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Archive for September, 2022

Food Friday: Donut Man

Imagine sitting at the light to turn from May to NW 36th, as you start to turn you see a cute van in red and white. I had just enough time to read Donut Man on the side, when I got home I looked it up. There was the cute van and it was a food truck. I started following the Facebook page right then and kept track of their location. Problem was, there was never a point that we would be in the same area at the same time. For years I have wanted to try these donuts and finally the stars aligned last Saturday. Normally he parks somewhere in Mustang on Saturday mornings and I was going to be in Mustang for the Old Volks Show.

We hunted the Donut Man van down at Highway 152 and Mustang Road, he was parked in a commercial parking lot. The line wasn’t long, so I had time to take pictures of this adorable little van while Big K and Mae ordered. We had already decided to get a “bucket”, 35 mini donuts and we just mixed and matched the flavors. These are made fresh in the van, so it was a short wait but it was worth it. Served up warm, these donuts are the best donuts I have ever eaten (and I will call myself a donut expert). They aren’t quite as light as a Krispy Kreme but much lighter than most at “regular” donut shops. Not too sweet either, the toppings take care of that part. We got blueberry, maple, Oreo, and caramel as our toppings. The 3 of us had no trouble taking down these mini donuts and had to leave before we got more.

Looks like the Donut Man has been around for about 4 years. As for his van, it’s name is Kirby and it’s a 1956 International Metro. These vans were produced in different variations by International from 1938 to 1975. They were mostly used as delivery vans, this one in particular was a mail truck in California.

I will say these are definitely the best donuts in the OKC metro, and for that matter, the state. Follow the Donut Man on Facebook to find out where he will be each weekend. I have seen that he travels all over the metro area. I will give him 5 strips of bacon as long as they come with some donuts.

First Christian Church

When I woke up this morning and checked my phone, I had several texts from friends and family who know I love Oklahoma history. Concerned I read the one from Big K first, “The egg church has been torn down”. I hoped that what he said wasn’t true but a quick look at my Facebook feed confirmed it. The iconic First Christian Church, the “Egg Church”, was a pile of rubble.

The First Christian Chruch was one of the first churches organized in Oklahoma City. Historical records show that their first baptismal was in June 1889. By 1910, the congregation had built a new home for their church at 1104 N Robinson after occupying a few other buildings. This would be their home for many years until the completion of the new sanctuary (this building does still stand and is on the National Register of Historic Places). In 1946, the minister of the church, Bill Alexander, helped the church buy land that had previously been part of the Edgemere Golf Club for a new location. By 1947, an outdoor auditorium had been built. The Sunday evening services were held here, “Edgemere Under the Stars”. On Christmas Day in 1953, the church announced its “Christmas present to Oklahoma City”, a new modern building that was a landmark to all who could see it, the “church of tomorrow”. The church was designed by architects R. Duane Conner and Fred Pojezny. They used concrete to make the large dome by pouring the concrete on steel mesh that was laid on a wooden form. After the concrete cured, the form was removed.

Sunday, December 23rd, 1956, the new church welcomed its first worshipers. It is said that over 2000 people attended that first service in the new sanctuary. The architecture for the time was so spectacular that the church was featured in Life magazine in 1957. This church was a center for the community for many years. It hosted events from weddings to funerals, from school concerts to the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. But most importantly it served as “The Center” during the time shortly after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995. Set up by the church, the medical examiner, and a group of funeral directors, the American Red Cross also set up in the building. It served as a safe haven from the media for those who lost loved ones in the attack. It’s rumored that Oprah Winfrey herself even went to the church to help the victims and their families. For 16 days after the bombing, it was a place of solace for those closely affected. In 2016, the First Christian Chruch put the property up for sale. The size of the congregation had shrunk and the building was becoming expensive to repair. By 2018, the first whispers of demolition started. Many tried to fight back, even trying to get the city council involved. Even though it had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, it was at risk. A couple of other churches stepped forward to buy it but in the long run the property just needed to many repairs.

I never got to go in the building. I only got a few pictures back in 2019, never thought to go back and take more. A sad day for Oklahoma history and for those who love mid-century designs.

Food Friday: Basic Knead

I don’t often get to eat on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, but when I get to Norman, I try to stop by Basic Knead. This is a small university run cafe that specializes in personal pizzas and pastas.

I learned about it last year when Mae was a freshman. She was trained to work there just in case someone called out. Soon I was hearing about the pasta she was eating almost every night and I wanted to try it. So one Saturday night last year, we drove down and got our own personal pasta dishes. The have several options but I went with a penne pasta, drizzled with alfredo, then added pepperoni, mushrooms, and olives. After a topping of cheese, the dish is placed in a brick oven to be fired. After a wait, my pasta dish was delivered and it was glorious. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the cheese was melted crisp. On my next trip, I got a personal pizza. This was prepared similarly, personal sized crust, with alfredo, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, and topped with cheese. Baked in the same fired oven, this pizza was just as good as a pizza you would get at Hideaway (and much better than the national pizza places).

Basic Knead was her go to dinner spot for the fall semester but it was shut down in the spring due to not enough employees. Mae was anxious when she went back to campus this fall, would her beloved Basic Knead be open again. Fortunately it is and she says it’s just as good as last year. So if you find yourself on campus and looking for some pasta or pizza, try Basic Knead. You can find it south of Lindsey in Cross Village.

Address: 1695 Asp Ave., Norman.

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

If you want to learn about Oklahoma’s history way before it became a state, take a trip to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Here you can see dinosaurs, get an idea of current animals native to the state, and learn about the history of the natives who lived here before us.

Opened on May 1, 2000, this museum is popular with schools and any parents who have dinosaur loving children. There is so much to learn here as well. Upstairs is the Hall of the People of Oklahoma exhibit, here you can learn about the residents in Oklahoma over the past 36,000 years. There are clovis tools on display along with a map showing where these items were found. Spiro Mounds is also featured prominently in this exhibit, with several items that were unearthed from the mounds in the late 1930’s. There are reproductions of Native homes and transportation as well as artifacts from those who lived here many thousands of years ago.

Another part of the museum is the Hall of Natural Wonders which has taxidermy of animals that are native to Oklahoma. It’s a nice way for kids to get up close to an animal. They have been placed in settings that are natural to their habitat.

Of course, the big draw to the museum are the dinosaurs. The Hall of Ancient Life where you can trace the history of the Earth from formation. You can see the different time periods that dinosaurs roamed the lands. They do have the largest skull on record for the Pentaceratops. You can also get in the elevator and see the Apatosaurus looking at you. Several of the smaller dinosaurs were unearthed in the Tillman County area of southwest Oklahoma. I like to make the joke that some of them were pets that my dad had.

The long history of the museum goes back to 1899 when the territorial legislature created the Department of Geology and Natural History. The first curator of the museum was Dr. Albert Heald Van Fleet, who spent much of his time collecting artifacts. There were 2 fires, the first in 1903, the second in 1918, that damaged much of the collection. But professors at the University of Oklahoma kept collecting and displaying artifacts in buildings around campus. After many attempts to fund a proper museum, this museum found a home in 1947. Housed in former military buildings on Asp Avenue, south of the main campus, it became the Stovall Museum of Science and History. Named after Dr. J Willis Stovall who came to the university in 1930 and helped fight for funding to house the collection. While the collection grew, there was a danger of the artifacts being destroyed by fire or water, so in 1991 the city of Norman passed a bond that helped the state fund the new building. The new building is named after Samuel Noble, an oilman from Ardmore.

I always enjoyed the Stovall Museum and now enjoy this new museum as well. I encourage all to visit if they are in Norman. It is a fun way to learn about the early history of Oklahoma.

Address: 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman.

Food Friday: Not Cho Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. Not going to lie, one of my favorite desserts. It is hard to find a decent cheesecake though, most are just ok (even though my daughter makes a really good mint chocolate cheesecake). I have been hearing about Not Cho Cheesecake for a while and on a beautiful Friday night, I decided to stop and try it. Everything I had heard was right, this place is good.

We got some personal cheesecakes to go, I got the Tennessee Whiskey and Big K got the chocolate chip cookie dough. We tried them after we got home and WOW!! So much flavor!! Mine had a graham cracker crust that was perfect. Gave the cheesecake a crunch that I had never had before. Then the cheesecake itself was so creamy, the cheese flavor really popped. Then the homemade caramel sauce on top was just the best. The owner could bottle it and sell it for topping or just spoon straight from the jar. As for the chocolate chip cookie dough that Big K had, after only a couple bites he looked at me and said, “if I die while eating this, put it in the coffin with me. I’m taking it with me.” He thought it was rich and decadent.

This small cheesecake bakery has only been around since 2020. The co-owner passed away not long after the opening and now her husband runs the cafe in her honor. He was the one running the register when we stopped in. He was so nice and friendly. He obviously takes pride of the product he delivers. He has a large variety of cheesecakes from plain to fancy. If you need dessert and want a good cheesecake, stop and see what he has in the case. I guarantee you’ll find something you love. A definite 5 strips of bacon.

Address: 3934 N College Ave., Bethany.

Food Friday: HD’s Onion Burgers & Gyros

hd's onion burger

There are so many good places to eat in Oklahoma City that you can drive by and never notice. HD’s Onion Burgers & Gyros is one of those places, I know it’s there and love their food but forget about them. I need to be reminded that when I want a good burger, they’re close to home.

HD’s sits on the corner of a large strip mall on the NW corner of Rockwell and NW 122nd. Just a small restaurant with a big menu and flavor. I always get the bacon cheeseburger, perfectly seasoned beef patty with cheese melted on top. They chop up the bacon and pile it on top, while a pile of fried onions is under the patty. The lettuce and tomato are fresh, and the bun has been toasted to a buttery perfection. This is a good-sized burger, so bring your appetite. We also got the onion rings and bacon cheese fries to share. The onion rings are fried nice and crispy. The bacon cheese fries are a true work of art, crisp fries with shredded cheese and chopped bacon on top. No, not bacon bits, chopped bacon, most pieces were about an inch long. They were so good.

The service was great, plenty of places to sit. This place is a true hidden treasure in NW Oklahoma City. They have lots more on their menu that I haven’t tried, sandwiches, gyros, salads, and lots of burgers to choose. I give them 5 strips of bacon.

Address: 12417 N Rockwell Ave., Oklahoma City.

Fat Okie Far from Home: Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, Black Hills, South Dakota

Last week I talked about Spearfish Canyon, just off the highway is Roughlock Falls. The turn to get to the falls is at the turn for Spearfish Canyon Lodge. It’s on the west side of US Highway 14A. Almost seems that you are just turning to the lodge parking lot but go beyond to the dirt road.

These falls are created from Little Spearfish Creek running through the canyon. The water is clear and cool. You can see the small brook trout swimming around in the pools.

There are places to sit and put your feet in the water. I highly suggest doing it, my feet felt great for almost a month afterward. The cool, clean water seemed to rejuvenate my feet. I wish I could get something like that experience at home.

You can hike the creek to the falls or you can drive about a mile or so to a parking area. There are bridges and walkways, along with bathrooms. Overall this is a beautiful place to visit, hope you get a chance.

Food Friday: Spirals

We have a lot of burger places in the Oklahoma City metro, but not many places that specialize in hot dogs. The late great Mutts was a fun and different place to eat but now we have Spirals in Norman.

Founded in 2020, this is a hot dog only place but specialty hot dogs. These aren’t the skinny things you can get at Sonic, no, you can get an all-beef frank, a polish sausage, or a hot link. Then pick your toppings, they have several to choose from or you can build your own. My favorite is the Un-Baylee-vable, chili, house mac and cheese, bacon and onion. This hot dog is huge and can be a mess if you don’t know how to eat it. But trust me, it’s worth it. The mix of flavors is just so good. The mac and cheese cooked with spiral noodles really tops it off. They also serve hot dog bowls, I haven’t tried one yet but plan to on a visit. Another favorite is the loaded fries, spiral cut potatoes, deep fried, and smothered with chili, cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream.

Every time I visit the service is good as is the food. They also serve up shaved ice, I haven’t tried it because I’m too stuffed from the meal. They are a bit hard to find the first time, tucked up in a strip mall. But after that you can drive right to it. I give them 5 strips of bacon, hopefully wrapped around one of their dogs.

Address: 2203 W Main St. Norman.

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