Sugar, Hun and Sweethearts...

Visiting Hot Springs, Arkansas is like taking a step back in time. When we travel there, we usually stay at an old historic hotel called, The Arlington. This hotel holds bragging rights to having hosted Al Capone and his gang, regularly. It is also know for its mineral baths and massages. At night, one can find a Big Band playing lazy tunes, such as "Moon River" and people doing some pretty exquisite ballroom dancing at times. Nestled among the Ozark Mountains, this historic landmark sits right in the middle of the town. Perfect for sitting out on the huge wrap around porch and "people watching" or taking a walk to any of the many restaurants or boutiques along the streets. Across from The Arlington is an old timey sort of diner called, "The Pancake House". When you enter this diner, it is as though you have stepped into a scene from "Steel Magnolias". The host (or perhaps he owns this place), looks a bit like a televangelist with his pineapple shirt, boufant hairdo and reading glasses perched upon his nose. Upon entering, he inquires, "How ya'll doin' this mornin'?", in a drawn out drawl one can only acquire from living in the south a lifetime. The Pancake House is always packed and it is no different this particular Saturday morning. Glancing around he asks if we would like to wait or sit at the counter. Well, if you are going to have a true "diner experience", you might as well go ahead and sit at the counter. This is actually not a bad seat for me (being only 5'1")...however, Robby's knees are up to his chin. We get situated and over walks our waitress. Dressed in a kelly green tunic and white polyester pants, she says, "Hey, Sweethearts...be with ya'll in just a minute." Now, I'm not one who really likes to be called endearments such as, Sweetie, Hun and Darlin', but it just seems normal for me to accept this woman calling me "Sweethearts" in this environment. As I observe her waltzing around the diner filling coffee cups and wiping countertops, I reach over and tap Robby and say, "I bet her name is Flo...or maybe even Alice! It has to be." As she scoots back over to take our order, I glance at her name tag ( I guess at the same time Robby does, as well). We look at each other...Yasmin?! For a moment, I consider telling her she should change it; if only on her name tag. Anyway, we go on to order French toast and grits. They bring out syrup and butter...not little pre-packaged little pats of butter, but homemade, light and whipped butter! One taste of the grits and they are PERFECT! Now, how many times does that happen in a restaurant? No added salt or butter even needed (Oh, yes! We MUST be in the south). THEN...Robby gives me a bite of his French toast. All I can say is, YUMMY! I do believe they must deep fry this French toast, because I have never tasted any that was quite as crispy. Unending cups of coffee and a constant flow of people and conversation continue even as we prepare to leave. Although at times I've been know to call this little town the "Redneck Riviera"...because there is, how should I put it? A very "diverse" crowd that appears to flock to Hot Springs, ...it is also very quaint. If you visit, you MUST stay at The Arlington, dance to "Moon River", tour the town in a horse drawn carriage and ABSOLUTELY eat breakfast at "The Pancake House"...Sweethearts!

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