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Archive for October, 2015

Food Friday: Aloha Shave Ice and Coffee Shoppe

Aloha sign

For a few years now I had driven past the cute little blue and yellow building on the southwest corner of NW 39th Expressway and Council Road.  If you went by there during the summer, you couldn’t help but notice all the cars in the parking lot and families eating shaved ice.  It took me a while to finally work up the nerve to stop, I picked a nice hot day this past summer and we got to enjoy some of the best shaved ice I’ve ever eaten.

They have over 50 single flavors and at least that many custom mixes.  But the real treat is to have the shaved ice made “Hawaiian Style”, this is where they add cream to the shaved ice.  All is served in a flower shaped cup, with the ice in a huge mound on top.  We were totally addicted to them after the first visit and now go back as often as possible, trying different flavors every time.

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My Bethany Broncos shaved ice.

In late August, they were closed for a few weeks to move into a new permanent building at the same location.  And with that move they have introduced not only coffee but real breakfast and lunch options.  It is a nice building with a cozy interior and much better parking.  They don’t have a big menu for the food but they do serve breakfast all day, which is a big plus for me.  A few weeks ago I tried the breakfast sandwich; egg, with your choice of cheese and meats on a warm croissant.   Truthfully, it was the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had from a restaurant.  Mae had her favorite, mac and cheese, served extra cheesy so she gave it her approval.

As good as the food is the main reason to go is the shaved ice, and spend the extra money to get it “Hawaiian Style”.  I give Aloha five strips of bacon.

Address: 8000 NW 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK.

Hours: Monday- Friday 7am- 9pm; Saturday 8am- 9pm; Sunday 1pm- 9pm.

Aloha

Outside of Aloha, Bethany, OK 2015.

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Inside of Aloha, Bethany, OK, 2015.

Haunted Fort Washita

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The west and south barracks at Fort Washita, OK, 2015.

Hey, it’s the week of Halloween so let’s have some fun and talk about one of the most haunted places in Oklahoma- Fort Washita.  I had heard the stories for years, ghosts wandering the property, strange experiences, weird feelings.  So back in 2002, we decided to visit (this was before children) and yeah, the place definitely had a creepy vibe.  We never actually saw a ghost or had anything unexplained happen to us, but we both felt like someone was watching us the whole time we were there.  After that visit we have talked about the place just giving us the creeps and that we never wanted to go back.  So like morons, we went back a couple of weeks ago, taking Mae with us this time just to see if a pre-teen girl could get the spirits worked up.

The fort was placed on top of a hill not far from where the Washita River joins the Red River in 1842.  It was built by the military to protect the Chickasaws and Choctaws from other Indian tribes.  The original fort was spread out over an area of seven square miles and contained almost 100 buildings constructed from locally quarried limestone.  By 1861, the fort was abandoned and taken over by confederate troops as a supply post.  Although no battles were ever fought here, near the end of the war the confederates burned the buildings and abandoned the post.  The United States military turned over the property in 1870 to the Chickasaws who then allotted the land to the Colbert family.  The state of Oklahoma took over ownership of the land in 1962, this is when the historical society added the front entrance and started work on the reconstruction of the south barracks.  In 1965 the fort was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The south and west barracks in background with remains of the commissary in front, Fort Washita, OK, 2015.

As I said earlier, my first trip was in 2002, you can walk or drive around the ruins.  The south barracks weren’t open to tour but you could go in the rebuilt chaplains’ quarters and the D.H. Cooper cabin.  On this recent visit we discovered that the rebuilt south barracks had burned down in 2010 but everything else was the same as before.  I didn’t get that same strange feeling I had the first time and neither did my husband, even though he told me later at one point near the old post road he heard “thundering hooves”.  I didn’t hear or see anything and neither did Mae even though she kept her guard up.  I was hoping that at least one ghost would come and scare her.  It’s an interesting place to visit and if you see a ghost or hear something unusual don’t be surprised.  The fort is in far southern Oklahoma near Durant and Tishomingo off state highway 199.

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South barracks at Fort Washita before they burned in 2010, Fort Washita, OK, 2002.

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Map of Fort Washita, 2015.

Olustee Public Library and Park

Olustee library

If you ever find your self having to go down Oklahoma Highway 6 in the far southwestern part of the state, you will go through the tiny town of Olustee.  As you enter the town you will go right past the library and park and except for a small sign you might not know it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

The park itself is interesting enough- a full block with old style playground equipment, you know, the stuff most people my age played on before the safety nazis took over.  You have the big old metal slide, teeter-totter, and swings.  There is an old Frisco caboose sitting in the northwest corner of the park and a sidewalk trail that leads around the whole park.  The park came into existence in 1920 when the New State Womens Club developed the property to help improve the quality of life in Olustee.  The Womens Club had been formed in 1907 to help establish a library and park in the small town.

Throughout the 1920’s members of the club took care of the park by planting trees and in 1925 the club turned over ownership of the property to the town of Olustee. Plans were made in 1921 for a small building to be placed in the middle of the park to be used as a library.  But the depression slowed the development of that plan.  In 1936, two members of the Womens Club met with representatives from the Works Progress Administration to see if they could get help with the library project.  It was approved quickly and work started on the building in April 1936 with the stone quarried from a local farm.  Since 1907 there had been temporary locations for a library in Olustee and by August 1936 a permanent building was done and filled with books donated not only by the Womens club but other residents of the community.  The New State Womens Club maintained not only the library but the park from the opening until the 1990’s.  At that point the library closed, with all the books and town records still inside.  The library and park were placed on the National Register in March of 2008.

I would love to go in the building, just to see the records and journals left behind.  The park is just a normal park.  I tried to get Mae to go down the slide, but it was 106 degrees out and she had a dress on, so it wasn’t happening.  It’s an interesting stop if you happen to be in that area.

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Olustee Public Library, Olustee, Oklahoma, 2015.

Olustee park

Olustee Park, Olustee, Oklahoma, 2015.

Food Friday: Tucker’s Onion Burger

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It’s hard to find good hamburgers in Oklahoma City.  Don’t really like the national chain restaurants, but  there are some good local places to eat.  One of my new favorites is Tucker’s Onion Burger.  This is a good old-fashioned greasy onion burger, the way they’re supposed to be.

The menu is pretty basic, you have burgers, either single or double with or without cheese.  They also have turkey burgers but really if you’re going to a burger place you shouldn’t be concerned about your diet.  There is also a burger on the menu called the Mother Tucker.  Only order this if you are hungry, a pound of meat and onions with cheese and bacon extra.  If you do order, wait for the staff to announce it.  I’m not going to give it away but it’s great and I laugh every time.  All of the beef, cheese, veggies, and buns are locally sourced from within 300 miles of Oklahoma City, so nothing frozen.  They only recently found a bacon vendor, so this delicious addition is new to the menu.  Fries are hand cut and served in a bag seasoned with sea salt.

My first trip was a few years ago when we went to the location on NW 23rd Street.  The owners repurposed an old convenience store into a small restaurant in 2010.  Food was good but the place was just too small.  Not long afterward they opened their next location in the new shopping center Classen Curve.  Much better, bigger restaurant so not as crowded.  Last year they opened a third location on north May Ave, bigger still and this one seems to be the busiest.

Tucker’s is just a basic hamburger place with good simple onion burgers.  I give it five strips of bacon- shut your mouth.

Address: 324 NW 23rd Street, Oklahoma City; 5740 N Classen Blvd (Classen Curve), Oklahoma City; 15001 N. May Ave (north of Quail Springs Mall), Oklahoma City.

 

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The Edmond Right-Of-Way Graves

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So everyone knows that the intersection of Broadway and 33rd Street in Edmond is bad.  Poor design, too much traffic, and lights that never seem to change.  I hate that intersection and try to avoid it at all costs but when I do get stuck there, I wonder if the traffic troubles in the area are a ghostly legacy of the two men buried near there.  What?  What do you mean?  There isn’t a cemetery near there, can’t be any graves.  Well that is where you are wrong, they aren’t easy to get to but yes, there are two graves just northwest of the intersection along the railroad tracks.

Let’s go back to 1886, surveyors for the Southern Kansas Railway (later part of the Santa Fe Railway) picked a location at mile marker 103 (it means one hundred and three miles south of Arkansas City, Kansas) for a coaling station on the rail line.  A few months later in September the crews came through to “scrape” the land and prepare the grade for the rail line to be laid.  On September 17th, two members of this crew, Frank Mosier and Willie Davis were killed in a fight and then buried along the rail line just a few miles south of marker 103.  What was the fight about?  Did they kill each other?  Was there really a fight?  Did they die of something else, disease or heat exhaustion maybe?  Many historians have tried to uncover the truth but what really happened to these two men is lost in time.  All we really know is that the two men were buried along the railroad right of way, side by side.

For many years the railroad tended to the graves.  There were two markers for the men, Willie Davis has a small iron cross and Frank Mosier had a stone with his name carved into it.  But as time went on, the graves had become overgrown with weeds and grass.  There have been some people who tried to take care of the graves but with the development of Edmond it was hard to keep the location clean.  At some point vandals broke Mosier’s stone and scattered the pieces in the field.  Some Edmond residents put up a wooden cross and someone has put gravel over the graves.  In 1979 the Oklahoma Historical Society put a granite marker at the site and embedded Mosier’s stone into it.  The Santa Fe railway still owns the site but has not done a good job tending to it.

This is not an easy place to find.  There is really no way to the graves.  You can try to park along the businesses that backup to the rail line but there is a very big ditch to get through in order to get to the tracks.  The other option is the one I took, park at the business on 33rd Street, then walk the rails around the curve to the site.  I will warn you- this is not safe and possibly illegal.  It is a blind curve and if you aren’t paying attention the train can come around very quickly.  I went to the site on a slow rail traffic afternoon, so I was lucky but it was still scary and any little noise sent me down the rail grade to the ditch.  I’m also not going to say the site is haunted, but I just wanted to get out of there, felt very uncomfortable.

So every time you are around the intersection of Broadway and 33rd Street in Edmond, look to the northwest at the railroad track and think about the two men who lost their lives and now reside permanently in that location.  Maybe they are “controlling” the traffic flow at that intersection.

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The grave marker of Willie Davis, Edmond, Ok, 2015.

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The granite marker with Frank Mosier’s headstone embedded next to the grave site, Edmond, OK, 2015.

Food Friday: Hunan Wok

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I have been eating at Hunan Wok for about twenty years.  My first visit was a lunch date with my soon-to-be husband back in the fall of 1995.  At that time there were two locations, one in Memorial Square at Penn & Memorial (the old shopping center where the AMC theater was), the second was in the Rockwell Plaza on the southwest corner of Rockwell and NW Expressway.  Since we both worked near Memorial Road, we met at that location.  While I had never eaten Chinese buffet, my husband had been going there for years.  After that first visit, it quickly became one of my favorite places to eat.  We usually only visited the Memorial Road location until we bought a house near NW Expressway, then we visited that one more.  The staff had gotten used to seeing us all the time.

The location in Memorial Square closed back in the early 2000’s but the Rockwell Plaza location had moved to its own building east of Rockwell on NW Expressway in 1997.  So we are very familiar with this restaurant.  Service is always good and most of the time the food is excellent.

Best thing on the menu is General Tso’s chicken.  I absolutely love the way they cook this, always nice and gooey.  The fried rice and sweet and sour chicken also rank high with me.  Fried shrimp is ok, could be better but the Crab Rangoon is great.  Now they do have things on the menu like crawfish that I just won’t eat, but remember it’s a buffet so you have plenty of choices.  They also have a Mongolian Barbeque, I’ve never tried it so I don’t know anything about it.  The sushi has a lot to be desired (plus need to list the ingredients).  One of my personal favorites for desert is the Chinese cheesecake, a little bite sized cheesecake in a wonton wrapper.  These are just wonderful, much different taste than any cheesecake I’ve tried before.  Like I said earlier, most of the time the food is good but I have been there on off nights, when some selections just aren’t as fresh.  Also there was a change in ownership around 2010 and some items disappeared which has disappointed me.

This is one of my favorite places for Chinese buffet in Oklahoma City.   I give it five strips of bacon and you might even see me there some night.

Address: 6812 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City.  Just east of the Rockwell on the south side of the road, building sits back from the highway between the Rockwell Northwest shopping center (not sure why it’s called that, sits on the southeast corner) and Slick Willie’s.

 

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Food Friday: Cajun King

Cajun King

Update Sept 1st, 2021:  No longer a buffet.

Last week we all wanted something different for dinner.  After shooting down several suggestions, my husband said that he wanted to try Cajun King at NW 63rd and MacArthur.  I’m not a big fan of Cajun food, so I really wasn’t crazy about this idea and even complained about it as we pulled in the parking lot.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, right in the middle of a strip mall but we were greeted by a friendly gentleman with a thick Cajun accent.  The restaurant is set up buffet style, so while my husband paid, me and Mae grabbed some plates and started filling up.  On my first trip I had some fried shrimp, crab balls, potatoes au gratin, and a biscuit.  It was all good, the biscuit was light and buttery, the fried shrimp and crab balls were really good, and the potatoes were so good that I had another big helping on my second trip.  Mae and my husband had some of the same things that I had but they got the macaroni and cheese instead of potatoes.

So while they were raving about that, our Cajun server brought a big plate full of fried catfish almondine to the table and wanted us to try it.  I have no problem telling people that I hate catfish (even if my dad loved it).  My grandmother used to fry it up every so often and even though she could cook anything, I hated that catfish.  So keep it in mind that I haven’t eaten catfish since I was 9 and when he put that plate in front of me, I tried to be nice but knew I wasn’t going to eat it.  My husband, who will eat just about anything, tried the catfish first, “Hey, this is pretty good.  Try some.”  While I was giving him the stink eye for the suggestion, Mae grabbed a piece and started eating.  “Yeah, this is pretty good.  I like it.”  If they both like it I might as well try it, so with that I tried a piece as well and guess what, it was good.  It came with a honey type dipping sauce the chef calls “tiger sauce” and for the first time in my life I liked catfish.  So the three of us catfish haters finished off the plate of it in no time.

After all we ate on the buffet and the big pile of catfish, we were stuffed but still had our beignets.  Every meal comes with the catfish almondine and beignets.  I had never tried these either, but they were good as well.  Deep-fried fritters with lots of powdered sugar on top.  None of us really had any room left but no one was going to leave those wonderful treats sitting.  But just a side note, don’t let your kids wear black when they eat these, the powdered sugar gets everywhere (and yes, Mae had on black).  As we were leaving, our server asked if we had tried the bread pudding.  No, we hadn’t tried it.  Once again I’m not a big fan and I was too full anyway.  He didn’t like that answer, so he went over, got a to-go box and filled it with bread pudding.  He handed it to me and said to try it, I would love it.  So the next day we did and it was just as good as everything else.  Next time I go I’ll try everything because the owners proved me wrong twice.  Food was great and the service was awesome so I give it five strips of bacon.

Address: 5816 NW 63rd Street, Oklahoma City.  Southeast corner just east of MacArthur on NW 63rd.

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