Oklahoma Gazette http://staging.okgazette.com Oklahoma City's Arts & Entertainment Authority. Tue, 14 Apr 2015 19:50:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.15 OKG Eat: Old faithful!http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/okg-eat-old-faithful-2/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/okg-eat-old-faithful-2/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:51:30 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82701 Some things are meant to last. Patrons keep coming back for more at these local eateries. Whatever the magic formula for success, these restaurants have it.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Garett Fisbeck

Java Dave’s Coffee (Mark Hancock)

Java Dave’s Coffee (Mark Hancock)

Java Dave’s Coffee

2 NE Ninth St., Suite A



This popular coffee chain got its start in 1980 with one humble Tulsa shop. The OKC metro now boasts four locations. The Oklahoma City location on Ninth Street invested in its community before there was much around to support it. Now it’s part of a bustling retail and dining area. Its location off Interstate 235 makes it a convenient stop where commuters can pick up a custom coffee drink and bagel.


Iguana Mexican Grill  (Mark Hancock)

Iguana Mexican Grill (Mark Hancock)

Iguana Mexican Grill

9 NW Ninth St.



This bustling restaurant offers affable service, colorful decor and delicious tacos, especially on Tuesdays when its mini tacos are $1 each. They come in several varieties — including ground beef, carnitas and chicken — depending on the daily menu. Pair them with a specialty margarita and an order of queso fundido, made with seasoned ground beef, onions and four cheeses.


Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler (Mark Hancock)

Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler (Mark Hancock)

Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler

2652 W. Britton Road



This burger joint grew from a drive-in with inside dining in 1971 to multiple metro eateries, including Johnnie’s Express and Urban Johnnie. Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler menu includes burgers, fries and onion rings along with hot dogs, salads and variations on chicken-fried steak. The Theta (#9) is a favorite with pickles, shredded cheddar and hickory sauce. Pair it with Johnnie’s onion rings.


Louie’s Grill & Bar (Mark Hancock)

Louie’s Grill & Bar (Mark Hancock)

Louie’s Grill & Bar

9401 Lake Hefner Parkway



Louie, Louie! Its broad menu offers favorites that keep with the restaurant’s casual bar theme. There are many items to choose from. Start with the Ultimate Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich and fries. Make sure to taste at least one of the many specialty cocktails at its expansive bar.


Bellini’s Ristorante (Mark Hancock)

Bellini’s Ristorante (Mark Hancock)

Bellini’s Ristorante

6305 Waterford Blvd. Suite 100



Bellini’s, one of the city’s finest restaurants, is tucked within the Waterford building. Michel and Alain Buthion took over in 2011 and developed a menu that matches the elegant space. Menu selections include dishes for every appetite and taste. For lunch, try the soup of the day with a small salad or the roasted half chicken.


San Marcos Mexican Restaurant (Garett Fisbeck)

San Marcos Mexican Restaurant (Garett Fisbeck)

San Marcos Mexican Restaurant

4024 N. May Ave.


Nestled into a corner next to a highway, San Marcos offers classic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine for lunch and dinner with both prices and flavors that keep customers coming back. At San Marcos, all the classics are represented. It also offers variations like Mexican fried rice made with veggies and marinated fajita chicken or steak. We recommend the chicken chimichanga with sour cream sauce.


Waffle Champion (Garett Fisbeck)

Waffle Champion (Garett Fisbeck)

Waffle Champion

1212 N. Walker Ave. Suite 100



As a fledgling food truck, Waffle Champion helped lead OKC’s mobile dining revolution. The city’s response was overwhelming, and owner Todd Woodruff soon moved from wheels to walls. It seems that residents can’t get enough meals stuffed into warm, fresh waffles. Start your Waffle Champion adventure with buttermilk fried chicken topped with Tabasco honey and crispy leeks. Add eggs for $1.

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Cover story: What will OKC look like in 2040?http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/cover-story-what-will-okc-look-like-by-2040/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/cover-story-what-will-okc-look-like-by-2040/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:49:22 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82562 Illustration / Oklahoma Gazette

Illustration / Oklahoma Gazette

The 1989 blockbuster Back to the Future II depicted a 2015 with flying cars, hoverboards and self-lacing shoes. This year, Nike announced it’s making a self-lacing shoe, but many of the film’s predictions haven’t (and likely won’t) happen.

However, in many ways, 2015 is much more advanced than even Hollywood could have imagined.

“There aren’t any cellphones in the film. Instead, we see banks of phone booths,” wrote Adrienne Lafrance for The Atlantic in her piece “The Actual Future Is So Much Cooler Than Back to the Future II Predicted.” She also noted the now-obvious lack of Internet in the film.

Hollywood’s grandest predictions for city life 25 years from now would likely fall short, too. However, if Oklahoma City’s rate of change remains as constant in the next 25 years as it has been in the last 25 years, we will likely live in a city that’s much different than it is today.

Oklahoma Gazette examined demographic data, interviews with business and city leaders and dozens of reports, and the following is our best guess of how our city will look in 2040.

While we avoid talk of flying automobiles, it is likely that new technologies like driverless cars for consumer use could exist in coming decades. Business models like Uber and Lyft stretch the imaginations of city officials, and evolving city demographics will further impact everything from culture to politics.

Illustration / Oklahoma Gazette

Illustration / Oklahoma Gazette

Changing demographics

Oklahoma City is a 622-mile drive up Interstate 35 from the U.S.-Mexico border. This highway slices up America’s heartland and is a growing thoroughfare for Mexican immigrants who settle in mid-sized cities across the Midwest, including OKC.

In a series of 2014 dispatches for The New York Times, journalists Damien Cave and Todd Heisler filed reports along I-35, including a piece on Oklahoma City hamburger processing plant Lopez Foods. It’s a successful example of the city’s growing Hispanic and ethnic communities, including those from Korea and Vietnam.

“Everything is getting blurred,” John Patrick Lopez told the Times, referring to the multicultural blend of Lopez Food and OKC workers. “That’s the norm.”

In many ways, the diversity that has been an American standard for several decades just recently became more visible in Oklahoma.

An increase in visibility can often be seen via community festivals and sporting events, which bring together diverse ethnicities in ways not previously common here. But population trends over the past several years have created a city that, while diverse, remains segregated.

Oklahoma City’s next few decades will bring a growth of our immigrant community, a rise of cultural hubs and new challenges for city services and school systems that attempt to work with residents who do not speak English.

By 2060, America is projected to be 43 percent white, a huge drop from the 85 percent level of 1960, according to the U.S. Census.

“We were once a black-and-white country,” Paul Taylor wrote for Pew Research Center. “Now, we’re a rainbow.”

Even as America champions itself as a melting pot nation, our multiculturalism is about to enter a new era.

(Cover design by Christopher Street)

(Cover design by Christopher Street)

OKC’s Hispanic population expanded 95 percent from 2000 to 2010, which increased our city’s Hispanic population from 5.2 percent to 8.9 percent. The numbers will grow, but the rate depends on many factors, including state and national immigration policies and the continued viability of the energy sector.

Because OKC is expected to remain one of America’s cheapest places to live over the next 25 years, it should continue to be a popular destination for immigrants, especially those from Latin America.

“There is a good quality of life in Oklahoma City,” said David Castillo, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “This is an attractive place for families, and that is something that is important to all people, including Hispanics.”

Castillo said he believes the shift will become more visible in coming years as groups transition from “hidden” communities mostly based in south OKC into bigger players in the local business community.

“We are starting to see the [Hispanic] community evolve,” Castillo said. “Before, what we had was landscapers working for other companies, many Hispanics working for roofing companies and in construction trade, stuff like that. Now they are becoming owners [of their own businesses], and that is the next step.”

The growth means the city must find better and more ways to communicate. These challenges already face local schools. Oklahoma City Public Schools’ student population is nearly half Hispanic, and 30 percent of its students come from homes where English is not the primary language.

“The school district really is just a small microcosm of what our community is and will be,” said Gloria Torres, an OKC school board member appointed last year. “Whatever comes into our city, we get to see it first. We are very much at the front line, and we are preparing our city.”

Torres is the district’s first Latina board member and is the only board member of Hispanic descent.

Like many medium-sized cities in the South and Midwest in recent decades, Oklahoma City’s foreign-born population has grown. However, most of our immigrant population growth takes place in urban areas, not suburbs.

“Three quarters (76 percent) of the growth in the foreign-born population [in America] between 2000 and 2013 in the largest metro areas occurred in the suburbs,” wrote Jill H. Wilson in a research paper for the Brookings Institution.

Oklahoma City was one of 12 cities across the country where foreign-born growth was larger in the urban core.

Illustration / Oklahoma Gazette

Illustration / Oklahoma Gazette


High on many residents’ list of reasons to love Oklahoma City is its relatively low traffic congestion. OKC ranks No. 44 out of the largest 51 metros for traffic congestion, according to data from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI). However, many officials think the data-gathering methods used are outdated and don’t take into consideration how far motorists actually drive to work.

A report, Driven Apart: How Sprawl Is Lengthening Our Commutes and Why Misleading Mobility Measures Are Making Things Worse, evaluated distance traveled during peak times, such as morning and evening rush hours, and ranked the metro as the second worst in the nation for congestion.

OKC’s traffic seems manageable compared to places like Dallas and Atlanta, and it is when considering stop-and-go freeway congestion. But OKC metro residents drive farther than those in Dallas and Atlanta due to a combination of sprawl and congestion.

Sprawl is projected to continue in OKC as Norman’s and Edmond’s populations — and commuters — increase. However, several area cities have been working on a regional transit plan that could reach voters in coming years.

“I don’t think that the type of regional transit [system] we envision for Oklahoma City is just around the corner; I think it’s a ways off [from completion],” OKC Mayor Mick Cornett told Oklahoma Gazette last year. “But keep in mind how far we’ve come.”

Cities like Charlotte and Nashville were added to the top 25 list for traffic congestion by TTI. They both experienced growth trends in the past decade that Oklahoma City will likely to see in coming years.

“The … metro is one of the fastest-growing metro regions in the United States,” said Eric Dyer, an assistant planner with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG). “With Oklahoma City poised to grow even more over the coming years, more severe traffic congestion is inevitable.”

ACOG proposed a regional, rail-based transit system that would feature streetcars in the urban center and commuter rail service to Edmond and Norman. Because city and business leaders in multiple cities across the region vocally supported the plan, it is realistic that some voters could be asked to approve a sales-tax increase for the system in five to seven years. Transit could be operational well before 2040.

City and business leaders say Salt Lake City’s regional transit system is one to emulate. It features a combination of rail and bus lines.

“There are a lot of similarities between Salt Lake and us,” said Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, noting similar growth patterns and political culture.

The chamber supports a regional transit system, and Cornett believes area cities will start public meetings as early as this year to discuss the details and tax structure.

OKC and Texas

Our city’s expected growth might be impressive, but it’s nothing compared to north Texas. From 2010 to 2030, the 10-county region of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex will add a projected 4 million new residents, according data from Vision North Texas. That type of growth would be like placing eight OKCs in Dallas over 15 years.

North Texas’ growth will impact OKC’s future. The cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio were the four fastest-growing economies in the nation between 2008 and 2014, according to Brookings Institution. Oklahoma City was No. 5.

The Texas Triangle is one of 11 U.S. “megaregions,” as defined by the Regional Plan Association (RPA). Megaregions are clusters of cities with strong connections of commerce and travel. Other examples include Cascadia (Vancouver, Seattle and Portland), Northeast (Boston to Washington, D.C.) and Piedmont Atlantic (Atlanta to Charlotte).

The Texas Triangle includes Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, and RPA planners believe Oklahoma City could someday be included as transportation along the I-35 corridor continues to grow.

Numerous studies promising rail corridors based on current and future travel trends also support OKC’s future connection to Texas. The Rockefeller Foundation’s future high-speed rail study ranked hundreds of potential corridors across the country and scored the Oklahoma City-to-Dallas route high. In fact, OKC-Dallas was the fourth highest rated corridor within the Texas Triangle and viewed as a likely thoroughfare for increased rail service because of the growing connection the two metros are expected to have in the coming years.

Energy hub

Oil and gas are staples of our city’s economy, and while the city’s economic landscape is more diversified than it was in the 1980s — even after a dramatic drop in oil prices crashed OKC’s economy — the city is still heavily dependent on the energy sector.

The success of oil and gas over the past decade allowed OKC to weather the national recession. It also helped it become one of the few cities with steady employment growth since 2008. However, as prices have fallen, concerns arise about what that could mean for the city’s future.

“We are an energy economy,” State Treasurer Ken Miller said. “I enjoy like everybody else to pay less for gas at the pump, and it’s good for consumers for a while, but if it is sustained, we would feel other effects that would mitigate the positive feeling we get at the gas pump.”

The city is likely to remain an energy hub, but it might expand its role as not simply a location for such companies but a base for technology and research centers that look for ways to expand energy options and technology.

“New technological breakthroughs in oil and gas are transforming the world’s energy landscape in ways unimagined just a decade ago,” said Michael Ming, general manager of General Electric’s planned global oil and gas research center here. “The new center’s close proximity to many of our customers and the state’s great university network and engineering talent will allow us to accelerate the development of new technologies.”

The city’s future might include jetpacks and Jetsons-style buildings, and while those types of developments are hard to predict, it’s almost certain its future will be shaped by continued population growth, an emerging Hispanic community, new modes of transit and the evolution — for good or bad — of the energy sector.

Print headline: The next 25; Oklahoma Gazette examines the culture, population, transportation and industry changes that most impact our city.

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Fat Elvus Diner has one heck of a hunka-hunka tasty burgerhttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/fat-elvus-diner-has-one-heck-of-a-hunka-hunka-tasty-burger/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/fat-elvus-diner-has-one-heck-of-a-hunka-hunka-tasty-burger/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:49:15 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82640 The Fat Elvus Burger (Dustin Harjo)

The Fat Elvus Burger (Dustin Harjo)

If Elvis Presley and I have one thing in common — besides a crippling addiction to painkillers, of course — it would be our insatiable love of all food thick and greasy. Much like the late, lamented King of Rock and Roll, I tend to go out of my way to sample just about every greasy-spoon burger or chicken-fried dive around, doctor’s orders be damned.

The spirit of this lust is kept alive and well-fed in Yukon at Fat Elvus Diner, 4 E. Main St. (I’m guessing the “us” is so they don’t get sued. Lawyers are the devil in disguise!)

Looking like a rustic side-of-the-road shack one would find on the way to Memphis, the tight, homey diner is a tribute to all things rock ’n’ roll, with hundreds of records and artifacts lining every inch of wall-space. But this isn’t some kitschy Hard Rock wannabe — the denizens that run this joint mean it, from the sweet-as-honey waitresses to the Elvis (owner and impersonator Darin Thrasher) flipping the burgers.

The menu is an uncomplicated, simple affair, with one side offering breakfast deals like the Taking Care of Business Omelet and the “Viva Las Vegas” hamburger steak. As tempting as these Top 40 offerings were, it was three in the afternoon and I was itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree for what Fat Elvus is best known for: its titular Fat Elvus Burger ($5.09 plus extra for toppings), loaded with fixin’s, including jalapeños (in tribute to my main man El Vez, of course). A side of fresh-cut fries ($2) and a slice of banana cream pie ($3) completed my order.

When that Fat Elvus reached my table, “I [Could]n’t Help Falling in Love” with it immediately; this was a two-hander loaded with glistening beef, steaming fried onions and a few hearty slices of good ol’ American “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” cheese melting down the sides. The jalapeños left me sweating like I was under Vegas spotlights, while the hot and crispy fries made a perfect complement when dipped in mayo. When in Graceland …
The King would’ve been a fan.

My dining companion, on the other hand, had the chicken-fried steak sandwich ($3.85). He made note of how well-seasoned and crunchy the Southern-fried coating on the steak was and the toastiness of the buns. But, sadly, he was unable to finish it — it was just too much for him. However, he later told me that the leftovers made for a great lunch.

As we sat back, enjoying Fat Elvus’ fresh, homemade banana cream pie, Thrasher, in full-on Elvis persona, stopped by to make sure we enjoyed our meals, taking time to pose for pictures with each and every diner who wanted one.

While I thought about taking him aside and asking if there’s a secret menu with a deep-fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich on it, the heaviness of the food started to get to me and I decided it was time for “A Little Less Conversation” and a lot more nappin’.

Don’t live in Yukon? “That’s All Right,” mama; this rockin’ diner is definitely worth a Saturday afternoon outing whether you’re starving for down-home eats or just wanting to do a little touristy rubberneckin’.

The Fat Elvus is the name of any onion-burger lover’s latest flame.

Fat Elvus Diner

4 E. Main St., Yukon


What works: Elvis knows how
to make a mean onion burger.
What needs work: My heart,
after eating one of them.
Tip: Bring a camera.

Print headline: Delicious minds, Yukon’s Fat Elvus Diner has got one heck of a hunka-hunka tasty burger.

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Ward 2’s election candidate roster varied, colorfulhttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/ward-2s-election-candidate-roster-varied-colorful/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/ward-2s-election-candidate-roster-varied-colorful/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:16:51 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82586 All(web)

A pastor, teacher, doctor and professor. It’s no joke; it’s the race for Oklahoma City’s Ward 2 council seat.

Councilman Ed Shadid — the doctor — is up for reelection after his first term and drew three challengers: John Riley, a teacher at Northwest Classen High School; James Cooper, a professor at Oklahoma City University; and Major Lewis Jemison, a pastor at St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

Shadid is one of Oklahoma City Council’s more visible members due to his minority stances on tax incentive votes and last year’s high-profile mayoral bid against incumbent Mick Cornett.

However, in this race, the Ward 2 councilman is the incumbent. In recent months, he has shown his political strength and the city council and candidates that he is ready for a March 3 election.

Last month, Shadid played a role in drawing attention to proposed oil drilling near Lake Hefner. The company pulled out following protests and public opposition. Shadid also was the lone council member to attempt to reverse a Downtown Design Review Committee vote to permit demolition of nine buildings.

“I feel like my work is about empowering people, the kind of people who don’t always feel like they have a voice,” Shadid told Oklahoma Gazette in an interview last month.

In a city in which large capital projects, tax incentives and a close relationship between the city and the business community has led to much urban redevelopment, Shadid is sometimes viewed as a contrarian.

It’s a role he embraces.

“I’m worried about the direction we are headed when we don’t stop and ask ourselves if we are handing out too much (incentives),” said Shadid, who has been critical of new TIF districts and the city’s potential involvement in funding a new convention center hotel.

Some of those looking to unseat Shadid attempt to paint him as a deterrent to progress.

“Where Ed lacks vision, I have one,” Cooper said. “Where he says ‘No, because,’ I say ‘Yes, if.’ He has created divisiveness and unnecessary conflict. I have a different approach.”

Cooper, an adjunct professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University, where he also teaches film studies, is openly gay and actively supports LGBT rights.

Shadid also has solid support from the LGBT community.

“I believe that my base is young people, LGBT folks, senior citizens, women, African-Americans, young professionals, all types of people,” Cooper said. “Maybe I’m being just too optimistic, but I think we are all invested in this city’s future, no matter the demographic.”

Like Cooper, Jemison accused Shadid of being divisive.

“During the past few years, we have seen a great deal of polarization and separation on the council where there should be teamwork and unity,” Jemison said. “I certainly understand that not everyone can agree on everything all of the time; but our disagreements should strengthen us, not hinder us.”

Last year, a telephone push poll conducted by Promark Research Corporation asked Ward 2 voters their opinion of Jemison and painted him as a pro-business candidate and Shadid as anti-business.

Riley teaches American history and coaches track at Northwest Classen High School. He also is a second lieutenant in the 45th Infantry Brigade of the Oklahoma Army National Guard and previously served in the United States Army.

“Public service has always been important to me as a public school teacher and as a member of our armed forces,” Riley said. “I consistently tell my students about the difference they can make in the community, and running for city council is a chance for me to lead by example.”

Ward 2’s southern boundary is NE 23rd Street, and the ward includes several uptown neighborhoods around Classen Boulevard and Western Avenue.

The election is March 3. If no candidate receives 50 percent or more of the March 3 vote total, the two highest vote recipients head for an April 7 runoff.

Other elections

Three other council wards are up for election in March. Ward 6 features incumbent Meg Salyer and challengers Bob Waldrop and Dario Alvarado. In Ward 8, Councilman Pat Ryan is not seeking reelection and three candidates — Mark Stonecipher, John Ederer and Steve Curry — have filed. In Ward 5, Councilman David Greenwell was the only candidate to file, which means he wins the reelection unopposed. Check back with Oklahoma Gazette for profiles of ward races.

Council seat

Oklahoma City council races are nonpartisan, meaning candidates are not divided by political party on the ballot. Each council member is paid $12,000 annually, and there are no term limits.

Voter registration deadline is Feb. 6 for the March 3 election.


Print headline: No joke, Ward 2’s election candidate roster is varied and colorful as the city council readies for the March 3 election.

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The best Valentine’s date may be an early onehttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/the-best-valentines-date-may-be-an-early-one/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/the-best-valentines-date-may-be-an-early-one/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:03:27 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82678 Wine and Chocolate is Sunday at The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro. (Provided)

Wine and Chocolate is Sunday at The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro. (Provided)

Valentine’s Day presents difficulties every year for couples wishing to go out on a date. Restaurants are booked, or if they are not, the wait can be endless. Even planning in advance can’t save you from the sheer volume of people who will have the serving staff utterly exhausted. What about adding a different twist to a Valentine’s date? How do you do something different, something that isn’t dinner and drinks or dinner and a movie?

For eight years, LaVeryl Lower has hosted Wine and Chocolate the Sunday before Valentine’s Day. Lower owns The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro, and she said it was the absolute craziness of Valentine’s Day that helped her decide to offer an alternative date night before the big day.

“So many people go out on that night or the night after that it’s difficult to get reservations unless you make them months in advance,” Lower said. “I thought it would be a good idea to create a Valentine’s date that takes the pressure off and is far more relaxing.”

Lower features five by-the-glass wine lists every year. Wine and Chocolate is the night guests can sample her late winter list.

“Since it’s right before Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to make it a wine and chocolate tasting instead of just rolling out a new wine list,” Lower said.

In addition to the 20 wines (10 red and 10 white), guests enjoy house-made cocoa confections created for pairing with specific wines on the list. The pairings offer another layer of experience to the event: education. She helps guests understand which flavor components go with what kind of wine because not all desserts need dessert wines or big, jammy reds.

“For whites, we look for flavors like lime and ginger or peppers and herbs,” Lower said. “Acid is always good for pairing desserts with white wine.”

This year’s event includes white chocolate with lime, ginger and Szechuan pepper; white chocolate with blood orange and basil; and white chocolate with coconut, pistachio and curry.

“People say that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate,” Lower said. “I know that’s true, but it’s still delicious.”

For the reds, Lower is planning raspberry-and-dark-chocolate truffles as well as Bourbon-and-brown-butter truffles. This year, for the first time, there also will be savory chocolates featuring bacon, cocoa-roasted beef tenderloin and bitter chocolate.

Wines at The Metro are chosen from all over the world and include a relative newcomer from Spain, Alejandro Fernández El Víncula Tinto Crianza, a very dry Tempranillo. Lower’s list always includes local favorites, too, so names like Alexana, Banshee, Neyers and Turley will also be featured. Wine geeks will recognize Stolpman Roussanne and Spann Carignan, two of the more unique wines that will be poured.

Wine and Chocolate

4-6 p.m. Sunday

The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro

6418 N.Western Ave.


$25 per person, reservations required

print headline: Pour more, Chocolate and wine — what more could your valentine want? Perhaps a date just before the holiday rush

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Chicken-Fried News: Mayor Joehttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/chicken-fried-news-mayor-joe/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/chicken-fried-news-mayor-joe/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:00:57 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82628 CFN_DORMAN_GAZ

Joe Dorman for mayor? Well, as much as the watermelon lobby might want it, it has never been a possibility, despite a claim by Oklahoma Gazette last week that Dorman was a former mayoral candidate and state senator.

Dorman is a former state representative and was a Democratic candidate for governor last year. He also appeared on the cover of last week’s Gazette sporting the endangered hoodie but without his traditional goatee that might have made him harder to recognize.

Mistakes aside, “Mayor Joe” might have a good ring to it.

Dorman’s Jimmy Buffett-style Hawaiian shirts would add color to the council horseshoe, and he would no doubt have fun ordering the city’s police department to up traffic enforcement around the governor’s mansion.

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Oklahoma-based team backs first female pro drag racing champhttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/oklahoma-based-team-backs-first-female-pro-drag-racing-champ/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/oklahoma-based-team-backs-first-female-pro-drag-racing-champ/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:00:54 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82525 044-EricaEnders-StevensKNcelebrationSat-LV1

Erica Enders-Stevens (Provided)

Professional drag racer Erica Enders-Stevens was back in Wynnewood recently, preparing for next year.

After joining Oklahoma-based Elite Motorsports before the 2014 season, the 31-year-old Houston native became the first woman ever to win the National Hot Rod Association’s Pro Stock world championship in November, accomplishing her childhood dream.

“I’m just so proud of my guys. It’s been one hell of a year,” she said.

Enders-Stevens began drag racing in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League when she was 8. She and younger sister Courtney Enders watched their father race in the amateur Sportsman class.

“My sister and I grew up at the racetrack,” Enders-Stevens said. “It was never something that was forced on us.”

Ender-Stevens won 37 junior races in her first eight years. The sisters’ story was turned into a wildly popular Disney Channel movie, Right On Track, which debuted in 2003.

“Now, over 50 percent of the junior drag racers are female. So that’s really cool, because when I started in 1992, I was the only one,” she said.

Ender-Stevens raced Pro Stock for several teams and dabbled in team ownership after turning pro in 2005, running partial schedules at times and struggling to find sponsors. She performed well, however, notching three top-10 season finishes. She became the first woman ever to win a national Pro Stock event when she won in Chicago in 2012.

After the 2013 season, she signed a deal to drive Elite Motorsports’ new Camaro, with father/son duo Rick and Rickie Jones as crew chiefs and in-house engines built by veterans Nick Ferri and Jake Hairston.

“It was like the pieces of the puzzle were coming together,” Freeman said.

Enders-Stevens won six times in 2014, setting two new national Pro Stock speed records and winning the pole six times. She won the K&N Horsepower Challenge in Las Vegas in March after being voted into the competition through a fan vote. The team also picked up sponsorships, including Purple Royal and Oklahoma City-based United Mechanical, Inc.

Enders-Stevens lost the points lead late in the season after missing two events due to budget constraints, but she won the season’s next-to-last event in Las Vegas, setting up a showdown between her and rival driver Jason Line in the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Enders-Stevens reached the finals on Nov. 16 after winning a semi-final against Jonathan Gray in which both drivers had perfect starting reaction times. That set up a winner-take-all final against Line, who red-lit at the starting line, giving Enders-Stevens the championship.

She joined drag racing pioneers Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey in becoming only the third woman in history to win an NHRA world championship.

“It’s a very awesome accomplishment,” Enders-Stevens said. “But, as any girl racer will tell you, they just want to be the best racer. They don’t want to be looked at as anything different. You put your helmet on and everything’s equal. The car doesn’t know the gender.”

Now, young girls bring their fathers to the races. Enders-Stevens advises aspiring dragsters to join the Jr. Drag Racing League, drive as much as they can and work on the marketing side early.

Print headline: Storybook finish, With an Oklahoma team behind her, pro drag racer Erica Enders-Stevens is the first woman to win an NHRA Pro Stock world championship.

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Chicken-Fried News: For whom the cock crowshttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/chicken-fried-news-for-whom-the-cock-crows/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/chicken-fried-news-for-whom-the-cock-crows/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:00:46 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82605 CFN-2015Drumstick


Recently, an OKC man got friendly with his rooster in the restroom of Beverly’s Pancake House. Employees called police on the mostly naked dude in the crapper, and that’s when officers caught him masturbating and naked except for a T-shirt pulled back over his head, reported KOCO. He was arrested on complaints of indecent exposure and public drunkenness.

Maybe he thought service at Beverly’s — a stalwart after-hours breakfast binge Mecca easily recognizable by the large rooster in its window — took too long so he serviced himself. Unfortunately, when he took the situation into his own hands, he got a little too cocky and forgot that this diner is a place where you’re supposed to eat the chicken, not choke it.

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Francisco the Man ties up Loose Endshttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/francisco-the-man-to-tie-up-loose-ends-in-okc/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/francisco-the-man-to-tie-up-loose-ends-in-okc/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:00:43 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82580 IMG_4829Web

Francisco the Man (Provided)

Scotty Cantino, frontman for Los Angeles-based band Francisco The Man, remembers where he and two of his bandmates met and formed the core of their current lineup: a roller rink.

Being underage at the time, he and his high school instrumental rock group played “shows at all kinds of weird spots” they could land, just trying to get their names out there, said Cantino.

Something clicked when drummer Abdeel Ortega and bassist Néstor Romero met that night, and after a few other musical detours, the trio formally came together in 2008. They take the name of a minor character in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s seminal work One Hundred Years of Solitude, that of “a musician traveling from town to town.”

Seven years and a few lineup changes later, the trio is now a quartet, having added guitarist Brock Woolsey in 2011.

Last September’s release of Francisco The Man’s first full-length album, Loose Ends, available now on Fat Possum Records, sparked a multi-city tour that will bring them to Oklahoma City 7:30 p.m. Sunday at The Conservatory.

Cantino said he “hate[s] to self-label” his band, but the members’ influences “are all over the place individually.” He cited a variety of groups like Talking Heads, Funk Brothers, ’70s-era pioneering punk group Television and Canadian post-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor as their influences and added that Woolsey’s love of electronic music shows up in the group’s sound.

Soft-spoken Cantino brings a ranging, borderline falsetto tenor and soaring guitar riffs to complement Woolsey’s slightly subdued yet steady rhythms and builds upon the foundation of Ortega’s heavy drums and Romero’s bass lines.

Their deliberately slow, noise-pop sound on the album’s first track, “You & I,” is reminiscent of early Mazzy Star and Oklahoma natives The Flaming Lips.

Francisco The Man plans to tie up its proverbial Loose Ends as it kicks off its tour in Austin, play in Dallas and then Oklahoma City.

Cantino said he and his bandmates haven’t seen most of the cities they plan to play in but are looking forward to meeting locals. He is looking forward to some good local craft beer and seeing what Oklahoma is like.

Listen to the band at soundcloud.com/franciscotheman.

 Francisco The Man

7:30 p.m. Sunday

The Conservatory
8911 N. Western Ave.

Print headline: Tying up Loose Ends, LA-based band Francisco The Man plays The Conservatory for a rolling good time.

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Brian Gorrell jazzes up The Depothttp://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/brian-gorrell-jazzes-up-the-depot/ http://staging.okgazette.com/2015/02/04/brian-gorrell-jazzes-up-the-depot/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:00:43 +0000 http://okgazette.com/?p=82567 Brian Gorrell WEB

Brian Gorrell (Provided)

The booty-swaying sounds of Brian Gorrell & Jazz Company are hitting The Depot in Norman Sunday night.

The band is playing as part of the series Sunday Jazz at the Depot, which invites accomplished local and regional trios and quartets to the space on Sunday evenings. Previously featured groups include Kyle Reid and the Low Swingin’ Chariots, Sisters of Swing and University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) Jazz Studies faculty member Mitch Bell.

A mainstay in the metro since forming in 1995, Gorrell and Co. perform a variety of styles including traditional and mainstream jazz, fusion and Latin. While the quartet focuses on original compositions, it also plays material by composers like Billy Strayhorn, Michael Brecker, Victor Young, Marcus Miller and Pat Metheny.

The band features Gorrell on saxophone, Norman pianist Dennis Borycki, UCO student bassist Stephen Schultz and OKC drummer Mike Walker.

“Norman is very responsive to Jazz Company’s music,” said Nancy McClellan, assistant to the director at The Depot. “We have a loyal audience that loves our bands, and we’re hoping to build off that. We’re looking for a good crowd.”

The Depot, built in 1909, originally served as Norman’s namesake passenger station and, after being renovated, was reopened in 2003 as a gallery and concert venue. Since the Sunday Jazz series began, the program has attracted top student and professional musicians to the space.

“We have amazing talent here,” said Gorrell. “I think people new to the Oklahoma City jazz scene might be surprised by that.”

This will be the fourth time Gorrell has played The Depot. The last time was two years ago with another group, Civilized Tribe, styled in a traditional New Orleans Dixie band. In addition to being the director of Jazz Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Lab, Gorrell also manages Jazz Lab Recording Studios, teaches several music and music technology classes and is the graduate advisor for UCO’s Master of Music in Jazz Studies.

He has been working on a new mainstream jazz album set for a 2016 release and is involved in the creation of Jazz Lab Bricktown, a downtown riverside boathouse music venue built by UCO in partnership with Chesapeake and slated for a late spring opening.

Future acts include the Maurice Johnson Quartet on March 8 and the listener-friendly Larry Pierce Combo April 26.

Print headline: Swingin’ Sunday, Mainstream jazz hits The Depot in Norman.

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