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Eatin' good in Arkansas

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We're just back from a week in Arkansas, and I have to say we didn't have a bad meal during the entire trip. Service as consistently prompt and friendly, too.

Several meals stood out:

1. Bubba's Barbecue, Eureka Springs. I've never heard Arkansas mentioned as one of the barbecue capitals of the world, but that's OK because the same is true of Georgia and Alabama and the best 'cue I've had in those states tops anything I've tasted in N.Carolina or Tennessee, which get a lot of plaudits. Bubba's 'cue is right up there with the very best I've ever tasted. We had a huge pork sandwich. Every bite had a some of the smoky, black outside meat surrounded by tender, juicy inside pieces. Had a choice of two sauces -- a mild that was a bit two mild and a hot (thin, like Eastern NC sauce) that wasn't real flavorful. Using some of each was the ticket for me. A bonus: some of the best fries I've ever had.

2. JoJo's Catfish Wharf, Mountain View. Right on the river, and huge plates of catfish filets (the menu promised 7 pieces, but I got 8). I knew I was in the right place when, before the fish arrived, the waitress plopped down a big basket with about two dozen golfball-size hush puppies..

3. Petit Jean State Park restaurant. Great buffet, featuring chicken and dumplings just like my mother used to make (and my mother made good chicken and dumplings). Great view from the dining room was a bonus.

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