Around the Rock: Boulevard Still King of the Block

My weekly views…
With the ever-changing landscape in the Little Rock restaurant scene, it’s quite common to overlook and under-appreciate places that have been around for a number of years. Boulevard Bread Company is one of those spots. Specifically, the SoMa location on 1417 S. Main is a wonderful place to pop in for a quick bite, especially after, say, a recent Sunday morning visit to the Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market. An enticing plate of beautiful brioche buns, filled with egg, bacon and Gruyere cheese, caught my eye. I ended up devouring one, and was pleased with the soft, fresh bread and salty nature of the pastry. Applying coarse salt in a proper manner is an art form, and the folks over at Boulevard know exactly what they’re doing.
For those looking to cut their carbs, Baja Grill does a pretty mean “naked” burrito. It eats like a rice bowl, but if you’re having a hard time forming a mental picture, just imagine any of the burritos, sans a tortilla.
Hey, guess what? David’s Burgers consistently puts out a top notch burger. Tired of seeing me write it? Sorry, just everything I eat is documented on this weekly post, and I happen to live very close to David’s. Side note, from time-to-time, I recommend opting for the pleasantly surprising chicken burger.
Speaking of surprised, did you know Big Orange does some pretty damn good salads? I tried out the BLT Wedge, a sizeable and beautifully presented plate of iceberg lettuce wedges, avocado, bacon, red onion, tomato, bleu cheese dressing and crumbled bleu cheese. The plate is fancied-up with a nice balsamic glaze, and the overall dish proved to be quite satisfying.
My goodness, it had been far too long since my last Layla’s visit. And there’s no justifiable explanation, other than I’m trying to visit as many different Little Rock restaurants as possible. Our plain cheese pizza, with its crispy thin crust and mounds of mozzarella, didn’t disappoint. Neither did the chicken calzone, which is basically a folded pizza with tender chunks of diced chicken. The cozy atmosphere, warm service, affordable prices and consistently solid food, continue to make Layla’s one of the better dining options in all of Little Rock.
And the news…
Good friend and fellow food writer, Shelle Stormoe, will be speaking about the history of Little Rock’s SoMa neighborhood and the Lincoln building, site of the Green Corner Store on Thursday, May 29th from 5:00-6:00 p.m. It’s free and open to the public!
Care to see two chefs duke it out for bragging rights in Pulaski Technical College Foundation’s Diamond Chef Arkansas finale competition benefiting students at Pulaski Tech’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute? The kitchen showdown, between chef Daniel Capello, executive chef at the Chenal Country Club, and chef Marc Guizol, executive sous chef at The Capital Hotel, will take place on June 3rd at the Statehouse Convention Center’s Wally Allen Ballroom. A wine and craft beer reception will begin at 6 p.m., and the program and dinner will follow at 7 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person and can be reserved by calling Bret Graves at 812-2771 or online.
The All-Arkansas Music & Arts Festival is on Saturday, May 31st at the First Security Amphitheater and Riverfront Park. Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and admission is free. And, of course, all your food trucks will be there, including: Waffle Wagon, Loblolly, Southern Salt and Relish It Hot Dog Bus.
Natchez has a new spring lunch menu out.
Brown Sugar Bakeshop is introducing an awesome daily $1 dessert menu next Tuesday, June 2nd. It will include items such as: blueberry muffins, rice crispy treats and fruit tarts. Everything on that menu will be a buck (+tax).
Check out O’Fallon Brewery Night tonight at Mellow Mushroom (West Little Rock), featuring O’Fallon Berry Best and Wheach, on tap. The kegs get tapped at 4 p.m. and will be pouring all night.

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