We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton
There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Native Roots Market
N.E. Second St.
What works: deli treats like quinoa, tabbouleh and simple sandwiches
What needs work: If there’s a line, even a short one, it can be a wait.
Tips: That Keep It Local card in your pocket is worth 10 percent off all items made in Oklahoma.
There is great promise in grocery stores. Especially unfamiliar ones
When you walk down the aisles, you’re bound to find something you haven’t seen before — a new brand, perhaps, or some new flavor you’ve yet to encounter elsewhere.
And in your mind, there is a hope that this time, this time, you’ll actually use the produce you bought and you won’t forget that you already have two bottles of unopened fish sauce in the cupboard, and you’re going to make something so delicious that people will be begging to come to your dinner parties.
Whether any of that is ever fulfilled is beside the point. It’s the potential. And that’s a bit of what I feel at Native Roots Market.
The truth is, I don’t do my grocery shopping at Native Roots because I don’t live anywhere near it. So I have not spent the kind of quality time I’d like to with the freezer case (full of local, organic meats) or its ever-changing baskets of fruits and vegetables.
For all the potential inside Native Roots, I usually head straight to the back, where there’s a deli and a list of sandwich fixings and dips aplenty for me to order.
A brief word about sandwiches, if I may.
Everybody thinks they know how to make a sandwich. But everybody is wrong. Yes, if your goal is to put two pieces of bread around something edible and put it in your mouth, you can make a “sandwich.” Is that a sandwich worth eating? Is that a sandwich you’re eager to eat again?
So I caution you, fair readers, to spend a moment looking over the order slip and ask yourself what it is you truly want. The options may seem simple, but the combination you create — unholy though it may be — is the lunch you must eat. So maybe ask the guys behind the counter. They make a lot of sandwiches. They can help.
Beyond the normal meats and cheeses, Native Roots makes a few deli salads that are quite tasty. The bourbon chicken salad and the chicken tikka salad are standouts, each bringing a different twist to the palate. The tikka, in particular, has the spicing of that favorite Indian dish, but without overwhelming the taste buds.
Though I am not a vegetarian, having spent many years training in the ham dojo with my fellow meat ninjas, I have to admit the hummus and veggie sandwiches are pretty tasty. Especially if you get the sun-dried tomato hummus or the jalapeño hummus.
When the temperatures begin to dip this autumn or winter or next spring — god forbid Oklahoma weather act normal for a few days straight — you might find yourself interested in Native Roots’ selection of soups. On the weekends, it makes chili. It’s a pretty good reason to be awake on the weekends.
While there are a few bags of chips near the deli area, the true delight of the grocery store is that you can get a big bag of chips or anything else you want as a side. For instance, it has a nice variety of chocolates. Do you like chocolate? Of course you do, because you’re not a minion of the devil.
The coolers are also stocked with lemonades and sodas and kombucha, or you can take advantage of the coffee in the deli. It’s a veritable wonderland of beverages, if your idea of a wonderland is mostly filled with hippie drinks.
For the Deeply Deuced, I’m sure Native Roots is a godsend, bringing groceries a lot closer to home. For the people who work nearby and want a simple sandwich made with local breads and, when available, other local ingredients, it’s a nice alternative to sandwich factories like Quiznos and Subway.
And for me, the most important one of all, it’s a good place to find locally made peanut brittle. Because, yeah, I ate that for lunch and it was awesome.