Monday, April 2, 2018

4 Cool Things in OKC

Every time I go home to Oklahoma City to visit my family, one question inevitably pops up- "So... any thoughts on when you're going to move back home?"  My answer largely depends on how many hours have passed since touching down in the Sooner State.  At first, I'm always relieved to be out of the New York insanity.  Flying out of any New York airport is at best an ordeal and at worst a total mind fuck/panic attack/strategic game all rolled in to one.  And this is NOT my first rodeo by any means.  I've got TSA Pre-check, people... I leave Manhattan two hours in advance, I know how to charm the Delta gate agents.  Nevertheless, by the time I make it to my seat (sometimes, despite all aforementioned reasons, I don't) I just want a huge vodka soda and a xanax.

{an image I took of an OKC Redbud (the state tree) in full bloom this past weekend}

So when I get to Oklahoma City the first day, my parents roll through Will Rogers Airport and pick me up with no hassle, I go and see my niece and nephew, I relax with a glass of wine on my parent's back patio, and all is right in the world.  The weather is warm, I can actually see and feel the sun (something key that is missing from life among the Manhattan buildings) and I begin calculating the money I'd save if I wasn't paying an absurd amount of rent to live in a studio apartment, I think about all the furniture that I miss dearly that could be moved out of storage and in to a cute OKC starter house, I think about seeing my niece and nephew on a regular basis, and it all starts to sound pretty appealing.  Plus, the people!  Oklahoma is known for it's friendly population.

This past year or two I've gone home more than usual (probably about 4-5 times per year) as the kids are getting older and I never want to miss an epic aunt moment.  While being back in my hometown more often, I've discovered a few local gems that I can't rave enough about.

1015 N Broadway Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102

This coffee shop is l-e-g-i-t.  I have a few favorites in New York (stumptownjoe, and  everyman espresso) and a fave from my years in Houston (Blacksmith), but hands-down Coffee Slingers has them all beat. Their rich espresso is delicious- I typically order an iced latte every morning I'm home.  Their shop is about a 25 minute drive from my parent's house, and you better believe I'd drive 45 minutes if I had to.  My only constructive criticism is the bare-bones design.  I think they are going for the minimal industrial feel you see in most modern day espresso shops, but it just wasn't executed well.  They could've made it much more cozy and warm it up with different material choices, more comfortable chairs (would it kill them to get a few armchairs in there?) and they need better parking.  But damn, the coffee is GOOD and I will be back each time I'm in the city.  And coffee slingers, if you want help with your design, I'll trade you for a lifetime of free coffee. ;)

131 Dean A. McGee Ave. Suite 105 OKC, OK 73102 

If I actually did move home, one of my first priorities (after getting a job and finding a place that wasn't my parents' guest room, obviously) would be getting a membership to the Udånder spa downtown.  Udander, which means "exhale" in Danish, is a new spa concept that boasts a Finnish dry sauna, soaking tubs, an aromatherapy steam room, in addition to individual treatment rooms.  I love visiting this spa for a massage or facial from time to time and then sitting in the sauna afterwards.  Because the spa is "clothing optional", they have set scheduling times for men and for women.  It's an interesting concept for downtown Oklahoma City, and I definitely hope they are around to stay.

View their spa menu here.

3.) Gemma

1100 N Broadway Ave Suite 103, Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Gemma is a new women's apparel shop located next door to one of my all-time favorite OK vendors, Sara Kate Studios.   I was on my way to stop in to SKS when I noticed a cute storefront on the corner of the block, with vintage handbags stacked in the window.  After stopping in and trying on a few things, I was hooked.  The collection has interesting, noteworthy pieces that are reasonably priced, and a few of my closet go-tos come from Gemma- like a soft, off-the-shoulder red sweater, a burnt orange silk wrap-tie top, and a corduroy mini skirt.    The mix of clothes reminds me a bit of an upscale Lucca, and the vintage designer handbags are worth perusing, too. 

4.) The Jones Assembly 

901 W. Sheridan
Oklahoma City, OK 73106

The Jones Assembly has been having a big moment in OKC for the last year after opening in the spring of 2017.  The 20,000 square foot space operates as a bar/restaurant/concert venue all in one, and has hosted some pretty notable acts- like Willie Nelson and Spoon. Of course I had to check out the place and see if it lived up to the hype- especially since the executive chef, Brittany Sanger, was a high school cheerleader with me, and associate chef, Andrew Escridge, grew up going to my church. Small world!  The menu and drink offerings were pretty spectacular- I particularly loved the tuna tartare and the deviled eggs.  The bartender also made a mean jalepeno margarita.  Come early to eat and stay to see one of the musical acts that's on their lineup.

Lastly, you already know my love for OKC's fairly new 21C Museum Hotel.  It's a big deal when my closest New York friend (who has never stepped foot in to Oklahoma) mentions a new chic hotel that has come across her radar and also happens to be in my hometown.  I stayed at the hotel last Christmas and it did not disappoint. You can read my full recap here.

So the sad news is.... I don't see myself moving home to Oklahoma City now, or honestly maybe ever.  I loved growing up in such a kind, friendly place, I 100% understand why my parents can't imagine living anywhere else, and I find the city's gradual growth and expansion exciting-  but me?  It's just not my vibe.  I'd rather have the advantage of visiting regularly so I can continue to discover new-to-me places and spaces.  With that being said,  I've also learned in my 30 years to 'never say never', because life tends to have  a sense of humor.  Who knows what's down the line...



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! NONE of this was there when I was growing up in OKC. Nice to see this how the Sooner City has eclectically evolved beyond just Bricktown- which was just (1) single warehouse during my Putnam City Prom in 1989! #OkieInHouston


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