Archive for the ‘Oklahoma City’ Category

El Sombrero Restaurant, Oklahoma City, OK (N. May)

31 August 2016

El Sombrero Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I noticed this restaurant a couple months ago but haven’t had a chance to try it until this past evening. There have been a number of these in the OKC area over the past couple years, in particular one in Midwest City that I liked a lot, but that location closed unexpectedly. I’ve also eaten in a location near Britton and May.

It was very good. Five of us from St. John’s had dinner there last evening. I noted two references on the menu to steak and shrimp guisado dishes. I’m not a huge fan of shrimp, so I asked if they had any non-shrimp guiso and she told me that the Guisado Dinner was beef and potatoes in a green sauce. Sounded pretty good, and it was! The beef was diced up, tender, and the potatoes and guiso mix was the perfect spice level for me. Just outstanding flavor. The meal came with beans and rice, and not a bit was left. Erin reported her enchilada dinner as very good, and Reagan had a chimi in lunch size that she said was OK.

The iced tea was very good and kept refilled. Service was fast and friendly. Our check for three was $35.17. I will happily return for another meal.

Pepperoni Grill, Edmond, OK

4 July 2016

Pepperoni Grill Kitchen & Winebar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raegan and Erin and I had dinner here last evening. We have been to the location in Penn Square Mall several times, and had expectations for this location. They were met.

We started with a very good Caesar salad. I had chicken parmesan (with a side of fettuccine al fredo), Raegan chicken fettuccine al fredo, and Erin tortellini florentine. All of this was excellent. The chicken parm was plump and perfectly cooked, and the al fredo was excellent. The only real complaint I would have is that the chicken with Raegans al fredo was sliced and grilled, instead of being diced, sauteed, and tossed with the pasta. It was also a bit overgrilled.

The place wasn’t very crowded. The iced tea was pretty good, and service was quite attentive. Our check was $71.21; a bit on the expensive side for three, but OTOH, we all went home with a lunch for today (very unusual, if you know my appetite! 🙂 ).

Lake Draper Trails

26 June 2016

A month or so ago, I took a group of Troop 15 Scouts out to Lake Draper for a 10-mile hike for the Hiking Merit Badge. It had rained quite a bit the evening before, so it was quite muddy. We were on the west and northwest side of the lake.

Today, I took another group out. We got there this morning at 0830, and were on the the trail close to 0900. It was quite warm.

Draper is an OKC lake. The Point 9 area had a water faucet, but it was marked as being not potable. I saw the same thing at Crystal Lake, also an OKC lake. I do not understand why the city does not provide potable water at those two lakes.

Regardless, we managed to find the trail on the west side of the area. We almost immediately ran into tall plant fronds that completely covered the trail. We found this at many places on the trail, vegetation growing all over the trail. There were also numerous places where trees had fallen across the trail. There was a huge amount of poison ivy and an equally large amount of brambles.

To top all of this off, we experienced the largest number of ticks that I have seen since my friend Darla and I hiked around Greenleaf Lake back in 1977, picking literally dozens of the little SOBs off of ourselves. This was worse.

The ticks were so bad that when we came to a road, I decided to keep the group on the road for the rest of the hike. We had to trade the shade of being under the trees for unrelenting sun, because of the hordes of ticks.

We found a trail at Draper named after someone; it had a sign.

I think the Draper trails could be very cool to hike, but they need a lot of maintenance. I saw a huge number of tracks of deer of all sizes, raccoon, possum, coyote, and bobcat. That explains the tick population.

I am going to do some asking around city offices as to what could be done to get the trails in better shape. If the vegetation could be cut back a couple feet across the trail, the trail we saw was in good shape for hiking. A trim would help keep ticks off hikers as well.

Johnnie’s, Edmond, OK

12 June 2016

Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raegan and Erin and I had late lunch here today.

Very straightforward: each of us had a cheeseburger. Mine was a double with chili. The burger was very, very good. It was cooked with a nice crust for texture, and had great beef flavor. I usually ask Johnnie’s to go light on the shredded cheddar they pile on.

Erin got fries (and this was the only down, the fries were a touch undercooked), and we also had onion rings, perfect!

The meal was topped off with a big slide of chocolate pie. The iced tea was excellent. Our check was $44.60. Not bad at all for the quality of the burgers. Great stuff.

Ranch House, Stroud, OK

12 June 2016

Ranch House Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday evening, we were driving to Tulsa so Raegan could attend a science teachers convention, and we were hungry, so we stopped here. It was very good.

We started off with salads from the small salad bar. The potato salad, peaches, and cottage cheese were very good. We also got a mix appetizer plate with wings, mushrooms, and onion straws. All were very good.

Raegan and I got fried chicken, it was pretty much perfect, crunchy, juicy, and not dried out. It was a lot of chicken, being a four-piece. Ian got a chicken fried steak. I got a couple bites, it was very good as well. I rated it a 9 out of 10. Erin got fish and chips and liked them.

The iced tea was excellent, and service was fast and friendly. Our check was $56.84. I would gladly eat here again.

Judge’s Char Grill, Midwest City, OK

4 June 2016

Judge's Char-Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had lunch here back on 02 October 2015.

I had the Chicken Fried Steak platter, with a slice of chocolate pie for dessert.

I should have just had the pie. The CFS was not very good at all, tough and tasteless. I didn’t even finish it, it was so bad.

My check was $19.50. The pie and the iced tea were the best part of the meal. Not recommended.

San Marcos Mexican Restaurant, Oklahoma City, OK (Meridian)

4 June 2016

San Marcos Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We’ve been to several of the San Marcos locations in OKC, and like them. Back on 23 February, Raegan and I were headed to a Girl Scout shooting club event, and we needed dinner. San Marcos was close.

We both had our usual meals. Raegan had seafood mixed with veg, and I had pork guisado chili verde. Both were great as expected.

We had iced tea that was strong and good. Service was friendly and fast. Our check was $26.30. I like the chainlet, they make great Mexican food.

Marco’s Pizza, Oklahoma City, OK (SE)

4 June 2016

Marco's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I like Marco’s. When this location opened last Fall, I was happy as it is only about a mile from my office. I had lunch here back on 10 May. Except for one small glitch, it was a great experience.

I ordered at the counter. I asked for a small pepperoni pizza and some chicken wings. The pizza was just as ordered, but I got chicken dippers instead of wings. As I was afraid the dippers would be tossed, I took them anyway. The pizza was great! The dippers were so-so. I thought they were tough and had little flavor. I will certainly get the wings next time, I know they are good.

My drink was a 2L DP to go. My check was $23.29 (yes, a little expensive, but it’s essentially two entrees). Great pizza.

Pizzaria Gusto, Oklahoma City, OK

4 June 2016

This is the first in a series of (again) delayed posts. Life gets in the way of having fun on occasion… 🙂

Pizzeria Gusto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raegan and the kids and I had dinner at Pizzaria Gusto last night. We were in midtown, we drove by, and it didn’t look crowded, so in we went.

We ate outside in the courtyard area as the temps were pretty nice. We walked through the main dining area, and it struck me as being very loud.

This is traditional pizza from Italy, not Hideaway, so if you were expecting a Big Country you might be disappointed.

Raegan and Erin split a Margherita, adding prosciutto (ham) and extra cheese.  Ian had a Margherita, adding soppressata (salami) and some roast garlic.  I had a meatball pizza. The crusts were hand tossed and pretty doughy but had good flavor.  Toppings were sorta on the thin side (not atypical of art pizza).  No one had any negative comments, but not all that many positive either.  I though my meatballs were bland.

We had sorbet, affogato (think a hot fudge sundae except the ice cream is gelato and the hot fudge is expresso), and a chocolate tart.  All OK.

We all had water to drink as our advance party didn’t find iced tea on the menu.  Service was pretty good.  Our check was $74.24.

We usually spend about $50 at Hideaway for Americanized pizza, so you pay a premium for the art pizza at Gusto.  It was not bad pizza, but it’s probably not something we would do often.

Butcher BBQ Stand, Wellston, OK

3 June 2016

Butcher BBQ Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ian and I were headed to Muskogee back on 09 April, it was a nice day, and it was near noon. We decided to hit Butcher BBQ as we were only about five miles from Wellston.

First of all, it’s only outside dining. It was kind of windy, so eating outside was a bit dicey.

Ian and I both got two-meat dinners, both with brisket and ribs. I had mac and cheese as a side, I don’t remember what Ian had (probably fries). The brisket was pretty good, but the ribs had little flavor and were tough.

They don’t have iced tea, just bottles of drink. The dining area had some games. Our check was $37.21. If I was headed into the OKC area, I would wait for Earl’s. If I was headed for Tulsa, I would wait for Five Star in Stroud.

Moni’s, Edmond, OK

24 March 2016

Moni's Pasta & Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I know this was our second visit, but I also know it had been more than a year since out first. My friend Mark recommended Moni’s, and it was a good rec.

We got four copies of chicken parm this time. Three of them substituted fettuccine al fredo for the standard spaghetti with marinara. These were uniformly very good, and were all completely eaten except for part of Raegan’s, which went home and then to school for her lunch the next day.

The iced tea was great, and service was spot on (which is to say, not fast service like fast food, but relaxed). Our check was $74.40. A bit on the high side, but the food was good, so I would go back if I were in the north OKC/west Edmond area.

Zaxby’s, Oklahoma City, OK (NWX)

10 March 2016

Zaxby's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I read on Facebook Tuesday that a Zaxby’s had opened in NW OKC. I like fried chicken, so Raegan and I drove out there Tuesday evening after working at St. John’s a couple hours.

Zaxby’s sells chicken, and their own Zax sauce. I got a large plate (7 pieces), that came with slaw (undistinguished) and fried (not so good). The chicken was the star of the show. The breading was thin and flexible, like you would get on sweet and sour chicken at a Chinese place. The chicken had great flavor. The larger pieces were moist on the inside. Raegan had a Nibbler meal, which is essentially chicken sliders. She said they were OK. We also got (fried) cheese bites, OK.

All of the staff was super friendly. Our check was $25.97. If I was running errands and hungry, I wouldn’t mind hitting another Zaxby’s if I drove past one. I don’t know that I would go far out of my way, though.

A note about the staff. They were friendly. One of my bugaboos is saying “thank you” and getting a response of “no problem”. I didn’t hear that once at this restaurant, it was always “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure”. I like either of those much better.

Umi, Oklahoma City, OK

10 March 2016

Umi Sushi and Hibachi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This place just opened up about a mile from work. I decided to have lunch here today.

I had Pork Kutsu, which is a pork cutlet breaded and deep fried. It was very good. The breading mostly stuck to the cutlet even after being cut into strips. It was served on a bed of a mixture of cabbage and salad leaves (which I really liked), and with tonkatsu sauce, which is like a thick Worcester sauce. The meal came with miso soup (as usual, a little more thin that a soup ought to be ( 🙂 ).

The iced tea was OK (on the weak side), and service was very friendly and fast. My check was $13.60. The tonkatsu comes in a lunch size for a couple dollars less. Good stuff.

Boom A Rang Grill, Bethany, OK

8 March 2016

In a third and final diner entry this evening…

Boomarang Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Back on 16 January 2015, Troop 15 was having an aviation-themed camp at Wiley Post Airport. I was headed out that way and looking for dinner, when I saw the always-reliable Boom a Rang.

I had the Chicken Fried Steak, mashers, and the veg of the day. It was not the best CFS I’ve had, but it was pretty good (7.5 out of 10), had decent beef flavor, and was fork tender. I don’t know that it was hand breaded. The mashers and gravy were pretty good.

So was the iced tea, and service as well. My check was $11.15. Not bad.

This Iz It, Oklahoma City, OK

4 March 2016

This Iz It Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This place is tucked in almost out of sight of 23rd. Ian and I had lunch here in June 2015.

We both had double cheeseburgers, and both were darn good. Ian had fries, I had tots. The burgers were nothing special, just a couple 1/8th lb patties fried up. But the beef was decent and well cooked.

Service was fast and friendly. We will go back. Our check for two was $15.00. Good stuff.

Favorites Cafe, Oklahoma City, OK

4 March 2016

Jimmy's Cafe & Fried Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Another site on my tour of southside OKC. I had lunch here in April 2015. I was pleasantly surprised to find fried chicken on the menu. It was a four-piece meal, and it was not good. Stringy, small pieces with little meat, and seriously overcooked. I don’t think I will be back.

Jimmy’s Cafe, Oklahoma City, OK

4 March 2016

Jimmy's Cafe & Fried Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oh, this post is late! Last Spring, I had been taking a food tour of OKC between I-240 and downtown. Jimmy’s was one of the places I tried. Curiously enough, I was directed to the place by a persistent Facebook ad.

I hit Jimmy’s at 25 February 2016. I had the Chicken Fried Steak (LARGE!), with mashers and mac and cheese. I have to say, I was underwhelmed with the entire meal. The CFS was huge, it was clearly made there, but it had very liitle flavor. Same with the mashers, gravy, and mac and cheese. I would rate the CFS as a 6 out of 10. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good.

Service was very friendly. The place was crowded, and it smelled wonderful. I would like to go back and try some other stuff based on what I smelt and saw. I just can’t recommend the CFS. My check was $14.39.

Mama Carol’s, Chickasha, OK

4 March 2016

This is a series of three reviews from places I ate at in Chickasha last Spring while I was taking Scouting Wood Badge at Camp George Thomas.

Mama Carol's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On the Wednesday evening prior to my first weekend of Woodbadge, 08 April 2015. I was headed down to camp and stopped at Mama Carols at about 2030. In spite of them closing at 2100, I was fully welcomed. I had the chicken fried steak dinner with mashers and green beans. That CFS was a 9 out of 10. Decent flavor, and fork tender everywhere except one place. I thought the mashers were a little on the bland side, but the gravy was very good.

The iced tea was great and service was fast and friendly. My check was $14.15. Great stuff. I want to go back and try their burgers.

Sheesh Mahal, Oklahoma City, OK

4 March 2016

Sheesh Mahal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had dinner at Sheesh Mahal back on 15 October 2015 with friends from St. John’s. It was great!

I do not recall everything that each person got. But I know that Raegan got Daal Chicken; she liked it but thought it was too spicy (I have a much higher tolerance, I thought it was mild and very good). I had Chicken Curry, a green curry and very tender chicken, great stuff. Erin had a chicken kabob and ate all of it. Others at the table had other stuff, and not much was left. The rice with the meals was all very good, as was the tea.

Service was very friendly, and we all had plenty of time to talk. This is not an eat fast and get out kind of place. The check for eight of us was just over $80, and I think it was great value. I want to go back.

Blue Moon, Edmond, OK

3 March 2016

Blue Moon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

This is not the Blue Moon in Ada, rather the Asian restaurant in Edmond.

We had dinner at Blue Moon back on 28 July 2015. I started with Egg Flower soup, which was egg drop. It was very good.

For our meals, Raegan got Boneless Chicken, which was sorta the kind of breaded and deep fried chicken used in sweet and sour, but instead tossed with veg. She liked it. Erin had sweet and sour chicken and thought it pretty good, although she was not hungry enough to finish it. I had curried chicken and liked it a lot. The default is with bell peppers, I had that taken out.

The iced tea was good, but the glasses were kind of small and we ran out a couple times. We don’t eat a lot of asian food, but I think we would like to. This was pretty darn good. Our check was $49.40. We’ll be back.

Grand House, Oklahoma City, OK

2 March 2016

Grand House Asian Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We are trying some new places along the Classen corridor, and last night decided to give Grand House a try. My friend Spencer joined us, which was great!

Raegan started out with some shrimp egg rolls that she and Erin put completely away. I started with some excellent egg drop soup.

Ian had a sashimi dinner, which at $20 was twice as expensive as any other meal. He has eaten a lot of sashimi, and his opinion was that it was not nearly as good as it should have been. He ate most of it, and shared a part of each fish piece with Raegan.

Erin had sweet and sour chicken. It was a lot of food and she could not finish it. I tried the chicken, it was excellent, really tasty, and the sweet and sour sauce was very good.

The same chicken was used with the lemon chicken that Raegan and Spencer got. I tried some of Erin’s chicken in the lemon sauce, it was OK (I didn’t think it had much flavor).

I had the curry chicken which was thin-sliced sauteed chicken with long strips of onion in yellow curry. Excellent. The default meal comes with bell peppers as well, but I asked for none and they were not cooked in. The only thing I could count down on the meal is that the onion pieces could have been more finely chopped and cooked just a bit more.

So overall, a really good meal. Our check for five was $79.66. That seems a bit high, but if the sashimi and the appetizers are accounted for, it is closer to the mid-$60s, which is reasonable. Service was friendly and just the right level of attentiveness. I look forward to another visit.

Mamaveca Mexican Restaurant, Norman, OK

29 February 2016

Mamaveca Mexican Restaurant‎ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Over the past year, I have occasionally left the area around Tinker AFB for lunch slightly farther afield. On 11 March 2015, I headed all the way to Norman for Mamaveca’s. It was great!

I got the pork chili verde. Wonderful. Perfect flavor, not too spicy, tender pork.

The iced tea was great, and service was fast and friendly. My check was $15.14.

I need to drive to Norman more often! And I need to try the guiso, and a couple of those Peruvian dishes.

Volcano, Del City, OK

29 February 2016

Volcano Sushi Bar & Hibachi Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I have had lunch here three times, the most recent day was 30 July 2015. The first two times, I had chicken fried rice (very good both times). The most recent time I had pork katsu (which I remember as tonkatsu), which I have not had since a Japanese restaurant in MWC went out of business in 1990. This was really good! Just the right amount of crunchy breading, and the pork was tender and moist. The check for Diane and I was $18.07. The iced tea was OK. Service the first two times was very good, and a little more spotty the last time.

Regardless, it was great.

The Garage, Del City, OK

25 February 2016

The Garage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve eaten here several times since they opened a couple years ago. The most recent time was a cold and rainy 07 January 2016.

I got a double meat chili cheeseburger and chili cheese fries. The burger was excellent. It was also a heckuva mess. I ate it with a fork and knife. I really liked the fries; they had so much chili that they were soaked in chili joice down below (this, BTW, should not be construed as a problem!).

Service is very loose. My check for lunch was $16.52. The iced tea (and later, DP) was great. A good place to get a darn fine cheeseburger.

Alfredo’s Mexican Cafe, Edmond, OK

25 February 2016

Alfredo's Mexican Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As I went through my fistful of receipts, there were three from Alfredo’s, ranging from 11 December 2014 to 29 May 2015 to 07 February 2016. I know we’ve eaten there at least six or seven times. It’s pretty darn good.

I always get the Pork Guiso Verde. Just the right spice heat, tender pork, great flavor. The most recent time, Ian had it also and liked it a lot. The only issue we had is that on the big plate, it was about 3/5 beans, 1/5 rice, and 1/5 guiso. Maybe they were running short. Regardess, we got filled up. Raegan and the kids get enchiladas and chimis and fajitas, all excellent. I really like the salsa and the queso, and we’ve had nachos several times.

Our check this most recent visit was $60. The iced tea is excellent, and service is always fast and friendly.

This place is very good, and I think in many ways it is better than Ted’s. Recommended.

Upper Crust Pizza, Edmond, OK

25 February 2016

Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had dinner at this Upper Crust location back on 21 June 2015.

I ordered some meatballs that were in some very good marinara. The meatballs were a little on the untextured (is that a word?) side. I think they needed a bit of crust on them from the baking process. Regardless, they were pretty good, and mostly meat with a little filler instead of the other way around. We also had a Caesar salad that was pretty good.

Ian and I split a pepperoni and sausage pizza that was excellent. We left nothing. Raegan and Erin both had small pizzas, one al Fredo and one Mediterranean, and ate all of each.

The pizza was followed by a large cookie, which was extremely chocolately and very good. Raegan also had a creme soda.

Service was a bit on the slow side, which is to say our server was gone for long periods, then would zoom in and bomb the table quickly then blazing off.

Our check was $73.97, sorta expensive, but we did get a lot of stuff we don’t usually get. The meatballs were $10, and the cookie $8.00. Good pizza, though.

Upper Crust Pizza, Oklahoma City, OK

21 February 2016

Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We’ve been to Upper Crust twice in the past six months. The most recent visit was 21 January. As Ian pointed out, Upper Crust is more than just a place to get a good pizza (and the pizza is pretty good). It’s more of a place to have a social experience along with your dinner. It’s a little loud. That being said, there is a good selection of pie here.

On both visits, we started out with decent garlic bread, and really good Caesar salads.

We had a mixture of pies. A pepperoni, a half chicken, and a half ham, pepperoni, and mushroom. The only thing to say is that it was some darn good pizza. Part of it went home with us for Raegan to have for lunch the next day. As I look at the check right now, it sorta looks like we were charged for three pizzas when I know we ordered two (split among the four of us). Regardless, it was good. My gold standard used to be any of the Hideaway outlets, but all of those but the original Stillwater location have suffered a reduction in quality over the past several years, and the Upper Crust pie was better, almost far better.

Service was decent given how busy the place was. The check for the four of us was $69.09, on the expensive side. So Upper Crust lives up to it’s name ( 🙂 ), and is in the “occasional” category.

Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Oklahoma City, OK

21 February 2016

Pearl's Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raegan and I have never been to Pearl’s, even though we drive by it all the time. Back on 26 Jan, we had been to a meeting, and when it was over, we decided to hit Pearl’s as it was nearby. We got there about 1845, and were immediately seated.

We started out with a bowl (for me) and a cup (for her) of very good clam chowder. Really, really good.

Raegan likes seafood, so she got the seafood skillet. She reported that it was very good, and helped satisfy a craving for seafood she has had for several months. So that’s a win.

I don’t like seafood, and I was amazed to find fried chicken on the menu, so that’s what I got. It was not the best fried chicken I’ve had, but it was pretty good as well. The chicken was fried up just a little on the stringy side, especially in the center. I do not remember what sides we got, but I know I left some of mine. I do recall asking for some gravy for the chicken, and liking it.

The iced tea was pretty good. Our server was extraordinarily friendly, and kept our drinks refilled. Our check was $53.00. That’s a little on the expensive side for two (in fact, it’s very close to what we pay for four), so I think that puts Pearl’s in the “special occasion” category. There were some other interesting things on the menu I might like to try later.

OKCity Grill, Food Truck, Oklahoma City, OK

18 February 2016

Today I headed out for lunch, and there was the OKCity Grill truck on the parking lot of my office. I walked over and checked out the menu, and saw cheeseburgers, and the truck smelled pretty good, so…

I had the Cheeseburger Basket, which was a cheeseburger topped to my specs, and fries. It was not the best burger I’ve had (especially recently), but it was well cooked and had decent flavor. The fries were OK, but needed just a touch more time in the frier.

Service was fast, and the crew friendly. They had cans of stuff to drink, so I scored DP. My check was $10.00, not bad value, especially given that I didn’t have to drive anywhere. I would eat at this truck again.

Jim’s Diner, Bethany, OK

12 February 2016

Jim's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’m trying to catch up at least a little on a huge backlog of places I have eaten at in the past 1.5 years (ack).

Two weeks ago, on 24 January, Raegan and the kids and I were finished with some activities at St. John’s, so I suggested trying Jim’s. I ate at Jim’s predecessor restaurant numerous times back in the early 90’s since Raegan and I lived about three miles north of the place. I always liked it.

This meal, Ian had CFS and Rrin CFC. They did not seem to be hand breaded nor fresh. Both of them ate all of the meal, but reported the meal as “meh”. Raegan had a seafood dinner, but they were out of shrimp, so they gave her extra catfish. She said the catfish was very good. I had the “Famous Roast Beef Dinner”. It was pieces of roast beef in a brown gravy. It was OK, nothing special.

We had some other stuff. Erin got some mozzarella sticks that were OK. Ian had a slice of pretty decent chocolate cake that he took home.

Service was occasionally slow but very friendly. If I was in that part of town again, I would probably try Jim’s again. Our check was $51.33.

La Salsa Grille, Oklahoma City, OK

11 February 2016

La Salsa Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Raegan and I were headed to a Girl Scout event last evening, and needed some chow in a timely manner. We were headed down Meridian and saw La Salsa, and decided to check it out.

She had a chicken chimi and thought it was OK. I had pork guiso verde and thought it was excellent, just the right amount of space, great flavor, and tender pork. The meal came with some very good smoky queso and good, low-temp salsa that were served with nice, thin chips.

Service was very friendly and fast, we made it in and out in 40 min and made our event early (if you know us, that’s very unusual 🙂 ). Our check was $22.47. We don’t get into that area often, but I would have no issue eating at La Salsa again.

The Black Raven, Choctaw, OK

7 February 2016

Black Raven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One of our friends is a musician, and he plays a couple times a month at the Raven. I do not think we have ever eaten in Choctaw, and we decided to go hear him sing and have a meal. It was pretty darn good on both counts.

The Raven is Irish themed. We started with Celtic Rings (onion rings) that were pretty standard, nothing special. Ian, to my surprise, got Bangers and Mash, demolished it, and pronounced it excellent. Erin and Raegan got classic fish and chips, and both liked them, even though in both cases, it was too much food for them to finish. I got Shepherds Pie, which I very much enjoy. This was excellent, I didn’t leave a scrap.

Overall, an outstanding meal. Service was friendly, but there was only one server for the whole place, so occasionally tea (which was good) ran out. Our check was $67.89, which I think was pretty decent value. This is a good place to eat if you are in the mood for British/Irish/Scottish food and/or beer.

And the music was very good as well. http://www.jandjmusicokc.com/jonathan-marshall/

Whiskey Cake, Oklahoma City, OK

7 February 2016

Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had lunch here back on 01 December. Raegan and Erin had eaten here several months earlier, and reported it to be expensive and not that good.

I got thee right at noon. The place was pretty full, and I got seated at one of a number of high tables near the door and the bar instead of a proper table.

The menu seems kind of limited to me, and just a little snooty. I settled on the roast chicken with sides of mac and cheese and green beans. The sides were pretty standard, but the chicken was very good, roasted with a nice skin and moist all the way through. I ate all of the meal. The server was very friendly and service was fast.

My check was $19.00. That’s a lot of bread for a roast chicken. So I think that while the meal was pretty good, the value could be better. That puts this place into the category of “if someone I was with was just dying to go, I would as well, but I wouldn’t volunteer”.

Italia Express, Oklahoma City, OK

29 January 2016

Italia Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

There was an Italia Express on May Avenue just south of school, and we ate there a lot.  It was excellent, close, and inexpensive.  A second location opened in NW OKC, and the May location just shut down suddenly, which was very disappointing.  We went out to the other location, and it was also very good, but there was one thing different:  the marinara was made with bell peppers (just ruined the flavor).  Since the NW OKC location was far from out usual areas, we never went back.

A couple weeks ago, I was driving along Classen, and there was a brand new Italia Express.  Raegan and I went there a couple days later.

After we were seated, I asked if they made the marinara with bell peppers, and got a yes.

NOTE:  if you run Italia Express, please consider not making your marinara with bell peppers.  The stuff is very, very good without the darn peppers.  Save some money, and my taste buds, and get rid of the darn peppers.

Regardless, I got a most excellent fettuccine al fredo.  It was perfect.  ‘Nuff said.  Raegan got manicotti, and asked for it to be served with one manicotti covered with marinara, and the other with al fredo (note:  she asks for this routinely, and occasionally gets the most scandalized responses that the two sauces will… gasp… touch!  That does not bother her, but we’ve had servers and chefs just get all bent out of shape at the request).  Regardless, she said it was very good, even if the sauces touched, and she also wished the marinara didn’t have bell pepper in it.  We had a starter of garlic bread that was very good, and the iced tea was also.

Our check was around $20.00, and service was very friendly.  We will be back.  I will try the marsala next time, and the al fredo will still be there.

Broadway Cafe, Geary, OK

29 January 2016

Broadway Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Back in November, I was driving from a Scout training session in Norman to our Troop 15 camp at Roman Nose State Park.  I had not had lunch, and was passing through Geary, and noted the Broadway Cafe.

It was a bit disappointing.  The Cafe is in a small grocery store.  I got a chicken fried steak, but was kind of disappointed in it.  I think that the CFS was a pre-made item.  It was tender enough, but it was almost flavorless.  The gravy, green beans, and tea were OK.  I think my check was somewhere around $8.  Service was by the owner, I think, and friendly enough.

Would I stop here again?  Probably not.  I like my CFS to have a lot of beef flavor and be fresh and hand breaded, and as I said above, I don’t think this was.

Jim’s Fried Chicken, Nicoma Park, OK

26 January 2016

Jim's Famous Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

First of all, an apology to my readers.  I got off track with my restaurant reviews a year and a half ago.  Since then, Urbanspoon was eaten by Zomato, and I think I have been to over 100 new restaurants in that time, some of them very good and worthy of a review.  I will try to get to those over the next couple months.  Regardless, I will do a better job of keeping up with new places in the meantime.  This is the start of that effort.

I went to Jim’s the first time back in 2010.  I’ve been back numerous times since.  I just looked at that first review, and the thing I didn’t mention was that the building was a cinder block dump with limited seating.  It was really meant for more takeaway than dine in.  There is also a little history, we were in McCloud a couple years ago, and found a new, purpose-built Jim’s there, but when we went back just a couple weeks later, it was closed.  The location on 23rd was also closed.

My friend Harold was driving along 23rd recently, and found that Jim’s was not only open again, but extensively rebuilt.  Some of the old original building is still there, but the interior is nicely upgraded with a much larger kitchen and a lot more seating, and apparently, HVAC that was missing previously (that place was cold in the winter and hot in the summer).

Regardless, we visited Jim’s again last Fall, and we have been back three or four times since.  The most recent time was last Thursday evening.  We got there about 1800 and it was about half full.  Three of us got chicken meals, and the other got chicken fingers.  It was all very, very good.  The chickens are decent sized, plump, and meaty.  They are fried golden and fresh, and HOT.  The sides are also very good.  We have had green beans, mashers, slaw, okra, and corn (which reminds me, I need to get a photo of the new menu).  The iced tea is brewed and self serve, both sweet and straight.  They have a very good poultry gravy that is a good dip for the chicken.  Our check was $52.10.  The servers, particularly in the dining area, were super friendly.

One of the managers told us that the Jim’s had been bought by the local Swadley’s folks.  I think they have done a great job with the food and the location.  Fried chicken, good fried chicken in particular, is increasingly hard to get, and I hope that Jim’s is around a long, long time.

The OKC Bombing, and Recent Politics

19 April 2015

Today is the 20th anniversary of the bombing, and there has been the expected coverage.

I was just looking at Facebook, and also as one might expect, there are posts about the event, and many sincere comments about how wrong the bombing was.

But I also am struck by a dichotomy about this.  In the past couple election cycles, how many people I know personally are conservative, and also national leaders, were talking about rebelling against the government.  “Second Amendment” solutions, the possibility of secession, the rancher in Nevada, and the like.

That’s what Timothy McVie was trying to incite.

I wonder if that ever crosses the minds of those conservatives?  “Never forget”, they post.  But they apparently forget that the evil of the OKC bombing was an attempt to topple the government, which many conservatives still apparently think about.

Popeye’s Chicken, OKC, OK

3 March 2015

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Last night, Raegan and I decided to try Popeye’s, since we needed to have dinner, we didn’t have a surfeit of time, and there is one about two blocks from school.

My first experience at a Popeye’s was not good at all. There is an earlier blog post about that one, at DFW.

This one, was, well, OK. At best. We got a 12 piece family meal, mild (which I think is just un-cajun). Our two sides were mashers (OK) with cajun gravy (meh) and slaw (also meh). The chicken was OK at best. It had little flavor. In fact, I would say no flavor.

We got a gallon of iced tea with the meal, that was OK. Service was very friendly.

I think our check was around $36, which seems quite high. I will update this when I run across the receipt.

I don’t think that Popeye’s will be a destination in the future for us. It’s just not flavor.

Hungry Frog, Oklahoma City, OK

30 January 2015

Hungry Frog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had the opportunity to have breakfast at the Hungry Frog this morning. It was very good.

I had the standard breakfast: scrambled eggs with ham, hash browns, biscuit and gravy. I also had a side of bacon.

All of this was perfect. The biscuit in particular stands out, large and just the right texture. I had half of it with strawberry jam, the other half with gravy. I also put gravy on those hash browns, making them just a little more perfect. The bacon… yum.

Service was fast and friendly, and the iced tea was good. My check was $11.75. I will be back.

Taste of Soul Chicken and Waffles, Oklahoma City, OK, Food Truck

21 January 2015

Taste of Soul Chicken and Waffles on Urbanspoon

This food truck showed up outside my company today, so I checked it out. Nothing fancy, just a couple chicken tenders wrapped in a waffle, but very good.

The tenders were deep fried and had a slight flavor I could could not identify (but liked). The waffle was perfectly cooked and golden brown. The whole thing was wrapped up in foil and had a drizzle of honey.

I had some iced tea left over from Hideaway pizza with lunch. Service was fast (less than two minutes) and very friendly. My check was $6.16 (I think, might be off a couple pennies). Just the right amount of food for lunch. Good stuff.

Ted’s, Del City, OK

6 January 2015

Ted's Cafe Escondido on Urbanspoon spped

This place opened back during the summer. It’s Ted’s, what could go wrong?

I’ve had several meals here, including one with a largish group. In each case, I had the pork chili verde, and it was very good at least. You have that great salsa and queso to start.

It’s always been busy. Service was excellent in spite of that. The iced tea is great. My check for my last meal there was $17.80. You can find better Mexican in OKC, but you can’t go wrong for the Tex-Mex and speed of service.

La Catrina, Oklahoma City, OK

6 January 2015

La Catrina on Urbanspoon

I had dinner at La Catrina this evening, as it was near my Scout meeting location. It was OK.

I had hoped to find a guiso here, and there isn’t one on the menu. I asked my server, and she said the nearest thing was gorditos verde. She also asked if spicy hot was OK, I said yes.

The gorditos verde turned out to be three sopapillas, each about 3″ square, with some pork, cheese, lettuce, chili verde, and more bright red tomato dices than you could shake a stick at. The meal had a hint of flavor, and the pork was tender. The spice level of the meal was not hot in the slightest (yes, YMMV). There was a dollop of sour cream on the side, but it wasn’t needed.

The meal came with some decent queso and a very tomato-based salsa (no heat). The iced tea was pretty good. I was pretty much ignored except for seating, ordering, being served, and getting my check. I was the only customer for most of the time. My check for this was $12.99.

The food was OK. I will not be rushing back.

Alfredo’s Mexican Cafe, Edmond, OK

12 December 2014

Alfredo's Mexican Cafe on Urbanspoon

Raegan and I were looking for dinner last evening, sans kids, and we decided to try Alfredo’s. It was very good.

Raegan got a pair of enchiladas, one chicken and one cheese. She could not finish the meal, so I had the remainder of the chicken enchilada, and we both agreed it was very good. I got the pork chili verde: excellent. The pork chunks were tender, and the verde was perfect, hot temperature and medium spice. I liked it a lot.

Service was fast and friendly. Our check was $27.57. I would be glad to eat here again.

Phill Me Up Cheesesteaks, Food Truck, Oklahoma City, OK

5 December 2014

Phill Me Up Cheesesteaks on Urbanspoon

This truck came by our workplace yesterday afternoon; they make a pretty good cheesesteak.

So I learned about one downside to food trucks. When they cook everything up right in front of you, it’s great. Except when it’s below 30F, and the wind is blowing out of the north, then it’s not quite a great. From the time I got there, to ordering, to getting my cheesesteak, it was 25 minutes. There were at least 15 people in front of me either waiting for their food, or to order. None of that is the fault of the food truck folks, of course; it’s just what it is.

Regardless, I got a cheesesteak. It was kind of short, about six inches. The steak part was tender and juicy and quite tasty. The sammich included onions sauteed with the steak, and no-kidding Cheese Whiz over it all (I first tried ordering “wit wiz” and the guy looked at me like I was speaking Cherokee 🙂 ). My only comment is that the onions should be chopped up much smaller (on the order of smaller than 1/4″) to get them fully cooked and integrated flavor-wise with the steak.

The have chips and drinks as well. I got chips, but had iced tea at my desk already. My check was $8.50. Service was friendly and as fast as they could crank sandwiches out. I would not mind eating another.

T&J Donuts, Del City, OK

21 November 2014

T & J Donuts on Urbanspoon

Most of the reviews here are donuts or Korean food, but this will be a bit different. I was cruising to work last Thursday, and had skipped breakfast, and I was hungry. I drove past T&J and noted the “Breakfast and Lunch”, so thought I would check it out. It was great!

There are a couple breakfast items; I chose two eggs with ham, bacon, and sausage, with a jug of milk. The eggs came over easy (my favorite, I didn’t specify), and were perfect, with nice runny yolks. The ham was a 1/4″+ thick piece that was about 2×3″, so pretty substantial, and on the grill long enough to get some good caramelization, and still tender. The sausage was a largish patty that was juicy and just spicy enough. The bacon was two pieces that were cooked to crispy perfection.

For me, the breakfast we perfect. All four items were cooked like I would cook them at home, and the amount of food was right on the money, and not so much as to stuff myself. Service was fast and friendly. My check was something like $9.50 (I can’t find the receipt). I will go back.

And I might even go for lunch and try some of the the other stuff as well.

Mid-Del Taco, Del City, OK

29 October 2014

Mid Del Taco on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here back on 11 September. It was very crowded, and I shared a table with another man and had a great conversation.

This place was good! It took a bit to figure out the menu, there is a mix of a few dinners with ala cart stuff. I got a beef and bean burrito, a side of refried beans, and a drink. The burrito was great! Hot and steaming, with a perfect amount of beef seasoning. I made a mess with the burrito and beans, and enjoyed it.

Service was fast and very friendly. Lunch was only $6.31! Great value. I will be back.

ETs BBQ, Edmond, OK

29 October 2014

ET's Bar B Q on Urbanspoon

Back on 26 September, I was up at the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo with the St. John’s crew. I left right around noon. I remembered two very positive referrals to ETs, and since I was just east of the place on I-35, over I went. It’s actually in Logan County, I think, but still has an Edmond address.

I ordered a two-meat combo of smoked chicken and ribs. Except, they were out of chicken. I went with chopped brisket and ribs. That was some darn fine BBQ. The ribs had great smoke flavor, were tender, and had the smoke ring and bark that I like. Very tasty and tender. The brisket was tender and not as smoky, but tasted great. I got fries and green beans. Both, excellent; in fact, perfect.

The iced tea was great, and service was pretty good (one server, lots of customers). The iced tea came in a quart Mason jar (I like that a lot). My check was $14.85. I would gladly go back; I want to try the smoked chicken.

Lalo’s Tacos, Oklahoma City, OK, Food Truck

28 October 2014

Lalo's I Love My Taco Chop and Grill on Urbanspoon

Lalo’s parked outside my office 19 August. I scored a beef taco and a chicken taco, along with a drink. Both tacos were really good! Hot to start with, and just the right amount of spice, with excellent flavor. I had to be care not to let the juice run on my desk!

It took two minutes to make my order. Service was very friendly. My check was $10. I would gladly get another pair of tacos from Lalo’s.

Dairy Queen, Del City, OK

28 October 2014

Dairy Queen on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here today in the newly-opened restaurant, in my quest to find Great Cheeseburgers. I found OK Cheeseburgers.

First of all, if you are a manager at this place, it was cold enough to hang meat in there to age! When it’s 60F outside, how about not running the a/c on arctic maximum? I mentioned to one of the servers, and she agreed it was pretty cold.

So… I got a 1/2 cheeseburger with bacon, mayo, and pickles. Not bad, not bad at all. The beef had flavor and texture, not huge amounts of flavor, but it was decent. I liked the fries. The iced tea was OK, and seemed to be brewed on-site (please keep that up!). The burger was far better than the offerings from Sonic, McD, and Braum’s (take note, owners of those. Please.).

It was busy, but service was fast and friendly. My check was $8.19. I will certainly give them another try.

Chelio’s Diner, Oklahoma City, OK

27 October 2014

Chelio's Diner on Urbanspoon

I’ve driven by this place a million times over the years. I’ll say right up front, the exterior looks a little sketchy. I think the place is one of the old Sambo’s, or something similar. But the food was decent.

I had lunch here today. I asked my server if the chicken fried steak was made there, and she said it was. I got the CFS with mashers and gravy, and pinto beans. The pintos were OK, but the potatoes and gravy were very good. The CFS wasn’t the most flavorful I’ve ever had, but it had good flavor, and it was fairly thick and 100% tender all the way through. The breading was the right consistency and flavor. The CFS had one issue in that the breading on the bottom was in the process of melting off the steak for some reason. Still tasted good.

Service was friendly and spot on. The iced tea was great! My check was… $7.00. This for a meal that was tasty, pretty fast, and just the right amount for lunch. There are a number of other menu items I will be back to try.

If you are looking for an immaculate restaurant experience, you will not find it here. There is exposed wiring in the ceiling, and the place hasn’t been updated in a long time. But the tables and floors were clean, the salad bar looked good, and the staff was well turned out. This is a diner, and a pretty good one.

Saucee Sicilian, Oklahoma City, Food Truck

27 October 2014

Saucee Sicilian on Urbanspoon

The Saucee Sicilian food truck was at the Girl Scout GirlFest yesterday, so I decided to give them a try.

A word of advice: when the wind is blowing 25mph+, perhaps carrying a flat 1ft**2 plate of pizza is perhaps not the optimum thing to do. That pizza had two near-misses of flying out of my hand, and of course, odds are it would have landed upside down. When I got back to our exhibit in the trees, it was a lot less windy, but I still had two falling leaves land on lunch. 🙂

So being a food truck, you shouldn’t expect to have a full menu. They had four pizzas yesterday, and I got pepperoni, or rather “The Courage” (it isn’t on the published menu). That was a darn fine pizza. Thin and crunchy crust, excellent cheese flavor, and clearly fresh pepperonis. Erin and Raegan tried some and liked it. I ate all of it. It was built and baked right there, nothing premade except perhaps the crust. It took about 10 minutes, not bad at all.

Service was fast and friendly. My check was $7.00, not bad value.

I would like to find them around here again and try the meatballs. They look good.

Primo’s d’Italia, Yukon, OK

27 October 2014

Primo's d'Italia on Urbanspoon

We had dinner here last evening after a very successful Girl Scout event at the nearby Kirkpatrick Family Farm.

Erin got the chicken parm and ate every bit of it (so it was darn good). Raegan got the chicken picatta and enjoyed it; I had a bite and it was pretty good. Our friend Christi had seafood al fredo and reported it as very good. I had chicken fettuccine al fredo; it was pretty much perfect. The bread that came with the meal was really good, small loaves that was just a bit on the rough side, great stuff, especially when dipped in the included balsamic and olive oil.

Service was fast and friendly, and the iced tea was great (especially after having been out in the sun and wind for six hours). Our check was $58.64, very reasonable for the four of us. The quality of the food was worth it.

Casey’s Cajun Fried Catfish, Midwest City, OK

24 October 2014

Casey's Cajun Fried Catfish & Seafood on Urbanspoon

I’m not a big fan of cajun food. The spices are just not to my taste, and I don’t eat a lot of seafood. So when the office crew decided to eat lunch at this place, I asked if they had other food, and went.

I got the fried catfish and chicken fingers dinner. It wasn’t bad at all. There was zero spice of any kind in either the catfish or the chicken. Both were lightly breaded, and fried nice and crispy and juicy. The catfish was in nice flakes and had no “fishy” flavor at all. I liked both the catfish and chicken. I got fries and pintos. The fries were very good, and the pintos excellent. The meal came with a couple hush puppies that had a little pepper stuff in them, but not too much.

Service was very friendly. The iced tea was strong and slightly coffee flavored. My check was $10.80. I wouldn’t object to going back another time.

Choice Cafe, Oklahoma City, OK

21 October 2014

Choice Cafe on Urbanspoon

This place has potential. I ran across it reading another blog that has a section on “shady restaurants”, and that doesn’t mean shade trees. Except I didn’t think that Choice was in a particularly sketchy part of town. Regardless, I’m glad I tried it.

I had lunch at Choice Cafe today, got there around 1145 and was back in the office at 1230. I asked my server about the chicken fried steak, she said it was made and breaded there and was really good. So that’s what I got.

I rated that CFS as a 9 out of 10. It had great beef flavor, and was just the right size. I counted it down a bit as it was a little tough in places; I used a butter knife there. There was also a bit of an odd flavor to the breading; not a bad flavor, just a little odd. The meal came with mashers and gravy, and green beans. The mashers were very good, as was the gravy. The beans were OK. Once nice thing was a warm dinner roll with real butter, great stuff.

Service was very friendly and my check was $10.73, which is decent value. A guy a table over got a burger, and the burger smelled darn fine, so it’s on the list for another visit. This place has potential.

Woodbridge Restaurant, Oklahoma City, OK

19 October 2014

Woodbridge on Urbanspoon

Last Sunday, I was working up at St. John’s, and needed lunch. I thought to try the El Pollo Chulo, but they were closed for some reason. I remembered passing Woodbridge and wanting to try it, so I did.

I had a chicken fried steak after having been told it was breaded there. I don’t think it was. The CFS wasn’t too bad regardless, fork tender, and it didn’t fall apart. The mashers and gravy, and green beans, were OK. The entire meal was OK. Bland.

Service was decent, and the iced tea was very good. My check was $8.87. Inexpensive for sure.

Would I go back? I think places like Woodbridge are best for breakfast. A CFS should be a made-there item, and if it’s not, the other entrees likely are not. But eggies and bacon have to be cooked right there, and are usually pretty reliable.

Big Smokey Bar-B-Q, Oklahoma City, OK

18 September 2014

Big Smokey Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

I’ve driven by Big Smokey a hundred times over the years, and yesterday I was in the area, and was able to have lunch there. It’s a minimalist sort of place, looks like run by one guy. It’s also very good.

The menu is simple. Ribs or beef, sandwich, plate (meat only), or dinner (meat with beans and potato salad). You can also get a slab or half slab of ribs.

I got the rib dinner. The sides first. The beans were pretty standard, and good. The potato salad was skin-on white potatoes, mayo-based, and excellent, great stuff. There were six ribs in the dinner of varying sizes. They didn’t have the bark that I like to see, but they had the smoke ring, and they had great smoke flavor! There was a lot of meat on those ribs, and they were plenty tender.

There was something there I’ve not seen before, a strip of meat that was cut from between two ribs. The only thing that wasn’t meat was a couple pieces of cartilage in the meat. That was pull-apart tender goodness.

So the cost for this was $10. Water is the only option for drink, which is fine. There were two takeaway meals while I was there. It was super friendly. Next time I’m getting the beef just so I can have done the entire menu ( 🙂 ). But those ribs were pretty darn good, I rated them a 9.8 on a scale of 1 to JTs. I will have to have them again, maybe a slab.

Marco’s Pizza, Edmond, OK (East)

26 July 2014

Marco's Pizza on Urbanspoon

In the inevitable comparison to Hideaway, Marco’s holds their own. It’s good!

We wanted pizza last evening, and decided to hit Marco’s. I checked the website for the location, and it said dine-in, so off we went.

Dine-in, BTW, means *one* four-top table.

We got two pizzas. Raegan had a small with ham, mushrooms, and green olives. Erin and I split a medium; hers was chicken, mine pepperoni, hamburger, and sausage. Both were thin crust. These pizzas were VERY good. Erin and I finished our pizzas, and Raegan brought part of hers home for lunch today.

We also got 10 BBQ wings. Also very good, and completely consumed.

They don’t have a traditional soda fountain, so we scored two bottles of water, and a 2-liter DP, from the cooler.

Service was super friendly. The pies took about 20 minutes to cook (not unreasonable). Our check was $39.23. Very good pizza at a decent price. Marco’s is legit.

Gary Glenns BBQ, Oklahoma City, OK

24 July 2014

Gary Glenn's BBQ on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here with a couple friends after a meeting at a nearby Large Defense Contractor facility. It was a pretty darn good lunch. I had the brisket plate with baked beans and mac and cheese. The brisket was tender and had good smoke flavor. The mac and cheese was pretty good also.

Service was very friendly and the iced tea was great! My check was $10.56. I would go back.

China House, Edmond, OK (2nd St)

24 July 2014

China House on Urbanspoon

OK, so occasionally we take a while to learn. We had dinner at Great Wall in OKC back in April, and ended up with waaaaay too much rice. It was even so last night. We decided to get some sweet and sour chicken from China House in Edmond, as I had liked the China House in MWC.

We got three orders of sweet and sour chicken and a chicken fried rice. The S&S came with a plate of white rice, so we ended up with FOUR plates of rice. On top of that, since our order was over $35, we got a free chicken fried rice, so we had one more plate of rice, which I asked for to go.

Reality check: we could easily have split two of the S&S chicken plates between the three of us, and I should have asked if we could sub the fried rice for the plain rice.

Now, all of this was pretty darn good. We couldn’t eat half of it, so a hell of a lot of food came home with us. Service was fast. The check was $35.13. That included two bottles of water and a can of Dr. Pepper; that’s pretty much it for drinks.

At H&R House this evening, we popped the S&S chicken in the oven to heat it up, and Erin chopped up some of the chicken and some napa cabbage, combined the white and fried rice, and fried it up some more. It was pretty darn good.

And we still have a LOT of rice and chicken left. Lunch for me tomorrow. So that’s three meals for three people for $35. Not bad value, and the food was pretty good also.

City Bites, Oklahoma City (Western)

10 July 2014

City Bites Subs on Urbanspoon

Raegan and Erin and I had dinner here last night after a meeting at the Girl Scout office. Raegan got a baked potato with ham, bacon and cheese; it was good, but huge, so she took half of it home for lunch today. Erin got a mesquite chicken sandwich, pizza bites, and ate all of both. I got something new for me, a beefeater on wheat, subbing the sour cream for a bit of ranch dressing; it was pretty darn good. I liked the fried potatoes in the sandwich, and the beef was tender and tasty.

We got the usual assortment of chips and the always-excellent City Bites cookies. The iced tea was brewed and pretty darn good. Our check was $36.47. Good meal, fast.

Smokin’ Okies BBQ, Food Truck, Oklahoma City

8 July 2014

Smokin' Okies Mobile BBQ Smokehouse Food Truck on Urbanspoon

This truck came to my company location today for lunch. They were a little late.

They have brisket sandwiches and rib dinners. I really wanted a brisket dinner, and asked for that, and instead what I got was a brisket sandwich without the bread. Oh well.

The brisket, however, was very good. It could have been just a touch more moist, and there wasn’t much sauce, but I ate every scrap of it. For the side, I got some mac and cheese that we pretty darn good as well.

Service was pretty fast once I got through the line, and the meal was only $8 (no drink; those are extra). I would go here again with no issues.

Red Dirt Burrito Company, Del City, OK

8 June 2014

Red Dirt Burrito Company on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here Friday, it was pretty darn good.

I had the burrito bowl with carnitas. The combo was with chips and a drink. The pork was tender and had decent flavor, but little spice. I got the hot salsa, it was pretty good. I had the white queso with my chips; I liked it, but it thickened to concrete very quickly.

It’s counter order and service. The iced tea is pretty good. My check was $9.27. Not bad. I will go back and try other stuff.

Chili’s, Moore, OK

31 May 2014

Chili's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Had dinner here with the family, including Raegan’s Mom.

Ian and I had ribeyes that were not too bad at all. Erin had bacon ranch quesadillas, Raegan a chicken sandwich, and her Mom southwest eggrolls. For a Chili’s, it was a pretty decent meal.

One thing that was pretty cool, the restaurant had a wifi-enabled device that would let you order dessert, drink refills, or play games. The games cost a couple bucks. It would also let you pay the check at pretty much anytime, which could be useful when a restaurant is busy.

Service was pretty good, as was the iced tea; our check was $71.75. I’ve no real incentive to go to Chili’s (except the location at DFW airport is pretty much the only place that brews real iced tea 🙂 ), but this one wasn’t bad.

Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Oklahoma City, OK

30 May 2014

Bravo! Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon

First of all, *not* Bravo…

We have been here exactly once, about a week after they opened. Last evening, we were running errands in north OKC, and Raegan said she wanted Italian, and this was right across Penn, so there we went.

Raegan and Erin got chicken fettuccine al fredo. It came with spinach. I tried it, and it was pretty darn good (although Erin Was Not A Fan Of The Spinach). I got chicken marsala, substituting the mashed potatoes for fettuccine al fredo. My al fredo was on the light-on-the-al fredo-side. But the larger disappointment was the chicken, it was grilled, and grilled badly, which some charred places. I think I should have either (1) asked about sauteed chicken, the way the darn dish is supposed to be made, or (2) sent it back.

The caesar salads Erin and Raegan got where pretty good, but were $4 extra each. My marsala was $19.

The more I think about it, the less value I think the meal was. Expensive, and not that good. Service was OK. The iced tea was OK. Our check (for three) was $69.85.

It’ll be a long time before I go back, if ever.

Sauced on Paseo, Oklahoma City, OK

29 May 2014

Sauced on Paseo on Urbanspoon

We wanted pizza for dinner, and decided to hit this place for some new pizza.

First of all, you walk through the patio to get in and out of the building (if it’s crowded you might get too much smoker smoke); you order at the counter. The place we sat had only about five tables.

Raegan and I split a largish pizza, her half was backbacon and mushrooms, mine was bacon, burger, pepperoni, and sausage. Most of the toppings were evenly scattered, but the sausage was seriously clumped. The crust was thin and very crispy. There was an odd (not unpleasant) herbal flavor to my part of the pizza; I told Raegan the same flavor I remember clearly from cheap frozen pizzas I used to eat back when I was single (think Totina). As I said, the flavor wasn’t unpleasant, but just odd. Erin had two slices of chicken pizza.

The pizza was OK. I thought it was bland. It was far from the worst pizza I’ve had, but it was also far from the the best. Raegan and I both ate half of our pizza, and took the other half home for lunch tomorrow.

Service was very friendly. The iced tea was very good. Our check was $34.75. I might go back.

OKCs Boathouse District

26 May 2014

Erin was invited to a birthday party for one of her friends this evening, at the new Boathouse District on the Oklahoma Rive, south of downtown.

We’ve watched the building of the river area, and the boathouses, with some interest over the past couple years, but this was the first time there for us.

It’s a pretty cool complex. I was struck by how the age spread for the activities works out. There is a pretty nice big toy for the little ones to play on. It’s under a huge canopy, so that helps with rain or Oklahoma summer temps. This area has a couple swinging and spinning toys that are a lot of fun.

Next door is what is essentially an open-air moonwalk/trampoline toy. I was surprised that you could get a pretty good grip on the fabric with bare feet or socks. This thing is a BLAST. I bounced up and down a couple hundred times (and I can just feel that in my neck somewhat). This area also had a rubber band launcher for little ones, and an small version of the adventure trail on the big tower.

There was a triple-route climb tower and a larger triple version of the rubber band launcher as well. These were a portable version, but hopefully they are a permanent part of the area (or there will be a permanent set built).

One thing I liked was a small bicycle track with some bumps and steep turns. It was about 75′ long total.

The Tower.

WOW!

This is the tower:

The Tower

I’m guessing this is 100+ft off the ground. The thing with the most press is, of course, the zipline. It takes you from the top across the Oklahoma River to a similar tower. To get back, you run up to the top of the south tower and zipline back!

But the zipline is only one part. There is an enclosed climbing area for smaller friends at the north foot of the tower. There is a free-fall drop from the top on the west side (it looks like this uses the same type of automatic belaying devices used in the Rocktown climbing area). There is a slide (from the TOP!) on the east side. These are all very cool.

But the tower itself as an adventure trail. Check out this view of the interior, looking up.

Whoa...

A little explanation; before you can go up to zipline, you get a harness put on, and you are hooked into a self-belaying system that fits into tracks in the tower components, and protects you the entire way up (there is a small version of this on the kids adventure trail). So you can hook into the tower and walk safely all the way up. BUT, each of the tower rails, and the crosspieces you can see in the picture, have various kinds of walking surfaces you can negotiate. The things that look like ladders? The single cables? Those are things you walk on. The structural components as well. There are four levels of those!

Finally, there is an area under a large tent for birthday parties and such. That’s nice.

The only real thing I could complain about would be the zipline times. Erin went up to take a turn at about 1815, and didn’t get done until 2010. Two hours of waiting, and she had only about 10 people in front of her. That’s 12 minutes per person. There were a couple instances where the zipliner didn’t quite make it all the way to the other end, and a staff member had to clip on the line and go pull them back in; that’s understandable. But there was a LOT of (what appeared to me) staffers at the two ends of the zip line just standing there. That is going to have to speed up.

Things that I hope are being considered:

Some restrooms. I didn’t see even any porta-potties out there.

There is one converted cargo shipping container that is used for a ticket window and for selling drinks and snacks. They will need another drink/snack stand, with some sitting areas, as this place gets more popular.

It would be smart to put a cover over the kids bouncy thing and related play areas, like the one over the big toy. Oklahoma gets too hot in the summer for those to be safe.

It may be there, but I think that there should be a trail from the Bass Pro Shop area to the zipline area. I have not explored the area fully, so don’t know.

They should consider putting in another bike track, maybe on the other side of the tower.

And it will be hugely popular, I think. This is good for OKC, and good for the community. I hope they plan on being open late.

I wonder what they do if someone freaks after the first zipline, and refuses to zip back?

Charleston’s, Oklahoma City, OK (NWX)

23 May 2014

Charleston's on Urbanspoon

Raegan and I had late lunch here yesterday. It was pretty good.

She got the chicken club sandwich with okra for a side. While it was pretty good, she couldn’t finish all of it. The okra was pretty darn good. I had a bite of the chicken, and it was just a tad on the spicy side. I got the chicken salad with creamy garlic dressing (and that’s some darn good dressing), and it was excellent. Ate every bit of it.

Service was pretty good. The iced tea was a bit on the weak side. Our check was $31.47. A bit expensive, but good food and nice atmosphere.

Alvarado’s Mexican Restaurant, Edmond, OK

23 May 2014

Alvarado's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

We had dinner at the Alvarado’s on 2nd street a couple years ago. They moved to this location on Broadway several months ago, and we decided to try it last Tuesday.

We started with beef nachos that were pretty darn good, lots of beef and cheese.

Erin chicken soft tacos, and liked them. Raegan had sour cream chicken enchiladas, and thought they were OK. I had carnitas that was very good, albeit on the spicy side. My meal came with the guacamole, and as usual I gave it to Raegan. She said it was so spicy that it made her mouth painfully uncomfortable.

So not a bad meal at all. Our check was around $32.50. Service was pretty good, and the iced tea was good. I liked the carnitas well enough I wouldn’t mind going back.

Golden Palace, Midwest City, OK

19 May 2014

Golden Palace on Urbanspoon

There isn’t a good way to say this, but this was a terrible experience. I tried a number of the buffet items, and liked none of them, and disliked most of them. The only thing that was edible was the egg drop soup.

The iced tea was OK. My check was #11.14. I will not go back.

We used to go the the Golden Palace often for going-away functions, and for lunch. But that “often” was 15 years ago, and the last couple times I went (5+ years ago), once I got an upset stomach (extremely rare for me).

If I were asked to go back for a function, I might consider it. But probably not.

Bella Vista, Oklahoma City, OK

4 May 2014

Bella Vista on Urbanspoon

I have been wanting to try Bella Vista for a while due to the good reviews on Urbanspoon.

First: if you go, go hungry. Really hungry. The portion sizes are HUGE.

We got there around 1845 last Wednesday. We sat down, and it took a couple minutes for us to be noticed and get menus.

We started off with an order of garlic cheese bread (pretty good) and a couple meatballs, and bruschetta. Raegan got a salad also. The bread and meatballs were pretty good.

For the meal, I ordered chicken marsala, Erin got chicken parm, and Raegan got chicken picata. Each of these was a huge amount of food, each had two good-sized chicken breasts.

I had some of each meal (especially given that I had some for lunch the next day, and again the next day).

I was just not terribly impressed by any of the entrees. My marsala was heavy with marinara instead of the more subtle, sweetish marsala wine sauce I had expected. The parm chicken was overcooked. The picata was the best of the meals; I’m just not a big fan of lemon.

I really wanted to like this meal. I didn’t dislike it. It just wasn’t that good. It seems like a decent value: you could get two or even three meals out of one entree.

Service was a little on the curt side. Our check was $79.31. It took a bit to get checked out; the place seemed to be a bit of a one-person show.

I may try it again, but next time, I would get fettuccine.

Marco’s Pizza, Oklahoma City, OK (South Penn)

3 May 2014

Marco's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Last Friday, we were all headed down to Moore to mow the yard for Raegan’s Mom. Since it was getting towards dark and we wanted to finish the yard in one shot, we decided to get some pizza. I had heard good things about the Marco’s Pizza in MWC, and there was one along south Penn, so we did the call in order while headed south.

First of all, Raegan used my cell phone to make the call. They answered the call with “Is this William Hensley?”. Since cell calls do not send name information, these guys clearly subscribe to a database of cell phone information.

Raegan got the order in, and in about 15 min we showed up. Here’s where I caused a problem. I walked in, and said “to-go order for Bill”. I paid $20, picked up the package they gave me, and walked out.

Turns out, I took the pizza that was intended for Bill, when I should have taken the William order. One of the Marcos troops chased me down in the parking lot, and we went back in to straighten it out.

I offered to take $20 from Bill, then he would have been OK, and then I would have paid the $30 or so for my real order, and all would have been fine. But no, the Marcos people comped both orders. I think that was above and beyond; *way* above.

We had two large thin-crust pizzas, one half supreme and half meat lovers, and the other half chicken and half backbacon. The pizza was pretty darn good. I ate a couple slices standing up, then went out and mowed, and came back and more (cold). We got some cheese bread also, and a salad.

So I want to try Marco’s again. We don’t get to the area in south OKC very often, but there are locations in MWC and north OKC that will be on the target. Looking forward to another visit.

Thanks to Marco’s staff for comping the order, when I was the one that screwed up. I will come back again as soon as I can, guys, and I’ll use the right name that time.

Fontana Italian Restaurant, Moore, OK

19 April 2014

Fontana Italian Resturant on Urbanspoon

I ran over here for lunch Wednesday; it was very good.

The meal started with warm, very textured bread, and a side of EVOO with garlic, great stuff. The meal came with a very basic salad with very good ranch dressing. I ordered fettuccine al fredo with chicken, and it was simply great. The al fredo had that light cream and butter flavor, and wasn’t terribly heavy. The noodles were perfect. The chicken was sauteed into the meal.

Service was spot on and friendly. My check was $9.19. This is close enough to Tinker to be a real threat!

Red Horse Grill, Norman, OK

19 April 2014

Red Horse Grill on Urbanspoon

This place was good! I had some extra time in this week, so I drove down to Norman for lunch Thursday. I was in the mood for cheeseburger.

I got a double cheeseburger with bacon. I added a couple pickles and mayo from the fixings bar. That was one darn fine burger. Great flavor, nice crust for texture, and perfect, nicely crispy bacon. Mmmmm, bacon. I got some chili cheese fries with the meal, and they were a very good accompaniment to the burger.

The iced tea was serve yourself and very good. My check was $15.34. It would be difficult to go to Norman for lunch very often, but if I was in the area, I’d have zero problem going back to Red Horse.

Hideaway Pizza, Oklahoma City, OK (Midtown)

8 April 2014

Hideaway Pizza on Urbanspoon

This is a bit of a catch-up. I had lunch at this location with my friend Martha 24 March. We split a lunch special, which is a 12-in pizza. I had pepperoni, sausage, and hamburger on mine, I think Martha had CB and mushrooms on hers. It was a great pizza, as expected of Hideaway. We had iced tea. Service was very good. Our check was about $15.

Good experience, but I have to say I was quite hungry by the time dinner came around; those pizzas are small for two. But very good…

Mcloud’s Country Cafe, Mcloud, OK

5 April 2014

McLoud's Country Cafe on Urbanspoon

We drove all the way to Mcloud to have dinner at Jim’s Fried Chicken, but the place was closed (permanently, it looks like), so we drove on into town, and ran across the Country Cafe. It was great!

Erin got a bacon cheeseburger, and she ate every bit of it. Raegan and I both got fried chicken. We ate every bit of both of our meals. The meal is four smallish pieces. Mine was a touch overcooked, but that didn’t stop me from eating all of it. She got okra (and said it was PERFECT) and corn, and I got mashers with gravy (I said these were PERFECT) and pintos. We also got some great blackberry cobbler for dessert.

The iced tea was great and kept refilled, and service was outstanding and very friendly. Our check was $35.12; I think pretty darn good value. I look forward to a return visit.

Los Vaqueros Mexican, Midwest City, OK (Reblog)

5 April 2014

Los Vaqueros on Urbanspoon

This is only the second reblog I have done for a restaurant. I stopped at Los Vaqueros Tuesday for lunch. This time, I noticed guisos on the menu. I asked for pork, and verde.

It was a mixed bag. The rice and beans were good. For the main course, the pork was a little on the less-than-tender side. The verde was sort of hard to describe. It had a very sharp taste when you first put some in your mouth, and then it overwhelmed the pork for a bit. It wasn’t overly spicy; sharp is the best word I can come up with to describe it.

The iced tea was good and service was great. I didn’t dislike the guisos at all. I am trying to decide if I liked it. I probably will go back in a couple weeks and repeat the meal. My check, BTW, was $13.54.

Great Wall, Oklahoma City, OK (63rd)

4 April 2014

Great Wall on Urbanspoon

Erin has wanted some sweet and soup chicken for a couple days, so today we decided to head up Great Wall at 63rd and May for dinner.

So the menus didn’t have a lot of detail. We ordered two orders of sweet and sour chicken, and two orders of chicken fried rice, along with a large and a small egg drop soup.

When the food got there, it came with two big plates of rice. Now, if I were taking orders, and someone ordered what we did, I might have mentioned that we had just hooked up with FOUR plates of rice. And maybe I would have offered a substitution, maybe with a bit of an upcharge.

The unfried rice was OK. The chicken fried rice was OK. Next time, I might get pork fried rice instead. The sweet and sour chicken was excellent, really good. The egg drop soup was excellent as well (one thing, you could eat the stuff as delivered, instead of waiting for it to cool down from near boiling). The large size, BTW, was LARGE, probably 16 oz.

So we ate until we were stuffed, having bought too much food. They have no drinks except for a cooler with some water and big bottles of soft drinks (we bought two bottles of water, and a 2-liter Coke). There are two 3-person tables there; I gather the place does most of its sales through takeaway and delivery.

I would not mind going back again, this time armed with the knowledge to negotiate the rice issue. Our check was $42.00 or so.

Sherri’s Diner, Oklahoma City, OK

14 March 2014

Sherri's Diner on Urbanspoon

I had lunch here today, it was pretty good. I had the chicken fried steak. The CFS was nicely breaded. It was pretty much fork tender. It covered most of the platter. But… the meat in the CFS was only about half of the entire CFS. The meatless breading extended all around the meat. Sort of a drag. But what was there was pretty good.

The CFS came with mashers and gravy (both very good), corn (decent), and pinto beans (excellent!). The iced tea was great, and service was great. My meal was delivered very quickly, and that allowed me to get back to work fast. My check was $12.22.

Sherri’s is on the southside, but it’s close to where I work, so I wouldn’t mind going there again.

KFC, Del City, OK

13 March 2014

KFC on Urbanspoon

OK, so I’ve gone back and forth on KFC. I love the taste, but the cost and quality really went downhill a couple years ago. I looked at the cost part, and if you buy this stuff by the bucket, and make your own veggies, it’s not a bad value. The cost of the meals has dropped in the past six months as well. All this means I occasionally hit KFC for lunch.

It was even so Monday. I was in a bit of hurry for lunch, and drove past this KFC in Del City, and decided to give it a try.

This KFC really went a looooooong way to putting me off KFC. Service here for years was *terrible*. Part of this was basic preparation; I think out of five visits over a period of a couple months, for four of the visits, they were out of chicken. At lunch! WTH? The upshot is I haven’t been to this location in something like six years.

This visit was different. I got a two-piece original all white (my standard meal for years was a three-piece, but I’m aiming to lose 15 lbs before a backpacking trip, and you have to look at both volume and caloric content). It was excellent. But the service was even better; I personally interacted with three staff members, and they were wonderful!

One visit isn’t a trend, but it is far better than how it was. I’m not going to rush right back, but I also won’t avoid the place, as I have for a long time.

Furr’s, Moore, OK

3 March 2014

Furr's Fresh Buffet on Urbanspoon

This is a slightly delayed post; I found the receipt buried in a drawer while I was looking for something else.

We have occasionally eaten at Furr’s Cafeterias, as Raegans parents were fond of them. This is a Furr’s Fresh Buffet in Moore, and it was pretty crappy. We ate here back on 29 Nov 2013.

The concept here is that you order your drink and get charged, then hit the buffet.

I will just say that off all the things I tried, the only think that was really worth anything was the hamburger steak. And it wasn’t all that impressive. I didn’t actively like anything, and remember that several items tasted bad, the mashed potatoes in particular.

Service was not good. I ran out of iced tea repeatedly (in fact, the entire table had dry drinks at one point).

Our check was $50.59 for six of us. It was wholly unsatisfying. Not recommended.

Jaramillos, Oklahoma City, OK

26 February 2014

Jaramillo's on Urbanspoon

This place was great! I picked it from Google and Urbanspoon reviews. I went there over lunch, and I was the only customer, which is a shame.

I started with a plate of nachos with taco beef. It was large, and had generous helpings of taco beef and cheese. The beef bears comment, it had a very nice touch of seasoning (at a lot of places, the ground beef does not seem to have a lot of flavor; this place is an exception, the ground beef has excellent seasoning).

The queso and salsa were excellent. The salsa had a fresh tomato flavor and just a touch of spiciness. The queso was great, it had a slight smoky flavor. Mix both queso and salsa on the same chip, YUM!

For lunch, I had guisado puerco chili verde. Regular readers will note that I have been eating a lot of this recently. This came as a huge plate with rice and refried beans; these were great! The pork was in biggish chunks, and was very tender and flavorful. The chili verde also had wonderful taste. The spiciness of the guisado puerco chili verde was right at the upper limit of Bills spiciness tolerance. So great flavor, and almost to spicy for me to eat. It reminded me a bit of the same dish I had at Casa de los Milagros a couple months ago, but this variety was another step up spice-wise.

I know this sounds like of odd, but I might get a side of sour cream next time, and stir a spoon into the guisado to tone down the spice a bit.

Service was outstanding and super friendly. The iced tea was great. My check was $21.90. That’s a bit high, I know, but fully $10 of that was my lunch, and the nachos was a full order, and probably $6-7. This place was very good, and I look forward to another visit, soon.

Pickles, Moore, OK

26 February 2014

Pickles on Urbanspoon

I’ve driven by Pickles a couple hundred times, but never tried it until today. I drove by headed back to work this afternoon.

I had the deluxe double, which is a two-thirds pound burger with bacon and cheese; double everything. It was on an unusual bread, I think an egg bun? There was a lot of cheese, and there were five slices of bacon (cooked to a perfect crispness). The burger was pretty darn good. It was cooked with a nice crust on it, and it had decent flavor. But… the flavor had an odd (but not unpleasant) taste. I wonder if it had some unusual seasoning salt or something similar.

I had fries with the burger, and they were very good. The iced tea was excellent. Service was perfect. My check was $10.24. I wouldn’t mind going back.

BTW, the restaurant is in a former BK or something similar. I don’t usually comment on interiors (unless it’s nasty), but the restaurant was nicely appointed in wood and (I think) brass. The booth I sat in had plenty of room.

Venezia Italian Ristorante, Oklahoma City, OK

24 February 2014

Venezia Italian Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Had lunch here today with Raegan and Erin, it was great!

I had spaghetti the works. Simply outstanding. The meat sauce was just the right thickness, and it was the right amount for the mass of noodles, and the meat balls were excellent. Raegan and Erin had chicken parm, and it was also very good. We all had salads with caesar dressing that was very good (the dressing was on the side instead of being tossed with the lettuce), and the bread was hot and went well with the marinara and al fredo we ordered.

Service was pretty good, and our check was $62.75 (that might seem high for three people, but the marinara and al fredo for the bread was an extra $6 [oh so worth it, yum!], Erin got some fried cheese for another $7, and Raegan got a piece of cake for $5).

I also asked the manager if this place was related to Napolis and all the other places that are characterized by the “spaghetti the works” item, and he denied any relation except the location in Del City, and one in El Reno or Yukon that his sister ran.

We only had one issue; Raegan asked for manicotti. She likes her manicotti like this: one with al fredo, and the other with marinara. To us, this seems very simple. Roll the manicottis up, place them on the baking pan, then ladle some al fredo over one, and some marinara over the other. Yes, there will be some mixing of the two sauces, but this is no big deal to her.

In this case, the restaurant refused to even try. The only reason given was that the sauces would mix. Hmmm, I wonder what happened to the customer being right?

We’ve seen other restaurants (even those that are in the famous secret “spaghetti the works” chain that is not a chain) do the manicotti just as asked, we’ve seen them do the two manicottis on separate plates, we’ve seen a horrid pink mixture of al fredo and marinara dumped across both (very odd), and a couple like here refuse to even try. It’s not that difficult.

Casa Perico, Oklahoma City, OK (Northside)

22 February 2014

Casa Perico Mexican Grille on Urbanspoon

A couple weeks ago, we hit Casa Perico on the west side of OKC, and had a wonderful meal. Thursday, we needed dinner, so we decided to hit the northside location, which is much closer to our house. Another wonderful meal.

We started the meal off with shredded beef nachos; that’s the way nachos should be made. The “chips” were taco shells, and there was a lot of cheese and beef. Next time, we will get them with some sour cream. For our dinner, again, I got puerco verde; pork in green chili sauce. It was simply excellent. I think this version was just a touch spicier then I got at the westside location, but the pork was tender, and the meat and green chili sauce had amazing flavor. There wasn’t a bit left when I was done. Raegan got a chicken chimi this time, and thought it was pretty good. Erin got chicken soft tacos and enjoyed them.

Service was outstanding. The iced tea was excellent. Our check was $52.50.

I’m not a food expert by any means, but for me, getting away from the standard enchiladas and such has been a refreshing change. I still like enchiladas and fajitas, but the mexican stews seem to have the edge on flavor.

Charleston’s, Oklahoma City, OK (I-240)

20 February 2014

Charleston's on Urbanspoon

We were in south OKC back on 25 January, and decided to hit this Charleston’s for dinner.

We started with a brace of their excellent croissants, and baked potato soup all around. For our meals, Erin had mac and cheese, Raegan had a chicken salad, and I had a house salad (with the excellent creamy garlic dressing). All of this was completely eaten and was very good.

Service was very attentive, and the iced tea was great and kept refilled. Our check was $54.19, a little expensive as usual, but the quality was right about that level.

If you are with Charleston’s, I would like to suggest that you consider expanding your menu just a bit. Charleston’s used to have excellent ribeye steaks, and an outstanding BBQ chicken, but these disappeared from the menu years ago. Bring them back, with the same quality as before.

Italian Jims Restaurant, Edmond, OK

2 February 2014

Italian Jim's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

In a trifecta of posts about Edmond restaurants, we hit Italian Jims last night.

I had fettuccine and chicken al fredo. It was decent, not terribly rich. The chicken was grilled, sliced, and carefully placed on top of the noodles. It should have been diced, sauteed, and tossed. Next time… Reagan got a decent chicken parm, and Erin an appetizer.

Service was OK, and the iced tea was OK as well. Our check was $48.36, sort of expensive for the quality. I don’t know that we will go back.

The restaurant is attached to a glass blowing shop. We stopped there on the way out and watched a team work a huge vase. That was pretty interesting. I watched the guy holding the vase swoop it right in back of another guy with what looked like a foot to spare. It wasn’t glowing red hot, but it was still probably 800F. Whoa…

Al’s Cafe and Grill, Edmond, OK

2 February 2014

Al's Cafe & Grill on Urbanspoon

A week ago Saturday, I was looking for a fairly quick lunch in Edmond, and I remembered I had been wanting to try Al’s. I got there about 1215 and was out at 1250.

I got a double cheeseburger with light fried onions, and fries. First, the fries were excellent, perfect, hot and crispy. Yum. The burger was pretty darn good. It was juicy and had great flavor, with a nice crust on it (except where the onions were).

Now, I have an unreasonable fondness for onion burgers. Not burgers with onions, but burgers where the onions are cooked on the grill right with the meat. At least, I thought I had an unreasonable fondness for onion burgers. I ordered them “light” this time, and that’s the way the burger came. And at the end of the meal, I decided I really don’t like onion burgers. I think that if there were a couple grilled onions on top of the burger, that would be OK. But I think I finally realized that the pile of onions for an onion burger are just too much, a lot of times too tough to bite through, and strong enough to mask the beef flavor, which is the reason I like burgers.

So… the next time I am at Al’s, I will get a cheeseburger. It was very good. Service was friendly and fast. The iced tea was OK; next time I would probably get a Coke. My check was $12.96.

One funny thing: Al’s has a bunch of drive-in memorabilia on the walls. One is a replica of a Beverly’s Chicken In The Rough, which would be a competitor. I know I’ve seen that on another restaurant in the OKC area, maybe Around The Corner.

Great Wall, Edmond, OK

2 February 2014

Great Wall on Urbanspoon

Last evening, after we had picked Erin up from a school field trip, my very cute and occasionally unpredictable roommate announced She Wanted Some Fried Rice. Well, cool. We did a quick UrbanSpoon and Google check, and headed to Great Wall. We got there about 1730, and it was empty.

We ordered a plate each of pork fried rice and sweet and sour chicken, and a bowl each of egg drop soup. All of this was very good. The soup was perfect, hot and thick and tasty, and right on the money given the cold temps outside. The sweet and sour was in a light breading, tender, and tasted great. The fried rice was very good as well.

They have decent iced tea, service was fast. Our check was only $22.11. I would be happy to eat here again.

A Stealthy Italian Restaurant Chainlet

27 January 2014

OK, so this is a little obsessive. Back in 2008, I had lunch in Muskogee in an excellent little Italian restaurant called Napoli’s. The meal I got was “Spaghetti: The Works”, and it was particularly fine. Since then, I had all manner of excellent food at Napoli’s, including fettuccine al fredo. There were a couple other of these restaurants that I noticed as I traveled around Oklahoma.

A year or so later, I had a meal at a place called Roma’s in Guthrie. Also excellent. And… it had a “Spaghetti: The Works” menu item. Over the past couple years, I have been to at least 10 restaurants that have the same menu item. In fact, mostly the same whole menus. I started asking owners and managers, and each of them deny being part of a chain or related to any other restaurants, although a few of them said they owned another edition (the Guthrie guy said he owned one in Drumright).

Back in early 2013, I was in Muskogee, and decided to eat lunch at Napoli’s. It was out of business, but I remembered a new restaurant on the east side of town called Gino’s. It had the same menu as Napoli’s, and the manager denied being related to Napoli’s. Hmmm…

So this afternoon, with too much time on my hands, I did a Google search for the phrase “Spaghetti: The Works”. I validated that each seemingly relevant entry in fact pointed to a menu entry for a restaurant. The phrase mapped to the following restaurant names:

Napoli’s, Luigi’s, Roma’s, Gino’s, Moriana’s, Venezia, and Marsala’s.

I made a list of these names and searched for likely locations. I ended up with 48 towns. 48! There were references to some other restaurants, and others that didn’t have a menu that was posted to be verified with the “Spaghetti: The Works”. These places were mainly in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa. So there are likely 55+ of these places around.

I saw an article online a couple years ago saying that the Napoli’s restaurants started in Woodward or Guymon, but saw another one today that said Texas and Oklahoma. Both talked about an extended family, but again, the people who run several of these places deny that.

So this is probably the best chainlet of restaurants in the country, and they serve outstanding Italian food, of consistent high quality, all more-or-less independently. I am surprised that there isn’t a central website listing the local varieties of these places. It’s pretty amazing to me.

Casa Perico, Oklahoma City, OK

25 January 2014

Casa Perico Mexican Grille on Urbanspoon

This was great! We were looking for a quick dinner near St. John’s, and literally saw Casa Perico from across the street, and decided to try it.

Erin got a taco salad that she liked OK. Raegan got chicken enchiladas. She ate 1.5 of the 2, and I had some of the rest; they were pretty darn good. I got puerco verde; pork in green chili sauce. OUTSTANDING! That stuff had a bit of spiciness, but flavor that was just wonderful. I asked our server, and he said it was essentially guisada. Wonderful stuff.

The queso and salsa was pretty good. Service was excellent. The iced tea was really good. Our check was $37.89. I look forward to going back, I think this place has real potential.

Rocky Mountain Grill, Edmond, OK

23 January 2014

Rocky Mountain Grill on Urbanspoon

I noticed this restaurant, which is in the former Purple Burrito location, back in December. I got to try it for lunch on Tuesday while I was running an errand. It was pretty good!

I got a double-meat cheeseburger with bacon. It was well cooked, had a nice crust on it, and decent flavor. There was a bit much seasoning salt (I think it was), but the bacon was perfect. I liked the fries as well. I got a sample of the chili verde, and it was very good.

I was given a breakfast burrito (which I had for dinner!), and it was excellent! A tortilla stuffed full, with just the right spiciness. Again, it was pretty huge.

Service was right on the money and the iced tea was great. My check was $13.08. I look forward to a return visit.

Abuelita’s Mexican Restaurant, Del City, OK

20 January 2014

Abuelita's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I noticed this place a couple months ago driving to work, and remembered that we had dinner in one with the same name in Shawnee, and liked it. I had lunch here last Monday. It was a new food experience, and good!

I got pollo con chili verde. I think I was thinking about guisada, but that’s not what it was. This was chunks of chicken cooked in with poblano peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It came with frijoles and rice. It was really good!

A note about The Gringo Bill Hensley. I have never just eaten bunches of peppers. Spicy stuff, yes. I am not a fan of the actual peppers. When we get fajitas, I always order them without the peppers.

So when I saw all those green peppers in the meal, I just about paid for it and left. But, I tried the chicken. Excellent, plump and tender, and… not tasting of peppers. I ate a couple more, and tried the beans and rice (great!). Then I ate one of the peppers. It wasn’t bad (but it wasn’t good either); it had flavor but it wasn’t obnoxious. So I just kept eating, and probably consumed more peppers in this sitting than I’ve had in my entire life.

So the meal was pretty darn good. Service was right on the money and very friendly. My check was about $13.00 (I can’t find the receipt). I will be back.

Denny’s, Edmond, OK

20 January 2014

Denny's on Urbanspoon

Friday evening, we had dinner here. Erin and Raegan both got a build her own Grand Slam with eggs and such. I got a Lumberjack, which is essentially a big breakfast. All of it was pretty darn good. The only problem is that the fruit Erin ordered didn’t show, and we didn’t realize it until the end of the meal, so she took it to go.

Service was super friendly and fast. Our check was $33.85, not bad.

McAlister’s, Oklahoma City, OK (Memorial and Portland)

20 January 2014

McAlister's Deli on Urbanspoon

Had a late lunch here with Raegan and Erin yesterday. Raegan had the savannah salad and loved it. I had the chicken salad with ranch dressing and potato soup, and Erin had the chicken spud and chili. All of this was excellent. I could not finish my salad; it was huge!

We got a couple cookies, and the excellent iced tea. Our check was $40.33. Good stuff.

Charcoal Oven, Oklahoma City, OK

20 January 2014

Charcoal Oven on Urbanspoon

So this might fall into the category of “it took long enough”. I’ve lived in OKC since 1984, and have been up and down Northwest Expressway thousands of times, and have not ever eaten at the Charcoal Oven. I ate at a very good Italian place called Tony’s Via Roma that was just west of there, and took a couple dates to Juniors just east of there. The kids and I had dinner at an outpost of Charcoal Oven just west of NWX and MacArthur several years ago on a blazing afternoon.

That changed today. I was headed up to St. John’s (which is about three blocks away) to do some work this morning, and decided to grab breakfast ( 🙂 ) on the way. It’s drive-through only.

I was not impressed. I got a Cowboy Burger with cheese. This burger has hickory sauce on it. Mine did not have cheese, as it turned out. The burger was OK. It was cooked and smelled of charcoal cooking, but it had little flavor. The hickory sauce was not very good; it was more like slightly seasoned ketchup. The meal was a combo that came with some OK fries and a Coke.

Service was fast. The burger was just not that good. The patties were much smaller than the bun, and the hickory sauce was a distraction instead of an enhancement. This was $15.16, which is pretty darn high for a no-frills burger.

So after not having tried the Charcoal Oven for 30 years, I will not be rushing back. I like to give places a couple chances, but it’s not a priority this case.

China House, Oklahoma City, OK

13 January 2014

China House on Urbanspoon

I was south of Tinker at lunch today, and did a Google Maps search of the area, and decided to hit China House as it has been a while since I had any Chinese food, and it was close. I got there a couple minutes after noon, and left at 1240.

It was pretty good. I got sweet and sour chicken, which comes with a side of rice, and a biggish bowl of egg drop soup. The main dish was pretty good, nothing spectacular, but good. There was a goodly amount of chicken. Most importantly, there was none of the odd feeling I occasionally get when eating Chinese food (I generally have a cast-iron stomach). The egg drop soup was really good! It was hotter then heck. I like stuff like that when particularly when it gets cold, so I might go there again just to get the soup.

Service was fast, my check was only $7.52. Drinks are by the bottle out of a cooler. Good stuff. I look forward to going back.

Mackie McNear’s Steakhouse, Edmond, OK

13 January 2014

Mackie McNear's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Back in early December, we had an ice storm come through OKC. It took me about three hours to go from Tinker, to pick up Raegan at St. John’s, and then get to Edmond to pick up Erin, who had stayed after school for a school club meeting. The roads were icy, the travel slow. By the time we had Erin, we were quite hungry.

I picked Mackie McNear’s since it was close, and it has a variety of foods. I ordered a ribeye, and Raegan and Erin got buffets. At best, their meals were “meh”. My steak was not very good. It was pretty tough, and had little flavor. The baked potato was small. Raegan and Erin had little good to say about their meals.

Service was pretty good. Our check was $48.65, for three meals, poor value. We will not be back.

Patty Wagon, Oklahoma City, OK

12 January 2014

Patty Wagon on Urbanspoon

We tried Patty Wagon 14 December. We don’t often find ourselves south of 39th on May, unless I’m hitting the Lowe’s there :), and on this particular Saturday we had been in the Shepherd Mall area, so we gave it a try.

Those were some darn fine burgers. The meat had great flavor, and a nice crust on the outside, with a very juicy interior. A bit more juicy than the bun could handle (I had a double, BTW), as over the course of eating the bun disintegrated. I finished the meal using a fork. But it was really good regardless.

I liked the fries as well, they were rough cut and tasted like potatoes should.

We all got shakes (huge and thick and great), and regular drinks as well, so the check of $56.08 is a little higher than it would have been for a regular meal. I would be happy to go back.

Smokey Ray’s BBQ, Midwest City, OK (Food Truck)

11 January 2014

Smokey Ray's on Urbanspoon

I’ve a number of catch-up reviews to post, this is one.

Back on 19 December, I was done with work around noon, and as I drove off Tinker, I saw the Smokey Ray’s truck in the parking lot. I’ve wanted to try them for a while, so I stopped and scored a slab of ribs and sauce.

Those were some darn fine ribs. I prefer my ribs smoked wet, and these have a rub, with one of the ingredients slightly masking the rib flavor. They were pretty tender and had really good flavor, though. I actually ate a couple of them right there in the parking lot, since I had skipped breakfast! We heated them up in the oven for dinner and they hadn’t lost any flavor.

I think I gave around $20 for the slab, and it was a heck of a lot of ribs. We made two meals out of them. Service was extraordinarily friendly. I want to go back and try some of the beef and pork options.

This is my first food truck!

All American Diner, Midwest City, OK

11 January 2014

All American Diner on Urbanspoon

I drove past this location back in December; it’s in the former Murphy’s Family Grill location, which has been about five restaurants over the past years. I hope this one sticks.

There is another one of these in Nicoma Park, the full name is the All American Dixie Diner. It’s pretty darn good also.

I had lunch here Wednesday with my friend Wendy. She got the chicken fried chicken, and every bit of it was consumed. I got a lunch special of chicken pot pie. That was darn fine, with thick golden gravy and lots of chicken and veg. Both came with two sides, I got mashers and pintos, both great.

So this location is right on a par with the Nicoma Park location. Good, basic American food for a decent price. This location being close to work is a good thing. Service was pretty darn good. My check was $9.40. And the iced tea was excellent.