Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Beauty Shop

The Beauty Shop
966 S. Cooper
901-272-7111


My friend and photographer, Chip Chockley, does a family photo shoot for me each year and then we take him to lunch. This year I thought it would be fun to just combine the two.

I chose the Beauty Shop because it has become a favorite of mine since moving to Cooper Young in 2014. I am a semi-regular at Sunday brunch, especially on sunny (read: patio) days, and am often there (or next door at DKDC) on weekend nights. I've only done regular weekday lunch a few times, but felt pretty sure the monkeys could find something they liked.

Beauty Shop

It was too cold to sit outside, so we got a booth inside. I love the decor--the old hair dryers, the mirrors, everything.

Beauty Shop

Everyone was hungry, so we perused the menu. Satchel (13) immediately said, "I want to hear all of the specials." Our waiter, Jacob, went through the daily pasta, the daily grilled cheese, the daily crepe and the daily veggie. I think at some point they all became a little too fancy, so he ordered a cheeseburger.

Beauty Shop

Then Jiro (11) ordered a cheeseburger.

And then so did Chip!

What.The.F...

"Dudes," I said. "Really?"

Satchel decided to take one for the team and changed his order to watermelon & wings. I was surprised he didn't go for that right away, but he doesn't like watermelon. I explained that he didn't have to eat that part, and Jacob noted that they were out of watermelon so it would come with cantaloupe anyway. Sold!

I typically get the Thai steak salad, but decided to try something different since I was being a pain in the ass about what everyone else ordered. I went with the fish club. Then I added a coffee and some oil cured olives as a starter.

Then we enjoyed each other's company.

Beauty Shop

No, first I asked everyone to put away their phones. Then we enjoyed each other's company. We were discussing double joints.

Beauty Shop

The restaurant started to fill up, and we happily had an unexpected visit with the Harpers.

Beauty Shop

Soon after, the food started coming out. The cheeseburgers got the thumbs up, naturally.

Beauty Shop
Beauty Shop

The fish club didn't look too exciting, but it had a lot of flavor thanks to the fried green tomato on there.

Beauty Shop

The wings were the total show stopper.

Beauty Shop

Satchel dug right in, despite not being thrilled about the blue cheese.

Beauty Shop

He was soon covered in sauce and needed some assistance.

Beauty Shop

Everyone seemed pretty happy and plates were becoming empty. I had kind of forgotten about the olives, but they did eventually arrive at the table. I was too full to eat many, but they were delicious.

Beauty Shop

I had told Jiro about the yummy beignets on many occasions, but we weren't able to get any. ("Only on Sunday," according to Jacob.) So, I asked Jiro if anything else on the daily dessert menu appealed to him.

Beauty Shop

We eventually decided to split a nutella and banana crepe. Then Satchel threw in a last minute plea for a slice of red velvet cake. Both were good, but the crepe was definitely the winner.

Beauty Shop
Beauty Shop

I paid the tab, which was definitely more than I'd spend on a regular lunch, but it was well worth it.

Beauty Shop

Then we headed back home.

Beauty Shop

I'll definitely take the monkeys back for brunch.

Beauty Shop

All photos by Chip Chockley except this one! Thanks, Chip!

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Beauty Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Local Lime (Little Rock)

Local Lime
17815 Chenal Parkway
Little Rock, AR 72223
(501) 448-2226


Last Friday, Warren and I drove the monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) to Little Rock to see Star Wars on an IMAX screen. The Chenal Theater is part of a larger shopping center, similar to Carriage Crossing. Directly across from the theater is a place called Local Lime. We'd heard good things, so we decided to check it out.

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It's really cute on the inside. I especially liked the bar. It felt hip, and not at all like we were in a mall.

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We were the first customers of the day at 10:50ish, but it soon filled up.

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The menu is amazing. I wanted to eat everything.

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We started with a trio of salsas--Zucchini (zucchini, green chilis, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, Mexican crema & lime juice), Caribbean Mango (mango, papaya, pineapple, habaneros, roasted tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro, lime) and the House Tomato.

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They came with housemade tortilla chips.

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Each one was delicious, but I have to say that zucchini salsa was a show stopper! Damn!

We also tried the cheese dip which was on point.

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Since the chip & dip were blowing me away I decided I needed to try the house made margaritas. It proved to be a smart move.

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We were all quite happy.

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Our main dishes came out soon after. Satchel had the tamales, which were a special. Black bean & spinach, I think.

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Jiro had a trio of grilled chicken tacos.

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Warren had local carnitas with a really delicious side of pickled veggies.

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I had the Coastal Citrus salad with salmon. It was the freshest, best salad I have ever eaten. EVER. Seriously. And I eat a lot of salad.

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We all loved what we ordered and none of us could finish. Thumbs up on the delicious and generous portions. I might have stayed a little longer to polish off the cheese dip entirely, but the boys (all 3) were anxious to get in line for the movie. So we paid ($75 plus tip), hit the bathrooms (very nice!), and then walked across the street.

I highly recommend a road trip the next time there's a really exciting movie you want to see on the big screen.

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Local Lime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Phuong Long

Phuong Long
306 N. Cleveland
335-2687


Last week, I finally took the monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) to Phuong Long on Cleveland. They had been for dinner with Warren several weeks before and I had recently gone for lunch, but we'd never been together. It was a good sign that neither of them complained when I disclosed the location of our meal.

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I don't think people realize how large this restaurant is, but it is huge! I love the murals,

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We arrived around 5:45pm on a Wednesday and almost had it all to ourselves. It was quite full the day I had lunch. Speaking of, what impressed me at lunch was the shrimp with jalapenos, and our server.

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I think the food speaks for itself. What I like so much about the server is that, according to the CA's review, he is a Nola transplant, but totally knows the food. He is great about discussing/reviewing ingredients, spice levels, etc. Satchel always has lots of questions because he loves to try new soups, but he doesn't like a lot of vegetables. The server helped him find a good one. And he was funny about saying that some dishes just would be the same if he took out all of the offensive ingredients.

Jiro went with basic chicken fried rice and an order of Spring rolls to share with me. He had seen some on his first visit and had been wanting to try them. I ordered lemongrass beef, though it was hard not to get the shrimp again.

The food came out insanely fast. Jiro really liked the Spring rolls. They were packed with shrimp and a little pork/mystery meat. I had actually tried the vegetarian version at lunch, and they were maybe even better.

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The chicken fried rice was what you'd expect. Jiro thought it was a little heavy on the peas.

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Satchel liked his soup. It was basically noodles and beef. He declined to add any of the extras that came with it--cilantro, jalapenos, etc.

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He also ate the rice that came with my dish.

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I loved mine. It was just the right amount of spicy, with lots of onions.

Our total was $34.99 and Jiro had enough leftover rice for another meal. We will definitely be back!

p.s. I did not get to check out the restrooms. I did notice a cooler full of ice cream by the front door. Luckily most toddlers would be too short to see in!

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Phuong Long Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stak's

Stak's
4615 Poplar
509-2367


Jiro (11) is a serious pancake lover. I have been wanting to get him to Stak's for awhile now. Sunday proved to be the perfect time--it was my mom's 77th birthday. Jiro's friend, Gus, joined us, as did my niece.

Stak's is next to Chili's on Poplar & Perkins in that little strip mall. It's not much to look at from the outside, but the inside is really cute. It's decorated in Tiffany blue and is very happy feeling.

Stak's

It's an order at the counter type place.

Stak's

However, due to the large crowd gathered there at 10:30am with us on Sunday, we had to get on a list in order to order. You heard me. It makes sense, I mean who wants to get their food and then have no where to eat it? But you know what doesn't make sense? Why they don't have table service on busy mornings. Now, I have never worked in or owned a restaurant and I am sure there is a good reason why owners prefer counter service, but let me say that as a customer, we don't love it.

I've just noticed that the take home menu, and receipt, make a point of saying there is no tipping because they pay their staff more than other restaurants.

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I totally support that. They should pay their staff to be waiters and waitresses. Ha!

Anyway, we took a seat and happily waited. I was impressed enough by the menu that I wasn't going to let a waitlist to order prevent me from trying the food. We went ahead and opened presents.

Stak's

My mom's first ever hoodie!

Stak's

After about 15 minutes we were asked if we minded sharing a very large table (the one my mom was already sort of sitting at) with the one man left eating at it. I replied that it would be just fine. Under my breath I said, "I am sure he will be done eating by the time we get through the line and actually sit down." He was. Their system of waiting for empty tables is definitely not perfect.

Stak's

Anyway! We'd all studied the menu and were ready to order. My mom and Sutton were on one ticket and Jiro, Gus, and I were on another. I told them to get whatever they wanted. Then I ordered the "no burrito bowl" and a cold brew coffee. When the cashier told me the total was $54.84, I could not hide my shock. "Are you sure?" I asked. She ran through the order. Jiro and Gus both got a tall stak of pancakes with chocolate chips ($5.95 each), a side of two scrambled eggs ($3.25 each), a side of Porcellino's bacon ($4.95 each) and a soft drink ($2.45). Eleven year old boys can eat!

I paid the tab and joined everyone else at the table. I was a little hung up on a $5 side of bacon, but I get it. Porcellino's makes fancy ass bacon. Today I am more insulted by the $2.45 soft drink, though I know that is a pretty standard price point in restaurants.

There is a kids menu, with nice low prices for littles.

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Our drinks came in reusable take home cups, and I liked my cold brew just fine. (They also have nitro coffee and Wiseacre's coffee stout. Nice!)

The food came out pretty quickly, or at least in semi rapid succession. (With all of the boys' side dishes there was a lot to carry!)

The pancakes were first.

Stak's

Then the bacon.

Stak's

(They also offer flavored bacon.)

By the time they got their eggs, I was working on my no burrito bowl. I had asked them to take off the cheese and add avocado. (I didn't see it because it was mixed in, which was weird. Also it was a skimpy amount.)

Stak's

It came with a side of hashbrowns, which ended up being the highlight of my meal. The bowl was disappointing. Not a lot of sausage and a ton of liquid from the salsa. It was like a giant bowl of eggs swimming in sauce.

Stak's

(My niece also had a no burrito bowl and felt as "meh" as I did. Though I noticed hers had a lot more sausage.)

Thankfully, the birthday girl was thrilled with her meal of corned beef hash and eggs.

Stak's

The boys were pretty happy too. They ate every bite of their food. (Jiro accidentally got a blueberry pancake in his chocolate chip stak, but he didn't let it deter him.)

Our table had a hot plate where you can actually make your own pancakes. Fun, right? We had discussed the boys doing this, but they seemed worried they might burn them. When we were done eating they said they wished they had done it.

All in all, I think Stak's has potential. And I think everyone who ordered pancakes was happy, which makes sense. Sutton noted that she wished it stayed open past 2:00pm so she could walk over after school. (She goes to WSHS.) My friend commented that it would be a fun place to have a kids birthday party. I agree with all of these things.

Try it! Just beware of monkeys with big appetites and stick to the pancakes!

Staks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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