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Eat Local!

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For those of you that may not be in the know and still finding your selves dragging your loved ones to eat at the same old boring place once a week, it might surprise you to find out that Oklahoma City has become a great spot for good food over the past few years. Once a haven for chain restaurants with no personality, the metro area has seen the arrival of several interesting concepts in dining options and is well on its way to becoming a place where you can try something you’ve never tried, find a new favorite, or just go out and appreciate the talents of our many gifted local chefs. With exciting new restaurants and quirky food trucks popping up all the time, OKC foodies might even want to try to recreate some of their favorite foods in their own kitchens. So before you start salivating over the delicious options out there, head over to your local branch of the Metropolitan Library System and check out one of these great books that we’ve paired with some of our favorite local eateries.

 

Pancakes and Waffles by Kate Habershon

What do we always say is the most important thing? If you’re thinking “family” you might be right, but we’re not getting that sentimental here. We’re talking about most important of the things we eat: breakfast. Waffles are a staple breakfast food with a basic recipe that lends itself well to modification, guaranteeing that almost anyone will find a version they love. In OKC, there is no better place to enjoy waffles, sweet or savory, than Waffle Champion. If getting dressed to enjoy waffles is a deterrent for you, you can make delicious waffles from home in your PJ’s with Kate Habershon’s Pancakes and Waffles.

America’s Best Breakfasts by Lee Schrager

Maybe waffles and pancakes aren’t your thing; you might be more of a bacon, eggs and hash browns person. There are plenty of diners in OKC that serve up amazing hearty breakfast foods, but if you’re near downtown you should give Sunnyside Diner a try. They serve everything from traditional omelets to pork tamales, and offer complementary coffee while you wait for your food. John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast features a wide variety of breakfast options, so you can emulate Sunnyside’s selection from the comfort of your own kitchen. Another local favorite is Classen Grill, where you can enjoy a comforting short-stack or a delicious breakfast quesadilla. For a look at local breakfast favorites from across the country, check out America’s Best Breakfasts.

If you haven’t already stopped reading because you ran out to get breakfast, you might be thinking, “Breakfast sounded so good, now what’s for lunch?” Are we having salad, pizza, or maybe a delicious sandwich on locally made bread with interesting and unique ingredients?

 

The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches by Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen

Ahhh the sandwich. Often seen as the most mundane of meals, this humble creation can rise above its roots to become something truly sublime. Take for instance the Vietnamese sandwich known as Banh Mi. This delicious sandwich can be created a variety of ways, but usually includes pickled carrots and daikon radish, along with any of a variety of meat or tofu options, and fresh cilantro and peppers, all served on a warm baguette. Lucky for you, there are plenty of great banh mi options here in OKC, with Lang’s Bakery on Classen deserving a special shout out. Or, if you like making your own sandwiches, try Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen’s The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches.

400 Best Sandwich Recipes: From Classics & Burgers to Wraps & Condiments by Alison Lewis

If you’re still in the mood for a sandwich but want something a little less exotic, try someplace else. Literally. The Someplace Else Deli and Bakery on Western Avenue makes a top-notch BLT, and the rest of their sandwiches are nothing to scoff at either. Afterwards if you’re feeling inspired, check out 400 Best Sandwich Recipes: From Classics & Burgers to Wraps & Condiments by Alison Lewis. This book is sure to give you some great ideas for your next glorious sandwich design.

Next up, what goes better with sandwiches than soup? And of course you can’t talk soup in OKC without talking about your favorite pho restaurant.

 

Bowl: Vegetarian recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One Dish Meals by Lukas Volger

Pho Cuong looks like a cute, tiny, teal colored house right on the corner of 33th & Classen. But step inside and the smell of spice filled pho broth and fresh cilantro will let you know that it is not a someone’s sweet home, but instead a cozy little restaurant where you will feel like staying and eating bowl after bowl. Not only do they have the best pho in town (in my opinion) but I am also super partial to their egg rolls and Vermicelli Bowls. If you are not familiar with pho (and even if you are) Pho Cuong is your place to go, as even my friends from out of town request Pho Cuong on their visits!

For those of you that venture out of OKC every once in awhile to the surrounding lands, Pho Lan is located in Moore, OK and totally worth the drive. As opposed to Pho Cuong, Pho Lan has a more modern space and feel, but the pho is equally delicious. Piping hot bowls full of rice noodles, flavorful broth, and your choice of meats (I choose rare steak) make pho a filling, comforting and delicious meal. I fill my bowl full of lime juice, Sriracha and tons of Thai basil, but the choices are many and all yours. Pho Lan also has great fresh shrimp rolls and steamed pork dumplings! If you’ve ever been tempted to try making a bowl of some of this delicious noodle soup for yourself but weren’t sure where to start, check out Bowl: Vegetarian recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One Dish Meals by Lukas Volger.

The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni-Marie Newman

Are all of these noodles, bread, and hash browns starting to weigh you down yet? Let’s pretend to get a little healthy for a minute and talk veggies. Some out there might find it interesting that it’s actually not that hard to be a vegetarian here in the land of steak and burgers. One of the more established veggie options, The Red Cup, has been around for what seems like forever. They spend each day serving coffee, delicious breakfast and lunch, and for those with more strict dietary needs they even offer vegan and gluten-free options. If you’re a fan of their veggie burgers, you might want to check out The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni-Marie Newman.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

If you’ve taken your veggie consumption a little farther and cut out the dairy then you’re probably pretty excited about one of OKC’s favorite food trucks, The Loaded Bowl, opening its own restaurant. Between now and the time their new doors open you might want to try to make some of your own vegan dishes at home with vegan blogger Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Isa Does It. For desert you can make yourself something from her book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and see how they compare to the cookies over at Mim’s Bakery.

Steak by Mark Schatzker

If all this weight-watching, hippiefied, veggie fare ain’t quite your cup of tea, well partner, you might be more interested in a steak. Make your way down to Cattleman’s in Historic Stockyard City. Cattleman’s holds the honor of being Oklahoma’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, and it’s clear why. High standards and an in-house aging process ensures that Cattleman’s steaks are top quality and worth every penny. To learn more about what goes into raising, aging, and perfectly searing a delicious rib-eye, filet, or t-bone, check out Mark Schatzker’s Steak, documenting his search for the perfect cut.

The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson

For those of us looking to celebrate the farm-to-fork trend, look no further than Ludivine. Another carnivore’s delight, Ludivine’s menu is constantly changing because they source from local ranchers, farmers, and foragers. It’s a great place to try something new—rest assured it will be great! Adventurous types can sample bone marrow, boar pate, liver mousse, gizzards, duck leg, and a delicious locally raised Wagyu steak. Find out more about eating the entire animal in The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson. This cookbook celebrates unusual cuts for the home cook, and makes eating sweetbreads, brains, heart, tongue, and even neck and bacon knuckles possible at your dinner table.

Bon Appétit!

 

Reagan Kloiber (pho), Judie Matthews (meat), Jakob Hertzel (sandwiches), and Breanna Salzsieder (breakfast) contributed to this post. 

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