100 Oklahoma foods to try before you die

By Sharon Dowell Published: January 3, 2007
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This list was started more than a year ago, when I jotted down several dozen favorite Oklahoma items I wanted to share with readers sometime during Oklahoma's centennial year. I carried the list with me for months and asked friends, longtime residents and food professionals what they'd include.

Eventually it became apparent the list could easily accommodate 150 or even 200 Oklahoma favorites. Staff writers and editors in our newsroom suggested even more favorites for the list. But, in keeping with our centennial theme, we pared the list and kept the best of all the favorites suggested. We have listed them in no particular order.

It includes longtime favorites as well as many new food items being grown, produced or served in Oklahoma. Some have wonderful stories behind their creation, and we hope you'll take time to check out these companies' Web sites to learn more about the foods and companies.

By sharing this list early in the year, we hope you'll seek out items you've not previously tried during these next 12 months. Experience our bounty of fresh produce during spring, summer and fall; the variety of Oklahoma food products at grocery stores and specialty shops; and "have to try it just once” items served at Oklahoma restaurants and special events. Collectively, these foods reflect who we are as Oklahomans, our diverse cultures and our tastes. The list offers a fun way to celebrate our state's centennial and become more familiar with all that's available to us right here within our state boundaries.

1.Pecan and walnut chewy praline from Woody Candy Co., 922 NW 70, Oklahoma City, local 842-8903, toll free (800) 842-8904, woodycandycompany.com

2.Freshly ground Oklahoma-grown wheat flour, available at Oklahoma farmers markets or try the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, oklahomafood.coop.

3.Artisan breads from Farrell Family Organic Bread, 8034 S Yale, Tulsa, (918) 477-7077, www.farrellbread.com. Baked in the old-world tradition, the breads are available at multiple locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and served at better local restaurants. The chocolate yeast bread with dried cherries is awesome but don't overlook the challah, stirato or wheatberry nut levain.

4.Old-fashioned, hand-stirred cherry limeades made to order at Ballard's Drive-In, Interstate 35 at Exit 72, Paul's Valley, (405) 238-6456. Johnny Ballard, 85, has been in business more than 54 years. He uses fresh-squeezed lime juice, homemade simple syrup, cherry syrup and carbonated water.

5.Eischen's Bar fried chicken, served with white bread, pickles and onions, 108 S Second, Okarche, 263-9939. Don't miss the fried okra, too. This bar opened way before statehood.

6. Meers burger, any variety, served in a pie tin at The Meers Store & Restaurant, Meers, (580) 429-8051, www.meersstore.com. Beef comes from the owner's herd of longhorns.

7.Sand plum jelly, any brand. Look for it where Oklahoma products are carried.

8.Chicken-fried steak dinner or sandwich, Ann's Chicken Fry House, 4106 NW 39 Expressway/Route 66, Oklahoma City, 943-8915. Dine to '50s and '60s music and check out all the fun memorabilia.

9.Schwab's hot dogs and chili, available separately at grocery stores. Schwab & Co., 235-2376, (888) 508-8668, schwabmeat.com. Five generations of the Schwab family have been offering meats since 1912.

10.Braum's ice cream, any flavor, multiple locations, braums.com. The first Braum's store was opened in 1968.

11.Sonic Drive-In meal with tater tots, cherry limeade and extra-long chili-cheese coney, many locations, sonicdrivein.com. Carhops have been serving fast food since 1953.

12.Witt Pan Fry Steak, served at Rick's Cafe Americain, 5107 S Harvard, Tulsa, (918) 742-1076, owned by Rick Kamp, an Oklahoma City native and part of the family that ran Kamp's grocery store for decades. The dish is Kamp's interpretation of the chicken-fried steak meal his grandparents prepared in a cast-iron skillet, then baked in the oven.

13.Oklahoma-grown blackberries in July.

14.Big Bevburger, Beverly's Pancake Corner, 2115 Northwest Expressway, Oklahoma City, 842-3614. Rubye and Beverly Osborne founded Beverly's Chicken in the Rough in Oklahoma City 70 years ago. The Big Bevburger was another popular menu item, though the family is no longer involved in this last remaining outlet of the once-popular chain.

15.Honey from Oklahoma bees at Honey Hill Farm, Edmond, 341-5499. Look for it where Oklahoma products are sold.

16.Snickerdoodle flavored coffee from Neighbors Coffee, neighborscoffee.com. Look for the coffee where Oklahoma products are sold.

17.Snickerdelicious flavored coffee from Java Dave's Coffee, multiple locations, javadavescoffee.com.

18.Field's "World's Best” pecan pie, prepared in Pauls Valley, available at grocery stores, www.fieldspies.com.

19.Original yogurt cheese made at Wagon Creek Creamery, Helena, (580) 496-2447, wagoncreekcreamery.

com. The more healthful yogurt cheese can replace cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, ricotta or mayonnaise in recipes ranging from dips to cheesecakes, cutting total fat and calories. Jalapeno and garlic varieties are also available.

20.Fresh-picked Oklahoma blueberries in June.

21.Lebanese hors d'oeuvres at Eddy's Steakhouse & Seafood, 4227 N Meridian, Oklahoma City, 787-2944, www.eddyssteakhouse.com. Dinners come with a relish tray, tabouli, hummus tahini, cabbage roll and a smoked pork rib, in addition to salad and potato.

22.Fried rattlesnake, available at any of the state's annual rattlesnake festivals or roundups, including those in Apache, Waurika and Okeene.

23.Hideaway Pizza, you choose the toppings, multiple locations, hideawaypizza.com and www.hideawaypizza.net.

24.Hot Hamburger at Murphy's Original Steak House, 1625 SW Frank Phillips Blvd., Bartlesville, (918) 336-4789. The creation includes a slice of bread, hamburger patty, gravy, fries and more gravy. The burger is $5.94; add cheese and it costs $6.21.

25.Rush Springs watermelon at the town's annual festival in August.

26.Hiland fat-free milk, available at grocery stores.

27.C innamon rolls from the Tower Cafe, 625 Highway 81 South, Okarche, 236-7911.

28.Head Country barbecue sauce, made in Ponca City, available at grocery stores, headcountry.com.

29.Nonalcoholic grape juices from Redland Juice Co., 10851 Bryant Road, Lexington, (405) 527-9181, redlandjuice.com. Look for it where Oklahoma products are sold.

30.Coit's frosted mug of root beer, Coit's Root Beer Drive In with three locations in Oklahoma City.

31.NoName Ranch burger served at Irma's Burger Shack, 1035 NW 63, Oklahoma City, 840-4762. Fresh beef from Wynnewood's NoName Ranch is also available at Bill Kamp's Meat Market, 7310 N Western, 843-2455.

32.Kaiser's punch. The concentrate for different colors of fruit punch is prepared at The Grateful Bean Cafe and frozen; the concentrate is sold in gallon-size plastic tubs in the freezer section of Crescent Market in Nichols Hills Plaza, 6409 Avondale Drive, 842-2000.

33.The Coney Island restaurants at 428 W Main in Oklahoma City and 3 East 5 in Tulsa, with Greek-style or coney-style chili and steamed buns.


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