Hidden Gems for Foodies in the OKC Metro (Odyssey Article 14)

Hidden Gems for Foodies in the OKC Metro

Because food is life.

If you love food (like me), you know nothing’s better than experiencing a restaurant for the first time. The atmosphere, the food, and the feelings are all brand new. Luckily, through curiosity and hunger, I discovered a few special places tucked away in the hustle and bustle of the OKC Metro.

So fellow foodies, sail away with me into food paradise as we uncover the treasures that are these hidden gems, and don’t forget your taste buds!


Breakfast

Ozzie’s Diner

Ozzie'sDiner

Concealed inside OU Westheimer Airport in Norman, Ozzie’s Diner is a staple in this college town. Serving traditional diner cuisine, the restaurant is best known for its All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast (which includes their famous Biscuits and Gravy). Bring your appetite, but leave your plastic at home because Ozzie’s is cash only!

Juan del Fuego

Juan del Fuego

Tucked away in the Red Bud Plaza aside Sam’s Club in Norman, Juan del Fuego offers breakfast favorites with a Mexican twist. I recommend the Fiesta Plato with Fuego Fries (house skillet potatoes) or the Ranchera Omelet. Both are so good, you’ll lick your plate clean!

Lunch

Victoria’s Pasta Shop

Victoria's Pasta Shop

Back in the winding one-way streets of OU’s Campus Corner (and nestled next to Crest off 104th Street in SW OKC), Victoria’s Pasta Shop puts a modern twist on Italian classics. Their Two-Piece Cheese Bread takes up an entire plate, and the Lasagna Rolls are a must have. You won’t regret anything, except wishing you wore bigger pants.

The Stuffed Olive

The Stuffed Olive

Next to Brown’s Driving School off Penn in a fairly remote little business plaza in West Moore/South OKC, The Stuffed Olive is a foodie’s dream come true. Everything on menu is made from scratch daily, and the menu also changes seasonally. The chef-owner has a set menu; however, you can come back each day for a different, delicious special. I never ate anything from here I wouldn’t order again.

Nosh

Nosh

Hidden in the “Storage Strip” off 19th Street in Moore next to Showplace Market, Nosh is sophisticated home style cooking. In addition to the usual beverages, they have a hot/cold tea service, a daily fruit infused spa water, and a daily flavored lemonade. On my most recent trip, I enjoyed Wednesday’s Pineapple Lemonade (I had three… or four… glasses), The Best Chicken Sandwich in the World (They aren’t lying) served with Ranch-Dusted House Chips, and we ended the meal with their seasonal Pumpkin Tart a.k.a when a cinnamon roll and pumpkin pie have a baby.

As Nosh is my favorite restaurant on this Hidden Gems List, I also recommend their Pot Roast Pot Pie and Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac and Cheese. (They have a featured Daily Mac every day, but you can request any of them on the days they aren’t featured.)

Dinner

McNellie’s Abner Ale House

McNellie's

Squeezed next to Syrup Breakfast Boutique in Downtown Norman, it’s easy to miss McNellie’s among the neighboring shops, unless you look for it’s bright red paint job. While the pub is mostly known for it’s 200+ beer selection, it also offers quality bar food. I suggest going on Wednesday for their $4 Burger Night. The Charburgers are fantastic when paired with Beer Battered Fries and your cocktail or ale of choice.

Jamil’s Steakhouse

Jamil's Steakhouse

Veiled among the business and medical buildings of Lincoln Boulevard in OKC, Jamil’s Steakhouse is small, but it is mighty. The restaurant serves conventional steakhouse fare with an added Mediterranean flare. Their in-house pita bread was the best I ever had, they cooked my tender steak to perfection, and my baked potato was just the right amount of crisp on the outside and velvet on the inside.

(Jamil’s is on the pricey side, but they offer a half price Steak Dinner for Two or a discounted Lobster Dinner for Two via Groupon.)

Vast

Vast OKC

This restaurant is better known in Downtown OKC; however, it’s location makes it a perfect addition to this list. Vast, housed on the top floor of the Devon Tower, is prime spot for a date night, anniversary, or special occasion. It is expensive, but it’s well worth it. The food and cocktails are on point, the service is excellent, and the view is breathtaking (especially at night).

Dessert

il Dolce Gelato

il Dolce Gelato

Located discretely in the Robinson Crossing Shopping Center in Norman, il Dolce is as cute on the inside as it is sweet (literally). The dainty shop offers 24 flavors of gelato daily, as well as Italian Lavazza coffee and espresso. It’s the perfect place for a study break or an after dinner sweet treat. (I recommend anything with chocolate!)

Crimson & Whipped Cream

Crimson & Whipped Cream

Right next door to Victoria’s Pasta Shop on Campus Corner, Crimson & Whipped Cream is the bakery to make all your sweet dreams come true. They serve a variety of coffee and baked goods, including five different types of cookies per day, and then various daily specials. Nonetheless, my weakness is cupcakes, and they have the best Red Velvet I ever had.


I highly recommend all of these lovely and local restaurants and shops, so if you haven’t visited them all, you have places to be! Also, keep your eyes peeled for other secret eats because, as you know, they’re always bigger than your stomach. Bon appetit!

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Advice from the Girl Who Can’t Take Her Own Advice (Odyssey Article 13)

Check out my Odyssey article for this week, and some advice… Have a great weekend!


Advice from the Girl Who Can’t Take Her Own Advice

Just like the New Girl crew, my ducks are MIA.

We all know that girl who gives great advice, but she never seems to have the ability to apply it to her own life. She’s smart, unbiased, and a good listener, but she just can’t get her ducks in a row. That girl would also be me.

What can I say? It’s a character flaw. (Hopefully not a fatal one…) Regardless, I still have advice worth giving because I want all of you to succeed and be happy in life, even if it kills me…


Everything has beauty.

Just like every cloud has that (at times invisible) silver lining, every thing, every person, every situation has something beautiful and/or something good associated with it. You just have to open your eyes to see it.

Schmidt Beautiful Soul

Learn something new every day.

Like I told my friend the other day, “The world is your oyster.” From the moment you fall out of bed to the instant your head (or your face) hits the pillow, you have opportunities to gain knowledge and life experiences. You never know what life might throw at you.

[New Girl Fun Fact: The writers intentionally omitted the rules for True American from the show; however if you want to know how to play, look no further.]

Jess 1234 JFK

Laugh at yourself.

Let’s be honest… Everyone does dumb stuff, but it’s so much easier when you laugh it off than sit there feeling like an idiot about it. Life isn’t that serious. Have some fun.

Jess Laughing

Learn the value of silence.

Not just because silence really is golden, but you don’t always have to have something to do or say. Being honest and straightforward is a good thing; however, you also need to understand when saying nothing is better than saying anything.

Cece's Advice

Eat the f**king cake.

Or don’t. Do whatever makes you happy because as much as I wish I enjoyed eating salads (my waist line does, too), they’re no match for the heart’s true desires: chicken nuggets, pie, and sweet tea.

Jess Loves Food

It’s not about them; it’s about YOU.

Here’s the thing about doing what makes you happy… People will always try to make it about them. However… NEWS FLASH! It’s not. They guilt trip you and try making you feel bad, but you have nothing to be sorry for. You do you!

Winston Saturday is For Sleeping

Because you said so.

I’m so tired of people thinking “no” means “try harder”. SCREW THOSE PEOPLE. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. Really think about this… No one can make you do anything, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation either.

Nick and Jess

Forgive but never forget.

Forgiveness is about you, but you can forgive people (and you should) without completely dismissing it all. Keep tabs. They usually come in handy for future reference.

New Girl Group Hug

Love yourself.

I know things are always easier said than done, but at the end of the day, only you have you. It is your body, your mind, your soul, your heart, and your life. Do what you please and love every second.

Nick Jamming Out


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My Quarter Life Crisis is Happening (Odyssey Article 12)

Have no idea what you’re doing with your life? Me either!


My Quarter Life Crisis is Happening

Growing up freakin’ sucks.

At the end of September, I participated in a panel (with six other young adults) speaking to a group of under-motivated high school students wanting to know why it is important to finish school and what it’s like growing up. I told them, “Adulting is like getting everything you ever wanted as a kid from Santa Clause, but then, he also brings you a sack full of things you didn’t ask for and you have no idea what to do with.” The kids didn’t enjoy my joke as much as the rest of my peers and the teacher, but I couldn’t come up with a more accurate analogy.

When you imagine graduating high school, graduating college, or even life after college, your mind paints this image of immediate success. You move from one goal to another, and you feel on top of the world. You feel like you can accomplish anything. However in reality, you quickly realize things don’t always happen the way or at the speed you expected.

I don’t cry in front of people. (It’s just not how I am.) Yet later during the panel, the teacher asked a question about my parents, and as I got into my response, my voice suddenly cracked, my chin quivered, and the tears welled up in my eyes. Up until that point, I remained composed whenever people asked about my parents. Two years ago, they moved 10 hours away from my sister and me (both in college), and of course I miss them, but it wasn’t until someone asked me about them in the context of growing up that it really hit me hard.

I’m 22 years old. I’m an “adult”. I should have my life together, but there I was, in front of friends and strangers, crying about my parents… What the heck is wrong with me?

Since that moment, sitting as the fractured, emotional mess I never knew I was, I started thinking about where I am in life, and I questioned everything happening around me. My thoughts flooded with so many questions, it made my head spin.

Am I making the right decisions with my life currently and for the future?

Am I satisfied with where I am and where I’m going?

Am I happy with my relationships?

Am I living up to my full potential?

And as my stream of consciousness progressed, I quickly discovered I have not a single clue what I’m doing with my life.

All these questions and I had no answers. I broke down.

As I wrote this, I’m still so certain about being uncertain, it ties my stomach in knots, and my heart is heavy. I have so many things to do and choices to make, I have so much expected of me, and I’m unsure about it all.

I miss seeing my family every day. I miss seeing my friends every day. I miss the routine and the feeling of achievement from school. I feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty. I feel isolated because talking about it all only brings judgement, bias, burden, or pity.

I feel like I’m in the middle of the path life has for me, but I’m standing completely still, and I have no idea which way life wants me to go. It’s scary, it’s frustrating, and it’s really lonely when it seems like everyone else is moving forward. Even after I speak or after I pray, a weight still sits heavy on my chest. I don’t know whether to have a whole bottle of wine, a whole gallon of ice cream, or a whole box of tissues.

How do I keep from completely losing my mind?

I finally spilled everything to my friend, and she told me, “At the end of the day, you walk the path alone, and yet, you are surrounded. You are guided and protected, and everything is all laid out for you. In the moment, we may face the greatest challenges and struggles we can imagine, but life can’t give you anything you can’t make it through. Sometimes, you must fall down a hill to get to the top of the next one, but that failure and those struggles end up being the best rewards, lessons, and triumphs possible.”

I responded, “I know you’re right, but it’s not helping me feel much better at the moment.”

I calmed down since the conversation with my friend, but those feelings still linger in my spirit. Feeling like your goals are unobtainable and true happiness isn’t possible is not uncommon. It may seem like a dark cloud constantly hovering over your head, but I realize now you never know when the sunshine will break through (if only a single beam of light at a time).

Just know in your darkest moments of uncertainty, when you panic and you feel like you hit rock bottom, a plan still exists for your life. The only person stopping you is you. During the race of living, life puts hurdles in front of you, but only you can jump those hurdles and sprint to the finish in all its glory.

However, it’s still okay not to be okay. It’s okay to cry or scream or lock yourself away for a moment. Times get tough (and growing up sucks), but take a deep breath. Life put our blinders on, but a light still shines bright at the end of the tunnel.

We will make it through because we can do anything. Give it time.


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When You’re a College Student (Odyssey Article 11)

When You’re a College Student

As Told By Bob’s Burgers

College is the most wonderful and most stressful time in life. You’re stuck between being too young to know what you want and too old to not know where you’re going. However, for most of us, college is where you really find yourself. You challenge yourself, and you grow, and you blossom into a beautiful flower of knowledge and experience with drooping petals of student debt. Alas, you are not the only one. The world is a meadow of broke, flowery friends.

This is life as you know it when you’re a college student.


You bargain with yourself about going to class, and it feels like making deals with the devil.

“Okay, if I go to class today, I get to skip on Thursday… and Friday… and the rest of the semester.”

You can never find a parking spot on campus, so you just drive around in circles for hours like…

Tina Driving

You walk through the rain to class eating mac and cheese because sitting down to eat is completely overrated.

“Who has time for that??”

Linda Eating Cake

You sprint to class because you lost track of time while typing a heated rant on your online class’s discussion board.

“It’s fine.”

Tina Running

You feel like the dumbest smart person in your class because you probably are.

“I can’t even pronounce the title of my textbook…”

Gene I'm Not An Antelope

You always get hopelessly lost in the library.

“Every. Single. Time.”

Gene, Louise, and Tina in Library

You eat stuffing for dinner because you literally have nothing else.

“Help me. I’m poor.”

Linda Hitchhiking

You spend most of your money on alcohol because you don’t have the money, time, or energy to go out with your real friends.

“Just hanging with my best friends Jack, Jim, and Johnny.”

You invest in an industrial-size bag of Pizza Rolls because you’re an adult, and you do what you want.

Linda Dancing

You cry because you don’t know what to do with yourself.

“Because you’re an adult, and you do what you want.”

Linda Crying

You take a nap when you have real responsibilities because adulting sucks.

“I have 3 papers due today, so…”

Gene Sleeping

You get all the free things, but you trade them for your sanity.

“I got free tacos today, but my hair is falling out.”

Louise Eye Twitch

You don’t know how to answer people’s questions about your future because you have no clue what you’re doing with your life.

“Grandma, how am I supposed to find a husband when I can’t even find the motivation to get out of bed?”

Tina Slides Off Chair

You don’t understand how other people have so much fun in college because you lost your will to live.

Tina Laying on the Floor


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