The week that was

June 9, 2012

You know it’s a good party when there’s a line to get in.

One problem with living in Hot Springs is that there’s so much cool stuff going on you often can’t get around to all of it. Which, sometimes, when the stuff is fun and not work, means you Do Not Cook.

And sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

This week has been opening week of the Hot Springs Music Festival, which is just absolutely some of the coolest stuff of all the stuff that Hot Springs offers. Musicians come from all over the world and for a solid two weeks, will play a dozen or more chamber performances as well as a half-dozen full orchestral concerts. It’s sensory overload, and it’s marvelous!

It’s also hell on cooking. But there is still good food to be had — including at one of the social events of the season, Flavor of the Park.

Long tables full of yum. And lots of satisfied diners.

Flavor is one of major productions of the Greater Hot Springs Chamber (my own employer). It features goodies from about 20 restaurants, beer and wine from local distributors, and a good time being had by all. We have it down at the Farmers’ Market Pavilion, and for a change, this week it was merely warm, not sufferin’ hot like it was last year.

As I’m an employee, I got to scope out the goods before the gates opened. You have to find where everything is, you see, and map out your strategy. Oh, and get a beer. Leffe’s, which is an Anheuser Busch product, I think, or is at least distributed by the Bud distributor, is respectable dark lager, I might add. They have a blonde, but I like the dark better.

Being of the “life is short; eat dessert first!” school of thought, I commenced with that. Because Fat Bottomed Girls had cupcakes there, and I did not expect them to last all night. And I was right. They didn’t have my favorite flavors — lemon lavender and grapefruit chai — but they had salted caramel, and that forgives a multitude of sins. I may possibly have eaten three of them. But, hey, they were minis, OK?

Then it was over to the Daily Dish, a local place that does soup/sandwich/salads, lunches, allegedly breakfasts, though I’ve never been out there for breakfast, but specializes in take it and bake it entrees and other box-up-and-take-home goodies. When I got to their table, I swooned — they had no only those no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies you cook in a saucepan and drop on waxed paper, but also those bar cookies that have a million names — graham cracker crumb crust, condensed milk, chocolate chips, coconut, pecans. I may possibly have eaten three of those, too. And they had marvelous coconut macaroons, which makes me think I should make macaroons this weekend.

The eateries range from independent to chain; even Sam’s was there, with barbecued meatballs (and they were GOOD, too). I learned about Blanchie’s, a new soul food place that’s not far from work, so I’ll be trying them out this week. Newk’s, which is McAllister’s more-limited-menu cousin, was there, with pimiento cheese that was pretty spectacular. Makes me think I ought to make pimiento cheese, too.

And it was just fun, and would’ve been even more so had I not stayed to help clean up and missed the evening concert, which was Ives/Schumann’s “Variations on America,” and I really wanted to see that.

So today, I’m doing some cooking so I can get down to Bathhouse Row tonight for this, which will be way fun, and then on out to hear the Bart Walker Band doing some hot blues. If you and y’mama ‘n ’em get bored this weekend, come on to the Spa City. We’ll show you a good time.

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