Dec 13

Bricktown Brewery

Yeah, it’s a chain, but it’s a local chain, and I love the fact that there are Bricktown Breweries all over town. Not just because I can get craft beer no matter where I’m hanging out, but I sort of became addicted to the menu, which is like Applebee’s and Chili’s and other huge chain bistros would be if they were, you know, good. For one thing, everybody serves buffalo wings, but Bricktown makes them exactly like the original bar in Buffalo, NY that started it all. They don’t just serve chips and salsa, they serve endless chips with salsa, queso, and guac. The artisan burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches are so hipster they practically come with fedoras, but that’s a compliment… everything is sriracha, ciabatta, gruyere and sea salt with all natural black Angus beef. I’m getting hungry just writing about it!
Okay, but it is a brewpub, you say, what about the beer? Well. Bricktown brews what it calls “session beers,” meaning that they like to pair the eating and drinking experience. Most of their brews are light and flavorful and have their own unique character, which I really like. The Blues Berry Ale is my secret fave, a blonde ale which really does taste like fresh blueberries! Usually, however, you’ll find me rocking the Wiley’s One Eyed Wheat, which is light and citrusy and goes with whatever you’re eating (or not eating), or maybe, when my Irish is acting up, the Millie McFadden Red Rye Ale. My peeps who brew at home also tell me that the Bricktown Brown is at least as good as a Newcastle, and while that seems hard to believe, it does give me a mission for the next time I find myself getting my chill back after class. (Full disclosure: I also want to see how it goes with their sea salted caramel covered sweet potato bacon fries.) The service is always friendly and quick, too!

Dec 10

Big Truck Tacos

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weird food truck obsession. Hot, cheap, multicultural food that pulls up to a place I’m already at? Yes please! Of course, when I really love a certain cuisine I like to do the restaurant thing too, which is why I’m so happy that my fave Mexican food truck has an “HQ” that doesnt roll away. It gets freezing in the wintertime, and the service is kinda sporadic, but Big Truck Tacos is worth it.
The owner, Chris Lower, ran some of the best restaurants in Edmond and OKC over the years, and one of the women behind the grill was apparently a personal chef in Austin, so they know what they’re doing, and you can taste it in their menu, tacos and burritos but with a Southwestern hipster touch that makes them extra delicious. My favorite is their version of the fish taco, the Okie-Baha, filled with tilapia, jicama-cabbage Cole slaw, and green onions, but when I’m in the mood to eat everything I see I go for the I-40 Pile Up Tostada: choice of meat, rice, refried beans, cheese, pico, guac, and sour cream. Nom nom nom!
They not only do a great breakfast but an amazing rolling brunch, in which case I’m going for the actual green eggs and ham in the Sam I Am (ham and cheese, eggs, guac). I have a pretty dull palate, even with my love of Mexican, so even though my more adventurous friends love the Flaming Lips taco, built around a hickory-smoked cow tongue — and even though I love indie Norman bands like whoa — I haven’t worked my way up to it yet. Don’t even get me started on the 5th Amendment taco (so hot they can’t tell you what’s in it, get it?). I guess that’s gonna have to be my boss level.

Dec 08

Paseo Art District

Two dozen art galleries. Electric car exhibitions. A Canadian Anglican church from the mid-1800s. None of these things were on the mind of Dr. G.A. Nichols when he first laid out the first shopping district north of Oklahoma City, a mix of stucco adobe-like architecture appropriately known as Spanish Village. It was a commercial center for OKC until just after World War II, when suburban sprawl began to move its customers away as it had in so many urban centers. By the ’60s and ’70s it had become something of a hippie hangout, and by the 1980s it was mostly shuttered, an embarassing eyesore.

That is, until residents decided to repurpose Spanish Village as a downtown arts district. Now known as the Paseo, which roughly translates from Spanish as “the walk,” this six-by-six district features all those things Dr. Nichols never imagined and then some, a year-round mix of creative hotbeds, multimedia marvels, cozy cafes, and just flat-out strangeness that is indeed an easy afternoon’s walk. Ever mindful of its function in the community, the Paseo offers several hands-on events for children, weddings at that Anglican chapel (the state’s oldest,¬†bought on the internet and transported brick by brick from New Brusnwick), affordable housing for those who like a funky neighborhood, and mixed-use zoning to ensure it never falls completely out of use again.

All the hard work has resulted in a real point of pride for Oklahomans — it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was honored as one of the American Planning Association’s 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010. If you’re planning a visit from out of town, try for Memorial Day Weekend, when the district puts on its best face with the annual Paseo Arts Festival.

Dec 05

OKC Limo Service

I had the absolute pleasure of being the Best Man at my brother’s wedding over the weekend. Now, I have to tell you, the pressure was intense. Not only is he my best friend, he is my little brother and if I had screwed things up, I’d never hear the end of it. Not only would he bring it up every Thanksgiving for eternity, but he would tell my mother, who would tell my grandmother and it would be an eternity of me reliving it.

My brother put me in charge of the band and transportation. Since it was a rather large wedding, and his bride is from Omaha, we opted to bring everyone to the wedding in limousines, rather than try to have everyone travel during bad weather in a town they don’t really know.

We chose OKC Limo for multiple reasons and I have to admit, it was worth every penny. They were great about working with us on the price. Not only that, they were on time, the rides were clean, the drivers professional and everything went smoothly. I cannot tell you how happy I am about how smooth things went.

We were able to get a stretched white limo for the bride & groom’s departure, which was absolutely perfect. As I had never used a limo service okc before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However, now that I’ve had someone else do all the driving for me, I don’t know that I ever want to do my own driving again! If only we could all be so rich as to have someone drive us everywhere we wanted to go, right? ¬†My oldest daughter’s 15th birthday is coming up in a few months. I think I might be reserving a stretch Hummer to drive her and her friends around to someplace fun, like the movies or Celebration Station.

Dec 01

Anthem Brewery

Oklahoma beer. What does that phrase suggest to you? Grandpa sipping on a Knickerbocker? Your uncle and his unnatural love of Falstaff? Some lost cowboy with his boots up at a Tulsa bar, having manly tears to the sound of Merle Haggard and quietly nursing a Lone Star? Well, update those ideas. The quiet but inevitable rise in craft brewery signaled by the national late ’70s lift on the homebrew ban eventually turned Oklahoma into a minor hotbed of local brewing, and its capitol is not lagging behind; about a dozen craft breweries now call the city home, and OKC’ s craft beer festival has, after some initial struggles, morphed into a full-fledged week-long tradition. Here are three of the best craft breweries Oklahoma City has to offer.

With a mission statement of “quality beer for quality living,” the folks at COOP Ale Works see themselves as artisans for artisans, what happens when a venture capitalist and an architectural photog decide to turn a part-time passion into an upscale reality. Easily the most popular of OKC breweries, they may also be the best, with their lines typically dominating the state’s Top 10 lists. This is probably because they don’t mind aging their brews for as long as it takes: they’ve mastered the art of working towards perfection without becoming snobs. As such, Oklahomans usually start with their Native Amber and slightly bitter blonde ale known as Horny Toad, then find lifestyle accessories in their “gas station” Spare Rib ale, a more upscale molasses malt appropriately called Briefcase Brown, or for those looking to prove something at the bar, their F5 West Coast IPA or strong DNR Belgian Dark.

When Huebert Brewing refers to itself as “the oldest licensed microbrewery in Oklahoma,” it’s actually going a little light on the boasting: Rick Huebert, who maintains a very hands-on operation with wife Shaneen, actually went all the way to the state Senate to get Oklahoma’s antiquated Prohibition-era brewery laws changed. He helped make standalone breweries, not just brewpubs, legal, and his devotion to the craft is unassailable, leading to a line that includes a German-style kolsh known as Rasenmaher, Wild Pony, a citrusy, tart Anerican variant on the classic Hefenweizer German Wheat Ale, and their signature Tucker Pale Ale, clean and crisp but with a distinct caramel-meets-biscuit undertone.

Anthem Brewing Company is the most open, accessible, and utilitarian of the OKC craft breweries. They’re all about flavors, flavors, flavors, none too surprising but all maintaining similarly high quality and made with a process open to the public — they’ll let you look at the whole process before you taste. Locals swear by the Golden One Belgian Blonde, the Arjuna Belgian White, and the Uroborus Stout, chocolatey, oaky, and roasted, but you may luck out and catch their Babalon cherry/raspberry sour ale, the Bourbon-aged Pappy Burleson, or the Count Pedro, aged in Tequila barrels and featuring the distinct high notes of habanero!

Nov 29

Marshall Brewery

Time was when every American city had indigenous beers and national brands were few and far between, but the unfortunate ascent of brands like Budweiser and Miller slowly choked the local beer to death in the Seventies and Eighties. Epitome of Sooner culture that it is, Tulsa hadn’t seen a new brewery open since the end of World War II when Marshall Brewing Company first made its presence felt in 2008 (not to be confused with an operation of the same name in Michigan). Worse, it happened to open its doors during the height of the Great Recession. It should have been doomed, but Marshall turned out to be on the vanguard of craft beer in Oklahoma, and that’s where it remains today. Within three years it took the original Red State from a brewmaster’s wasteland to a recognized outpost of authentic German beer culture, helped along by the fact that the brewery’s namesake actually managed to exploit a family connection between Oklahoma and a brewmaster in Munich.

Even for a microbrewery, Marshall is only really known for four beers: Sundown Wheat, which models itself after Bavarian witbier, an Indian Pale Ale called Atlas, brewed with hints of caramel, a British bitter known as McNellie’s, made with American Glacier hops, and their signature brand, the pilsner known as Old Pavilion, a North German-style pils which the brewmaster developed while actually working as an apprentice in that German brewery. But as usual with craft, it’s the seasonal which really get everyone excited. Their American porter known as Big Jamoke will steer you through those harsh plains winters, while Spring brings the six-malt Revival Red Ale, emblazoned with a 46 in honor of the 4th State. When you need something light for Summer, try the citrus notes of the Arrowhead Pale. Finally, what better way to usher in the fall than with the lager known simply as Oktoberfest? The true fan favorite, however, must be El Cucuy, an Indian Black Ale with hints of caramel whose 8.6 potency matches its name perfectly — in Hispanic countries, El Cucuy is an ancient ghost-creature who eats bad children, though it’s also known to make folks dizzy with fear.

Oct 06

Welcome to ECBC Birds!

Thank you for checking out my blog. My name is Greg and I am a full time internet blogger who loves to do reviews on various businesses I come in contact with. You’d be surprised how many there are!

 

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