19 April 2016

One groovy neighborhood in OKC!

My travel is often rushed, my sight-seeing limited, because I'm popping in and out of a town for a concert or master class. Thus was my all-too-brief experience in the Oklahoma City area the first weekend of April, which was gloriously sunny and warm in stark contrast to today's winter storm passing through southern Wyoming. I could bemoan my lack of thoroughness, but I'm not a paid travel writer, so you get what you get.  On the plus side, I have super cool friends to show me around, so you can trust me on this write-up.

I stayed in OKC's Paseo Arts District, which is apparently fabled as the place that housed all the "dirty hipppes" back in the '70s and '80s.  First Fridays are the monthly arts walk, and many of the 25 or so galleries have a great spread of snacks and FREE WINE.  You heard me.  The galleries are nice, too.  Also see: live music and food trucks. It's like a monthly carnival!

The neighborhood is a winding collection of narrow streets with no sidewalks and densely packed Craftsman homes in various states of repair, giving the place a little bit of a New Orleans feel (minus the peeing in the streets). But the restaurants aren't exactly catering to dirty hippies these days--you pay a premium for farm-to-table artistry which blends California fare with good old Southern fried things. Two I tried (and loved):

Picasso Cafe has a great mix of carnivorous and vegetarian options using fresh, local ingredients, a bunch of local beers on tap, and a drink menu the length of a Joseph Conrad novel. I had the fried green tomato po' boy (the leftovers make a perfectly good breakfast, no matter what anyone says).

Pizzeria Gusto has a thickish, pillowy crust and some great toppings to choose from.  (Also, a fantastic wine list with a generous pour). The veggie pizza with grilled red peppers, onion, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and black olives was super-fab.

I also made a day trip to Norman, home of the University of Oklahoma. While the vibe seemed rather fraternity house-esque. you can't deny that they have a beautiful campus.  

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