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Old Ozarks cooking gets a fresh twist. `Nouveau 'zarks' fare at Dairy Hollow House

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``Our huckleberry pies, light flaky biscuits, the sweet buttermilk corn muffins - they're all good, traditional, old-time Ozarks cooking,'' says Crescent Dragonwagon. Gripping a skillet handle with one hand and a spatula with the other, she chops mushrooms and onions, talking as she tosses the vegetables and darts from counter to stove to chopping board. We're in the kitchen at Dairy Hollow House, a bed-and-breakfast inn tucked into an obscure little hillside in Eureka Springs, Ark. Ms. Dragonwagon, one of the cooks and co-owner of the inn with her husband, Ned Shank, talks a mile a minute as the food sizzles.

``Garden-fresh produce, yes - but we also serve wild foods when they're plentiful - like lily buds. We'll go out and pick some for dinner tonight, and there are loads of wild blackberries for dessert.''

To get to Dairy Hollow House, you slowly climb a lumpy dirt road bordered with Queen Anne's Lace and fragrant berry blossoms. Once a plain, functional, little farmhouse, it's now a delightful country inn where Ms. Dragonwagon and Jan Brown serve distinctive mountain food they call ``Nouveau 'zarks.''

Included are such dishes as Angel Biscuits and Country Chicken Fricassee, Poke Salat (or Asparagus), Ozark Bouillabaisse, Persimmon Mousse - to say nothing of The Great, The One and Only, Garlic Spaghetti.

Guests have come from all over the world for the inn's legendary fare in this resort town full of charming Victorian houses, many perched precariously on hilly outcroppings along winding country roads. More than a million people visit Eureka Springs during the warmer months, and there are a Pizza Hut and a Ramada Inn but no McDonald's yet. Long a haven for artists and writers, this area was once known as a spa, because of its 36 mineral springs. The year-round population is only about 2,000.


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