The life of a crewmember is never easy, but it seems that the hardest decision that we face on daily is… where are we going to eat tonight? This is why I created Food Bites! Our primary food choices come from word-of-mouth from others, and if you are anything like I am, you want great food (and beverage) from a local spot and not a chain restaurant. This past month I had a lot of vacation days and my initial plan was to continue with the bar-b-que theme from last month. But, a little storm called Irma put a minor glitch in those plans. That restaurant will have to wait for another time.
Instead, this month I had a long overnight in Little Rock, Arkansas. We got to the hotel around 10am and my first officer Ed, and I agreed to meet for lunch around 12:45. Just before leaving the hotel, I decided to ask for local recommendations at the front desk. Luckily for us, the manager was standing by the front desk and referred us to a great local brewery called Rebel Kettle. With impassioned detail, she described the last burger she had ordered there and I was convinced where we were going and what I would be ordering.
From our hotel, it was only a five-minute walk to Rebel Kettle. I wondered if they were even open when I noticed that half of the outside of the building is under construction. Luckily, they were.
We were greeted by a co-owner who asked where we would like to sit. We took two empty stools at the bar where another co-owner happened to be bartending that day. Their beer list occupies a chalkboard above their two-dozen or so taps.
I knew exactly what food I wanted to order, so the hardest part for me was deciding which beer to pair it with. I saw that they had a triple IPA at a whopping 11% called
C-Street Series IPA Block #5. After a quick tasty sample I order it. The beer had a nice dark amber color and a sensational hoppy aroma.
The hotel manager had enticed me to order the Cajun Burger with mushrooms and an egg over-easy. (I later learned that she puts an over easy egg on everything that she orders there.) The picture of this monster sandwich makes it look incredibly tasty, and I’m getting hungry just thinking about it again. Their menu describes it as, “Half pound burger topped with grilled shrimp and pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.”
I like to cut my burgers in half, really for two reasons. First, I want to see if it is cooked to my preference. This one was – a perfect medium. Second, a burger of this size and messiness is destined to ooze out the back as you bite into it. You’ve seen that happen a thousand times, right? By cutting it in half, that problem is somewhat reduced. Now the burger: The bun was incredibly soft and warm, perfect for a burger and I always say the bun makes the sandwich! After cutting into it, the egg yolk ran all around it making it a sloppy, wonderful mess. There’s just no other way to eat this but to pick it up and bite with gusto. You have to approach it knowing that it going to be a mess. Each half had one shrimp which was smothered in their Cajun spicy sauce that is indescribably delicious.
Next time you are in Little Rock and have some time and appetite, be sure to stop to grab a beer and a burger. But, don’t ask for a mainstream beer or you might be shown the door! I doubt it, but they do take their craft beer seriously! I was able to talk to two of the owners and get a quick tour of their brewery, which you’ll see from your seat at the bar.
As always be sure to enjoy any alcohol responsibly. If you have any great spots to eat, please share them with us… firstname.lastname@example.org
Little Rock, Arkansas
822 E. 6th Street