Thursday, February 26, 2015

Girl scouts, edamame, Irish eats and chocolate rolls; mark your spring calendars

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 9:48 AM

click to enlarge NEW SPRING: Lambs, like this one from Times' publisher Alan Leveritt's India Blue Farm, are just one of the signs of spring.
  • NEW SPRING: Lambs, like this one from Times' publisher Alan Leveritt's India Blue Farm, are just one of the signs of spring.

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

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 

*Wine and Food: 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.

*First Flowers: 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.

*Buffet Style: 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.

*Get Rollin': 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.

*Sumptuous Soy: 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.

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