by Max Brantley
Two points separated the top three teams: 1) Country Club of Little Rock, old school with a bit of barbecue sauce and biscuits and, dang, available to the public only at this event; 2) one point back was some perfectly turned out pork, served in taco form on the serving line, from Local Lime, 3) then came melt-in-your-mouth pork from Reno's (whose side dish of bacon-studded macaroni also earned raves.)
I hate to leave anyone out, but Root Cafe's banh mi-style presentation had many admirers. The judges knew only the numbers of entrants, but I hung around to see them matched up with names because of a transcendent bit of pork skin, crunchy but not tough, that came in abundance with one portion of perfectly seasoned pork. It was my favorite, Cafe Bossa Nova. The magnificent trussed hog from the Capital Hotel was worthy of preserving as a centerpiece, reminiscent of porchetta truck fare in Italy. Hats off to all the rest, too.
It's nippy, still, but the rain held off and there are plenty of tents. The beer, wine and slushy drinks are cold, but warming, if you know what I mean, in conjunction with music. Lost Bayou Ramblers at 8 p.m. Admission drops to $10 at 7 p.m.
We probably had 500 people. On a nice day it would have been crazy. The food was still crazy good.
See more of what you missed at Brian Chilson's Facebook page.
Other Saturday notes:
* FEAST DAY: in addition to the Hog Roast, food lovers also went to Cinco de Mayo activities at the Clinton Presidential Park (above). And I'd have loved to have hit the Turkish food festival, which also got a positive review from a blog reader.
* THE CHAMBER IS HACKED OFF: More indications of something I'd indicated earlier. The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, standard bearer for the corporate class, is likely to put a so-called "tort reform" amendment on the ballot since maneuvering by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, a paid ally of the trial lawyers, managed to throw a monkey wrench in the plan for the legislature to put such a measure on the ballot. Roby Brock has more details. The Chamber seems to think the public WANTS it to be harder to sue doctors and negligent businesses for damaging innocent people. Maybe they should talk to hard-core business Republican Sen. Bryan King, who thought the chamber just got too greedy in what it wanted put into law to take things out of the hands of judges and juries. He was the critical vote against the chamber plan. They'll certainly have to come up with some good dishonest advertising to counter the advertising from those defending injured people. Who are you for? Nursing homes that allow ghastly bed sores to develop or your bedsore-ridden granny? Funny that the petition-planning chamber was among those pushing for law and amendment to make it harder to put petitions on the ballot in Arkansas. They mean YOU, not THEM, when it comes to petitioning.
* AND, YES, I MENTIONED GUNS: Asa Hutchinson's speech to the NRA was about as gun nutty as you'd expect given the setting. No surprise. But it shows his deep belief that the only way to run on guns in Arkansas is to run hard to the extreme right. Pay no attention to those college students, faculty and trustees whoaren't ready to give away the store to the gun lobby. Of course, in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Hutchinson is certainly right. The question still is whether the mainstream in Arkansas is as moderate as the polls show — not desirous of loosening gun rules and even favorable toward universal background checks. Why should law-abiding citizens who willingly undergo checks at Fort Thompson object to doing the same thing at a gun show after all? If you can stomach it, watch Asa here. Note the introduction in which the NRA claims full ownership of the school study that Asa headed and in which he claimed independence. You remember it, don't you? The answer to gun violence in schools is more guns in schools. Asa urges all to cling to their guns.
* AND STILL MORE GUNS: More here on a coming issue that won't be resolved until a certain court test somewhere. It's a bill that passed with little attention. It was thought by all, including some gun nuts, to be a technical correction on firearm law. It is now being construed by the gun nuts as a "constitutional carry' law. In short, through what the law now says and doesn't say, they contend you may carry a firearm without permit just about anywhere in Arkansas. Somebody please get arrested on this soon. If they're right about total 2nd Amendment supremacy, isn't it right that ALL gun laws are negated?