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Chow Chat

Carol Smaglinski February 16th, 2011

At the Coriander Cafe, 323 White in Norman, Chris Le is the co-owner with his partner, executive chef Jeremiah Caldwell. In business now for about six months, they have 45 seats and are open every day except Sunday.

Birthplace: “Tulsa.”

What do you wish you knew five years ago? “That taxes get worse as you get older. I wish I had taken a course years ago.”

Finest feature: “My ability to talk to people.”

In your kitchen, you would never be without: “Tongs.”

Biggest vice? “Procrastination, which is not conducive to a being a restaurant owner.”

A favorite indulgence: “My last meal would be bone marrow and a medium rare steak.”

A famous person you look like: “The little kid, Short Round, from ‘Indiana Jones’ or Data from ‘The Goonies.’”

A favorite thing to do that doesn’t cost money? “Ride my bike, and there are so many nice places in Norman that people don’t take advantage of.”

You die and would like to come back as: “Ben Franklin, for his impact on the world in both science and politics.”

You’ve met: “Chef Masaharu Morimoto, the ‘Iron Chef’ from Japan, and I got to interview for one of his restaurants.”

But would like to meet: “Anthony Bourdain and Daniel Boulud of New York.”

Eat out: “At Cafe Madrid in Dallas and locally at The Coach House and at Signature Grill (owned by Clay Falkner). We used to come into Deep Fork after work, and we had some good food tastings for about a year before he (Falkner) opened up his restaurant.”

What would you like to do incognito: “I would love to poke around The Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, N.Y.”

An epiphany tasting experience: “I got to taste a $10,000 bottle of scotch at a private scotch tasting. I tasted about $1,000 worth.”

Kept your New Year’s resolutions? “Unfortunately, no!”

IT’S SNOW JOKE
During the massive snow storms that hit Oklahoma over the last couple of weeks, people pitched in to receive and deliver needed supplies to those restaurants that stayed open through the blizzard.

Many local restaurants, however, did close due to the rough weather. Some shut their doors because they ran short on supplies, while others were forced shut because of parking lot issues and broken copper pipes.

Carroll Scott, a district sales representative with Ben E. Keith Co. said the week was difficult. But with lots of cooperation, they made it through.

“Everyone pitched in to help. All the salesmen helped load … and even our general manager Kirk Purnell helped out,” Scott said.

Scott added that delivery was difficult due to Ben E. Keith trucks not arriving on time in Oklahoma City. Also, later deliveries at many of the facilities and restaurants were a challenge because the parking lots had not been cleaned out before the trucks arrived.

“I am anxious to see how much we had to pay in the towing fees,” he said. “Everybody thinks that the big trucks can go anywhere, but they can’t. They are not four-wheel drive and the trailers have no drive-train, so the wheels are just racing.”

CHOCOLATE DECADENCE RESULTS

Nicole Thomas of Epic Events, which coordinated the recent 2011 Chocolate Decadence, reported the winners of the recent chocolate party.

“The Skirvin won the People’s Choice award for their lobster risotto with white chocolate sauce. Delish! And Iguana won the Best of Show for their version of chicken mole with polenta topped with a spicy chocolate sauce,” she said.

“It was another sold-out crowd,” Thomas said.

Funds raised during the event will be used for improvements in Automobile Alley in downtown Oklahoma City.

AUTHOR TO SIGN COOKBOOKS

Author Judy Howard will sign copies of her new book, “1905 Cookbook: Food for Body and Soul” at Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

She has written several other books, including “Thanking Our Troops” and “Centennial Stitches.”

Howard’s “1905 Cookbook,” her latest, contains more than 200 vintage photos, very interesting 1900 era advertising, along with more than 300 recipes. Profits from the sale of “1905 Cookbook” go toward charities that help hungry children.

Howard’s book is also available at shops throughout the metro, including French Cowgirl, 4514 N. Western, Gourmet Gallery, 2820 N.W. 122nd, and Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth in Edmond.

Read sample stories and more at heavenlypatchwork.com.

SAUCED ON PASEO LAUNCHES OPEN MIC NIGHTS

In the Paseo District, Sauced on Paseo, 2912 Paseo, is hosting a weekly open mic night on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. until closing. Open mic nights give customers an opportunity to perhaps play music, recite original poetry, perform stand-up comedy or paint or draw. The event is sponsored by local band Conspiracy of Angels.

And on Wednesdays, poetry and music again take center stage from 8:30 until closing. Red Dirt Poetry is sponsoring an open mic for local and traveling poets and singers. Performers are given a time limit of two poems or a six-minute song for each presentation.

“It’s important to us that Sauced on Paseo helps honor and build on the arts community that is so vital to the Paseo and to all of Oklahoma City,” said owner Joe Jungmann. “The open mic nights are a fun and creative way to give poets, musicians, comedians and artists another outlet to express themselves. And it’s a chance for people to catch some wonderful performers.”

Jungmann took over Sauced in November, and the menu offers appetizers, sandwiches and pizza.

For more details, Sauced can be reached at 521-9801.

GONE

Fat Sandwich, 759 Asp in Norman, is closed. The concept was a unique sandwich company owned by Adam Pearlman, Cole Lewko and Matt Quigley that specialized in monstrous combinations between 8-inch rolls.

The fun part that everyone will miss are the names of the sandwiches that included the Fat Idiot, the Fat Sorostitute and the Fat WalkOfShame. Not to mention the Fat Milf — and everyone who ate there knew what those initials meant.

BELLE ISLE TO EXPAND

Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewery, 1900 Northwest Expressway, is planning an expansion to some 12,000 square feet inside 50 Penn Place.

The successful concept is where regulars head for spicy pickle chips, fried Swiss cheese, a Cajun chicken salad and its own handcrafted beer. Reach Belle Isle at 840-1911.

SPOT-ON QUOTE

“No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.”

—George Bernard Shaw in “Food for Thought,” compiled and edited by Ian Makay

SAVE MONEY ON THOSE GROCERIES

To save some hard-earned dough on weekly groceries, there are two sites to look up that can possibly help.

Visit mygrocerydeals.com, a site where a person may compare prices in supermarkets in an area by product, category or store. The other site is groceryguide.com. Note that you must register to use either of the sites mentioned, but both are free.

Also, when shopping inside the supermarket, be sure to look up, look down, everywhere except at what is eye level. Companies pay extra “slot” fees to place their products where they can easily be seen by consumers, who are often in a hurry and make snap decisions. That includes those displays at the end of aisles.

Check it out next time. The private labels and the more affordable brands are usually placed above or below. So does this mean that the taller people or the shorter people are apt to save more money? Think about it.

BYTES Where do you enjoy live or recorded music in restaurants in the metro area? That’s the question we asked last week on Oklahoma Gazette’s Facebook page. Here are you answers, verbatim.

“I would have to say Coffy’s Cafe their unique singer/songwriter Saturday’s are always full of great local sounds!” —Mark Maxey

“Kang’s off of Western plays some pretty cool prerecorded chill stuff.” —Kelly Moore

“Blu, Electro Lounge/SnB’s, Maker’s, Speakeasy, Rococo, McNellie’s, Drunken Fry. Everyone else isn’t worth remembering.” —Juke Freeballer

“VZD’s, Dan McGuinness.” —Jason Long

—Carol Smaglinski

 
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