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Chow chat

Carol Smaglinski June 1st, 2011

Food connoisseur Tony Trong, 84, who is part of the Nguyen family, came to the U.S. in 1975 after the fall of Saigon. He was among the first Vietnamese immigrants who moved to Oklahoma.

Tony Trong
Credits: Mark Hancock

While in Vietnam, he was a reporter for the BBC and Reuters and is now a part of the thriving Vietnamese community here in the metro.

Family: “Wife, Nga Nguyen, and three children, and one of my grandchildren is the first female Vietnamese Rhodes Scholar.”

If someone came here from Vietnam, where would you take them? “The Capitol, then to the zoo and then to the Hall of Fame so they could know the history of Oklahoma City.”

Your brother-in-law is: “Loc Le, the owner of Jimmy’s Egg.”

Food preference: “I will eat almost everything. No food scares me; I want to try it all. I look very carefully at menus before I buy so it fits my taste.”

Music: “Classical.” 

In another life, you’d come back as? “The same person. I am happy with what I know, and I count my blessings.”

Favorite movie: “None. My life is a living movie.”

Inspired by: “An uncle of mine, (the late) Monsignor Tuong Nguyen, who was a Catholic priest. I owe him everything, and I pray before his portrait every day.”

Most treasured possessions: “My children.”

Favorite food: “Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) at Pho Hoa (901 N.W. 23rd). For the others, I don’t care.”

Feel good? “Very healthy, and I could dance all night!”

FIVE GUYS

Five Guys Burger and Fries, 631 S.W. 19th in Moore, is a new spot that just opened in mid-May. The concept is headquartered in Arlington, Va., said John Gerhardt, one of the owners of the Moore franchise.

“We have the best burgers that are hand-pattied, and we use the 50-pound bags of Idaho potatoes that we cut up for our french fries,” Gerhardt said. “We use peanut oil that is very expensive, and there are no freezers in the kitchen.”

There are no desserts, but along with the burgers, Five Guys has hot dogs and a veggie sandwich that would make a true vegetarian happy. Reach the restaurant at 794-5559.

A NEW VINEYARD OPENS

Rosebrook Vineyards has recently been opened by the Odom family, a fourgeneration family of Oklahomans.

Rosebrook Vineyards, 3800 S.W. 134th, is a 160-acre vineyard that is easily accessible from Interstate 44. The vineyard is lovely, with a historic home on site and a 100-year-old cedar barn — perfect for weddings and other events. Call 361-9821 for more details.

CONGRATS

OpenTable recently announced the 50 winners of the 2011 OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards for brunch spots. Among them was our very own Museum Cafe, 415 Couch Drive.

The list of winners comes from more than 7 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners.

Brunch at the Museum Cafe, right next door to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, is usually packed, and reservations are suggested.

A CLOSING

Sadly, Boneyard Grill, 2724 W. Britton Road, known for good barbecue, has closed.

NAME THAT RESTAURANT
Bill Brazil named his Sophabella’s Chicago Grill and did it with real pizzazz!

Brazil has had quite a coincidence happen recently. Since 1880, the Social Security Administration has put out an annual list of the most popular names for babies. In 1880, the topmost two names were John and Mary. In 2010, the top names for boys were Jacob and Ethan.

But those aren’t the interesting names. The most popular names for girls in 2010 were Isabella and Sophia, the very two names Brazil combined to name his restaurant.

Isabella and Sophia are Brazil’s daughters. “They’re half Italian. When we opened 10 years ago, Sophia was 6, and now she’s 16; Isabella was 1, and now she’s 10. They help out in the restaurant as hostesses now and then,” Brazil said.

He added that Sophabella’s, 7628 N. May, is doing “really good,” and in the future, there may be some expansion moves. There could possibly even be a pizza truck, similar to the taco trucks around town. Stay tuned.

—Carol Smaglinski

 
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