The winter weather was relentless this past weekend in the beautiful northern Arkansas town of Eureka Springs, but this was not enough to sour our visit, and good food was still had among our small group at many of the area’s local restaurants. We were surprised how quickly most of the town’s restaurants and shops were shut down by the persistent snowfall, but luckily we were still able to dig up some good grub when we needed it most.
Our first night in, we found ourselves at Thai House, and its hot and spicy flavors were the perfect way to unthaw after the long drive into town. We were please with our excellent starters—crispy fried spring rolls and crispy pork dumplings, and both of these dishes did not last long on our table. My panang curry was very respectable, with a nice creamy broth rich with peanut and coconut milk, all smothering tender chunks of chicken. But our Pad Thai left a little to be desired, being a bit on the dry and flavorless side…not bad, but we’ve certainly had better.
But the next morning, our party was close to famished as we sought out breakfast. Luckily, the ever-popular Mud St. Cafe was fully operational and seemed to be supplying the morning meal to most of the city’s visitors that day. Our group was very pleased with our thick, fluffy blueberry pancakes…which we all found to be particularly delightful. Cheesy grits were on most people’s plate as well, and seemed to be a favorite at our table. There were omelets and standard orders of bacon, eggs, and hash browns…all of them good. But I was hankering for a slice of their pie…and I’m quite happy I decided to devour that tall, creamy slice of coconut cream for breakfast that day.
The evening’s meal found us huddled inside DeVito’s Italian Restaurant…which may have been one of only a half dozen restaurants in town still open for dinner over the weekend. But we were all pleased to make it our dinner selection, and while they were slammed with customers, they handled the crowds with ease and service and food never faltered. Our starters of crispy fried cheese ravioli and cornmeal-crusted “trout fingers” were well received, and both were consumed quickly. Entrees were all satisfactory. Several at our table selected the Trout Italiano (there was a surprising amount of trout on the menu, so it seemed the logical choice). This “national award-winning recipe” was probably the most popular plate at the table—butterflied trout sautéed in olive oil and topped with sweet peppers, capers, and lemon. The Pork Loin Caperi was also a hit with our group, composed of sautéed pork tenderloin medallions topped with a course-ground mustard caper cream sauce. We all went to bed stuffed and satisfied that evening.
The last meal of our trip was another late breakfast, and this time we found ourselves at Sweet-N-Savory Cafe. It was a mixed bag overall, but we were mostly pleased with our food here. Biscuits were quite good, but the gravy smothered over them was only a prefabricated, ready-mix version of pepper gravy. My slice of “Greek Quiche” with feta, artichokes, spinach, mushrooms, and hash browns was excellent, and I was glad I ordered it. Another nice entree was the Veggie Omelet, which came chock-full of a variety of sautéed vegetables, covered in cheese, and wrapped in perfectly cooked eggs. Unfortunately, those of us craving pancakes only found their “Flannel Cakes” on the menu—a slightly disappointing “gluten free” flapjack that came out thin, dry, and a little bland…not nearly as great as our hotcakes had the day before at Mud St.
As we headed home, we were all a little sad to be leaving this snow-covered version of Eureka Springs. Sure, the town was crippled by some unexpected weather, but good friends and several good meals helped warm us right up. Personally, I can’t wait to make my way back.