Lunch @ Iriana’s Pizza in the River Market

Bonnie and I had lunch at Iriana’s Pizza the day before the Little Rock Marathon– Half. It was my first time in this iconic Little Rock locale and I was in store for some serious eats!

20140301_134009Iriana’s is like going to eat at Cheers. You know the old TV show…I felt right at home like everyone really did know my name. The dining area is divided into cozy sections that give the seating a down home feel. One of my favorite radio stations (94.1) was playing lightly in the background. There are lots of windows and the sun streams in during the day and at night gives diners a view of the great Little Rock River Market nightlife.

But you are here to see the food! OK, twist my arm. 🙂

20140301_134838Bonnie and I started with Cheese bread sticks. Sounds standard but they were anything but.
The bread was truly outstanding, it was traditional yeast risen, and soft on the inside, but just a tender snap on the outside. If you love bread then these are the sticks for you! The sauce was bright and not too heavy on the garlic. Honestly the only thing about these sticks that I didn’t like was the cheese. It was really an afterthought and if we had left it off, I wouldn’t have cared…these sticks are all about the amazing pizza dough.

After that we had what I would call the genuine article. This pizza is what I expect in a true New York-style pie. It does not disappoint!20140301_140325

We got a pie with pepperoni and beef and then in regular Bonnie Style she got black olives on her side of the pie.
The pizza is out of this world good. The same great dough we had in the sticks made for a dazzling pie. I loved the way the toppings were distributed throughout. Each bite had just the right amount of cheese to meat and bread. The one pictured above is a large and can easily satisfy four adults or three hungry Honey Badgers.

20140301_140420Just look at the texture on that pie. You can see the herbs and spices in the cheese. The bright sauce that Iriana’s uses is right on point. It counters the mellow mozzarella herbed cheese but doesn’t overpower the other toppings. The beef we had wasn’t just some browned up hamburger, NO WAY, not at Iriana’s. The beef topping is spiced with garlic and oregano. On it’s own it is good stuff but put with hot and spicy pepperoni it is a sensory experience.

I highly recommend Iriana’s Pizza. The location at the corner of Markham and Scott Street right in the heart of downtown can’t be beat.

Check out the menu here.

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Lunch @ Burge’s in the Heights

If you haven’t been to Burge’s in the Heights you need to go. Southern hospitality. Southern Food. Southern Flair. Burge’s will make you feel like you just sat down at your grandma’s kitchen table.

As I opened the door felt like I had come home which is a hallmark for me; I know I am going to enjoy my experience. The decor is classic cafe style. Booths flank both the right and left sides with tables in the center. You walk in put in your order at the counter and find a seat.  I let the waitress know this was my first time and asked what her favorite thing on the menu would be. Without any hesitation she said, “Catfish.” So I jumped right in and ordered the 5 piece. It comes with slaw, seasoned fries, hushpuppies (I ❤ hushpuppies), and your choice of tomato relish or bbq beans…since the only tomatoes I like are fried green ones, I went with the beans. Then before you know it, just like grandma’s, your name will be called when your order is ready and the food comes to you fast and hot.

The fish was perfectly fried. Each piece was crispy (not crunchy) and the USA Farm raised catfish on the inside was melt in your mouth, divine. The sides were equally good. Beans that weren’t mushy but creamy with a tangy sauce that had a hint of smoke. And the hushpuppies…oh…it did sadden me that I only had two—but oh, what a two; deeply golden brown with a blend of yellow cornmeal and spices…so good. I went with one of my blogger/writer buddies Bonnie. So it is her fault that now I am totally smitten with Burge’s and cannot wait until I get my next hushpuppy fix.

And for the Pièce de résistance, a fried chocolate pie! The texture of the pie crust was flaky and tender enclosing a deep semi-sweet cocoa pie filling. It was the perfect ending to a great meal.

Try Burge’s you won’t be disappointed. 

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