Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hippie food where I least expected it

As a relative newcomer to this state - by relative I mean I wasn't born here, I was surprised to learn that there exists, much to my shock and dismay, another major 4-year University of note and stature within a 30 minute drive from downtown OKC.

My family and I spent some time cruising around the wonderfully sprawling campus, liberally littered with ample green space, bricky academic buildings, respectable greek house rows, and what has to be the largest football stadium in the state of Oklahoma.

Yes fellow Okies, just south of Downtown OKC in a little town named for a race of medieval Northern Frenchman, a little known university sits awaiting discovery and recognition from it's fellow Sooners.

I give you, The University of Oklahoma.

You may catch a few locals around Norman, OK sporting a red shirt with the letters "OU" emblazoned on it, but look quickly because they'll be gone as fast as a pallet full of 12-packs at an OU tailgate party.

We were visiting my brother-in-law and his wife who just bought a second home down in Norman proper (their first home is up in Missoula, MT.) They showed us the campus, the old downtown district, the stadium, the artwork outside the campus art museum, and the James Garner Plaza (complete with a scary-lifelike bronze statue of Jim Rockford himself--dressed as Maverick of course).

We bypassed the famous queso dip at The Mont in favor of less crowds, no wait, and petroliana ambience at a converted service station uniquely called, The Service Station Restaurant and Club.

The evening temps in the 70's drove us to dine on the patio, where we inhaled one too many puffs of ciggie smoke from the not-too-likely-but-possible cancer survivors at the table next door, before we moved to a table upwind and thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

I chose the Alfa (dishes are named after car makes and models), which is not my favorite of favorite automotive marques, however the grease associated with the Camaro, Stingray, or Boxer hamburgers would have proved too much for my unleaded fuel only ticker.

The Alfa sandwich took me back to Cali with one delicious bite after another.

Smoked turkey breast, avocado, sprouts, slightly spiced mayo and tomato on whole wheat berry bread.

This was the first place in Oklahoma I've encountered what I consider to be the quintessential '70's era California sandwich, and I wasn't about to pass it up.


Emily said...

Best restaurant in Norman: Van's Pig Stand. Located in a former Sinclair station covered in neon. Best thing on the menu: the Vanized potato ... a key part of every trip we take on U.S. 77.

Patience said...

Oklahoma. Cuisine. Somehow those two words don't seem to go together. I've been to Oklahoma many times, but have never been to a restaurant that was memorable enought to write about it! Congratulations for finding this oasis!

[I've never been to California, but that sandwich sounds pretty good!]