Today I’m thrilled to announce a collaboration between Design Crush and Anthropologie to help raise money for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary Schools! The tornadoes that swept through my town of Oklahoma City last month have left not only a hole in our community, but in my heart. I’m lucky that my own part of town was left unscathed, but not everyone was that lucky. And it seems like the children got hit extra hard this time around with not one, but two elementary schools bring leveled by the May 20th twister.
And that’s where you, my fellow Oklahoma City dwellers, come in.
On the evenings of June 26th and 27th I’ll be leading a String Art Workshop at the Classen Curve Anthropologie location. From 6 to 8pm come hang out! For a suggested donation of $15 that will go towards Build a Classroom’s Donate For OK campaign, you’ll enjoy delicious refreshments, do a little mingling, then sit down and create some string art that I promise you’re going to love.
I’m looking forward to these workshops more than words can say and I hope to see you there! Spaces are limited, so please RSVP to email@example.com as soon as you decide to join us for this community event.
A few weekends ago we celebrated my Mom’s birthday atop the tallest building in Oklahoma when we dined at Vast on the 49th floor of Devon Tower. We had fantastic seating right next to the windows and a decently clear day for our meal, which was full of four delicious courses and cocktails. I tried jalapeno vodka for the first time – definitely a high point (for sure DIYing that!) – in a mango cocktail, and experienced bananas foster in an entirely new way when served as fried pies. And then I took half of my meal home and relived it all the next day in my pajamas. YUM.
Vast 101 N. Robinson Avenue, 49th + 50th floors | Oklahoma City, OK 73102 | 405.702.7262
I’ve been a lover of Sara Sara Cupcakes since their doors opened, in fact they’re my favorite cupcakery in all of Oklahoma City. They’ve mastered what few have: the perfect ratio of cake to icing. That might not seem like a big deal, but it’s huge to me. Too much icing and the cake is overshadowed, too little and things can get dry. It’s a fine balance if I’ve ever seen one!
Sara Sara’s home base (they have a few other locations throughout the city) is in a simple two story house in Midtown. It can seem unassuming, but once you walk through the front door you’re greeted with an explosion of modern white decor. Not only is it fresh, but also a great backdrop for the colorful cupcakes. During warm weather there’s a perfect wooden porch to catch up on with friends, and a super duper smart astroturf front yard with chairs for lounging.
Sara Sara’s menu features 26+ rotating flavors, those available are individually displayed in small lucite boxes on the wall. I’m holding my breath until Mother’s Day when my #1 favorite – Blackberry Maple – comes back to town.
We started out with six cupcakes (which soon expanded to 8 thanks to the amazing gal on duty), a few new and a few tried and true. You can probably tell from the table above that these are no average-sized cupcakes, each one is about the size of a teacup and I was both excited and terrified at the prospect of taking them on.
Just one more stop before cupcake heaven – the milk bar! Grab a frosted glass from the freezer next to the udders then choose from white, strawberry, or chocolate milk. Or get a little crazy and mix ’em up. (Pardon my weird-looking hand?!)
First up is the Crimson and Cream. A classic red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing and topped with chocolate shavings. (Don’t you love the teardrop-shaped plates and small forks each cupcake is served with??)
Strawberry is Sara Sara’s best seller and it’s easy to see why. Strawberry cake with extra creamy strawberry frosting and a few slices of the fresh stuff on top, if I had to choose one flavor to represent comfort food this would definitely be the one.
Sir Elton John was a new flavor for me and was out of this world. A cakey cherry cheesecake with cream cheese frosting, crushed graham crackers, and cherries. (There was no way we could polish off every cupcake, and this one was my favorite leftover the next day!)
Blueberry Honey is the equivalent of a breakfast cupcake. Fluffy blueberry cake, buttercream frosting laced with honey, and a perfect blueberry perched on top!
The Sheriff was another Sara Sara specialty that I had never tried before our Taste Tour (and the only one that legitimately required a fork!). It’s simple and brilliant all at the same time – chocolate cake filled with vanilla custard and drenched in ganache. Like a tiny Boston Creme Pie!
I even discovered a new favorite, the PB&J! Vanilla cake, a layer of grape jelly, peanut butter icing, and a coating of crushed peanuts. The combination of textures was perfectly amazing.
We were sooo rolly poly by the end of the afternoon that there’s no photo of the Carmello other than this one, that’s it in the lower lefthand corner. Vanilla cake, a marshmallowy icing, and caramel drizzle. I may or may not have eaten the rest of this one over the sink at 11pm that night… the perfect day!
Sara Sara Cupcakes
7 NW 9th St. | Oklahoma City, OK 73102 | (405) 600-9494
17 E 5th St. | Edmond, OK 73013 | (405) 216-3562
This month we ventured to West, a restaurant that would feel at home in any major metropolis but calls Oklahoma City home. I’d dined at West a few times prior to visiting for the Taste Tour, but always on their beautiful outdoor deck mid-day. This time we were lucky enough to be seated inside on the first evening of their latest menu release. Chef Eric Smith guided us through our menu selections, recommending both signature West dishes and new additions.
Both Caroline and I had just been through a few rough workdays and were ready for a cocktail. She opted for a classic while I perused the bar menu and settled on the Cranberry and Citrus Fizz. It was delicious – perfectly balanced and not overly sweet!
The very first thing to hit our table – Warm West Chips – ended up being my very favorite. House made potato chips served warm and tossed in a light bleu cheese fondue, then topped with bleu cheese crumbles and balsamico. I’m not a big fan of bleu cheese, but the variety used is so mild and complimentary to the balsamic that I almost cried when it was time for them to take away the plate. We also had a grilled Caesar salad with polenta croutons before our main dishes started to roll in, I loved the twist!
The Spicy Tuna Tacos were seriously delicious, I love jicama slaw and the fact that these had it sold me immediately. The whipped avocado and tomato basil ginger glaze took it all over the top.
Both Caroline and I agreed that this was our favorite dish. The Red Wine Risotto was served with a small filet, which if you know me isn’t usually something I would eat. But it worked so well with the decadent, perfectly cooked risotto that I couldn’t stop myself. Of course there’s no way we were able to eat everything in front of us at once, and this is what went home with me in a doggy bag. (My mouth is watering at the memory!) Caroling also took on the *job* of trying the Lemon Pepper Filet and a side of West Mac and Cheese (those leftovers went home with her!). I enjoyed a side of grilled broccolini that was simple and perfect.
Caroline couldn’t pass up a shot of my Grandma’s turquoise ring. I love it so much.
As if all of the food already mentioned wasn’t enough, we also tried two desserts. Roasted Peach and Ricotta Bread Pudding (they have a seasonal rotation every four months) and Banana Cake for Two, the latter of which made my eyes roll around in my head for a good fifteen seconds after the first taste. West also serves a dish of cotton candy (one of my favorite sweets and smells) at the end of every meal, a very fun and whimsical touch that’s sure to leave a good taste in your mouth about the entire dining experience. Thanks so much for a lovely evening, West!
Onion burgers are an Oklahoma institution, a delicious patty of beef with paper thin slices of onion seared into it right on the griddle. Never tried one? You’re definitely missing out. One of my favorite joints is Tucker’s Onion Burgers, and a few weeks ago my friend/photographer Caroline and I popped into their new location on Classen Curve to check it out!
Like any good burger, you can order an onion burger about a million different ways. I opted for a single with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo while Caroline went with the double (she’d has a really bad week) with the kitchen sink minus the pickles. I love how Tucker’s uses the bags your meal is delivered in as the order form – so smart!
Uhhh, the difference is obvious! (PS: She ate it ALL.) Not pictured is the fresh limeade I sucked down and the chocolate shake Caroline couldn’t even finish. Oh, and there might have been some fries, too…
We have a fantastic local food movement here in OKC, and it’s also at Tucker’s where everything is locally sourced. Their Classen Curve location has an amazing exposed ceiling that somehow goes right along with this idea. The vibe is very vintage modern, embracing your classic burger joint while keeping things fresh!
Pachinko Parlor sits on popular 9th Street in Midtown and is sort of an enigma. There’s sushi for the sushi lover and the sushi hater (try the Philly cheesesteak roll or the chicken curry salad roll). There’s noodles and Asian-inspired dishes and even classics. Basically, you’re sure to find something you like no matter who you are.
My friend and I stopped by for dinner on a Thursday night a few weeks ago. Pachinko has an indoor dining room, but they also have a gorgeous outdoor seating area that’s part porch/part patio and makes you feel like you’re eating at someone’s house. Even though it’s December and the evening was in the 50s we decided to brave the outdoors to take advantage of the view and the fire pit.
Pachinko‘s menu is a perfectly curated mix of appetizers, soups and salads, noodles, sushi, entrees, and desserts. They also have a stellar beer and cocktail list that follows suit.
We opted for the mulled wine, a seasonal favorite that gets requested as soon as temps drop below 70 degrees and a perfect fit for this chilly night. It was so good that it deserved two pictures, trust me.
I couldn’t get enough of the tempura fried fresh green beans with sweet chili cream dipping sauce, basically they could have been my enter meal!
For our first course we order the house salad (Which was described by my friend as having a “snappy” citrusy dressing – YUM!) and Udon noodles which was tossed with flakey salmon and a sake cream sauce.
It was sooo difficult to stop eating those noodles, but I had a roll to focus on…
A crab rangoon roll to be precise. See, I told you there were unique food combinations here! It came with a sweet chili dipping sauce and was the size of about two and a half normal sushi rolls. I ate three pieces and was about to pop. (Pssst… the noodles and even the roll were still tasty the next day!)
The presentation of everything was clean and simple, focused on the food. And the sashimi measured up just as well as everything else.
I’m a big fan of Pachinko Parlor and definitely recommend it for a casual lunch or dinner. It’s located in a great part of town so you can wander around shopping and exploring before sitting down to nosh.
I’m really excited about a new monthly feature I’m introducing to you this morning – Taste Tour! The premise behind it all? To highlight incredible eating establishments, starting with those in my current town of Oklahoma City. The only requirement is tasty food and a great environment where you wouldn’t mind whiling away an hour or two with family, friends, or a hot date.
First up is Red PrimeSteak, or Red Prime as it’s commonly called. It lives in the elegant 1911 Buick Building, making the incredible neon red interior that much more of a standout. Eighteen foot ceilings and skylights add even more to the modern, airy ambiance.
As you might have guessed from the name, red plays a major role at Red Prime. A cement walkway lined in floor to ceiling neon tube lighting bisects the interior, creating two main dining spaces and a focal point for their eighteen foot tall wall of wine.
As you can see, wine is just as much a part of the Red Prime culture as steak. In fact, I was so excited about it that I forgot to take my jacket off for all of dinner, whoops! I tried a lovely Pinot Noir and an equally delicious Riesling.
Red Prime’s wine collection is very impressive, so much so that when deciding which wine I’d like with my dinner I had the waiter choose for me. Always a great idea when you’re somewhere with such a vast knowledge and an overwhelming list.
My dinner date and I both settled upon the Prix Fixe. We had our choice from a sizable selection of salads, main courses, sides, and desserts. We both had the Chop House Salad as a starter. And with the first bite I think I made an audible YUM noise. Spinach, roasted corn, marinated tomatoes, cous cous, bacon, pepitas, asiago, cranberry, and buttermilk-pesto dressing. A combination I never would have thought of – which is why I’m not a chef – that totally made my taste buds sing.
For my dinner I selected the Beef Tenderloin Strogranoff, featuring exotic mushrooms and crispy onions. It was so precariously stacked upon arrival at the table that I didn’t want to mess it up! But that didn’t last long, and I’m pretty sure my eyes rolled back in my head a few times as I devoured it bite after bite. I also had a delicious side of fresh seared green beans that were so garlicky they burned (just like I like). My date ordered the 7 oz. filet and green-chili mac and it received rave reviews as well.
There wasn’t a lot of room left for dessert (part of my Strogranoff and green beans went home for lunch the next day), but in the name of Design Crush I forged on. To Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding. It wasn’t overly sweet, the ideal dessert after such a decadent meal. My date tried the Warm Chocolate Spoon Cake, which was also delicious.
Red PrimeSteak is a restaurant I’ve enjoyed several times, and I can’t recommend it enough. Delicious food, a fantastic selection of wine, attentive service. The atmosphere is dark and moody, perfect for date night or their exceptional Happy Hour. And during warmer months their sidewalk patio is a great place for people watching and enjoying the weather. Obviously I’m a fan, I’m willing to bet you would be too.
As much as I’ve grown and changed in 31 years, one thing has remained a constant. My love of animals. Several of my friends foster dogs and cats and, well, it seemed like only a matter of time before I fell into the system as well.
Last Monday I received my first two charges: Sophie and Petunia. One miniature pinscher and one Italian greyhound(?). Both 6-months(ish) old, both with massive ears. Sophie is more timid, but plays a mean rope. Petunia is a hardcore play-all-the-timer, but gives good snuggles too. Both are lovers and being potty trained (a first for me!). This fostering thing is no joke, it is definitely work. I take them outside at least once an hour, break up dog fights, and listen to whines when it’s time for bed and they have to be crated. I don’t think I’d be able to do it if I weren’t working from home right now, that’s for sure. But I know when they go up for adoption in less than two weeks I’m going to feel the biggest sense of accomplishment (and a little sadness) as I send them off to their new homes.
One thing you might not/probably don’t know is that Oklahoma has a really great blogging community. In this day and age I’m sure lots of cities do, but after living in Oklahoma City for a few years I’m used to fighting the stereotypes.
A few weeks ago a local OKC blogger and Twitter friend, Danielle, emailed me to see if I’d be interested in attending a blogger meetup. I said sure, just let me know when and where and I’ll be there. The next thing I knew there was a time and location nailed down and sponsors involved – talk about putting thoughts into action! She and Rachel Shingleton worked together to assemble a group of female bloggers (mainly design, food, fashion,and lifestyle types) in the OKC area for a night out of talking life and shop. I’d already met about two thirds of them and the newbies certainly did not disappoint.
I snagged a great seat at one end of the table and had fun watching it fill up and the night progress. And since I’ve been fighting a cold all week I opted out of Cheever’s wine list and went with hot tea. In 100 degree weather. Of course everyone thought I was crazy. The biggest disappointment is that I failed to take a photo of the glorious savory strudel Danielle and I shared, I plan on recreating it very, very soon.
Those of you who know me well know that nothing makes me happier than a good swag bag. (I’ve been known to get somewhere an hour earlier to ensure that I get one in a limited quantity situation.) I was completely impressed with the outpouring of generosity from all the local shops approached, and was flattered when asked to create a mixtape for the occasion.