Tag Archives: tulsa

Home.

3 Jan

Hey friends, and Happy 2012! I have emerged from a long holiday break (bless our board for giving us a vacation from December 24 through yesterday!) refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle the brand new year.

I promise none of that is sarcasm. I know I’ve not exactly been Miss Suzy Sunshinepants lately, but I’m feeling more like me these days. And I’m grateful — damn grateful.

So what did I do with all that time off? Mr. X and I spent four nights in Laguna Beach with my mom, celebrating Christmas in the most un-Okie of fashions — namely, on the beach.

The weather was perfect. We woke up Christmas morning, opened presents, had breakfast, and then spent about four hours on the beach until the sun set, like this:

Effing seriously. Christmas Laguna-style: we have a winner.

After sunning and funning for a few days, we drove to Tulsa in one straight shot and, as a result, spent two days in our hometown as zombies. We played trivia one night, and I allowed this picture not only to be taken, but also to be posted on Facebook:

HOT. With a moving truck full of the rest of our belongings, we then headed back home — yes, home. It was nice to be back in Tulsa for a couple of days and to hug friends and family, but in only a very short period of time, our white-walled Hollywood apartment has become our true home. And now it’s our true home full of boxes begging to be unpacked and a sectional that is somehow missing a cushion. More on our casa to come soon.

Restaurant Review: Ri Le *****

26 Nov

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and because I was too shy to whip out my camera during the festivities, I have no pictures to share. However, I can assure you that I stuck to my plan and did not overeat. I had baked beans (made by my taller half), three rolls (that may have been excessive), mashed potatoes, and two pieces of the Chocolate Gingerbread I made at the first meal. At the second, I just had salad, a little more mashed potatoes, scalloped corn, and vegan (gluten-free) pumpkin pie. It was all tasty, and I didn’t go to bed feeling like death.

We woke up with appetites today, however, so we went to one of our favorite places in town, Ri Le, a Vietnamese institution in town.

Here is the appetizer section of the menu:

Oh, baby. I will go ahead and confess that these photos are from a different visit to the restaurant, but we both ate the same thing. We started, as always, with the vegetable imperial rolls.

They come with a mouth-watering peanut sauce. The rolls themselves are lettuce, cilantro, carrots, and soy “chicken” in rice paper. Yum.

Now check out the vegetarian section of the menu:

I went with one of my four favorites, the Chicken Soys with Ginger. The picture below is the same dish but with the Beef Soys instead:

Look at all those veggies. The sauce is perfectly flavored and robust. Ri Le’s food is never particularly spicy, but it’s flavorful and delicious. For the record, my other fave dishes are Lemongrass, Sesame, and Hot Garlic. All are good with either the fake chicken or the fake beef. I’m not typically a fan of meat analogs, but these are amazing. Every time I go, I hear a meat-eater exclaim that they’d never guess the “chicken” was totally vegetarian.

My taller half had the Deluxe Soy Bun (vegetarian version of the Bun Cha Gio):

It contains soy meats made to resemble chicken, beef, fish, and egg rolls. It is also served with a delicious faux-fish sauce.

Meals come served with a bowl of steamed white rice, which you can see below the veggies and fake meat here:

Rating: a big, fat ***** for veggie options and ***** for deliciousness. (See this post for scoring guide.) This place has earned its reputation. Check out this article about the owner in the November issue of Tulsa People.

Ri Le is at 4932 E 91st Street, Suite 102. They are closed on Sundays.

Tulsa Bloggers Meetup

10 Nov

I’ll be making my first Tulsa Blogger Meetup appearance this evening at — where else? — Fassler Hall, a new German sausage place downtown. It would be a lot of fun to write a post about how I navigated wienie-land, but, as the menu appears to be non-vegetarian in all ways (even the fries are cooked in duck fat, blech), expect a post later detailing the dinner my taller half and I are making at home.

If you’re a Tulsa blogger, I hope to see you there!

Shish-Kabobs returns!

3 Nov

I’m excited that several of you have said they are participating in my first contest, a chocolate-free bake-off. If you are still on the fence about participating, let me say again that the contest is low-pressure and fun. If you don’t have a nice camera, that’s OK. If you’ve never baked anything vegan before, that’s awesome. The point is to try something new and see what happens. My goal is to bake the winning recipe, too, and when I do, I’ll blog about it.

And speaking of participants, my friend and contest baker Kate of Fat Ass to Fit Ass (love the name!) listed this little ol’ blog as one of her helpful links in a recent post. Thank you! If you’ve never seen her little corner of the web, check it out. Warning: naughty language and hilarity abound.

Another housekeeping note: the lovelies over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs are holding a Sweet or Savory cooking contest featuring my friend the sweet potato. You have all month to enter. Details are here. Please join me in entering!

Finally, take a moment to vote for the fabulous Kailey of SnackFace for the Sunglass Hut Full Time Fabulous fashion blogger position. She’ll rock it.
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Now onto today’s rediscovery: Shish-Kabobs. You can read my review here. I tried to visit the home of the world’s best baba ghanoush two weeks ago only to find it closed and a sign on the door declaring new management and that it would reopen soon. After I washed the flood of tears from my feeble eyes and picked my small body off the blacktop, I was determined to find out what’s going on. Today, I got the chance.

I have to give the new management credit for a quick reopening and for turning off the television. As much as I loved the place before, I did not love trying to ignore the midday news while reading my book. She also spiffied it up:

Ooo, fresh paint and tablecloths.

My favorite waitress, Katie, was still there, and she handed me a freshly printed menu featuring all the same goodies. Phew. I placed my order for exactly what I always get (the vegetarian platter with baba ghanoush and an iced tea) and awaited. As always, my tea and baba arrived first.

Verdict: both were still delicious. I think the new manager has changed the tea slightly, but it is still black tea with a little something extra. The baba was exactly as I remembered it. Thank you, lord of eggplant puree. Then the rest of my food arrived:

Falafel, rice, sautéed veggies, dolmeh, and tahini sauce. The veggies were actually much better than in the past. They had more in the flavor, variety, and quantity departments. I like. The rice was also as delicious as before, though there was a dollop of butter on top (which you can see in the upper part of the plate) that I easily removed. The dolmeh were the same. Both the falafel and the tahini sauce were new recipes. The former was incredibly delicious. I loved the falafel there before, but this might actually be an improvement. It just had a more robust flavor profile: buttery chickpeas, the bite of parsley and garlic, a crunch exterior, and a fluffy interior. Perfection. The tahini was the only disappointment; the old version was better. This incarnation is fine, but it pretty much tastes just like plain tahini.

Overall, I’m incredibly relieved that Shish-Kabobs is still delicious, affordable, and close to work. I’m glad Katie is still serving food and drinks, and I’m grateful that it is still an excellent vegan and vegetarian option in the wasteland meat-centric area that is east Tulsa.

I’m off to update the restaurant review to reflect the changes.

Wild Fork (***1/2 overall)

31 Oct

I will get back to the vacation recap soon, but I’ve been crazy-busy this week. Friday and Saturday was Indie Emporium, and I had things to make, sell, and then model in a fashion show. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this restaurant view from last week and promise more Italy soon.

I was going to start this post with, “A vegan, a vegetarian, and an omnivore walk into a restaurant,” but that would imply I didn’t eat any dairy there. I did. It wasn’t my plan. In fact, I had called ahead to make sure there were dairy-free options available, but I cracked under the pressure of flatbread pizza and sweet-potato pie. Bad Brigid.

Anyway, my beloved’s younger brother is leaving Tulsa to return to Atlanta, and we are going to miss him greatly. He wanted to buy us dinner as a belated birthday gift to my taller half, so last night, we all went to the Wild Fork.

I’ve been several times before, mostly for lunch or brunch. This was my first dinner trip.

Wild Fork is a little swanky, but not over-the-top. My taller half chose it because it’s friendly to all diets. There are large slabs of meat, and there are light, refreshing salads, and there is plenty in between. Notice the carrot symbol on the menus denoting vegetarian options, and there are several vegan or veganizable choices, as well.

I was just about ready to gnaw my own arm off, so I was elated when the bread arrived:

I had a second roll later on.

I was planning to stay all vegan for this meal, and I could have, but then my taller half’s evil thoughtful brother ordered the Pizza of Artichoke Hearts and Arugula with pesto, fresh tomatoes, red onion, Greek olives, pine nuts and cheeses.

I couldn’t stop myself. Bad Brigid, indeed. But it was tasty – really, really tasty. And garlicky. Yum yum yum.

Then my vegan meal arrived – Spicy Szechwan Stir Fry with stir fried shiitake and domestic mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, edamame and carrots tossed with noodles in spicy sweet soy sauce:

I only had half (which means the rest is lunch today). I ordered it with its full spiciness, and it did have a kick, but it wasn’t overwhelming. The veggies were nice, and the sauce was good, but a little greasy. My love started with one of the soups of the day, a curried lentil:

For his entree, he ordered Fettuccini with Tomatoes and Arugula – arugula with minced olives, capers and scallions tossed with fettuccini in light lemon cream topped with tomato vinaigrette, parmesan and feta:

He ate every single bite and loved it. I had a nibble. ‘Twas tasty.

My love’s brother went with Pork Rib Chop with caramelized apples and shallots and garlic mashed potatoes on the side:

Meaty. He seemed to like it, though.

Then we were all undone by dessert. I had sweet potato pie:

It was my first time. I liked it, but pumpkin is still my favorite pie. My taller half had something called chocolate in excess:

It was a flourless chocolate cake with an Oreo crust. It was phenomenal. The brother had four-berry cobbler (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry) with ice cream:

I’m not a cobbler fan, but I enjoyed the crust.

Rating: *** for veggie options and **** for deliciousness. (See this post for scoring guide.)

Wild Fork is at 1820 Utica Square, near the Starbucks. Their hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Restaurant Review: Shish-Kabobs ****1/2 and Pita Place ****

6 Oct

Edit #2 (November 4, 2010): Shish-Kabobs has reopened, and luckily little has changed. The star rating I gave before stands. You can read my update here.

Edit #1 (October 31, 2010): I noticed last week that Shish-Kabobs is temporarily closed and under new management. I will update when I have more information.

Today I want to present to you a two-fer: the delicious Pita Place and Shish-Kabobs. The restaurants are owned by the same husband and wife, and they offer up similar – though not identical – menus to eastside diners. Let’s take them one by one.

Shish-Kabobs
This little Mediterranean gem has been serving up falafel and gyros in Tulsa since 1996. It’s tucked in the back of a shopping center at 31st and Garnett that once upon a time housed a Skaggs (then a Skaggs Alpha Beta, then a Jewel-Osco, then a Skaggs again, etc.). Nowadays, the center is home to a random smattering of businesses, including a Subway next door and a Cato clothing store several doors around the corner.

The menu is pretty standard when it comes to Greek food in a Midwestern town: meaty gyros and tons of vegetarian-friendly dishes (hummus-spelled “hommus” there, tabouli, baba ganoush, falafel sandwiches, etc.). For my money, it’s some of the best in town, too. Their hummus is incredibly creamy and topped with a delectable garlic-oil mixture. However, I can never resist my Mediterranean temptress: the vegetarian platter.

Before you is a vat of rice surrounded by sautéed vegetables (peppers, zucchini, and carrots), two dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves), and four falafel with tangy tahini sauce. It comes with a side of your choice from a very long list. My addiction is the baba ganoush served with pita bread:

For the record, I like eggplant exactly two ways: deep-fried and covered with cheese (i.e. eggplant parmesan), which is thoroughly un-vegan, and in the smoky, thick concoction that is Shish-Kabobs’ baba. I don’t like the dish at other restaurants either. There is something about their recipe that is complex, smoky, rich, and out-of-this-world. Also fitting in the latter category is their iced tea (pictured above). It’s dark and spicy, with hints of clove. You must try it. I overheard from the wonderful waitress today that the wife – who runs the location – combines the standard stuff with some of tea they brew up hot usually.

Rating: **** for veggie options and ***** for deliciousness. (See this post for scoring guide.)

Shish-Kabobs, 11605 E 31st St, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Pita Place
The second restaurant opened about three years ago in Bixby, serving a twist on Shish-Kabobs’ offerings. Their original focus was on, yes, pita sandwiches (including three veggie versions). They have since expanded to offering a buffet during lunch and dinner. For $7.99 or $9.29, respectively, you can shovel in all the usual suspects plus two kinds of soup, salad, fruit, and some kind of dessert (usually a basic cake). While on a quest to eat something healthier than a falafel pita with French fries (which are delicious, by the way), I’ve been enjoying the buffet lately.

Before you is my attempt at plating. I could never be a chef in a fancy restaurant, clearly. Anyway, you are viewing carrots, falafel, hummus, a piece of pita, dolmeh, tabouli, and a bit of salad. And yes, there were seconds on a smaller plate:

More pita, hummus, and falafel, plus pineapple chunks and watermelon. Like its parent restaurant, Pita Place offers amazing hummus – amazing, seriously. I also appreciate the wide array of veggie offerings both on the buffet and on the menu. The only things that bring it down slightly in my estimation as compared with Shish-Kabobs are the baba ganoush (which is not very good at the Bixby location) and the fewer vegan options on the menu, though asking a few questions quickly takes care of this problem. Also, Pita Place lacks the unbelievable iced tea, I guess because it’s run by the husband.
Rating: **** for veggie options and **** for deliciousness.

If you love Greek food and find yourself out east, check out these tasty and friendly spots. If it’s a Thursday around noon, look for me at either one. 🙂

Vegan crepes at Mod’s!

4 Oct

Last Tuesday night, my taller half and I dropped in Mod’s Coffee and Crepes for dinner. If you’re local, you probably remember the Collective, the wonderful café/coffeehouse/bar across the street from TU. When it sadly closed its door, a hole was left in my heart. Former owner Rusty Rowe recently took over the former Kokoa downtown to start Mod’s. Though it doesn’t recreate the majesty of the defunct restaurant, it’s a lovely little place.

And recently, they began serving vegan (gluten-free) crepes on Tuesdays, so what choice did I have?

This isn’t a real review partly because I forgot my camera, so I have a couple of cell-phone shots. I will have to return another time to give a full rundown. In the meantime, here’s what I have to report.

The vegan crepe batter is incredibly good. In fact, my taller half and I agreed that it was better than the non-vegan recipe. I got two to try. Yes, I’m a pig. Proof:

Damn swine flu.

Anyway, I tried the Florentine:

And the chocolate banana:

I didn’t love the savory one, but I suspect it’s because of all the tomato chunks. Why do I keep trying to eat tomatoes prepared in ways I don’t like? No idea. I’m an idiot. The vegan cheese, however, was fantastic. It may have been the best I’ve ever had. The chocolate banana, on the other hand, was delicious. I loved it. It was so rich and flavorful, and it made a perfect dessert. I will have trouble not ordering it every time.

My love tried the spinach artichoke non-vegan crepe:

He liked it, especially the cheese blend. I tried a small bite and thought it was good. He didn’t like the preparation of the spinach, but he loved the tomatoes from mine. I think next time I want a savory one, I will ask if they can do the vegan cheese with the artichoke.

The vegan, gluten-free crepes are available every Tuesday during lunch and dinner, so don’t miss out. There are two other flavors in addition to the ones I tried: berry with soy cream and peanut butter and jelly. Mod’s is at 507 S. Boston Ave., and its hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Did I mention they have gelato – including vegan sorbetti – too? I will definitely have to offer up a full review soon. In the meantime, head over there for lunch or dinner tomorrow!