Monday, August 7, 2017
Growing Up with The Purple Cow.
A caveat - I enjoyed my share of Purple Cow sodas, shakes and ice cream creations before I ever became a parent myself. I’ve been a fan ever since the first location opened on Cantrell Road back in 1989 - the year I got my driver’s license.
Businessman Ed Moore and Chef Paul Bash created this retro 50s style diner. Bash was best known at the time for Jacques and Suzanne’s, the state’s premier French fine dining restaurant that he'd closed by choice a short time before. It took off - and today there are locations of The Purple Cow on Chenal and in Hot Springs and Conway, too.
It occured to me a couple of weeks ago, when my mom and I took my daughter and her best friend to the restaurant to celebrate the first day of school, that I have an entire chronology of this child growing up at Purple Cow.
That chronology actually begins with this photo. At the time, Hunter wasn't here yet. It was July 2008, I was pregnant and all I could think about was this banana split. So one Sunday afternoon we went over and sat in the back corner and enjoyed said banana split. It was decadent and wonderful - and, strangely enough, the photo itself became one of my most recognized pieces. This was a perfect banana split - scoops of Yarnell's chocolate, vanilla and Homemade Strawberry ice cream under chocolate sauce, pineapple sauce and strawberry sauce respectively, that all under whipped cream and peanuts between two halves of banana... with cherries on top, of course!
That orange cream milkshake, though - that was so good. Orange soda and vanilla ice cream. Can't beat it.
a whole Saturday of mother-daughter fun. And The Purple Cow's brunches are pretty dang good. This pecan waffle (that thing above) is spot-on, and Hunter got to utilize her growing utensil skill on pancakes and eggs. Good times.
We'd just spent 60 hours in 100 degree heat in the southern part of the state, shooting and researching for 16 different stories,and at the end of it all cooling off with ice cream seemed a reasonable idea.
Besides, you can't go wrong with caffeination.
June comes along, and heartbreak ensues. Yarnell's Ice Cream, which creates the proprietary Purple Cow ice cream, closed down. There was shock, there were tears - and there was a really big concern about where The Purple Cow would get that purple ice cream. I know some of it was stocked back, but I also remember a short time when Yarnell's didn't provide the ice cream for the restaurants. That's a dark time.
Fortunately, Yarnell's wasn't even closed a year, and when it came back it was right back to providing The Purple Cow with its scoops.
2013 - another afternoon with Hunter, this time after school. She looks forward to coloring the sheets even now, and even then she knew something was wrong if she didn't get her cup of crayons the moment we sat down. She had to have her Purple Cow shake as always, and a kids basket of corn pups and fries. This particular time, I tried out the soup and salad.
I like the basic salad at Purple Cow because it has red and yellow bell peppers. I like those. They're awesome. The vegetable soup is pretty darn good, too, and the perfect - the PERFECT - cure for brain freeze. Which is what I get when I get too excited about my coffee soda.
See, Purple Cow tends to create all sorts of seasonal specials - whimsical treats like this boo-tastic wonder with marshmallow ghost and graham cracker gravestone. Kids eat that stuff up. Literally.
So are you starting to see what I'm getting at? We eat at Purple Cow a LOT.
I know getting the appetizer sampler's always a winner, since Hunter and Grav will fight over fried pickle spears and seasoned fries while I swipe the fried mushrooms and onion rings.
I know my salad loving friends can find something good, like the chef's salad.
I know when I want an all-beef chili dog, The Purple Cow can totally hook me up.
And I know when I go back and look through all the photos I've taken there over the past eight years, I can see how my daughter has grown up on me.
This last visit, I tried yet another item that I'd missed out on before...
a rather good Reuben sandwich. Ever true to the nature of being who they are, the Russian dressing came on the side, so I could put on just as much as I wanted to.
Because that's the thing - The Purple Cow caters to folks who are particular about what they want to eat. Kids fit that strongly. Over the years, Hunter has gone from eating everything except grapefruit to being extaordinarily picky (she doesn't like beets, celery or melted cheese unless it's on a pizza or in cheese dip) and back, and we've never had to encourage her to eat what's in front of her here. For parents, that's always a good thing.
And besides, the folks there don't even blink if you ask to split a Purple Cow milkshake for a couple of elementary school girls.
Craving ice cream? Or just want to see what I'm talking about? Head over to the website for locations and the menus. I think you'll rather enjoy this place. Hunter sure does.