Part 10 Rocks and Spas Thursday February 16
Today outside of New Orleans was probably the most picture perfect days of the trip- I couldn't ask for better
I started out the morning about 10 minutes outside of downtown at a superb coffee house called Guillermo's Gourmet Coffee. This is everything and anything a coffee house should be. I declare this the best cuppa java of the trip.
Returning to town. I walked by this historical sport seemingly smack in the middle of downtown.
I recall touring the cabins during my first visit to Little Rock in 1999. In fact this is how I believe most folks back on the east coast would picture downtown Little Rock.
I continued towards the river and the River Market district
a revitalized warehosue district of shops, bars, restaurants and food vendors surround the area.
As I approached the river this plaque makes mention of the actual Little Rock for which this city was named
and there it is!
I decided to walk over the bridge into North Little Rock with the city's downtown skyline in the background
I wanted to see the new ballpark which hadn't been built yet upon my last visit in 2005
Dickey Stephens park home of the double A Arkansas Travelers.
Although the park was closed, I did manage to get a photo of the scoreboard
I then walked back across the bridge into Little Rock as lunchtime was approaching and I wanted to get an early start for my day trip.
An old Roadfood f
avorite located inside a downtown office building. Franke's Cafeteria
I was glad I made it here on a Thursday as one of the day's specials was the old Ozark specialty Chicken and Dumplings.
Here's a birds eye view of my tray.
The Candied Yams were very good
however the eggplant casserole was blander than I expected but not bad.
for some reason I was expecting something with more spices, especially garlic (probably from living in RI for the ast 12 years)
The Chicken and Dumplings were really good. Creamy, hearty and chock full of thick chunks of chicken.
However the true local specialty was this
Corn Pones. Very thick very dense and very chewy, kind of like corn bread on ultra steroids.
For dessert I went with custard pie
Kind of like the southern cousin of Indiana's Sugar Cream Pie. I was hoping to try custard pudding too, but that was the next day's special- oh well...
Overall, I enjoyed Franke's Cafeteria
, it's not as good as Gray'
s in Mooresville IN but then again, what is?
After lunch I took the one hour drive to Hot Springs to spend the afternoon. This is my second visit, the first being in 1999. It doesn't look like much has changed.
Come to think if it, he was still President during my last visit.
My first stop was the Mountain Tower.
And I CLIMBED
my way to the top (yes I really did!)
The views were really cool
I did opt to take the elevator back down.
Afterwards, I walked around town, admiring all the old school classic hotels
This chubby little girl lured me into this shop
unfortunately their ice cream was not home made (they had blue bell) so I walked out- sorry, chubby little girl.
For those who don't know, back in the day, Hot Springs was a vacation spot for those who wanted to head to the bath houses and bathe in the natural spring waters which were considered "medicinal" at the time.
In fact now adays, you can bring your own jug and bottle yer own like this lady is doing.
After continuing to walk around town I did end up at Bubba Lu's Bodacious Burgers
and decided to go with this oreo malt BubbaLu's
seemed like a cute place but trust me the malt looks prettier than it tasted. I suspect the ice cream used to make the malt was a commercial brand.
Continuing to walk around town, I approached this fountain bubbling with spring water- you can see the steam rising - that's how warm the water is.
I did get a few photos of the bathhouses, I believe most of them are no longer in use.
Most of what's left in Hot Springs are tacky tourist attractions
I did pass the entrance to Hot Springs National Park
as well as this interesting fountain
But this really caught my attention Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shoppe
Ok, fat bottomed girls don't attract me but their mini (yes, just a mini) red velvet cupcake certainly did, unfortunately I didn't get a photo.
Anyway, some of you may want to know why I just got a mini cupcake- well, I've been saving my appetite. Stubby's Hik'ry Pit BBQ
I ordered a half rack and a side of beans along with a pit potato
the beans were laced with rich red bbq sauce and bits of ham
The Pit Potato was just redolent of smoke- although I did have to remove about 75 of the huge hunk'a butter that was scooped on.
the ribs came with a generous side of thick deep red sauce which I just plopped on
These are the kind of ribs that Fred Flintstone would be proud of. They're huge, they're meaty and take some gnawing, but oh so well worth it- Not quite as good as Payne's
in Memphis, but still worthy.
before leaving, I picked up a bottle of bbq sauce to go (for guess who?)
After dinner, I returned to Little Rock. I did head out that evening, taking a walk to the regional beer emporium the flying saucer in the River Market district. There was a local beer on tap that was on special brewed by Diamond Bear Brewing in Little Rock, truth of the matter is I don't remember what I had so it probably wasn't memorable. After quaffing down a couple of beers, I walked back to my hotel for evening.
Much more to come...
Stay tuned for the next chapter "The Road to Nashville"