Posts Tagged With: cooking

Tulsa, more than just the Drillers.

I’ve been loving life on the road now for 2 1/2 years. Homeless but never unsettled… traveling solo, but rarely alone. What a dream.

Volunteering abroad has allowed me to experience a wide range of lifestyles, careers, religions, traditions and so on. In regards to food and accommodations, I’ve been able to pleasantly earn my way through volunteering and bartering, that in itself has been an adventure!

Well, turns out there was opportunity right near my own back yard!

Work hard (barely) and play hard (relax) seemed to be the theme of my whirlwind trip to Tulsa. A few projects to assist in and a partner in harmless crime was my position to fill during this visit to see my long time family friend, Ryan. We spent a summer together over 15 years ago and lost touch until last year. Fun fact, we both traveled to Asia and Japan within months of each other without even knowing it!

Assignment number one? Taxes…. enough said.

How it began…

20140704-001937-1177768.jpg
The controlled chaos…

20140707-064427-24267587.jpg
The gorgeous results…

20140704-001044-644933.jpg

I’ll pause here for you to meet Chris Farley…. Cute, lazy and completely lovable.

20140706-063608-23768517.jpg

20140706-063556-23756242.jpg

Project number two called for some creative minds, dirty toes and one bandaid thanks to the gorgeous cactus plant.

20140705-085950-32390955.jpg

20140707-065621-24981757.jpg

20140707-065750-25070146.jpg

20140705-085959-32399029.jpg

If you know me at all, you’ll know that cooking is hardly a chore but rather a candidate for one of my top 5 favorite activities. With that said, playing in his kitchen was far from work and more of a treat. Friends, meet one of my happy places.

20140706-060832-22112589.jpg

Where was Ryan during my crazy culinary play-time? Clearly he knew that without his effort, it was going to be an all veggie dinner. I found him out back firing up the grill.

20140706-061357-22437330.jpg

The result of our powers combined equaled a huge hunk of meat and my roasted veggies, a cucumber-tomato-onion salad with a side of homemade guacamole and salsa with lentil chips. Yum.

20140705-225608-82568162.jpg

I’ll give you one guess to figure out which plate belonged to him…

20140707-215519-78919194.jpg

Ryan served up dessert with an unofficial-officially proper scotch tasting.

20140705-225730-82650833.jpg

20140705-225732-82652278.jpg

If you ever make your way through Tulsa and you have a great deal of appreciation for creative drinks in a unique ambiance, I highly suggest you check out Valkyrie.

They provide carefully selected craft beer, worldly wine and your classic cocktails using quality ingredients. By “quality” I mean they make their own mixers, infusions and juices with local produce and a lot of love. From lavender, jalepeño, to cucumber and homemade ginger beer, the menu offers a variety for the people who stick to the classics. It also caters to those of us who search for a new flavor with each order. Choose from the “shaken” or “stirred” list and wait for the masterpiece to present itself. I tried the “Shake rattle, bang your head” which was a brilliant combination of Gin, jalepeños, chartreuse, cucumber and lime.

20140707-175540-64540259.jpg

20140707-175543-64543368.jpg

20140707-175541-64541328.jpg

20140709-100239-36159113.jpg

After enjoying these wonderful beverages, what better way to test your hand-eye coordination than a few friendly games of pool and shuffle board. To prevent public embarrassment, I won’t say the name of who came in 2nd place… I’ll simply post a picture of who dominated both games.

20140710-132124-48084774.jpg

For my last evening, we went to a local restaurant that offered a classy menu with a fine wine list. Unfortunately we managed to order items that didn’t produce the flavors it had flaunted. I’m thinking we just caught the chef on an off day, so if you choose to dine at Tall Grass, I wish you an amazing edible experience!

Our selection for the appetizer was bone marrow. Notice how he just pushed the interior mass into a pudding-like pile. The first taste to hit my palette was salt. Not a “salty” flavor, but actual sodium… like I licked a salt shaker. There wasn’t a second flavor due to the speed in which I removed it from my mouth. Hmmm, no thank you.

20140707-224108-81668985.jpg

20140707-224109-81669988.jpg

For dinner I ordered a root salad with an apple cider vinegar dressing and he went for the pecan crusted halibut (sounds marvelous, right?). Dessert was a fancy wine that neither one of us had ever heard of, but definitely proved to be the most flavorful item on the table.

20140707-224640-82000873.jpg

The best photo of the evening was catching Ryan in his ever so sophisticated pose with a cheeky grin. Perfect for the energy of the evening, well done… Well done!

20140709-182410-66250019.jpg
Lastly, I’ll wrap up this post in gratitude for the very much appreciated moments outside. A breath of fresh air, solid sunshine and good conversation was a perfect compliment to this mini trip.

20140706-063202-23522683.jpg

20140706-063233-23553537.jpg

20140706-063234-23554490.jpg

Ryan, this unexpected and perfectly timed get-away was hopefully just the first of many. Cheers to Japanese bloody Mary’s, squeaky windmills, kale chips and the best sports team ever… The Drillers! Thank you for everything.

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Yao of cooking”

Again I start with the idea that people cross your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime. On this day, I’m confident to say that I acquired all three of them!

Days prior I met Claudia who was introduced to me by Bree (the girl I met on the flight to Asia). The three of us partook in Monk Chat that led us to a beautiful organic cafe with this sign posted:

20131122-162203.jpg

After meeting the enthusiastic owner we decided to return in celebration of her book release. Plus, free gourmet organic food, live music and a multi cultural crowd? Can’t really go wrong with any part of that!

Blending with us is on this little adventure is also sweet Maddi, a new gal in our dorm room that was easy to chat with and willing to join! When we arrived the double story cafe was packed full of smiles, glowing energy and enough bare feet to question the reason we even bother wearing shoes.

20131122-164140.jpg

20131122-164153.jpg

Downstairs there were sample trays full of her own recipes from flavorful spring rolls and sweet dip to a pumpkin-veggie-nut mixture that I could have swam in. We over heard the waiter ask the owner “how much food will be served?” Her response, “…until everyone has had their fill”. That alone should give you an idea of what kind of woman we’re talking about. Up stairs introduced you to floor tables, bean bags and more shining faces. You really couldn’t frown in a place like this!

20131122-172024.jpg

20131122-172044.jpg

20131122-172100.jpg

20131122-172112.jpg

20131122-172206.jpg

Recognize that jolly bearded man? Yes, another brilliant unexpected path crossing as that guy was the English teacher for the Monks that we just met. Turns out he’s also a fan of this quaint cafe trying to make a difference in the community. What joy reached his face when he glanced over and saw the three of us smiling back!

20131122-172644.jpg

There’s so much to look at in this shop! Have wandering eyes? Me too.

20131122-172733.jpg

20131122-172749.jpg

20131122-172759.jpg

20131122-172811.jpg

The food eating slows and now it’s time for sweet Yao and her colleagues to share a little bit about their goals in regards to supporting local growers and artists. This is when what I think is going to be a neat little taste of a locals perspective, turns and hits me with an unpredictable love-punch straight to the heart.
There were times I felt like they talking directly to me…. maybe in my teary eyed little world, they were.

20131122-174244.jpg

The band started back up and books start flying off the shelf. Not literally, but I do think there were definitely multiple reasons of why the books were jumping into the hands of all of these smiles. The author is a quality, personable human being that puts just as much effort into her community as she does in her recipes.

20131122-174705.jpg

Instead of paying a huge company to bind the books in large quantities, she found this local artist that personally hand-bound (I think that’s how you say it) every single one. When I approached the table, I took time to look at each design and picked my absolute favorite. She smiled and held my hand as she whispered “I only made one like that, I’m glad you chose it.”

Heart…melting…again.

20131122-174921.jpg

20131122-174951.jpg

You can imagine the natural high I was floating on as we left this building of love. I met people who had just the right thing to say at that moment, connected with some that I plan on seeing again and bonded even more so with my dear friend Bree.

Dear Yao,
Your soft voice speaks in volumes through your genuine eyes and passion towards helping others. I’m honored to have met you and I give thanks for your encouraging words and devotion to leading by example. You are a hero!

20131122-175634.jpg

Categories: Art, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.