I read the comments on Eat Arkansas quite regularly, and they often ask things like, "Michael, you're a great food critic and an incredible human being — how do you do it?" And although things like that account for around 90% of the content of our comments section, I do sometimes read questions along the lines of "Oh, geez, are you writing about Big Orange again?"
The answers to both of those questions are: A) I don't know how I do it, I was just born blessed, and B) Yes. Yes, I am writing about Big Orange again.
But before you go writing to the editor of this publication with more praise/hate mail about me, give me a chance to explain myself. You see, we all know Big Orange does good hamburgers. Heck, I'd go so far as to say they do some of the best hamburgers in the city - maybe even in the state. But as my colleague Daniel Walker pointed out a few weeks ago, Big Orange isn't just about the beef. And when Joel DiPippa and Steve Shuler, two food lovers who have opinions I respect (and who aren't known for their vegetarian sympathies) tell me to forgo a burger at Big Orange and get the falafel, I have to pay attention.
The Big Orange falafel burger is served on a large, soft roll like the regular burgers and features a fried, curry-spiced chickpea patty, cucumber, cilantro, tomato, and a generous portion of rich, ripe avocado. Served to the side are small cups of tzatziki, the yogurt-based sauce that I admit has me in the grip of a crippling addiction, and sriracha, the trendy sauce that seems to have the rest of you hooked. I poured a healthy dose of both on the burger, took a bite, and was immediately blown away. Subtle spice, nice texture, and all with the play of hot sriracha, cool tzatziki, and creamy avocado coming together into a pretty perfect sandwich.
A lot of you out there have vegetarian friends and family members — some of you out there might even be vegetarians yourself (nobody's perfect). Let this falafel sandwich be the peace accord struck between the meat eaters and the abstainers — and let it be a lesson to all of you that sometimes great burger places are great at things beyond burgers.
Big Orange is located...you know, if you don't know where the locations are by now, you probably didn't read this far anyway.