Road food

May 6, 2015

This happened yesterday. Bulldog strawberry shortcake.

This happened yesterday. Bulldog strawberry shortcake.

Child C and I road-tripped to Little Rock yesterday to take Amazing Grandchild 2 to see an ENT specialist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and took advantage of being out of town for a good lunch and even better dessert.

After we got through at Children’s, we went the short distance to the Midtown shopping center that houses Big Orange, because the kid and I are always up for a good burger, and Big Orange certainly had them. We split a bacon-avocado burger, and I went for sweet potato fries while she stayed with regular ones. AGC2 had a grilled cheese, which he appeared to enjoy a good deal, with a side of fries as well.

I am quite certain if you live in or near the state’s capital you are familiar with Big Orange and likely have eaten there. Its two locations are hugely popular, in large part because they feed you large portions of high-quality casual food for a decent price. Lunch will run you a little more than 10 bucks unless you gussy it up with appetizers and a milkshake, both of which are excellent but which can jack up your total in a hurry.

A burger worth sharing.

A burger worth sharing.

Child C and I split the burger because they are, in a word, huge. It was plenty of lunch for both of us, and there was not a morsel left. The 8-ounce farm-raised beef patty had a tinge of pink in the middle, as a good burger should. It was topped by a pair of criss-crossed bacon strips which — one of my two small quibbles — could have been cooked a touch more done, but they still had that most excellent Petit Jean bacon taste and texture to them. There was a solid half-inch of a good, chunky avocado schmeared around on one side of the bun, while the other held butter lettuce (always preferable to iceberg on burgers) and a slice of tomato.

And therein lies the other quibble. Just don’t bother with tomatoes this time of year. They aren’t worth the trouble for that splash of red on a sandwich.

Regardless, it was a fine burger, as are all the offerings I’ve had at Big Orange. And I do love some avocado on a hamburger.

We headed back northeast with tentative plans to stop off in Bald Knob and have a strawberry shortcake at the Bulldog, and those plans because reality when AGC2 became quite irate about confinement to his car seat some 10 miles south of there. We figured a break from the road would be beneficial, so we indulged in what is arguably the most famous strawberry shortcake in Arkansas.

It’s really more like a strawberry sundae. There’s soft-serve ice cream, lots of macerated strawberries (cut up fresh every morning), rectangular wafers of a thin shortbread that were dusted in sugar before baking, and topped with whipped cream and chopped pecans.

I couldn’t eat all mine. But I surely enjoyed what I could get down.

AGC2 allowed the fries there were good, too. (He is not a strawberry fan. If he didn’t look so much like his parents, I’d swear they mixed up babies at the hospital.)  He settled down and proceeded to nap for the rest of the way home.

It was a full nine-hour day and I was too tired to stay up for the last of the Cards-Cubs game last night, and I feel a nap coming on now. But those are two stops well worth making on a trip from LR to the Northeast AR area, and if you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em are headed that direction, you should indulge in both. You have nothing to lose but your waistline.



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