As I walked to the office today from the I-30 free parking, the cold air cut through me like a lover's scorn and I kept my eyes to the ground on the outlook for the random ice patches that seem to find my sneakers like trip-seeking missiles. And I thought of spring. Of course, to be fair, I generally start thinking about spring the day after Christmas — I'm one of those sad sacks who finds the gray winter hard to deal with and craves the sun.
So, spring. It's a fun time to be in the Natural State, and there's lots of fun things to do. Here's a rundown of some upcoming events so you can take this (hopefully) last week of gray skies to plan for the new season.
*Scouting good food:
Launch into spring with a celebration of those national treasures, Girl Scout Cookies. I've already eaten through the Thin Mints I stashed in the freezer and tried to forget. Local chefs are celebrating the cookies by creating desserts inspired by various cookies. The schedule runs thus:
Feb. 23-March 1: Elliott Jones of YaYa's Euro Bistro will offer a Tagalongs-inspired dessert
*Wine and Food:
Feb. 24: Matt Lowman of South on Main will offer a Do-Si-Do-inspired dessert jar
Feb. 24-28: Brian Deloney of Maddie's Place will offer a Toffee-Tastic-inspired dessert
Feb. 25-28: Alexis Jones of Natchez will offer a Trefoil-inspired dessert
Feb. 25-March 1: Autumn Hall of Big Orange will offer a Samoas-inspired milkshake
Feb. 26-28: Jeff Owen of Ciao Baci will offer a Savannah Smiles-inspired dessert
Feb. 27: Anne Woodson of Forty-Two will offer a Thin Mint-inspired dessert
The Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Institute
is holding a wine and food pairing
event at their state-of-the-art culinary facility. These folks know how to do it right.
Like daffodils? How about when they're served with a side of steak? If so, the Camden Daffodil Festival
is your ticket to both. The festival runs March 6-7, with a championship steak cook-off getting underway on the 7th. You have to get tickets in advance, but with the food, music and fun available, why wouldn't you?
*Luck O' the Irish:
Ok, so March 14 might not actually be St. Paddy's Day, but do we really need an excuse for a parade
? Not with parade anchors like Dugan's Pub
and Cregeen's Irish Pub
we don't. Celebrate your Irish heritage or express your support for the Emerald Isle starting at 1 p.m.
If the parade got you in the mood for some Irish grub, head up to the Ozark Folk Center
in Mountain View for their St. Patrick's Buffet and Celtic Music Show
. The events start March 17 at 6 p.m.
What's a chocolate roll? If you want the answer to that question, you'll need to head to the self-proclaimed chocolate roll capital of the world on March 21. What? Where? Oh, that would be Marshall, Arkansas — they'll be holding their annual Chocolate Roll Contest
at Marshall High School from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more details, call 870-448-6224.
*Explore Little Rock:
Eat well and shop well — that's what Riverdale Design and Dine
is all about. Eat good food from Riverdale mainstays like Maddie's Place, Faded Rose and The Fold Botanas & Bar, then head out to some of the neighborhood's best shopping. Trolley service available. Event is March 12 at 5:30 p.m.
And lastly, the 2nd Annual Mulberry Edamame Festival
will be held March 28. Soy beans are important to Arkansas, and edamame is a new way farmers are trying to promote soy.