Posts Tagged ‘Bed and Breakfast in Little Rock’

The French Connection

September 5th, 2012 by Lisa

A Gothic Queen Anne Structure with Queen Victoria presiding over the Dining Table seems about as British as they come…but The Empress has a more diverse European flair than you may at first think.  Bob Blair and Sharon Welch-Blair, owners of the Empress, are currently touring France; so we thought now would be a perfect time to focus on The French Connection at The Empress of Little Rock!!!

Pictured here is our incredible eight foot, 1870’s sculpture, which came directly from a Paris street where it served Parisians water for many years.  Now it servesThe Empress and our guests, not water, but with a beautiful view.

 

 

And here is our statue’s present day Parisian counterpart.  Sharon snapped a picture of this beauty still in use on the streets of Paris!  This one is cast iron and made in 1923. Water was pouring in a steady stream out of the top.

 

Feline Concierge Part of The Empress’ Charm.

August 1st, 2012 by Lisa

The Empress of Little Rock is known for the friendliness and hospitality of our owners and Innkeepers, but many guests also become acquainted with our mascot, Lovie Dovie.  Dovie is known for her “Southern hospitality.” She will sometimes escort guests from the guest parking lot to the back porch door, where she waits “patiently” to take them around to the front door to enter into the inn. She will then most times flop down  and let them pet and love on her.

Dovie is a Tortoiseshell cat. “Torties” are named for their distinctive coloring (a combination of patches of black, brown, amber, red, cinnamon and chocolate.)  An interesting fact, is that Torties are almost exclusively female. A very unique thing about Dovie – she is a polydactyl cat (“Hemingway” or “Mittens” cat.)  While most cats have 18 toes (five on each front foot and four on the rear), polydacts have six or more toes on the front feet, and sometimes an extra toe on the rear. We knew Dovie was special!

She will also try to talk guests into letting her come into the inn.  She will look up at them with her sweet, innocent little eyes, meow and just know that they will do what she wants. The thing is, she knows that she is not supposed to come into the inn. She is counting on the “kindness of strangers.”  A typical Tortie, she is quite talker, displaying that famous “tortitude!”

We hope everyone will come visit us and Dovie at some time in the future!

 

The Empress Recevies Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence!

June 17th, 2012 by Lisa

We want to thank all of our guests for making our “2012 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence” award possible!  We continually strive for excellence and are so glad that our guests go away saying “we knew it would be good, but it was so much better than we expected”.  The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence awards hospitality excellence.  This exclusive accolade is given only to establishments that consistently receive outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide.  Approximately 10% of all accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

We hope guests both returning and first-time come to enjoy the amenities that make The Empress deserving of the title “Excellent”.

The Empress is Once Again “Best of the Best”

May 31st, 2012 by Lisa

AY Magazine published their annual “Best of The Best” edition in May.  The magazine polls Arkansans, asking for their favorites in areas ranging from medical care to nightlife.  Here at The Empress, the category we are most interested in is, of course, best Bed and Breakfast.  And the winner of this prestigious award?  Once again it is The Empress of Little Rock!!!  Other Bed and Breakfasts receiving runner-up rewards this year were The 1890 Williams House Inn and Lookout Pointe Inn, both in Hot Springs.

We would like to congratulate these and other winners in categories such as favorite restaurant, shopping center and bank.  And thank you to all of the AY Magazine readers who voted for The Empress as Arkansas’ Best Bed and Breakfast!

See a digital copy of the “Best of the Best” issue at:

http://issuu.com/laurenhampton/docs/aymagazine-may-2012/74?mode=window&backgroundColor=%23222222

The Miracle Worker comes to The Weekend Theater

March 19th, 2012 by Lisa

Are you staying the upcoming weekend at The Empress and looking for a bit of extra entertainment?  How about going to The Weekend Theater

For those who enjoy the magical world of live theater, The Weekend Theater is a unique black-box theater at the corner of 7th and Chester Streets in Little Rock, Arkansas. The audience can enjoy the intimacy of the small theater in a wonderful, comfortably remodeled theater House with a new stage lighting system to bring The Weekend Theater productions to life. The Weekend Theater is decidedly New York in character – apartments upstairs, theater downstairs, pizza joint/microbrewery across one street, and the local fire station across the other!

Currently playing at The Weekend Theater isThe Miracle Worker By William Gibson.  The show finishes up it’s run on March 23, 24.

One determined person can make a world of difference, even save a life – and if you’ve ever doubted that, then William Gibson’s classic play “The Miracle Worker” will convince you otherwise. It is the story of how teacher Annie Sullivan opened up the world of blind, deaf, and mute Helen Keller.  Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 24.  Tickets, $16 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors age 65 and older, can be ordered online at the theater’s Web site, www.weekendtheater.org, or purchased at the door before each performance, based on availability. Reservations are no longer taken by phone, but you can get more information about this show and upcoming events by calling (501) 374-3761.

The Rep Welcomes you to Girls Night Out!

March 7th, 2012 by Lisa

Need something to do while staying at the award-winning Empress of Little Rock?  If soaking in your jacuzzi tub or sitting in our gardens is too relaxing…the Rep offers ladies some excitement!

On March 29, 2012, from 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., enjoy wine, lite bites and shopping in The Rep’s Main Lobby and Foster’s Bar.  This is followed by The Wiz on the Rep’s Mainstage at 7:00 p.m.

Arkansas Repertory Theatre hosts Girls Night Out at The Rep featuring chic fashions, shoes and accessories from N’chole Ferorce, Vogue Visage, Princess Breeze Boutique, Scentsy and DSW. Thursday, March 29 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. shop some of the latest spring fashions then at 7:00 p.m. watch see the cast ease on down the road in the musical The Wiz on The Rep’s Mainstage.

Explore two floors of clothing, shoes and accessories at Girls Night Out at The Rep while listening to the soulful jazz melodies of Rodney Block. Enjoy lite bites and delectable desserts from Brown Sugar Bakery. The first 100 ladies at Girls Night Out will receive an exclusive gift bag and receive one voucher for a free drink in The Rep’s new bar, Foster’s.

Call The Rep Box Office for tickets to Girls Night out at (501) 378-0405.

 

Moist and Delicious Chocolate Beet Cake

January 18th, 2012 by Lisa

This delicious dessert was served at our New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance with vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  The chocolate glaze and beet chips make for a unique and tasty chocolate cake!

Chocolate Beet Cake

 4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

11/2 teaspoons baking soda

Salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup safflower oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Vegetable oil cooking spray

 

Chocolate Glaze

(recipe follows)

Garnish:  Candied Beet Chips

(recipe follows)

 

1.        Cover beets with 2 inches water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Puree beets in a food processor until smooth.

2.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar cocoa powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large  bowl. Whisk in eggs, water, oil, vanilla, and 1/14 cups beet puree (reserve remaining puree for another use).

3.        Coat a 9-inch round cake pan (3 inches deep) with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment, and coat with spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn out cake from pan, and discard parchment. Let cool completely, right side up.

4.        Trim top of cake using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Transfer cake, cut side down to a serving platter. Pour chocolate glaze over top, and let set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with beet chips.

Make ahead unglazed cake can be store at room temperature (wrapped in plastic) for up to two  days. Storage glazed cake can be stored at room temperature for up to one day.

 

Chocolate Glaze

Active time:  5 minutes

Total time:  15 minutes

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Bring heavy cream and corn syrup to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a bowl, and let stand for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is shiny and smooth. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Use immediately.

 

Candied Beet Chips

Active time:  10 minutes

Total time:  1 hour 40 minutes

Makes 1/2 cup

4 baby beets, preferably Chioggia

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1.        Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice beets very thinly into rounds, preferably on a mandolin. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.  Add beets. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly translucent, about 30 minutes.

2.        Using a slotted spoon, transfer beets in a single layer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a nonsticking baking mat. Bake until dry and slightly firm, about 1 hour.

Storage chips can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

 

Guests Loved our Fall off of the Bone Tender Braised Lamb!

January 17th, 2012 by Lisa

Braised Lamb Chops with Red Wine and Figs

 Active time:  20 minutes

Total time:  1 hour and 50 minutes

Serves 4

Start braising anywhere from two days to two hours before serving; as the meat stands in the rich cause, the flavors have more time to develop.

 

4 lamb should chops (about 1 inch thick)

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and coarsely ground

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup full-bodied dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

2 cups chicken stock

7 ounces Calimyrna figs

2 dried bay leaves

 

1.        Preheat oven to 305 degrees. Season lamb with fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in large high-sided ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear chops until well browned, about 5 minutes per side.

2.        Add wine and vinegar. Boil until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add stock, figs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

3.        Braise lamb in oven, covered, for 45  minutes. Uncover. Braise, basing often, until lamb is tender and just falling off the bone, about 45 minutes more. (If liquid is not sauce like, simmer over medium-heat until thickened.) Serve lamb with cause.

 

Make ahead braised lamb chops can be refrigerated for up to two days. Reheat briefly, covered, in a low-temperature oven.