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Bite Size


Cooking the professional way

Carol Smaglinski December 29th, 2010

Emeril Lagasse, the national TV personality and best-selling author, came to Dillard’s in Penn Square Mall to greet Oklahomans and was a huge hit. While he was here, he did a demonstration for the audience members, showing them how they could “kick it up a notch during the holidays.”

The line was long and several people waited for hours, but Emeril — the BAM! man who is the chef/ proprietor of a dozen restaurants — performed his chores right on time, just like on TV. He then autographed books for the hundreds who came to see the popular chef in person.

His latest book is “Farm to Fork,” which includes instructions on fresh ingredients and how to handle them. After the signing, the chef was spotted dining at Ludivine, 805 N. Hudson.

Lagasse, a regional James Beard award winner, is the food correspondent for “Good Morning America” on ABC and has hosted more than 2,000 shows for the Food Network.

Twice each week, he hosts a call-in radio program called “Cooking with Emeril,” airing exclusively on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS XM. Many of his food products can be found locally at Crescent Market, 6409 Avondale Drive.

HOW TtO SAY ‘NO!’

Alcohol is hard to resist during the holiday season, especially at parties, but if you’ve had enough and people keep pressuring you to have another, just tell them, “Sorry, I can’t have anymore tonight. I am doing surgery in the morning.”

Just don’t reveal that you’re going to cut up a chicken. A chicken?

If the host or hostess insists on bringing you a mixed drink anyway, after he or she leaves the area, just set the drink down and leave the room.

CLOSINGS FOR 2010

Along with the premiere of so many new restaurants in the metro during the past year, unfortunately, there were several challenges and retirements that brought about some closings, too.

Among the familiar restaurants that shut the doors in 2010 were BobJo Bistro, Taj India Cuisine in Warr Acres and Lakeside Fish Grill, which is now Hefner Grill.

Perri’s Pizza & Café closed, and off went those hard-to-resist garlic sticks and stromboli. Taste Café and Catering closed, along with the Pioneer Pies in Warr Acres and Complete Pizzeria. Three eateries serving up Mexican favorites also closed: El Pollo Chulo, 4401 N.W. 23rd (but the location at 5805 N.W. 50th is still open), Las Palomas and El Chalan.

The original Sauced shut its doors, but was soon reopened with the same name under new owners Joe Jungmann and Lesley Rawlinson.

We will miss Worth Every Bite in Moore, Tator’s in Mustang and Bubba’s BBQ in Bethany, which is now Holley’s BBQ. The Grateful Bean Café closed its doors, but it is now Kaiser’s American Grill.

Also signing off were Figaro’s Pizza in Edmond; Falcone’s Family Restaurant in Bethany; Bandoleros; Swadley’s Bar-B-Q in Moore; The Brothers Restaurant and Horace’s Supper Club. Le Cep Bistro in Edmond closed, but watch for a new opening and a move coming soon for this one from Chef Curtis Bramlett. Saffron Grill moved from 50 Penn Place to Edmond and is now known as Simply Falafel, and we’re hearing good things.

The original O’Connell’s in Norman, open since 1968, is closing this Friday, but the new one is open in Campus Corner and uses the same affordable menu as its original, so we can all quit pouting.

In addition, sadly, Coach’s in Edmond is gone, with Dan McGuinness Pub now in the space, as well as longtime veteran County Line Barbeque, which was a shocker. Taste of Soul is gone, and a fire took down Selma’s Cakery in Edmond, which remains temporarily closed.

Top sushi chef Gil Gentry’s Gaijin Sushi in Norman bit the dust. Both locations of Leo’s Barbecue, owned by Charles Smith, closed and reopened.

Makers Cigar Lounge and Piano Bar in Bricktown was ordered closed in late November by the Oklahoma County District Court. Why? It was for noncompliance of payment of sales taxes totaling more than $267,000, according to OKCBiz. Its owner was Clinton B. Greenhaw.

QUOTE

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

—Those famous words were uttered by Estelle Reiner in the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” from 1989, directed by Estelle’s son, Rob Reiner.

CHOW CHAT

Rick Tate, at “50 something,” is the president of Ted’s Café Escondido. Café Escondido translated means “hidden café.”

Ted’s is anything but hidden. There are five locations in OKC,

Edmond, Norman and Broken Arrow employing 350 to 400 people. A deep thinker, Tate said when people remark about him being in the food business, he tells them, “I’m in the people business.”

Your personal ladder of success?

“Over 30 years, I’ve been an assistant manager, a general manager, an area manager, a regional manager, the director of operations and now president.”

Best feature: “My dedication to serve.”

Your motto: “Another day in paradise.”

Wish you knew five years ago:

“What the current economic climate would be today.”

People say you look like: “Pancho Villa — look it up.”

On Ted’s menu you like: “My top seven items, too numerous to mention. I could eat all of them every day.”

How’s Ted Curtis (the namesake of Ted’s) doing? “He’s fine.”

Best time without spending money: “Anything outdoors.”

You like the food: “In my own home, and a good cooking tip is: Follow the recipe.”

Biggest vice: “Sugar.” Greatest extravagance: “Planes, trains and automobiles.”

Who would you like to come back as? “Myself.”

Quality most admired in people: “Integrity.”

Don’t ever serve me: “Liver and onions.”

Best meal recently: “At Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth for a bone-in filet and lobster.”

Alcohol preference: “Red wine.” Best time to avoid long lines at Ted’s: “Come between 1:30 and 5 p.m. or 8 and 10 p.m.”

Hometown: “Anchorage, Alaska, and my parents brought me here.”

No one knows: “I own an igloo in Delaney, Alaska.”

BYTES

Of all the new local restaurants that opened in 2010, which one stands out? That was the question we asked last week on Oklahoma Gazette’s Facebook page. Here are unedited comments about the new places you’re loving.

“Stella. Their food was pleasantly lighter, healthier, and “different” than most Italian” —Joey Stipek

“Republic Gastropub. Excellent food, great beer selection, nice atmosphere. I’ve always received good service as well.” —Jeremy Dobson

“Cajun King! Delicious soul food, and the best catfish in town. And the people there are so friendly! They love what they do, and it shows through their delicious food.” —Cristina Bewley

“Ludivine! Incredible food, knowledgeable staff, great bar, amazing design. They also get my vote for their commitment to local and fresh ingredients” —Bradley Carter

“ChaChas in Norman. . . .I think they just opened this year. . . .fabulous food and great service!” —Julie Collins

“Dang. Cajun King IS pretty awesome. All you can eat catfish and binets?! What? But Ludivine is... well, divine.” —Lauren Zuniga

“Tall order. So far my stand out this year is a tie between 501, Republic Gastropub, and Picasso’s. S&B’s burger joint would be my winner for best slider. The problem with OKC is there are just too many good places to eat.” —Douglas Wilson

“Ludivine! For their commitment to Oklahoma farmers and their remarkable food and drink knowledge.” —Taylor T Stache Hanna

“GOGO sushi’s in Moore! Good food and great service! Check it!” —Van Nguyen

“The new Swadley’s in Mustang. Great food, great service, interesting building. Check it out!” —Curt Breuklander

“CAFE 501 @ Classen Curve!!!! They finally brought my favorite restaurant to my neck of the woods!! Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich~ YOM!!! (and I hear the art in there ain’t bad either, hehe!)” —Tara Hudson Feuerborn

“Let’s put aside the restaurants that have a sticky web of contemporary decor and culinary trending to wrap around the culturally-hungry urban professionals of Oklahoma City. Banana Island is my pick. Power to the delicious and the cheap!” —Lacey Elaine Dillard

—Carol Smaglinski

 
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