Left at the Fork

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Category: Arkansas

PurpleHull Pea Festival & World Championship Rotary Tiller Race, Emerson AR, June 25th 2016

Purple hull peas, black-eyed peas, crowder peas — they’re all types of cow peas, also known as southern peas. The pea pod of purple hull peas is, guess what, purple. All of these peas are thought to have arrived in America with African slaves. Although Africans liked to eat the peas, white Americans used them as a forage crop, hence the name cow peas. Eventually, the entire American south was won over by the taste of these cow peas. Emerson (population 368), Arkansas’ PurpleHull Pea Festival & World Championship Rotary Tiller Race is an homage to this signature food of the South. Continue reading

Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Warren AR, June 4th through 11th 2016

A pink tomato festival. With no prior knowledge of the event we would have assumed that this is a celebration of a locally grown tomato that ripens to a pink (rather than deep red) color (there ARE such tomatoes). But no… what they are celebrating, here in Bradley County, Arkansas, is a variety of tomato that ships well if picked when the tomato tops just barely turn pink (ripening further after picking). That pink tomato is now the official state fruit and vegetable of Arkansas. Continue reading

Meat, Smoke, and Time: America’s Best BBQ

Where can you find the best barbecue in America? Leaving aside, for the moment, the silliness of seeking a single best barbecue joint, the answer to that question is a very personal one. Our favorite spots may not be your favorites. Do you like ribs, pulled pork, smoked brisket? Do you prefer a lot of smoke, or a subtle hit? Do you like it spicy or do you prefer to taste mostly meat? Do you want the meat to fall apart at the slightest prodding or do you think barbecue should retain an honest chew? Is sauce the most important factor to you? Continue reading

Top Burger in Every State

Hubcap burgers at Cotham’s in Arkansas… the original burger on toast at Louis’ Lunch in Connecticut… thin, crisp-edged burgers at The Workingman’s Friend in Indiana…green chile cheeseburgers at the Buckhorn Tavern in New Mexico… these are four of the 51 burgers selected as the best in each state by Business Insider. The selections are apparently a research and compilation job, in which most of the burgers were named in a previous local media poll or competition. Nonetheless, it’s a mouthwatering project to peruse for American burger lovers.

Tontitown Grape Festival, Tontitown AR, August 4th through 8th 2015

The year was 1898. 18 families from Genoa, Italy had arrived in Arkansas over the previous three years, That summer they held a harvest celebration of thanks, an annual tradition which continues to this day as the Tontitown Grape Festival in Tontitown, Arkansas. The 117th edition of that celebration begins tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4th and runs through Saturday the 8th. It’s a grape festival, alright, and there are plenty of grapes to be found, but the festival is perhaps most famous for their spaghetti dinners. Continue reading

Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Warren AR, June 6th through 13th 2015

A pink tomato festival. With no prior knowledge of the event we would have assumed that this is a celebration of a locally grown tomato that ripens to a pink (rather than deep red) color (there ARE such tomatoes). But no… what they are celebrating, here in Bradley County, Arkansas, is a variety of tomato that ships well if picked when the tomato tops just barely turn pink (ripening further after picking). That pink tomato is now the official state fruit and vegetable of Arkansas. Continue reading

The 50 Best Barbecue Spots in the South

Southern Living presents what they are calling the top 50 barbecue joints in the South. Ten of the 50 are designated Top Picks, and they include both obvious choices like Louie Mueller and Franklin of Texas and some places that we’re not familiar with. Which is wonderful! In fact, there are plenty of Q shacks among the 50 that are totally new to us, and we can’t wait to hit the road to sample as many as we can. Just one question: where’s McClard’s of Hot Springs, Arkansas, our favorite Southern BBQ joint?

“If Old School BBQ Is Your Thing, You Will Love Stubby’s”

The man’s talking about Stubby’s Bar B Que of Hot Springs, Arkansas in the title of this post, and that man is Louis Williams of the Arkansas Times. We agree 100%! Stubby’s has been doing it since 1952, and is a major reason why Hot Springs just might be our favorite barbecue city in the country. No other town has as effective a one-two punch as Hot Springs does in McClard’s and Stubby’s. Read Mr. Williams’ Stubby’s story here.

Garden & Gun’s Ultimate Barbecue Bracket

Garden & Gun is running a bracket competition between 32 Southern barbecue joints, covering pretty much all the regional traditions in Southern Q. We didn’t do the detailed work to know for sure but it appears that every Southern state is represented in some way, which is as it should be. First round voting is going on now. Our pick for most evenly matched first round battle: Kreuz of Texas vs. Craig’s of Arkansas. Biggest mismatch: Lexington of North Carolina and Chaps Pit Beef of Baltimore. We like pit beef just fine but we don’t see it lasting long among these heavyweights.

LAF in the A.M. February 19th, 2015

A Morning Menu of LAF-Style Food News and Stories to Begin Your Day

HAPPY NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MINT DAY!

Gus’s Fried Chicken Going National

Dining Out in Snowy Portland ME

The Best of Carolina BBQ

The Best American BBQ Cities

Continue reading

LAF in the A.M. January 7th, 2015

A Morning Menu of LAF-Style Food News and Stories to Begin Your Day

HAPPY NATIONAL TEMPURA DAY!

“The Steak House of St. Elmo” – Parks and Recreation

A Taste of the Real Green Bay

Every State’s Most Iconic Restaurant

Feeding Memphis

Continue reading

LAF in the A.M. November 3rd, 2014

Gold and Fried Chicken

The Smith House in Dahlonega, Georgia is an inn with a history. The house was built atop a vein of gold that remained unmined because the 19th-century town fathers did not want the noise and disturbance to the town that mining would bring. Today, The Smith House is famous for the generous feasts they put out daily. You might want to give some thought to spending your Thanksgiving here, when The Smith House pulls out all the stops. Here’s what will be on this year’s Thanksgiving menu: Continue reading

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