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Chow chat

Carol Smaglinski June 22nd, 2011

Zachary Qualls, 26, is an art history student at the University of Central Oklahoma. He has worked in restaurants and has been a caterer. Qualls, from Shawnee, said he has probably eaten in 90 percent of the metro restaurants, and is the go-to guy for recommendations.

Zachary Quails

Your top-notch restaurants: “American — Cattlemen’s; Asian — Fung’s Kitchen; Mexican — Mama Roja; and Indian — Gopuram.”

Favorite comfort food: “Rice, especially the rice served at Cafe do Brasil.”

Favorite cocktails: “The caipirinha, also served at Cafe do Brasil, and the Persephone at the Paseo (Grill).”

Culinary stars you would love to meet: “Rick Bayless (an Oklahoman who owns successful Chicago restaurants) and also Gale Gand.”

Daydream about: “Traveling to all the places I’ve wanted to go all over the world, such as South America, Mexico and Buenos Aires.”

You would never eat: “Balut, that fermented egg. But I am very adventurous with food.”

Most difficult thing you’ve ever done: “Trying to get my college degree and making a decision about opening up my own restaurant someday.”

Your signature dish would be: “Game — pheasant, quail or duck.”

People don’t know: “That I am very knowledgeable about gardening and have a passion for it, and I know a lot about beekeeping.”

Goofs in the kitchen? “Working in a restaurant as a senior in high school, I used a huge bag of cornstarch instead of flour when making pecan cookies. And another time in my kitchen for Thanksgiving, I used bathroom cleaner instead of cooking spray to coat the measuring cup so the corn syrup would slide right out. ‘What’s that funny taste?’ We did not eat it.”

NEW CATERING DIRECTOR ANNOUNCED

Janet Farhood, the owner of Nunu’s Mediterranean Cafe & Market, 3131 W. Memorial, has announced the appointment of Clayton Farhood as head of the new catering department, which will feature both bistro and Mediterranean foods.

Clayton Farhood, Janet’s son, brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, where he has held uppermanagement positions with Planet Hollywood, The Cheesecake Factory and Brinker International.

“With the sophisticated taste of today’s Oklahoma ‘foodies,’ we will be offering a diverse menu … featuring authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Food, fresh seafood and prime beef,” Farhood said.

The new catering arm of Nunu’s will be equipped to handle small dinner parties to large receptions. For the past three years, Nunu’s Mediterranean Cafe has been serving Mediterranean delicacies such as hummus, falafel and baklava, and also has a small grocery area inside the comfortable restaurant.

HERE’S THE SCOOP

There’s no surer sign of summer than eating ice cream. Even if your top choice is still vanilla, here’s something to do on hot summer days: Try tasting all seven of the new flavors of Braum’s ice cream and sherbet.

These new varieties are available by the dip or in a take-home carton. Just one question: Where do the old flavors go and who gets to taste all of the new flavors before they decide which ones get to stick around?

Braum’s website has the answer, at least regarding why patrons can’t get a particular ice cream flavor whenever they want it.

“At the Braum’s processing plant, we can make over 120 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet. Unfortunately, we don’t have the freezer space in the stores to display all 120 flavors at the same time. So, we have ‘regular’ flavors that are always available in the stores, and we have ‘rotator’ flavors that are made on a rotating basis (every four to eight weeks) and sent to the store.”

The seven new varieties of ice cream for this summer include amaretto peach charlotte, which is peach ice cream with almonds, ladyfinger cookie pieces and a peach ribbon; homestyle strawberry done with vanilla ice cream and strawberries; limoncello, featuring lemon ice cream with ladyfinger cookie pieces and a strawberry ribbon; and maple ice cream with walnuts.

Others on the list include a strawberry-chocolate chip frozen yogurt made with vanilla frozen yogurt with chocolate chips and strawberries; light Key lime pie done with Key lime ice cream and graham crackers; and finally, a peach sherbet.

What, no chocolate?

TWO NEW OPENINGS

Alfredo’s Mexican Cafe, which got its start in 1998 in Weatherford, has opened its first Edmond location, at 3409 S. Broadway. The restaurant opened in mid-April and joins two other Alfredo’s in Yukon and Moore.

In the southwest metro, Jubilee Market, 835 S.W. 119, has opened and offers a unique bakery and boutique concept. The spot, owned by Monica Best, offers lunch and dessert.

BOWL AND CHOW DOWN

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation recently opened FireLake Bowl, 40945 Hardesty Road in Shawnee. The new bowling center is a 24-lane, state-of-the-art facility sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress.

After working up an appetite, the FireLake includes a Subway restaurant and a San Remo’s pizzeria, plus a pro shop and an arcade room. The center will also host special events, parties and fun bowling nights each Friday and Saturday.

For more information or to schedule events, call 275-0404.

SALES MANAGER APPOINTED

Wine brokers Thirst Wine Merchants announced recently that Corey Bauer is now working with the crew as sales manager. Bauer brings with him more than 13 years of experience in the Oklahoma wine industry, including successful stints at the fine dining, retail and distribution levels.

Bauer, who was previously with Republic National Distributing Company, filled the open position left by Lindsey Erhardt, who left to pursue a career in health care.

Co-owners Alex Kroblin and Scott Large opened the metro-based Thirst Wine Merchants in 2006. In an email, Kroblin said Bauer was the first Oklahoman to pass Republic’s graduate level wine exam and, in fact, received one of the highest scores in the exam’s history. He said Bauer will be a good fit for Thirst Wine Merchants.

“In Corey’s career at RNDC, he was the leader in reviews and sales every year,” Kroblin said. “Over the past five years, we have constantly pushed ourselves to be the best fine wine company in Oklahoma, and we think we’re getting there.”

POPS AND FACEBOOK

Here’s a fun contest. Pops, 660 W. Highway 66 in Arcadia, recently held a photo contest to find the best shot of a fan in their Pops T-shirt. The top three photos as chosen by Facebook fans are now in the running for some cool prizes.

Head out to Pops in the next week for a chance to vote for your favorite photo, plus grab a bite to eat and some soda. The winner will be announced June 30 on Pops’ Facebook page.

BYTES

Last week on the Facebook page of Oklahoma Gazette, we asked which local Asian restaurant stood out as a favorite. Here are your answers, verbatim.

“Eggplant and tofu with garlic sauce at Golden Phoenix (Kim Phung). Hands down, baby -- hands down.”

—Matt McNeil “Tokyo in OKC best rolls I’ve ever had!!!”

—Robert C. Howell

“Bacon Rice Noodles at Panda Garden Buffet here in Norman on the east side of town.... delish!!!”

—Ashley Brand

“Dim sum at Grand House”

—Robert Mills

“the Bento box lunch special at Saii is way up there!”

—Traci Burnett

“Thai Garden, on Western, has the best seafood pad thai! And the owner is a saint. I ate there almost every day of high school and she always had a table ready. The kinda lady that remembers you years later when you walk in and asks ‘The usual or you wanna try the special today?’” —Zakk Flash

“Noodle salad at Coriander Cafe in Norman and the lunch buffet at Sala Thai in OKC”

—Karen Chapman

“Mandarin in Del City--Hawaiian chicken & broccoli beef. Plus Sala Thai ROCKS.”

—Tony Perry

“Thai Kumkoon in Norman next to Legends on Lindsey. I won’t lie – it’s a hole in the wall, but it’s so good and the people are friendly. Start with Mekrob and follow it up with the house special Evil Jungle Chicken. You’ll be licking your plate at the end. I’m serious - I see people pick up their plates there and lick the sauce. Also, Dot Wo’s Peking Shrimp. The two best asian dishes for my money in the OKC area” —Geri Stockton

—Carol Smaglinski

Visit okgazette.com for searchable listings and reviews of metro restaurants.

 
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