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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Roppongi Ramen Noodles and more...this isn't your kids' ramen.






I don't even know where to begin. I've always thought when people use the phrase "it's life changing" to describe how a dish has affected them was, well... dumb.  That is until I tried the ramen noodle dish at Roppongi on 6th and Boston.










     So I'm always looking for a good place on which to write a good review.  This place had been opened for about eight months or more, and Libby Billings (owner of Roppongi, Elote, and The Vault) is the one that made this foodie dream a reality.  

     I first learned of these ramen noodle restaurants popping up in the U.S. from one of my favorite chefs, David Chang.  He did a segment on Chef's Table about ramen noodles and took us on a tour of various ramen noodle restaurants, even showing us how to properly eat a bowl of ramen (use your chopsticks to basically inhale it).  This is when I realized the ramen noodles he was chowing down was not what we get from the super market...FAR, FAR from that.

     Since then, I've been enticed to try but, like most trends and cool stuff, it was really only a coastal thing from LA to NYC.  Recently, we had a couple of "chain" ramen places open up in Tulsa but I'm not really into chains (I'll make a few exceptions). I just didn't want a chain to ruin what I know would be a great experience coming from a locally owned place.  I guess mother earth foodie heard my wishes because Roppongi opened in downtown Tulsa, thanks again Libby, you're my my foodie godmother.

     

     Below, you see before you, the Pork Ramen.  The description of this dish on the menu, merely describes the dish as "shoyu broth, all natural pork belly, marinated shiitake mushroom, soft-cooked free-range egg, scallion".  

     Lawdy, do they leave out what you can CLEARLY see.  Now, my description:  "Perfectly balanced and flavorful broth with savory, tender pork belly that falls to pieces when you attempt to eat it due to extreme tenderness, with marinated shiitake mushrooms that tastes of salty-sweet and lemon-grassyness as it touches your taste buds. Oh and delectable soft-cooked free-range eggs that ooze all over your dish with silky cheese-like yolky-goodness, with added freshness from the scallions and, lest we not forget those noodles. OMG, those noodles...they're thick and fresh, tasting like someone just made them that day. Savory, dense and eggy umami-ness that add the chewing component of the dish. Every ingredient melds together like the best savory, buttery (from the fatty, roasted pork belly), rich yet fresh dish you've ever had.        

   Pork Ramen- large bowl $10.99 and well-worth every damn penny.


     After visiting with one of the Roppongi staff members, I learned that Libby has fresh ramen noodles flown in weekly from L.A.  I mean, you can taste these hand made noodles...the earthy, richness of it all.  You're cheating yourself if you don't try it. They also have gluten-free noodles and vegetarian friendly dishes.  They're located where Lassalle's used to be on the southeast corner of 6th and Boston.

Here's more info:

Roppongi
601 S. Boston Ave, Tulsa, OK 74119
918-221-0818
Hours: M-Th 11a-9p
           Fri    11a-10p
           Sat   5p-10p
           Sun  Closed
See their menu online:  http://roppongitulsa.com/



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lassalle's New Orleans Deli: Dat Soft Shell Crab Po Boy Choosday is Cho!Co!


                                                        Okay, my attempt at Cajun lingo, not so good... the food, specifically Soft-shell Crab Po' Boy Tuesday?  Uh-MAY-zing !!

      I've reviewed Lassalle's before but I just had to do a new one on this specific menu item.  Every Tuesday, they have this special on soft-shell crab po' boys.  It's authentic Louisiana goodness.  I know you believe me because the photos say it all.

      
     I get mine with a side of jalapeno chips AND, wait for it...crawfish etouffee.  I mean the etouffe is enough alone but, you will NOT be disappointed, I guar-ON-tee. Okay, I'll stop, I'm not Cajun. 

Crawfish Etouffee (see the flavors? I know you can...imagine how it tastes)


To keep up with Lassalle's New Orleans Deli and their delicious weekly specials, connect with them digitally:




Address15 W 5th St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Hours
Wednesday11AM–4PM
Thursday11AM–4PM
Friday11AM–9PM
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed
Monday11AM–4PM
Tuesday11AM–4PM

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Paddy's Irish Restaurant: Flavorful with a Modern Twist



     Paddy's Irish Restaurant & Pub has reopened in South Tulsa. I visited the former location prior to it's closing but just for drinks and fun.  This time, I decided to try the food. I love Irish cuisine so I was pretty excited.

     My friend and I visited during lunch time.  It was REALLY slow, which is concerning because it had been opened for 7 to 8 months when we went.  I hate to see restaurants so slow during lunch time when it should be hoppin'.  I will say, it was a bit gloomy and the server was less than friendly.  I wish restaurant owners would pay attention to the details that are a piece of what makes or breaks a restaurant.  First impressions, definitely important.  The server wasn't rude but just not what you expect when you choose to dine at their restaurant. They should be friendly...we do, after all, have other choices.

     I ordered the Bangers & Mash and my friend Mary Anne ordered the Traditional Shepard's Pie. Technically speaking, Shepard's pie is made with minced lamb meat, Cottage Pie is made with minced beef.  But I digress...so, about the food.

     I like the way Paddy's serves up their food with traditional Irish food in mind but with a modern twist.  The Shepard's Pie looked more like a deconstructed version.  My friend gave me a bit and I liked it.  It had flavor, and the mashed potatoes were really light and fluffy, not heavy or filling.  The vegetables were served on the side rather than mixed in with the meat and gravy.  I think the portions were spot on, not too much.  People that complain about portion size need to stick to buffets.  
Traditional Shepard's Pie


     Next is the food I ordered, which was the Bangers & Mash.  Okay, again with the portion size and flavor, really good. Even though I don't feel like the "bangers" were traditional Irish made sausages.  They tasted like something I could go and buy at the local grocers.  It was a bit greasy...traditional Irish bangers are a bit beefy-er and not as greasy. But that's my only complaint. The potatoes were light and the veggies balanced out the down side of the sausages.  Oh and again, portions were spot on. In fact, I couldn't finish mine.

Bangers & Mash

     Over all, the food was very good. Kudos to the chef.  Although the service wasn't terrible, it does need improvement. Managers need to look into training their servers and employees better on greeting customers and taking good care of us by starting off with a friendly greeting and good customer service.  A patron shouldn't feel like they're ruining their day by visiting and bringing in business to their restaurant.  Food, I give 3.5 to 4 stars, service 2 to 2.5

Location

9999 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, Ok

Hours

Monday - Thursday 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday 11am - 1am

Contact

(918) 615-6999

Hapa Japanese Cuisine: Owasso's Japanese Gem!



     Hapa Japanese Cuisine is a gift for the  people of Owasso. Remember that rule I have about what determines the authenticity of ethnic restaurants?  Okay, it's been a while since I've blogged but my rule is, if there are people in the restaurant of the same ethnicity as the food, it's authentic.

     Chef DaisukeTanaka is not only passionate about creating delectable Japanese cuisine, he's damn good at it. Restaurateur Masataka Ido and Chef Tanaka chose Owasso to launch their Asian foodie delight.  

      I started with the Beef Carpaccio...I know you can practically taste the goodness you see before you but the truth is, words and photos can not even begin to describe the flavors that came from this dish. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is just writing about it.
 

Beef Carpaccio-seared tender beef with mayo, Sriracha, fried green onions, ponzu served with salad greens, drizzled with sesame citrus vinaigrette.

     Next, I inhaled the Tuna Tataki, it's marinated Tuna, sesame oil and seeds served over a bed of greens. Now, at first, I was a little taken back by the usage of iceberg lettuce rather than leafier greens as well as the usage of lemons rather than limes.  But then I read the review Scott Cherry of the Tulsa World wrote and I learned that Hapa, according to Ido, is a Hawaiian term for a harmonious blend of Caucasian and Asian cultures. Which explained the use of more Americanized ingredients such as the Iceberg lettuce.
Tuna Tataki-marinated tuna, sesame oil, sesame seeds, scallions, hot sauce and ponzu served with mixed salad greens.



     No visit to a Japanese restaurant is complete without trying some sashimi and nigiri. I chose the yellowtail, tuna, smoked salmon, and my favorite, escolar nigiri.  The product is fresh and delicious. So straight forward and to the point.


Yellowtail, tuna, and smoked salmon sashimi with a side of escolar nigiri. 


     I had to try a roll while I was there.  Chef Tanaka prepared a roll called The Force Awakens. Well, it sure does. It awoke my taste buds deep down to my foodie soul.  It's comprised of crab salad, sesame dressing, cucumber, jalapeno and avocado inside and topped with tuna, white fish, scallions, and Chef's Special sauce. Underneath, roasted sesame sauce.  The roll was clean and not over sauced. Chef Tanaka created and assembles it so all of the flavors come together while standing on their own.

 The Force Awakens

     The atmosphere was relaxing, music was classic American Standard (who doesn't like Sinatra, Holiday and Martin over a nice meal?).  The food is seriously authentic, and fresh. What I adore most about Hapa Japanese Cuisine is how Chef Tanaka gets it. They don't try to be something they're not. They're true to the cuisine but it's like they chose the BEST of Japanese food and put it on their menu.  I  feel like they offer way more REAL options on their menu than most sushi places in Tulsa without the fluff.

     You can have a business lunch or romantic evening because you can actually hear the people you're dining with...it's not a "night-club", it's a superb Japanese Cuisine Restaurant. Whether you live in Owasso or Tulsa, it's worth the drive.  乾杯!(Kanpai!)

Visit their website for business hours and menu: 

https://www.hapaok.com/home.html

Hapa Location on Google Maps: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hapa+Japanese+Cuisine/@36.277649,-95.8246761,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x87b6f0b74b06eedd:0xb72fb2cbe0b51733!8m2!3d36.277649!4d-95.8224874
  

     



Sunday, December 18, 2016

HELP! Time Sensitive...

     The Salvation Army works around the clock, especially during the holidays. Local restaurants have been donating lunches for the volunteers who are hard at work helping our local communities.  
     We recently had a local restaurant who was not able to keep their commitment to help out tomorrow. Here is a special request and time is of the essence. 

WHAT: Lunch donated for 75 Salvation Army workers & volunteers
WHO: Provided BY local restaurants FOR 75 Salvation Army
workers and volunteers.
WHEN: TOMORROW, Monday, December 19th


     We realize this is extremely short notice but as we stated above, a local restaurant who had committed to help has backed out.  The Salvation Army has workers and volunteers who literally are working long hours around the clock trying to help out our local citizens who rely on help and assistance.  If you can donate at least a few lunches and we will try to gather the necessary 75 lunches without adding too much stress to those contributing.  Please message me: truefoodiesoundbites@gmail.com

     Thank you all for your consideration. 


     

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hospital Food for Lunch...What Pho?


Yes, you're seeing this right, it's pho, made from a chef, in a hospital!

 

 

     So, I got a call the other day from a colleague. She said, "Do you think you can come to this hospital to do a review on the food?"  Wait, what?  I think my silence lead her to her next sentence which was "wait, you know that soup, it's Vietnamese...pho?"  Okay, yes, but in a hospital?

     Yes she said, and I've heard people have been raving about it.  Okay I said, this I have to try.  And I was pleasantly surprised and happy I did because it restored my faith in the passion chefs have and the degree they're willing to go to to provide GOOD hospital food and what patients are being fed over all as well.

     Chef Bob works for Carson's Food Service Management, which is the company that provides the food service at Wagoner Hospital in Wagoner, Oklahoma. They offer catering outside of the health industry for company/private parties and events as well.  

     What I love about what Chef Bob has done, is that he went outside the box with his passion for food and wanting to create something that people would actually want, in not only hospital food, but food in general.

     Let me be clear on Chef Bob's version of pho.  He didn't use the classic recipe, mainly because the food has to be low sodium and he doesn't have the luxury of the time it takes to bring out the flavors...so he figured out how to bring out the flavors as close as possible to the real deal, while making it appealing to the folks in Wagoner County. Not to say Wagoner peeps don't have taste, but pho is an acquired taste and I haven't seen any Vietnamese restaurants in Wagoner as of late.

    
 The pho fixin's

     As you can see, the fixings for the pho aren't all traditional either, but there were jalapenos and cilantro, which I love.  The noodles are also not the traditional rice noodles... Chef Bob used the wider pad Thai type of rice noodles and also offers a wider egg noodle, which is more of a Chinese influence.  But he was smart to do so because it gives the people of Wagoner a more familiar way to try this delicious soup.



So, this was MY version. I used the rice noodles, mushrooms, tofu, pork, cilantro and yes, Sriracha!! I also used the combination of chicken and beef broth.


 My colleague chose the chicken broth and the combination noodles, rice and egg. She loved her version too.

     Wagoner Hospital has a cafeteria and it's open to the public.  It's clean, the food is delicious, especially the pho and it's a great place to catch up with friends and business meetings.

  Cafeteria at Wagoner Hospital

      I would recommend calling ahead as they occasionally have the local rotary reserve the cafeteria for monthly meetings.


 Chef Bob...he's awesome (I would recommend calling him for your next catering event)





 
 
3501 West Broadway
Muskogee, OK - Phone: 918-913-9408
 




Friday, June 10, 2016

The "Dress for Success Tulsa" Caribbean Rum Dinner and Auction @ Bluestone Steak House and Seafood

     Ahoy!!! Arrr... ye ready for upscale-rustic Caribbean food paired with tasty, flavorful rums?  

     Let's see, a restaurant who gives back to the community and dedicated to “scratch cooking” all food, including sauces, prepared on-site from fresh ingredients partnering with a most worthy cause like Dress for Success...Aye! I'd say that's a no-brainer! 

     Come join Bluestone Steak House and Seafood this Monday, June 13th at 6pm for an evening of luscious Caribbean cuisine, paired with exquisite rums. 

     Bluestone will be collecting new and/or used handbags for the Dress for Success organization from now until June 13th.  

     Guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite Caribbean outfit (Pirate/Pirate's Wench) too!!  A silent auction will be held with many incredible items including special Caribbean Rustic Cuff bracelets and an autographed Steven Adams basketball.

     Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.