The few times I’ve been, I’ve definitely admired the “sun’s out, guns out” vibe the city does a decent job of playing up, a developmentally arrested attitude of collegiate coolness that even the oldsters maintain, neon wraparound shades and crimson polos seemingly the standard-issue wear for anyone living within the city’s limits, a broad mix of hipster flair with redneck charm passed around like a Friendly Market water-pipe.
And while there are more than a few joints in town that make their living selling this home-grown vibery to everyone lucky enough to have a daddy who’ll pay for their crashed car, such as the Mont or the Library, when I cruise into town with the top down I always go the literal extra mile to what I think is the most underrated Norman eatery; while many townies will get all up in your grill about Tarahumara’s, there’s just something about the easy-going Tex-Mex demeanor of Los Dos Amigos that keeps me coming back for seconds.
Right on the edge where the business end of the city starts to become open fields and housing developments, Los Dos Amigos, 2130 Alameda St., is really kind of basic by Oklahoma City standards, but what it lacks in thrills and frills it definitely makes up for in its self-aware eats and low-pressure atmosphere, whether you’re dining with a group of friends or all by yourself, which is usually the case for my sullen ass.
No one could ever accuse their menu of being all that original, but the Tex-Mex standards they do, they do with a secure enough sense of purpose and skill that I sure as Hell ain’t gonna complain. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to beat their city’s namesake entrée, the Norman Dinner ($10.95), as an all around introduction to what they do and what they do best.
Made up of a pair of chicken enchiladas smothered with cheese, as well as a crispy taco and the requisite rice and beans, how this is exactly representative of Norman, well, I’m not sure, but their marinated cuts of pollo drenched in their spicy queso works just fine for me; the crunchy taco is always a welcomed culinary compadre, but, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I usually have to add a couple of dashes of salt to the beans and rice. Maybe that’s how they like them in Norman, but I need a bit more seasoning if you don’t mind, bro.
I was kind of surprised the last time I went, however, when I noticed that had added the Peruvian stir-fry dish Lomo Saltado ($11.95) to the menu, which seemed like quite the departure from the usual fare. And it was, kind of. While eschewing the papas fritas that are traditionally stirred into the mix, this version definitely goes for more of a Mexican variation, with carne asada, peppers, onions and so on, with some guacamole and pico de gallo situated nearby at your own discretion.
Even though their deflated sopapillas leave a little to be desired, I'm not gonna front them too much for it, especially as I sat there on their deck and watched the sun go down in the auburn sky, sipping on my second horchata of the night, finding some semblance of momentary peace and edible satisfaction before I take those cracked and flooded backroads back to that empty house. Cómpralo ya!