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Discover NWA: MOD, Modern Ozark Dining

At the prompting of Husband,  I’m starting a new blog series for the new year.

Since my Discover Arkansas series was such a success, I’ve decided to narrow the focus a little bit and do Discover Northwest Arkansas/NWA. I’ve lived in this wonderful area of the state almost my entire life and want to share all of my favorite places with you.

I plan to do restaurant reviews, share itinerary ideas for out of town guests, explore events in the area and at some point make another Arkansas bucket list. If there’s something you’d like to hear about, let me know!


For my inaugural post, I want to share my review of a new restaurant in downtown Bentonville – MOD, Modern Ozark Dining.

Via their website“MOD treats guests to a modern interpretation of the quality and simplicity of Ozark’s seasonal pantry. We enhance nature’s local bounty with our progressive approach to global foods and preparation techniques.” 

Here’s the deal – it’s a prix fixe menu with fresh ingredients in a modern space. I’ve been dying to check it out ever since it opened. Lucky for me, I actually won a dinner for 2 (and Razorback basketball tickets, woohoo!) on Facebook so no harm, no fowl. We had heard it was “an experience”, but we weren’t sure if it would be pretentious, not enough food, etc.

Here’s my review via photos –
(Spoiler: we loved it!!)

img_2055[Not a big wine selection, but a good mix of cocktails. Next time we will try the signature G&T]

F I R S T  C O U R S E 
3 appetizers to share

img_2058Hot Coal Roasted Onion Ravioli – I can’t entirely remember what this is except that it had cheese in the middle and toasted breadcrumb like things on top. I do remember the waiter said it’s not actually pasta, but the flavors and the different textures were perfect together.

img_2059Corn Hushpuppies – I loooove me some hushpuppies, and to be honest, you can get better ones next door at Pressroom, but these were still pretty tasty albeit a little fancy for a hushpuppy.

img_2060Brandade – Again, not entirely sure what this is, but this was the best appetizer of the three. First of all, the sourdough bread from Little Bread Co. in Fayetteville was a DREAM. Seriously, I’ve been thinking about it all week. I could eat just the bread, but husband loved the sauce you dipped it in as well – it was cheesy/potatoey/oily and delicious.

S E C O N D  C O U R S E

I’m not sure how this happened, but this was our favorite course of the night and I didn’t get any pictures! Shame on me. But it was just that.stinking.good. This course was a departure from the prix fixe. In addition to the set menu, you can add on additional sides. We added two things –

Breadbasket – Two types of bread from Little Bread Co. that were simply divine, and a housemade spiced butter that melted in our mouths.

King Crab Wontons – This. This is what we will remember from MOD. These wontons were simply incredible. They had a housemade sweet and sour sauce drizzled on top that enhanced all the flavors and had you licking the bowl for more. If you go, and these are on the menu, pay the extra money and add them!

T H I R D  C O U R S E 

img_2064Dry Aged Sirloin – We both chose the sirloin for our entree (because when are you ever going to turn down free steak?!) However, there were 3 options to choose from: 1 meat, 1 seafood and 1 vegetarian. I’d say we chose wisely. The steak was cooked perfectly and the surrounding veggies (celeriac, truffled potato pave and grilled romaine) were delicious, even down to the dried cherries on top. If we had only had this to eat, we still would have been extremely happy.

F O U R T H  C O U R S E

img_2066The dessert was probably my least favorite of it all, but it was honestly exactly what I needed. I didn’t need anything heavy and this little bite of lemon sorbet on a gingersnap cookie (or so I think it was) was so refreshing.

Overall, we decided together this was the best meal we’ve had in Bentonville hands down. The service was impeccable. The atmosphere was clean and modern. And most importantly, we loved every single thing we ate.

I honestly can’t wait to go back and try a new menu. They switch it out about 4 times a quarter, with the 4th being the “best of” the previous 3 menus.


Of course, as long as they don’t get rid of the King Crab Wontons, we will be back.

xo xo

Fayetteville Ale Trail

3 years ago, almost to the day, we did our very first ale trail with one of our favorite couples. This was way before the ale trail was even a thing.

I called it NWA Brew Hop, and wrote a blog post about it. (Of course.) What followed was our “Summer of Saddlebock”, and a growing love of local craft beer.

Since then, Fayetteville started the official Fayetteville Ale Trail complete with a passport to get stamped at each brewery.

Yesterday a group of us attempted the Ale Trail again. While we didn’t make it to all of the breweries (not sure we ever will), we sure did have a lot of fun and sure did drink a lot of beer.







3RD STOP : B L A C K  A P P L E  C R O S S I N G 




[Sadly, we didn’t get any pictures here. Probably because we were so dang hungry! And the food was delicious.]

B U S  S E L F I E S
[Thanks, Abby for bringing the selfie stick! It was totally clutch.]

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IMG_2866[Final selfie with the entire bus!]

Thanks to Pinnacle Limo for the ride – $30/person for 4 hours. And shoutout to our awesome driver, Don!
Who’s ready to do the North Route next weekend??

xo xo

Photobook: NWA Food Festival

I’ve talked before about how excited I am about all the amazing things that are starting to come to my little hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas – a world-class museum, breweries, stylish new restaurants, a FILM FESTIVAL. Seriously, we’re growing up fast and I love it. We were actually just named one of the newest hipster towns across the US – hilarious, and awesome.

We’ve hosted the LPGA tournament for several years now, but for the first time ever this year we added a food festival at the Walmart AMP. Thursday night was Taste of NWA, showcasing 35 local restaurants featuring the best in southern comfort food. Friday night was a beer and burger fest that we did not attend – mostly because we didn’t have tickets, secondarily I don’t think I could have eaten that much two nights in a row.

We went Thursday night with some friends and had no clue what to expect since it was the first year. We left shocked at how much food and drink we consumed for such an affordable ticket price, and we had so much fun! It was hot. Boy, was it hot, but with a cold drink in one hand and a new food to taste in the other, we could get past the heat.

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.49.19 AM[one of our first stops – pedal pops. they loved us so much they took a pic and put us on their facebook page and we loved them so much we came back for seconds at the end of the night…]

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.46.38 AM[scattered throughout the food tents were breweries, wine tastings, bacardi and coke, and whiskey tastings (and some amazing iced coffee from kennedy’s that we really needed by the end)]

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.46.24 AM[love doing these fun things with husband!]

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.47.20 AM[and here you go, a picture of [almost] everything I ate. #dontjudgeme by the end we were all so full, but couldn’t stop because we wanted to try everything (which we couldn’t and didn’t). I was definitely in a food coma that night and into the next day, but it was so worth it.]

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.45.39 AM[end of the night pedal pops again + more beer – things started getting weird]

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.45.53 AM[wait, this was really the end of the night – the boys doing whiskey shots]

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 7.47.30 AM[had such a fun night with these wonderful friends!]

xo xo

Photobook: Bentonville FILM Fest + Fayetteville FOAM Fest

B E N T O N V I L L E  F I L M  F E S T

What: An inaugural film festival celebrating women and diversity, co-founded by Geena Davis
When: May 5-9
Where: Venues all around NWA

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[opening ceremonies at crystal bridges. first photo via bentonville film festival]

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[the only movie I got to see during the festival, but it was incredible!]

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[movie showing + panel with robert de niro!]

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[thursday night baseball game + showing of a league of their own]

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[hosts of the baseball game – geena davis + rosie o’donnel. photo via chris davidson]

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[volunteering at crystal bridges and got to see some awesome panels]

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[closing ceremonies with the husband]

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[loved spending time on the blue carpet with kaity + had some awesome celeb sightings! from top: courtney cox, khandi alexander (aka mama pope!), melissa joan hart, soledad o’brien + nick cannon, bruce dern]

F A Y E T T E V I L L E  F O A M  F E S T

What: A craft beer sampling festival, showcasing 300+ beers
When: May 9
Where: Walton Arts Center parking lot, Dickson Street

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xo xo

Our Snow Days By The Numbers

4 days working from home
6 home-cooked dinners in a row (my personal best)
2 Walmart trips, $200 spent on groceries
30 oreos eaten
2 TV series watched from start to finish (The Blacklist, The Big Bang Theory Season 7)
35 TV episodes watched
1 movie watched (Love Actually)
10 pots of coffee made
4 blog posts written
5 school days off for the kids and 5 days of rejoicing we didn’t have kids
25 photos taken of puppy playing in the snow
15 hours of video games played
259 oz. of alcohol consumed (6 beers, 6 straw-ber-itas, 3 bottles of wine, 1 growler)
1 bad fall on the ice
4 magazines and 9 book chapters read
7 presents wrapped
Innumerable posts read on Facebook and Twitter about the storm
3 additional hours spent planning for my party next week
60 group text messages sent re: snowpocalypse


xo xo

You can read more about #Snowpocalypse2013 here: Observations on Working From Home, Snowpocalypse Meal Plan

Weekend Picturebook: Halloween, Birthdays & Football

This weekend was a BUSY one, rolling right off of a busy week for Halloween. (Fun fact: Walmart Home Office does Halloween like you’ve never seen. #amazing) I’m pretty sure every weekend will be busy until 2014, but this one was special in that we had 5 guests in town none of which had never been to a Razorback game. My parents invited some of their friends they’ve been working with in Ohio to Northwest Arkansas for the weekend – coming in from Ohio, West Virginia and Texas. It was a great weekend with lots of laughs, good food and beautiful weather. (We won’t mention the Hogs’ loss.)

As our guests were coming in town Friday, we also had another commitment that night – my mother-in-law’s surprise 50th birthday party that turned out just perfect. Enjoy some photos below from the weekend!

* * * * *


IMG_0976{Started the weekend off with a bang for Halloween – at work and home}


IMG_6043{SURPRISE! What a beautiful birthday party for my beautiful mother-in-law!}

1452503_258991214248125_778835856_n{Saturday am: had to take our guests to Crystal Bridges, 21c and Downtown Bentonville}

1454576_258722324275014_137521911_n{The girls ready for the game!}

IMG_2388{Second surprise of the weekend – our “bus” to Fayetteville was a limo!}

1385346_679874062037471_643151559_n{LOVE this photo of my parents! Happy to have them home for a few days}



Hope you had a great fall weekend! Our next weekend adventure features a 1-year-old birthday party and a wedding!

You might also enjoy: Weekend Picturebook: Little Rock, Weekend Picturebook: St. Louis

NWA Brew Hop

Saturday night we had an adventure.

We set off with another couple to go Northwest Arkansas brewery hopping. You might be as surprised as I was to learn just how many craft breweries there are in the area. We went to 4 and there were 4 more we wanted to go to, so of course there’s already a brew hop round 2 in the works.

Here’s my review of the night and the brews!



Our beautiful drinking buddies for the evening

Core Brewing and Distilling Co: A little sketchy, very small (though they’re expanding), located behind Northwest Arkansas Newspapers in Springdale. Not our favorite beer overall, but you can get a lot for cheap. A flight of everything currently on top (7-8 beers) for $6.

Favorite Brew: Raspberry Ale



Saddlebock Brewery: Awesome place, out in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, with a fantastic two-story deck to sit outside. Overall, best brews.

Favorite Brew: Arkansas Farmhouse**

**also winner of favorite brew of the night



Apple Blossom Brewing Co: Newest of the four and favorite atmosphere, indoor/outdoor seating and restaurant, unique decor. Along with our brews we also had amazing (and huge!) fried pickles and alfredo fries.

Favorite Brew: Gris Cast Wheat

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West Mountain Brewing Company: Best thing about this place? It also has pizza and really really good pizza at that. In all honesty, we didn’t even drink at this one. All we wanted was pizza and a bed.

Next time on the tour: Tanglewood, Fossil Cove, Hog Haus, Brewskis


life lately


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{drinking // pink beer (!!) at Fayetteville Foam Fest}


{smiling // because I have the best husband ever}

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{enjoying // all the pictures mom is sending from Costa Rica}

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{relaxing // pre-dinner TCBY is always a winner in my book}

We also had a fantastic Saturday morning at our Gravette Clothing Giveaway.

xo xo

life lately {media challenge edition}

So what did we do during those two weeks of our media fast? Here’s a peek at my life lately.


IMG_2599 IMG_4313 IMG_0772 IMG_9148

From top to bottom: NWAFW, The Chancellor Hotel; Friday night with Amanda; Saturday night walking the runway with Piper; Butternut Squash Ravioli = amaaazing, Union Kitchen + Drinks


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From top to bottom: Getting dressed up to see musical Sister Act with Mom; Commercial shoot in Cleveland; My Ohio welcoming meal – margherita pizza, homemade meatballs, pasta, fried artichokes, 3 Palms Pizzeria; Sleeping with my Roxie baby


IMG_9339 IMG_1841 IMG_7038 IMG_2464 Norman-Rockwell-Going-and-Coming-1947

From top to bottom: Two-day work session with Facebook, 21c Museum Hotel; Curling up with a good book + good wine; Olli soaking up the sunshine; One of many game nights; Norman Rockwell Exhibit + The Rail + Club Frisco = perfect Friday night

xo xo

Petit Bistro {restaurant review}

As a New Year’s resolution for my blog, I’ve decided to start doing northwest Arkansas reviews. I pride myself in being that person anyone can come to and ask about the newest restaurant in town, or where to purchase _____. So, to kick off the new year reviews: Petit Bistro. As you might remember, husband and I decided to have a quiet NYE (New Year’s Eve: The Most Overrated Night of the Year) and started it with a four-course meal at said restaurant.


Left to right: Lentil & Black-eyed Pea Soup; Warm Wilted Spinach Salad w/Bacon, Cranberries, Molasses Vinaigrette; Ribeye w/Shitake Compound Butter Served with Garlic/Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes and Zucchini & Squash Julienne; Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon

Not pictured: Chocolate Lava Souffle w/Vanilla Ice Cream and Macerated Berries

The meal was divine and the atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for – romantic and quiet, with character. Instead of re-writing all my thoughts on Petit Bistro, below is the article I wrote for AY Magazine. Enjoy.

 * * *


There’s a secret in northwest Arkansas. It’s hidden behind a rustic, stone building in Bentonville and hosts business executives, wine connoisseurs and date-night couples who casually enjoy a relaxed, elegant atmosphere.

Nearly hidden among the trees on eight acres of land, Petit Bistro sits just off North Walton Boulevard, just before the street crosses into Bella Vista. Walking past the picturesque setting outdoors with twinkle lights scattered in the trees, it’s like stepping into another world outside of the Ozarks.

The warm brown and gold pantones invite customers into the hidden gem. Petit beige curtains line the windows, and unique oval-shaped lights provide a magical feel as they shimmer onto the ceiling and walls, revealing antique décor that feels rustic, yet upscale.

To add to the cultural ambiance, there’s the unmistakable accent coming from owner Dario Amini. Usually found behind the bar chatting with customers, Amini’s accent is difficult to place. Not French or Italian, but German, with influences from his Iranian father and Italian mother.

Amini was born in Germany, lived in Iran and Italy, but most recently spent 20 years in Los Angeles. He started four gourmet quick-serve restaurants in L.A. An alternative to the food court, these upscale cafes opened near high-end stores and served home-baked pastries, international cuisine and a full-service espresso bar.

Moving to northwest Arkansas because of friends and family, he expected to open a larger restaurant, but when he saw the population and culture of the town, he decided on something a little more quaint.

“With all the changes in northwest Arkansas culturally, with Crystal Bridges and the Walton Arts Center, you’ve seen a shift for better-quality restaurants and retail shops,” Amini said. “It’s slowly starting to manifest itself that way. We timed it correctly, by chance, and people are enjoying us as part of the community.”

Open since April 2010, Petit Bistro offers something for every palate. A “fusion of different cultures” Amini mixes Italian, Spanish, French, Lebanese and Moroccan into the menu. With no boundaries for the types of food he can create, Amini simply gets inspiration from his mother’s cooking, all the places he’s lived and visited and great restaurants from Aspen, Colo., to New York City.

“I have these ideas in my head, so whenever a dish comes to my mind, I try to get as close to it as possible, re-creating it in the kitchen,” he said.

Unafraid to try out new dishes, Petit Bistro is famous for their unusual specials, including Swordfish and Shrimp Vera Cruz Pasta; Lamb Lollipops over Mason Salad and Fingerling Potatoes; and Crab Cake Burgers with cheese, avocado and chipotle.

A staple on the menu, and just about everyone’s favorite, is the Cheesecake Du Jour, which has included a variety of flavors, everything from limoncello, rum raisin, avocado vanilla bean (the most incredible cheesecake I’ve ever eaten) to chocolate chip peanut butter. It could be a hit or miss, but it’s hard to mess up cheesecake, Amini insisted.

To pair with the cheesecake and the variable menu, Petit Bistro boasts an extensive wine list featuring domestic and international wines from $19 to $883 a bottle.

For dinner the menu is separated into Petit Plates, Salades, Pizza Rustique, Grand Petit Plates and Desserts. Though we recommend checking out the cheesecake of the day, you can’t go wrong with the Bread Pudding Au Chocolate, which has more of a brownie consistency, or the Bistro Crème Brulee, the best in northwest Arkansas.


Photo courtesy of Beth Hall

The Petit Plates include burgers, smoked salmon, grilled brie     and the beautifully-plated Pan Seared Tuna Tower ($15). Placed between crispy wontons, the tuna is encrusted with sesame seeds giving it a unique Asian flavor and includes wasabi aioli, pickled ginger and soy on the side.

For the Grand Petit Plates, the Braised Pork Osso Bucco ($36) is a must-see and a must-eat. Osso bucco — Italian for bone with a hole — is typically a veal dish. The braised pork is so tender it falls off the bone into the surrounding, rich sauce enhanced by porcini mushrooms and fresh grilled vegetables. The Lebanese Lamb Chops ($32) is another unique item on the menu, mostly due to the Israeli cous cous. Larger than typical cous cous, the vegetable is similar to rice with a dense consistency and pairs well with the lamb chops.

Whether for an evening of drinks and dessert, a quiet dinner inside or a get-together on the patio with live music, Petit Bistro is a delicacy of northwest Arkansas.