Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Arkansas Bucket List - 11 Must-Take Trips for 2016.

Everyone has something they've always wanted to do.  Those daring acts and adventures you'd like to tackle is often called a "bucket list" (things to do before you kick the bucket) -- and it usually includes a good deal of places people want to go, see and do in their lifetime.

When I talk about Arkansas, there's usually a person in the crowd who mentions they've always wanted to go to a place I've mentioned, or eat something I've talked about.  Get a head-start on your planning.  Make your reservations now to cross these items off your bucket list.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Look Inside the William J. Clinton Presidential Birthplace Home National Historic Site.

The place recognized as the childhood home of our 42nd president is in the news right now for a suspected arson, but will certainly be cleaned up and re-opened soon.  Here's what it looked like before the fire at Bill Clinton's earliest home.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

36 Christmas Novelty Songs (With No Chipmunks Whatsoever).

The yuletide holiday brings out the joy, and sometimes the strange and ridiculous, in all of us. In that happy vein, here's a fine selection of Christmas novelty tunes to enjoy.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

5 Magnificent New Orleans Po'Boy Sandwiches.

You can have all sorts of sandwiches on French bread, but without the perfect bread made somewhere around I-10, it just isn't a po'boy.  I've spent more than my fair share of time in New Orleans over the years, and I've had more than my fair share of po'boys.  Here are the five I'll go back to again and again.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rohwer Remembered In the Fallow Field.

The Rohwer War Relocation Center in the southern part of the Arkansas Delta marks a place in time where a horrible injustice took place.  Recent efforts have brought the cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, up to notice, and a restoration has taken place.

But this place still haunts.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Scenes from the Arkansas Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

On a bright December afternoon, three Arkansas Pearl Harbor survivors were honored with a ceremony commemorating that fateful date of December 7, 1941... as the former US Navy tugboat Hoga was formally welcomed to Arkansas.  Take a look.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Wonderland At Garvan Woodland Gardens.

Under a canopy of pines, all along a peninsula on Lake Hamilton, Garvan Woodland Gardens sprawls in quiet majesty.  It's open eleven months of the year, a haven for nature lovers, romantics and such... but during the last six weeks it becomes a wonderland of light.  Come explore!

Monday, November 30, 2015

35 Things You'll Find Inside The Green Corner Store in Little Rock.

In a decades-old storefront in Little Rock's South Main District, you'll find The Green Corner Store, an eco-friendly lifestyle store that offers organic and local items of all sorts. It's a rather neat place, with a working soda fountain operated by Loblolly Creamery and so many gifts and daily-use items to take home. Let's take a look inside.

Order Arkansas Christmas Gifts Online!

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list?  Why not send a piece of Arkansas? Here's a comprehensive list of all sorts of great Arkansas products you can send to the ones you love... all sorts of links to online order-able items that will make an impression.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hunter Tries Out IDO3D's Pen Kit.

Now, I'm not much of a product blogger, but when my daughter had the chance to try out the new IDO3D pen set, she wanted to make that happen.  She loves hanging out at the Innovation Hub in North Little Rock, and she's fascinated by 3D printing.  So we gave this kit a shot.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

105 Things You'll Find Inside Dick's 5 and 10 in Branson.

For more than 50 years, Dick's 5 and 10 has taken up a space on Main Street in downtown Branson.  Dick Hartley's decision to offer more than the traditional general store was the start of a process that would pack his business with every dry good, souvenir and oddity available and create a must-stop for tourists of all ages.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving Arkansas Style.

There are many items out there considered native to the American dining experience on Thanksgiving day... a turkey or ham on the table, a pie in the oven, football on the television and the family around the table.  But what could be considered a truly Arkansas Thanksgiving?

If you need a cheat sheet, you've got it.  Let's talk about those Arkansas products, foodstuffs and recipes that make a perfect day for all.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

21 Pies at the Pork, Poultry and Pie Dinner.

Saturday night, I was the guest of the good folks at the First Presbyterian Church in North Little Rock's Argenta District, at the third annual Pork, Poultry and Pie Dinner.  The meal of tasty barbecued chicken, pork, beans, slaw and breads was just a start to an evening of pies... from competition pies to friendly sharing pies. It was a great evening.

And you really need to see these pies.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Scenes from the 2015 Arkansas Cornbread Festival.

The fifth Arkansas Cornbread Festival is (as of this writing) still underway on South Main Street in Little Rock.  The annual to-do created by Anita Davis and hosted around the Bernice Garden brings hundreds of cornbread lovers to this booming new area each year to celebrate a Southern staple.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Scenes from the 5th Annual World Cheese Dip Championship.

Cheese dip.  Since documented as a bona fide Arkansas creation, natives of the state have started to truly celebrate the golden concoction.  Today, the Little Rock River Market Pavilion became the hub of this celebration, as (for the fifth time) competitors faced off to see who could create the best.

While Hunter and I judged upstairs, Grav Weldon captured the essence of this event in photos.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five Minutes Flat Pizza at Pie Five Pizza in Benton.

I get a lot of requests to cover chain restaurants, but I tend to defer to other food bloggers in Central Arkansas to cover the,  This time, though, I was curious about a single idea -- a pizza joint that can take your pizza order and make it in five minutes.

Seriously, this is a thing.  That's why Grav and I headed out to Pie Five Pizza in Benton Wednesday.  The restaurant was running a testing session before Friday's grand opening, which meant we had an advance opportunity to figure out -- is five minute pizza for real?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Leaf It All Behind And Go Chase Arkansas's Fall Foliage.

October and November are high season in many parts of Arkansas, thanks to a plethora of deciduous trees and a long autumn.  People come here to The Natural State just to see the fall foliage, the annual changing of the leaves from one color to another before winter takes them all down.

Where should you go to see some of the finest displays in the state? Check out some of these great drives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Savor Little Rock's Craft Beverage Bounty with the Locally Labeled Passport.

Twenty years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find much craft beer here in Central Arkansas.  Ten years ago, you had a small smattering, from Diamond Bear to Vino's.  Today, an entire generation of crafted beverage makers are calling Little Rock home, and now you can enjoy all those diverse drinks.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The 2015 Arkansas State Fair Food Guide.

The Arkansas State Fair continues through October 18th in Little Rock. Here's your guide to all the food at the Arkansas State Fair - what's new, what's back and what's available all over the fairgrounds. Everything's in alphabetical order, so you can figure out if your choice is out there this year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The 2015 Arkansas State Fair Food Preview.

Here it is, better than your Moment of Zen: it's your Afternoon of Wow in the form of this year's new foods at the Arkansas State Fair.  The 10 day event starts Friday off Roosevelt Road at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.

Arkansas State Fair Pre-Preview: This Year's Expected New Fair Foods.

See the newly presented Arkansas State Fair foods here.

Today, a cadre of new fair foods will be showcased and shared, and members of the media will vote to see who wins this year's Tasty Tom awards.  But here's what we're expecting.

Petit Jean Meats Brings a Big Dog to the Midway.

Here's a sneak peak at a new item that's locally made and available at the end of the midway.

This is the Big Dog.  It's a two foot long hot dog.  It's made by Petit Jean Meats, which means it's quality.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

5 Blocks of Little Rock's Main Street Food Truck Festival.

You've come a long way, baby.

Five years ago, the Main Street Food Truck Festival kicked off for the first time. It was... well, it wasn't quite as well planned out as everyone had hoped, but that was likely more to do with the sheer number of individuals who showed up, got in line, realized they needed to get event currency, got in that line... you get the picture.

The kinks have been worked out.  The festival has expanded.  And this particular Saturday in downtown Little Rock, it was evident that food trucks have taken hold in Little Rock, and this event is a sure winner.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Walk and Explore Downtown Little Rock For Free!

The Junction Bridge, now a pedestrian bridge between
Little Rock and North Little Rock.
This is my city. I love Little Rock, and I've seen a lot of changes over the years. I can remember when downtown was a bit frightening, and how it all started to change at the end of the 20th century. And I clearly remember walking the River Market just a few days before the opening of the Clinton
The Little Rock skyline from Riverfront Park.
Presidential Center in 2004.

This city has grown up.  And now, whether you're from Little Rock or from somewhere else, you can lay eyes on these grand changes firsthand... with a tour guide.  Best of all, for October, it's free.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Don't Just Speed On By Marshall Restaurant.

Follow Kat on Twitter @TieDyeTravels.

For nearly eight years now, I've passed the old restaurant alongside US Highway 65 in Marshall. Restaurant, the sign reads. That's all, an old white and yellow sign by the road that says Restaurant. When it's raining or late at night, I have my eyes on the road. But when I pass in daylight, I almost always make a mental check to try it out.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Quick Bite: Chicken Fried Steak at Taylors' Made Cafe.

I lamented the folding of O'Henry's a while back. My travels haven't had me out on Arkansas Highway 365 in a while, so when I was passing through the area recently and had a hunger in my belly, seeing a new shingle hung on the old restaurant was enough to get me to pull off the road.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Early to Rise at Old Mill Bread and Flour Company in Little Rock.

Have you ever had an Everlasting Gobstopper? Those jawbreakers seem to last forever.  Well, I've found the everlasting gobstopper of cinnamon rolls, right here in Little Rock, at the Old Mill Bread and Flour Company.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Jamie Farr Saved My Week.

It has been a tough September. I won't sugarcoat it... it has been hell. My boyfriend's mother is dying. His cat just passed away. We work together, and through some bad luck and forces unrelated to us happening with a couple of the clients we write and shoot for, we've had cancellations and postponements that mean unless there's some brilliant hustling, we'll only bring in about a third of our normal pay this month.

But then there was a meme.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Glossary of Arkansas Food.

A while back, I created the Arkansas Food Map. Rock City Outfitters has the design in white on a blue or red background on their website, and it's been popular.

The map, and this project, spring from the simple question of "what is Arkansas food?" - which I've been working to define since 2007.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Joy of Silvek's European Bakery in Little Rock.

For more than two generations, Silvek's has been operating its fine bakery out of the Kroger on Cantrell in the Heights. It still makes me happy.
Note: This bakery sadly closed in May 2016.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A 24 Hour Museum in Bentonville at 21c Museum Hotel.

Museums abound all over Arkansas, ranging from historical to artistic to just plain weird. But just one museum I’ve found manages to stay open all the time. That’s the museum at the 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Road Eats: Beechwood Restaurant in Vicksburg, MS.

It was a dark and stormy night... and we were tired of driving in the storm.  Ever since we'd left Mount Holly Plantation's burned out ruins, we'd flown ahead of the storm until it rolled over us and blinded us.  Even as we entered Vicksburg and rolled above I-20, we remained blind to all but what we saw on the road directly ahead, thanks to the flapping windshield wipers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Messy Chili Cheeseburger at Sam's Olde Tyme Hamburgers in Rogers.

I could say I've never met a burger I didn't like... but that would be a lie.  There have been some disappointments out there.

But not at Sam's Olde Tyme Hamburgers in Rogers.  Oh, no.  What I encountered at the red-awning decked shop on the east side of town was a messy, gloppy marvel of excellence, with a perfect patty beneath.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Delectable DeLuca's in Hot Springs.

Love Neapolitan-style pizza? Hot Springs is home to a new pizzeria where the thin-crust pies are the star, and each one comes topped with local produce and sauces. Let's check out DeLuca's.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Inside the Arlington - The Largest Hotel in Arkansas.

Hot Springs is known as one of Arkansas's most popular tourist destinations.  Nestled in between the Diamond Lakes, speckled with a plethora of grand, fun and friendly attractions, dotted with great shopping opportunities and blessed with world-famous thermal bathing, the Spa City is a top choice for travelers looking for the right place to kick back and relax.

The city's most famous accommodations can be found within an edifice overlooking the famed Hot Springs Bathhouse Row.

Last Chance at Summer – Ideas for an Arkansas Labor Day Weekend.

Summer has slipped away, and the kids are back in school.  What can you do on the last three day weekend before the school year fully kicks in?

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Tommy's Pizza Is Worth A Significant Detour.

When I was young and inexperienced, I could not imagine a single food item worthy of a major detour.  After all, it was enough just to get out and try a place from time to time.  If I wasn't on the way to some place, I seriously had to consider whether it was worth it to drive X number of miles for a meal.

But then I tried Tommy's Famous... A Pizzeria, and that went out the window.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wagon Wheel's Comfort Food Sustains in Greenbrier.

Arkansas, if it were to have just one sort of restaurant to represent it, wouldn't be shown as a barbecue joint. Nor would it be an Ark-Mex joint, or a Chinese buffet, a sandwich shop or drive-in.

If you were to pick one restaurant that bears the hallmarks of the overall average of all Arkansas restaurants, it'd look like the Wagon Wheel.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chocolate Rolls, The Pride of Searcy County Arkansas.

Everywhere you go, there will be something that people say can't be found anywhere else, or something that was created right there. In Arkansas, we all know about fried pickles in Atkins and that Petit Jean hot dogs come from Morrilton. Searcy County, buried in the hollows of the Arkansas Ozarks, has its own claim to fame in the form of the chocolate roll.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Barbecue Tour of Far South Alabama.

There are many places, people, even states that lay claim to great barbecue. I grew up between the forces of Memphis pork butt and Texas beef brisket, sometimes waved by the eddies of Kansas City and St. Louis. Arkansas’s own home-grown ‘cue’s descent into obscurity, that of the smoked goat, left behind only some of the famed sauces that once covered it (McClard’s and Craig Brothers’ comes to mind), coleslaw on the top and sometimes, the desire to serve one’s meat on white bread.

Arkansas Trips for Adults (Now That The Kids Are Back In School).

Summertime is great... a wonderful time to spend with family while children are out of class.  But once school starts, Arkansas is a wonderland for adults who are looking for more grown-up adventures.

Here are some places to go now that the kids are back in school.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On Top of Hillberry - Magic at The Farm.

Atop a mountain north of Eureka Springs, abutting the Mark Twain National Forest, you’ll find an undulating field and a gigantic stage.

This is The Farm.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From My Desk in the 505, A Week at the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow.

I came to Writer's Colony to see if I could write a novel. What I found was... well, myself.

The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow is a special place for me and other writers.  I've been longing to spend a significant amount of time here for ages.  My first stay here was in July 2012, for just one night.  I was a guest speaker at the Colony for the Fleur Delicious Festival, and I was kindly offered a place to stay.  What I didn't realize then was this would become my secret bedroom, my lair for when I really needed to get the words out.

An Evening at Ermilio's in Eureka Springs.

Any day, and I mean any day during the summertime in Eureka Springs, there's a line outside Ermilio's Italian Home Cooking. It starts before the restaurant opens at five and rarely goes completely away before closing time at nine. And that's every single summer day.

Because of this, I've never taken Grav here... and it's a shame. The boy will not wait for food.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Walk Through the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog.

Off the cuff, the remark "hey, let's go look at a bog!" when it's 89 degrees outside in southern Alabama may sound a little off. After all, aren't bogs what trolls hang out in? Few would be excited to spend their midmorning ankle deep in muck, right?

However, bogs are important eco-systems that often get overlooked. They're fragile, and even footprints can cause problems for plants who need the spongy, water-filled soil to grow.

The Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog between Magnolia Springs and Fairhope, Alabama is meant to help preserve a unique area, part waterscape, part landscape, where carnivorous plants can grow.