I was having some major FOMO Sunday afternoon for not yet having made it to try Trevor Papsadora and Myles Roberson’s delights at The Bagel Shop, so I decided to grab The Bread Bible off the shelf and do up a batch at home.

Stephanie Smittle

Rose Levy Berenbaum’s recipes can be a little fussy upon first glance — the recipe for bagels stretches across a whopping ten pages — but her father was an artisan bagel peel maker by trade, so I figure she’s earned the right to indulge in some bagel minutia if she dang well pleases. And they turned out OK! The full-batch recipe makes ten (enormous) bagels, so I did three with dried onion flakes from Kroger, three with black sesame seeds I got from Indian Grocers on Rodney Parham and four with some salt-free Everything Bagel seasoning.

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Stephanie Smittle

When I do these again, I think I’ll stretch the full batch recipe into at least 12 bagels, if not 15. And honestly, don’t even bother with the half-batch; bagels are A Whole Process so you should just do a whole batch and freeze what you can’t eat. Or better yet, just go see the experts at The Bagel Shop and let them do it all. Berenbaum’s trick for getting a gorgeous golden bagel is foolproof: add some molasses to the water when you boil the dough rings. SS

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Mar y Tierra was one of the most anticipated openings of 2022, mainly because the restaurant was in a perpetual state of coming soon for more than two years. The mystery was further magnified by the fact that it’s located just north of the Capitol on Markham Street, where thousands of cars cruise past every day heading into or out of downtown. “When’s that restaurant across from the Capitol gonna open?” was a question you probably heard around town at some point in 2021 or the first half of 2022. I know the bar regulars at the restaurant where I used to work would’ve talked about it at least once a week.

In fact, covering the opening was one of the first assignments editor Lindsey Millar gave me when I came on at Arkansas Times as an associate (imposter) editor in August of 2020. When it finally opened in May I raced over and took photos of the restaurant, the crew and the giant octopus mural on the ceiling, so I could finally hand in something to prove that I haven’t been slacking off on that first assignment for two years.

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It’s a great location for a patio lunch, with the Capitol, the downtown skyline and my office (and work I haven’t completed) somewhere in the proverbial rear view mirror.

The menu is extensive, with more of an emphasis on seafood than some of the other Tex-Mex restaurants around town. The seafood fajitas include shrimp, scallops and crab meat. And with 31 combination dinners, I’ve just been randomly pointing to a section of the menu and choosing something without thinking too much about it. Yesterday I went the Enchiladas Mexicanas served with rice and beans.

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Rhett Brinkley

Every time I’ve visited the food comes out quickly, and it’s piping hot. The enchiladas were solid. One beef covered in salsa verde, one cheese covered in cheese dip. The dish was basic but also a Tex-Mex staple, a throwback to the children’s menu that lives on in our hearts. The winner was the shredded chicken slathered in enchilada sauce, or salsa roja. The generous pool of sauce and the spicy chicken just paired perfectly. The rice and refried beans were fine. The salsa is pureed thin and uniquely and subtly spiced. It’s not hot, but I don’t think I’ve ever had one just like it and describing it is a challenge I’m failing right now.

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Here’s roughly 1/3 of a Ranchero Chicken platter:

Rhett Brinkley
It’s essentially chicken fajitas on a bed of rice, slathered with pools of cheese dip. Delicious and enticing enough to cause you harm if you can’t stop yourself. It’s absolutely  enough food two or three meals for $13.99. RB

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