Friday, November 30, 2012

Banana cream.

It's almost a universal fact here in Arkansas:  if a restaurant serves good barbecue or good fried chicken, it's bound to have good pie.

Holly's Country Cooking in Conway is a prime example.  The unassuming little building on south Harkrider is usually packed to the brim at lunchtime with a crowd that enjoys good food and sweet finishes.

Order at the counter and grab yourself a slice of banana cream pie.  It's a little rich, but the bananas aren't gummy and the whole confection is delightful.  The peanut butter pie is also to die for.  Either are acceptable as a single dish or with some of that fried chicken; however, if you choose to eat your pie before your chicken, we aren't going to judge you.

Holly’s Country Cooking
120 Harkrider
Conway, AR 72032
(501) 328-9738

Holly's Country Cooking on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Key lime.

Dave's Place doesn't serve up fancy.  It serves up good food for hungry folks who are taking care of business in downtown Little Rock.  With a bevy of sandwiches, a goodly number of plates and salads each day and an omelet special to drool over, it's a lunchroom for comfort seekers.

The desserts change each day, but what doesn't change is the old-style homemade quality.  Such it is with the Key lime pie.  Don't expect fresh flown-in Key limes for the job -- this is strictly from the can, two or three cans perhaps including some sweetened condensed milk.  DO expect smooth, fragrant flavor, a Key lime pie like it's always been made around these parts -- thrown together from ingredients kept on the shelf.

There's a beauty and simplicity to such an offering.  And it's cheap.

Dave’s Place
210 Center Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 372-3283

Dave's Place on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Peanut butter.

Family style is one thing -- family occupied is another, when it comes to good restaurants.  At Gina's Place in Jonesboro, family is where it is at.

Originally named Ann's Restaurant, the green-walled lunchroom off Highland is packed with family photos and the like.  Chances are you'll spend too much time at the counter when you get there, trying to go through the extensive menus.  Let's make this easy for you -- get the pie.

And when we say get the pie, we mean you really need to try the peanut butter pie.  Peanuts above, peanuts below, sweet and salty and full of yum.

Gina’s Place
2005 East Highland, Suite 109
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 910-3900

Gina's Place on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hershey's pie.

Tea room atmosphere requires a certain sort of aesthetic.  E's Bistro pairs up delicate soups and salads, fancy sandwiches and fine china with desserts of regal proportions.

The Hershey's pie is a special sort of cream pie that gives all the credit to one particularly beloved form of American chocolate.  Whipped tight and light, the layered dessert comes bedazzled with flourishes and garnishes, yet it's still marvelously fantastical in flavor.

E’s Bistro
3812 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
North Little Rock, AR 72116
(501) 771-6900

E's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sugar cookie cherry.

It's the house of two Julies... the little shop that could along Conway's main drag.  Doughnuts, sugar cookies and butterfly rolls draw in customers in a constant stream.  Ed's Custom Bakery puts out hot pastries and coffee six days a week, and not seeing a parking lot full of cars when the neon is on is inconceivable.

The province of Ed Bradley, Julie Henry and Julie Goodnight -- Ed's has long been a staple in the community.  Best known for those fluffy doughnuts and for toad cookies during Toad Suck Daze... it's also a great place to find pie.  Those pies usually reside in a standing cooler off to the right side of the store -- lemon meringue, pecan, French coconut, Dutch apple..

And then this -- the sugar cookie cherry pie.  That's not what it's called on the menu, but it is apt.  The cherry pie comes in a thick sugared crust that gives an entirely different flavor to the pie from a traditional pastry pie.  Best of all, the thicker high-sugar crust is less likely to tump over and smush on the ride home.

Ed’s Custom Bakery
256 Oak Street
Conway, AR 72032
(501) 327-2996
Find the bakery on Facebook.

Ed's Custom Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bourbon pecan.

Saturday breakfasts in Little Rock, even Saturday brunches, have long been celebrated at Delicious Temptations.  The long-running mid-range breakfast and lunch boutique on Rodney Parham is still serving up grits, omelets and the fabulous artichoke heart and lump crab meat packed Eggs Temptations.

Sometime, though, you need to make it to dessert to experience the bourbon pecan pie.  Served up with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate, this bourbon-laced pie makes a nice warm complement to a cup of gourmet coffee to finish a meal.

Delicious Tempt ati ons
11200 North Rodney Parham
Little Rock, AR 72212
(501) 225-6893

Delicious Temptations on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 23, 2012

Key lime.

There's just one out-of-state pie we consider an Arkansas pie here... and it's because of who serves and why.  That's the Key lime pie at Ciao Italian Restaurant in Little Rock.

In the interest of authenticity, Ciao actually imports its pies directly from Key West, FL.
They're flown in special and kept carefully until time to serve.

The powerfully strong flavor is a splendid palate cleanser for a good Italian meal... we love that the pies come in half sizes for lunch, so we don't feel compelled to overfill before heading back to work.

Ciao Italian Restaurant
405 West Seventh
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 372-0238

Ciao's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Recipe: possum pie.

Possum pie at Sassy's Red House in Fayetteville

Here's the possum pie recipe from the book Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State.

1½ sticks butter
2 cups flour
2 cups crushed pecans, separated
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
12 ounces Cool Whip, divided
Possum pie at Stoby's in Russellville
1 box milk chocolate instant pudding
1 box chocolate fudge instant pudding
3 cups milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour to make crumbly pastry dough.

Add 1 cup crushed pecans. Press into two 8- or 9-inch pie pans or one 13- by 9-inch casserole. Bake 15 minutes or until flour starts to brown. Remove and cool.

Cream together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. Add six ounces of
Possum pie at PattiCakes in Conway
Cool Whip and beat until fluffy. Spread over bottom of both pies.

Blend together both pudding mixes with milk. Pour in on top of the cream cheese mixture and allow to set.

Spread remaining Cool Whip over the top of both pies and sprinkle with pecans.

Makes two pies.

More on possum pie at Tie Dye Travels.

Recipe: Mather Lodge’s Lemon Icebox Pie.

Here's an exerpt from the book Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State.

Petit Jean State Park is the oldest park in the Arkansas State Park system — but the restaurant? Well, there’s been a restaurant at Mather Lodge at the park as long as I can remember. The food was always pretty decent, but the décor? You could take or leave it.

Until now. In May 2011, the newly renovated Mather Lodge opened. Architects were careful to include the original lodge reception areas in its construction, but they took off the 1970s addition and replaced it with a carefully conceived lodge-style dining room and state-of-the-art kitchen. The new facility looks like it’s been there for generations.

What pie should you eat at Mather Lodge? Why, the lemon icebox, of course. Tart and sweet and very strong, it’s a sharing pie, the sort of pie you’ll want coffee with. And you can even make it at home.

1 16-ounce package frozen lemonade concentrate
2 16-ounce tubs whipped topping
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
4 graham cracker crusts

Blend concentrate, whipped topping and condensed milk. Pour into pie crust. Chill for one hour. Top with graham cracker crumbs and/or whipped topping if you choose.

Missing a few ingredients, or trying to make this recipe corn syrup free? Check out the Improv Lemon Pie recipe at Tie Dye Travels.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

French lemon coconut.

So many of the good pies around Arkansas are discovered at diners and holes-in-the-wall. And some are found where beauty is evident.

Zoe's Eatery in Hot Springs is an out of the way collection of eclectic housewares and dainty eats, set in a little center along Malvern Avenue. The counter is at the back, and you order there, hopefully managing to eek out your healthy selection before the pies and cakes make you drool too much to speak.

While there are plenty of cakes and cupcakes and even a lemon buttermilk pie, the pie you really should consider is the French lemon coconut. It's impossibly light, sparsely decadent and just sweet enough for a good tea. It's also served with a dollop of hand-beaten cream, which makes the experience ever so frou-frou.

2230 Malvern Avenue #H
Hot Springs, AR 71901
(501) 321-2921
Find the eatery on Facebook.

Zoe's on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black walnut.

The Morgans have been doing a whole lot to help out the city of Jasper.  Every time we're in the area we drop in at the Boardwalk Cafe for the latest scuttlebutt and a bite to eat.

The Boardwalk Cafe is an all-organic, mostly locally sourced restaurant serving up everything from elk chili and buffalo burgers to big salads and such.  That 100-mile burger is something else.  The only things you'll find non-organic at The Boardwalk Cafe are
some of the soft drinks -- because there are still some folks out there who cannot give up their Diet Coke.

The black walnut pie, however, draws best attention. Made from black and English walnuts,  sorghum molasses and cane syrup, it's a pie with dark notes and charm, served up with black walnut ice cream. Impossibly rich.

Boardwalk Café
401B West Court Street
Jasper, AR 72641
(479) 446-5900

Boardwalk Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Just as a Sunday afternoon supper brings a family together, a good restaurant at lunchtime brings a community together.  Amidst the tables and booths around Betty's Steak and Chicken in Harrisburg, you'll find all sorts of community members breaking bread together on a regular basis.

Betty's is like a lot of places.  Fried catfish is served on Friday, beans and rice on Mondays and a little bit of everything throughout the week.  And then there's the apple pie. a flaky and warm pie served up best with coffee.
Fragrant and well spiced, it's tantalizing and almost good enough to convince you to leave some of your dinner on your plate.  Almost.

Betty’s Steak & Chicken
1203 North Illinois
Harrisburg, AR 72432
(870) 578-2855

Betty's Diner on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Old Fashioned.

An old Arkansas favorite as far as pie fillings go is a cocoa powder custard. That's just a blend of cocoa powder, powdered sugar and butter. It's usually melted and poured into a pie shell or over a cake as icing.

Batten's Bakery in Paragould is the only place in the state where we found actual Old Fashioned chocolate fried pies. The ONLY place, that is, outside of kitchens here and there. It's worth a drive to Arkansas to acquire one or several. And they are good.

Rather than the usual chocolate fried pie filling, the Old Fashioned is a flaky and chocolatly firm pie that won't dribble on you. It's tasty, too.

Batten’s Bakery
230 East Kingshighway
Paragould, AR 72450
(870) 236-7810
Find the bakery on Facebook here.

Batten's Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chocolate meringue.

Pie and ice cream don't do a lot of competing.  You'll either have a place that serves ice cream and an occasional slice of pie, or a place that serves a lot of pie that puts ice cream on it if you wish.

At Atkinson's Blue Diamond Cafe in Morrilton, the pie is just as worthy as the well-known ice cream specials.  It's also a great place to grab a plate lunch.

The pie in this case is chocolate meringue -- a dark chocolate tint to the flavor, a firm and toasty meringue on top, a delicious slice to the end of a meal.  However, be warned: when pie is about, it can run out.  Get yours ordered when you ask for your meal.

Atkinson’s Blue Diamond Café
1800 East Harding
Morrilton, AR 72110
(501) 354-4253
Like the place on Facebook.

Atkinson's Blue Diamond Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chocolate chess.

There is a beauty to the simplicity of chess pie.  An aberrational twist on the name "just pie," chess pie is simple and plain yet such a delicious dessert.  Just sugar, eggs, butter, milk and a splash of vinegar and you're on your way to a little good eating.

Alley Oops in Little Rock does two versions -- and they always sell out.  The traditional is almost always offered -- but it's Gary Duke's chocolate chess
pie that gets the nod for excellence.  Brownie-crisp on top and custard-like underneath, it's a real winner.

There's a recipe for chocolate chess pie in the book -- another reason to take home a copy.

Alley Oops
11900 Kanis Road #D10
Little Rock, AR 72211
(501) 224-9400

Alley OOPS on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lemon cream.

Around the holidays, traffic builds up out on West Markham, with all the customers coming and going at Chip's Barbecue.  No, they're not picking up turkeys or hams (though that can be arranged).  The clientele is all local, and they're all at the restaurant for the pie.

The pies at Chip's Barbecue have become legendary.  They come in endless variety -- from the standards such as pecan and pumpkin, to the cream pies -- and those cream pies!  Chocolate, banana, coconut... and lemon.
In fact, the lemon cream pie at Chip's Barbecue is unparalleled.  It's not an icebox pie or a meringue, just a clean and clear perfect slice of sweet-tart and delicious.

But if you want one on your holiday table, you have to order early.  The folks who run Chip's only make so many pie, and usually all those pies are
claimed by the Monday before Thanksgiving.

More on Chip's Barbecue here and here and here and here.

Chip ’s Barbecue
9801 West Markham
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 225-4346

Chip's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Key lime.

If you're looking for the best Key lime pie in the state -- you're lucky, because it's available in Hot Springs, Rogers and Fort Smith.  It's found at Rolando's Restaurante.

The South American restaurant serves up fantastic beans, enchiladas and queso with flair, and the flavors are undeniably fantastic.  However, save room for the pie.

The Key lime is housemade on a thick, loose graham cracker crust.  The filling is a Key lime custard, topped with a Key lime cream, a two-punch whack of tart cooled with more whipped cream and another tart-smack of raspberry couli.  It's a wrinkle-your-nose pungently tinted  delight served best with coffee and a good conversation.

More on the Rolando's experience here.

Rolando’s Restaurante
210 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71901
(501) 318-6054

Rolando's Nuevo Latino Restaurante on Urbanspoon