Friday, October 26, 2007

Run, Tulsa, Run

Blogger: Natasha

As of this writing, there are 15 hours, 9 minutes until the start of the 2007 Tulsa Run.

For those of you who have been training for months in anticipation and preparation for this race, GOOD LUCK! For the rest of you, you have 15 hours, 9 minutes to get to the start line to cheer these troopers on! I bet it's an amazing thing to watch. I'll find out tomorrow, since I ran the 5K last year and didn't know much about the Run before that. To run the race is definitely an amazing experience.

BONUS: There's beer and candy at the finish line. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cover Band Hilarity

Blogger: Mos Jef

Out of complete boredom and morbid curiosity, I have created a poster searching for people that want to start a Hall & Oates cover band. While I still think this is a fantastic idea, I'm really just interested in what kind of responses I would get.

I posted these all over town. Let's all pray that I get tons of responses. This could potentially be the funniest thing ever.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Vote 2-Day

Blogger: Natasha

Assuming you've educated yourself on the issues, don't forget to vote on the river proposal today.

Voting is, for me, one of the ultimate and funnest ways to do Tulsa. Voting isn't just a responsibility; it's a privilege. You - yeah, even you - have the opportunity today to have your voice heard. Heck, you might even have the chance to paint yourself in blue/green or black/red, dress up and drive some of your friends to the polls (pit stop at The Full Moon for lunch, anyone?).

Okay, cutting the crap. Polls are open until 7 this evening, so no excuses - GO VOTE!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

We Win: TDT is Best Culture Blog 2007

Though we couldn't be at the pizza party/Okie Blog Awards get-together today at Hideaway Pizza - some of us were visiting family, some of us were celebrating Natasha's birthday at Whispering Vines, and yet another was kicking ass at the Zoo Run - we still managed to bring one home:

Thanks to our fellow Oklahoma bloggers for your votes. We promise we'll stop doing Tulsa long enough to come to next year's Blogger Roundup.

Tulsa Zoo Run

Blogger: Mos Jef

This morning Tulsa had its 38th Annual Zoo Run. This year broke last year's record for most participants. Go Tulsa! It was a good time for everyone involved. I'm not sure exactly how many people were running in the event, but I pre-registered earlier this week and I was number:

That makes this run the 2nd oldest running event in Tulsa, and the 6th largest race in the state. The zoo's American Airlines tent served as the post-race hospitality area. Food and beverages from great Tulsa-area establishments were provided for all participants. Post-race activities included live music from a DJ, face painters, clowns, and massages. Once the race was over, all runners and spectators could enjoy a free day at the Tulsa Zoo.

Some animals were pretty pumped up about the event:

Others didn't seem so interested:

Others were too busy hanging out to even watch:

If you'd like to get involved in Tulsa-area running events, you should join the Tulsa Running Club. It's a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the benefits of running and walking by providing social, financial, and moral support to Tulsa and the surrounding communities and to establish camaraderie among runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. You can fill out a membership form at (or click the link).

Me? I'm not there for the camaraderie. I was talking trash and hauling ass. Just like in the last event, I finished 3rd in my age division (25 - 29 years old) despite shaving 45 seconds off my time. I'm almost positive it's the same two guys that beat me at the last event. I'm going to have to kill them. Training to beat them will just take too much effort. I'm going to make it look like an accident. I've already decided how -- posionous dart frogs:

Anyway, it was a good time. These events make running a lot of fun, and running is good for the body.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Doing the Tulsa State Fair

Bloggers: Natalie and Party Brenda
("T" is for...Tulsa? Okay.)

Ah, the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the Tulsa State Fair. Welcome to TDT’s Live Team Coverage of the Tulsa State Fair, with your hosts: Party Brenda and Natalie.

We met up Sunday evening and headed out to the Fairgrounds. Keep in mind that our complete and total purpose of attending the fair was to eat. So, if you’re looking for commentary on the livestock, the rides or really anything else, we’re not your girls.

Here’s a rundown of our fair experience.

6:25 p.m. Say hi to Party Husband, who is working as a member of the esteemed Event Staff at Disney on Ice. We listen to his lament of having seen the show seven times. Brenda takes his cash, but she gives him a kiss, so it all works out.

6:35 p.m. First food stop: jumbo corn dogs.

6:47 p.m. Ribbon potatoes. Stop at covered eating area to people watch. Comment from Natalie on the “special” sort of people that tend to gather on the Midway at the fair.

7:10 p.m. Enter Expo Center to browse for things we don’t need. Discussions about hot tubs, RVs, jewelry cleaner, gutters, ugly furniture and pools ensue.

7:16 p.m. Visit Natalie’s friend Elizabeth at the KTUL booth.

7:18 p.m. Decide to look at refrigerators, as Natalie may be in the market for one soon.

7:19 p.m. Guy hits on Natalie in the refrigerator area. We run away.

7:20 p.m. Consider a Strawberry Newberg. They are expensive. We move on.

7:22 p.m. Our favorite annual stop at the fair: Wedding Cake Competition. One of the cake decorators is running around saying, “There’s something wrong with the judging,” over and over. We ignore her and point at the cute baby on the floor.

7:23 p.m. Cake observing.

7:34 p.m. Bored with the Expo Building, we move outside to get some dessert.

7:36 p.m. It starts raining. We stop under another corn dog stand for shelter.

7:40 p.m. Darting from food trailer to food trailer to stay out of rain.

7:42 p.m. Discussion about whether Party Brenda should win a giant grizzly bear for Kyle. Conclusion that it would probably cost her $547 to win said grizzly bear.

7:45 p.m. Seek shelter under another food trailer. Notice that it is a trailer for pineapple whip and dip cones. Score!

7:49 p.m. Head to the car. Really raining now.

7:52 p.m. Safely in the car. And, home we go.

All in all, it was an excellent fair experience, though probably fairly (haha – no pun intended) short by most standards. Considering our purpose was to eat, and your money (and your appetite) doesn’t go too far at the fair, I’d say we accomplished our objectives within a reasonable amount of time.

The weather is supposed to be very nice this weekend, so go on out to the fair! Just watch out for the goons on the Midway.

Just for Fun: Notes from Natasha

List of stuff eaten by TDT girls (Party Brenda, Natalie and Natasha) at the Fair up until Oct. 4:

-Garlic Chicken Burrito
-4 bottles of water
-Cheese on a Stick (I wait all year for the Fair, just to partake of this bit of arterial hell)
-Brownies with pudding from the Strawberry Newberg people
-Indian Taco
-Large iced tea
-Fudge from somewhere in the MIO (Made in Oklahoma) building
-Two jumbo corn dogs
-Ribbon potatoes
-Two Pineapple Whip and Dip Cones
-Buttered Corn on the Cob
-Strawberry Newberg

Yeah, so I’m 4 ½ months pregnant and can put away food in a fashion unmatched during my pre-pregnancy life, but the girls and I came together and managed to eat enough food to fill one of those smelly-like-child-barf garbage cans at the good ol’ Tulsa State Fair this year. Who knows, we may go back this weekend to eat yet more of that food that, while delicious, also greases the intestinal tract.

TDT Staff note: How many of you have seen the cover of the most recent Urban Tulsa Weekly? The title of the cover story is, “Pie High: Pizza Is the New Hamburger.” Give it a read. The Quest must have been a pretty damn good idea – cover-worthy, it seems.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Not All Sour Grapes

Blogger: Natasha
(photo credit: Sarah Nicodemus)

This has been a tough year for local wineries. After the late freeze this spring and the heavy rain this summer, several vineyards in northeastern Oklahoma don't have much of a crop this year.

Since 2000, the number of wineries in the state has jumped from 4 to 48. Winery presence in Oklahoma surged after the passage of SQ 688, which allowed wineries to bypass distributors and wholesalers to ship directly to liquor retailers and restaurants. SQ 688 has since been declared unconstitutional. Soon, HB 1753 came along to reinstate a prior regulation of alcohol distribution within the state such that Oklahoma wineries are free to ship to customers outside the state, but not to those within Oklahoma borders.

So, without a business relationship with a distributor – which is hard to come by, since a distributor often has to choose between pushing small quantities of specialty wine from local entities and pushing large quantities of consumer wine from much larger enterprises with leveraging power - a local winery cannot sell its juice to in-state customers from anywhere but its headquarters or local festivals. As logic would have it, vineyards don’t thrive in urban centers. When a winery is stuck on a vineyard in Bristow, Haskell or Vinita, it doesn’t get much foot traffic.

Consequently, most of the state’s wineries and vineyards can’t subsist on the grape-growing and wine-making business alone. Vineyards and wineries like Stone Bluff Cellars near Haskell and Whispering Vines Vineyards and Winery, which has been sprouting near my old stomping grounds in west Tulsa since 2002, support their winemaking businesses by hosting or setting up displays at events and festivals that attract rushes of agri-tourists.

Might be a pain for some of the folks in the Oklahoma winemaking business who’d rather hone a centuries-old craft than play customer service all day, but these events open the art and craft of the winemaking process and wine culture to everyday people in the community.

Here is a frequently updated list of such events. Whatever your opinion on the regulation of alcohol in Oklahoma, find time to head out to the boonies, find a few of these wineries and enjoy their wine tastings and fall festivals. Many of them feature tastings for free, fancy meals and live entertainment. And, oh yeah: they have lots and lots of yummy wines, and they're happy to let you try as many as you'd like.

My favorites/recommendations:

Stone Bluff Cellars near Haskell hosts some of the nicest wine and food pairing events in the Tulsa area, and lunch is served on the grounds Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Just think: good wine made from grapes grown on the country land that surrounds you, gourmet food, a view of the Tulsa skyline and wonderful people. I mean, the owner is a guy named Dr. Bob. Who couldn’t love that?

I just have two words to say about Nuyaka Creek Winery in Bristow: Petite Pecan. The best pecan pie in the world would have a hard time holding a candle to this fortified wine, which is 24 percent alcohol. Hint: sample it in a small(er) glass. Also, have a taste of the specialty at Nuyaka Creek Winery, the Elderberry Wine. I don’t need to suggest that twice.

Merlot Vines at Nuyaka Creek Winery (photo from NCW Web site)

Last but not least, take a Saturday afternoon to drop by Whispering Vines Vineyards and Winery, 7374 W. 51st St. Late last week I stumbled upon Dean and Doreen Riesen and their vineyard and winery, which opened quietly this spring. After giving me a taste of several of his favorite wines, Dean took the time to tell me how the business he shares with his wife got to where it is today, rough spots and all. Dean and Doreen are some of the most darling folks – come to think of it, I find most winery people quite darling, especially after I’ve been hanging around for awhile.

Not only was the wine fabulous (I recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat Canelli), but the grounds are beautiful. The Riesens plan to host wine parties with live entertainment on the deck out back of the winery once fall hits. Take my advice: plan to attend at least one of them.

During the spring and fall, day travelers could make a weekend out of visiting the Green Country vineyards and wineries. Who says we need a bunch of concrete and air conditioning at the river to have a good time in Tulsa? Whichever box you’ll be checking Oct. 9, make an effort to enjoy the community as it exists. As this blog has proven, there’s plenty to see and do in T-town.

P.S. - From Tasha, Party Brenda, Chester, Natalie, Chris, Sarah, Jeff and Aaron, thanks for nominating Tasha Does Tulsa for Best Culture Blog, a subcategory of the 2007 Okie Blog Awards! We’re glad you enjoy our antics.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Labor Day Weekend: An Essay by Party Brenda

Blogger: Party Brenda
(photo credit: Chris Boldini, or something)

So, this weekend was Labor Day weekend. It was also a perfect opportunity for Tulsans to get out there and enjoy the town a little more than usual.

The weather was just wonderful, especially in the morning hours – or, so I hear. Party Brenda slept in. If there is one thing I enjoy more than a good karaoke party it is sleeping in.

Get Your Shop On

Anywho, I had a great weekend. I meet up with some friends and ate dinner at P.F. Changs in Utica Square. It was delicious. Then we strolled around trying to catch some Labor Day specials. I bought a great little white dress on sale, and some unmentionables too. Ha! Wouldn’t you like to know? I just love Utica Square and the wonderful outdoor environment they’ve created there.

After we were tired of walking around and a little sweaty ‘cause it had warmed up quite a bit by then, we all headed over the Osage Casino at the End of the Yellow Brick Road, I mean the L.L. Tisdale. I usually don’t like spending time in a casino (I’m broke), but my friends assured me I would have a good time. Plus, they have a bar.

A Party Favor

So, we went! May I just say, it is so nice that they have speakers in their parking lot! The place was packed and we had to park out in BFE, but with the speakers pumping out the classic music master pieces of the eighties we had a little added bounce in our step to the front door.

We walked inside and I immediately felt as if I had already smoked five cigarettes. I guess that appeals to some people. My friend Jack lit up first thing. The security guards that met us at the front entrance were very pleasant. They even offered Jack a light.

I only had three dollars to spend, so I wanted to find a low-bidding machine. I was telling my friends that I had played a pretty fun slot machine with my Party Grandma not that long ago. I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s a little more interactive than most slot machines and also not as complicated and number-y as others.

Well, I now hate that game because it devoured my first dollar in less than five minutes. Ah well. We moved on.(photo credit: WMS Gaming)

Jack was telling us about this game he’d played for hours one day called “Super Jackpot Party.” I immediately became interested ‘cause, you know, I like to party! The game starts out like most computerized slot machines by having you pick the number of lines and how much you want to bet and yada yada yada, BUT, if you get three party symbols anywhere on the screen…

You get to have a party.

Balloons fall from the top on the screen and party blower noise maker thingys are blown, and then Disco Inferno starts playing on the speakers. I was so excited to have this party. Then the screen fills with wrapped gifts that you get to open by touching the screen. The gifts contain anything from extra credits at multiple levels, to whack a party pooper game, to a dance-off, to multiplying all the credits you had already won, etc. The best part is that you get to keep selecting gifts until you select a “party pooper” gift. The party pooper comes in and, of course, ends the party by saying something really stupid like, “Shouldn’t we all be studying?” Or, a cop will come in, and we all know how much of a party pooper one of those can be.

The game was awesome, is what I’m getting at. I spent a little more time on this one with my remaining two dollars, but I was really temped to withdraw some more cash from my checking account.

Then, we went to the bar…watched some football games and drank some Corona. Yum. Good Times.

In Conclusion

The things I wish I could have done this weekend were:

A. Buy more new clothes;

B. Drink some iced coffee at the Coffee House on Cherry Street;

C. Spent a little more time by the pool…or, just outside in general. It was beautiful.

Oh! And…

D. Hang out with my BFF Natasha. I guess she was kinda being a party pooper herself this weekend. I’m sure we’ll all hear what she’s been up to here on the blog soon.

So, in conclusion, I hope everyone found their own special little way of enjoying the long weekend. I did. We can only hope that the winter will be filled with extra icy, deadly conditions so that we don’t have to go to work all those days and we can stay home and make my award-winning cheesecake and hot chocolate.

Good-bye, summer. We will miss you. Oh, and hey, summer? See you at El Guapo later for some roof top drinks. Love it. Party On!

Natasha’s note: I was really busy being pregnant this weekend. Party Brenda and I get to hang out at Coffee Jesus tonight. Good thing there's no full moon...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Star Party

Blogger: Natasha
(Photo credit: Scare-uh Nicodemus)

Need something to do in the Tulsa area that’s fun, free, and could really impress a date? Check the Astronomy Club of Tulsa’s Web site for future star parties (hint: next one's Sept. 14, but you've gotta be a member or a guest of a member to attend). Aaron and I took our Miami, Okla. friends to the one Aug. 10, when the Perseid meteors dazzled the night sky.

After some burgers at Fuddruckers on a very busy, very light-polluted 71st St., the four of us loaded up in our gas-sipping city car and hit the turnpike toward the Mounds Observatory, about 30 minutes from South Tulsa. The climb up gravel roads past farm houses and horse farms was a nice transition from where we’d come to what we’d learn was, well, the middle of nowhere.

We arrived at the observatory at about 8, more than an hour before sunset. We expected to find one or two other stargazers there, though we knew the party was open to non-members. I have a deep appreciation for my husband’s favorite hobby, but I was pretty sure that an Astronomy Club of Tulsa event wouldn’t exactly be the party of the century. As it turned out, I, a dim-wit, know nothing about star people. By the time the sun went down, there were probably 75-100 people on the hill on which Mounds Observatory sits.

Not only was the party well-attended, but everyone there was very friendly and welcoming. The president of the ACT encouraged us to circulate, try others’ telescopes, and ask lots of questions. We did. No one laughed at my questions or scoffed at me when I didn’t know the difference between this eyepiece and that. Everyone I met was eager to inform me about the meteor shower, the summer constellations, and their telescopes. We met a lot of interesting and devoted people, and they all really knew their stuff.

Since this was our first star party, we didn’t know we’d require certain things to look as though we belonged there: you know, bug repellant, a sitting blanket, pillows, lawn chairs, snacks, and, ahem, a telescope. Aaron is an avid proponent of stargazing using binoculars. But, as strange as it seemed to us laypeople, he and his binoculars fit right in with the folks who brought scopes as tall as eight feet and worth as much as $11,000.

Once the sun set and our eyes adjusted to the dark, the sky really put on a show for us. Meteors were shooting across the sky at a rate of about one per every three minutes, and we were so far from city lights that the Milky Way was clearly discernable. The constellations disappeared for all the stars that aren’t visible from our home between Midtown and South Tulsa, and I swear that as the sky grew darker and my eyes more adjusted, I could tell the colors of the stars. Had I been lying next to my husband on dirty towels we found in the trunk, it would have been really romantic.

Here’s how we found out we really were in the middle of nowhere: when a lady tried to use the restroom in the observatory, part of the door facing fell and hit her square on the noggin. She was knocked out for awhile, so some people called 911. After about 30 minutes (good thing this woman wasn’t the victim of a star party stabbing, eh?), an ambulance showed up. Since it was past midnight and the headlights were going to ruin our hard-won dark vision, we took the opportunity to head back down the gravel road toward Tulsa. Another ambulance and two police cars passed us. We assumed a medical emergency at the observatory was a lot more interesting than another round of coffee and donuts. I wondered if the emergency workers thought the star people were weirdos, or maybe even hippies, sitting up on the hill with their gadgets and contraptions, chatting and showing each other their nebulas. I didn’t think the star people were weird at all. They can show me their nebulas any day, er, night.

This is the Ring Nebula, which I got to see through an 8-foot Dobsonian reflector telescope. It looked mostly blue and green when I saw it at the last ACT star party Aug. 10.

Though this star party occurred a few weeks ago, I figure if I put the word out now, you all will quit whining that unless you have shiny new stuff to do at the river you’ll just die of boredom and come to the next star party and rediscover the simple joy of the unadulterated night sky – and making out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Natalie's 'The Quest' Continues

Blogger: Natalie

The Quest continues. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. They’ve been added to the list of places to try.

Since the last time I wrote, I’ve sampled Olive Garden (pass on it), Stonehorse Café (not bad for an establishment with a menu not centered on pizza) and Umberto’s again (excellent again, and this time they used crumbled sausage instead of sliced). I’d try more, but, as I stated before, my waistline needs a bit of a break between pizza experiences. I did try pizza in Mexico, but that’s not really relevant to this particular Quest.

Anyway, this time Party Brenda, her husband Kyle and I headed over to Mario’s, 3323 E. 51st St., #U. After some confusion about which pizza place it actually was (there’s another NYC pizza place just north on 51st, which has since been added to the list), we finally got on the same page.

A trend I’ve noticed in these hole-in-the-wall pizza places is the lack of customer service, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mario’s was no exception. No one really acknowledged our presence until we approached the counter to order.

I ordered the medium New York-style sausage, which is the smallest you can buy, and I would later find out it is huge for a medium. Three people could easily share it. Kyle ordered the Sicilian (Mario’s code for deep dish) supreme.

Mine arrived first, both because I ordered first and because the deep dish takes longer to cook. Well, I say “arrived” – they just yelled out the pizza, and you went to the counter to get it.

As I said before, the pizza was huge, but hot and fresh, so you know it’s made-to-order. The sausage was sliced here as well, and they weren’t stingy with it. Brenda and I decided we like the sliced variety better than the crumbled.

After I cut into it (with my plastic silverware, mind you, which sort of rubbed us the wrong way, as I would think they could spring for some real silverware, especially considering pizza cutting usually requires fairly sturdy flatware, but I digress), I found it to be pretty good pizza.

The pros:

  • Hot, fresh and more-than-generously sized;
  • Very cheesy, good ingredients;
  • Excellent crust, with the perfect combination of chewy and crispy;
  • Closer to home than Umberto’s.

The cons:

  • A little soggy/greasy (probably from too much sauce), and, for lack of a better word, a little bland;
  • A staff that was, at best, indifferent to our presence.

Kyle and Brenda didn’t care for the deep-dish crust, but both agreed that my thinner crust pizza was pretty good.

After filling to-go boxes with our leftovers, we debated whether we were supposed to clean our own table. We decided to err on the side of caution and clean up after ourselves, since a staff member hadn’t approached our table the entire time we were there.

So, to sum up: Mario’s makes a pretty decent pizza, but opt for the thin crust. It’s enough to put Mario’s at the number two spot in The Quest for the best pizza in Tulsa. Umberto’s still claims the top spot.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Party Brenda Loves Reggae Fest

Blogger: Party Brenda


And YAY Tulsa for showing up to the Riverwalk to support it.

I got to the amphitheater right at the start, 4 o’clock.
The Riverwalk was got busier and busier as the day went on.

The Riverwalk was a great place to have reggae fest this year, by the way. I am a loyal fan to the festival and go pretty much every year. There wasn’t as much stuff going on as I had seen in years past, but I’m pretty sure the atmosphere made up for it.

During the down time there was a nice variety of reggae music coming through the loud speakers. The music was outstanding! The first guy up at 4 played the drums. He’d made his drum set completely out of recycled goods.

Recycling was a big theme at the fest this year, actually. There was an overwhelming number of recycling bins laid out. Many were labeled plastic bottles only and cans only. I struggled with what to do with my plastic cup that had the few melted drops of what remained of my cheesecake ice cream with cherries mixed in (got it at The Marble Slab, YUM). The cup was plastic, but not a bottle, but I decided to put it in the plastic bottle bin anyway. I hope I didn’t piss the recycling workers off. I didn’t want to just throw it in the trash.

Ah well.

My fellow co-worker Molly and I met up and while I ate my ice cream and she sipped her beer, we floated from vendor to vendor. My favorite items were all the wonderful tributes to Mr. Bob Marley. You would think the man was Jesus from how he was revered at this place.

Molly’s favorite stuff was the many selections of jewelry there. She purchased two necklaces and two pairs of earrings. The pieces were promised to be original and one of a kind, just like my friend Molly. *smiley*

There was all sorts of all natural products there, including breads and bath stuff. You could even get a henna tattoo! But, my Mayfest experience with the henna kinda got me in trouble, so I opted out. Other than that, there were painters and musicians and plenty of hippies at the festival this year. People from all walks of life were really enjoying themselves.

It was SO HOT though. What’s with summer happening all of a sudden? Geez. I’m glad I had chosen my favorite hippie girl dress – the one that’s really airy and the closest piece of clothing I have to being naked.

And yay for all the local musicians that came out to chill and help others to chill.

In summary, I think Reggae Fest was great. There weren’t any bongs for sell this year though. Sad.

But really, anytime you have a lot of beer + food + outside + Awesome Music+ illegal smoke = GOOD TIMES!


Editor's Note: Brenda sent this to me Monday morning for posting. Due to work hassles and all the stuff that's gotta be done when you get a certain type of exciting news (found out Sideshow Husband and I are going to have a baby!), I haven't been able to post it until today. My bad. But, as Party Brenda would say, party on!

Monday, July 9, 2007

New Correspondent Brings 'The Quest' to TDT

Blogger: Natalie

Let me first say that, as a lifelong reader of Tasha Does Tulsa, I’m honored to appear on this blog. Now that’s out of the way, I’ll move onto my purpose here.

Those who know me know I love my pizza. The sweet marriage of melted cheese, bread and sauce makes any day better. Even bad pizza is still pretty good pizza in my book.

Recently, in homage to my favorite food, I formally announced The Quest for the Best Pizza in Tulsa. I solicited opinions and recommendations and set out, knowing full well the effect The Quest will have on my waistline. But, it’s a risk I’m willing to take if it means I am able to report back to you fine people about this important piece of culinary goodness.

The Terms
The Quest is serious. It’s relevant, important and all those other words one would use to describe such an endeavor. I’m looking for the best pizza in Tulsa - not just the pizza you have delivered from the franchises you can find anywhere in the country, though they, too, have their positives. I’m looking from the classy restaurants with cloth napkins to the hole-in-the-wall places where the vinyl booths are taped with duct tape. No place is too good or too sketchy. If it comes highly recommended, I will go.

I’m looking for traditional, old-fashioned pizza, not specialty pizzas with unorthodox toppings/sauces, though those, too, have their place (shoutout to the Little Kahuna at Hideaway). Because the best pizza is subjective to the diner, I will consider the opinions of others. Ultimately though, for purposes of The Quest, my own verdict is final.

Since I have officially begun The Quest, I have visited Hideaway at multiple locations and Pie Hole, 2708 E. 15th St.

The Quest to Umberto’s
I set out on a Quest mission last Thursday with my good pals Party Brenda, Kyle, Aaron and Tasha to Umberto’s, 3228 E. 21st St., which came highly recommended by family members and several coworkers.

Umberto’s serves up New York-style pizza. If you’re going for the décor, you’re out of luck. Even Party Brenda, our resident interior designer extraordinaire, declared it a “lost cause.” But if you’re going for the pizza, then you’re in luck.

It’s pretty simple. The menu is above the counter, and you can order pizza and its variations with all your basic toppings, including Canadin (sic) bacon. No need for salad, sandwiches or pasta dishes here, folks, which is just fine by me. Personally, I appreciated the simplicity. In my mind, it shows a dedication and an intense focus on great pizza.

So, we girls approached the counter to order while the men discussed how one gets a saxophone to stick to a brick wall like the one that hangs in the restaurant (“really strong super glue,” says the engineer of the group). Deciding on the 10”, which is the smallest you can buy, Tasha and I ordered pepperoni/jalapeño and sausage, respectively. Party Brenda changed it up with a supreme calzone. All three of us ordered a side of the Garlic Knots, which came highly recommended from other folks in the place, most of whom seemed to be regulars, as I noticed some of the staff greet them by name.

After eating here, I kind of want to be a regular.

The immediate response after the first bites was excellent. The sausage pizza, I noticed, didn’t have your average crumbled sausage, but instead appeared to have been sliced thin like pepperoni. I found I really liked it that way, and Party Brenda agreed, as she occasionally reached out to pluck a slice from my pizza. I found this pizza to be a little chewier than one might expect from New York-style, but not enough to declassify it as New York style.

Aaron and I agreed the crust was excellent, and because the crust is a vital factor in my decision, this earned points for Umberto’s in my book. Kyle declared the sauce “a little too thin,” while a lively discussion on the merits of thick vs. thin sauce ensued. I was on the thin sauce side, and I said too much sauce can really ruin a pizza. Kyle agreed by saying too much sauce was a downfall of Chicago-style pizza. We decided comparing New York-style and Chicago-style pizza during The Quest would be a little like comparing apples to oranges.

The food was fairly prompt, though our Garlic Knots were forgotten until Tasha politely requested them. Service is sparse, but I didn’t mind.

Now, I understand that they are called Garlic Knots, and one would expect to taste some garlic in there, but wow. Be prepared for a literal garlic explosion in your mouth. Cancel your vampire-repelling plans, because you won’t need them. And, don’t plan to kiss anyone for a couple of days. These suckers are literally covered in garlic. Don’t misunderstand – they were tasty – I just feel I should prepare everyone for the garlic-ness that is the Garlic Knots at Umberto’s. Needless to say, we were passing around the Orbit gum afterwards.

Fully expecting to take part of my pizza home, as I do not have a husband with whom to share my pizza, I was surprised to find only two pieces left on my plate, one of which Party Brenda snatched up at my request after she and Kyle made quick work of the calzone. Miserably full, we stumbled out the door.

Arrivederchi…For Now
All that to say this: Umberto’s is highly recommended in my book.

The pizza is excellent. The ingredients taste fresh, it’s incredibly reasonable in price and the crust is superb. These people know how to make a pizza (and they deliver!). The atmosphere is pure hole-in-the-wall, but I think it adds to the experience.

So far, Umberto’s is my frontrunner in The Quest for the Best Pizza in Tulsa and is certainly ahead in the New York style category.

Next up on the list (after I take a short break to step up my exercise routine to work off Umberto’s): keeping the New York style theme with a visit to Mario’s. Stay tuned.

Correspondent's note: If you have a recommendation for the Quest, please feel free to submit them here, as all recommendations are welcome and appreciated. If you would like to participate in a Quest mission, please submit an application listing prior pizza experience, three letters of recommendation and a statement as to why you love you some pizza. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Editor’s note: Natalie is a public relations professional living and working in Tulsa. She actively helps to make Tulsa a better place via her involvement in TYPros and the Tulsa chapter of PRSA. All requests for a life of pizza-sharing with Natalie should be forwarded to Party Brenda at her blog for screening.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Independence Day 2007 in Sperry, Oklahoma

Blogger: Natasha
(Photo credit: Sarah Nicodemus)

No, I didn’t go see the fireworks at River Parks this year. I didn’t go to see the displays at Southern Hills, Tulsa Country Club, Grand Lake, or the one by my old stopping grounds you could watch from the Wal-Mart in Sapulpa.

What I did for the Fourth of July was, in my opinion, much more entertaining. Sideshow Husband and I went to his parents’ house in Sperry to celebrate Independence Day 2007.

My parents-in-law live in a small development along Highway 11 crammed with homes packed full with large, middle-income families. We had to park at the end of the street and walk to Aaron’s parents’ house because at the time, there was no parking anywhere along the entire street.

After dinner, plenty of parking opened up when residents moved their cars near where we’d parked earlier. They were making way for what would become a one-eighth mile firework launching pad.

After we ate copious amounts of chicken tenders, baked beans, mustard potato salad, tabouli and homemade peach ice cream, the show began. About 70 people flooded the driveways and streets - and that was just Aaron’s parents’ house, next door, the houses across from them and the house across from us.

We got to enjoy everything from illegal pop-bottle rockets duct-taped four together, to chained-together fountains, to circuit-fused shells. For about an hour, the different acts in the light show came at such a rapid succession that I had to make two trips into the house to rinse the smoke taste out of my mouth.

The family across the street put on the best show. Before the sun set, the homeowner brought a roll of Black Cats to the street-turned-launch pad that was so large he had trouble wrapping his arms around it.

Being a former band kid, I’ve heard a lot of really loud sounds. However, I have never heard anything as loud as that roll of Black Cats going off for what was probably three and a half minutes.

After dark, they strung together what was probably hundreds of those ear-splitting missile things. This display stopped all other action on the street, again for several minutes, and was followed by applause and cheering from up and down the entire street.

There was a pretty serious accident at the house next door to us. In the tradition of the people who live in this neighborhood, a group of boys from that house set up a long circuit of tubes full of shells that make those huge starbursts in the sky. One of the tubes fell toward the house and shot a shell at the tightly packed clutch of family and friends gathered in the driveway. We saw a wave of green sparks fly from the house, and everyone went quiet as we heard a child screaming and the family hustled him indoors. They didn’t resume shooting fireworks until much later in the evening, so I assume the child was hurt. We didn’t hear any official news from the other side of the fence, though.

Aside from that incident, I don’t know of any other mishaps or injuries that took place last night. One of our tubes tipped over a shot a missile-type firework at the open van in our driveway, which was full of my brother-in-law’s pyrotechnics. Nothing catastrophic happened, but you can bet I’ve never seen my father-in-law move so fast.

What I really like about celebrating Independence Day at Aaron’s parents’ is the mass exodus of all the neighborhood families from their homes and into the street to light fireworks together – or, sometimes, at each other. Everyone is eating, laughing, lighting things on fire and having a great time. All the residents seem to know each other, since I saw several people fluttering from yard to yard, swapping fireworks lighting groups and finding other porches on which to have another beer. Several people were cruising the launch pad on go-carts or on foot, since the number of people and debris in the street made the road virtually impassable to cars and trucks.

I come from a good ol’ part of Tulsa, but I’ve never seen a community pull together to such a magnitude without a natural disaster demanding everyone’s helping hands.

I wish more neighborhoods in Tulsa proper were like this. Ours certainly isn’t. Where we live, the gap between the growing number of absentee landlords and their tenants and the middle-income elderly folks who are dismayed at the so-called growing crime rate in the neighborhood that they are sure is a result of the low-income tenants makes getting together for the annual homeowners’ association garage sale or picnic tense enough.

It’s strange how Fourth of July celebrations can vary so widely in a relatively small city. I know that fireworks shows at venues like River Parks and the local country clubs bring thousands of Tulsans together, but I’d like to see a little more grassroots activity. You can’t commiserate with your next-door neighbor over picnic food about the kid who blasts his music when he drives by if you do all your holiday celebrating at River Parks, and you can’t hold the new neighborhood babies at a country club fireworks show – at least, not the new babies in my neighborhood.

Though we can share a great experience with multitudes at a mainstream venue, when there are so many people around, we don’t get to interact, really, with anybody. Neighborhood-level celebrations would help reinforce that comfortably cosmopolitan feel (see Tulsa Convention and Visitor's Bureau's new Web site) that really does come naturally to this town.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Ray Does Jenks

Blogger: Ray Tuttle, Tulsa's Small Business Journalist of the Year (pictured with his son Bryson)
(Photo credit: one of Ray's other kids)

Yet another example of why rain ain't so bad:
Taken from Jenks (Ray said to type "Jenks proper" in here somewhere) looking east. Credit: Ray Tuttle.

Ray took this picture during a break from cleaning up the branches in his yard fallen after the storms this week, sweating profusely and screaming at his kids to get busy and help. He knocked on the door of the 80-year-old couple that lives across the street to come look at this rainbow. Actually, he ended up causing an impomptu neighborhood gathering.

"There were some other neighbors working in their yards, and we all stopped and chatted," he said.

Way to bring your neighborhood together for shared rainbow enjoyment, Ray!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rain, Rain

Blogger: Natasha
(photo credit: Sarah Nicodemus)

Rain, rain, go away.

Surprisingly, the amount of rain we've had so far this year is not the most abnormal weather statistic on the precipitation pattern over the past few months- the number of days we've had rain is. We've had 33 days of rain since May 1, when 20 days is closer to average, according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office.

Still, Tulsa has had over 15 inches of rain since May 1. That makes this rainy season the sixth wettest ever.

Yuck. A big group of Tulsans and I planned to head to Philbrook after work Friday to catch a showing of Breakfast at Tiffany's on the lawn. I even considered making a huge basket of fried chicken. Unfortunately, the event is likely to be rained out - unless "rain likely" and "60%" is local TV news talk for partly cloudy. We shall see. If the sun doth shine, come join us! We'll be in the north garden.

You know...maybe gray skies aren't always so bad after all:
From the roof of Utica Place, the mixed-use development just south of Utica Square. Photo credit: Sarah Nicodemus

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Completely Subjective Survey: Come on Down

Blogger: Chester

We’ve all seen those irritating-yet-magnetic bulletin surveys on Myspace (yes, even I have a Myspace page). Heck, you might have even filled out one or two yourself. Seems to me, many people like the idea of being interviewed. I’m here to give you yet another chance to speak your mind.

Follow that link to a Tulsa survey Natasha casually passed around on Myspace. There’s still only a few questions, and you get to remain anonymous.

Don’t get the impression that we’re trying to be objective and use standardized surveying methods on this thing. We know the answers to our questions will come from a certain demographic with its special set of interests and opinions. We’re just curious as to what the people who happen upon blogs such as this one are really thinking about Tulsa.

Here are a few answers (some are interesting and funny, others are pretty sobering) to the survey Natasha passed around on Myspace, all answered by current Tulsa area residents. We mixed up the order of responses to maintain respondent anonymity. We also corrected Myspace-esque spelling and punctuation errors:

What's your favorite thing to do in Tulsa?

  • I’m a fan of the Riverwalk lately. I just like to sit out there with friends.
  • Utica Square
  • Laserquesting
  • photographing downtown

What's your best kept secret about Tulsa?

  • Probably the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, like Teri’s Coney Island, Claud’s Hamburgers and Café Ole. That and you can get a pizza for $5 at Domino’s on Mondays.
  • blue dome district bars
  • Center of the Universe is downtown. The 15th floor of the Petroleum Club Balcony...awesome view and with the breeze, simply divine.
  • no one knows it's me but i beat everyone one at laserquest every time

How many times do you drive Memorial in a week?

  • Very few. It’s not on my regular route.
  • at least 2
  • rarely, thank god
  • 1

How many times do you dine in Tulsa in a week?

  • Probably five or six.
  • 1/2 to 1
  • 1
  • many, if QT counts

Of which geographic area of Tulsa do you have the least favorable opinion? Why?

  • north side, cause it's skank
  • The north side because it’s scary, and the area of Peoria between 41st and 61st because of Hispanic gang-related situations. I generally stay away from places where I might get shot.
  • north Tulsa obviously, it's so run down and a lot of drug users/gangs...
  • it's too flat everywhere
Sorry we haven’t been doing much of Tulsa lately. The people who work on this blog have been very busy with jobs and families as of late, and I’ve been stuck in a fishbowl. Keep checking back. We’re bound to find some trouble sooner or later.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cycling + Pizza = Thumbs Up, Tulsa

Blogger: Natasha

Tulsa Tough

My husband, my sister and I made it down to the Brady district to Tulsa Tough this weekend.

Tulsa Tough cyclists zipping down Brady Saturday in a women's division race.

Tulsa Tough, the cycling event described by a billboard visible from Saturday’s goings-on as “That thing they do in France – only in Tulsa,” is a joint initiative of the Tulsa Sports Commission and the Tulsa Wheelmen. The event began Friday after work in the Blue Dome District, continued Saturday morning at Main and Brady, and coasted into Sunday at 13th and Riverside until sometime after 3 pm.

The cool thing about Tulsa Tough is that it wasn’t just a sporting event. There was plenty for kids to do, and concerts put on by local acts filled the gaps between races. Lots to eat and drinks were close by, as well.
From the Tulsa Tough Web site: Saturday’s races offer something for all skill levels and run through the heart of the historic Brady Arts district. Saturday is designed for the whole family with races, rides, kids events, activity zones and more.
While I can’t say cycling is exactly my thing, I will say that it’s a real rush when a pack of who are obviously top-notch athletes whizzes by.

More exciting to me than the racing was the activity along Brady. Lola’s was packed, as was Caz’s Chowhouse across the way – and not just with hot guys in Spandex. Spectators with dogs and kids in tow spent money on drinks/dinner at the Brady restaurants and event vendors, then lounged along the street.

Spectators get in on the action during Tulsa Tough Saturday at Main and Brady.

What a hip thing to bring to Tulsa, were we could use more health and exercise cheerleaders. Thanks to Tulsa Tough for making spectators ignorant about cycling feel welcome. It’d be great if we could bring gigs like this to downtown every weekend during the summer – ones that combine food, music, spectator events and a range of activities, all outdoors and amongst downtown buildings. I couldn’t think of a better first act for that series in the sky than Tulsa Tough.


After we busted out of the Brady district, several of us headed south to Bixby for some Chicago-style pizza at Savastano’s, just east of 111th and Memorial.

We walked in at around 7:15, and the place was packed. All of what was probably 25-30 tables were occupied. Though our party of five didn’t have to wait long for a table, we were still pretty impressed at the reputation of this place that to the unknowing passerby looked like any other hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

We started with cheese pizza bread, which was just okay. We decided on a large, deep-pan Sears Tower pizza for dinner.

My little sister Kacie is about to attack this Sears Tower pizza from Bixby's Savastano's.

The pie had a 2” crust stacked with cheese, sauce and pepperoni. Though our posse came complete with two hungry guys, two girls who know a thing or two about how to put away food, and a ravenous 7-year-old girl, we still had four slices to take home with us.

Our pizza was amazing. I don’t know how authentically “Chicago” it was, since I know nothing about Chicago or its pizza. What caught my attention was that the sauce tasted homemade, the pepperoni was really fresh, there wasn’t the ridiculous overload of cheese that happens at a lot of chain pizza places, and the crust was second to none.

Party Brenda: "Yummm!!!"

No one in our group had any complaints about the food. We weren’t crazy about the service, though. Savastano’s looked to be staffed exclusively with Bixby high school kids working through summer break, looking more to find a cure for the summertime blues than to timely refill my glass of Diet Pepsi. The kids who ordered water seemed to fare better on refills, for whatever reason. And, we had to ask thrice for silverware for the late-arriving Party Brenda and our friend DJ Ryan.

I think these oversights could have slid off our backs had the waitstaff been chipper and welcoming. Problem was, they weren’t. Before I could ask if anyone else felt as if the employees wanted us to hurry up and leave, Ryan piped up with, “These people don’t make me feel very welcome.”

We all agreed we will definitely give Savastano’s more of our business. The pizza is unlike any other we’ve had in Tulsa, and there are several other pies we’d like to try. But, we’ll probably carry out next time. I’ll miss looking at the cool Chicago stuff on the walls as I eat, but I suppose I could make a trip to the poster sale at Hobby Lobby, pick up a print of the Sears Tower, grab a 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi and call it a day.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Clue with TYPros at TPAC

Blogger: Natasha

The Tasha Does Tulsa crew went to see Clue last night with TYPros at the Liddy Doenges Theatre in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center downtown.

The players in Clue, now showing at the TPAC. From left to right: Mrs. White (Randy Chronister), the detective (Alicia Lees), Mr. Green (Jeff Gaffen), Miss Scarlett (Jessica Elliot), Natasha Ball, Professor Plum (Carl Mark Osborn), Mr. Boddy (Patrick Hobbs) and Colonel Mustard (Ed Dill).


What I really liked about Clue was that our show was different from each of the others that will run each night until Saturday. The play turned out one of 216 possible ways: Miss Scarlett killed Mr. Boddy with the wrench in the conservatory.

No one slights Miss Scarlett with a ring beset with cubic zirconia and then dumps her for Mrs. Peacock, who confessed to retaining Joan Rivers’s plastic surgeon, and gets away with it.

The soon-to-be-offed Mr. Boddy was in charge of the show from the start, which I thought was pretty interesting since he was dead for a good part of it. He explained the rules of the game at the beginning of the show, thank goodness. I’d never played the board game (don’t gasp – it’s been done).

Mr. Boddy asked three audience members to choose from three decks of oversized, hand-drawn Clue cards whodunit, with what and where. The card selecting process was exciting and suspenseful, but nothing can distract and disarm an audience like booty dances by Mrs. White and Miss Scarlett.

Maybe 10 people in our audience guessed the correct murderer, crime scene and weapon. A few of the people I came with knew Miss Scarlett had done the deed and that she used the wrench, but none of us managed to translate the room clues correctly.

The music and singing were fabulous. The dancing was good enough, but no one was as charming as Mrs. White. My favorite parts of the entire musical were during this certain song when the stage went dark, pulsating lights like those in a dance club came on, the music went trance-techno, and the characters broke it down in a beat dance for 5 seconds or so. This only happened twice, but I still went home very happy.

None of last night's winners were, from what I could tell, with the TYPros group. Guess the TPD won’t be knocking on our doors anytime soon.

My amateur comments on the thespians and characters:
Mr. Boddy (Patrick Hobbs) – I want this guy to hang out at my house and just talk about stuff. Great voice, great delivery, semi-strange character. I’m sure Patrick didn’t have much say in how his lines were written, though.
Detective (Alicia Lees) – I could tell by talking to her briefly after the show that this girl is probably one of the nicest people in the world. The character was totally strange and needlessly paranoid, but Alicia performed with confidence and skill.
Colonel Mustard (Ed Dill) – I want to squeeze the man who played this character. Whose idea was it to plague Mustard with this strange disease where he mistakes human beings with inanimate objects (he called Mrs. Peacock a rake, an audience member an antique, Mr. Green a green bean)? Rather than add charm to the caricature, the “ailment” totally jumped the shark. Not funny. Bad writing!
Mrs. Peacock (Elizabeth Alpert) – This woman can sing. Omigosh. And, her face is great. Each of her many facial expressions were extremely well pronounced. Where’d this lady come from, anyway? I hope to see her in something again soon.
Miss Scarlet (Jessica Elliot) – I was sad that Jessica’s microphone was on the fritz for the first half of the play, because I missed a few of her lines and parts in songs that I’m sure were great. I loved the accent, which made me want to go home and watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit right away. I wonder if the accent was her idea.
Professor Plum (Carl Mark Osborn) – Actor had a great look for this part. I had trouble hearing him most of the time, though. I totally fell for what the detective called his “whimpy” Thoreau pick-up lines. I’m easy, I guess.
Mr. Green (Jeff Gaffen) – This character, who mismatches clichés much like the hilarious bar tender on The Boondock Saints, really rubbed me the wrong way, but that wasn’t the actor’s fault. I thought Jeff was a little over-emphatic at times, but when I put myself in that actor’s position, I can totally see how he’d think he’d have to over-act to convey the smarminess of the character.
Mrs. White (Randy Chronister) – This is one of those rare times when the perfect actor is matched to the perfect role. I loved how his peek-a-boo ballet dance made the male audience members shriek. Not only does Randy look great in fishnets and an apron, but he can also peg a high note like a pro.

If you’re tired of what Professor Plum would call the “intellectual, complex” theater, check out Clue. Like the latest Disney movies, it’s childlike without being childish and comes complete with light-hearted, not-so-subtle sexual innuendo.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Maple Ridge Memorial Day Run

Blogger: Mos Jef

So I was coaxed into running a 5k race this morning. One of my students from last year kept nagging about running with her in a race. I finally gave in today and participated in the Maple Ridge Memorial Day Run:

I think everybody should enter in one of these every once in a while. Even if you don't plan on running the entire race, you'll be in good company. Plenty of people stop to walk. It was like a Tulsa social event. Hundreds of people were there and it was fun. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging. Maple Ridge neighbors set up tables to hand out water along the way. They clapped and cheered all the runners. I feel really good post-race. I may visit Oklahoma Runner occasionally and keep up with the Tulsa running scene.

I also recommend you go with two 14 year-old girls that call you an "old man" before the race to ensure you push yourself to the limit. I came in at 22:45 compared to their 25 minutes. Boo-yah! The only difference is they will be bouncing around, fully recovered in a few hours. Me? -- it will take 5 minutes to get out of bed tomorrow. I can't let this show at school tomorrow, though. I have to do an irritating victory dance in front of all their friends and pretend my legs aren't throbbing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mayfest Madness

Blogger: Natasha

Several members of the Tasha Does Tulsa crew headed to Mayfest Friday night after work. A few of us had already visited Mayfest 2007 at lunch or after work Thursday night, but we were ready for a second dose by 5 on Friday.

Mayfest 2007 was a special one for me, since it was Aaron’s first. Being an Arkansas boy who was transplanted in Owasso until age 18, when a long stint in the military seemed like a good idea, no Tulsan had ever expressed to him the fun that Mayfest can be. Since he doesn’t come downtown much even now, I was excited to introduce him to what the place looks like when it’s hoppin’.

So, not only did I get to expose my husband to the madness that is Mayfest, I also got to drag yet another Arkansas native and TDT person, Chris Bouldin, to Mayfest for the first time. He wanted to know what was the big deal with Mayfest, so we dragged him along with us. Party Brenda was also deflowering Mayfest innocents Friday night – she brought a Stillwater friend. There were some first-time jitters, but once we found beer, everyone was okay.

My favorite thing about Mayfest is the unhealthful but delicious food.

Here’s a run-down of what I ate/drank at Mayfest this year, starting with lunch on Thursday:

  • Indian taco
  • Crazy-huge cup of diet soda
  • Fried rice and chicken on a stick
  • Crazy-small bottle of water
  • Funnel cake
  • Fried ravioli
  • 1 Bud Light
  • 2 Coronas (in plastic cups, which was unfortunate)

Wow. Looking back on it, my Mayfest dining extravaganza wasn’t as impressive this year as it has been before. I’ve had fried onion rings, cheese on a stick, candy bar on a stick, and some kind of buffalo wings all in one night at Mayfest. But, maybe that was back when I was still in college and could handle that sort of thing.

Anyway, the best food I had at Mayfest this year was by far the Indian taco. I wish it had had some pulled beef mixed in with the beans, but I still ate the entire thing, which was approximately the size of my head. The cost? 14 tickets, or $7.

Brenda really liked the fried ravioli, which I thought was just okay. I mean, anyone can do fried ravioli. She also liked the fried pickles. I don’t understand the whole concept of fried pickles, so I’m just going to take her word for it.

The funnel cake was amazing, but it was too small to feed the seven people who leapt for it as soon as it came onto the scene.

I loved watching a huge crowd of Tulsans enjoy music together at sunset, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy the music itself.

Suggestion to all of you who plan to go to Mayfest next year: the best place to listen to a Mayfest concert is what Brenda called “the grassy knoll,” or the grassy area just north of the main water feature on Williams Green. Very romantic.

I wasn’t as dazzled with the art this year as I have been in years before. I don’t understand paintings of olives, or purebred dogs in martini glasses, nor was I stricken by the black and white photos of landscapes that resembled the desktop background on my computer. Then again, I’m not an art critic.

Something else: I understand artists are starving already, but does the art at Mayfest have to be so expensive? Can’t someone make something the Average Joe can take home? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sell a small piece of art to a child with just a few dollars left over from lunch? Maybe I’m naïve, but I think that would be really cool.

My favorite moment at Mayfest:

Walking back toward the crowd looking for snacks and beer on 3rd street from The Grassy Knoll, I saw a little girl of probably 5 or 6 stop in her tracks.

She was walking with her head down, swinging her long pony tails from side to side. She glanced up toward the BOk tower. She looked again, this time more intently, her blond head tilted all the way back – she stopped walking. The little girl yanked her hand out of her mother’s and put it over her open mouth.

“Oh my,” she said, eyes glued to the top of the tower.

She couldn’t seem to hear her mother, who had walked on but wouldn’t retrieve her daughter. Mom’s hand was outreached.

“Mommy, look,” she said, walking now to take her mother’s hand.

I didn’t get to hear the rest of what transpired, but I did get to see the first spark of a little girl’s dream.

The day before, when I had lunch with my mother and her mother at Mayfest, Mom mentioned that at Mayfest 2003, she and I walked up and down Main Street as I told her my worries about where my college and career plans would take me. I had just dropped out of architecture school to pursue a degree in English, which took me from a very structured school/career trajectory to one with virtually no guidelines. To call me a scared and confused college sophomore would have been an understatement – I was terrified, and I was looking for road signs.

I was downtown at lunchtime with my Mom, and I was surrounded by this beautiful environment at the center of where I had always lived, but that I was just then able to really see, since I’d been away for a while.

The buildings looked old and a little run-down, and I thought the streets and sidewalks would be a little more hectic. But, there was this exciting energy downtown that seemed to say, not only had big history taken place in this city with the now-vacant sidewalks and dark windows, but big things were about to happen again if only Tulsans would put together the pieces, do the work.

No revelations on the direction for my life came to me that day. Like most y.p.’s I know, my life plan still hasn’t been presented to me on a pretty little velvet pillow. But, after being presented with a slew of other options since Mayfest 2003, I chose Tulsa as the setting for my life as I begin a career. A big reason is my passion for the potential of downtown, which was sparked at Mayfest the summer before I turned 20, though Tulsa had been my home all my life.

Tulsa has had plenty of dreams. I’d like my generation to be the Tulsans who actually build something from all those plans. We could give our daughters a city that stops them in their tracks.

Live From Tulsa, It’s Friday Night!
And now, a transcript of the TDT Interview with Party Brenda on Friday night at Mayfest 2007, 9:45 p.m.:

*Unintelligible screaming and laughing*

TDT: Tell us about your Mayfest experience.

PB: Huh?

TDT: You’ve gotta be serious for a second.

PB: I’m nervous. You should ask me again when you’re not holding that [recording device] to my face. *nervous laughing* Okay, never mind, ask me. I’m ready.

TDT: What did you do at Mayfest?

PB: What did I do? I think the appropriate question is, “Who did I not do?”

*laughing and unidentified voice yelling, “Hell, yeah!”*

PB: Wooo!

*Several people announce they’re leaving the interview to find funnel cake*

TDT: What was your favorite part of Mayfest?

PB: John.

TDT: Who’s John?

PB: He’s the vendor at the Greek Gyros place.

TDT: What’d you like about him?

PB: Who?

TDT: John! What’d you like about John?

PB: Well, we shared a nice, fried weenie on a stick.

TDT: What was your least favorite thing about Mayfest?

PB: The cattle.

*Unidentified person says, “There was a running of the bulls? Where?!”*

TDT: The cattle? What cattle?

PB: *Makes mooing noise* That one, right there.

*laughing from the crowd*

PB: Not you, lady.

TDT: Okay. Are you going to come back to Mayfest this year?

PB: Yeah. Every day.

TDT: How many times have you been?
PB: I was here Thursday for happy hour…and beyond. I danced with my shirt up over my head, and I got a nice henna tattoo. I have no idea what it means. They said it was a Capricorn symbol, but that’s bullshit. I know that the Capricorn symbol is a goat. My tattoo is a W-ish.

TDT: Let us see it!

*PB shows the crowd her new henna tattoo*

PB: Does that look like a goat to you? Baaa!

TDT: What’s your favorite food at Mayfest?

PB: The fried ravioli was like heaven to my taste buds. Except, on the way up, it was not so good. I blame the fried pickles for that. I think the ranch was bad. *points at passersby* Don’t eat the ranch.

TDT: Okay…

PB: *to the passersby, still pointing* Totally not worth my ten coupons!

TDT: Anything you’d like to see happen at Mayfest in the future?

PB: Ha! Fire.

*someone says, “Hey…yeah!”*

PB: I mean it. A nice fire pit would be just delightful, I think. Think about how many hippies would gather around that thing. Think about it.

TDT: Where would you put this fire pit?

PB: Right here is pretty good.

TDT: Where are we…we’re at fourth and main.

PB: Yeah, fourth and main. Right outside Arby’s.

TDT: Anything else you’d like to say?

PB: Party on.

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