So this one time…in hot and steamy OKC in August…there existed a restaurant called Iguana Grill. They had been holding weekly taco nights called “taco Tuesday” for over a year now. This “taco Tuesday” was a large hit with the OKC crowd because of the yumminess and crafting of great tacos and the fact that it allowed you to eat great while still stay on budget. And then…out of the clear blue sky… a corporate jerk in the fashion of Taco Johns (their slogan is the “fresh taste of west mex”….wtf is west mex…) swoops in and attempts to rain on Iguana’s Parade by letting them know that “taco Tuesday” has been trademarked by them and demanded that Iguana change the name of their Tuesday evening festivities. Little did Taco John’s know that OKC loves our local businesses and does not appreciate corporations which are not even in Oklahoma butting in and telling us what we can or cannot do. Needless to say, a Twitter firestorm has been brewing the last couple of days and this week’s Taco Tuesday (or Taco Day After Monday…same DAMN thing) was a roaring success.
I, of course, in the excitement of the evening forgot to take pictures of the food, but I assure you, it was fabulous. The specials tonight (doing this off the top of my head..hope I don’t screw up!) were Wild Mushroom, Roasted Vegetable, Quail with peach chutney, and Pork. I, being the Okie Preggie, just chose to stick with the vegetable and a couple of beef tacos. They were of course delicious. The rest of my table ventured out with the rest and all had great things to say about all of the food.
All of this reminds me of another story involving an Oklahoma small business and a large corporation. As many of you know, I hail from the sprawling metropolis of Marlow, OK (population 4500). There was a clothing boutique there that was a very small, family owned business called Coco’s. Well a few years back, some way somehow, Chanel got wind of this business and wrote a letter stating that the name “CoCo” was trademarked and they were not allowed to use this name for their business. Now forgive me if I am wrong, but this small clothing boutique would NEVER infringe on any of Chanel’s clientele. Most Marlowites have never even heard of Chanel and certainly will never be able to afford it. It reminds me very much of tonight’s debacle.
The story to take away from the evening is not necessarily the awesomeness of the food/company/atmosphere/etc., but that we Oklahomans band together when someone steps in and shakes their corporate finger at us. We are proud of our local businesses and all this has done is made us support Iguana THAT much more. So, Thanks Taco Johns for helping boost our Oklahoma economy. We Taco Tuesday attendees will still continue calling it that even though it will not be the official name of every Tuesday night at Iguana and now have an army of angry, hungry Oklahomans behind us supporting the cause too.
So during my lunch hour the other day, Jed (my co-worker) and I decided to try the talk of the town, Republic Gastropub. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this new Oklahoma City restaurant that opened on March 29th. I just had to try it.
We arrived at the prime lunch hour to the swanky little spot and there was of course a wait (remember…i said talk of the town). We decided to grab a couple of spots at the bar. I was immediately stricken by the LARGE amount of beers on tap (100 on tap…250 bottled!) and the giant tvs everywhere. This bar seems like it would be a great place to watch a game. I wasn’t there to watch a baseball game or the Thunder (PLAYOFFS…YEA!) play, I was hear to try these great burgers I have heard about.
I am a big fan of the slightly “flared” up (think Office Space) or “fancy” hamburger for all you non-movie fans out there. The burgers at this place slightly remind me of Ray’s Hellburger in Arlington, VA. The plus about Republic is that you also get a great, swanky atmosphere with a fabulous atmosphere to go with it.
Jed ordered the Belle Isle Burger. This a burger with grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, and Jed said “an interesting cheese sauce that surpringly works.” He was pleased. I wanted to try it, but he was being totally greedy and didn’t let me! I ordered the Republic Burger. This burger was SO yummy. This had some bacon yumminess, gruyere cheese, bleu cheese and wait for it…. TOPPED WITH AN EGG. Now I was telling some friends about this burger and apparently it isn’t a rare thing to find a burger topped with an egg. Well it is in Okie Foodie’s world, so I was completely excited about this. It was a great burger. I’m a huge fan of anything with gruyere cheese (well….cheese in general), but this prooved to be an amazing lunch.
I definitely fed into the buzz about this new restaurant at the Classen Curve. It is easily one of the best restaurant atmospheres in Oklahoma City. It makes you want to pinch yourself because no…you aren’t in some swanky restaurant in LA or NYC, you are in the Sooner State. If we continue to produce restaurants such as Republic, we are definitely on the up and up.
I also heard the donuts were amazing. Save room next time because I definitely didn’t!
How about the Thunder!!!! Thunder UP!
I remember the first time I ate sushi. I was a NERVOUS wreck. It’s like one of those things that if you haven’t grown up with it, everyone is afraid to try. Believe me. There are NO sushi restaurants in and around the Marlow, Oklahoma area. We eat our fish fried and it is usually caught in the pond on our back 40 or in some muddy lake called Clear Creek (oxymoron much?). Trying sushi was like taking a step out of my food comfort zone. But glory, hallelujah am I glad I took a leap of faith on that one.
I began eating quite a bit of sushi while I lived in Washington, DC. I usually stick to the rolls, simply because the unknown of the other kind (can’t remember the name….I’m a bad foodie) freaks me out. I would be more than happy to try it…but have NO idea how to order! Out in DC, we tried quite a few places and learned what we liked and didn’t like. Getting Joe to enjoy sushi has to be one of my greatest achievements in life. His name is Joe Bob. Usually people named Joe Bob do not eat sushi. But my person named Joe Bob does!
I wasn’t expecting much in the sushi category after moving back to Oklahoma. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My co-worker Jed and I ventured off for a lunch full ‘o sushi. We headed to one of his favorites, Sushi Neko and he basically said he was going to order for me. Seriously…Jed knows everyone in this place. I think he goes multiple times a week. I usually put my trust in other people, because heck, I will try anything once. He ordered the Cajun roll (crawfish in a spicy mayo), spicy tuna (my all-time favorite), and the lifesaver roll (minus the onion+extra tempura bacon). The Cajun and spicy tuna were just exceptional. The spicy tuna was easily the best spicy tuna that I have ever had. The tuna was ACTUALLY spicy. There is nothing that irks me more than getting spicy tuna and it not having any kick at all. The highlight of the meal was easily the lifesaver roll. From my understanding… This is basically a California roll with tempura bacon inside, topped with a small piece of tuna or salmon, lathered in spicy mayo. Whatever was in it was AMAZING. These are a mouth full…so definitely do not eat these on a date as they are not flattering while consuming, but they are glorious.
I know Sushi Neko is an Oklahoma City favorite. I’m slapping myself for living in Norman all of those years and never trying this place. It is easily one of my new favorites. It’s definitely not very comforting for the pocket book…but you easily forget that once you are in their chic dining room and see all the yumminess of sushi all around you.