Category Archives: Food!

Eat at Roma’s!

Roma's Collage When making plans to review the food at Roma’s Gelato, I decided to invite my buddy “Gustavo” along. (Yes, him. The World’s Worst Wine Critic).

I had two reasons for doing this. First of all, Gustavo is a self-proclaimed “Cappuccino Snob”. (He’s also a self-proclaimed “Beer Snob”, “Liquor Snob”, and “Vinegar Snob”, and probably several other variations that I either haven’t heard him claim or he doesn’t admit out loud. I’m trying to think of a gentle way to suggest that he might be able to just do away with all of the modifiers and simply use the “s” word in isolation.)

Secondly, Gustavo is of Italian extraction, and I knew this would pique the interest of Angelo, Roma’s lively Italian owner, who is usually on site and interacting with patrons. Angelo’s presence is a wonderful thing, because in addition to receiving the benefit of an Italian attitude towards food (simple, fresh, high quality ingredients used in harmony with each other), you also get the benefit of…well, just plain old Italian attitude.

Roma’s main star is gelato, but the food there shouldn’t be ignored. Panini (for pity’s sake, if you order a single sandwich, use the word panino; Angelo has taken great pains to post instructions about terms in his menu) made fresh with only the best ingredients (many imported from Italy), and espresso based beverages are well worth their own trip to Roma’s.

Gustavo termed the cappuccino “good” (which is actually a compliment when coming from a snob), but had serious praise for the panino he had. (It might have been the first food I’ve ever heard him praise. I think I clutched my chest, Fred Sanford-style, thinking I was experiencing “The Big One”).

In addition to the fantastic tasting food, you get great atmosphere at Roma’s. The standard sized espresso beverages are served in real, china cups (larger sizes can be put in paper cups), and Angelo is generally happy to interact with you and explain why his gelato, cappuccino, and panini are so wonderful. (His short answer is that in addition to using excellent ingredients, Italians are just better at most things. Especially love, fashion, and food.)

I love supporting local businesses, but more than that, I love finding local places that hold a unique spot in our city, and make it easy to go back again and again. Roma’s is one of those. So, for a little Italian experience in Oklahoma, go to Roma’s, eat a panino (only say panini if you get two or more), drink a cappuccino, and have some delicious, artisan gelato afterwards.

You’ll thank me. Really.

Food Talk: Guernsey Park

steak

I was excited to hear that Slice magazine was going to feature a profile of Guernsey Park’s delicious food. (You can read Steve Gill’s wonderful review here.A truly good food writer, Mr. Gill says everything necessary about the atmosphere and production value at this establishment, and the only reason I’m going to throw my two cents in as well is because I ate different things, and want to tell you how wonderful THEY are, too, just so you’ll get the message that this is a place you should eat.)

I love to see talented folks opening up unique eateries, and I love sharing when the experience is fantastic. (You’ll note that I don’t post bad reviews. That’s not because I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like–although I know some of you wonder–but because I prefer to publicize those who are doing great, and not punish someone for sucking. Or just having a bad day. Which is possible in the chef/restaurant world, sometimes. Those who suck will eventually go out of business, and those who have an occasional misstep deserve to be able to redeem themselves later on. So if I can’t say something good, I usually keep quiet.)

No need to keep quiet about Guernsey Park, though.

I ate there with my sister, who also loves a good meal–and never meets a stranger–and by the time I arrived (and found it; it’s tucked behind Cuppies and Joe, off of 23rd), she already had the chef and manager lined up to meet me, and was sampling drinks they were concocting for the dinner hour.

We chatted with (classically trained) Chef Nguyen about the Asian fusion menu, and I decided then and there to try the Korean Cowboy; a 12 oz ribeye steak served with bulgogi ketchup and crispy kimchi slaw. We made our way to the table, and chose appetizers. You’ll hear raves about the Chicken Lollipops, and I’m sure they’re fantastic, but I cannot recommend the Oxtail Ravioli (served with a pho salad garnish) heartily enough. (I know, you’re saying, “Jill, you’re getting a beef entree…AND ordering an appetizer with beef?” and my answer is yes, yes, a thousand times…yes.)

After formalizing my order with the waiter, Chef Nguyen caught me (on my way to the bathroom) and wheedled me out of my “medium well” choice for cooking the steak. “This is Oklahoma!” he exclaimed good-naturedly, referring, I assume, to our state’s phenomenal track record with regards to beef safety. (Never been a recall of Oklahoma beef examined in a USDA-inspected facility).

In an exercise of taste trust (that could also double as a means of OCD therapy), I agreed to put my steak’s doneness in Chef Nguyen’s capable hands, and my reward was a buttery, beefy dream. Bulgogi Ketchup might sound suspicious to you, but the tangy, tart complement is a superlative addition to an incredible piece of meat. The fries were a little salty for me, and the kimchi slaw a little spicy…but any minor complaint at all was overshadowed by the sheer tastiness of it all.

And…that steak.

My sister got the Shrimp and Cake–seared shrimp with bacon green beans and sriracha butter–and while I eschew shellfish (yes, food writers CAN SO be picky), the bite of potato cake that I took from her plate was delicious.

I hesitate to even mention the Almond/Chocolate Symphony dessert, because I didn’t see it on their online menu–it might not be available–but I have to.

A delightful combination of flavors and textures–chocolate and almond ice cream, toffee, chocolate sauce, almond cake, chocolate mousse and chocolate and almond “tuille”, whatever that is, it’s wonderful–come together in a harmonious marriage of taste that is truly music for your mouth. Wonderful. (It’s still listed on their PDF menu, just not the website.)

The place is just lovely, the people are friendly, the atmosphere is low-key but refined, and most importantly of all, the food is fantastic.

Give them a try!