Experiencing Great Restaurants and Delicious Libations

Archive for May, 2013

The Hive – Bentonville AR

Visited April 27-30 2013

Located in the 21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville AR

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The Hive lounge and dining room are an extension of the 21c Museum Hotel’s gallery display space.  Among the paintings, sculpture and photos on the wall, it also appears to be the display space for the “artsy” guests in the hotel. It was full on a saturday night, overflowing into the breakout space of the banquet / special events room.

The drinks are professionally prepared by top notch bartenders ( with one exception – an obnoxious guy that thought he was funny, and nobody else did). The food was really good, although the menu is somewhat limited in selection. First night I had skate, I thought it was a little overcooked. The second night I had salmon, perfectly prepared. Both nights I had the Cavatelli appetizer, which was prepared differently each night (first night was better with the wide parm shaving over the top). Dessert was a chocolate smorgasbord on a plate.

The artwork is impressive, and I did not realize how impressive until the second night I had a chance to look more closely at the pieces. The Rhino is made of wooden matchsticks, the moose is made of table legs, and the tiger is a “time-lapse” sculpture made of construction barrels.

I recommend staying for several nights, you will appreciate the drinks, the food and the artwork much more.

My blog post of the Hotel

My blog post of the Hotel Guest Room

The Hive website

Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro – Little Rock AR

Visited April 26, 2013

200 River Market Avenue, Little Rock  AR

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My first night in Little Rock I went to my hotel front desk and asked for a restaurant recommendation. I went to a perfectly fine upscale restaurant and had a perfectly fine filet…but the experience was forgettable. The next night I went back to the front desk and the same woman was there. I again asked for a restaurant recommendation. She suggested an italian restaurant on the riverwalk, which sounded a little too touristy to me – so I asked if she knew someplace a little more unique, with more personality. She got this look in her eye and leaned over to me as if to make sure no one else heard her recommendation. She said her favorite restaurant was Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro, but warned that is was not the type of restaurant that they normally recommend for guests. I said it sounds perfect to me and got directions.

It was perfect. Colorful, with lots of personality and friendly staff….it was clear most of the patrons were regulars. The walls were covered with copies of famous paintings, actual hand painted works of art with the proportions and colors not quite right. Chandeliers in bright blue and purple glass, some with empty wine bottles hanging upside down on them. Barstools have different upholstery fabric on each. Outside the cafe has bright purple drapes offering some privacy at the sidewalk.

Oh, and the food…it was really good. I had bacon encrusted walleye filet with gypsy “cabin hash”. Was delicious, and a good portion. Check out their website

It was exactly the perfect place for dinner. I felt right at home, and it was much more memorable than the restaurant I ate at the night before….what was it called…I do not remember.

FortyTwo – Little Rock AR

Visited April 26, 2013

Located in the William J. Clinton Presidential Center

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The Cafe in the Clinton Presidential Center is on the lower level, through a pair of very official looking doors. The dining room is an open and airy room with a ceiling that slopes slightly up to the all glass end wall. Through the glass wall is an outdoor seating area below the cantilevered museum. There is a great view of the old railroad bridge, if only the weather was better I would have had lunch outside. The menu was more elaborate than I expected, with unusual ingredients and combinations. Although the room was fairly simple, the white linen tablecloths and nice crystal made it feel as special as the menu items. I even splurged for dessert – I was on vacation. The lemon mousse was as good as it looked.