Monday, October 3, 2022

Texas Five Step

I from Oklahoma City to Houston where I was going to attend the wedding reception for my fried Lora, who I worked with on the Consistency Team.  The flight was uneventful, but it was pretty cool flying directly over the Dallas Ft. Worth Airport, that is a massive airport!

The reception was beautiful and a lot of fun, I wish Lora and Eric a great, they make a great couple!  From the reception I headed into Houston to try a few more places.  After about a 30-minute drive I arrived at "Be More Pacific" which is an Asian and Filipino themed restaurant.  They have both indoor and outdoor seating; I chose a small table near the bar inside. I chose the Bacon Fried Rice.  On the table was a bottle of the restaurants signature Banana Ketchup, I tried a sample and found it to be a bit too spicy for my taste. After a short my meal came served in a large bowl with a fried egg on top.  I am like Guy, I don't care for eggs, either.  I was able to move it off, but I did mix the yolk onto the rice which gave it a nice flavor.  The saltiness of the bacon mixed well with the mild flavor of the rice. Before I left my server signed my book.

Be More Pacific in Houston

Banana Ketchup - A Sweet and Spicy Condiment

Bacon Fried Rice

I headed out to my next place just a few miles away.  "Weights and Measures" is an interesting place.  In the morning it's a bakery with light breakfast meals.  Later in the day it morphs into a nice restaurant with the center of the dining room being an open kitchen.  I decided to just get something light and chose a freshly made baguette with a side of Rosemary Garlic butter and an Iced Toffee Nut Latte.  I really liked the open kitchen; it adds a nice ambiance to the restaurant.  The baguette was crusty with a soft center, the butter really enhanced the taste.  The latte was strong and hit the spot.  

Weights and Measures in Houston

Baguette with Rosemary Garlic Butter 

Toffee Nut Latte

I was stuffed!  It had been a great day, celebrating Lora and Eric and also being able to try some places.

After a restful night I headed out to try the last three places in Houston.  I headed back into the city and the first place would be the very first time in all of my Triple D travels that I needed to use the Valet parking staff! "Traveler's Table" is a place that celebrates cuisine for all over the world.  My server told me that the chef actually puts his own take on dishes, based on travels all over the world.  I was seated at a table next to the large and extremely busy open kitchen.  I enjoyed watching the chefs and cooks in action while I waited for my meal.  I chose the Shrimp and Grits, which was delicious.  Cheese Grits covered with a slight spicy New Orleans Tasso sauce with bacon, micro greens and 6 huge shrimp. I met the manager while I was enjoying and after a brief discussion, she signed my book and thanked me for coming in.

Traveler's Table in Houston

Open Kitchen

"Foods Ready"

"Guy Ate Here" pan at Traveler's Table

Shrimp and Grits

I headed out and after a 5 minutes' drive I arrived at "The Pit Room". It is what I would consider the classic Texas style Barbecue joint.  They have indoor and outdoor seating and a bar area. You order in a cafeteria style line. Although they serve combo meals, most items are sold ala cart.  I chose to try Venison Sausage, made in house, and a Brisket Taco.  The sausage came with a thick slice of Texas bread and sauce.  The sausage was not gamey, as Venison tends to be, but was extremely spicy, as was the sauce, way too spicy for my taste.  The taco was really good, beefy brisket in a flavorful tortilla shell.  I got there at the right time because there were few people in line when I arrived, by the time I left the line was out the door!

The Pit Room in Houston

The Backroom smoker where the magic happens

BBQ goodness

Venison Sausage and Brisket Taco

After a short, restful break, I headed back into the city to go to my last Houston place.  "Toasted Coconut" is a very unique place that celebrates all things beach and islands.  They have indoor and outdoor seating.  The outdoor patio is very reminiscent of a Tiki Bar.  The inside dining area has murals and decor of being on an island, with very cool wicker furnishings.  The bar features tropical drinks served in Tiki glasses.  There were a few different items that looked interesting, the menu seemed to feature items with Middle Eastern and Island flavors. I decided to try the Lamb Flatbread.  The tasty fried flatbread, which reminded me of the fried dough my grandmother used to make, was topped with thin slices lamb topped with spices that added a little heat but a lot of flavor.  The side of Cucumber Yogurt sauce helped to cut down the heat.  Before I left my server took my book to the owner who signed it.  I would have like to meet him, but it was pretty busy.

Outdoor Tiki Bar style seating

Inside Dining area and bar

"Guy Ate Here" stencil at The Toasted Coconut

Lamb Flatbread

My journey in Houston had come to an end.  I enjoyed all of the places and got to try a lot of different styles of food.  If you're in the Houston area any of these places are worth a visit.  I headed home with my Triple D count at 870!

Friday, September 30, 2022

Getting Back to it in OKC

 After almost a year of being sidelined due to the pandemic and high rental car fees, I was finally able to get back on the road to continue my Triple D adventures.  One of my co-workers on the Consistency Team got married and planned a reception in her hometown of Houston, so I decided to take that travel opportunity to get to get back on the road.  I decided to stop in Oklahoma City to get to a few places before going to the reception and few places in the Houston area.

I booked a nonstop flight from Reagan National to Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City (OKC).  The coolest thing at OKC is seeing operating oil derricks on the airport property.  After a ridiculously long wait for the rental car (over 2 hours) I hit the road to start my Oklahoma adventure.

My first stop was in an older residential area, the buildings were like old homes. "Chick N Beer" looks like it was built at someone's home.  There is a deck all around the building, that would have been complete with a porch swing.  They have both indoor and outdoor seating.

Chick N Beer - Oklahoma City

There is a big bar in the center of the restaurant with some side rooms for more intimate seating.  I was seated at a high-top table in the bar area.  The place was pretty busy for a Wednesday night.  They specialize in Asian inspired food along with Chicken Wings.  I decided to try the Root Beer Barbecue wings.  The food came out pretty quickly and the six meaty wings were served with bleu cheese dressing and were lightly sauced.  They were really good; the sauce was very mild with the root beer adding just a slight sweet taste. Some of the best barbecue sauced wings I have had, I highly recommend them!

Lively Bar area

The "Guy Ate Here" wall decoration at Chick N Beer

Root Beer Barbecue Chicken Wings

After getting my book signed by my server-bar tender I headed out to my next stop which was just across the street. "Guyutes" is more of a bar with really good food.  The place has a large bar on the lower level and an upper lever patio overlooking the street.

Guyutes - Oklahoma City

I took a seat at the bar in the center of the lower level.  There were just a few people at the bar, although the patio seemed to be busy, a real popular place.  I liked the music themed decor, a number of concert and rock album covers   I looked over the menu and wasn't sure what to get, it all looked really good.  I asked what Guy had when he visited and the bar tender recommended The Guyute meal, so I figured let's eat like Guy!  The Guyute is Pork Belly atop Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and fresh spinach, topped with a crisp cracker with a savory dollop of butter whipped cream. After just a short wait I was served.  The plate had 3 portions pork belly.  The pork was meaty and not fatty at all.  I think I enjoyed the fresh spinach the most.  It was a delicious and filling meal.

Guyute's large bar area

Music theme decor


The Guyute, the meal Guy had

After meeting the owner and having him sign my book I headed out, my Oklahoma travels were off to a great start.

After a night's rest I headed out to my next places.  My first stop was at a place I had tried to get to a few years back but was closed the time I visited.  "Nic's Grill" is only open from 11a-2p, Monday through Friday.  I got there a few minutes before 11a (they ended up opening at 1115a) and there was already about 10 people waiting!  Nic's is tiny, there's a bar of seats behind the open grill and about 10 seats off the bar.  I got the last seat at the bar.  The menu at Nic's is very basic, hamburgers and cheeseburgers with a variety of toppings, curly fries and drinks.  Even before they opened there were at least a dozen thick (at least a quarter pound) burgers on the grill.  Nic's is known for their fried onion topped burgers.  

Nic's Grill in Oklahoma City

Even before opening Nic's is getting ready for the hungry lunch rush

I didn't even get a chance to order when the guy cooking the burgers turned to me and asked if I wanted the cheeseburger (I guess he meant the combo, because that's what I ended up getting.  It was amazing watching this guy not only take the orders but acting as a one-man cooking machine prepping aa the orders waiting for the thick burgers to fully cook.  There was another counter guy taking drink orders and getting the huge burger balls onto the grill.  Everything at Nic's is cooked to order.  After a few minutes my hot and fresh burger was delivered, it was both delicious and messy.  My burger was topped with lettuce, mayo, mustard, tomato American cheese and delicious grilled onions.  The place was so busy I didn't think I would be able to get my book signed, but after paying my bill (Nic's only takes cash) I was told Nic was standing right behind me!  I had a great conversation with Nic, I remember Nic telling Guy that he cooks what he likes and then serves it to his customers, as he signed my book, what a gracious guy! 

Nic's Cheeseburger Combo

Thick burger goodness

Nic and I. Nic's a great guy!

This was one of my favorite burgers, I highly recommend it, make sure to get their early because it's really popular (delicious, too)!

My next stop was in the cool sounding town of Warr Acres, Oklahoma.  "Travel By Taste Deli and Market" is a very unassuming place in an older strip mall.  In this case looks are very deceiving. You walk into a market featuring all types of middle eastern food items.  You can also order meals at the counter and next door is a seating area.  As I was waiting to order the couple that was ordering ahead of me saw my Triple D book and asked me about my travels.  Just as was about to order they asked me if I would like to join them at their table, I was very happy to oblige.  After ordering the Shish Kebab sandwich, I joined them, they told me all about the restaurant.  It is run by a husband-and-wife team who emigrated to the OKC area from Iran.  There is a large community of Iranians in the area who came over as part of the oil business.  They offered me some of their chicken dip and hummus dip appetizer, both were really good.  My sandwich came and it was really good, pieces of meat kebabs with picked vegetables wrapped in grilled pita bread, it was tasty and filling.  My lunch mates got a grilled tilapia meal with grilled vegetables, it looked delicious.  Conversation was excellent, they told me that the restaurant has hosted many of the NBA players when they visit OKC to play the NBA OKC Thunder.  Being able to meet others in my travels is a great benefit of this journey, I really feel blessed!

Travel By Taste Deli and Market in Warr Acres, OK

Chicken Dip and Hummus appetizers

Shish Kebab Sandwich

Tilapia Meal with mixed veggies

It was great to meet the owners, who signed my book, and make new friends!

After a few hours back at the hotel I headed back out to try one place I had been tried years ago and a new place.  "Leo's BBQ" was featured in one of the early years.  I went to the restaurant and although the site said it was open, it was not.  The place looked a bit run down, but their food truck, along with different food truck were in the parking lot.  I finally noticed a sign stating that they were now set up in a local supermarket down the street.  I headed there and fund they had a small stand in the deli department.  There was a long line waiting to get BBQ.  I decided that since my next stop would be a food truck, I got a slice of their famous Banana Strawberry Cake, which they featured on their episode. The cake was delicious even after a few hours after buying it.

Leo's Stand in a local OKC market

Leo's famous Banana Strawberry Cake

From Leo's I headed to an Iced Tea stand called, HTeaO which would be hosting a food truck featured on Triple D.  "The Saucee Sicilian" would be in the parking lot for a few hours and it would be my only opportunity to try the truck.  They will be opening a brick-and-mortar store in the near future.  As I approached the truck the owner gave me a big hello and asked about the book.  We talked a little about Guy's visit and my travels.  

I also got to chat with a couple of the others working on the truck.  They feature about 10 specialty pizzas and a couple of appetizers.  I decided on the two appetizers, Focaccia Bread and Meatballs.  While they were getting my order ready, the owner told me to go in and get an iced tea, which because I bought food on the truck would be half priced.  Let me tell you that place had about 3 dozen different iced teas, both sweet and unsweet, a real awesome place!  The cashier asked me what I ordered on the truck, and I told him about my travels, a real nice young man.  When I went back out, I got my food and ate it in the car, one of the down sides of food truck dining with no seating areas. The bread was really good with a light oil and rosemary spread.  The meatballs were in tasty tomato sauce, perfect for dipping the bread.

Truck baked Focaccia 

A cup of sauce and meatballs

What a great second day in Oklahoma!

My last day in OKC started early.  I got up and went into the historic 23rd Street area to try a place that is open for breakfast and lunch.  "Honey Bunny Biscuit Co." is a brightly lit place that lives up to its name.  Although I was there at 7a the area seems to be lively all day long.  I was the first customer and looked over the menu which features both sweet and savory dishes featuring biscuits (hence the name) but also a number of different French Toast dishes, as well.

Inside the Honey Bunny Biscuit Co. in Oklahoma City

I chose the Biscuits and Gravy and had a choice of sausage or mushroom gravy.  I had to go with sausage gravy.  My meal came very quickly, two biscuits smothered in a heavy sausage gravy with huge chunks of sausage.  It was one of the best sausage gravy's I have ever had!  The gravy had a slight bite of heat, just enough for my palate. The biscuits were dense and tasty.  

Delicious Biscuits and Gravy

Before leaving I had one of the staff sign my book.  If you want a good breakfast when in OKC, I recommend Honey Bunny. 

A few years back I took a cruise with my brother Tom and sister-in-law Elaine and their friends Mark and Susan Robertson.  The Robertsons live in OKC, and Susan wanted to join me at what would be my final restaurant on this trip in OKC.  We met up at a Southern/Soul Food place called "Florence's Restaurant".  Florence's opened in 1952 and she has handed over operations of the place to her daughter, Victoria.  We were greeted by a very friendly and enthusiastic staff. The restaurant has two small rooms of tables along with a bar area.  The menu is very comforting.  I got the Shrimp Croquettes and Susan got the Fried Chicken.  While we waited Victoria came over to sign my book and spent about 10 minutes telling us about the history of Florence's and how they won the prestigious James Beard Award (the Oscar for restaurants).  She also uses all fresh vegetables and ingredients.  

Florence's Restaurant in Oklahoma City

Winner of the Prestigious James Beard Award

Florence's "Guy Ate Here" pan

After a short wait and time of catching up our meals arrived.  The portions were just perfect, I was worried when they told us that it included 3 sides, but I was pleasantly surprised that they perfectly sized. My croquettes were tasty with a nice shrimp taste, I got sweet corn, green beans and fresh spinach as my sides.  All were really good, but I especially enjoyed the spinach.  Susan raved about her meal and really enjoyed her pinto bean side dish.  Florence's Restaurant is a must if you visit OKC!

My Shrimp Croquette meal

Susan's Fried Chicken meal

Susan and I enjoying lunch at Florence's

My time in OKC was over and I got to try some really great restaurants and meet great people.  Everyone I encountered in OKC was awesome!  My trip would continue in Houston, but that's another story! My Triple D count stood at 865