Category Archives: Eclectic

Dak and Bop

Ironically it was a friend who lives in the burbs who told me about this restaurant which just recently opened in my neighbourhood. Dak and Bop is a Korean fried chicken house. Its interesting that I had just tried Korean fried chicken for the first time recently and thought it was good but rather a novelty, now there is restaurant focusing on just that.

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Atmosphere
Its located in one of the new concentric box buildings on Binz St. near the museums; glass front, lots of concrete, steel and generally has a vertical loft feeling. For lunch its an absolute madhouse with a 15-30 minute wait. Its a little off-putting to think of waiting for what is basically fried chicken in sauce but its likely due the newness of the restaurant combined with the fact that there aren’t many options for lunch in this part of town. Go ahead and wait, its definitely worth a few extra minutes.

Food
There are other items on the menu, like truffle fries and kimchi empanadas but I’d recommend going straight for the main event, the chicken. The chicken has options, here’s what you need to consider: the size of your meal in pieces, what kind of pieces and which sauce. The sauces vary in spicy level from the innocuous garlic soy to the warning-included, super-hot Korean pepper.

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I went 5-piece, the smallest, with 4 ‘strips’ and a drum with the middle-of-the-road sriracha lime and honey sauce. Incredible! I didn’t have high expectations but the crispy-out, juicy-in chicken was prepared extremely well. The sriracha was as expected, pleasantly warm, the lime adding a good acidic depth and the honey rounding out the lot with a little sweetness.

Price
$8 seemed reasonable, however I can get the comparable non-Korean version from any other of the grillion fried chicken places for a few bucks less.

Service
Its a small space, cramped and very busy. Despite that,  service here is excellent, turnaround times are quick – 10-15 minutes and everyone is very friendly as the warp 9 from table to kitchen and back.

Lunch: September 2015

Dak and Bop| 1801 Binz | HTX 77004

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Barley Swine

Barley Swine, Bryce Gilmore’s experiment in adventurous culinary creations has been on fire since it opened. The  $85, 12-course tasting menu is the only thing on the menu, that is, until later this year when they leave their South Lamar digs for a spot north of UT Austin. Rumour has it they will offer small plates independently of the tasting menu in the new spot.

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To avoid a 10-page post I’ll just say that if you are in Austin and you are a confirmed foodie known to brave odd-sounding combinations of ingredients – this place is for you. The menu changes often, below is what I and long-time friend, The Hobbyist, tried. Everything was incredible in taste and presentation. The young and heavily tattooed staff were wizards with polished service. Each course was about 1-3 bites and at the end of the 12 courses you will be pleasantly full. You might have a little more room to stop at neighbouring Lick for ice creams made with the oddest ingredients.

Definitely make a reservation, its small and very popular.

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  • Tomato, buttermilk snow, smoked trout roe
  • Gulf shrimp, fried head, mango soup, jasmine panna cotta, buckwheat groats
  • Cured squash, goat feta, cast iron seeds, basil oil
  • Shishito, fermented mushroom glaze
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  • Pork bun, bourbon, peach
  • Morel, avocado, strawberry
  • Gulf fish, hoja santa, corn, fried egg foam
  • Eggplant, squid, grapefruit
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  • Waygu tongue, pintos, tomato, homemade Funyuns
  • Roasted duck breast, confit, plum, potato
  • Aerated vinegar pie, chewy fruit, streusel
  • Peach ice cream sandwich
  • Cannoli, mango, keffir lime, spiced chocolate
  • Coffee and hay semifreddo, toasted peanut, puffed rice, salted caramel, dark chocolate candy bar

Dinner: July 2015

Barley Swine | 2024 S. Lamar | Austin, TX 78704

OKC | Cheever’s

Friends who grew up in Oklahoma City recommended Cheever’s Cafe for lunch while I was in town. When they described where it was they said, ‘just a bit north of Nichols Hill in Uptown’. There was a twinge of pride when they said Nichols Hill but it meant absolutely nothing to me. Turns out, as I googled my way to the restaurant, Nichols Hill, is the schmancy, old money area. It is beautiful and well-kept so next time in OKC, a walking tour will be in order.

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Atmosphere

The restaurant and bar are situated in a renovated Deco house; solid, dark wood bar, floor to ceiling windows overlooking the tree-lined property and a rustic but sophisticated feel. The house has history tethered to the very first child born to Oklahoma City. Generations of that family lived in the house before it changed hands in the 90’s. Much of the atmosphere is due to the admirable preservation of architectural details. A complete and interesting history is on the menu and is worth a read.

Food

Oklahoma City is probably best known for its chicken-fried steak. I had to laugh since I was seated next to two ladies on the flight up and they spent the whole hour comparing and contrasting various venues for the best chicken-fried streak They never agreed on one place so they decided they would do two, one for lunch, another for dinner. Ah, the art of compromise.

You’ll find chicken-fried steak on the menu but Cheever’s is eclectic in their offerings, many of which are specials. I went the specials route and it was a win.

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I was expecting the Potato-Sausage soup to have chunky ingredients but it was more a creamy potato base with minced sausage. And a lot of black pepper. I’d imagine some would be taken aback by the amount of black pepper but for me, it was great. Smoky sausage hit the tongue first followed by a creamy potato base. Later a black pepper retro burn started simultaneously with heat from the finishing drizzle of chili oil.

Chicken fried steaks came out for the table next to me at the same time as my Grilled Salmon Tacos. My tacos looked like an appetizer in comparison, however I barely finished them. Grilled salmon mixed with a mixture of corn, tomato, cilantro and chopped arugula in a light lime-cumin-chipotle dressing was intriguing both in flavour and texture. Spicy but not to the point it overwhelmed the main ingredient, the salmon. It was filling but not to the pants unbuttoning stage. The side ‘green rice’ tasted mostly like arugula and cilantro. I added a bit to my tacos, which was good, but on its own, it was missing something, maybe a little salt or heat.

Service

I was on the tail end of lunch rush so it was just me and the chicken-fried streak couple to my left. Service was great, personable but not intrusive. Server was quite excited that I came from out of state on word of mouth.

Price

Medium but it might be considered high for OKC. Soup, salmon tacos, 2 espressos – $25

I’ll definitely return to Cheever’s on my next trip to OKC, however I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to tackle the chicken-fried steak!

Lunch: March 2015

Cheever’s Cafe | 2409 N Hudson | OKC 73103