Tuesday, September 23, 2008

braised thighs and an Arkansas weekend

This past weekend was spent in Little Rock for a weekend with the boy. The 5 hour drive was actually quite serene and downtown Little Rock reminded me a bit like Austin.

Saturday night was spent at Loca Luna the self-proclaimed "bold, Arkansas bisto" that has received numerous awards and appeared on Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels..(and of course I remember that episode). Although a bit pricey for its final result, it was pretty good.

We started off with a shrimp and brie quesadilla with a pineapple mango pico. I would have preferred four times the pico but it had good flavor. The drinks of the night were a dirty Ketel One and top shelf margarita on the rocks- good, strong drinks. I ordered the bacon-wrapped aged filet with parsley-shallot butter, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed sugar snap peas. I was cursing myself afterward for ordering it medium because it was definitely over-cooked...should have gone for the medium-rare. The veggies and potatoes were tasty though. My handsome date ordered the pork Osso Bucco and it was just delicious. It was falling off the bone with the most delicious Pinot Noir Demi-Glace...it definitely made up for my filet.

Dessert was the standard crème brûlée...I've had better. Criticism aside, Loca Luna is a funky place with fun, inventive food if anyone is ever in the area.

Last night was week three of culinary school-basic cooking techniques I. In a swift five hours we managed to "master" all of the techniques. We sautéed diced onions, peppers and sliced mushrooms, shallow-poached orange roughy, deep-poached eggs, simmered pasta and rice, steamed julienned carrots and shrimp, pan-seared pork shops, grilled zucchini (we went for those beautiful hatch marks), deep fried batonnet-sliced potatoes (a fancy name for french fries), pan-fried panko breaded chicken tenders, braised chicken thighs with rosemary and white wine and roasted chicken legs with cayenne and paprika and carrots with dill.

Whew..yes, I was exhausted. The only technique that I had trouble with was the pan-sear on the pork chops..note to all learners...don't mess with a pan sear. Put it down in a screaming hot pan with cool oil and walk away...this is when that bottle of wine comes into place!

Dinner last night was Central Market salad bar (romaine, cabbage, broccoli, green peas, edamame, blanched almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries with their celery Greek dressing) and their vegetarian lentil soup. Another really good vegetarian soup is their asparagus basil soup when they have it! Also, you can't get CM soup without a sunflower roll!


jared seaton said...

Baby I love reading you blog i have read all of the posts at least twice. It always makes me hungry!

Tyty said...

Wow did this place have any fish items? I don't eat red meat but love mashed taters and ofcourse dirty martinis. Love the blog !