Category Archives: Oklahoma

OKC | Haiget’s

My OKC friend and I were sitting having coffee and talking  about important things like where to have lunch. She went over the high visibility places downtown then casually mentioned a former employee had just opened a restaurant close to her home in Edmond. When I probed a little more she mentioned it was an African venue but she didn’t know which country, maybe South Africa.

We opted for the local African venue since when we looked up it was already 1p. 4 hours of coffee talk, I guess that’s normal.

Turns out the restaurant, Haiget’s, is both Kenyan and Ethiopian. It’s owners are a young couple, she is from Ethiopia, he is from Kenya. The restaurant is named after her.

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Atmosphere

It’s a small place in a subtle strip in Edmond. Inside its lively and bright, the orange walls certainly help as does the bouncy background music, which might be from Kenya or Ethiopia but I wouldn’t know. Casual and family oriented; a few single diners interspersed between larger families.

Food

I’m no expert on African fare but having a few Ethiopian friends has afforded me some experience. This is the best Ethiopian food I’ve had to date, beating out the reigning champion in my mind, Massawa, the Ethiopian venue near Columbia U in NYC.

Next time I’ll wander into the unfamiliar Kenyan side of the menu but this time I ordered from the Ethiopian side – Lamb Tibs (left pic). Lamb cubes, ridiculously tender, in a Nitr Qibe base. Nitr Qibe is a spiced, clarified butter owing its flavour to Berbere, an unusual spice mix heavy on the chili, garlic, fenugreek and turmeric. The Tibs came with ingera, the slightly fermented teff-flour based bread used to scoop up everything else, and a side. The Kenyan recommended ‘Avocado Salad’ as a side and it was delicious – chunks of avocado, jalapeno and tomato in a olive-oil, lime vinaigrette.

My OKC friend, for her first experience with African food, ordered up the national dish of Ethiopia, Doro Wat (right pic), chicken drums in a Berbere based stew. She didn’t say much after the Kenyan explained how to eat the Wat, just an occasional ‘MMMmmm’, a global sound of approval.

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Service

Since Haiget’s is a family-owned and operated business catering to a small community, they rely on word of mouth testimonies. No surprise, their service is extremely personable. The Kenyan stopped by twice to check up on us and asked if there was anything else we wanted. He even brought out a sample of Mandazi, the Kenyan ‘donut’, a fried, slightly sweet bread roll, which was good on its own but better dipped into the sauce of either of our mains.

Price

Most everything was between $8-12, which is reasonable if not slightly less expensive than other Ethiopian venues I’ve tried. In any case, considering the quality, its definitely worth it.

My OKC friend was glad we went, taking one of their to-go menus for those nights when driving the whole 1/2 mile to pick up dinner would be so much more enjoyable than cooking at home. Me, I’ll be back, next time I’ll be digging into the Kenyan side of the menu.

Lunch: March 2015

Haiget’s | 308 W Edmond | Edmond, OK 73003

 

 

 

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

 

OKC | National Memorial

April 19th marks the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing which leveled the Murrah building, killed almost 200 people and caused security-related shock waves through the United States and further afield.

I had heard how Oklahoma City responded to the tragedy. They did not rebuild, they did not cower, they did not take up pitchforks and torches looking for someone to lynch. True to the Oklahoma spirit, what they did was create a green space and memorial to those victims and survivors involved.  I was glad I stopped here whilst visiting a friend, since its a beautiful space; green with a long rectangular reflecting pool anchoring the entire length of what used to be the building. Twin metal walls bookend the reflecting pool, one engraved with 9:01, the other with 9:03; the explosion occurred at 9:02. Gold-coloured chairs atop translucent boxes, which light up at light, commemorate each person lost to the event; names are engraved.

One single tree survived the bombing, it now anchors a lookout across the rest of the memorial.

I found it a moving memorial, however pictures say more.

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