British food fix
Wee Betty’s Cafe is definitely a one-of-a-kind in Central Arkansas. Located just off U.S. 67/167 in Jacksonville, the cafe opened about nine months ago serving up homemade, authentic British cuisine and tailoring to British expats with a small shop full of foodstuffs not found anywhere else locally.
My husband, who is from England, and I visited Wee Betty’s on a Saturday morning, looking for savory pastries and the Full Irish Breakfast that we had scoped out on the menu on their Facebook page.
Only served on Saturday (10 a.m.-noon) and Sunday (11 a.m.-1 p.m.), the Full Irish Breakfast includes bangers (sausages), bacon, eggs, potato scone, black and white pudding, Heinz baked beans, buttered toast and tea or coffee. Tons of food for only $9.50.
The breakfast definitely made the 20-or-so-minute drive to Jacksonville well worth it, as my husband happily doused his breakfast in HP Sauce and devoured it, graciously allowing me a bite or two. We determined that it was nearly the same as a full “English” breakfast, except there were no tomatoes or mushrooms. There were no complaints about inauthenticity or Americanized items, which is what usually happens when he orders full English Breakfasts at other local spots.
I ordered the pastries (which we shared) to round out our breakfast, and we found them to be just like you’d find all over the U.K. The sausage roll had nice, flaky pastry wrapped around loose sausage meat, and I ordered mine with Heinz baked beans for only $3.75.
The Cornish Pastie ($4.50) was our other choice. This is a traditional pie with potatoes and beef or lamb, with a little bit of gravy, stuffed in pastry. It is definitely one of my favorite British foods, and Wee Betty’s version was delicious.
We had our eyes on other menu items, namely the Fish and Chips. But this British staple is only available 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and noon-4 p.m. on Saturdays, and we were too early. We’ll definitely go back to try that.
Scones, Scotch pie, Shepherd’s pie and trifle are just a few other menu items at Wee Betty’s.
On the retail side, Wee Betty’s sells an array of British candy, chips (the Brits call them crisps) and frozen pies, pasties and black pudding not found anywhere else in Central Arkansas. We came home with an impressive haul. We have brought bags full of these very items back from trips to England and paid exorbitant shipping costs to order this stuff online, so we’re thrilled to have a new go-to spot when we get a hankering for a Cadbury’s Twirl or bag of Hula Hoops.
Wee Betty’s Cafe is located at 1336 John Harden Drive in Jacksonville.
— Erica Sweeney
Central Arkansas has an abundance of Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, but only one Honduran restaurant that Eat Arkansas knows of: Rosalinda Restaurante Hondureno in North Little Rock. My favorite dish is #52, the Plato Rosalinda for $10.50. It is a thin skirt steak, served with mixed beans and rice, avocado, fried plantains and a side of thick handmade tortillas. There is a lot to like here — and a big enough portion you can have it for lunch tomorrow, too. The steak is well seasoned and juicy and pairs deliciously with the tortillas. I am a fiend for the beans and rice served with this dish; they have an addictive richness that I’ve been trying to puzzle out and I think may be due to coconut milk. When you tire of those, the plantains are slightly sweet with a very pleasant texture that is a lovely contrast to the rest of the plate.
Pupusas are another standout — stuffed tortillas somewhat similar to quesadillas ($2 each). Rosalinda’s offers them in four varieties — our favorites are the queso (cheese) and the chicharron (pork). The pupusas are served griddled and crispy on the outside with a slightly spicy slaw and mild, fruity salsa. One or two can make a great appetizer or you can easily make a meal out of them. For a little adventure, try the Pescado Frito, a whole fried tilapia, served with green bananas and rice ($10.50); one of the trio of shrimp soups, or a fried or steamed yuca (cassava) dish. I am also a big fan of the Agua Frescas made in-house, particularly the Agua de Pina (pineapple).
Fair warning: A meal at Rosalinda’s can be a bit unpredictable. The menu is enormous and the descriptions are a bit mysterious, so you can’t be quite sure what you’re getting until it arrives at the table. The service is usually attentive but there can sometimes be a language barrier. Although this section of JFK is now officially “wet,” Rosalinda’s still does not serve alcohol.
Rosalinda Restaurante HondureNo is located at 3700 JFK Blvd.
— Mrs. Jones