Come and travel Oklahoma with me.

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.

Finally the end of a hot summer, hopefully fall will be nice. September means real football season is here, my Sooners kick off a new era on Saturday afternoon and I guess that team near Eskimo Joe’s is playing tonight as well. But seriously, I’m looking forward to what Brent Venables will do with the team. Lots of things to do this weekend if you still want to get out. Festivals, car shows, and more county free fairs. so don’t just sit in front of the tv, get out this long weekend.

Cherokee Homecoming Art Show- Tahlequah Cherokee Springs Plaza- Now- Sept 10th

Tulsa Reining Classic- Tulsa Expo Square- Now- Sept 4th

Watermelon Festival & Community Fair- Ringwood- Now- Sept 3rd

Black Towns Motorcycle Tour- Multiple Locations- Sept 1st– 3rd

Cherokee National Holiday- Tahlequah- Sept 1st– 4th

Rock the Route- Yukon- Sept 1st

East End Eats- Ada- Sept 1st

VIBES- Edmond Downtown- Sept 1st

Lemon-Aid Celebration- Tulsa Mother Road Market- Sept 2nd

Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival- Tuskahoma Tvshka Homma Tribal Grounds- Sept 2nd– 4th

Cheyenne & Arapaho Labor Day Celebration- Colony Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Powwow Grounds- Sept 2nd – 5th

First Friday Enid- Enid- Sept 2nd

The Blues Ball- Medicine Park Town Center Mainstage- Sept 2nd– 4th

Pauls Valley Arts Council Fifth Friday Art Walk- Pauls Valley Downtown- Sept 2nd

Jana Jae Fiddle Camp & Music Festival- Grove Civic Center & Snider’s Camp- Sept 2nd– 4th

PRCA Rodeo of Champions- Elk City Beutler Brothers Rodeo Arena- Sept 2nd– 4th

Dusk ‘til Dawn Blues Festival- Rentiesville OK Blues Hall of Fame- Sept 2nd– 4th

First Friday Gallery Walk- Oklahoma City Paseo Arts District- Sept 2nd

Rocklahoma- Pryor- Sept 2nd– 4th

Art Crawl on 66- Tulsa- Sept 2nd

Cherokee National Holiday Quilt Show- Tahlequah Chota Conference Center- Sept 2nd– 4th

Sunflower Days- Carnegie Horn Canna Farm- Sept 2nd– 11th

Jim Shoulders Living Legends Rodeo- Henryetta Historic Nichols Park- Sept 3rd– 4th

Shop 66 Saturdays- Tulsa- Sept 3rd

Oklahoma Senior Games- Oklahoma City- Sept 3rd– Nov 5th

Gloss Mountain Cruisers Car Show & Cruise- Fairview- Sept 3rd

Oklahoma Beatdown Derby- Miami- Sept 3rd

Senior Living Expo- Tulsa Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center- Sept 3rd

Pauls Valley Opry- Pauls Valley High School Auditorium- Sept 3rd

Conquer the Gauntlet Obstacle Race- Bixby- Sept 3rd

Shawnee Trading Post & Flea Market- Shawnee- Sept 3rd

Redneck Raft Out Music Festival- Ketchum Check-In Bay- Sept 3rd 4th

Red Brick Nights- Guthrie- Sept 3rd

Drumright Monthly Market- Drumright- Sept 3rd

10th Annual Smokin’ Hot Car & Bike Show- Henryetta- Sept 3rd

Coffee and Cars- Oklahoma City Chisholm Creek- Sept 3rd

Show Me Reptile & Exotics Show- Broken Arrow Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center- Sept 3rd

Henryetta Labor Day Parade & Celebration- Henryetta- Sept 5th

Kids Day at the Park- Moore Central Park- Sept 5th

South Dakota has a lot of beautiful scenery, but the most beautiful drive in the state through Spearfish Canyon on U.S. Highway 14A or better known as the Spearfish Canyon scenic byway. The first time I went through it was in 2011, we drove from Spearfish to Deadwood. It was so beautiful I wanted to drive it again. Finally this past May I got my chance. This time we went from Lead to Spearfish, opposite of last time but still gorgeous.

I’m going to take you from Spearfish to Lead and on to Deadwood in this writing. Spearfish is a cute small town, founded in 1876, it’s located at the mouth of Spearfish Canyon. There are plenty of historic buildings and different places to eat along with the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. So after you have explored the town, jump on US Highway 14A and head south. You don’t go far before Spearfish Creek appears on the side of the road. This creek will follow along the canyon for the entire journey and there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy it’s beauty. This drive has many curves but none really tight like Iron Mountain or The Needles, this is a gentle cruise.

The first waterfall along the route is Bridal Veil Falls, this is a beautiful waterfall that flows right from the mountains with a long drop to Spearfish Creek. Next stop you will see is Devil’s Bathtub Trailhead. Sadly I didn’t get to do this yet, I saw the sign but knew nothing about it until later. It’s a hike up the creek to a rock pool, “the devil’s bathtub”. I will go back and try the hike. Another trail that I didn’t hike because I didn’t know about it is the Iron Creek Trail. This trail leads to Iron Creek Lake. Looks long but possibly beautiful. Then after a bit more of a drive you come to Spearfish Falls. It’s near Spearfish Canyon Lodge and is a short hike to see another good-sized waterfall.

It’s also at this point you can take a short trip to Roughlock Falls, I’ll talk about that next week. the next stop down the line is at Old Spearfish Creek Dam. This is small lake has some of the clearest water I have ever seen. You can see the bottom of the lake with all of the fish swimming around. This is a very popular place for fishing in the canyon. The small falls on the north side of the lake create photogenic rapids.

More gentle curves take you to the end of the canyon. But right before, stop at the next small pond. The water here is clear as well and with pine trees in the background, it makes a wonderful place for pictures.

Next turn back to the east and head to Lead and Deadwood. Lead was founded in 1876 as a company town for the Homestake Mine. You can see the hole left in the earth there as well as visit the Black Hills Mining Museum. Then on to Deadwood with historic downtown, homes, and Mount Moriah Cemetery. Deadwood was also founded in 1876 but had a lawless existence for many years, notably the place where Wild Bill Hickok was killed on Aug 2, 1876. Plenty to do and see on this drive. Hope you enjoy it.

This is going to be a bit different but then again the Mother Road Market is different. The Mother Road Market is one of these newer food hall concepts of having lots of small restaurant owners come together to offer their food under one roof. Really it’s like a big food court, like the kind you would find at the mall. The upside is that there are only a few stores to shop at, plenty of seating, and you don’t have to walk too far. It’s also great if you have picky eaters or if everyone wants something different.

So the three of us walked into the building with a plan, everyone was to get whatever they wanted but different. We split up and each got our own stuff. I got some pimento and cheese wontons from Salt and Vinegar, Big K stopped at Curds and Whey for some loaded fries, and Mae wanted a pickle pizza from Zasa’s Pizza and Wings. After the first round, I got some sushi from Akira Sushi & Ramen that I shared with Big K, he got a Brazilian savory pastry puff from Doctor Kustom. Lastly we all shared a sampler platter from Da Yolk. I wanted to try more places but we were all stuffed. There is a burger place, ice cream, barbeque, tacos, chicken, bread, pastries, and a bar. Everything was good, and the service was great at each location. I really like this food court set up, gives the small businesses a chance to shine while not having to worry about so much overhead.

It’s called the Mother Road Market because it’s about a block south of the current alignment of historic Route 66 at the corner of Lewis and E. 11th St. The building started it’s life as Scrivner-Stevens Grocery distribution center built in 1939, the non-profit Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation remodeled the warehouse in 2016. They then reached out to small business owners to set up shop and officially opened in 2018. There is more than just food, plenty of small local shops to browse and a mini-golf course. There is seating inside and out, when we were there it was over 100, so we stayed inside. If you are in Tulsa, stop by and check out everything they have to offer.

Address: 1124 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa.

This high school marching band and football season start this weekend. Try to get out and enjoy some Friday night football. Then on Saturday and Sunday there will be plenty to do. Lots of free fairs again this weekend, some rodeos, even a beer summit. World Paddlesport Festival downtown Oklahoma City should be interesting. Try to get out and enjoy.

Payne County Free Fair- Stillwater Payne County Expo Center- Aug 24th– Aug 27th

Canadian County Fair- El Reno Canadian County Expo & Event Center- Aug 22nd– 27th

Garvin County Free Fair- Pauls Valley- Aug 23rd– 27th

Woodward County Free Fair- Woodward County Fairgrounds- Aug 24th– 27th

Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo Parade- Vinita North Park- Aug 24th

Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo- Vinita American Legion Rodeo Grounds- Aug 24th– 27th

Pontotoc County Free Fair- Ada- Pontotoc County Agri-Plex- Aug 25th– 27th

Blue Whale Comedy Festival- Tulsa Cain’s Ballroom- Aug 25th– 27th

Ponca Tribal Powwow- Ponca City- Aug 25th– 28th

Great Plains Stampede Rodeo- Altus Great Plains Stampede Rodeo Arena- Aug 25th– 27th

Hinton Fair- Hinton Fairgrounds- Aug 25th– 27th

Food Truck Thursday- Claremore Downtown- Aug 25th

Food Truck Fridays- Moore Central Park- Aug 26th

Battle of the Bands- Oklahoma City First Americans Museum- Aug 26th

Great Salt Plains Stampede Rodeo- Cherokee Alfalfa County Fairgrounds- Aug 26th– 27th

Healdton Oilfield Days- Healdton Oil Museum- Aug 26th– 27th

Oklahoma Festival of Ballooning- Muskogee- Aug 26th– 28th

Oklahoma County Free Fair- Oklahoma City State Fair Park- Aug 26th– 27th

World Paddlesport Festival- Oklahoma City Boathouse District- Aug 26th-28th

Taste of Asia- Oklahoma City Mayfair Church of Christ- Aug 27th

Tulsa Reining Classic- Tulsa Expo Square- Aug 27th– Sept 4th

Maker Faire Tulsa- Tulsa Expo Square- Aug 27th

Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit- Tulsa River Spirit Casino- Aug 27th

Putnam City Orchestra Car Wash- Oklahoma City 39th & MacArthur- Aug 27th

Ozark Trail Car Show- Mangum Greer County Courthouse Square- Aug 27th

Salsa Festival- Jenks Oklahoma Aquarium- Aug 27th

Wild Brew- Tulsa Cox Business Center- Aug 27th

Watermelon Festival & Community Fair- Ringwood- Aug 28th– Sept 3rd

Cherokee Homecoming Art Show- Tahlequah Cherokee Springs Plaza- Aug 12th– Sept 10th

Butterfly House at the Papilion- Muskogee Honor Heights Park- Now- Sept 30th

Over the years I have heard a lot about Runza. I married into a huge family from Nebraska and they always talk about how good Runza sandwiches are and that I should try one. In May I finally got my chance to try a Runza.

This sandwich is a Nebraska favorite. It’s a strange sandwich, ground beef and cabbage stuffed into a soft, hot hoagie type roll. You can get it with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and anything else they are able to put on it. The sandwich really sounds like something I would hate but I ended up loving it. Served steaming hot, the fresh bread is the first thing you notice. It’s soft, not too chewy. Then you get the meat, the spices and cabbage actually give the meat a flavor that is different. I would say it’s about the size of a 6-inch sub, so you do get a good meal out of it. Then there are the sides, French fries, onion rings, or both called Frings. I got the Frings, both the fries and onion rings were deep fried perfectly. The onion rings are hand cut every day. The fries seemed to be just normal crinkle fries.

You can find Runza sandwiches all over the state of Nebraska. There are a few in other states but only around Nebraska. They stay close to Nebraska to keep everything fresh. The restaurant chain was founded in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1949. They expanded from there. I’ve been told that their burgers are also really good but I can get a burger any time here in Oklahoma, I can only get a Runza in Nebraska. If you ever travel to or through Nebraska be sure to stop and try a Runza. 5 strips of bacon.

Food Friday: Stella Nova

I know coffee places are all the rage now, we have a Starbucks on damn near every corner or a Scooters to drive up for a quick pick me up but I have been looking for local coffee shops. I was lucky to find Stella Nova a few months ago and with every visit they just get better.

Now I’m going to be honest, I’m not a coffee lover. Hate the taste of it just by itself but over the past year with my barista daughter I have learned to like it a bit. I really like it in the Frappuccino or frappe form. It’s really a coffee milkshake. I started liking them back when McDonald’s introduced the caramel frappe in 2009. Only in the past year did Mae introduce me to Starbucks and Scooters. So now I am actively seeking them out. In March during spring break, Mae needed a caffeine fix so we tried the location at NW 150th and Western. I had the chocolate chip frappe, which has now become my go-to drink when I visit. Another favorite of mine is the cheese danish. This danish is so good, first they are large and second, filled with cheese. So good that I have to get one when I visit, no matter what else I have. Their breakfast sandwiches and wraps are also really good. Much better than a quick breakfast item from a chain.

I have now visited the Crown Heights location as well and every time both locations are clean and the employees are nice. Even in the morning rush, they get my items out quickly. I will give them 5 strips of bacon.

Address: 1415 W. Main St., Norman; 119 N Robinson Ave., Oklahoma City; 4716 N. Western Ave., Oklahoma City; 1041 NW 150th St., Oklahoma City; 6604 Snider Plaza, Dallas.

I know school is back in session for the kids, plenty to do this weekend to get their minds off of the new scholastic year. Looks like even the weather might be cooperative for a festival or road trip. As always check on the status of each event.

Cotton County Free Fair- Walters Cotton County Ag Arena & Expo Center- Aug 16th– 20th

Stephens County Free Fair- Duncan Stephens County Fair & Expo Center- Aug 17th– 20th

Hydro Free Fair- Hydro City Park- Aug 18th– 20th

Freedom Rodeo & Old Cowhand Reunion- Freedom Rhodes Park- Aug 18th– 20th

Ames Day- Ames Town Park- Aug 19th– 20th

Hennessey Round-Up Club Rodeo- Hennessey Rodeo Arena- Aug 19th– 20th

Blanchard Bluegrass Festival- Blanchard Lions Park- Aug 19th– 20th

Fiesta Friday- Oklahoma City Capitol Hill- Aug 19th

Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Ranch Rodeo- Guthrie Lazy E Arena- Aug 19th– 20th

Dancing in the Gardens K-Pop- Oklahoma City Seasonal Plaza- Aug 19th

Western Heritage Days Rodeo- Bristow Sports Complex- Aug 19th– 20th

Pool & Spa Show- Oklahoma City State Fair Park- Aug 19th– 21st

Jurassic Quest- Enid Stride Bank Center- Aug 19th– 21st

Elgin Rodeo- Elgin- Aug 19th– 20th

Wings, Wheels, & Wishes- Collinsville Airman Acres Airport- Aug 20th

Bristow Western Heritage Days Festival- Bristow- Aug 20th

Asian District Night Market Festival- Oklahoma City Military Park- Aug 20th

Caffeine & Chrome Car & Truck Show- Apache- Aug 20th

Shawnee Trading Post & Flea Market- Shawnee- Aug 20th

OKC LitFest- Oklahoma City Downtown Library- Aug 20th

Repticon Reptile & Exotic Animal Show- Oklahoma City State Fair Park- Aug 20th– 21st

Family Day at the Birthplace Ranch- Oologah Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch- Aug 20th

Will’s Cowboy Trader Days at the Ranch- Oologah Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch- Aug 20th

Heard on Hurd- Edmond- Aug 20th

Cruise in for Coffee- Midwest City- Aug 20th

Native Indian Taco & Arts & Crafts Sale- Oklahoma City Church of the Open Arms UCC- Aug 20th

Good Vibrations Car Show- Tonkawa Blinn Memorial Park- Aug 20th

Summer ShootOut Barrel Racing- Oklahoma City State Fair Park- Aug 18th– 21st

National Snaffle Bit Association World Show- Tulsa Expo Square- Aug 11th– 21st

Cherokee Homecoming Art Show- Tahlequah Cherokee Springs Plaza- Aug 12th– Sept 10th

Butterfly House at the Papilion- Muskogee Honor Heights Park- Now- Sept 30th

This past weekend I lost a beloved member of my family, my pet Grey Tree Frog. I know it seems crazy to keep a frog as a pet but this little frog was special, at least to me. This is his story.

April and May of 2019 were exceptionally wet months here in central Oklahoma. That May alone was the 3rd wettest on record since 1895 with an average of 10 inches of rain. With all of this rainfall, the low spot in my backyard filled with water and stayed that way for a while. It was at some point that a pair of grey tree frogs got into the water, one laid the eggs and the other fertilized them. I didn’t notice anything swimming in the water until the first few days of June. I hoped at first that they weren’t mosquito larvae, but after another few days I could make out the bodies of tadpoles. I was super excited, I thought maybe I was going to have a herd of toads growing in my back yard. Each night I would go out and talk to them, tell them the troubles of the day. Made me feel better. But it was also summer in Oklahoma and the rain had finally stopped, as the days went on the water in the low spot started to evaporate. As the spot got smaller, I decided to rescue the tadpoles. I tried. I was able to save 41.

So for the next few weeks I had tadpoles living in a habitat I built for them using a plastic tub. I would feed them and talk to them. When it came time for tub cleaning, I would carefully scoop each one out and talk to them. I watched their back legs develop first, then the front legs popped out. On July 1st, they were ready to be frogs, at least some were. Sadly for me, most didn’t develop their front legs or their lungs. By the end of that night I had buried most of the 41 tadpoles but I had 9 frogs. Between their green coloring and the fact they liked to stick to the side of the tub, I realized that I didn’t have toads but grey tree frogs. Surprise.

After all I had been through with them, there was no way I was just going to let them hop away. Now I had to get something better to keep them in, off to the pet store for a terrarium. They had a pool, substrate, sticks to climb on, and even small baby crickets to eat. They were so much fun to watch but they were also fragile, 2 died before the end of July, another 2 in August, another 2 in September. Being an animal lover, this was hard on me. I hated seeing a dead one, I dreaded looking in the terrarium some days.

I was left with 3 small frogs but even that didn’t last. Within a period of 3 weeks, 2 died. That left me with 1, Benjamin. I never really knew if he was a boy or girl, I just liked the name. He was just a happy frog, or at least he seemed happy. He got crickets whenever he was hungry, fresh water every night, and I even got him to trust me enough to pet him. When it was time for terrarium cleaning, he would hop into my hand so I could put him in another container to keep him safe. He was funny, loved sticking to the glass to look out. He was aware we were there; he knew each of us. I could even say “Hi Benjamin” and he would put a hand up like he was waving hi. The most fun was watching him hunt for food. Each time I got crickets, I would dump them in the terrarium and say to him “dinners served”. He would go from sleeping to awake and jumping all around to get the crickets. He was best at hunting when I would catch a wild moth. I guess moths must taste really good to frogs because he absolutely loved them. I would toss it in to him and start to count, before I hit 5 he would be stuffing the wings in his mouth. He even got to travel to my mothers-in-law house when we went on vacation. Spent the entire drive at the top of his terrarium looking out the backseat window. For 3 years he brought us all a lot of happiness. I knew he was getting older and hadn’t been jumping as much but I never thought he would go so quickly. So Benjamin, I hope you know how much you were loved and now missed by your family. I hope you had fun while you were with us and now you are back with your family. Buried in the same backyard you were born in.

Benjamin- July 1, 2019- Aug 12, 2022

I talk about it all of the time but there are a lot of burger joints in the Oklahoma City metro. Most are pretty good, a new place on the scene is Hynson’s Classic Burgers in Yukon.

They started in 2018 with a small location in Penn Square Mall but moved to the east side of Yukon in summer of 2021. With the history of small burger joints along historic Route 66, Hynson’s fits right into its surroundings in a small strip mall. My first trip last year I ordered a patty melt, it was one of the best I had tasted in a while. The bread was toasted, buttery, the cheese melting off the patty. It was great. I’ve been back a few times since and their food is always excellent. After the patty melt, my second go to is the bacon cheddar burger. Perfectly toasted bun, cheddar cheese melted over the top of the patty, and a couple strips of bacon top off this burger. The flavor of their meat is also very nice, not too seasoned so you can taste the freshness. I got fries the first trip but now every visit I get the loaded bacon cheese tots. These are so good, tots are perfectly fried with cheese and ranch drizzled over the top, then bacon bits and onion to top it off.

I will give Hynson’s 5 strips of bacon. They have a friendly staff and were quick with our order. I am happy to see that they have opened a second location in Harrah, so hopefully they will continue to expand but keep their quality.

Address: 825 E. Main St. Suite 100, Yukon; 251 S. Harrah Rd. Suite 100, Harrah.

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