THE TEN MOST UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS FROM #BITENWA
(This post was done in collaboration with #BiteNWA but all words and opinions are my own. )
Happy Sunday and Happy July!!!
I arrived home from BITE NWA a week ago and it admittedly took me a couple days to fully recover from the delicious eats and drinks! It was a gloriously busy and delicious few days, and I was excited to team up with Maddy Rang from Octagon who ran the social for Bite and host two Instagram takeovers. I brought home so much inspiration from the event, the cooking demos, and the newer Bentonville restaurants I discovered, and simply soaking up all that energy from fellow passionate foodies. We also had time to squeeze in some culture making it to The O'Keefe exhibit at Crystal Bridges and see The Bachman-Wilson House that Frank Lloyd Wright built. It was moved from New Jersey if you can believe that. It was my first year to attend BITE and I cannot wait to make this a yearly tradition. Meeting so many fabulous chefs and restaurant owners to the inspiring demos (Chef Anya Peters, lead co-chef of Harvest and Revel in New York was my fave)) almost every day were such exciting moments and I highly encourage any of you fellow food fanatics to check the experience off your list at some point in the near future. Anyhow, keep reading for 10 special moments from BITE NWA that have got me so stoked to get in the kitchen and make some fabulous meals AND get to Bentonville more often to explore.
Bentonville is one of the coolest towns in America, especially downtown! I was so amazed at how much it had grown since I last visited. There are more incredible restaurants in a 1/2 mile radius than any other place I’ve experienced. I love that Bite started at 6 p.m every evening allowing you to experience other things.
The Preacher's Son- Truly a gem of a restaurant in a restored Church in Bentonville..just steps off the square. I can't recommend a visit to Preacher's Son enough. In Tulsa, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to great restaurants so we expect the same wherever we go. That's obviously not always the case, so when you find somewhere that's really special in the area you're always super pleased with yourselves for finding it. Preacher's Son is one of those places. This was genuinely one of the most delicious meals I'd had this year so far. Chef Matthew Cooper has a passion for culinary art. His style of cooking is rustic and traditional, keeping true to his roots in the South as well as the Pacific Northwest. His celiac condition has enabled him to passionately and creatively cook gluten-friendly. His dedication to local community is evident in his strong commitment to using local and sustainable ingredients, encouraging community building and local cooperation.We arrived early after being quite ravenous from our travels and left a packed out restaurant, feeling full to the brim and completely happy. Lin and I had he hushpuppies with curry sauce, a delicious green pea soup, strawberry salad, and the chicken schnitzel along with some delish Rosè! THE SPACE----The first Christian Church of Bentonville was structurally restored by architect Chip Chambers and contractor Brian Soulé, who led the construction through completion. FÖDA was selected in 2015 to develop the concept for this restaurant. Using Ruskin’s Seven Lamps as a design manifesto, FÖDA created the concept around the Chef’s personal story, the soaring new art glass by George Dombek, and the unique structural features of the building itself.The sanctuary was fully re-conceived, custom banquettes designed by FÖDA and SAR in Denver, apse re-designed as the bar with champagne gold brick. The finishing touch is a grid of 288, 5” gold bells in the tower to give the church back its ring. This is truly an exceptional space to connect with your friends, family and co-workers over a delicious meal. It's so dreamy !! Talk about forever chasing light! Be sure to enjoy drinks on the patio too at sunset! We did Thursday night after BITE and it was just perfection. The Preacher's Son was also one of the featured restaurants at Bite.
- Onyx Coffee Lab- This shop opened on November '15 in downtown Bentonville and features a bar designed to watch the production of all of their drinks. The bar is composed of tiny white hexagonal tiles completed with equipment that’s all undercounter. A walnut grill is suspended above the bar. Concrete, oak, & drywall make up the various walls. It features local beer on tap and coffee made in the Alpha Dominche Steampunk as well as a tasty toast program. Onyx was also at Bite all three days giving some delish samples of some iced coffee variations. The 2nd street place was the perfect place to relax and cool off after exploring.
- Crepes Paulette- Always love visiting a Bentonville fave of mine. I have been visiting his food truck for years in Lawrence Plaza and he now also has a restaurant on 8th street. The restaurant serves the same delish sweet and savory crêpes as the truck but also features fresh house-made soups, signature crêpecake, wine bubbly, beer and hard cider in a casual, lighthearted eatery. It's just a must when you visit!
- 21C Museum Hotel-Always a must! Bite put me up an another hotel all though If I were in charge of my hotel accommodations, 21C is always my first choice in Bentonville. But even if you are not a hotel guest, you should still stop in and enjoy the art installations and have some drinks at The Hive Bar. Brunch at The Hive restaurant is one of my faves in town too.
- Crystal Bridges- See art masterworks with no fee! Enjoy the Ozark woodlands setting--Hiking Trails. Family-Friendly. Art Galleries. Year-Round Schedule. Types: Guided Tours, Programs, Restaurant, Store, Library. It's just fantastic. If I lived in Northwest Arkansas, I would literally come here every week. Not only do we love the art but we love getting a taste for some extraordinary architecture. Internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie designed the museum. And now there is the Bachman-Wilson House too. ( We did the self guided tour. It's free and fabulous but you will still want to make a reservation on line or you will not be able to get in to view the inside of the house.) It's an example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s classic Usonian architecture. The word “Usonian” was derived from an abbreviation of “United States of North America.” Wright created this term to describe a distinctly American style of residential architecture he developed during the Great Depression to be within the reach of the average middle-class American family.
This house was originally built for Gloria and Abraham Wilson in 1956 along the Millstone River in New Jersey. It was subsequently purchased by architect/designer team Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in 1988 and meticulously restored. When the house was threatened by repeated flooding at its original location, the Tarantinos determined that, in order to preserve it, they should sell the house to an institution willing to relocate it. After the Tarantinos conducted a multi-year search for a suitable institution, Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013. The entire structure was then taken apart and each component was labeled, packed, and moved to the Museum, where it was reconstructed in 2015.
- Downtown Bentonville Exploring- Downtown Bentonville Inc is a nonprofit, funded by donations, sponsorships and grants. That means the community is a HUGE part of how they continue doing these events. Walk around...so many cute shops! And so many things to do and see.....including all the pretty flowers that I included pics of at the beginning of the post.I wish Tulsa did more things like this to make our city pretty!
- Pressroom- Okay Pressroom changed a lot since I last visited them! It's divine. Perfect little corners to enjoy some cocktails and dine on seasonal American bistro fare made with local ingredients. The cheeseburger is fantastic! And they make a delightful Moscow Mule to beat the heat out there! Save room for desert and grab some cotton candy ice cream from Sweet Dream Creamery!
- BITE NWA-and now all the fabulous moments from all three nights of BITE.
So this is way over 10 things but you get my drift, right?!!! See you at BITE NWA at The 8th Street Market next year??!!
P.S Will update this post with all the names of the restaurants that I sampled this week. Still going through notes but wanted to get the bulk of the post in!