Tag Archives: Main Street

Loblolly Creamery: Spooning at the Green Corner Store

19 Jan
Visitors got to chime in on Loblolly's new flavors in a tasting party today.

Visitors got to chime in on Loblolly’s new flavors in a tasting party today.

I went to a spooning party this afternoon, and my husband wasn’t even there.

To clarify: Loblolly Creamery, which operates out of the Green Corner Store on Main Street in Little Rock, had a Spooning Party today, where visitors got to try several new flavors they’re testing and rate them on qualities such as taste, texture and body.

The fun and funky Loblolly folks just graduated from the Penn State University Ice Cream Short Course, which is apparently a lot more fun than it even sounds, despite this rather dry web page. One of the ideas they learned is how to do a tasting party, so they did just that today.

I took my daughter and her friend, and we came packing with our very own spoons, as encouraged in Loblolly’s ads for the event. We tried dainty little cups of Better than Ever Milk Chocolate, New & Improved Buttermilk, Banoffee (banana with toffee bites), Cherry & Gin Sorbet, Black Sesame Coconut (vegan) and Frappe (a light coffee flavor).

Everything, of course, was fabulous, as I knew it would be. I’d heard quite a bit about Loblolly recently from fellow blogger Michael Roberts (Arkansas Foodies and Eat Arkansas), and I’d had a small bit of their wares over at Argenta Market and at the Green Corner Store during the recent Cornbread Festival. But it was especially nice to be a part of the process, helping them tweak and choose flavors to be sold in the future.

Before we left, the girls got full scoops of the Frappe flavor, and I helped myself to a (gluten free!) pumpkin spice sandwich with some of the New & Improved Buttermilk inside. I described the smooth tanginess of the ice cream to my daughter’s friend as a “slap in yo face!”

The spooning event will continue today until 4 p.m., so if you get a chance, run by. If not, you’re sure to see some of these flavors in the near future churning out of the Loblolly Creamery. (I know, I couldn’t resist…)

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Cornbread Fest is Saturday’s Best Bet, Despite Speaker Crumble

2 Nov

Last year, organizers of the first-ever Arkansas Cornbread Festival expected about 800, maybe 1000 folks to show up. They ended up with over 3000 hungry cornbread enthusiasts.

Lesson learned. We Arkansans love us some cornbread!

Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 3, lovers of the sweet (or not!) southern staple will descend upon South Main Street in Little Rock to enjoy live music, shopping, and of course, cornbread.

The event was created as a way to introduce folks to all the nifty things we already have available on South Main, such as an urban garden, a soda shop, unique shopping, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Plenty of ‘bread and sides will be available for sampling, offered up by professional and amateur competitors. The entries are in the categories of Traditional, Non-Traditional and Sweet.

Alas, just as last year, I had grand plans to enter myself, and just…didn’t. (New job! Cooking gigs! Exhaustion!) But I do plan on going over to try other folks’ stuff. If you’re gluten-free like me, I know of at least one cornbread that will be safe: Dempsey Bakery will be there as a competitor in the Sweet category. And I’ll wager that at least one or two of the Traditional category entries will be all-corn, as well.

The event was originally to include a lecture and book signing by Dr. Jessica Harris, author of several books about African-American cuisine and its fascinating history. But Hurricane Sandy stepped in and changed plans for the New York author. So give Dr. Harris some love and check out her latest book, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, at the Museum Store at Historic Arkansas Museum.

Visit the event website for lists of all the musical acts, cornbread competitors, arts and crafts (and clothing and more) vendors, recipes and all that. See you there!

Event Deets:

Arkansas Cornbread Festival
Saturday, November 3
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
South Main Street, Downtown Little Rock
Between 13th and 16th Streets

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids day of the event
Discount advance tickets ($7 adults, $3 kids) are available online until 5 p.m. Friday

To the Food Trucks this Saturday: Get in Gear

4 Oct

Let’s not let this happen again. (From the Main Street Food Truck Festival 2011.)

Dear Food Trucks of Little Rock:

Hey, how’s it going? I know you’re busy getting ready for Saturday’s big event, the Main Street Food Truck Festival. Just hear me out for a minute or two. It’ll be worth it.

I’m so glad for you that this event was successful last year. The Downtown Little Rock Partnership won on their bet to start this event in what has been a hit-and-miss part of town, and folks came out in droves. Remember? I sure do.

So do all the other people who waited in long lines, often an hour or more, to get the dish of their choosing. In fact, many of them are just kind of meh about attending this year. Even my blogger friends who focus on food trucks are kind of ambivalent. And although the weather is supposed to be a little drizzly and cool, that’s not the real reason. Standing on your feet that long is hard to forget.

But you can redeem yourself this year. You kinda have to. If you don’t, this uber sexy, trendy event may languish in the lengthening shadows of waiting customers.

I have some thoughts.

  1. Simplify your menu. If you haven’t already, cut your eight-board menu down to two or three things that say who you are. Pick things that hold well and prep easily. Just for one day. You can do it.
    .
  2. Prep ahead of time. It seemed last year that you were still chopping and mixing when you should have been assembling and shoveling out the window. See #1, and prep accordingly. If you’re not sure how to hold hot and cold items, ask your food supplier or your friends in the brick-and-mortar restaurants.
    .
  3. Work the crowd. Having the inaugural event under your collective belts, you know there’s going to be a big crowd. Use this to your advantage. Have someone floating in front of your truck to help take orders, and make it someone with some personality. Create some brand evangelists for you while they wait. Hand out coupons. Throw confetti. (Well, you might want to check with the organizers on that one.) Do what it takes to keep the line moving and keep people happy.
    .
  4. Communicate. If there’s a problem, let us know. Apologize. Make jokes. Give coupons or even refunds if necessary. But most likely, it won’t be. So long as you acknowledge our effort to get your food, we’ll be more likely to come back for more in the future. And on the positive side, ask us how the food is. I’m pretty sure it’s fabulous, and it’ll make us both feel good to say and hear it.

I’ll be there Saturday, money in hand. I’ll stand in a line or two and see how it goes. I hope a lot of other people do, too.

Whether or not I’ll do it again next year will be up to you.

Sincerely,

Christie

P.S. I know not all of you are to blame. Take notes from the trucks with quick lines and fat pockets. You know the ones.

************

Event Deets:

Main Street Food Truck Festival
Main Street, Downtown Little Rock, between Third & Ninth Streets
Saturday, October 6, 2012
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Presented by the Downtown Little Rock Partnership
501-375-0121
www.downtownlr.com.