Ashley's, Little Rock

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jackie picked the Capital Hotel via Travelocity for the Little Rock Marathon. It was his second and my third Little Rock Half Marathon. The Capital Hotel was just two blocks from the start line of the race, and is popular for it's luxurious rooms and southern charm. Kara made reservations for the runners in the hotel's famous Ashley's restaurant. Our table of 12 was seated right away in the middle of the dining room. We were offered cocktails when we were seated but since Kara already told me about the Chef's Tasting Menu that comes with wine pairings, I passed on the cocktails but others in our party ordered up beverages. Five of us were running the race in the morning so none of us were interested in doing anything else than carbing up and going to bed early.

We had a wonderful, attentive waiter that presented the Chef's Tasting Menu. Due to the complexity and length of the menu, he asked that the entire table participate in the tasting menu. For the first time in the history of our friends, we all agreed to the $95 per person order. I wondered if it was a full moon when we all ordered, it wasn't. Nevertheless, we all had a good time catching up and talking about our children, friends and colleagues. And Jessica and I were busy planning this year's girls trip. We can't wait!

Now to the menu, I'll try to shorten it but let you in on the entire dining experience, it was over the top, perfect. The food and the pairings were divine. L.B. was so sweet, a romantic, he kept giving his gluten-free portions to Jessica, I thought that was so sweet. The small courses featured Char Grilled Oysters, Rabbit Loin, Mississippi Sole, Veal Skirt Steak, Artisanal American Cheeses, and the wonderful dessert of Creme Brulee served in an egg, it was so good. I needed a bigger egg!

We were also blessed at the end of our meal with a tour of the kitchen. Yes, Kara knew about this. A waitress showed us the stove, pots, dry storage, pastry section et all. Amazing, I think she said the stove was $250,000. The kitchen is overseen by Chef Lee Richardson, a native of New Orleans, he was nice in meeting all of us in his kitchen. I kept thinking not to touch my hair. The Chef is nationally known and was a finalist for the Best Chef in the South for the James Beard Award two years in a row. I added a pic of our kitchen tour!

Chloe also ran her first foot race, the Little Rocker's Marathon. Children ages 8-11 run 25 one mile jaunts in the three months previous to the race. She and best friend Anna Claire Burrow ran together on Saturday and she had a great time.

Ashley's was a wonderful experience for all of us. I loved the pairings, we didn't get a full glass of wine with each tasting which was perfect due to our early rising on Sunday for the race. If you order off the menu, entrees run around $45. Ashley's is well worth the splurge, you'll be blessed with local grown produce and items that are innovating and fresh. We also enjoyed the fresh baked bread that kept coming from the kitchen that we all wanted for the race. We had a wonderful time Chef Lee, we'll be back, and thank you for the tour of your wonderful kitchen.

PS. A shout out for the Capital Hotel...our Travelocity reservation was $128 for the handicapped room. When we checked in, the heater was stuck in the on position. You know me, I need hotel rooms cold, so I called for engineering to come up. They couldn't get it repaired so wonderful Leslie in guest services called us up and moved us to another room. The hotel was booked so we were moved to the Presidential Suite. It was unbelievable with a full dining room, two baths and a huge bedroom. It had an adjoining door to another part of the suite. When Chloe walked in to the new room, she started doing the Cabbage Patch dance singing, "look at our new room, look at our new room!" We loved it!! And we enjoyed our $128 tab for the giant suite!

Our pre-race photo is in the lobby of the Capital!!

Ashley's, Capital Hotel, Markham & Louisiana, Little Rock, AR, 501-374-7474

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