Posts Tagged ‘The Empress of Little Rock’

SoMa in Southern Living

July 31st, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Southern Living bernice gardenmagazine is an institution in the south.  Our favorite recipes, decorating ideas and crafts all come from its glossy pages and colorful online stories.  So of course, SoMa residents were thrilled to see our neighborhood featured as “The Next Great Neighborhood” on The Daily South blog.  For those new to the neighborhood or just visiting, SoMa is what we call the area on the south end of Main Street.  Slightly separate from the bustle of downtown, SoMa still maintains a vibrancy that you can only get in an urban setting.  Regulars enjoy the fresh baked breads and goodies at Community Bakery and Boulevard Bread Company.  We walk down streets that are adorned with art to our own community garden.  We eat locally grown food at The Root Cafe and enjoy small batch ice cream at the Green Corner Store.  And we often enjoy a band and nightcap at South on Main.  We love our neighborhood.  We love that this area surrounded by tree-lined streets and historic houses is once again home to a thriving business, art and entertainment scene.  Wboulevard breade hope you will join us at The Empress and learn to love it too!

If you want to read this article and look at their beautiful pictures, go here.

 

Ahh…to be young…

July 26th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

The Blair’s granddjena blairaughter Jena has spent the summer busily working at The Empress.  She has been a huge help, doing everything from answering phones and taking reservations to cleaning rooms and checking in guests.  Another great thing she brings to the table is the optimism and ingenuity of youth.  A great example of this young, fun attitude is a recent birthday celebration we had for Shana, Sharon’s executive assistant.  A birthday of a staff member is always celebrated with a card and a cake (or sometimes cupcakes!) and it fell on Jena to order the cake and buy the card for this particular celebration.  The cake was ordered in plenty of time (and, being from Community Bakershana birthday picy, was absolutely DELICIOUS) but the card was forgotten until the last minute.  Instead of a last minute dollar store run or a quick search for appropriate clip art, (solutions we old people would embrace)  Jena wasted no time in breaking out her youthful creativity and art skills  and quickly created a card using nothing but paper, pens, sharpies and a lot of imagination.  Shana pronounced it the best card to ever be presented at The Empress (and the cupcake wasn’t all that bad either!).

Tour an Award Winning Distillery in Little Rock

July 23rd, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

rock town Want to know where your bourbon comes from? How about your Gin? Just want to know how a distillery functions? Well Little Rock’s Rock Town Distillery is the place to learn all about what you pour over rocks…or do you take your shaken? Located in downtown Little Rock, this artisan craft distillery welcomes visitors to learn more about their products during a tour and taste. Enjoy the lively tour, which introduces you to the “grass to grain” approach of using local grains, and then take the opportunity to taste Rock Town’s spirits. What kind of spirits? How about Brandon’s Vodka and Gin, Young Bourbon (this one won Best American Bourbon in London’s World Whiskies awards!), Hickory Smoked Whisky, Riverboat Rum, Arkansas Lightning and Apple Pie Lightning.
rocktown tour After your taste and tour, get a cab (or a sober friend) to take you back to The Empress. We are sure Mr. Hornibrook (the house’s original owner, who also happened to be a successful saloon owner) would appreciate your choice of activities.
The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Forty-five minute tours are 4 p.m. during the week and 1:30 and 3 p.m. on weekends. Tours explain the process of making spirits, from selecting the grain to filling the bottles. Tastings are restricted to ages 21 plus. $7/adult. RockTownDistillery.com.

Cultural Cuisine at Forty Two

July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Want a uniquforty two atw wineglassese and fun-filled dining experience while staying at the Empress?  How about an opportunity to explore the world, while leaving your passport at home?  Forty Two, the restaurant at the Clinton Presidential Center, offers this opportunity at its Around the World dining event.  Every third Thursday of the month, they invite guests to explore the sights, sounds and flavors of countries across the globe.  A different country is featured every month, giving diners the chance to have their taste buds take a tour from Italy to India, without having to leave Little Rock.

 

A five-course tasting menu provided, with a bargain price of only $27.95, giving visitors the unique chance to sample distinctive flavors from around the world while enjoying a beautiful waterfront Arkansas setting.  Enjoy the culture of Melbourne, Australia on July 17th, and then come back for Jeonju, South Korea on August 21st!forty two plates

Reservations are required, as this event is extremely popular and seating is limited.  See more at Forty-Two’s website.  Or you can call them at 501-537-0042 to make your reservation.

 

 

 

Green Thoughts about Rising Food Costs

July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Homemade loaves of bread

Fresh out of the oven!

I’m guessing you’ve already figured out foods are going up in cost rapidly.  What a challenge it has been to continue to provide a rich and varied menu that makes a meal special and stay within a budget.  In the last couple of years, we’ve been looking at ways we can improve the experience while cutting the costs, from food to cleaning.  With nine guest rooms, it doesn’t take long to add up.  So here’s a couple of things we’ve come up with that we feel good about that might work for you also.

1-Make you own bread (bread makers make it easy and you know what’s in it) .  But mixes are very expensive.  We decided that making our own mixes made sense and making 10-12 at a time and putting them in zip lock bags allowed us to buy flour in bulk.  We can rinse and reuse the bags, so we don’t add more plastic to the environment.  It costs less than $1 a mix making that many at a time, including your time.  Our guests love the smell of fresh baked bread wafting thru the house.  But they really love the 1″ thick slices of decadent french toast and the cheese strata made with the heels and tops of the loaves.

2-We have our own “Victory Garden” where we raise our own herbs, squash for our golden breakfast pie,  cucumbers for our tea sandwiches, figs we use as fresh fruit and we even created a new fig soup for the fall, and now we have our first crop of grapes.  We’ve also added a persimmon tree, and we have blackberry canes as well.

Tune in for more “green” ideas and how our experiements have worked out.  We’d also love to hear about what unusual thing you’ve done to reduce costs and be “green”

Excitedly Anticipating The Holiday Season!!

November 7th, 2013 by Lisa

As the seasons are changing we at the Empress are excitedly anticipating the Holiday Season.  Our Christmas decorations will go up right after Thanksgiving with decorated trees in every room and our grand rotating Victorian Tree in the parlor.  Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church puts on a Christmas Tour of Homes and the Empress is honored to be included in this years itinerary.  So, mark your calendars early as we look forward to see you and sharing the Spirit of Christmas!

The fun doesn’t end at Christmas, it’s never too early to make your New Years Eve Reservations. Comhornibrook christmas treee toast the New Year with us at our annual New Years Downton Abbey Wine, Dinner & Dance. We will have live music to dance to in the Victorian Fashion, a four-course gourmet meal with wine pairings, and a toast to aud lang syne as the clock strikes twelve.  A quick stroll up the stairs as the party winds down will take you to one of our incredibility romantic suites. Seating is limited at this exclusive “Downton Abbey” style event, so make your plans early to reserve yours!.Reflections of Christmas

barber full table edited

Pop Up In The Rock

October 15th, 2013 by Lisa

Last year, the Pop Up Project Street took over South Main in Little Rock.  For one weekend, Main Street was transformed with bike lanes, outdoor areas, farmers markets and food trucks.  Expect more of the same this year at 7th and Ringo on October 26th. 

Pop Up in the Rock is an urban demonstration of what is possible on a given street and within the city.  There will be demos of transportation, including walking, cycling, public transit and automobiles.  Also included are activities for families.
 
Below is a map of some of what you can expect on the big day:
 
popupintherock

Halloween at Moss Mountain Farm!!!

October 7th, 2013 by Lisa

moss mountain halloween

A spectacular event is planned for October 26th at Moss Mountain Farm!  Celebrate Halloween in a totally unique way, with a bonfire, music to dance the night away and a Halloween feast provided by Scott McGehee, the genius behind ZaZa’s, Big Orange and Local Lime!  The event benefits the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Interested in the Menu?  I sure was!

Hors D’oeuvres: Goat Cheese with Fig and Peach Jam, Thyme and Toasted Hazelnuts.  House Made Country Pork Terrine with Dijon, Cornichons and Pickled Onion.  Caponata with Eggplant, Peppers, Tomato, Currants, Pine Nuts and Green Olive.

Dinner: Turkey and Pumpkin Chile with Fried Sage and Sour Cream (vegetarian version will be available).  Ruby’s Skillet Cornbread with Fresh Corn and Green Chilies.

Sweets: Arkansas Black Apple Caramel Apples with Spiced Pecans.  Ginger Cake Squares with Salted Butterscotch and Crème Fraiche.  S’mores Bars with Bruleed Fresh Made Marshmallow Cream.

So are you ready to sign up?  Tickets are $150 per person and space is limited.  Call 501-519-5793 to book!

Need a place to stay?  The Empress would love to have you!  Call us at 501-374-7966 for a room!  We are decked out in creepy decorations and ready to celebrate!

TSO Comes Back to Little Rock!!!

September 16th, 2013 by Lisa

trans siberian orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) is an American progressive rock band founded in 1993 by producer, composer, and lyricist Paul O’Neill, who brought together Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli  (both members of Savatage) and keyboardist and co-producer Robert Kinkel to form the core of the creative team. The band gained in popularity when they began touring in 1999 after completing their third rock opera, “Beethoven’s Last Night.” By 2007, The Washington Post referred to them as, “a touring juggernaut” and describing their music as, “Pink Floyd, meets, The Who, meets Yes.”  TSO has sold more than 9 million concert tickets and over 8 million albums. The band’s musical style incorporates classical, orchestral, symphonic, and progressive elements into hard rock and heavy metal. The band has released a series of rock operas: Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven’s Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve (the final installment of their Christmas trilogy), and their two-disc Night Castle. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is also known for their extensive charity work and elaborate concerts, which include a string section, a light show, lasers,”enough pyro to be seen from the international space station”, moving trusses, video screens, and effects synchronized to music.

Both Billboard Magazine and Pollstar have ranked them as one of the top ten ticket-selling bands in the first decade of the new millennium These numbers are even more impressive when you factor in that TSO is the first major rock band to go straight to theaters and arenas, never playing a club, never having an opening act and never being an opening act.

See this amazing show in Little Rock on Friday, December 20, 2013!  This show sells out nearly every year here in the Rock, so get your tickets now!  Bring your friends or your significant other and enjoy a weekend at The Empress topped off by the TSO playing The Lost Christmas Eve!!!

Cooking Classes at Eggshells

August 27th, 2013 by Lisa

diver scallops at eggshellsLooking for something unique and interesting to do in Little Rock?  How about a cooking class at Eggshells Kitchen Company?  The very best local chefs come into Eggshells to teach you how to make a signature dish of theirs.  Recent classes included a fresh pasta class with Scott McGehee, restaurateur of Zaza, Big Orange, and Local Lime and a chicken and dumplings class from Matt Bell of the fabulous new South on Main.

The next class available is on September 9th at 6pm and sounds like a deliciously-fun good time! John Masching of 1620 Savoy will be teaching participants how to make his mouth-watering diver scallops with Sofrito, Jalapeno, Oyster Mushroom, Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce and Bacon Lardons.  Sounds just divine, right?

You will be offered a glass of wine with this class and all the free water you can drink.  You are also welcome to bring any beverage you wish to enjoy during your lesson and the subsequent eating frenzy.

You can sign up for the class at Eggshell’s Website and the cost is $50 per person. Why not combine a great nights getaway with your favorite guestroom at The Empress?  Call us for all the room details and other great ideas to make this a really special getaway!  501-374-7966.