real friggin menu that is LEATHER BOUND! Not some flacid plastic piece of crap that you'd expect at an Olive Garden.

They say that they have seasonal offerings, but this is far from the truth. The waiter told us about one special that wasn't on the menu, it has butternut squash in it, I guess that qualifies as seasonal.

The meal started with bread and olive oil, the foccacia is really good, and they make all their breads on premises each day, which is cool. The other breads aren't really savory enough to enjoy with olive oil.

We got the cheese board as an app, thank god you can't screw up cheese on a plate!

I had the Caesar salad, it was pretty good as a Ceasar salad goes. A little fishy...the original Caesar doesn't contain anchovies. It could have used a bit more garlic, but seasoned well on the whole. The croutons seemed to be made in house as well.

The Ceasar was followed by a port pate with cherry compote and frisee salad. Everybody loves pork and pork fat these days, so surprise surprise they have a fatty pork dish...very original. The dish was well thought out, strong conceptually, they need to work on it technically though. The pork pate was actually a head cheese made from the pigs head. It was pretty good, but it was a little crunchy, it needed to be cooked a bit more to soften all the cartilage and connective tissue. I'm sure that dish cost pennies to make, pigs head aren't exactly a choice cut. The cherry compote was a nice sweet and tart pallet cleansing counterpoint to the pork's rich unctious savory qualities. The frisee salad was under seasoned, but also had a nice bitterness that played well against the pork.

My girlfriend had the capellini with beef tenderloin meat balls, it was pretty good. The pasta was well sauced, and cooked properly. The meatballs were a little salty, but had a nice crispy texture on the outside, they must have breaded them and pan fried them before plating.

A friend had the chocolate cake, it was super rich and dense, had a bittersweet thing going on, pretty good.
The most bothersome thing about Bordinos is that it definitely has the potential to be so much better. It's a a nice place to take a date or a birthday dinner, but they definitely need to improve their food!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Little Bread Co. Fayetteville square

Fayetteville's Little Bread Co. is an extremely charming little bakery that exemplifies what Fayetteville is increasingly about...local, sustainable, artisanal, and above all kick ass food. There should be a version of this bakery in every neighborhood. Thanks be to god for granting us a respit from the mass produced stale and sterile fodder. Bread is, or at least was, a holy sacrament, and I'm surprised that in a Christian society we've tolerated the bastardization of this once revered staple.

So finally our dreary existence has been illuminated a bit by a beacon of hope, known as....Little Bread Co. Back are the days when we can walk to our neighborhood bakery and take part in the sensual experience of seeing and smelling freshly baked bread. There's something very comforting about that smell, almost motherlike.

The bread is great, and their other offerings are pretty good too. I stopped by on my way to the farmers marked and had the Provolone and roasted red pepper quiche, it was pretty friggin good. Buttery flaky crust, perfect amount of swiss cheese, with a sweet smokeyness from the roasted peppers. I will say that the potatoes that I was served were a bit on the overcooked side. They didn't parboil them before roasting them, but with enough ketchup anything is edible. Let me also add that I don't just go around throwing ketchup on all my food willy nilly, I'm not one of "those" people.

The also obviously had a huge array of baked goods: muffins, cookies, crossaint, bagels, bear claws, various artisanal fresh baked loaves. Their massive cinnamon rolls will stomp a mudhole in anything that cinnabon poops out.

Next time you have a craving for something sweet check this place out, they've got your craving covered.

It's a hip little joint. Perfect for grabbing a quick bit before heading up to the farmers market on a lazy summertime morning.

See what I meant by hip, check out the mural, that is screaming hip.

Bread with a touch of whimsy, and poppy seeds.

But probably one of the coolest things that this place has got going for it is the little covered patio off to the side. This is 100% the best place in NWA to enjoy a morning cup of coffee and start the day, it's borderline a religious experience. If they could have the guy from the farmers market that plays the gypsy guitar there, I would want to move in.

The photo doesn't really do it justice, there are more tables, and lots of greenery. Kick ass breakfast spot doing it the old school. Hats off to you Little Bread Co. Keep on keepin on!
-Your's Nerdly
Fayetteville Food Nerdlinger

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Damgoode pies is definitely an overstatement, the only thing that this place is damgoode at are gimmicks...see the "E" at the end of DAMGOODE. These guys are more worried about gimmicks and selling franchises and t-shirts than pizza. I'm embarrassed to even say the name. If you want to check out the pizza, go for the delivery. The service was absolutely hands down the worst I've had at any restaurant in recent memory. No ice in the drinks, it took over an hour for us to get our pizza, and the pizza wasn't even that great. Granted the pizza was better than all the national chains, but just barely. We had the garden, the hog, and some appetizers, it was ok, but I'll definitely not be going back. If you want good pizza in Fayetteville check out Cable Car, or Bordinos. Giraldi's has an awesome calzone too, in my opinion pizza is about crust, and Giraldi's has perfected it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Top Ten NWA

1. Best Burger: Hugos of Fayetteville

Hugos is probably the coolest restaurant in NWA. It's unpretentious, honest, good, and cheap. Whenever I have friends in town I always recommend this place, it's fayetteville in a microcosm. You've got the college kids, professionals, families, people from all most walks of life. Their fries are pretty decent, but could use work (occasionally soggy). They have a really good grilled trout with a dill tartar sauce, but the burger is the draw here. It's done right, cooked on a grill over a flame (the way meat is supposed to be cooked), perfect bun, and with all the right accompaniments. And at $6.50, it beats crappy Red Robin by far. Beer selection is decent, and the atmosphere is cool too.

2. Best Thai: Taste of Thai
Taste of Thai on the square is truly a fayetteville treasure. Perfect Pad Thai, actually, everything is really good. If you go on a weekend there will be a wait, but it's well worth it! Go for lunch, you get a salad with your entree. If you sit in the front seating area, the decor is really cool, but if you're unlucky enough to get sat in the weird back stockroom/dining room sorry for you. It's pretty weird, like you're sitting at the kids table at thanksgiving or something.
3. Best Ambiance: Bordinos
Bordinos is hands down the hippest restaurant in town. Appropriate lighting, badass drink menu, and pretty decent food. Although a long way from being Babbo or Caffe Museo, the food is all pretty good. There's not much on the menu that I wouldn't recommend. This is a perfect spot to come have a few small plates/tapas (they have a small plate menu]), and drinks, then hit dickson. The Caprase salad, duck, blackened strip all rock. The gnocchi and and wild boar fettuccine is also really good. Also one of the best creme brulee's in town. Bring money, especially if you plan on having drinks. The patio is also awesome, nice addition. If you go on a weekend, definately make reservations!

4. Best Tex-Mex: La Hacienda
Charro Beans, quail, tacos carbon, al ambre,, their own website (how many local mexican places do you know of that have a website?) and a live flamenco guitarist....need I say more. This place isn't the underage binge drinking mexican restaurants that we all know and "love", but it does have damn good food. Got to love the three salsas too.

5. Best Authentic Mexican: El Campesino Market
This little gem is actually in a mexican grocery store in Lowell, it's not advertised, and you better be ready to flex your spanish muscles when you order, because they speak very little english. But the ladies that run the joint are cool little grandma types. They have all the standards: enchilada, tacos , tortas, burritos (asada, lengua, barbacoa, pastor, chicharon), pazole, menudo, caldo res, caldo de mar, etc. Their tamales are probably the best in all of Arkansas, they grind their own masa for pete's sake. Super cheap too.

6. Best Chinese: Formosa
Sorry redneck buffet lovers, you won't find a buffet here...thank christ. But the food is awesome, you can actually taste it. They deliver too, everything is really good. Their dumplings are home made, and steamed to order....get them, they will complete you. Not super cheap, but it's worth it.
7. Best Healthfood: Ozark Natural Foods
Awesome burritos, AWESOME selection of cheeses ( i have a cheese obsession), perfect guilt free take home meals, hummus is great. Pricey, but worth it. It's local, it's organic, and it's a coop. Fayetteville's version of whole foods. And you don't feel like a total lard after eating here...woah there tubby, you're not on the moon yet.

8. Best Fried Chicken: AQ Chicken/Grape Festival Church Dinner/Monte Ne Inn
It's pretty weird, but I love their over the coals chicken. The first time I ate it I was like "why did they deep fry it, then cook it on a grill, then put lemon pepper on it", but now I get cravings for this Frankenstein of a chicken preparation. Tontitown Grape Fest Church Dinner chicken is very good too, I anticipate it like Thanksgiving dinner. Monte Ne Inn is just a cool southern restaurant, if you haven't been, you should definitely go. It gets super busy so make reservations.

9. Best Tontitown "Italian": Venetian Inn
Their spaghetti is awe inspiring! It's all made from scratch, I'll gaurantee you've not had any pasta like this, the sauce is friggin mouthwatering too. The "salad" is sort of odd, it's just iceberg lettuce with a vinegar and oil dressing, nothing else. Their steaks are decent (especially for the price), and the fried chicken is really good too. Their huge yeast rolls are home made and probably the best in NWA.

10. Best Dinner and a Show: Shogun's
Ok, so the food isn't that great, and it's overpriced, but the building is cool and futuristic, decor modern, and the hibachi show is pretty brings out the kid in me when I see knives being thrown around, and flames.