Monday, August 31, 2009

The Play's the Thing

Back in a previous life, I spent a lot of time at various theaters with my daughter Zoe. In one of her previous lives, she was headed for a career on the stage -- and she got her start with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. For the first couple of years, she spent a lot of time with her legs unshaved playing servant boys. Her shining moment came in a production of "Romeo and Juliet" when at the dance, questioned by Romeo about the identity of the lovely Juliet, she answered, "I know not, sir." The line was short but she had a lot of power. She could have blurted out, "You dummy, don't you know that's Juliet Capulet? You'd better am-scray before her family finds you here!" She wielded her power with discretion and never missed her line.

After she went off to school, it just wasn't the same going to the theater without her being there and being involved. So I sort of got out of the habit. In the meantime, Shakespeare in the Park moved out of Edmond and to downtown Oklahoma City.

I needed some photos of outdoor theater, so Jack, a friend, and I went downtown last Friday night to see "Twelfth Night." The weather was fabulous, the venue idyllic and the play a delight. I've been missing a lot by not enjoying all the OSP productions.

You have three more chances to see the last play of the summer season -- Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Do yourself a favor and "get thee to a ...." theater! Below is a picture of my pick for actor of the evening -- Kal Kohlman as Malvolio.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And Now a Word from our Sponsor

Not really, but this is an unabashed advert for the beautiful jewelry my daughter Zoe and her friend Becca make in Penzance, England. Zoe's coming to visit in a few weeks and, if you would like to order anything, she can bring it with her and save you the cost of shipping.

I love their Celtic Lace pieces like the rose quartz and hematite bracelet and earrings above and the Crimson Lace necklace and earrings below. Each of the links is patiently hand-twisted and I love the Celtic/Cornish connection.

Zoe and Becca do a variety of pieces including necklaces like this one with a Tibetan silver puffed heart, crackle beads and a tiny seahorse dangle.

One of their cleverest ideas is a combo with earrings mounted on a piece of art (with hanger and stand on the back). The collection is called "Too Pretty to Hide" and this piece (including the five pairs of earrings) is "Target Artwear."

Please check the web site: for more details. Remember, prices are in British pounds. At the current exchange rate, each pound equals $1.65. The pieces are hand-made and one-of-a-kind. Just let Zoe ( or me know ahead of time, in case the pieces you want are already sold. She and Becca can suggest something similar or create one with colors of your choosing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bloomin' Iris

I just got a press release from Ken Rundel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and couldn't have been more delighted to see that one of my all-time favorite shops (and those of you who know me know I'm not a big shopper so it takes a lot to impress me) -- Iris at the Basin Park -- was named one of America's top retailers by NICHE magazine. Nearly 600 craft galleries, retail stores, arts nonprofits, museums shops, etc. were nominated by professional fine crafts artists from the U.S. and Canada. Of these 600 outlets, about two dozen were named recipients of the 2009 Top Retailers Awards.

This shop is one of the first places I head when I go to Eureka Springs. Owners Iris and Rick Feutz have eyes for the unusual and the shop just snaps with sensuality -- gorgeous colors, surfaces that beg to be caressed, pure pleasure interpreted in glass, paint, fabrics. Yep, I love this shop. And obviously, I'm not alone.

Congratulations Iris at the Basin Park -- and Eureka Springs, art capital of Mid-America!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Top Attraction

I've been to Discoveryland! to see Oklahoma! a couple of times and I've seen the movie and other productions of the play more times than I can count. So, while I knew I'd have a nice evening, I wasn't really expecting to be so swept away by the whole experience. Needing photos for a future assignment, this was just another job.
My friend Bev Schmoyer and I were guests of Discoveryland! founder Bill Jeffers. He treated us to the ultimate evening -- dinner, dessert, popcorn, soft drinks, all the pre-show activities, the Territory Review before the main production, and the musical. The dinner was tasty -- I had the chopped beef sandwich and Bev had the rib-eye steak sandwich. These were accompanied by corn, potato salad, baked beans and garnishes.
We visited with Bear O'Field, a Cherokee-Creek Indian, who danced for visitors and watched the Pony Express ride off with post cards purchased at the Trading Post. Then we got our dessert -- ice cream topped with strawberries -- yum!
Before the regular show starts, there's a variety show with lots of singing and dancing. Hmmm, those singers were really good and the dancing was skilled and enthusiastic -- actually extraordinarily good. I was getting an interesting vibe -- this evening was becoming more than I expected.

Next came the Overture. Discoveryland! doesn't have an orchestra -- they use recorded music but the system is top-notch and the sound was just fine. Carol Lavelle Snow as Aunt Eller came on stage and eased us into Oklahoma Territory. Coming through the trees and over a bridge, Eli Budwill -- Curly -- rode onto the stage and began the beautiful "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'."
Tall, good-looking, and great voice -- definitely above the average. And the play just got better and better.

I'd bet this cast and this production would be comfortable on Broadway or in London's West End. Yes, I'd seen the play before but Eli, Ally Ridley (Laurey), Carly Casey (Ado Annie), Levi Lawson (Jud Fry) and the rest of the cast made the production fresh and new. As my grandkids would say -- they owned it!

After the show, we met some of the cast members -- five of them are students at the University of Central Oklahoma in the Music Theatre Department, and one, Brett Rottmayer, is a graduate of the school. Auditions are held in many areas of the country and competition to appear at Discoveryland! is keen. These UCO performers aren't here because they're local but because they're so good.

Bev and I had a great evening and what started as sort of a duty quickly became a real treat. Thank you Bill Jeffers, all the friendly people at Discoveryland! and especially the talented cast for a memorable evening. Saturday night is the last show of the season. I wish I'd come earlier so I could come again this year! But I will be visiting again in the future -- and I'll be bringing more friends. Friends don't let friends miss Discoveryland!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grand A-Cheevers-ment

Ah, research, it's a tough job but somebody has to do it. And so I had lunch at Cheever's on 23rd Street in Oklahoma City. It's in a historic building -- built in 1927 for Cheever's Florist, a company that is still in business (12236 North May) and still owned by the same family. When the building was sold, the trademark Cheever's name stayed on the building and it was turned into a great little restaurant owned by the Good Egg Dining Company. Heather and Keith Paul, and Sean Ray, who founded the company, also own Red Prime Steakhouse, Iron Starr Urban Bar-B-Q, and Market-C (more about that later).

Robert Black is the executive chef for the entire restaurant group -- and he is a genius. I fell in love with his cuisine several years ago when he was executive chef for the Museum Cafe at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Ryan Lawson is executive chef at Cheever's. So there was a lot of experience behind my lunch!

My friend Melyn and I started with the bread basket as soon as it hit the table. It contained four dainty dinner rolls -- delicately flavored with rosemary and thyme -- served with a little tub of butter protected by a round of parchment with a scrolled C on top. My entree was Mixed Seafood Tamales -- chunks of lobster, shrimp, halibut and scallops with black beans and corn over a sweet potato masa tamale and topped with an ancho cream. Was it good? It was all I could do to keep from licking the plate!

The whole Weight Watchers thing kept me from ordering dessert but didn't keep me from going next door to Market-C and salivating over the choices. Market-C, which opened late last fall, was originally a Phillips 66 filling station. I'd guess -- but I don't know -- that it's about the same vintage as Cheever's. Good Egg has paid homage to the past with the traditional green and orange Phillips 66 color scheme.

Inside, you'll find take-and-heat goodies from the Good Egg restaurants, desserts, condiments and kitchen items. Here's a picture of the Giant Carrot Cake -- six layers of cake with cream cheese icing. You can see why I passed on dessert. Next time, maybe I'll go for dessert and pass on the entree!

Monday, August 10, 2009

La Fooda Loca

Well, I managed to stretch my birthday into a birthweek! A week after the actual day -- when we were all available -- I celebrated with friends Terry Earnheart and Beverly Schmoyer. They took me to the Paseo Grill, a great restaurant in Oklahoma City's artiest area.

Those of you who have been following this blog know that I have to work hard to balance my love of food and enjoyment of writing about it with my desire to fit in an airplane seat. Weight Watchers has been wonderful. I have to keep track of what I eat -- yeah, it's kind of a pain but not as painful as not being able to zip my jeans. By doing this, I can plan for special times and there's almost nothing I can't enjoy.

My choice today was the Crab and Avocado Salad -- jumbo lump crab meat and avocado served with a Parmesan crisp and mixed greens drizzled with lemon vinaigrette and garnished with capers, basil, red bell peppers and red onions. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of colors, tastes and textures.

So I managed to have a satisfying lunch and still keep on the right track with my eating plan-- then the birthday treat arrived. And it was a wonderful little wine glass with fresh berries topped with just enough whipped cream to hold the candle. Hooray for me and hooray for Weight Watchers! And a really big hooray for the Paseo Grill.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

More Foodie 101

One day on the Prince William County press trip, we had the option to take the train into D.C. to tour museums. Normally, I'd jump at that but, I reasoned, I wouldn't be spending enough time in D.C. to do the kind of story I like to do. So I, along with writer Shirley Moskow from Boston, opted to stay behind. Kathy Martin with the PWC/Manassas CVB offered to be our chauffeur for the day. We both wanted to return to Occoquan -- neither of us had had time to see the town on the first day of the trip.
After some other stops, we arrived in Occoquan in time for lunch at Madigan's. The day was gorgeous and eating outside was an appealing prospect. The menu offered a lot of temptations but this is prime crab country so my choices narrowed a bit. I asked for a taste of the crab chowder and our waiter brought me a small sample. I all but stuck my tongue in the cup! It was rich and creamy with plenty of crab meat and fresh vegetables. My ultimate choice was the crabcake sandwich with remoulade sauce on the side. Mmmmmm -- good choice. Lots and lots of crabmeat with little, if any, filler.

Great food, good company and the beautiful green river flowing by. It was one of those perfect moments you want to capture and save -- when everything in your immediate world seems perfect. My friend Betty Neal says this is a "Kingdom of God" moment. I love the idea that the Kingdom of God includes crabcakes!