Monday, August 25, 2008

BOK Center Grand Opening This Weekend

From the latest Tulsa Now e-newsletter:

Come see the official Grand Opening of the BOK Center, and enjoy a free open house at the new arena. Everyone is invited! Take tours of the entire building, sample concessions for $1, sign up for giveaways, meet representatives from upcoming shows, and listen to live local music.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the Grand Entrance located at 3rd Street and Denver Avenue. Once inside, guests can enjoy music from popular local acts such as: Midlife Crisis, Rebecca Ungerman and the Frank Brown Orchestra, Dave and The Wavetones, City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums, and local high school bands. Also enjoy a live performance from the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

A FREE commemorative poster will be given to everyone who attends the Open House.

WHAT: BOK Center Grand Opening
WHEN: Ribbon Cutting at 10:00 AM;
Open House from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Yeah, what they said.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Though temperatures haven't cooled and leaves aren't falling, fall is in the air. I can tell.

Some of my richest memories live in the autumn months. I was born in the late fall - that was a pretty good memory, I'd say. My little sister was born two weeks after my fifth birthday, and I think she's pretty good, too. I learned to drive when the leaves were turning; I fell in love for the first time after a Friday night high school football game; I ran away with Aaron to get married in a gazebo in the middle of my next-to-last fall in college:

Well, that's the gazebo, and there's Aaron. Thing is, this picture was taken on our first anniversary, and I'm not in it because I'm taking the photo. We ran away to get married, remember? And then we went to the movies and saw Team America.

Hey, I had midterms the following week, okay?

I also found out in the falltime that our little baby would be a bouncing boy:

I fully expect him to put my hand in warm water while I'm sleeping when he finds out about this.

There. That's better.

All of this to say, what's your favorite thing to do around town during this time of year?

I've gotta admit, my absolute, No. 1 favorite thing to do in the fall is to go to my high school's football games and watch the marching band. Or maybe I'd rather go to the fair. Or maybe I'd rather eat chili. Or maybe I'd rather do the Tulsa Run. Or maybe I'd rather flit through pumpkin patches. Or maybe I'd rather go on a hayride.

Or maybe I can't pick a favorite. I should just accept that and move on. And eat more sausage pancakes.

You're pulling your sweaters down from the attic (okay, maybe you don't have that on your calendar until late with me here), you're putting the boy who rakes your leaves on speed dial, and your kids are hiding their homework from you again. We're coming up on falltime - what's your favorite thing to do around Tulsa at this time of year?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Devour Downtown

Devour Downtown, a DTU-sponsored event that spotlights downtown Tulsa eateries by featuring discounted lunch and dinner plates, is happening RIGHT NOW.

Oh, hi. You're still here. Thought you'd be downtown by now. Not really - you've got some time. The event ends Sunday.

Earlier this year during the inaugural Devour Downtown week, Aaron and I ate at Lola's at the Bowery (I don't see that they're participating in Devour Downtown this time, but who cares - eat there anyway, because it's fantabulous). We had:Bacon-wrapped chipotle grilled shrimp...

Margherita pizza...

A baby cake! Because I was pitifully pregnant at the time. Lola's a great gal, I tell ya. Anyway, we ended up spending about $35 for a very, very nice dinner downtown. That's pretty easy on the pocketbook, if you ask me.

Click here for a list of participating restaurants and specials, but put a drool cloth over your keyboard first.

Wait. You mean, I'm the only one who has three dozen of those?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kolam, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Hi. I'm Natasha, and I'm a food-aholic.

So much so, when I get a hankerin' for pork shoulder roast tacos with cilantro cream sauce, I don't care one lick that my oven will be on for six or seven hours on a late-August day. I just kick it up to 300 and say, hey, anything for my temperamental taste buds.

On my more sane days, I like to go here:
I had the misfortune of just discovering Kolam at 4844 S. Memorial about a month or so ago, and I'm pretty sure I've been missing out on this place for at least a couple of years. A friend and I had been meaning to try it, but she up and moved to Texas, and, well, I don't really have any excuses.

Aaron suggested we order some take-out from there a night not so many moons ago. See, when Aaron was in Afghanistan and had the choice of the spaghetti-with-ketchup-like-sauce dish they served at the base or food from the street vendors, he invariably chose to dine out.

The man still won't eat spaghetti, much to my chagrin.

Apparently Afghan street vendors serve a lot of Indian-like food. Disclaimer: I am totally ignorant about Indian and southwest Asian food in general. All I know is that it's good, okay? Back to my story. Aaron ate every curry he could get his hands on, those immensely varied rice concoctions got him every time, and...naan. Between long, lonely hours in a guard tower and his deepening take-out budget (there were no sports cars, stereos or telescopes for sale at the PX), the man was afraid his brain would turn to perfectly moist, tandoor-oven-cooked naan at any moment.

He could probably say a lot more about Indian/Afghan food than I could. After all, he ate it for none months straight. He eagerly gives Kolam his seal of approval.

Here's chicken curry, this incredibly aromatic basmati rice and traditional naan from Kolam.

Please disregard the baby bottle apparatuses. My home is under attack.

I wish the plural of apparatus was apparati. I would love that more than the sun and the moon.

I love Tulsa, but this chicken curry tempts me to give it all up and move to Calcutta. And learn to sing like that lady in The Namesake. And buy lots and lots of saris - orange and pink ones.

Check out the entire menu here (besides Kolam's signature chicken curry, I also recommend the veggie samosas, Kolam's signature naan, and the chili chicken), and put your take-out orders in to (918) 270.1445. Kolam is open for dinner 5-10 p.m., and I hear there's a lunch buffet to take you away from your workday worries.

When you ditch these Oklahoma plains for India's urban vendor-lined streets, even if it's just for a food-cation, send me a postcard. I'll stain it with a tear of jealousy and hunger.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Five Romantic Places in Tulsa

I just took an office poll, and here, in no order, are five romantic destinations in Tulsa:

1. Utica Square, especially during the holidays. It feels so ritzy and glittery and full of love.
2. The Palace Cafe. The atmosphere will make lovey-dovey pudding of your brains.
3. The Melting Pot, with its lover's lane. I have no idea what this means, but my boss suggested it, so I'm putting it.
4. Ambassador Hotel. I don't know much about this place, cough cough, because I've never been there, hint hint, but I would really like to sometime, ahem ahem (Aaron, if you miss this clue, I'm feeding you rice and beans for a month).
5. Woodward Park and Tulsa Rose Garden, especially with a sturdy blanket and a nice bottle of wine. I think. Is that legal?

I'd like to know your go-to list of romantic places in Tulsa, especially if it's a little-known spot. So, shoot.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Night (High)Lights

Being new parents as well as an American family squeezed by the rising price of everything, Aaron and I plan a date night once per month.

Tonight was one of the most fun we've had, mainly because we didn't plan a thing.

We dropped Baby Man off at his great-grandmother's and headed toward Cherry Street for some dinner. Here's how the rest of the evening unfolded, play-by-play:

7:00: We arrived at Palace Cafe, a cozy little venue with a dining room that gets moody and beautiful after sundown. There was local art on the walls, knowledgeable wait staff and just enough company to make the restaurant buzz.

7:10: Aaron ordered the Grilled Atlantic Salmon, I ordered the Vegetable Tagliatelle; we both ordered wine, and we snacked on fresh bread and butter. Okay, yum.

7:45: Aaron was slumped over in his chair, and I was snoring with my mouth open, fork still in hand. Just kidding. We did feel like going to sleep after dinner, though. After being on the prowl for many months for a dinner out that hit the spot in my heart that itched for that ideal dining experience, we arrived tonight. After such a hard journey, we deserved a little shut eye.

8:25: Then dessert bentos and french-pressed Topeca coffee happened. Then we died. Then we came back to life. But it was only for another bite of that mini creme brulee. I thought Aaron was going to lick the ramekin.

9:00: Aaron wrote, "No...thank YOU" on the ticket.

9:15: We drove by Utica Square, just wasting time. I love to drive by Utica Square after dark. Even in the summertime, =it looks like one of those Christmas villages my grandma collects.

9:35: Drove by The University of Tulsa, just to make sure it was still there. It was. Headed north in search of Whittier Square (I know, a pox on me for not knowing exactly how to get there by now). I'd heard of this new place, Alisee Momo, a little coffee shop and cafe and entertainment venue between Circle Cinema and Zeigler. It looks lovely from the outside. We didn't stop in, since we had to hurry to QuikTrip. I'm starting to think my bladder will never realize we're not pregnant anymore.

9:45: The QuikTrip off of 412 at Gilcrease is yucky. The yuckiest. I washed my hands twice, and then I used hand sanitizer in the car, just in case.

10:00: I got on the highway and headed toward my Meme's for Little, and Aaron tells me to get off at the next exit. I thought we were going to get to neck or some such crazy, disgusting thing, but instead we watched this:

Completely off the ground in this one.

It is my new professional aspiration: to become a wrecker girl. I would wear heels and pin curls and talk with a New York accent and do my darnedest to personify Rosie the Riveter as I pull your jalopy out of a pickle.

Well, maybe. I only own one pair of heels, and I broke them at a birthday party at The Summit Club last weekend. I get insanely large hair if I even think the word "curl" (think Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias), and my New York accent sounds just as bad as my Okie one. Fuhgeddaboutit.

10:30: I thought we should find some more wine, but we decided to drive by Sand Springs Station instead. It's also still there. We saw this neat looking bicycle shop on Main - anyone know anything about it?

10:45: Time to pick up our automatic drooling machine. He was sound asleep. He's got the prettiest eyelashes. And toes. And lips. I love the way his fingertips stick out from his swaddling blanket.

The kid is getting ready to grow out of his swaddling blanket, but he won't go to sleep without it. Looks like I need to get the sewing machine out. I just hope I won't be making a swaddling blanket with his high school's mascot patch on it someday, especially since I can't sew a patch very well. Once I sewed the American flag on Aaron's BDUs backward. Then none of the Army wives talked to me at the Christmas dinner, which was catered by Rib Crib...just like the year before...and the year before.

Army folks love Rib Crib. Thought you'd like to know that, just in case.

11:55: I've gotta get up and walk some of this baby weight off tomorrow morning, and I'm sitting here using time that should be spent on getting my beauty sleep to write to you lovely blog readers out there.

I'm also boiling water and sterilizing nipples. How's that for a wild Friday night? Now I'm gonna go howl at the moon with my crazy neighbor, The Colonel.

More about him later.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fans, Y'All

After several days of three-digit temperatures in Tulsa, and after being told by our AC guy that our air conditioner is doing what it can to cool our home to 80 degrees, we bought these:
We installed the first one in the baby's room last night. I must admit, I wasn't a believer in ceiling fans. I had one in my room growing up, but I turned it on for the white noise at bed time; I never noticed a difference in the temperature when it was on. But this new fan we installed - whew, doggy. It's likely to ice over in the nursery.

We'll probably not have to run the air conditioner nearly 24/7 now that we'll have three new ceiling fans in the house. That'll be nice for the pocket book, given the way the price of electricity (oh, and everything else) is headed nowadays.

Another break will come in the form of a cool front that just moved in, which will put daily high temperatures in the mid- to low-90's for the next several days.

It's funny that I just described temperatures in the mid- to low-90s as a break. What can I say, except, "Welcome to August in Tulsa!"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tulsa Needs This

I know we've got something like a discount pass to the city in the form of the Entertainment Book, but this marketing is much better and more convincing:

For $50, you get the card that's worth hundreds in discounts at OKC restaurants, galleries, attractions, events and more while supporting the Allied Arts of Oklahoma City.

When I originally read about this concept in either Family Circle or Woman's Day (so I am subjected to a wide variety of media - sue me), I asked around to see if anything like this was being put together for Tulsa. As of right now, it's not.

That's a shame, because I'm sure a Tulsa non-profit could raise money until the cows come home with this deal, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau would have one more tool in its arsenal to bring visitors - and their money - to Tulsa.

Hey, it's better than coupons (even if they are really, really pretty). I guess I would rather fork over something that looks like a debit or credit card than a carnival ride pass that says FREE APPETIZER on it. Especially if I'm from out of town, on a date or...actually, that preference would go for pretty much any time, any place.

If a Tulsa card was available, I know I'd buy one every year. Am I a pushover, or would you buy one, too?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

And the Taquito Smiled Down Upon Us

We have been gifted.

Any time one wakes up and finds a QuikTrip taquito on her back porch, she can be sure that that day is going to be a good day.

Viva el QT Taquito!

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

No, goofball. Those are balloons.

Keep your eyes on the sky, Tulsa. Gatesway Balloon Festival is this weekend, and our airspace will be crowded with dozens of lovely, colorful hot-air balloons until Sunday evenin'.

There is lots for kids to do at this festival, including arts and crafts and, of course, checking out the balloons. There are plenty of attractions suitable for adults, as well. Click here for a schedule of events. You can find some good food hanging around, too.

The balloons are fascinating to watch during the day:
But to really practice your ooohhs-and-aaahhhs, you should stick around for when the sun sets:Oh, Lordy.

This year's event will be at Will Rogers Downs, 20900 S. 4200 Road in Claremore (click that link for directions from downtown Tulsa). Admission per car is $5.

In case you didn't know, Gatesway is a non-profit Oklahoma agency that provides opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Services are provided throughout Northeastern and Central Oklahoma.

All the purdy photos are from the Gatesway Foundation Web site. Come this weekend to take your own!
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