Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I think we'd all agree that today's downtown Trick or Trick event was pretty awesome. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the games, music and attractions in Twin Springs Park (new this year) made for a really special event. And did you get a chance to meet downtown's new mascot, the Main Street Moose? He was passing out a super special treat-the Holiday 2009 coupon card, good for 10% off at each of a long list of downtown merchants. If you didn't get yours yet, you can get one at participating businesses. I used mine once already, at Books on Broadway. Fun!

I'll never forget my very first downtown Trick or Treat. It was in 2001, and I had just moved to a house near the downtown area. Although I didn't have any children at the time, I really wanted to stroll downtown to see what it was all about. I remember standing in the middle of the street, watching the line of happy families, and that year they were piping in music that sounded a bit Danny Elfman-ish. The overall effect made me feel like I was on a movie set, with the perfect small town scene being depicted. I loved it!

My second favorite downtown trick or treat year was 2004. I worked downtown at the time, and absolutely loved the chance to hand out candy. It was a blast seeing all of the great costumes and happy kids. I think we ran out of candy several times, and had to run to the store for more, but that was a really fun year.

More recently, I've thoroughly enjoyed taking my son trick or treating downtown. Thank you to all of the businesses that provide such an enjoyable and safe Halloween activity for the town year after year, and to the Main Street Organization for putting it on. Here are some fun moments from today:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Red Door Market

Is it just me, or is there just something special about a red door?
There's certainly something special behind this red door. Downtown's newest establishment, The Red Door Market, opened it's freshly painted door this morning, on this blustery fall day.

The cozy shop sells an array of products, from snacks, chips, drinks and candy to gourmet Arkansas products, like jelly, jam, sorghum, salsa, syrup, fruit butters (sweet potato butter, anyone?), honey, pickled products and BBQ sauce. For example, there is Ozark Mountain Honey from Mt. View, House of Webster products from Rogers, Kirkland Family Foods all-fruit jams from Siloam Springs, organic War Eagle Mill products, and Post Familie grape and muscadine juice from Altus, to name a few. They'll also soon be selling a line of cheese straws and cookies from a family-owned business in Little Rock. In addition, employee Lana Hudson has a line of handmade aprons, in cheerful colors and patterns for adults and children.

With the holidays coming, my mind was spinning with all of the possibilities I saw for great hostess gifts or gift baskets. The Red Door staff would be happy to help you create a customized gourmet food basket for that lucky foodie in your life.

Chris Salley, the owner, is also the owner of the City Barber Shop right next door. Incidentally, he also helps to keep our town safe as a Siloam police officer. He really loves downtown (of course!) and enjoys displaying antique photos and momentos in the barber shop. I was intrigued to discover that the barber shop has been operating on the corner of University and Broadway since at least 1881, when the building was called the Morris Hotel. Imagine that!

The Red Door Market is currently open Tuesday-Saturday from 10-6. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fratelli's Wood-Fired Pizzeria

It was just about the perfect evening. My husband, son and I strolled downtown on a crisp October Saturday night, enjoying the changing fall leaves. There's a part of me that really loves big cities for a variety of reasons, the tendency to walk to one's destination being one of them. I enjoy the thought that downtown Siloam is a sort of scaled-down version. (I know, it's really scaled down, but it captures the essence.) "Why don't I do this more often?" I mused, as we passed great scenes like this one:

Our destination was the newly opened Fratelli's Wood-Fired Pizzeria. The restaurant's warm glow beckoned us in from the chilly street, and we found a recently vacated, cheery red booth near the door. My husband kicked off the evening with an IBC Cream Soda, one of the many bottled beverages available. He then ordered a "build-your-own" pepperoni pizza ($8), and I chose the veggie pizza ($9). As an almost-vegetarian, I was thrilled by the selection of vegetable toppings. Happily, diners can choose up to five from the list for their veggie pizza. I chose: artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, onions, grilled eggplant and fresh basil. Needless to say, I couldn't wait for the pizzas to arrive! While we waited, I enjoyed a side salad ($2), consisting of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes with olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette. (A house vinaigrette and ranch dressing are also available.)

When the pizzas arrived, I was completely delighted. The colorful veggie pizza was a feast for the eyes. It was piping hot, straight from the brick oven. The hand-tossed crust was the right balance of delicate crispness on the outside, and warm chewy goodness on the inside. As stated in the menu, the quantity of the toppings complimented, rather than overwhelmed the simple flavors of the crust and the sauce. It was all that a great pizza should be!

Fratelli's is operated by brothers-in-law Scott Jones and Tom Ledabrand, and their goal is to create true Italian-style pizzas. Many of their ingredients (the flour and plum tomatoes, for example) are imported from Italy, as is their state-of-the-art brick oven. Fratelli's variety of pizza toppings also echos the restaurant's Italian flair: whole-milk mozzarella cheese, arugula, garlic slices, prosciutto (Italian ham), pancetta (Italian bacon), gorgonzola cheese, and speck, an Italian ham that is both cured and smoked. I greatly appreciate their quest for authenticity, as it makes their restaurant truly unique in our town, not to mention region.

The establishment also continues to serve its legendary gelato, fully rounding out the Italian experience. I couldn't help peeking in the case to check out the current flavors, and I was intrigued by the Autumn Spice Crunch and the Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbetto. Feeling hungry yet? Get yourself down to Fratelli's- manga!

Fratelli's is currently open Monday-Thursday from 5-9 pm, and Friday & Saturday from 5-10 pm. For more information, call 524-0766.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Breaking News

As I was driving through downtown around lunchtime today, I noticed a 40/29 News truck parked by Arvest bank, and a reporter was interviewing Wayne Mays, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce. How exciting! According to the 40/29 newsroom, the story is about development in Siloam Springs, and it will air at 6:00 pm tonight. Be sure to watch!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Low Water Bridge Part II

Well, here is the photo I was hoping for the other day when I posted about the low water bridge. The water level was extremely high this morning after a night of rain, making for exciting views of the churning, turbulent water. I was pleased to see that the ducks were safe and out of the way, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Occasions Gifts Unique

One of Siloam's premier shopping institutions, Occasions Gifts Unique has graced University Street for as long as I've resided here. It's well known and well loved, so I'm sure most of you are already familiar with this fabulous place, but I thought it was certainly worth a review for those of you who are newcomers.

Occasions is the sort of place that transports your mind and senses the moment you enter. For starters, it smells heavenly! And all around, everywhere you look, are treasures galore. I often glance around the shop and think, "So this is how I should decorate!" There are gorgeous vignettes set up along the various passages through the store, each with a different theme and color scheme, offering a myriad of decorating possibilities.

The shop has a wide variety of merchandise, sure to please any discriminating shopper. Some of their best sellers are candles and a variety of diffusers by WoodWick, Trapp Private Gardens and others; hand soaps and lotions by Camille Beckman, AHAVA, Upper Canada Gourmet Kitchen and Cucina; and also jewelry, purses, chic reading glasses, wall art and out-of-this-world paper goods.

They have an extensive baby section with adorable gifts, clothing and accesories. They also have an amazing array of kitchenware- ceramic canister sets, enamelware collanders, casserol dishes and nesting bowls to name a few items. It's the sort of shop that changes all the time and always offers a new treasure to be found. (For you Brides-to-be, Occasions offers Bridal Registries.)

Another customer favorite is the bulk coffee (whole bean or freshly ground). Samples are available for guests while they browse the shop (today's delicious flavor- cinnamon nut swirl). There are numerous flavors to choose from, such as Swiss Chocolate Orange, Cafe Cookie, Gingersnap and Fudge Brownie. Yum!

I have relied upon Occasions for many gift-giving opportunities- not only is their gift selection ideal for finding the perfect gift for just about anyone, but they also offer complimentary gift wrapping. I think this is one of the specialties that Occasions is known for. Their gift wrapping is generous and gorgeous, guaranteeing the gift will be a big hit.

Owner Linda Gregory and manager Valerie Jones have really refined the art of choosing exceptional and tasteful decor and specialty items. They also place a premium on customer satisfaction and care. They truly fulfill Occasions' tagline: "We'll make yours special."

Be on the lookout for Christmas merchandise to arrive in the next few weeks (it's never too soon!), and also make sure to take advantage of the annual Yellow Barn Sale taking place all day Friday and Saturday, October 9th and 10th. The famed Yellow Barn is located out on Dawn Hill Road- just follow the signs from Mt. Olive. The sale offers a wide variety of clearance items, all within the charm of a quaint country farm, complete with horses and loveable dogs. For me, the Occasions Yellow Barn Sale really kicks off the fall season. You won't want to miss it!

Special thanks to Occasions salesperson Edie Butts for her time and expertise.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Siloam Springs High School Homecoming Parade

Here are some memorable moments from today's Homecoming parade, on an absolutely gorgeous fall day. Go Panthers! Beat Vilonia!

Oh So Sad!

This week, we bid a fond farewell to the "Oh So Pretty!" boutique, owned by Joni Peterson. I know that it will be missed by many, as it was a lovely, unique and special place. I had the honor of working at "Oh So Pretty!" last summer, and I just can't express what an amazing and joyful experience it was. I am grateful to Joni for all of her hard work and vision.

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn't me tonight.

I feel charming,
Oh, so charming
It's alarming how charming I feel!
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I'm real.

See the pretty girl in that mirror there:
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face,
Such a pretty dress,
Such a pretty smile,
Such a pretty me!