Posts Tagged ‘Norman’

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.

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.

The Garage, Norman, OK

28 August 2013

The Garage on Urbanspoon

After an Episcopal church softball game a couple weeks ago down in Noble, we needed to find dinner. The Garage popped up on Google Maps and we decided to try it. It’s not really appropriate for a group of more than four or five; you have to push high round tables together, and it’s not very efficient for talking.

I got a couple beef nachos for the group. Lots of chips, but very light on the beef, cheese, and the like. What was there was good, but there was not a lot of it.

Erin and I got cheeseburgers, hers a single, mine a double with bacon. Those were pretty darn good burgers, cooked perfectly, with a nice crust, and decent beef flavor. I liked mine a lot.

Service was pretty fast. The burgers were decent. Our check was $33.74; seems high, but it included $10+ of nachos. The iced tea was OK. You could do worse than The Garage.

Gaberino’s, Norman, OK

17 June 2013

Gaberino's Homestyle Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Raegan and the kids and I had lunch here today. It was pretty good overall. Raegan got lasagne, Ian and Erin both got chicken parm, and I got fettuccine with meat sauce. We started with a large order of garlic cheese bread; it was great. We asked for both marinara and al fredo to dip the bread in (both excellent).

Raegan really liked her lasagne, although it was so hot it took the entire meal to cool down. The kids asked for the spaghetti that comes with the chicken parm to be replaced with fettuccine. This was done, and they experienced some thing a little different, chicken parm, on fettuccine, with al fredo over all. I tried it, and it was pretty good. I was less impressed with mine. The fettuccine was good, but the meat sauce was more meat chunks. It really needed marinara to be a meat sauce. While it was OK, it wasn’t rich. I probably won’t get it again.

The iced tea was good, and service was pretty good. Our check was $53.58, which isn’t a bad value at all. As I told Ian when he asked, I probably would not drive from home all the way to Gaberino’s for dinner, I would not mind hitting it again if we were in the Norman area around a mealtime.

Charleston’s, Norman, OK

8 June 2013

Charleston's on Urbanspoon

Very mixed bag here for dinner this evening. Charleston’s as a chainlet is getting more disappointing.

We met Ian here for dinner last night when we arrived back in the Metro area. The place was crowded, but we were seated very quickly.

We started off with a plate of the croissants. They are good, and Raegan and Erin love them.

Ian and I started with Charleston’s standard baked potato soup; excellent as usual. Raegan had some of the Friday offering of clam chowder; she wasn’t very happy with it; there were too many potatoes.

She had the dinner salad for her meal and liked it just fine. Erin had a bowl of baked potato soup and devoured it. Ian got a chicken fried steak. Except for managing to neatly remove 80% of the CFS from the surrounding breading, he ate most of it. I got the 14 oz prime rib, medium. It came medium. But it was a disappointing meal. I don’t eat prime rib often, but I know it is supposed to be fairly tender; this wasn’t. I had to cut it into small enough pieces that I wouldn’t spend five minutes chewing each bite. There wasn’t just a whole lot of flavor there either.

There are times (like this meal) that I wish I wasn’t philosophically opposed to sending food back. I just hate waste. But I probably should have in this case. The meal came with a baked potato that wasn’t too bad, and my other side was a small house salad with creamy garlic dressing that was the best part of the meal. But for $24, that prime rib just wasn’t worth it.

I’ve written before that Charleston’s has become more disappointing over time. We don’t often go, and this meal won’t help me decide to go there in the future. I would have to recommend either the chicken tenders, or the roast chicken, but not a lot else. I also like to get their soup and salad, when the combination is baked potato soup and the house salad with the creamy garlic.

Service is never a problem at Charleston’s. The servers are constantly moving around getting new tea and checking on guests. Our check this time was $80.64. High for the value received.

Classic 50s Drive-In, Norman, OK

27 May 2013

Classic 50's Drive-in on Urbanspoon

We were going through Norman on the way to the Chickasaw Cultural Center, and stopped here for a quick lunch.

Raegan got the fish sandwich and a corn dog. She figured the sandwich would be small, but it wasn’t, and was hard pressed to finish the corn dog. She liked the fishburger, and said the corn dog was excellent. Ian, Erin, and I got burgers. We really liked them. They were not the very best cheeseburgers we’ve had, but they were far from the worst (and they were better than any Braum’s or Sonic burger I’ve had in the past couple years). My burger could have had a better crust to improve texture, but it had decent flavor. I also got a chili cheese dog, which I really enjoyed. The beef dog was tasty, and the chili was the right amount and a good compliment to the dog. We got a couple tots, and they were nice and crispy.

The tea and the Coke was really good. Service was fast and friendly. Our check was $35.50.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Norman, OK

24 February 2013

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Had a late lunch with Erin here yesterday after our Lake Thunderbird Hike.

I got my usual, a double with bacon, mayo and lettuce. Erin had a single. They were excellent. The fries were a little bit overcooked, and had a lot of “dark” places in them, so I was trimming a lot of them before eating them. They had Gold Peak tea, and surprisingly, it wasn’t bad (which isn’t to say it was terribly good, either).

My usual request to owners: dump the pre-made stuff and brew it locally. Please?

Our check was $20.73. Good stuff.

Clear Bay Cafe, Lake Thunderbird, Norman, OK

12 July 2012

Clear Bay Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ian and Erin and I decided to eat here after a nice hike at Lake Thunderbird.

We all got cheeseburgers; Erin and I had bacon cheeseburgers. The burgers were good sized (1/3 lb), and had decent flavor. The fries that came with the burgers were OK, but they were heavily peppered; too heavily. I got onion rings with mine; they were pre-fabbed and not very good.

The iced tea was nice. Our check was somewhere around $20 (I can’t find the check).

One thing that really bugged me (no pun intended). I ended up killing no less than three wasps that were buzzing around inside the restaurant. One bounced off Erin’s arm. All three buzzed right past her. I think the restaurant should do a better job of keeping the damn things out.

If you are in the Norman area, you can do better than Clear Bay Cafe. They need to show a little more care with the food.

Hiking Lake Thunderbird, Norman, OK

10 July 2012

Saturday, a group of people from First Presbyterian’s Troop 15 took a very pleasant 10.3 mile hike at Lake Thunderbird. The hike had a couple purposes. First, it was an opportunity for some of our Scouts to get a 10-mile hike for the Hiking Merit Badge, and it was also a chance for people headed out to a backpacking trip at summer camp to get some trail time in with their loaded backpack.

The trail network is in the Clear Bay area of Lake Thunderbird. A trail map is here. The photos from the hike are here.

We got started about 0830, and got done at 1300. We were moving right along! The trails here are maintained by the Earthbike Fellowship, but are available for hiking. These trails are wonderful! Here is a great example:

There are three trailheads that I know of. These connect to a series of linked loop trails. The trailhead has a head, a couple shelters, but no water immediately available. There is water a several places in the park nearby for certain.

We started off at a trailhead across from the stables. This puts you on the Green trail. This connects to the Yellow and then the Red trail. Eventually, you get to the Blue trail, which is a longish trail that runs eventually over the high point of the trail system and along the lakeshore. The trail is singletrack, but it is quite wide. Most of it is packed dirt, but there are plenty of rocks and roots. Occasionally the trail is sand-covered. 95% of the trail we were on is tree-covered. There isn’t a lot of low underbrush. This all made for some really nice walking.

At about Mile 6, we got to the north trailhead, which is by Clear Bay Cafe. We had our lunch under some trees, and the Cafe was kind enough to let us refill our water bottles from the hose outside. It was about this point the batteries in my GPS ran out. Oh well.

We came back a different route. Back at the trailhead, we took a right, and an immediate left, to get onto the Red trail. We followed it backwards to the intersection with the Blue trail, and the followed the track backwards to the trailhead.

Here are the topo, terrain, and altitude maps.

There is still a lot of hiking there. The Gold trail by itself is another 10 miles.

We saw a total of three other groups of two or three riding bikes. No hikers. The trail is excellent. Recommended.

Ray’s Smokehouse BBQ, Norman, OK

1 April 2012

Ray's Smokehouse BBQ on Urbanspoon

The kids and I tried to go to the Medieval Festival in Norman today, but the traffic was amazingly heavy, so we had lunch, and headed home. We’ll go tomorrow.

Ray’s was very good. I got a three-meat special of ribs, chopped brisket, and chicken. The ribs were tender, but didn’t have a lot of flavor to them. The brisket was excellent! Lots of smoke flavor, tender, and the sauce on the table was perfect complement. The chicken was very good also, 1/4 dark, tender and just the right about of juicy all the way through.

We were there 1345 – 1430. Uncrowded. The iced tea was excellent. Our check for three was $35.67. Great stuff.

Diner, Norman, OK

6 November 2010

Diner on Urbanspoon


I had this place recommended by a friend some time ago, but I don’t get to Norman very often. Yes, it is called “Diner”, not “The Diner” or anything like that. It as been on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” also. It’s right in downtown Norman.

I got there about 1300 today. Every table was full, but I sat at the counter immediately. This was cool as I could watch the cooks do their thing. There were some really, really, really good looking burgers cooking there; my nose was driving me crazy, they smelled so good! On the same grill, there were pancakes, hash browns, skin-on red potatoes, eggs, bacon, and sausage, and… tamales cooking (I’m just about drooling just thinking about that again). (Wipes laptop LCD and keyboard down)

I ordered tea and a bowl of chili. The tea was OK. The chili was fairly fine, no big chunks of things, but all meat! No beans there. There was a taste of onion, and maybe just a bit of black pepper, and of course chili pepper. The chili left a fine bead of sweat on my forehead, but it didn’t set the tongue on fire or anything like that. It was hot as it could be from the pot, though.

Damn, those burgers smelled good. I need to go back there.

I left at about 1330. My check was $8.23. Be warned – they do not take credit cards! They close at 1400 most days, closed all day Sunday. I could really like this place.

Rudy’s, Norman, OK

22 June 2010

Rudy's "Country Store" and Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Raegan and the kids and I ate at this Rudy’s a couple years ago. We didn’t even know it was there, and we decided to eat there while in Norman to visit the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History (a really, really cool museum, by the way). I seem to remember that Rudy’s was pretty good. I’ve seen Rudy’s in a number of places since then, and my good friend Jamie and her husband are fans.

I was taking Ian to summer camp and decided to take State Highway 9, which runs through Norman and then to Seminole; the camp is right off 9. So that was a good excuse ^H^H^H^H^H^H reason to hit Rudy’s again.

We got there at 1400. We had to wait 20 min to get served, as they had one register open, and the lady being served was getting a BOX of BBQ, and service was serial only. After about 15 min, they opened up two more registers, and the line started moving again.

Ian ordered the pork [spare] ribs, a bag of chips, and a drink. I got the pork ribs, a half pound of “wet” brisket, some Rudy’s beans (pintos), and tea.

The ribs were not bad. They were fairly tender, but they didn’t have a lot of flavor to them. I think they needed to be smoked just a little longer. They were also kind of short, but they had enough meat on them.

The brisket was excellent! Tender, juicy, and with a lot of flavor. Easily the best part of them meal.

The beans were pretty good, hot and with pieces of brisket cooked in.

There were two bottles of sauce on the table: “Sissy” and “Original”. The Sissy was very bland. The Original had a bit of spice and taste to it, but was not at all hot. I mixed the two 50/50 and they were pretty good.

The tea was good, in big cups, and serve yourself.

This was a good visit. I am going to always have the “wet” brisket with future meals, and try some of the pulled pork and other stuff. We left about 1445. Our check was $26.52 for the two of us. Kind of expensive. All the stuff there is ala cart – you order meat, and then if you want a side, they are extra. Good BBQ, though.

NWS Norman and the Weather Briefing

8 February 2010

During the last couple significant weather events, the NWS Norman Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) has been putting together “Weather Briefings” and posting them on the Enhanced Page.

Now, I don’t just read the forecast that is displayed. I like to read the Forecast Discussion, and for rain and snow events, I read the model outputs and compare them to try and get a little more granularity in the timing or severity of an event.

The Weather Briefings that are posted at a good summary of the thinking behind that kind of timing and severity data. I have found every single one of them that I have read to be useful. They bridge the gap between the “what’s going to happen tomorrow” to “it looks to be happening starting at 1600”.

So kudos to the NWSFO Norman for the Weather Briefings, and to any other NWSFO office that is using them. This is truly our tax dollars at work for us.

Recycling in Oklahoma City

2 July 2009

I started recycling stuff when I was about ten. There was a recycling center in Muskogee that paid for newspapers and soda cans (mostly steel back then). I went around to all our neighbors and asked them to save their newspapers, I would pick them up a couple times a month and my Mom would haul me and the papers down to the recycling place. I think I got something like $20 each time I did this.

When I lived in northwest OKC, the city of Oklahoma City provided big blue dumpsters and smaller blue recycling containers, and these would be picked up curbside. Since we moved out to northeast OKC, we are somewhat second class city citizens, in that we do not have fire hydrants or recycling.

One note about the hydrants. We pay exactly the same taxes as anyone else in the city (in fact, more since the houses in my addition are larger and on an acre or more), but the city wanted us to pay about $5K per house to run water the 3/4 mile from the nearest hydrant. So even though our taxes clearly subsidize a new addition at, say, Council and Britton, or the new apartments in Bricktown, the city also wanted us to directly pay for our hydrant(s). This policy, BTW, means we pay more in homeowners insurance. I would state that I have brought this up to our Council reps office (Ward 7), but have never had the courtesy of a reply.

It is even so with recycling. They do not sent the recycling trucks here. I would imagine if I tried to hold out an amount of taxes, the city would quickly send me to jail or something. Taxation without recycling or hydrants.

So I still recycle. We have been collecting our newspapers (I always bring home the USA Todays that I get at hotels), various homework papers that are returned, etc., cans that used to hold soup and veggies (I even cut the labels off for the paper recycling), broken metal stuff, cardboard, etc. Thanks to Nichols Hills, we recently became able to recycle #1 and #2 plastic stuff, like milk bottles.

We stash stuff in Braums paper sacks (for metal and paper), and in Wal Mart plastic sacks (for plastics). Once a month or so, we haul it off. We used to go to a couple places: a cardboard recycling container behind a Panera Bread, the Nichols Hills city recycling center for metal, and our school for paper. Now we are able to take cardboard and plastics to Nichols Hills. I have occasionally (for example, a recent garage cleaning produced huge amounts of recycling stuff) loaded up our Rendevous with stuff and taken it to the Norman recycling center.

I am currently taking our former dishwasher apart to recycle (it’s timer melted into slag, and I cannot find a replacement anywhere; I’ll be keeping some motors and pumps that still work). I offered the whole thing for parts on OKC Freecycle, but no takers.

The strangest thing I ever recycled: My 1984 Toyota truck after the block cracked. I recycled most everything from the cab forward (the back became a trailer), and resulted in about 700 pounds of metal. I think it netted me $80, but it was out of the driveway.

One more thing: I thought about this at lunch, and I think that, on average, of the stuff that leaves the house, we probably have a 60/40 proportion of trash/recycled. Our neighbors on both sides of us are just the two of them (no kids), and yet almost every week they end up putting out two pretty full big blue dumpsters, our friends to the west have the two of them and two girls, and they put out THREE almost every week. Except for recently, while our big house and garage cleaning has been going on, we usually put out one, about half full, and that’s with four of us.