Why pay full price to dine in Northwest Arkansas? Get restaurant discounts here!

Recently, a whole bunch of northwest Arkansas restaurants were added to the Restaurant.com catalog. That means you can go online and buy dining vouchers that will knock your bill down to around 50 percent.

Vouchers are available for most restaurants in $10, $25, $50, $75 and $100 denominations. You HAVE to spend double the amount on your voucher to get the discount.

Here are some rules to remember if you want to get the most bang for your buck: You HAVE to have a discount code. This page will always have a linked image with whatever promotion is currently going on, so always use the code. There is no need to spend $20 for a $25 off certificate when you can always get it with a discount code for a LOT cheaper. So write down the code, click through and get your cheap eats on!

I will only announce when gift certificates are at their cheapest. Here’s an offer that ends March 7:

3/6 – 3/7: $25 Restaurant.com Gift Certificates for $4!

Also, these are for dine-in only, and please, for the love of all service-industry workers, tip your wait staff as if you were paying full price. You are getting a discount on the food, not on the friendly service.

Also, you CAN stock up and you do NOT have to use the voucher the day you purchase it. I like to wait until I can get a really good deal, stock up on vouchers and just print them out as I need them. Sometimes these vouchers do go out of stock, as restaurants can determine how many of these they want to offer.

Here is a list of all restaurants in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers area that are currently in the Restaurant.com catalog. I’ve sorted them by city and then alphabetically. I hope you find this a useful tool worth bookmarking and sharing, and if there are any changes I don’t catch, please let me know!

BENTONVILLE

Glasgow’s, 411 SE Walton Blvd.

Marco’s Pizza, 2502 SW 14th St

EUREKA SPRINGS

Crystal Dining Room at the Crescent Hotel, 75 Prospect Ave.

Forest Hill, 3016 Van Buren

Knucklehead’s Pizza and Wings!, 13 N. Main St.

Nibbles Eatery, 79 Spring Street

FARMINGTON

Jitters Java and More, 53 Yukon Way Suite 1

FAYETTEVILLE 

Boar’s Nest BBQ, 1889 N Steamboat

Emelia’s Kitchen, 309 W. Dickson

Hawaiian Brians, 1466 N. College Ave.

La Huerta, 2356 N College Ave

Mexico Viejo, 2131 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.

GARFIELD

Cannonball BBQ, 14696 East Hwy 62

GENTRY

Pioneer Pizza, 244 E. Main St.

ROGERS

Corona Restaurant, 14340 E. Hwy. 12

Havana Tropical Grill, 1207 W. Walnut St.

Log Cabin Family Restaurant, 14550 E. Hwy. 12

Rolando’s New Nuevo Latino, 224 S. 2nd

SILOAM SPRINGS

Cathy’s Corner, 1910 Hwy 412 E

SPRINGDALE

Acapulco Mexican Grill, 1602 Robinson

Bleu Monkey Grill, 1100 S. 48th Place

Taqueria Mexico, 1205 S. Thompson St.

Tesoro Beach, 701 S. Thompson

Chuy’s Rogers: Delicious, fun Tex-Mex comes to Pinnacle Hills

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Yep, Chuy’s Rogers is here, and it opens today, Jan. 14. The crowds will be wild at the place, located at 4889 Pauline Whitaker Pkwy (don’t try to GPS it just yet; it’s not on the map but it’s past Target/Cabela’s on the way to Walmart Neighborhood Market.) I am so excited that I had the opportunity to try out the menu before the restaurant opens, and here’s a bit of what you can expect.

“Have you ever been to Chuy’s before?” – I was asked this several times after an entourage of staff greeted me. I hadn’t. In fact, I had no clue what Chuy’s was until last week when I was invited to this event. Once I announced on Facebook that I was going to Chuy’s, the responses were wild. Everyone said, “OH, be sure and try this!” “I could live on their jalapeno ranch sauce!” “I’m so excited we’re finally getting a Chuy’s!” I asked my friends if if was pronounced like “Chewies,” and as it turns out, I was correct.

When I entered, there were tons of extremely friendly staff there to greet me and direct me to my booth, where my guest Danielle was already dining on some chips, salsa and queso and drinking a “Texas Martini,” which tastes a lot like a margarita but with no ice and a jalapeno-stuffed olive. I opted for the Sangria, which you can get frozen or on the rocks. It’s winter, people – on the rocks, please! (Last night $1 of all drink purchases went to the Benton County Sunshine School. Isn’t THAT awesome?)

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With the exception of the adult beverages, which are around $10, the food is VERY reasonably priced. Most entrees are around $10-11 and are guaranteed to send you home stuffed if you decide to give in and finish the whole plate. I decided on what is apparently a favorite at the restaurant, the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – two chicken enchiladas wrapped in blue corn tortillas and doused with this delicious, spicy, creamy Boom Boom Sauce, which is DELICIOUS but will also have you grabbing your drink on breaks. Fortunately it’s served up with rice and beans to cut the spiciness a bit.

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I spent the next few minutes NARM NARM NARMing to myself, while Danielle feasted on her Tacos el Carbon, which are two steak soft tacos served up with guacamole and other goodies. She said the steak was EXCELLENT.

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Our waiter, Joseph, came by frequently to ask how everything was, and all we could say was “Awesome.” The General Manager, Jason, also stopped by to check on us. I grabbed a photo of him so you guys could see who to ask for if you need anything or have suggestions or accolades for him. Advance apologies for the slight blurriness in the photo, but I was in a hurry and had to get back to more important things, i.e., my food. So here’s GM Jason, at your service:

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Look at what’s above Jason. Can we get a close-up of that? Of course. It’s a ceiling of hubcaps!

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Your ceiling may vary. As I peeked across the restaurant I noticed LOTS of different decorations. There is plenty to look at. It’s practically like the Smithsonian; it’s impossible to see everything in one visit. Also, the music? Totally 80′s. I was very excited that they played Hall and Oates’ “Out of Touch,” as I am known to be one of the best karaoke singers of Hall and Oates in the history of anyone who has ever heard me sing Hall and Oates.

Danielle and I were way too stuffed to even attempt the dessert menu, which includes Sopapillas, Tres Leches, Flan, and a special of the day. “I’m drinking my dessert,” Danielle said as she poured the rest of her shaker into her martini glass. I’d already glugged down my Sangria, and I’ll have you know we drank responsibly by having no refills.

I was honored to be invited to this, never asked to review the place, but I thought you guys should check it out to see what you’re in for. It’s a great place to visit, NOT a place to frequent if you are a calorie-counter like me, but if you’re gonna splurge, I suggest you make your next one at Chuy’s Rogers. Give ‘em a call at (479) 254-2489 to check on hours and see if you need to make reservations. This is going to be a big hit for at least a little while.

My weight loss journey with Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Frozen Meals

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I have some exciting news, Bellesouth readers and friends: Since May, I have lost 32 pounds!!! Check me out!

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The photo on the left is one that I took right before heading out to a cocktail party at SoFabCon back in May. I’m wearing Spanx, so while I may look cute, I feel like a sausage and am thinking, “I am going to die before the night is over.”  The one on the right is me right before celebrating the last day of Summer by going out to the lake with some friends. I am very thankful the shorts I’m wearing have a drawstring, because they are two sizes too big for me!!! You really don’t see the difference until you compare photos of yourself.

Lots of my friends have asked me what program I’m on, or what I’m doing. Here’s my secret: It’s this AMAZING breakthrough plan called “Counting Calories and Exercising.” It really works, and I use a handy app called MyFitnessPal to help me out. I’m not on a “diet.” I don’t deprive myself, and I don’t beat myself up if I go over my daily calorie limit. As a result, I’ve dropped a shirt size, am about to drop a second pants size, and I’m really feeling better about myself. I was given the opportunity to try out a new line of healthy meals called Honestly Good 100% Natural meals by Lean Cuisine. These meals are ready in about four minutes, and are extremely tasty!!!

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At around 350 calories each, these meals are a great way to watch your calories, eat good-quality foods with delicious and healthy ingredients, and definitely NOT feel like you’re depriving yourself.

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These come in six varieties and are available in some Walmart stores. One of my favorites is the lemongrass salmon pictured above, which features a whole coconut-crusted, wild-caught salmon filet, ginger-lemongrass sauce in a separate pouch, a vegetable blend of snap peas, orange and yellow carrots and edamame, and brown rice with wheatberries. Sounds NOM, right? Trust me, it is – and it’s only 350 calories for the whole thing. That’s a good, healthy lunch or dinner.

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Each meal comes in steam-friendly packaging and is accompanied by a sauce packet to complement your meal. You defrost the sauce packet under warm water during Step 1 of your cooking process, and pour the sauce over the meal before you put it back into the microwave to complete it.

When it’s done, you have a beautiful, steaming-hot meal that just needs your fork and your mouth. Let’s watch the magic happen.

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Bite after bite of consistent yumminess!! An absolutely GORGEOUS meal that cost less than $4 and was just as tasty as it looks. I loved the coconut crust, and the salmon has a light taste, which was surprising since normally salmon has a very strong, pungent smell and taste. The vegetables were an amazing blend; I LOVE edamame and the addition of the other veggies really complimented the fish and the wheatberry rice quite well. Even in spite of the mishaps, This meal gets an A+ from me. I’ve already tried two of the six varieties – the Salmon and the plum-ginger grain-crusted fish, and these are some of the best frozen meals I’ve had.

Other flavors include: Honey Citrus Chicken, Pomegranate Chicken, and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Chicken. You will find these meals in the “Healthy Meals” section in your grocer’s freezer; close to things such as organic meals and vegetarian dishes. I hope the rest of these are as honestly good as the other ones!

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I’m sure I will struggle with it for the rest of my life. But all I know is, when I’ve lost weight, I’ve never lost more than 30 pounds at a time. And yet I keep losing. And this is my philosophy: Don’t deprive yourself. If you want that slice of pizza, eat it. Just put it in your daily calorie intake. Get outside and take the dog for a walk, or chase him around the house if it’s too cold outside.

Don’t think there is a food you cannot eat UNLESS, of course, you are allergic to it or have an intolerance for it. And if you splurge over the weekend, do not beat yourself up over it. Just go back to counting your calories, and eventually you’ll make better food choices, such as Lean Cuisine Honestly Good Frozen Meals.

Most importantly, if there’s someone in your life who is not helpful to you along your journey, or, worst yet, criticizes you on how you “still look” while you’re on that journey, either tell that person not to speak of it again, or remove yourself from that person. Because they will only hinder your journey. Surround yourself with people who will cheer you on.

And, of course, always consult your physician before beginning any type of diet or exercise program.

I tell people – I don’t know if this will last. But so far, this has been the easiest and most reasonable way I’ve done this. And I feel like I am LIVING.  I’m trying to beat diagnoses of Type II Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. I’m winning so far. I’ll check back in with you in a few more months to see if I’ve made any progress.

Northwest Arkansas Dining: Rolando’s Nuevo Latino, Rogers, Arkansas

Last weekend a friend and I went to one of our favorite northwest Arkansas restaurants, Rolando’s Nuevo Latino in Rogers, Arkansas. Using a $25 gift card I purchased for less than $10 from Restaurant.com, We managed to get a three-course meal for only $30!!!! Here’s what we got:

A lovely appetizer of chips and fresh, flavorful guacamole:

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I had these beautiful and flavorful chicken quesadillas:

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Rob had an awesome chicken dish called Pollo Bohemios:

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And we finished with a dessert called Rolando’s bananas, similar to bananas foster and served with ice cream:

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After using the $25 gift certificate, the entire bill for this amazing dinner was just over $30, gratuity not included. Not bad for a Saturday night meal!

What amazing restaurants can you save on in your area? Restaurant.com sells voucher-style restaurant gift
certificates, always at discount prices. For example, most $25 gift certificates always $10 or less, so already you can save $15 on a $50 meal! At this particular time, I caught a $4 for $25 gift certificates sale – so keep this site bookmarked for any future sales. (I typically wait until the sales to buy my certificates, but sometimes your favorite restaurants can sell out.)

I’m so glad to have a place like Rolando’s right in my community, and to have Restaurant.com to help make it easy for me to save money on fine dining.

Green tea: Safe to drink, just don’t eat the leaves, for Pete’s sake!

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Calm down, everybody! I know all about food and product scares. There have been plenty of them before and there will be more in the future. In my previous life as a journalist I frequently wrote about product quality, recalls, etc.

Stories have been surfacing all over the web about green tea containing lead.  I’m here to tell you that there is nothing to worry about unless you actually eat green tea leaves.

Here’s the lowdown:

ConsumerLab.com, an independent site involved in the testing of all sorts of health products, published a report on the levels of antioxidants and other substances in various green tea products. Green tea – the second most popular tea in the U.S. next to black tea – is touted for its antioxidant properties. It contains EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate, try to pronounce that one), which has been touted in many studies to be therapeutic for a number of diseases and conditions, including chronic fatigue, cancer and even HIV. These are amazing discoveries.

So – EGCG = good. But to separate the hoopla from reality, ConsumerLab.com tested four brands of green teas to determine if they really had as much EGCG as they claimed to – or if they had any at all.

Diet Snapple Green Tea contained almost NO ECGC. So, maybe you should just enjoy it for what it is: a beverage. Also, Ironically, Honest Tea’s Green Tea with Honey claimed to have 190 mg of the antioxidant Catechin. ConsumerLab found the tea to have only about 60% of that. Looks like their tea needs to be a bit more honest.

There are several more findings in the green tea study, which was reported on in the New York Times and has been linked here twice. Here’s what’s got people freaking out: the content of lead in green tea bags from Lipton and Bigelow. They were found to have 1.5 to 2.5 micrograms of lead per serving. Lipton and Bigelow tea leaves are imported from China, which has high levels of pollution and has resulted in this lead issue.

Wait! WAIT! Keep reading!

According to the New York Times, “ the study found that there was no real prospect of a health concern from the lead.” Dr. Tod Cooperman, President of ConsumerLab.com, found that the actual liquid in the green tea contained very little if any traces of lead. More from the NYT:

“The majority of the lead is staying with the leaf,” [Cooperman] said. “If you’re brewing it with a tea bag, the tea bag is very effectively filtering out most of the lead by keeping those tea leaves inside the bag. So it’s fine as long as you’re not eating the leaves.”

So, there you have it. DO NOT EAT TEA LEAVES. If you were planning on sprinkling some on your cereal or stirring them up with your scrambled eggs, step back! But if you’re just going to drink it in a cup, it’s fine.

Bigelow Tea has released a response to the ConsumerLabs Green Tea Report, which basically reiterates everything I’ve said and the New York Times has said. Of Cooperman and the study, Bigelow wrote:  ”All he was stating was it is a good idea to not eat the leaf (which none of us usually do) because the leaf can contain traces of lead. The key was the cup of tea is completely safe and clean. The article stated that we had passed their safety standards.”

I am going to take a challenge. Right now I’m battling a horrible cold, so I’ve been drinking a lot of Bigelow Tea because we seriously have a ton of it in our pantry. Today I had not only one but TWO CUPS of Decaffienated Bigelow Tea, which you can see pictured at the top of this post. I even posted it to Instagram. I will continue to drink this tea, and in the event that I am hospitalized or my life ends from lead poisoning, I am giving a login and password to a friend who will pronounce my conditions. I will even get health records printed out and everything, and I will instruct my friend to find and link to the obituary. But I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

There are potentially harmful things all throughout our pantries, under our kitchen sinks, in our garages and all over the communities where we live. The key is how we use those things.

So. As I have said many times before, your green tea is fine. Just don’t eat it. Mkay? Mkay.

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