101: Meet Jamie Block

The ultimate resource on all things Little Rock, this small town transplant is now completely in-the-know.

1. Name, occupation, years in LR, neighborhood: Jamie Block; Licensed Professional Counselor with children and adolescents providing mental health counseling services at Counseling Associates Incorporated in Conway, AR. It is an extremely rewarding career and helping children is something that I’ve always been passionate about! We bought a home and settled in Maumelle in 2008 to reduce my work commute. My husband continues to work in Little Rock at The Barber Law Firm downtown. Little Rock is home to us and most of our time is spent there.

2. What has surprised you the most about living in Little Rock? I'm surprised at how much I have fallen in love with this city! My husband and I moved to West Little Rock in 2004 when I started work on my Masters at UCA while he started law school at UALR. While we never intended to settle down here, we are now very glad to call Little Rock home. I'm from a small town so I would have to say diversity and opportunity is what I most appreciate most about Little Rock. There is a variety of great people with varied interests and talents, shops, restaurants, and recreational activities in this city, and we will never be tired of exploring what Little Rock has to offer.  

3. What is, hands down, your favorite meal you can only get in LR? Little Rock has too many great restaurants to pick just one! I will say that--hands down--the best restaurant group in Little Rock includes ZaZa, Local Lime and Big Orange both for atmosphere and great food. My go-to salads at ZaZa are The ZaZa & The Santa Fe. At Local Lime, I like to create my own taco plate which will typically include a potato zucchini taco, a grilled chicken taco, and a grilled ancho chili shrimp taco or grilled fish taco. At Big Orange, my husband and I share the White Truffle and Pecorino burger and an order of Truffle-Garlic-Herb Fries. A night out with girlfriends often includes dinner at Bonefish Grill. We share an order of bang, bang shrimp & indulge in macadamia nut brownie with raspberry sauce. Cantina Laredo's frozen mango margarita made with fresh mango purée is my favorite margarita in town. If you haven't tried Pao De Queijo at Café Bosa Nova you are missing out. I rarely order veal but Veal Scallopini at Ristorante Capeo is one of the best dishes in the area. For lunch, The Root for the best house made sweet potato fries I've ever eaten. Boulevard Bread has an amazing House Pimento Cheese sandwich, and I'm crazy for their lemon sugar cookies. Damgoode Pies is the place to go for pizza in my opinion! Cupcakes on Kavanaugh is the best cupcakery--no question! Christy Milligan, owner, once insisted that we try samples of her oatmeal cream pie cupcakes baked fresh that day and she happily told me the recipe originated from her grandmother (or maybe it was her great-grandmother). I've loved to support them even more since that day! My favorites are the Ghirardelli Square and Peanut Butter Cookie.

4. Describe your perfect  night out in Little Rock: My husband and are faithful to planning a date night each weekend. Enjoying a nice dinner with him and just catching a movie is my idea of a perfect evening. Also, The Rep puts on some fantastic shows so when we can we plan ahead and catch a show at The Rep. We never leave disappointed. Verizon Arena has also done a great job of bringing some great concerts to Little Rock, so if an artist or band we like is in town we purchase tickets as soon as possible for a great seat! If we meet up with friends, we are most likely to enjoy catching up over some wine and dinner at a great Little Rock restaurant or attending a local event or festival. Either way, the night would end with cuddling with our sweet, little dog, Manhattnan. She is a 7 lb. rescue Yorkshire Terrier. 

5. Where do you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? We often make plans according to the season. Anyone who knows me well knows I LOVE the holidays and we seem to have a lot of company during that time of year so I will start there. I would want to take our guests to Holiday House to do some shopping. I’d take them to the annual Nog-off to sample some of David Burnette’s award winning egg nog (the best egg nog you’ll ever taste) and then show off The Capital Hotel. It’s absolutely beautiful there at Christmastime! We would walk down and enjoy the ice skaters in the River Market’s open-air pavilion (we hope to see ice skating in downtown again this holiday season). If we were lucky enough, The Rep would have a Christmas production and we would catch a show. In the springtime, I might show off the beauty of the Old Mill, pack a picnic to enjoy in a local park such as Two Rivers Park, enjoy walking the River Market area, and walk one of the lighted pedestrian bridges in the evening. 

If it is the month of May, I would take them to the Greek Food Festival. In the fall, I would takes guest to enjoy the crisp fall air and the local vendors at HarvestFest in Hillcrest. In the summer, my husband would insist on going to a Travelers baseball game. If they are in the mood to get their hands dirty, I would take them to paint pottery at Firefly Studio or the Painted Pig or create a canvas painting at Pinot’s Palette. I might also take out guests to the Arkansas House of Prayer, a recent hidden gem I have discovered thanks to this blog! For some handcrafted local ice cream made by Loblolly Creamery and some unique local Arkansas souvenirs, I would take them to The Green Corner Store. We would also visit some local shops like Box Turtle, Haus Werk, River Market Books and Gifts, Paper, Scissors, Little Rock, Ten Thousand Villages, Design Inspirations and Full Moon.