Decadent Desserts of Downtown Fort Smith
@story TONYA MCCOY
Maybe you find yourself sans boyfriend or husband this Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry, you’re in for a treat. Celebrate this holiday by showing your affection for someone who works hard and deserves a night out: You. Dress up, dress down, it doesn’t matter. Call your dearest single gal pals and head to Garrison Avenue, Fort Smith for your just desserts.
First, treat yourself like a princess at Creative Kitchen. This little shop makes you remember the days when Prince Charming was real and you begged mom for cupcakes for your birthday. “What’s great about it is everyone grew up eating cupcakes, so it takes you back to when you were a child,” says Jami Coleman, co-owner of Creative Kitchen. Their bakery uses the highest quality ingredients including very finely ground powdered sugar. Rachel Johnson, a.k.a. “cupcake girl,” hand-makes these treats and they’re almost too pretty to eat. These cupcakes are all dressed up in elaborately decorated holders, topped off with sugar pearls, and sparkles with edible glitter. The added bling may make you feel like royalty, but they also taste incredible. This winter try the kitchen favorite, a white cake with buttercream frosting that is glittered to look like new fallen snow. With a bakery case full of colorful cupcakes in flavors like strawberry, peppermint, S’mores, and chocolate raspberry, choose one that fits your mood.
309 Garrison Avenue
It’s that time of year again - Mardi Gras! Put on your beads and head to R. Landry’s New Orleans Café for a surprisingly addictive treat. Landry’s has what may be the best kept dessert secret around town: A New Orleans tradition – bread pudding. Now if you’re like me, the thought of eating bread or pudding for dessert doesn’t sound all that exciting. But wait! Don’t think of it as bread, or even pudding. Think of it as a warm, mashed cinnamon-roll-like bowl of heaven. These little squares of moist sweetness are drenched with a sweet creamy sauce and sprinkled with cinnamon. Co-owner Dori Colston won’t hint at ingredients, but she does say that she’s often challenged folks to try it. “I’ve offered to buy it if someone tries it and doesn’t like it. I’ve never had to buy one yet.”
613 Garrison Avenue
Black Forest Torte
Head just off of Garrison to Emmy’s German Restaurant. There you’ll receive a warm willkommen (welcome) with some fantastic chocolate cake. The Black Forest Torte is a chocolate cake with a cherry twist. Chefs mix in chocolate chips and bits of maraschino cherries. Cream cheese strips are wedged between rich layers of chocolate. The cake is drizzled with kirsch cherry liqueur and topped with whipped cream. It’s as good as mom’s chocolate cake, because the recipe is from a mom - owner Joe Caldarera’s mother - who baked the cake for the restaurant for six months, then taught other chefs her secret.
200 North 13th Street
Add some spice with “Nuevo Latino” cuisine at Rolando’s Restaurante. Before Rolando’s opened in Fort Smith, owner Rolando Cuzco carved out figures from the gold plaster walls of his restaurant to create decorative murals. He’s also carved up golden bananas creating his own version of bananas foster. This dish has quickly become a city favorite. Rolando’s recipe from his native country of Ecuador is creamy and tangy. The warm bananas are drizzled with rum and banana liqueur and sprinkled with brown sugar. The dessert is served ala mode with vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream.
223 Garrison Avenue
It’s not a girls’ night out without a couple of martinis, right? How about dessert martinis? Go directly to 21 West End just off Garrison. Get a little nutty with 21 West End’s Nutty Caucasian. Owner Kevin Dorey was inspired by the “caucasian” (white Russian) drink from the movie “The Big Lebowski.” The Nutty Caucasian recipe includes a mix of vanilla vodka, Kahlua and a splash of cream. Kevin adds Frangelico hazelnut liqueur to give the cocktail that “nutty” taste. But don’t get too out of hand, there’s plenty of night left for indulgences.
Do you like extra sweet lemonade? If so, let the Lemon Drop take you back to summertime. This invigorating martini mixes freshly squeezed lemon juice with citrus vodka, Triple Sec, sweet and sour, and Splenda is added. Tip: If you’d like yours slightly more tart, kindly ask the bartender to add less Splenda. On the weekend you’ll save cash with this drink because it’s also listed on their “Five Dollar Friday” menu that you may order from after nine. 21 West End is perfect for girls wanting to try something new; it has an extensive martini and wine list. The restaurant also boasts a four-star menu with items not regularly seen in this area like beef wellington, and occasionally elk.
21 North Second Street, Suite 102
Chocolate Banana Martini
The night is still young so head on down to Fort Smith’s one and only piano bar. Mojo’s Ivory House Dueling Piano Bar at 823 Garrison Avenue was opened by TV reality star turned entrepreneur, Joseph Meadows. Joseph was on the show “The Amazing Grace” and his spark for adventure has led him to this business venture. Mojo’s features live music and is an entertaining place to have a drink with the girls. “Girls just wanna have fun,” and also they just want chocolate. Spoil yourself by trying a sweet, rich chocoholic’s favorite: the Chocolate Banana Martini. This smooth mix is chocolate with banana liqueur, vodka, cream and, of course, swirled with more chocolate. Did I mention it has chocolate? Sorry. It’s great for banana lovers too. For all martini lovers, you never know what new exciting flavor is going to appear on the drink menu. Expert bartender Chris Sherwood says he and the other bartenders come up with varieties of delicious flavors mostly by trial and error. Where’s the form to sign up as taste-tester?!
The final addition is a cocktail called the X-Rated Flirtini, which is a fruity vodka concoction of orange, mango and passion fruit. This drink is the perfect girls’ drink – sweet, bright pink and with just the right zing. Drink it at the bar where blue neon lights glow across the length of the countertop and thank your lucky stars for your gal pals who make your life so much better.
Drinks are $7
Now that the night is over, call a taxi, grab that bottle of water, a couple of aspirin, and don’t try to add up the calories. You can always work out tomorrow.