TLO’s Year in Food
9:47 AM EST on December 28, 2017
In 2017, I wrote well over 50 essays and reviews about food in Oklahoma, thoroughly detailing all of my culinary misadventures across this city and, when you got lucky, the state. Narrowing the list of my favorite outings to only ten wasn’t an easy task, but, here we are and now you get to redigest it. Here’s to more full plates and even fuller hearts in 2018.
A Tribute to Taco Mayo’s Potato Locos
Published: January 12, 2017
What I Said: “Not quite a tater tot, not yet a woman, this nickel-sized portion of pressed potato product is far more addictive than any drug I’ve ever used. How many of us haven’t been up at three in the morning, frying some Great Value tots in the cast iron, experimenting with various paprikas and cumins and chile powders to try and create that same sensation, unable to sleep until that necessity for a little late-night Loco is realized? Don’t lie, we’ve all been there.”
What I Learned: Taco Mayo me, baby! #MeToo
Best Comment: “Mayo was better when it was shitty and dirt cheap than now that it’s somewhat less shitty and expensive.”
TLO Restaurant Review: Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar and Grill”
Published: March 14, 2017
What I Said: “Located at 310 Johnny Bench Drive, TK’s offers a wide variety of traditional all good in the trailerhood eats that have been refined and revitalized for not only fans of Keith’s music, but the redneck lifestyle in general, at least from a distance; if you’ve ever wanted to know how “the other half” eats but don’t want to set foot in a Moore mobile home kitchenette to masticate on it, then you’ll most definitely love this bar and grill as much as I have come to.”
What I Learned: I really do love this bar and grill!
Best Comment: “Hardly anything more appetizing than an enormous mural of Toby Keith’s arm pit.”
TLO Restaurant Review: Robertson’s Ham Sandwiches
Published: May 9, 2017
What I Said: “Now, in regards to those negative online reviews, to be fair, yes, our sandwiches did come encased in name-brand store-bought bread and yes, they were delivered to us in those old-school Ziploc sandwich bags mom used to buy, but let it be said that any honest and valid criticism should have easily ended right then and there as these meat-infused monoliths were truly anything but “bland” or “stingy.” Anything. But.”
What I Learned: I could talk about ham for hours.
Best Comment: “Dude where are you getting your nugs? Ham just isn’t that interesting.”
5 Gas Stations Eats Better Than Most Restaurants
Published: May 30, 2017
What I Said: “The proprietors of the following eateries located inside gas stations didn’t let being in a small space, surrounded by cigarettes and Slush Puppies, stop them from achieving their dreams. In fact, if anything, it probably made them collectively better, pushing them to rise above and harness their talents, forcing them to create some of the best food in Oklahoma City if only to be noticed above all the staid mediocrity and unearned applause.”
What I Learned: Steve Lackmeyer makes friends wherever he goes.
Best Comment: “I really appreciate the way Louis looks for good food in unexpected places. Seriously. There’s nothing jokey about this – and it’s provocative to those (like, sadly, me) who consider themselves “foodies” but have noses too high in the air for food made cheaply by people who are good at making food.”
5 of The Pioneer Woman’s worst, laziest and most questionable recipes…
Published: July 20, 2017
What I Said: “Probably the most offensively milked recipe on her website—introductory story about how the Marlboro Man wouldn’t marry her unless she learned how make this dish aside, which says an awful lot about her pre-Pioneer days—is the recipe for Egg-in-a-Hole, which is literally a piece of bread with a hole in it and then an egg dropped inside of said hole and fried on a skillet.”
What I Learned: I am a loser who is just jealous of Ree Drummond’s success.
Best Comment: “Most of the time, I think you’re hilarious. But today, I hate you. THE END.”
TLO Restaurant Review: FireLake Fry Bread Taco
Published: August 8, 2017
What I Said: “Outside of the aforementioned various fundraisers, church socials or Southside community center get-togethers, chances are you will not find a better Indian taco anywhere. This is all these guys do and they do it with a master’s touch, crafting each taco to taste, an unique thumbprint of tradition and authenticity with every sacred bite that’ll make any tribal member proud to represent on the regular, a flavorful Gathering of Nations for under ten bucks. Enough cannot be said about what’s been done here and, even better, how well it’s been done.”
What I Learned: Never before have I wanted to live in Shawnee so bad.
Best Comment: “I totally think the ones at the fair and such are disgusting after having a genuine from scratch one cooked up so i’ve pretty much quit eating the okie staple, but this seems like a cute well ran place so maybe we’ll hit it up next time we’re down in O town.”
TLO Restaurant Review: Cimarron Steak House
Published: August 29, 2017
What I Said: “The opportunities to turn this place into a Wild West variation of Casa Bonita, complete with a silver-star shoot-out stunt-show and d-list bands like Diamond Rio and Shenandoah taking the main stage nightly, is a sorely missed marketing ploy that could possibly fill this cathouse up. Speaking of filling up, here’s a glimpse and glimmer at their diabolically Oklahoman house salad consisting of a few leaves of iceberg lettuce, a cherry tomato and a Godawful amount of ranch.”
What I Learned: I’m an absolute sucker for Ol’ West themed eateries.
Best Comment: “If I ever had a guest visit from another country, this is where I would take them to eat, the true “Oklahoma City experience”.”
TLO Restaurant Review: Florence’s Restaurant
Published: September 19, 2017
What I Said: “From the chicken gizzards and livers to the ox tails and everything in-between, I try to make a stop at Florence’s once a month or so to cleanse my critical palate and remember my country roots, getting all of those processed eats exorcised out of my system as I work my way through the menu.”
What I Learned: The best fried chicken in Oklahoma City. Although I already knew that.
Best Comment: “I hope that soon NE 23rd can have a Great Reawakening like NW23, except w/o the yuppies.”
The Hunt for the Full-Size Candy Bar
Published: October 26, 2017
What I Said: “That first Halloween in the Metro was pure chocoholic lucidity, an overwhelming experience of warm-bodies en masse; once my brother and sister and I made our rushed rounds up and down the Mayfair streets, trying to hit as many houses as possible in the 30 minute time-frame my father gave us to trick or treat and get back home. While we covered fair enough ground, still, half an hour seemed like a real waste of a piecemeal George Michael costume.”
What I Learned: Every neighborhood has their own variation of the full-size candy bar myth.
Best Comment: “If Louis Fowler ever decides to write his memoirs, I’d definitely buy a copy. His columns are always the highlight of TLO.”
TLO Restaurant Review: Canton Restaurant
Published: November 28, 2017
What I Said: “The menu is filled with a seemingly forgotten staple of entrees such as Chicken Almond Dean and Moo Goo Gai Pan; most of these surprisingly varied dishes running around five or six bucks if you hit them up around lunch, and only a buck or two more if you hit the snooze button and come back later.”
What I Learned: I should’ve ordered the eggrolls.
Best Comment: “I went into labor at Canton and they were so sweet to let me walk contractions out in the back room, all while kindly encouraging me to go to the hospital! Haha Tom, my favorite gentlemen that works there is always so nice, helpful, and loving to to everyone he sees.”
I’d like to offer a personal thanks to all of you for reading and eating along with me as we traversed the grand buffet of Okie food together this past year and on into the future of 2018. If you're hungry for more--Lord knows I am--TLO is teaming with Postmates to help bring many of the places I’ve written about—and will continue to write about—right to your front door. If you are a new customer, go to Postmates.com, create an account and enter the promo code thelostogle100 for $100 in delivery fee credit good for up to 14 days of use. You’re welcome.
I’m full. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.
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