We’re still recovering from all the eating, schmoozing and more eating we’ve done in the past few days. On Thursday, the same day I tasted the final dishes of Arkansas Iron Chef, hubs and I also attended the 16th annual Taste of the Town event in North Little Rock at the Alltel, er, Verizon Arena. It is put on by the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.
While not entirely the same caliber of fancy food I’d been eating at Iron Chef, this was still pretty darn fun. There were 27 booths of various NLR (and some Little Rock — cheaters!) eateries, from fast-foodish pizza (we’re looking at you, Little Caesars) to the foodie-worthy excellence of Cantina Laredo.
I must give a shout-out to my friends at the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School, who had a team of pastry students dishing out some killer dessert bites. I NEED the recipe for those caramels.
And there was Hooters. Um, yeah. You gotta admit they have good wings, though. (And thighs, and breasts….)
It was so crowded, it felt like cattle being herded in spurts and flows at the height of the event. It was also a little awkward getting your little tasting plate and trying to find somewhere to perch long enough to eat it. There were tables, as well as the arena’s perching spots, but not really quite enough. But that’s OK, just a testament to the success of the event and its promoters, methinks.
Tips for next year, if anyone in charge reads and cares: Next year, smaller samples. I know this is up to the vendor, but recommend small bites. More tables, the stand-up-and-schmooze kind. Easier access to water, a critical element for a “tasting” event. Maybe get Mountain Valley to provide those cute little half-size bottles, or at least the NLR Water Department; I saw their bottles at Iron Chef. And put the whole thing on the arena floor instead of the upper concourse. Food events are exploding (as did this one), and you’ll continue to get more peeps than you think.
In spite of all my bellyaching, don’t misunderstand; this is a great event. The tickets were $15 each, which isn’t too bad for a fun night out grazing. All the food was great, as I didn’t find a single thing I didn’t like. Plus, it was fun meeting some of the owners and managers from these restaurants and talking foodie with them.
Plan on going next year, K?