The Blair’s granddaughter 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 Bakery, 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!).
Posts Tagged ‘The Empress of Little Rock’
July 26th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
July 23rd, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
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.
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.
July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
Want a unique 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!
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.
July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair
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”
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. Come 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!.
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.
October 7th, 2013 by Lisa
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!
September 16th, 2013 by Lisa
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!!!
August 27th, 2013 by Lisa
Looking 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.
August 6th, 2013 by Lisa
I think we left off with me sitting on Pinnacle, crying like a 3 year old…
So to continue my little kid ways, I demanded…ICE CREAM! And where better to get ice cream than the Green Corner Store and loblolly creamery. My husband had some sort of delicious double scoop concoction of Aztec Chocolate and Toasted Coconut and I hit the jackpot with Salted Caramel Ice Cream with bits of waffle cone, salted almonds and swirls of caramel on top.
Then the husband and I drove across town to Ava Bella Day Spa for a relaxing couples massage. We enjoyed the candlelight, the music and of course, the massages! We were now feeling ready to climb a mountain (figuratively speaking as we had already failed in that endeavor) and also were REALLY hungry. So we drove out to The Promenade on Chenal to a place I had been dying to try…Local Lime. We had a scrumptious variety of dippables. We started with the 3 salsa sampler (we had tres chilis, tomatillo and mango) and then added the creamy dreamy cheese dip and the made to order guacamole. All of this with crisp fresh chips. I was in Mexican food heaven.
Energized and ready to get physical again (if for no other reason than to prove my fitness after the epic fail earlier in the day, we decided to head out to the River Trail and do some biking. Having left our bicycles at home, we went to the RiverMarket and Bobby’s Bike Hike. We rented two hybrid bikes (maps were included in the package) and headed out on the 15 mile loop that is the RiverTrail. The scenery was beautiful, especially on the North Little Rock side of the trail and we enjoyed the beautiful setting sun off of the Big Dam Bridge. We went back to the room and showered (in the amazing aromatherapy, hydromassage shower) and then went to dinner. I wanted dinner in the Hillcrest area, so we decided to go to Acadia. So glad we did. Travis loved his oven roasted duck breast and I wanted to marry my buttermilk fried quail. Yes, it was that good. The spicy cabbage slaw on the side also made me want to do a happy dance. After all of this fun and excitement, we regretted having to pack our bags on Sunday morning and leave Little Rock behind.