Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting a Little Crusty

Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon The "Classen Curve" at the intersection of Classen Avenue and Grand Boulevard (near NW 63rd and Western Avenue) in northwest Oklahoma City is just bustling with activity.  There are lots of shops and restaurants catering to a variety of tastes.

One of my favorite restaurants at Classen Curve is Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza.  Upper Crust features a diverse menu and yet features hand-tossed thin New York style pizza cooked over open flame in one of its two brick ovens.  While there are pre-designed pizza options on the menu you can also have one made to suit your tastes.  Upper Crust also provides featured options which are not necessarily on the menu.  On my first visit the night's showcase pizza was a wonderful Italian meatball.

Tonight I joined some friends at Upper Crust and, again, was far from disappointed with my selections.  One of tonight's off-menu features was an Italian Nachos: fried spinach chips topped with spicy ground beef, peppers, pepperoncinis, olives, and a variety of cheeses.  Simply a light and delicious way to start the evening.

 Following the nacho appetizer, my friends and I each ordered the Farmer's Market Salad: Boston Bibb lettuce, mixed with arugula, fuji apples, candied walnuts, and Gorgonzola cheese and tossed with a tasty white balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  The crispness of the apples and the mixtures of the sweet and sour flavors provided such a wonderful in-between course.

For our main course we made selections from the pre-designed menu.  Each pizza has an approximate 12" diameter and can easily feed two (even three if you've enjoyed salad and appetizers).  My friends slit a Numbers (pie sauce, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy sausage, crispy prosciutto, and jalapenos) while I selected a Flying Pig (pig sauce, fresh mozzarella, “bricked” chicken, smoked bacon, and ranch swirl).  The Numbers looked so delicious and spicy.  The Flying Pig is a bacon lover's dream; the flavors just worked so well together.  I'm so glad that I was able to bring about half of it home with me so I'll have another round of enjoyment for lunch tomorrow!  The Flying Pig is definitely one of my favorite pre-designeds.  Perhaps I'll build my own next time just to see how creative I can get.

the Numbers (well, 2/3rds of one)

the Flying Pig (half covered with freshly grated Parmesan)

Whether you're out for the start of a night on the town or just venturing out of your neighborhood for a nice bite to eat you should consider Upper Crust.  You won't be disappointed by their pizzas.  I do still intend to try something else from their menu and yet I've always gone for the pizza.

Until next time, happy eating is only an adventure away.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pho - nomenal

Pho Lien Hoa on Urbanspoon A cultural delight has developed in the heart of one of Oklahoma City's historic neighborhoods.  Beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the early 1980s, refugees from southeast Asia (primarily Vietnamese) began settling near the intersection of NW 23rd and Classen.  Numerous Vietnamese restaurants, bakeries, grocery outlets, etc., were soon opened.  As the visual characteristics of the community began to reflect this cultural arrival this area of town earned the nickname "Little Saigon".  This community was even featured in a National Geographic article called "73106: Lemongrass on the Prairie."

As the community has matured in a thriving and important part of the greater Oklahoma City community, a more politically correct"Asian District" now identifies the area.  Many of the smaller grocery outlets have given way to a large supermarket, Super Cao Nguyen, which provides a multitude of imported grocery items (not just from east or southeast Asia) as well as fresh meats and produce.  People from all over the metropolitan area know that this community is the best place for east and southeast Asian culinary arts.

As a celebration for my recent birthday, some friends wanted to take me out for dinner.  They left open to me the choice of where to eat and, since they had already taken me here before, I announced that I would love to eat at Pho Lein Hoa. This restaurant features the Vietnamese noodle soup known as Pho (pronounced fuh).  Pho includes rice noodles, any mixture of beef (or sometimes chicken), a variety of herbs and spices, and thin transparent broth.  Pho will often be served with a side of fresh been spouts, basil leaves, peppers, and limes (for juice) to help add additional flavor and texture to your soup.

Once at Pho Lein Hoa each member of my party had an order of two of their delicious spring rolls.  These Vietnamese versions include a rice paper casing filled with vermicelli noodles, lettuce, thin strips of pork and shrimp.  The spring rolls are then served with a side of peanut sauce for dipping.

I then ordered the "P9" or the Pho Chin for my entree.  This pho is prepared as noted above but the beef preparation was a well done brisket.  I did add lots of shredded basil, some sprouts, a couple of slices of jalapeno peppers and a little bit of spicy Sriracha chili sauce.  I ate and ate and ate and it was all so wonderful.  To me, the best part of the whole bowl was the little bit of broth left at the bottom.  By this point all of the excess spices and flavorings had migrated to the bottom and their high concentration within the remaining broth was so over powering and yet amazing.  I don't recommend spooning out the excess broth flavor mixture; just pick up the bowl and drink it!

While there are many places within the Asian District, end even in other neighborhoods in Oklahoma City, I will never remove Pho Lein Hoa from my list of OKC's "must eats".

Until next time, happy eating is only an adventure away!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Needed Some SPICY Comfort

McAlister's Deli on Urbanspoon For the past few weeks I've had this cold thing that just won't leave.  It's intensity comes and goes and today it was especially strong while trying to resume work following Winter Break.  Since I was not feeling all that great I was definitely in need of some comfort food and a warm sandwich and hot bowl of soup just sounded like it would "hit the spot".

A co-worker/friend and I ventured to our local McAlister's Deli in Moore, OK.  McAlister's is one of my regular lunch stops because I just love the food and fabulous sweet tea.  While purusing the menu the word "spicy" just kept calling my name for my sandwich choice and I ultimately settled on the Spicy Southwest Chicken Griller.  This delight includes: "sliced grilled chicken breast topped with guacamole, fire-roasted corn and poblano pepper relish, pepper jack cheese and chipotle ranch on a ciabatta roll."  It is just wonderful to have all of those flavors in my mouth at once.

With your sandwich selection you have the choice of one of McAlister's wonderful side dishes.  Typically I'll go for some mac & cheese which would have fit wonderfully in with my comfort food quest today.  But today, in addition to the "spicy", I also wanted a nice cup of soup.  For an extra $2 you can have a cup of soup as your sandwich's side and I selected their rich and cream broccoli cheese soup.  The soup today was just a tad thinner than I prefer but the flavors were all still there.

And of course, in my opinion, not trip to McAlister's is complete without a cup of that fabulous sweet tea.  I just love to guzzle that stuff down which eating my meal and smile when the wait staff comes by to provide a refill.  One more refill for the road and I am just in sweet tea heaven.

Sometimes you just need to comfort food (spicy or not) and McAlister's delivered today.  I returned to work and a long meeting with a little extra "giddy-up" in my "go".

Until next time, happy eating is only an adventure away!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bazinga for Red Beans and Rice

Jim's Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon A couple of days ago I learned that my favorite place for fried chicken had closed down.  RIP to Bobo's Chicken!  Your deliciousness ... no, Bobo-liciousness ... will never be forgotten.

Now I begin my quest for the next "great" chicken place in Oklahoma.  Using the member based rating system on I decided to plan a visit to Jim's Fried Chicken in Nicoma Park, just outside of Oklahoma City.  Jim's had a 94% approval rating and some pretty great reviews.  Today, I was able to convince some friends to join me.

Jim's is housed in a small stand alone building along NW 23rd Street.  As we were arriving near 2:00 PM it wasn't a surprise to find only one other car in the parking lot.  We walked in and immediately heavenly scents greeted us; we all smiled up as we looked at each in reaction to the aroma.  As we ordered, a line began to form behind us.  This small restaurant was suddenly very crowded; most of these next orders were "to go" which might be best due to the small nature of the dining area.

We each ordered 2 pieces.  The others ordered one of the meal packages which came with choices of small sides.  I ordered a la carte and paired a medium size red beans and rice (a dish with lots of popular mentions in Urbanspoon's reviews) and a medium size macaroni and cheese (a hand written notice of this being available today).

The chicken (a wing and breast for me) was so warm and juicy and it had some nice spices in it.  It was GOOD chicken and yet, sadly, it was not good enough to rival Bobo's for me.  The one thing, however, that will most likely keep me returning to Jim's will be the red beans and rice.  I have a family back ground with strong southern Louisiana and Cajun influences.  I've had some amazing RB&R at a variety of places (like Lea's Lunchroom in Lecompte, LA) and this RB&R is absolutely the BEST that I've had outside of Louisiana!  It is smooth, well cooked (each the beans and the rice), WONDERFULLY seasoned, and even has andouille sausage mixed in (I would have liked a tad more andouille).

The RB&R alone will be enough to get me to return to Jim's and while there I'm sure I'll enjoy more chicken and mac&cheese (other group members also recommend the fried okra and fried fruit pies).

I do highly recommend that you venture to Jim's Fried Chicken and check it out for yourself.  Try the chicken, sure, but make sure and try the red beans and rice!!

Until next time, happy eating is only an adventure away!


I've thought about starting this blog on food for quite some time.  I do have another blog which has a theme of exploring new locations and/or adventures.  While food explorations fit within that, sometimes my postings her may be more about just describing a restaurant, what I ate, how well I enjoyed it, etc. and not really have as strong of a linkage for the other blog's theme.

Additionally, I've already developed a little bit of a knack for writing about food.  As of right now, I have written 54 reviews on  I really like Urbanspoon as a way to learn about a restaurant before visiting, seeing how others react to this place.  Urbanspoon also has a mobile phone app which features a "slot machine" way of randomly selecting a restaurant by location within a metro area, the type of cuisine, and the price range.

Urbanspoon, however, has geographic limitations.  It only allows reviews for restaurants in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia.  I like to travel and I've eaten (and no doubt will eat into the future) at places around the world.  While I've actually reviewed one restaurant in London, there are many other places which I cannot review through this platform.  Perhaps the forum of this blog will let me provide "a voice" for or to help showcase those other culinary delights.

I'm sure from time to time I'll even repost many of those urbanspoon reviews here.  I've been told that some are wonderful, even when they can get a bit snarky.

Until next time, happy eating is only an adventure away!