Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arkansas Gets a Vegan Restaurant!

With my posting unpredictability lately, I know you weren't expecting another post from me so soon! But I have had a strange surge of energy this week.

Hot Springs Visitors' Center

A few Sundays ago, my family and I spent the day in Hot Springs, which is a little over an hour away from our house. The occasion: Arkansas now has a vegan restaurant called Garden Secrets!!! Squeals! You know I rarely go out to eat; this is great news for us.

I'm always a little nervous about trying a new, independent vegan place because there are those vegan restaurants that mean well - but are a little underwhelming with food that is not worth going out for. We were really happy with it, though! Everything we ordered tasted great and looked nice.

We started out with a couple of orders of regular and sweet potato fries. I'd strangely been craving fries ever since I watched Crazy, Stupid Love (my favorite movie at the moment which is so funny and heartwarming that I saw it twice in one week). There was a random scene or two with Ryan Gosling eating fries at a bar, and I couldn't stop thinking about wanting fries (which I rarely have because of the not going out to eat thing). I don't know if it was the fries or Ryan Gosling. Probably both. I went home the first night I watched it and made oven-baked tater tots, which was a temporary fix. But it wasn't the same as having actual restaurant fried fries.

I ordered Eggplant Parmesan ($10.95), which came with a big side of spaghetti and garlic bread on the side. (Had to scrape off the burnt part of the toast.) I thought it was really good! I thought they were generous with the portion size.

Ryan ordered the Cheeseburger. Good!

The kids ordered Garden Quesadillas with "cheese," spinach, and mushrooms (no mushrooms for the youngest two) on spinach tortillas. Good!

I was super, duper excited about dessert, knowing I was going to order the Turtle Cheesecake and hoping someone else would order the Strawberry Cheesecake so I could try it. But tragically, they only had one or two desserts that day, not including cheesecake.

I went without dessert (although tried one bite for blogging review purposes, of course), but the others shared two orders of Brownie Madness.

After lunch, we spent some time walking along the main downtown street. (The row of historic bath houses are on the left.) We went in a few shops, walked along a trail that looks out over the city, and dipped our fingers into the "hot springs," which are REALLY hot.

Arlington Hotel

Here is the facebook page for Garden Secrets. They seem to be getting good reviews, so far. The only downsides: 1) They are closed on Saturdays. 2) The menu in the restaurant was a bit smaller than the one online (and not sure if that is always the case). We always look at online menus ahead of time, so that was a little disappointing.

I hope this place sticks around!


  1. What a treat! How did you hear about this place?

    I hope they stick around, too. They seem to have a really diverse, accessible menu - maybe they are filling a needed tourist niche!

  2. Ryan's cheeseburger looked awesome! Was it some kind of veggie burger? I am so impressed that you let everyone eat brownie madness in front of you and you didn't indulge! That is something for a pregnant lady especially!

  3. OK how have I not hear of it yet??? My sister is falling down on her job (we're from HS and all family still there). Guess I need to head home soon ;-) Have you tried Cafe 1217 ever? Not sure how many vegan items they have now that I think about it....but their deli case probably does. And um, when are we going back to 4Square?

  4. Wow the food looks great there! The burger looks especially nommy ;)

  5. I'd have blamed the pregnancy for the fries but then to stay away from the brownie, oof! Nice job! I apparently have no idea what Arkansas looks like so it's nice to see some shots of the town.

  6. Were you disappointed that Ryan Gosling didn't come with the fries? Just wondering. :) All the food looks delicious but right now the brownie madness looks especially good to me. How did it taste?

  7. Yay, for Arkansas! That's my husband's home state, so now we have another excuse to visit there. And, now we have a place to take his relative how to eat - sweet! Crazy they're not open on Saturdays; I wonder if their Sabbath is Saturday.

  8. Jessica, I agree! I first saw the advertisement in the Natural Awakenings publication.

    Pam, I don't remember what the burger was - I'm guessing soy. About the brownie...despite what I may portray, I'm really not an overindulger, ha! Something has to be really tempting for me to waste the calories. I do like brownies a lot, but this dessert isn't something I'd probably order for myself.

    Heather, I have not tried Cafe 1217. I'll meet you at 4square soon! We did try The Root; forgot to tell you about that. I'll blog about it soon.

    SV, we even have a Whole Foods, how about that.

    Sarah, thanks for reading.

    foodfeud, fries are definitely more tempting to me than an icecream dessert. get to know Arkansas, come on!

    Andrea, obviously. :) It was definitely good, and my husband and kids made sure that not a lick remained.

    Blessed Mama, yay, indeed! I don't know why I didn't think about that, regarding Saturdays. I bet that's it. I forgot to mention they were playing instrumental praise music in the restaurant, which was very relaxing and nice.

  9. I now want to try to recreate everything you had at that restaurant--noms!

  10. Thanks for the post, its nice to know about a nice vegan place nearby I can possibly visit in the near future. Its already a big sigh of relief and leaves me almost teary.

  11. It's awesome to pay a visit this web page and reading the views of all colleagues on the topic of this paragraph, while I am also eager of getting know-how.

    my web-site how to Play flute for beginners - howtoplaytheflute.org

  12. Hi theгe, i reaԁ your blog from time to time anԁ i oωn a simіlar one and i
    was just curious іf уou get a lοt of spam comments?

    If so how do you pгevent it, any plugin οr anуthing you can recommend?
    I get ѕo muсh lately it's driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    Feel free to visit my blog post; facebookis.com