Thanks to Arkansas Women Bloggers for the invite to a blog event at Cajun’s Wharf – on the Arkansas River in Little Rock. I’ll get to the food & drink experience in a bit, but first I must say – the ladies at the event were a real treat! I’m happy to have met some fun people & hope to see them all again very soon. As a bonus, I sold the shirt off my back to one of my new friends. So there’s that.
But we weren’t only invited to Cajun’s to socialize. We were there to eat! and drink! The day started with a wine tasting (I mean it was 12:10 pm, so at least we weren’t morning-drinking, just day-drinking) 2 whites (a reisling and a sauvignon blanc) and 2 reds (a pinot noir and something else I didn’t get to) for each of us. We got a quick talk from the head of beverage service, where I learned that Cajun’s and its sister restaurant Capers are both regularly recognized by Wine Spectator for their wine cellars.
After our quick sampling, we tucked into our first meal of the day – lunch off of Cajun’s daytime menu. We started with an insane sampler plate of appetizers. When I missed out on the oysters bienville, one of my new friends made some magic happen and a brand new platter of oysters appeared. They were magic.
Nevermind that I was already full and had moved on to iced tea by the time our entrees arrived. Had to soldier on with a delightful Kentucky Hot Brown, served open-face with swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes and a bechamel sauce. During lunch, the head chef & partner in the restaurant group told us her philosophy on food: cook with real food & start from scratch. And that philosophy showed. The food was beautiful and tasty.
We ended up with a platter of gorgeous desserts. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves here.
Then we waddled on over to the open kitchen for a demo. Chef Mary Beth prepared some clams & mussels in a white wine sauce that was redolent with fresh herbs and talked to us about Thanksgiving techniques, including turkey brining. I don’t think I’ll ever take that on – it’s just too much of an ordeal – but I do enjoy a cooking demonstration and talking technique with a professional, so it was great fun.
Along with a swag bag, Chef Mary Beth sent us on our way with recipes, which I appreciate.
After a sample of the mussels, we moved into the bar (Cajun’s is ginormous! They offer catering as well as restaurant service & can cater groups from 20-500 or more). Here’s where things got (even more) fun. A local whiskey expert brought some bottles from a distillery in Nashville. We got little samples of whiskeys, ranging from “traditional” to “more complex”. I’m FAR from a whiskey expert, but this stuff was great. And the fall light played into the bar so beautifully – a really pleasant space to wind down the afternoon.
With no designated driver and a full slate of mom-duties to return to, I plopped back to reality a little early while the rest of the group moved on to a pretty Christmas drink & social hour. Rest assured, I’ll be back.