10.17.2013 /

Pitchers or Steins?!

That's the question this season?

It's time to chicken dance, time to... dare I say it...dash your wiener and roll your barrel. Tulsa Oktoberfest is in full bloom! A Tulsa tradition since 1979, and now known as a premier festival in our region. 

I was there the first year, a wee babe barely off the breast and I've been nearly every year since. The Mommalish has said that back then they encouraged you to drink a beer to encourage breast milk production.  This explains quite a bit about me. And my... how things have changed. 

The festival and myself have grown up rather nicely. I've worked the festival, for one of the best Germans on the planet. A dear man who made me love restaurants and food. Two things that have been my safety and salvation in this crazy world. My talented brother has designed the tshirts sold at Oktoberfest for well over ten years. I'm 
really proud to claim him as mine in this world. He's a prime human. 

But, it wouldn't be Oklahoma or a festival in Oklahoma without a little controversy. To stein or not to stein?
I'm not political enough to reasonably argue my opinions, but Oklahoma alcohol laws are rubbish. And rather outdated. I'm sure the choice to move from pitchers of beer to steins is reasonable, and to be honest is not such a hot button issue for me. The same can't be said for a lot of folks in town. I'd rather talk about parking. But, I don't want to raise my blood pressure. Let's just say the Tulsa State Fair turned me off of festival parking for awhile. From here on out I will always recommend the shuttle services provided during our larger festivals. 

All in all the Tulsa Oktoberfest is something we can all be proud of. I enjoy the crush and energy of a Friday or Saturday in the Bier Garten. But my favorite time to go is Sunday morning of the last day, when I was little they used to have a morning church service. It seemed such a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. 
It still is. 

Oh, by the way, they have food. And beer. And entertainment. Just go and get some on ya!



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8.06.2013 / Labels: ,

Jim Denevan is a God

Jackson Hole WY
An enchanted evening.
Thanks to Mary, without you the adventure wouldn't smile quite so much.

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9.19.2011 /

Because I Can...

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8.23.2010 / Labels:

My neighborhood diner...

Phill’s Diner, a place in the neighborhood just made for breakfast and lunch. Cause they don’t do dinner. I love places that don’t do dinner. It reminds of the good advice that always floats around in emails on how to live life well and healthful…eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out credit card. Words to live by, but they’re not my words. Nope, cause I tend to eat like a king morning, day and night. It’s an issue. I’m working on it. After I eat this donut.

So anywho…Phill’s is loaded with tables, booths and two counters. I came for brekkie this weekend, cause it’s my favorite meal of the day. Pretty much any time of day. I was feeling frisky and saw a waffle in my future, but wouldn’t ya know it, the waffle machine broke about 3 minutes after I placed my order. That machine gets quite the workout in this joint. They’re not Belgian waffles, but I’ll be darned if they don’t look Belgian. Deep wells of crusty, sweet carbohydrate, just waiting to be filled with butter and syrup and, my favorite, powdered sugar. Or even peanut butter if I’m feeling a little adventurous. Or nutty.

Instead I switched my order to biscuits and gravy, 2 eggs scrambled, and hash browns. Which is OK too. As much as I wanted a waffle that morning, biscuits and gravy (aka B&G) is actually my favorite comfort food besides a grilled cheese sandwich. Mmmmmm….grilled cheese. They have those too.

Now because B&G is my cocaine, I consider myself an aficionado. That’s just a pretty way of saying I’m picky about my B&G. Now don’t get me wrong, but biscuits come in all shapes and sizes, and in my opinion you really can’t mess up a biscuit. For me, it’s the gravy, the gravy is the key. What I’m about to say may shock some people, but for me it’s true. I don’t care for sausage gravy. Before y’all grab the pitchforks let me explain. I love pork, pork fat, and everything that that entails, but I don’t care for pork meat to be hidden in silky, white, peppery cream gravy. I like the flavor of some bacon or sausage grease as the base of a gravy, but not the meat itself. No sir, no way, well….maybe sometimes….there’s a place in Oklahoma City called Coit’s Drive In and their B&G are my all time favorite, after Mama’s of course, and their gravy is loaded with sausage. But that’s a post for another day. And you will hear about it, oh, yes you will!

Phill’s is the kind of place where people not only tip the waitresses but also make a special trip over to the 16 year old busboy to tip him as well. Saying “it ain’t a tankful Jack, but it’ll help get ya down the road”. Can I just tell you how much I love 16 year old busboys, they are adorable. I wanna pick ‘em up and stash ‘em in my pocket, I have a few chores at home they can handle. Phill’s has the same waitresses week after week, and probably year after year. Asking “hope to see you next Sunday” or “you haven’t been in for a while, everything OK?” and “how ya feeling? you shore look better”. They know you, and miss you. It’s a small town feel in a big city diner. Family from another mother, if you will.

You’re not going to find a bloody mary, or a fresh mimosa at Phill’s, but the food is good and there’s plenty of it. They don’t pretend to be something they’re not, and I love that in a diner. A good, old fashioned, neighborhood diner. Phill’s is found at 32nd and Harvard in midtown. My library is right next door. If B&G is my cocaine, libraries are my secret lover. But, that’s a whole other obsession I’ll get into at another time. Go to Phill’s, eat, drink coffee, and say Hi to Mary.

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8.20.2010 / Labels: , ,

To see, and be seen...

There are these people. These folks here…..

We’ve known each other going on 15 years now. We grew up together in a little restaurant called Hideaway Pizza. Yes, that Hideaway Pizza, the Stillwater original….The Big Country, Fried Mushrooms, Pente, Tie Dyes, Rock N Roll, Picture Collages and VW Bugs. Only, not the original. Confused yet?! Let me tell you a little story.

Back in the 80’s some Stillwater college kids were slinging pizza, and drinking beer, and doing everything else college kids are supposed to do. Only some of the kids weren’t really kids, some were real life grownups. Grownups who loved the place they worked at soooo much, the real world was a place they didn’t run back to with diplomas in their back pockets and their arms wide open. They had their own fraternity, a family of like minded individuals if you will. Cause that’s what it was, a family. Richard and Marty Dermer created a home away from home for a slew of young kids coming to school at Oklahoma State University. They fed them, they counseled them, and they even gave them shelter to live in occasionally. The Dermers gave these kids a place to find themselves and excel at it, and a tidy little paycheck at the end of the week didn’t hurt either. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to work here you know what I’m talking about, you are my brothers and sisters.

So a few of these college kids and grownups came together and said….one day….one day we will have a place like this for other kids. A place to work, and grow, and learn, and earn, and have fun. But we’re also gonna make a boat load of money. And thus was born the Hideaway on Cherry Street. And then the Hideaway on Harvard. And then the world. Kinda. It’s still only an Oklahoma Tradition, but the concept is there, the food is great, and the future is bright. They now have locations all over the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro areas. So, if you’ve lived here all your life and haven’t had some Hideaway Pizza, then shame on you. If your new to Oklahoma and haven’t had some Hideaway Pizza, then what are you waiting for?!

And….back to these people. These folks here…..

These are my brothers and sisters, a strong crew of about 6 to 8 people that after all these years still love and care about each other. And it all started in a restaurant. We have loved, and lost. We have laughed and cried. We are experiencing the human connection in a way some people never achieve. We can be independent. We can be incestuous. We love each other. A lot. Not all of us had the traditional college experiences, some of us never graduated, some of us are still learning, some of us have chosen the school of life. But our experience is shared, even after all these years.

Last night a few of us got together for baseball and beer. I’m not sure it gets anymore All-American than that. The new Tulsa Drillers Stadium, an outstanding little venue if you haven’t been there yet. The food smells and the atmosphere drew me in immediately. There’s a little something for everyone at the ballpark, even Vegans like my friend Mark. Although the taco salad kiosk was calling my name, I went for the tried and true Dipping Dots ice cream. Holly found a pretzel with cheese. Mark had some yummy french fries, but the Boca Burger and vegetarian sausage we’re calling his name. All in all, I found the concession choices to be pretty affordable for a stadium venue. I have surely seen worse in other places. Rather than a $5 pretzel and an extra $1.50 for a side of cheese, at a Drillers game both can be had for the low low low price of $3. Impressive!

The Drillers are having an outstanding year, or so I’ve heard. To be honest, and don’t get me wrong because I LOVE live baseball, but I didn’t watch much of the game. When I get around this group of friends we can’t stop talking and laughing and apparently drinking. The picture above is what the ground before us looked like towards the end of the 7th inning. I had to add some color to help you get an idea of the abundance of beer we had, only I took the picture after we drank most of the beer stockpile. But you get the idea. Funny thing about Thursday night at Drillers games, Thirsty Thursdays as they’re called, $1 beers. One. Dollar. Beers. Seriously, does it get much better than that?! A $5 ticket for a lawn seat, and $1 beers. Hello mama! And if you show up after the 8th inning like our hardworking massage therapist friend Julie, you can get into the stadium for free. Not sure if that’s actually standard operating procedure for the stadium, but Julie is really cute and sweet and friendly, so it would be hard for a hardworking doorman to not let her in to meet her friends. Holly and I agreed, it was a place to see and to be seen.

Now after the game you could easily walk across the train tracks and have a beer at McNellies, or El Guapo’s, or Joe Mama’s Pizza. Cause the Blue Dome District is also a place to see and be seen. There is a bevy of fun and interesting restaurants and bars all over downtown. But this crew went home, well, to one home. Zack’s home. Where we drank a few more beers. Danced in our bare feet. Snuggled on couches. Folded a mountain of laundry, not a pile mind you, but a mountain. Yes Zack, you’re welcome. But most of all, we reconnected. As only old and true friends can do.

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8.19.2010 / Labels:

Summertime...and the living is easy...

Well, it’s been an entire Oklahoma summer since I’ve started this neglected little blog. A summer that started off with rain, rain, and more rain. So much rain in fact, that most gardeners were concerned we might not have tomatoes. Or cukes. Or much of anything really. I only know a few “gardeners” so take me with a small grain of salt, a few fresh basil leaves, an heirloom tomato or two, and some buttery mozzarella. The professionals were just fine I’m sure, but my friends and family were sorely disappointed with their crops. This was my first time to plant a few things. I was aiming high in May; I wanted tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, arugula, jalapenos, and some Anaheim peppers. I ended up with plenty of basil, that stuff pretty much takes care of itself, about 6 tomatoes, about 6 jalapenos, and 4 Anaheim peppers. The cucumbers and arugula never even made it into the ground. Heck, one of my tomato plants wouldn’t even produce; I splurged on a pretty purple heirloom plant and got bupkus, nada, nothing. Early on I had stunning visions of salsa and gazpacho, bold and different right?!?! Or, basically the same thing. I’ll let you be the judge. Ok, I know they’re pretty much the same thing, but, I could eat salsa every day and never get tired and my desire to go to Spain consumes me. Consumes. Me. I think it might have something to do with Javier Bardem and my love of eggs and potatoes.

Then came the heat. Oklahoma heat is difficult to describe. It creeps up on you, quietly, stealth like and then…..then it hits you. Hits you like a 2X4, first strike across the back of the knees to take you down quick, second strike across the kidneys making you suck in your breath and look for Jesus, and third strike across the back of your skull making you cry for mama before you pass out seeing stars. I don’t know when I stopped watering my veggies, but I did. They were mocking me and I wanted to punish them. After all the rain, the heat hit. I was feeling confident that something might come of my mini vegetable jungle, but alas the heat hit and hit hard. I’m calling a calf rope and cutting my losses. Basil abounds, and the rest can just suck it. But, this IS Oklahoma, and it IS August so while the heat was bearing down we also had some rain and cool 85 degree temps. For the first half of a day at least, and then it was 106 degree heat and oppressive humidity all over again. He only gives us as much as we can handle, I have faith in that.

Speaking of heat. My air conditioner. Can I just tell you, my air conditioner is a wall unit. A loud, obnoxious, musty wall unit. It works effectively, but man is that motherjack loud. People in Chicago and NYC have nothing on me, the subways may rattle the window panes and knock art off the walls, but this air conditioner sounds like a 767 taking off a short runway. I might need to see a doctor, because hearing loss is becoming an issue. I’m hoping the weather can get down to a consistent 95 degrees so I can possibly give my AC a rest. And my brain.

Highlights of my summer….Camping in Tahlequah, the friends floated the river, I made camp and yummy food and drank refreshing cold barley beverages while lying in the sun. Multiple trips to Grand Lake to see the mother person, pretty sure we had fires, fishing, cold barley beverages, outstanding meals, and many many many laughs. A weekend in Eureka Springs, with plenty of shopping and hill walking and geode crushing and cold barley beverages.

Have I mentioned my love of cold barley beverages? Specifically, Fat Tire Amber Ale, from the New Belgium Brewing Company. If you haven’t had a Fat Tire, let me just tell you, you are missing a key component to enjoying life. And of course, you can’t get Fat Tire in Oklahoma. I’m not sure why, but the devil that regulates Oklahoma’s beer and wine laws says you can’t. So in summation, while in Eureka Springs Arkansas I picked up a case of Fat Tire and bootlegged it across state lines. Arrest me, I can take it, I like the cuffs.

Highlights cont’d….An outstanding night of bowling and laughter with some of my oldest and dearest lady friends and a gentleman. I will admit, I almost peed myself riding go karts at the end of the night. I was laughing hard. Those are some funny ladies and a gentleman. Many good books were read. The Help. All of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, if you aren’t a book snob these are mandatory summer/beach reading. And many more. My name is Brooklyn, I am a nerd. A book nerd.

I still have a few things I’m looking forward to; to round out this thing called summer. A concert and weekend in Oklahoma City, the Zack Brown Band is playing at the OKC Zoo Amphitheater and Robert Randolph and the Family Band will be the opening act. I really enjoy concerts at the Zoo, it’s pretty much a free for all as far as seating is concerned and in the quiet moments you hear the lions roaring and the elephants trumpeting. It’s really quite pretty, especially as the sun falls behind you and the night rises behind the band. It’s in mid September, I’m gonna bring a hoodie. Cause we live in Oklahoma, don’t blink cause the weather could change and you might miss it.

Tonight I’m heading out to the new Drillers Ballpark with old and interesting friends. It’s Thirsty Thursday. I will be drinking refreshingly cold barley beverages for $1 each. Let’s hope they don’t have to cut me off. Maybe I’ll take a picture or two to share. New stadium, old friends, cold beer. Summer in Oklahoma, it doesn’t get much better than this.

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