The Pritchard

The Pritchard OKC

Last Sunday Mr. Wonderful and I meandered over to the ever growing and popular Plaza District to have brunch at one of their newly opened eateries The Pritchard Wine Bar, whose name gives a nod to the renowned Pritchard Hill region of Napa, California.  Partners Aiimee Ahpeatone, Steve Mason and Jolyn Bauer colaborated on this effort in the previous space owned by Urban Wine Works to bring a bright airy place to hang out with friends for a drink and some plates in an elegant yet causal atmosphere that is sure to be a hit.

I was excited about trying them out because the week before, my girlfriends and I had been talking about having a ladies night, because as ladies, we like to go out together and order appetizers to share.

The Pritchard makes this an easy feat as their menu features a huge selection of small plates like bar snacks, charcuterie and cheeses along with a small selection of main courses. Of note is that The Pritchard is supporting Oklahoma by sourcing some of their produce and proteins locally, which is always a joy to hear for us local Oklahoma farm lovers.

You don’t name oneself after a Napa area without offering up a nice selection of wine, and The Pritchard’s wine list boasts over 140 bottled wines, 20 plus wines-by-the-glass, along with wine-on-tap. Oh yes, and beer lovers never fear, for there are offerings for you as well as some pretty amazing craft cocktails. All this is masterfully overlooked by General Manager and Somalier Mindy Magers (formerly of The George and Flint) while the cuisine is created by Chef Shelby Sieg (also formerly of The George), who, incidentally is also a pastry chef, so be assured – the desserts are going to rival the savory fare.

We were there for brunch so Mr. Wonderful ordered the Tropical Mimosa while I had the Angry Carrot.

That Angry Carrot is a trickster. You sit sipping happily away at it and then it creeps right up on the back of your throat with a nice jalapeno burn.

Luckily around that time, our first small plate arrived. These small plates are all that are offered for brunch but most generously serve two so don’t think you won’t be full.

This was delicious – a plate of whole milk yogurt was topped with blood orange segments, local honey and rosemary walnuts.

Oh yes, and while you wait…did I mention you can doodle and dream? And if you’re at the bar, there are quiz cards to take a shot at (pun intended). Another fun happening -if you hang around until 11 pm you’ll hear the cookie bell, and get a fresh baked cookie as the kitchen transitions into just the small plate menu (there are entrees at dinner hours).

Showing up next might have been one of my favorite dishes…The Popcorn Grits. The BEST grits ever!

These are different in texture than regular grits, due to the corn grits being popped first in a pan and then boiled as normal giving them a larger meatier grit feel. They are mixed and topped with grano padano cheese, (a more subtle and less salty version of Parmesan) and a few bites of yummy pancetta.

If you talk to anyone who’s been to The Pritchard, you’re going to hear about the Brussels.

Brussels that are nicely roasted are always delicious, but The Pritchard’s version is nicely enhanced with some crispy Spanish chorizo…the spicy hard chorizo, not the mushy roll you can buy at the grocery store.  They also were fantastic.

Next up were the Fried Chicken Biscuits.

While I thought the batter was a tad overdone, these were delicious as well. Nestled into homemade fluffy biscuits and topped with in house pickles, I would only suggest asking for a side of their ground mustard to complete these, and they were quite filling!

Mr. Wonderful was really excited about the Savory Housemade Kolaches which really looked like a gourmet pigs-n-a-blanket to us.

From the homemade dough to the locally sourced sausage these made the Wonderful guy super happy.

Rounding out the meal was another of my favorites…the Spanish Baked Egg.

The Spanish tomato ragout, (similar to a tomato onion jam) has one beautifully poached egg nestled on top of it.

And it comes with crostini to spread it all on. I loved this so much.

Other things to note about The Pritchard – They have a really nice patio out where you can people-watch the bustling Plaza District, complete with patio heaters.

Follow them on Facebook for some fun events they do like wine dinners, Wednesdays they host a Cards Against Humanity tournament and Twenty Twosdays, where they offer one featured specialty bottle of wine each week for $22.

The Pritchard
1749 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
405-601-4067
Website & Menu

 

Need help finding The Pritchard? Below is a map to help you!

The Pritchard Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Goro Ramen + Izakaya

Goro Ramen Izakaya restaurant review Oklahoma City OKC

Ever since Mr. Wonderful and I had ramen in L.A., we’ve had cravings.

Authentic ramen, if you’ve never had it, is a heart-warming and soothing comfort food that hits you on cold, rainy or gloomy days like a bright ray of sunshine. With its silky-rich broth and chewy noodles and a variety of add-ins, you’ll fall in love with it like we did.

ramen noodles goro ramen okc

However, it is not just for cool weather, for it is currently in the 90’s and we are still craving it. And apparently the heat doesn’t mean anything to locals in Oklahoma City, because the trendy new spot Goro Ramen + Izakaya (pronounced ee-zah-kah-yah),  located in the up and coming Plaza District is always packed.

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I first fell in love with their ramen from when they had a food truck (Kaiteki Ramen), operated by Chef Jeff Chanchaleune and his wife Rachel  and so when I heard they were opening a store front in July, I told Mr. W. we needed to try it out.

Chef Jeff Chanchaleune and Rachel Chanchaleune of Goro Ramen

And we did.

And then we returned less than a week later.

Mr. Wonderful goro ramen okc

Let me tell you, that is saying something, because the man usually wouldn’t want the same thing twice in a week in regards to dining out. He loved it.

We started off our meal with something I fondly remembered and loved from the food truck – the Brussels Sprouts Salad.

Brussels Sprouts salad goro ramen fried

The recipe has been altered and could possibly be even better with the addition of beets to the fried Brussels along with mint, pickled fresnos, fried shallots and a miso vinaigrette.

fried brussels sprouts goro ramen OKC

And then Chef Jeff sent us out another delicious salad – the Cauliflower, a great combination of fried cauliflower generously topped with bonito furikake seasoned panko, more of the pickled fresnos and an anchovy vinaigrette.

fried cauliflower goro ramen OKC

On our second visit, we could not resist ordering off the Nikuman (steamed buns) section of the menu. If you’re a dim sum fan, you’ll know that these are (most commonly) BBQ pork-filled, pillowy-soft, sweet steamed buns, but Goro offers theirs up like a cute little steamed bun taco.

nikuman pork belly buns Goro Ramen OKC

There are three varieties at Goro – Chicken, Pork Belly (think thick bacon) and Tofu, each filled with a different variety of vegetables and sauces.  This one was the Pork Belly with plum sauce, pickled cucumbers, and green onions. The buns were perfectly done, soft and warm and I loved the addition of the fresh pickles to cut the fatty pork belly as well.

nikuman pork belly bun Goro Oklahoma City

On to the ramen!

One thing I really love at Goro ‘s is the broth. Instead of the commonly used pork broth, Goro ‘s broth is chicken based, rich and silky and wonderfully delicious. Mr. W prefers the more traditional tori paitan, filled with pork belly, bamboo shoots, fried garlic, bean sprouts and ajitama, a marinated perfectly-cooked, soft-boiled egg.

Now, keep in mind that the broth takes 12 hours to make, (perhaps one reason Goro uses the hashtag #respecttheramen so often on their social media postings). And if you’ve never been to a ramen house, you should totally sit at the bar the first time you go to watch the action of the giant steaming pots of broth, and the art of dropping the baskets of noodles and putting the entire bowl together. It’s like a crazy hustle and bustle of culinary circus act to watch!

tori paitan Goro Ramen OKC

The next time we went back Mr. W subbed out for the spicy pork meatballs in the same ramen.

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Mr. Wonderful dishin and dishes

He was happy. Very, very happy.

I on the other hand ordered the Spicy Miso.

spicy miso ramen goro okc

It combines the rich chicken broth with roasted garlic miso, spicy pork meatballs, corn and sesame seeds as well as that precious marinated egg again. I will be hard-pressed to order anything else. If you like spicy soups, this will be your go-to, and those grilled meatballs are fabulous!  Maybe one of these days, I’ll get past it and try the vegan ramen, as it intrigues me but holy fire, I just love this!

The second trip,  even though we were happily full and I was still wiping my eyes and nose from the spicy ramen, I was grateful that Chef Jeff sent us out a special of the week dessert to try. Sadly my camera battery died but I got a sort-of sad snapshot on my iPhone of the Blackberry Ice Cream dessert with graham cracker crumble, candied peaches and some white chocolate shards. This was yummy and cooled my mouth off significantly!

photo-sep-03-6-28-38-pm

Goro also has a nice drink menu offering cocktails, beer and wine as well as Pokka Gold Milk Coffee, and Black Boss Silk (popular canned and bottled coffees from Japan), and also two featured dessert menu items (Miso Ice Cream and Poppyseed Mochi Cake). Now, I’m just guessing there are only two, because you’ll be so pleasantly full after the ramen, a light dessert is all you’ll be able to handle!

So go check out Goro Ramen soon, but go early on the weekends or you may be waiting outside.

Goro Ramen OKC

Also, cooler weather is coming so get your ramen outside on this cool new courtyard patio in between Goro and The Mule.

courtyard Goro Ramen THe Mule

Goro Ramen + Izakaya
1634 N. Blackwelder Suite 102
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Website
Phone – 405-606-2539

Gorō Ramen + Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tom Jones Memorial Airplane Flying Field

Tom Jones Model Airplane Field

Last year, just before the ridiculously cold ice storm hit us, Mr. Wonderful and I took his 53 Ford truck for a cruise around Lake Hefner.

We headed down NW Expressway and then hung a left at Meridian then took South Lake Hefner Drive around the lake.


View Lake Hefner in a larger map

 

When I noticed this sign, I hollered at the Wonderful guy to turn in!

Tom Jones Memorial Model Airplane Flying Field

Turn up the dirt road and soon you’ll come out to a clearing with a set of bleachers (for observing) and a whole bunch of flat tables covered with artificial turf and a small airplane runway.

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It was a gorgeous day  and we saw some guys tinkering with their planes, so we decided to stay awhile and watch.

model airplanes

This is some serious plane flying folks. Way beyond the tiny helicopters we fly around our living room, these babies are big…

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And cool- really cool.

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We watched them taxi out on the little runway and send their planes up in the air.

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We watched the planes buzzing overhead while the “pilots” sent them into dives, stalls and loops.

And then before we left we saw this guy arrive with these.

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Apparently the helicopters are way harder to operate and this guy was doing some crazy stuff with them like flipping them upside down and coming darn close to mowing the grass with the blades of the copper.

During this time of gorgeous weather – this is a fun jaunt to do while you’re walking around Lake Hefner! Try it sometime!

 

 

Tamashii Ramen House

Photo Aug 01, 11 15 57 PM

We have a store-front ramen noodle house in Oklahoma City.

Glory be and thanks to all that is good and right.

Miso Corn Ramen Tamashii OKC

We waited a bit as we do with any restaurant for them to iron out their kinks before heading over to Tamashii Ramen House this weekend. And our experience was absolutely fantastic.
Tamashii Ramen House Oklahoma City Interior

If you’ve never experienced authentic ramen before, you need to try it at Tamashii.  It’s so unlike those ten-cent packets you get at the grocery story, and you really need to experience it first-hand.

We fell in love with authentic ramen at L.A.’s Daikokuya in Little Tokyo  and it was tough coming home and thinking we couldn’t have a similar taste experience here in OKC.

While fairly small (even the famous L.A. ramen dives are small), I did like the inside atmosphere of Tamashii. It’s all black vinyl, rustic wood and brick with some classy touches.

Interior photo Tamashii Ramen House Oklahoma City

I especially love the dishes, being the dish freak that I am.

ramen bowls Tamashii

Most ramen houses offer you a bar to sit at and watch the magic happening behind the counter and in this regard, Tamashii doesn’t disappoint.

ramen bar counter Tamashii Ramen House OKC

Behind the counter simmers the star of the show – usually the tonkotsu broth.

Photo Aug 01, 10 36 21 PM

The stock for this famous Japanese noodle soup is made from pork bones, which are simmered for hours, breaking down the collagen, marrow and fat, unleashing a creamy, white liquid.

When it’s time to plate up the ramen, the broth is ladled into the bowl along with pork, noodles, green onions and other elements including bamboo and a seasoned perfectly soft-boiled egg. Some places serve the noodles on the side but they came right in the bowl at Tamishii.  Proper eating time is under ten minutes for a bowl of ramen so the noodles don’t break down so go ahead and slurp away!

This was Mr. Wonderful’s bowl of the traditional Tonkotsu Ramen with the tonkotsu broth, noodles, marinated spiced egg and the braised pork belly.green onions, and marinated bamboo. The tonkotsu broth is typically pretty salty so be prepared for that and if you don’t like salt, you might try another option.

Tonkatsu ramen at Tamishii Oklahoma City

The pork at Tamashii is braised pork belly. I much preferred the way the pork is cooked at Tamashii in comparison with other pork I’ve had. It had a crispy outside and tender inside bite to and it was delicious. The noodles are not made in-house but are made just for them and they were very good. They are precooked in baskets and drained and left ready to add to the hot soup.

noddles at Timashii Oklahoma City

Here’s a little FAQ for you on ramen noodles. In order to stand up to time in broth, the noodles are made alkaline, usually with kansui, an alkaline, mineral-rich water sold in Asian markets. The kansui reacts with the flour to give ramen its yellow color. In Japan, these noodles are taken very seriously and sometimes take apprentices years to learn to make.

Oh, and another FYI for you on eating ramen…. you should absolutely feel prone to slurp the noodles. It is done with pride and with broth running down one’s chin.

Ramen bowls at Tamashii range from $8.75 to $9.50 and you can order extra noodles for $1.75 and additional toppings for a small price as well. It’s a good helping of food, so it’s worth the price in my opinion.

I ordered the Miso Butter Corn Ramen to try a new flavor and I just might stick with this one from now on. It was wonderful. You can see the pat of butter melting over the sweet corn in the photo below.

Miso Butter Corn Ramen Timashii Oklahoma City

You can add various things to your ramen at Tamashii (like fish cakes,  marinated bamboo or spicy ground pork) and I added in the black mushroom and seasoned egg. The fresh buttered corn in the miso broth was really nice and I also had the braised pork belly in mine.

On our second trip to Tamashii, I ordered the Spicy Ramen.

Spicy Ramen 1 Tamashaii

I didn’t like it as much as the Miso Butter Corn version but it was pretty good….and spicy, although not unbearably so.

There are also offerings of srirachi sauce, soy sauce and white pepper (very traditionally served with ramen although I don’t care for it) to add to your ramen to your liking.

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There are other eating options besides ramen at Timashii as well like Garlic Fried Rice that comes served in the frying pan it’s cooked, and comes with raw eggs that you scramble yourself when it comes out.  And there is also this.

“This” is a favorite dish of mine at ramen places – the Chasudon.

Chasudon Tamashii OKC

Tamishii’s version comes with a braised pork topping ladeled onto steamed rice with their special sauce blend and truffle mayo on top. The special sauce is sort of like a sweet teriyaki sauce. I appreciate that there is a small order of this available for $4.50 or you can get a large for $8.50. I am so glad that we got the small for a taste test because we also had to try a few other things.

The Takoyaki ($4.50) came out hot out of the fryer and was really good.

Takoyaki Tamashii OKC Oklahoma City

If you’ve never had takoyaki before, think of a wheat-flour based savory doughnut laced with small pieces of octupus, deep fried so that it is crisp outside and melty and soft inside. It’s usually covered with a Japanese mayo based sauce and bonito shavings.

takoyaki tamishii in Oklahoma City OKC

The Takoyaki was one of Tamishii’s “Small Plate” offerings. You can also order Gyoza, so of course…we did.

Gyoza Tamashii Oklahoma City

The Gyoza was nicely done and steamed and browned perfectly.

Potsickers Gyoza Tamashii Oklahoma City

An honorable hurrah was given by both of us for the chopsticks used at Tamashii, as they deviate from normal slippery chopsticks with an end that is textured for better gripping.

On our next visit, we MUST try the dessert menu – I have seen photos of a dessert they have called Fuji Toast. It looks like a semi-hollowed out loaf of white bread that’s been toasted and drizzled with honey and filled with green tea ice cream.  We tried so many menu items that I couldn’t even finish my ramen noodles which was just a crying shame.

eat ramen tamashii OKC Oklahoma City

He, however, didn’t have any trouble at all.

I love feedback so if you’ve been to Tamashii Ramen House – please leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!

 

Click to add a blog post for Tamashii Ramen on Zomato

(Menu subject to change)
Tamashii Menu Oklahoma City

Tamashii Ramen
321 NW 8th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
405-517-0707
Facebook

Need directions to Tamashii Ramen?  See the map below!

Coral Snake Salsa

Coral Snake Salsa 1

This salsa.

Has me hopelessly addicted.

Since I noticed fresh apricots in the store 2 weeks ago, I’ve made it no less than 4 times. (Revision: I have since made it many more times and when fresh apricots are out, the canned ones either in natural juices or the sweetened ones rinsed of their juices are just as good, maybe better!)

Seriously.

The first batch I made, I couldn’t stop eating.

First off, because the flavor is so unusually wonderful, but secondly, because it was so flippin hot that I couldn’t stop or my mouth would combust. No worries! I’m going to solve that problem, even for kids!

Recently Produce for Kids asked me to feature a recipe featuring fresh produce in the Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign which will raise money for Homeland’s designated local charity – the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program.

Produce for Kids logo

Oh, THIS is something I believe in, I thought and was so excited to help. I wish I could go back in time and build healthier habits in my kiddos. It’s not too late, and I’m converting them every day to yummy and fresh recipes (as we speak). Kids love salsa in Mexican restuarants here, at least Oklahoma kiddos do, so I thought I’d scale the heat down and use this for inspiration.

Since 2011, Homeland has raised nearly $60,000 for local children’s organizations. Homeland is one of nine retailers participating in the national campaign, which is expected to pass $5 million in overall contributions in 2014! To help Homeland increase its donation, shoppers are encouraged from June 1 through 30 to add more produce to their grocery carts. All participating fruit and vegetable suppliers will make a consumption-based donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

Iguana grill coral snake salsa recipe

If you have kids, or know someone who needs healthy cooking/buying options for their kids, please follow them on the following social media sites or share these with your loved ones!

Also, be sure to check out Produce for Kids on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for more info on the campaigns, healthy eating tips and tricks and delicious recipes that call for spring produce!

One thing I would encourage parents to do is to “buy seasonal”.

What does this mean, exactly? I mean you hear it all the time.  Simply put, it means if asparagus is on sale in the spring -BUY IT!  This helps your budget but also encourages you to try new produce and recipes for them all the time.

This week I saw apricots and something clicked in my mind.  A salsa recipe that we absolutely LOVE that was created by Chef Ryan Parrott here in Oklahoma City when he was the chef at Iguana Grill. Ryan tweeted this recipe once upon a time, which I missed, but when I begged him for it, he generously accepted and told me it is not a deep dark secret so I wanted to share.

Apricots are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C so make the mild version of this salsa and your little ones will scoop it up with joy because the flavors are outstanding. I will offer the original (very hot) rendition of this salsa ..and, shall I say “the weenie” variation for kiddos and adults alike who can’t handle the heat.

Start off with 2 cups of halved apricots. The beauty of many salsas are that you toss all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse them giving you fresh and delicious salsa in all of two whole minutes.

This is one of those recipes.

Slice apricots (no need to peel) in half until you can throw them into a 2 cup measuring cup and fill it.  

coral snake salsa

The first time I made it, the large apricots I had only required 4 1/2 apricots to fulfill this requirement, but the second time, I got smaller ones…much smaller, and it took eight, so you’ll have to go with what you buy.

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Next up, you’ll need two tomatillos.  Tomatillos look like a green tomato and are covered in a papery husk that has to be removed.  They lend a tart and slightly spicy flavor to anything they are cooked for and are wonderful.   They are also a good source of Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese.

fresh tomatillos Coral Snake Salsa

To prep them, simply pull off the husk and then give them a rinse, because for some reason, they have a sticky residue on them when you do.

tomatillo husk

Cut these in fourths and along with the apricots, add them into your food processor bowl.

apricots coral snake salsa

Now, if you are making this for kids, please look away.

The next ingredient? 

habanero recipe

Two habanero peppers.

Please in the name of all that is right and good use precautions when using these babies. I keep a box of beautician rubber gloves under my sink for just such a evil ingredient as this.  I learned when putting my contacts in, you should ALWAYS do this, without fail. Well, you know, if you want to have sight for the rest of your life and all.

gloves habaneros

 I cut these open and removed the stems and ribs, but if you are one of those people who can eat lit fire, go ahead and leave them in. 

Habanero peppers

If you’re making this for kids, use 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper with the stems and ribs removed. It’ll lend a bit of spice but nothing too drastic.

jalapeno peppers

You’ll need two tablespoons of cilantro but I just grabbed a small hunk of leaves and threw them in. Also add in 1/2 of a red onion roughly chunked.

red onion coral snake salsa

Add 1/2 cup orange juice and a tablespoon each of salt and pepper (the second batch, I reduced the salt by 1/2).

 

Then just hit pulse on your food processor until it looks kind of chunky, but is pureed somewhat.

Coral Snake Salsa

Then eat and enjoy….and keep eating…

Coral snake salsa from Iguana Grill recipe

Because it’s addictive.

Pour it over chicken or fish or shrimp.

It’s SO addictive.

Author Note:The following recipe is the original, I usually adapt it by omitting the jalapeno and using one habanero, stems and seeds removed. I also LOVE It with canned apricots in off season. It’s also really good to make with fresh peaches!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Coral Snake Salsa
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • (Recipe courtesty of Ryan Parrott)
  • 2 c. apricots (or 2 cups rinsed and drained canned apricot halves)
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • 2 habeneros
  • 2 T. cilantro
  • 2 Tomatillos
  • ½ jalepeno pepper
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 T. kosher salt (I used ½ T.)
  • 1 T. black pepper (Also used ½ T.)
  • Kids version - substitute ½ small jalapeno, seeded with ribs removed)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into food processor and pulse until still chopped and not totally smooth. No need to peel the apricots. For the tomatillos, peel off husks and rinse to remove the stickiness, no need to peel, just quarter.

Corral Snake Salsa Recipe apricot

See what other wonderful food bloggers are making this week in Food Network’s Summer Soiree featuring “no cook” dishes!

Feed Me Phoebe: 5 Farmer’s Market Summer Salad Recipes
Healthy Eats: Ovenless Entertaining
Dishin & Dishes: Coral Snake Salsa (Apricot Tomatillo)
The Mom 100: Simple Raspberry Fool
Domesticate Me: Arugula Salad with Shaved Zucchini, Pistachios and Parmesan
Taste with the Eyes: Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges
Homemade Delish: Delicious Ceviche
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich with Basil-Garlic Scape Pesto
Red or Green: Gott’s Gazpacho
Swing Eats: Green Grapes, Drunken Goat Cheese, and Jalapenos on a Toothpick
Bacon and Souffle: Scallop Ceviche
FN Dish: A Complete Menu of No-Cook Recipes for the Whole Day

Bonjour

Bonjour Oklahoma City exterior

Recently Mr. Wonderful and I took a Friday off together to do some planning for our Easter Egg Hunt for our granddaughters.

I was glad to have a work day off because I’d been dying to try out the new place from one of my favorite Oklahoma Chefs – Chef Vuong Nguyen, who left Guernsey Park recently and set about building his new gourmet breakfast and lunch cafe from the ground up  himself.  Vu tutored under the great Kurt Fleischfresser and his food always pleases me.

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Chef Vuong Nguyen and his sister

When I say he did everything himself, I’m dead serious – this included paint, remodeling, installing kitchen equipment and anything else needed to get the place up and running.  Chef Vu is that dedicated to committing himself to his own place, where he can be free to create at will some of his inspired and delicious offerings.

Located in the Chase Park at Memorial and Portland, make sure and look for the artsy painted windows bearing the restaurant’s name.

Bonjour Oklahoma City

The interior is small, but still a work-in-progress, and if everyone loves the food like we did, Chef Vu is going to need to expand soon.

Bonjour Oklahoma City interior

The menu is scrolled busily up on chalkboards and you go to the counter to order your food.  I can guaranty you that it will be good …and house made. From the fresh baked bread, to the house-cured bacon, to the delicious dessert offerings, you won’t find any food that isn’t stamp approved and made on site from Chef Vu and company, except maybe for the baked goods, which we’ll get to shortly.

Bonjour menu oklahoma city

For starters, I ordered the avocado smoothie and it was delicious.

Bonjour avocado smoothie

Don’t be hating on the words “avocado smoothie” until you try it!

The Menu board will remain fairly constant as Chef Vu told me that he is training his staff to make things properly, and wants the quality to be perfect every time before moving on to other items. There is however, a “Feature board” that may rotate in and out frequently.

Feature board at Bonjour Oklahoma City

I was torn between the Salmon Linguine and the Seared Chicken and Waffle, but I opted for the waffle, and it was amazing!

Seared Chicken and Waffle Bonjour OKC

 

First off, let’s discuss the waffle.

Shall we just say this was buttery and crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. and magnificent as waffles go in itself? It almost felt a little like cornbread to me in its texture. It was topped with a smear of basil aoili, some insanely moist and tender chicken (not fried) a perfectly poached egg and some diced tomato.  The flavors were crazy delicious.

Seared Chicken and Waffle Bonjour Oklahoma City

Mr. Wonderful opted for the Eggs Benedict, which might be one of his favorite meals ever. The man loves his Eggs Benedict!

Eggs Benedict Bonjour OKC

Again – I tell you – house made English muffins everyone! The Wonderful guy was happy!

Drinks, chips and even hot tea offerings can be picked from the glass case at the counter.

Drinks Bonjour

And holy sweetness, but look at the sugary temptations under glass domes begging your to order them on top of the counter!

Bonjour desserts Cake Creations by Kim

If you opt for more for dessert there are usually offerings like Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Herbal Mint Tea Anglaise, Walnuts, and Orange Whipped Cream, however, we were just too full of our breakfast goodness to eat one more bite!

After sitting awhile and talking to Chef Vu, we learned he has more in store for us at Bon Jour. Things in the works will be wine by the glass and more bar seating to feed more folk.  We talked about his Asian roots and I begged him to introduce some of this into his menu in the future and whether he will or not remains to be seen (alas I will keep bugging him).

But one thing you can be assure of if you eat at Bonjour…..

You’re going to leave happy.

We sure did.

(Right now Bonjour is open for breakfast and lunch only Wednesday thru Sunday)

Bonjour
3705 W Memorial Rd #707,
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
(405) 286-9172
Facebook

Bonjour on Urbanspoon

Natural Grocers in OKC

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 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~Hippocrates

Recently I was fortunate to be invited to a get together to learn about Natural Grocers that opened in Oklahoma City on May Avenue (7013 N. May Avenue).  Mr. Wonderful and I attended and our meeting was held in the community room that houses a demo kitchen and setup of chairs for classes.

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This was also a chance to get that precious time spent with some of my favorite Oklahoma bloggers  that I already know, but also see  some faces for the first time in real life that I’ve only known through social media outlets and through the Oklahoma Women Bloggers site connection.

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(From left to right –  Me, Dee, Marie, Rose, Mari, Jen, Mae, Stephanie, & Ashley

I am a fan of all the great healthy grocery stores going making appearances in OKC. I just wish one of them would open up closer to me! I have to drive clear across town to get to Sprouts, Whole Foods or now, Natural Grocers. Why they all opened up within a half mile of each other is beyond me!

Speaking of other stores, what I really like about this store is that their philosophy can be summed up pretty simply – “Sharing Nutrition”.  I believe that what sets Natural Grocers apart from other stores is their desire to get food facts in every consumer’s hands.  At the previously mentioned Community Room, they have all sorts of interesting nutrition classes that range from classes on Gluten Free eating to Detoxing the Home. You can view the May location of Natural Grocers classes on their events page located by clicking here.  Also located on this page are some past recorded events that you can view for free as video.

Natural Grocers also believes in making the healthy eating lifestyle affordable to the average Joe.  I appreciate the fact that they sell bulk quantities of things like almond flour, coconut flour and raw nuts.

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These are prepackaged in bags so you don’t have to mess with bins (that everyone’s had their hands in!) and their brand products are WAY less expensive than most I’ve seen in some brand name products.

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A blurb from Natural Grocer’s website will tell you more:

Founded in Colorado by Margaret & Philip Isely in 1955, Natural Grocers was built on the premise that consumers should have access to affordable, high-quality foods and dietary supplements, along with nutrition knowledge to help them support their own health. The family-run store has since grown into a successful national chain with locations across Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas,Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming and employs over 2000 people.  Although the company went public in July 2012, Isely family members continue to manage the company day-to-day, building on the foundation of their parents’ business. Natural Grocers’ popularity and success can be traced back to its founding principles: dedication to providing science based nutrition education, exceptional customer service, the highest quality natural and organic products at affordable prices, supporting their communities and providing great jobs with excellent benefits and a living wage to their employees.

Another thing I love about Natural Grocers is that their entire produce section is Certified Organic 100%. This takes any guess-work out of searching for the organic section of broccoli, etc. Sometimes that drives me crazy at other stores.The produce is also promised to have no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or hydrogenated oils.

I like my vegetables to be vegetables, and preferably pesticide free so I appreciate this.

One thing I should note here is that when you head to the check-out line, you need to BYOB.

Bring your own bags or Natural Grocers will supply you with packing boxes, much like at Sam’s Club.

Perhaps the best thing I love about the store is that they supply you with an on-site Nutritional Health Coach.

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Here is Jessica (on the right), one of the coaches at the May location, talking to Marie from The (not always) Lazy W. Hi Marie! Hi Jessica!

I have been in several times, and anytime I need a question answered I go ask Jessica. Like “Hey Jessica, what is the best gluten-free pasta you’ve found?” or what is the best gluten-free flour you’ve found to cook with and Jessica is a wealth of information. And you know what my bill is for the information?

Nada.

She is there for free to answer your questions. You can even set up appointments with her. That’s not all that is done generously at Natural Grocers. That room that we were in? It’s available to the community for free if it’s not being used by the store for classes. And, something else that speaks volumes to me, is the way they treat their employees. Each employee gets one in-store-buck put on a charge card to be used to buy groceries for each hour they work each week. That’s how strongly they feel about their employees being able to eat healthy food and become healthier folk.  I mean, you tell me a company treats their employees good and I want to shop there just because.

A few sites you’ll see at the store:

organic produce natural grocers

A beautiful organic produce section.

Bulk spices natural grocers

A huge bulk aisle of their own line of spices, grains, legumes and more.

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Oh yes, and don’t forget they are VERY inexpensive for their size.

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Truly healthy protein and energy bars.

Raw nuts and trail mixes. We adore the tropical trail mix.

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A lineup of Amy’s Burritos. My son could live on these.  Need I say more?

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Vitamins, supplements galore abound.

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And there’s much, much more!

I love that they are now a part of our community as I believe our community is a better place with Natural Grocers in it!

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Natural Grocers
7013 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
405-840-0300
Website

Oklahoma City Caffeine Crawl

Oklahoma City Caffeine crawl

Listen up Oklahoma City!

If coffee is your thing, you will want to check out the Oklahoma City Caffeine Crawl coming Saturday March 21st.  Tickets are now on sale (click here to purchase).

Last year’s OKC Caffeine Crawl left us with a coveted award of “Most Enthusiastic Crawlers” and this year will be even better!

What’s a Caffeine Crawl you ask?

Started by the LAB, and with an enthusiasm for all things caffeine, including coffee, tea and chocolate, you will embark on a bit of a hyper tour of several OKC caffeine shops, interact with the staff and learn some educational facts as well.  At every stop on the tour, there is a different, hands-on presentation, and a free drink or chocolate sample provided by the shop and redeemable to attendees only. Some of my favorite places are participating including those below:

List of participating stops and roasters
Cafe Evoke
Coffee Slingers Roasters
Compass Coffeehouse
Cuppies and Joe
Elemental Coffee Roasters
Gray Owl Coffee
Junction Coffee
Kitchen 324
Mariposa Coffee Roastery
Second Wind Coffeehouse
syrup
t, an urban teahouse
Topeca Coffee

Here’s a bit of info off of the Caffeine Crawl website.

“Once again, we’ll have multiple routes covering Edmond, Norman and Oklahoma City, but with routes set up for less travel time. You can choose from one of six routes touring Oklahoma City and either Edmond or Norman. Also, there’s an option of an early start at 8:30a for routes one through four, and routes five through six begins at 11:00a. All ticket holders and industry professionals are invited to join us at Coffee Slingers at 5p for a Latte Art Throwdown after the Caffeine Crawl.”

This will be my first year to participate in Caffeine Crawl. I’ll of course, do a write up on it afterward and let ya’ll know how much fun it was. But if I were you, I’d go and get the info firsthand!

Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery

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SADLY THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.

 

Sometime over Christmas break, and before Mr. Wonderful and I switched over to trying to get back to a reasonably healthy eating style, we indulged one day at this place around the corner from us.

Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery.

Located in the space that was previously Steve’s Ribs on Hefner Road, we found that Cal has recently moved to town and like most transplanted natives from Chicago, missed hometown food favorites.

I can sympathize Cal. I lived near Chicago for 2 years and miss the deep dish and stuffed pizza immensely!  Gimme some Gino’s East sausage stuffed pizza and I can die happy.

You won’t find pizza on the menu at Cal’s however, as his in-laws are the owners of All-American pizza and therefore, as any wise son-in-law would do, he won’t compete with dear old dad-in-law.

Smart move Cal!

The decor at Cal’s is the shell of what was Steve’s Ribs, but there is now a mix of what I call mobster/sports diner decor.  You’ll find pictures of vintage Wrigley Field, Michael Jordan, and even a Soprano’s street sign.

Cal's Chicago Style Eatery Interior

So what kind of Chicago-style food exactly are we talking about if not the famous pizza?  You can take a glance at the menu if you like, but basically, burgers, dogs, including the neon green slathered Chicago dog, meatball subs, Polish and Italian Sausages in a bun, and Italian Beef or Italian Beef and Sausage subs topped with hot Giardiniera peppers on a fresh toasted hoagie.   There are also a few offerings like gyros and Philly sandwiches as well.

I couldn’t resist the Chicago dog.  And get this…for the side, I got pickle fries.

Chicago dog Cal's Chicago Eatery

Yes you heard me. Pickle fries.

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I must admit, if you’re a pickle or fried pickle fan (for those of you from the north, some of our Sonics carries flat round pickle fries also), and us pickle fans happen to adore them, you’ll LOVE these.

The dog was spot on and made, as Chicagoan’s refer to as “dragged through the garden” – 100% beef hot dog, diced tomatoes, onions, that neon sweet style green “atomic” relish, mustard, sport peppers and a kosher pickle spear on a steamed poppy seed bun.  This is classic hotdog at its best ya’ll. If you haven’t tried a Chicago dog, head on over to Cal’s and try it. Deliciousness.

Mr. Wonderful ordered the Classic Philly – which came out as your choice of shredded steak or chicken (he got steak), grilled green peppers, mushrooms, onions, cooked with Cal’s signature sauce and topped with melted mozzarella cheese.

The man was happy.

This was a big man’s sandwich. I am not calling Mr. Wonderful fat, mind you, it’s just a hefty sandwich. Men will love it. He got onion rings as his side.  Honestly, everyone has their own favorite onion ring. I prefer the ones with bread crumbs over this battered type but they were hot and fresh.

Classic Philly Steak Sandwich Cal's Chicago Eatery

Other sides at Cal’s include corn dogs, jalapeno poppers and mozzarella sticks.

If you’re looking for a really good sandwich or dog, head over to Cal’s and try his place out!

Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery

7202 W. Hefner Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73162
405-721-7700
website and menu

Need help finding your way to Cal’s Chicago Style Eatery? Here’s a map to help!

Cal's Chicago Style Eatery on Urbanspoon

Empire Slice House

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I have no idea why I haven’t written about Empire Slice House yet.

This buzzing-with-hipsters hangout in the Plaza District is always packed, and because of that fact, once you enter, you’ll be overwhelmed with pandemonium, from every one of your senses.

The walls are completely plastered with odes to music artists from all eras, like David Bowie, Prince, The Doors and comic book legends as well.

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A pristine white combination fan and lighting fixture looks like something out of a science fiction movie and throw in some shiny red retro looking chairs and stools on top of a hard wood floor and you’ve got enough to keep your eyes busy for about…oh….3 or 4 hours. Add in the din from the kitchen and diners, and like I said….bzzzzzz!

If you love New York style pizza, you’ll love Empire Slice House. There has been such a fiercely battled Pizza War-of-the-Roses over the two American greats, with clearly picked loyalties on both sides of Chicago style verses New York style.

Having lived near Chicago for my early college experience, I am more of a Chicago-style fan, having cut my teeth on cheese and meat stuffed pizzas from Gino’s (deep dish) and Giordano’s (stuffed) and Burt’s (pan pizza) with their layer of rich tomato sauce spread over the top.

Incidentally, most people don’t realize the difference between deep-dish, stuffed and pan Chicago pizza…except us nerdy food writers.

We care about e DEEP things my friends.

Google it. It’s a fine but distinctive line.

Ok, let me get off my digress bandwagon and tell you about New York style pizza. I

New York pizza is thinner while having a puffier outer crust and usually is placed directly onto the oven deck to cook. It’s usually lighter on sauce and sold by the pie or by the slice.

Such is the case at Empire Slice House.

You can buy pizza by the slice for $3.25 per slice, or a whole pie ranging from $19-$23, or you can build your own pie. By the slice isn’t offered for everything on the menu but there isa daily offering of several varieties.

If $20+ for a pizza seems expensive for you, consider that the pies are enormous at Empire. I mean ENORMOUS.

We decided that next time, we may order by the slice as the
three of us took a bunch of pizza home from our visit. I had Mr. Wonderful hold his hand up to the pie just so you could see how huge it was.

Pizza empire slice house

Because am a huge garlic knot fan, I had to try the 16th St. Garlic Knots.

Garlic knots empire slice house

These were pretty good, but I have a hard time liking any garlic knot better than the ones at Andolini’s in
Tulsa. They are the best I’ve ever had but these were pretty decent. One tip – ask for a side of the pink sauce for mere pennies.i am an adoring pink sauce fan, a combination sauce of marinara and cream sauce, and I highly recommend it.

There are also appetizer offerings like Italian Nachos, Antipasti and Drunken Mushrooms, which I could not talk the Wonderful guy into ordering on account of he hates goat cheese with a passion.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you might want to order up an Andre the Giant Meatball, coming in at one pound of porky and lamb goodness on your first visit.

The pies themselves are named quirky names like “Fungus Among Us” – a mushroom lover’s dream of portobello, shiitake and button mushrooms along with spinach, and a drizzle of light truffle oil.

Or how about one of their most popular pies…the Foghorn Leghorn which consists of Asiago cheese, chicken, bacon, jalepeno, sweet marinara and srirachi (rooster) sauce. Mr. Wonderful and I decided on half and half, so I got my half with the mushrooms.

Fungus among us

Mr. Wonderfuloordered the Notorious P.I.G., a conglomeration of various meats like bacon, pepperoni, sausage, capicola and Canadian bacon.

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The pizza slices are so large you can almost fold them in half to eat, and that might be a good plan to keep the toppings from sliding off when you’re holding it in one hand.

The flavors are great and if you’re a craft beer fan, you’re going to be very happy at Empire Slice House as they come with a large offering of such as well. ’ve also heard great things about their salad, and would like to try it next time as well.

All in all, Empire Slice House is a fun place with great New York style pizza and is definitely worth checking out.

Empire Slice House
1734 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK
405-557-1760
Website

Looking for Empire Slice House? Here’s a map to help you find it!

Empire Slice House on Urbanspoon

A Very Rough Day- Judging a Pie Bake-Off

Savory spice shop pie contest

Today was was a horribly TOUGH kind of day.

i was forced to judge a pie baking contest.

i had texted my friend Abel to ask if he carried dried Chipotle peppers since I’m obsessed with cooking out of this cookbook right now. He promptly texted back to let me know that his shop, Savory Spice Shop (Oklahoma City) carries black, red and brown varieties which made me a happy camper.

Then he asked if I’d consider being a judge in their 2nd Annual Pie Baking Competition.

Would anyone really be stupid enough to say no to such an offer?

So today was the day, and yes I managed to live through it.

We started out by judging the savory category, which meant that savory pies or sweet pies that contained a savory ingredient were classified as such.

Like these Green Chile Apple Phyllo Tarts. Scrumptious!

Phyllo chili apple tarts

Or this Ancho Chocolate Cream Pie. SWOON.

Ancho chocolate cream

However, this Cajun Meat Pie was our winner. It was absolutely superb!

Cuban meat pie

The sweet category was almost impossible to pick.

Strawberry pie

This strawberry cream pie got most GORGEOUS!

Buttermilk pie

This Buttermilk Pie got most old fashioned like grandma would make.

Coconut cream pie

This Coconut Cream Pie got, well, we just LOVED it.

This pie was mysterious, even from it’s name…Three Layer.

Three layer pie

Especially fantastic was the shortbread crust, then a pastry cream layer, then a chocolate later, then fresh whipped cream. YUM!

Any one of these pies held their own, and was delicious for a number of reasons. We debated, and debated.

Fellow judges Kerry Myers, Darcy Schein from Pie Junkies,  and myself

Fellow judges Darcy Schein from Pie Junkies, Kerry Myers and myself

But this pie was amazing in flavor, and texture.

Grated apple pie

Oh merciful heavens but this was wonderful, homey and flavorful with grated apples, and topped with a scattering of pecans.

It was our winner!

Afterwards I left with my brown paper bag of spices– Schezuan peppercorns, za’atar, freeze dried corn, Jamacain jerk spices and Mexican oregano. I always tend to do that when I visit Abel’s store.

If you haven’t been to Savory Spice Shop yet, you most certainly should sign up for their newsletter in the shop or here to keep updated on their fun events like this….

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© Katie Johnstonbaugh and Dishin & Dishes, [2009-2013]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Johnstonbaugh and Dishin & DIshes with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.