From Pancakes to Sopicaldo!
In September, Don and I stayed a night in Hot Spring, Arkansas. From the Arlington Hotel, we could look down on these 2 very different restaurants and they both intrigued us.
Cute Place, Bad Photos
We were told the patio upstairs was open. I tried to snap a photo of the hallway that was part wall and part cliff. Very hard to explain, but it was an odd journey to get to the outside dining area.
Lights and Raccoons
The terrace was built right into the side of a cliff. The festive lights and mossy rock, made me think I was in a place created by Disney, but it was real. There was even real wildlife.
The busboy was in the midst of shooing away a baby raccoon... with a shotgun. That sort of freaked me out a bit, but he was using the gun more like a broom. We were in Arkansas, after all.
Food from Ecuador!
Chef Castro was from Ecuador, so I wanted something special from his country. The "Sopicaldo de Pollo" may not look that exciting, but I found it sort of intoxicating. I kept asking the waiter what was in it, because I was nearly giddy over it and I'm not really the biggest fan of chicken soup.. which was basically what it was. But our server wasn't sure. He just knew he often craved it as a comfort food, as well.
Don's El Plato Cubano
In the early morning, we headed across to the same spot. This time we slipped inside The Pancake Shop which has been family owned and run since 1940.
Years of Efficient Service
The hostess ushered us to a table so quickly, I would have thought she was trying to hide us, except she seated us in the center of the cafe. Menus and coffee nearly flew at our table. "What's all the rush?" I wanted to ask, since the cafe was only half full.
But this is the kind of place where lines must often go out the door. The place was filling up quickly and it was obvious... they had a system for doing things and Don and I were happy to oblige.
Maybe the real reason they were rushing was to make space for all the deliveries. While seated we watched a delivery guy roll through with a full load of chocolate milk.
Another cart brought boxes of oranges. Don quickly calculated one load must have been carrying 120 dozen eggs. When I chuckled with the manager, she laughed that it was Monday, after all. Then she introduced me to her "Sausage Lady!"
Lots of Photos, Lots of History
While Don paid up, I amused myself with photos of family and special guests over the years.
The Ardman Famly bought the business in the 1960's and have enjoyed a few interesting guests since then. I wonder what Liberace ordered? I could almost picture him giving one of those orange stools a spin, just for fun. I actually tried one out. I felt like a kid, but maybe that's because they were super low.
We were in and out, so quickly that we never got to see a line form. It's nice to see they have a cozy area with at least a couple seats for waiting. Kind of reminded me of a doctor's waiting room with magazines. Which gives me a thought. Maybe doctor's offices, should pipe in the smell of pancakes. That would be a very calming scent!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.