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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ricardo's at Southroads




This blog on Ricardo's will be short and sweet.  Pictured to my left is the tortilla soup.






      
     This was a last minute type of lunch. My daughter and I met while she shopped and she decided she was starving, so she picked Ricardo's.  I recall years ago, a dentist I worked for raved about this place...either he has really, REALLY bad taste or the level of food here has seriously declined over the years.  My daughter ordered the cheese sauce...it was okay. My Jaidy Bug had some mac and cheese off the kids menu and that actually looked good and she ate it all and loved it.
Tortilla Soup
     It was mediocre.  It didn't taste bad, but as you can see from the photo...too much fat is left in this dish. They need to drain the fat or keep it from separating. It's food 101 and I guess I've just been eating at the best local restaurants in town that Tulsa has to offer so this (pictured above) was about a 3 on a scale from one to ten. The flavor wasn't too bad, but that fat in the soup made me a bit nauseous. 

     Service was okay...our server seemed irritable at first, kind of snappy and snide but leveled out by the time we left. She was tipped 25% because at the end of the day, we all have our bad days and it's not her fault the food is lacking.  
     


Ricardo's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tasting Oklahoma: Fueling the Foodie Passion Everywhere!

     I finally found the time to watch an episode of Tasting Oklahoma, produced and hosted by Amanda Simcoe, aka The Cheese Wench.  I hate it when I find myself asking "why did I wait so long to check this out?!!" 

     Tasting Oklahoma is taped in front of a live studio audience with weekly guest chefs, cooking up their special recipes and more. I tried making homemade mayo once before but it didn't turn out quite right. After watching this episode of Poached Shrimp and Spicy Homemade Mayo, I learned why it didn't turn out the first time. It was the poor recipe I used! But alas,  I made it and bam! I learned how to make HOMEMADE mayo in one episode, like a boss.  Perfect, creamy, spicy mayo...mmm, mayo. Wanna learn? View the episode now, just click the link below. Subscribe to their channel Tasting Oklahoma on YouTube or, be bold, buy your seat at the table online! Visit http://facebook.com/tastingoklahoma




MORE ABOUT THE HOST:
     
     This local chef celeb is quite the busy little bee and with good reason. Let's start with the fact that she's a talented chef who knows great food...we're talking amazing farm-to-table goodness. This is why she's highly sought after throughout Tulsa by the best chefs and restaurateurs. 


     Amanda is involved with satisfying the culinary curiosity of foodies and chefs everywhere...no, I mean EVERYWHERE. Check out her impressive career bio and more:  https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSimcoe/info

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse...It's a chain, but it's a Hal Smith chain (GREAT FOOD AND SERVICE).





FINALLY! Dinner at Mahogany Prime Steakhouse.  I know, it's a chain, but they're only located in three cities, Omaha, Tulsa and OKC. AND, it's a Hal Smith property, so yeah, it's gonna be the best.  Of course, I have minimal photos and only had the use of my camera phone (it was a client dinner).  But the taste of the food, the steak, will never be forgotten until my next visit.

     Okay, so, I had to "sneak" in photos because this was a pretty important client dinner so phone pics was all I could do :-(  And if you've ever been to Mahogany's, it's very dim lit.  
     Starting with the atmosphere and the ambiance...one word, SEXY.  It's romantic yet warm and inviting for a client/business meal as well.  The service is beyond.  These servers must be trained very well because they did their job and didn't really connect or communicate on a personal level, but kept it rather "business" friendly.  Reminded me those British type butlers you see on TV but I have to say, I liked it!  We never had to ask for anything as we had two or three servers taking care of our table.

     We started with a bottle of cabernet...one of the clients I sat next to took a pic of the bottle to remember it, it was so delicious. Wish I'd done the same as I can't recall the name of it :-/

     We started with an app that was three in one. It included the crab cakes, fried calamari and shrimp cocktail.  The shrimp were huge! The calamari was okay, pretty much what you get at other restaurants, but the crab cakes, wow. It was almost all lump crab meat with just breading on the outside...delicious!

     Next, came the star of the meal...the steak.  They prepared it with salt and pepper only, which is exactly how I love it. I ordered the Prime Ribeye 14 oz. and yes, I ate it all, don't judge.  It's a fattier steak than the filet, but I love steaks with fat.  One person ordered the New York Strip and another ordered the "Bone In Filet".  I ordered mine medium rare and it was perfectly cooked.  They finish off the steaks in a 900 degree oven to get that crisp on the outside and tender goodness on the inside. Ah, mouth is watering right now just reminiscing about the taste.
                       

14 oz. Prime Ribeye

     We ended the meal with after dinner drinks, I had the Grand Marnier Reserve...they warm it over a wine glass of hot water. Yes, very tasty.
Grand Marnier Reserve

     It was a great experience and one of my new favorites. Best service, serious wicked good steaks and a wine list like I've not seen locally in sometime.  As a person in the advertising business, I have to say, I also love how Hal Smith advertises his restaurants...putting ego aside, knowing there is always going to be competition.  Being an intelligent business man seems to be paying off! Bon appetit!

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Hamlet: Good Wine, Great Food! Raising the Cuisine Bar in South Tulsa :-)





Oklahoma's original "Honey Kissed Ham" company since 1986, is now also one of Tulsa's newest eateries. The Hamlet is now serving lunch AND dinner, upping the bar on amazing food from this locally owned establishment. Yes, they offer sandwiches, salads and soups but did you know they also offer a fine-dining menu and full service bar? YEP!





     From the moment you pull up to the restaurant, you can see the HUGE sign, displaying "THE HAMLET" and you get a glimpse of the inviting outdoor patio.  The beautifully designed wooden sign is foreshadowing the clean, rustic elegant design on the inside.  The great thing is they still have a counter, at which one can order their famous honey-kissed hams, turkeys, and food to go, etc. And a mirrored wall that displays their awesome retail goodies such as the infamous raspberry-jalapeno sauce.  You'll see a handsome bar as well as tables and plenty of booths. I love booth seating and this place accommodates nicely.
The Patio     

The INSIDE

      As always, I asked the chef what his favorite dish was...so he said, to start with the Pan Fried Crab Cake and then the Chilean Sea Bass as the main course, which he'd just come up with as a special.

     The Crab Cake was divine...everything a crab cake should be...decent balance between lump crab meat and the binders. What made this so absolutely fantastic is the sweet basil aioli, and the charred red pepper chutney...just delicious.
 The Starter
Crab Cakes-pan roasted lump crab cakes with sweet basil aioli and charred red pepper chutney. $12

     Next, the entree. The Chilean Sea Bass over angel hair pasta.  This is a dish the chef had just come up with to place on today's menu as the special.  I don't even know where to begin in describing this perfectly cooked fish.  It was seared perfect on one side and buttery, flaky soft goodness on the inside...literally soft-flaked with each bite.  Served with cherry heirloom tomatoes on a bed of white angel hair pasta, topped with mild kalamata olives and pine nuts, this dish left me wanting more...much, MUCH more.  Even though there is olive oil and the rich taste of butter in which the the fish was oven roasted, it was rich as it was al fresco tasting, you know, that fresh California-style freshness. Which makes sense because SoCal is where this talented Chef Cameron is from.
The Entree
Chilean Sea Bass-over white angel hair pasta, topped with kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes.

     Finally, we wrapped it up with creme brulee. What I loved about this version, is that it wasn't too sweet. Creme brulee is rich enough as it is, as it's main ingredients is egg yolks, cream and sugar. But in this version, less sugar was used and it just hit the spot.

The Desert
Vanilla Creme Brulee- $6

     The service was AWESOME as was the food, rivaling Tulsa's finest farm-to-table restaurants, except rather than midtown or downtown, this local establishment is located conveniently in South Tulsa for you south T-towners. So, the only downside is that this place is located south of town, far from me.  It will definitely be worth the drive for this midtown-downtown foodie...cheers!

The Hamlet on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sushi Hana...Best. Sashimi. EH-VER.

     Finally, a trip to south Tulsa to try Sushi Hana. It's located at Riverside Parkway, 99th & Riverside area. So, being the die-hard midtowner that I am, and despite all the rave reviews, it took a client lunch to make this happen. Yes, I'm kicking myself for having waited this long to stop in and savor the flavors I did.


     I just love it when the restaurant owners or General Managers greet you, rather than a hostess. Not that there's anything wrong with hostesses...but it says so much about what your getting ready to experience when the owners or managers play a day to day role in the establishment. It means, they care. It means, they want to be there on a daily basis to ensure EVERYTHING runs smooth and mostly, that YOU, the customer, are well taken care of.

     So, I was greeted by Kenny, the manager. Ever so friendly and polite.  Once the server took my order and brought me my tea, I naturally start to take picture of it...and if you know me, you know I take until I get the right one. Pity I didn't have my canon with me, so Samsung Galaxy had to work.  

     Kenny noticed my picture taking and asked if I was a photographer...after a bit of conversation, and learning of my foodie craziness, food, specifically sushi became the main topic of conversation. I told him I didn't want what most people get. I asked him to get me what HE likes (I do that a lot in first time restaurants).  I told him I want the good stuff, not rolls that lose the flavor of the fish. Although I do like the good rolls from time to time, it's sashimi for me most of the time and I don't EVER use soy sauce or anything other than the sauces in which the sushi chefs present the plate of sashimi.  Below are the photos and descriptions of each item.

This was THE best Green Tea I've ever had...EVER!!!! It's made in-house and sweetened with honey. Worth the price, and yes, complimentary refills.
Iced Green Tea-made from fresh green tea leaves and sweetened with honey. $4

     Savory Yellowtail Tuna with Jalapenos in what I believe is Yuzu and topped with caviar.  I love the buttery-ness of yellowtail...the freshness of the jalapeno complimented the sea fresh flavor of the yellowtail, sweet and savory, with the ever slightly saltiness of the caviar...perfectly balanced and beyond amazing flavors.
 Yellowtail- with Jalapenos and Caviar. $11

     Next, they brought out...THE best salmon sashimi, no, THE best salmon dish I've ever had in my entire life. It's called the Bonzai, with spicy crab and radish sprouts, wrapped in torched salmon, and topped with spicy mayo and Japanese chili flakes.  I don't even know where to begin in describing this amazing masterpiece of sashimi delight.  The crunch of the radish, the sweeteness of the Yuzu with the spicy flavors of the mayo and chili all exploded in my mouth with the flavor of the torched salmon sashimi. A smokey, sweet, spicy, well textured bite of umami goodness. That's a pretty accurate description :-)
 Bonzai-spicy crab and radish sprouts, wrapped in torched salmon, topped with spicy mayo and Japanese chili flakes. $16 (off the menu)

     This last dish was the "Chef's Special", Tuna Hut. It's seared white tuna topped with a fresh ginger sauce, and served with thin fresh radish strings, topped with masago. Yes, Sriracha makes an appearance in dollop form.  The sear brought out the flavors of the white tuna like you wouldn't believe. I'll go back and try the rolls, but this...THIS fresh, experience of what REAL sushi should be is where it's at.
 Tuna Hut-seared tuna with ginger sauce. $12.95 (off the menu)

      Sushi Hana also offers a nice selection of wines...another reason for a revisit :-)

     It always makes my day when the chefs stop and smile for a quick photo...these three sushi chefs are very talented and I hope to do a review on them soon.





     The restaurant is nice, trendy interior, with great service, and THE BEST sushi in town.  For the downside...there isn't any, except it's not located closer to me :-(
乾杯! (Cheers!)

Sushi Hana Japanese Fusion on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Taqueria El Ranchero Taco Food Truck...Muy Sabroso!






On a last minute whim, two
co-workers and I decided to make our way a mile and a half away from work...so glad we did!!





     I'd been to this taco food truck in the past, but it didn't impress me then. Wow, not sure what changed but all I can say is this is off the chain amazing.  I had one beef and one pork. Total was $3...THREE DOLLARS!!  They're fast, friendly and talented cooks.  The pork had been simmered in this chili sauce with all the flavors one would expect from Mexican food. Hm, a local eatery that meets your expectations...fancy that ;-)

     Wish I could say what my co-workers ordered but to be honest, I didn't see...I was too busy devouring my food.  You can find this taco food truck goodness just west of 31st & Sheridan, on the corner of Mall 31.



     Food has flavor and if you're sensitive to spice, make sure you tell them so they don't sell you something spicy. The beef tacos were flavorful and not spicy but the pork were also delicious but spicy.  Nothing negative to say about this place...no downside in my eyes :-)

Taqueria El Ranchero on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Coffee House on Cherry Street...BEST Mocha Latte...EH-VER!!!!!!!!!!



Coffee House on Cherry Street not only offers REAL breakfast foods (not just pastries and fruit) they seriously made me the best mocha latte I've ever had. I thought all coffee shops were the same...not true. 




     My sister Gina and I met up for a belated birthday brunch...she selected this place and I wondered why with all the amazing locally owned restaurants we have to choose from in Tulsa.  With the first sip of coffee I realized this was no ordinary coffee house and her choice became deliciously obvious. 



     She ordered the Sunrise which came with scrambled eggs, choice of one meat, pancakes and toast.  I ordered the Scramble...eggs with bacon, potatoes, veggies and cheese...I know, YUM, right? 
 The Scramble with bacon

The Sunrise with sausage


     The dude behind the counter was super friendly, clean place, live soft music, relaxed atmosphere...great place.  The food was as amazing as my time and conversation with my lovely sister.

     There were just a couple of downsides. First, guy taking order with long hair, while he was super nice and efficient, had his hair down and kept messing with it...not cool when you're working around food. He really needs to at least keep it pulled back in a pony tail.
Also it took forever to get our food and it's just breakfast food.  

     Other than that, it is still an awesome place that I highly recommend and I'll be back as a regular. Cheers!

Coffee House on Cherry Street on Urbanspoon