Monday, January 21, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
That's why a place like the Talbot Heirs Guesthouse is so lovely.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Fortunately, Morrilton residents have a better choice.
The Morrilton Drive-Inn Restaurant has it all. It proudly proclaims some of its many specialties on the large sign above the door - "Bar-B-Que*Catfish*Burgers." Some have believed this means the restaurant offers a barbeque catfish burger. Well, not yet, but I bet if you asked for one the good folks behind the counter would oblige.
The restaurant, a longtime standard of the area, sits right off Interstate 40, cattycorner from Love's Truck Stop. The unassuming brick building's parking lot is often full of vehicles, and there's inevitably someone at the drive-thru window. But don't let the cars discourage you -- you'll want to stop and eat here.
But no doubt you'll be here when you're hungry - and whatever you're hungry for, you're likely to find it here. The menu includes a large selection of cold sandwiches (turkey club, chicken club, ham, tuna fish, pimento cheese), hot sandwiches (ham and cheese, grilled cheese, roast beef, chicken, fish), burgers (hamburger, cheeseburger, double, jumbo, chili, chili cheese, pizza, magic, super), barbeque (sandwiches, ribs, pulled beef, pulled pork, barbeque salad and stuffed potato), salads (grilled chicken, taco, steak), and Tex-Mex fare (taco basket, burrito supreme, grilled chicken tacos).
With a list like that, you can understand why there's usually a line of indecisive folks pondering the meaning of catfish or the existance of ribs. Fortunately, most folks have a good incentive for making a quick choice -- the delicious smell of good food and the sizzle of a primed grill.
Some days, the wait for your food can be as long as 20 minutes. But most days, it's more like five to ten -- depending on what you order.
Many of the customers that pass through here are truckers who have been let in on the secret of the restaurant, and residents of other I-40 towns who pick up an order on their way from point A to point B. I've been guilty of this myself. Oftentimes, on the road to my father-in-law's place, we'll call ahead and ask him what he wants for dinner. This restaurant is one of his favorites, and his favorite food at the restaurant is the hot fried catfish.
These may not be as good as the ambrosial pies at Ms. Lena's, but they are generous and tasty. I sat down at one of the open booths and proceeded to consume my cold pie while I waited for my order to come up. I also listened in to conversations by some of the regulars, at this time debating the fate of Houston Nutt and the Hogs. Morrilton may be geographically between the UCA Bears and the ATU Wonderboys, but folks around here proudly bleed Razorback Red.
About seven minutes later, I had my precious cargo and was ready to hit the road.
The repast from the Morrilton Drive-Inn Restaurant counts as what my husband and I call "kitchen food," food that rarely leaves the kitchen before consumption. He was happy to see me, but even happier to see the Super Cheeseburger I'd bagged during my travels.
The burger comes with hefty slices of tomato, shredded lettuce, hamburger dills and doses of mayo, mustard, and ketchup. Think that's a lot? The restaurant also offeres a Double Super Cheeseburger. Both of these big burgers are wrapped carefully in an almost-too-small foil wrapper and encased in their own separate Styrofoam containers. Add in some tater tots, and you really do have a meal for two.
The price for this repast? With the burger, tots, potato, mushrooms, and pie, my total came to less than $20. Prices are more than reasonable, and the servings are ample.
UPDATE 9-7-17 with photo credits and color correction. Also, there's now a Facebook page.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Each year, I paint a bowl for Empty Bowls, the annual fundraiser auction for the Arkansas Foodbank Network. It started out as a "hey, you could do this, too" thing and ended up becoming an annual tradition for me.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
My travels have taken me to Memphis, where I stumbled upon the Big Foot Lodge on a Sunday night in early January. Hungry from a day on the road and needing a little comfort food, I crawled in.
Don't let the restaurant's rustic decor fool you. This is a relative new entry to the Memphis eatery scene, but I think it's here to stay.
The menu is packed with takes on Memphis favorites -- with such eclectic delights as BBQ Egg Rolls (Memphis BBQ and slaw packed in an egg roll and deep fried for $5.99),
the Corn Brat (a bratwurst prepared like a corn dog, $4.99), and something called Poutine (a strange cheese covering big hand-cut fries topped with gravy).
Big Foot Lodge has a great bar with lots of monitors showing the big game, whatever the big game is. Draft beer here comes in 34 ounce glasses, big gulps for the hungry crowd. The place was packed with 20- and 30-somethings, checking out the Memphis nightlife.
There's even a jukebox, though not one of the traditional push-button and vinyl monsters. This jukebox is programmed for the Information age.
But it was the cucumber salad that really caught my attention. Rather than go the route of a stale dill pickle, the cucumber salad grasps the best of a bread and butter pickle and packs in a bit more sugar for a crisp, delicate touch. I was told the salad is made every day. It's better than most relishes I've had, and lacks the vinegary wang some offerings have included.
Big Foot Lodge isn't far from Beale Street -- it's catty-corner from the Peabody Place Entertainment Complex on Second Street, on the north side of the boulevard. The physical address is 97 South Second. It's open from 11am to 2:30am -- and the kitchen stays open late, so it's a good stop for late night wanderers. Want to find out more? Check out the Big Foot Lodge website -- or call (901) 578-9808. And they do offer carry-out orders at no additional cost -- though I doubt you could get the Sasquatch burger free on competition unless you stick around.
An update 8-13-09:
Normally, when a restaurant changes, it's going under or it significantly changes what it does. That's not the case here. When I visited this restaurant in January 2008, it was known as the Big Foot Lodge. Since then, it's made just one change -- and now it's the Kooky Canuck. Same owners, same great menu, with one change. There's now a 12 pound burger on the menu -- the King Kookamunga, six pounds of meat and six pounds of fixings. That's along with the renamed Kookamunga burger, the one featured in the article below. I haven't had the chance to make it to Memphis yet to try it out, but when I go I plan to bring a caravan. 12 pounds... that's even bigger than Ed Walker's famous burger. Anyway, check out the Kooky Canuck website for more information. ~Kat
UPDATE 9-30-10: Grav and I tackled this burger for Serious Eats.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
And sampled is the correct term. Because there was no consuming this one in a single sitting.
I've seen big burgers in my life. I've taken a couple of meals to consume one of the Super Cheeseburgers from the Morrilton Family Restaurant (a pound of meat -- two if you get the double), carried home three quarters of a Transylvania Double Dare Outrageous Burger, and wallowed in a Cotham's Hubcap Burger. And I thought I'd eaten the biggest burger in Arkansas.