Ant’s Choice: Center of the music universe

In its third year, the Center of the Universe Festival (COU Fest) is quickly becoming one of the best music festivals around. With consistently over 100 bands spread across three stages and countless local bars and venues, COU Fest has the momentum it needs to continue growing and bringing in the best acts to Tulsa.coufest

But just like other festivals, COU Fest is more than just music, it’s a massive bizarre of shops, food trucks and everything in between. There is definitely something for everyone, even the kids.

Being hosted in the Brady Arts District, one of the many up-and-coming districts in Tulsa, means festival-goers have prime access to some of the best restaurants around. Which not only lets you cool off in some much needed air conditioning in the Oklahoma summer heat, but also means you don’t have to leave the festival grounds to score an awesome dinner with your friends. image1 (1)

One of the things that COU Fest continues to get right is their scheduling of acts. No matter what bands you want to hear, the stages are close enough together that you’ll be able to make your way over and listen to all your bands of choice. And the times are staggered, too. Allowing you to hear snippets of multiple bands no matter where you are headed. There is always music playing somewhere, which keeps your attention throughout the long two-day festival.

Center of the Universe Festival draws in people from all over. And if you haven’t been, you need to. The festival may even be bucket list worthy to some. We’re already looking forward to the lineup for next year. For more information and to learn all you need to know about this amazing Festival, head over to centeroftheuniverse.com.

Or find it all over social media.

Facebook:
Center of the Universe Festival

Twitter:
@COUFest

Instagram:
@COUFest

Another year, another great Saint Francis Tulsa Tough

FullSizeRender (1)Saint Francis Tulsa Tough has been around for a while now as the go-to cycling event, drawing a crowd of people that come from all parts of the country. But this event is more than a crowd pleaser. Saint Francis Tulsa Tough is all about the community.

This year marks the ten year anniversary of Saint Francis Health System sponsoring the event. And as a sponsor, Saint Francis does it to help give back to the community and encourage Tulsa residents to remain active and have some fun.

They even have a cycling crew, the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Divas. Which is comprised of women of all ages and backgrounds, that come together not only to ride in Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, but also to stay active and enjoy each others camaraderie year round.

image2Saint Francis Tulsa Tough consists of three days of criterium racing, two days of Gran Fondo races and the “come as you are” all-ages Townie ride, which is very popular among enthusiasts and families a-like.

Each day of the event takes place in a different district of downtown Tulsa, showcasing what our city has to offer. And offer it does. With the recent revitalization of downtown, there is something for everyone. From restaurants, bars and comedy clubs, to bowling, grocery stores and Drillers baseball.

This year’s event could have taken a turn for the worse when a cyclist collapsed near Cry Baby Hill, the toughest section of the ride. But luckily, Officer Don Holloway was there to help. The cyclist collapsed and Holloway sprang into action. He made a call to EMSA and then started giving the man CPR. A great action that Holloway thinks of as just part of his job.

If you didn’t make it out to this year’s event, make sure you do next year. So you can enjoy the fun activities put on by Saint Francis and everyone else involved. Maybe you’ll even join the Townie ride, who knows.

For more information on the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough event, visit www.tulsatough.com.

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Celebrity Status

image3 (2)When you step inside Celebrity Restaurant, you get transported back in time. To a time when people cared about service, relationships and treating people with respect. And you shouldn’t expect anything less when you learn that long-time owner, Mike Samara, is a 91-year-old World War II veteran.

During the war, Mike served as a surgical assistant with an infantry division. He got a couple weeks worth of specific training and then was sent off to fight and help save lives in France, Belgium and ultimately Germany, where he stayed until the war ended.

When Mike took over Celebrity Restaurant in 1963, there had been three different owners in the previous year alone. All failing to turn the bar around and make it a success. Mike decided to take a different approach when he took over the reins. He brought in outstanding food, like the signature fried chicken — which is his favorite dish, and provided excellent service to everyone. His famous smile rubbed off on all who passed through the doors and before he knew it, Celebrity Restaurant was a runaway success.

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If you’ve never been to Celebrity Restaurant, you should go. Not only for the great food, but also for all the stories hanging on the walls. As the name implies, many famous people have stopped in and enjoyed the food and drink offerings of Celebrity Restaurant. Like Bob Hope, one of the funniest comedians ever, who made it his duty to make sure our service men and women were entertained while fighting for our country. The posh chairs and inviting staff make sure you are comfortable while dining on great dishes made by great people.

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Mike owes much of the success of his food offerings to his first cook, Mattie. Whose fried chicken recipe is still in use today, as are the same iron skillets from 1963.

What started out as a private club is now the cornerstone of 31st and Yale. Mike Samara has not only left a lasting impression on what it means to be a great restaurant owner, but also on what it means to serve your country.

This Memorial Day, take the time to thank all the military members that went out of their way and served this great country we are lucky to call home.

Thank you.

About Celebrity Restaurant:
3109 S. Yale Ave.
Tulsa, OK
918-743-1800
celebritytulsa.com

Hours:
Open for lunch Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Open for dinner Monday-Thursday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Ant’s Choice: Early person gets the produce

Saturday mornings are best spent at farmer’s markets. And one of the best Tulsa farmer’s market to spend your morning at is the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market off 15th and Peoria.

A couple weekends ago, a few intrepid Ants left the colony and ventured out our front door to marvel at all the amazing foodstuff and other products the various venders have to offer. From vegetables, flowers and grass-fed beef to herbs, breads and even clay goods, there is something for every food lover. And something even if you’re not interested in the food at all.

When it comes to selection, Cherry Street Farmers’ Market makes sure it’s all represented–if it’s in season. That’s one of the best perks to shopping at a farmer’s market, you get access to vegetables, fruits and other goods that literally just came off the farm. It’s about as fresh as you can find. We talked with a couple of venders and they all said that the majority of the foods they had for sale were picked within the last 24-48 hours. And you can definitely taste the difference.

One vendor, Blakely Family Farm, has some of the best eggs we’ve ever had. Hailing from northeastern Oklahoma, Rae and Lyle Blakely have been selling at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market for the past 18 years. It takes over two hours to set up, but as the owner said, “My favorite thing about [selling at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market] is meeting all the people that come.” image2

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Needless to say, for the next however long they are selling those eggs, the Ants will be buying them.

For the non-food goers, Fat City Clay offers a number of amazing handmade clay products. From coffee cups and pitchers, to bowls and plates, every product is unique and beautiful. We spoke with Joe Staskal, from Fat City Clay, who’s been selling at the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market for 15 years about what makes him keep coming back year after year. “The people are my favorite thing about doing [the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market] every weekend. It’s like another day off for me.”

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The common thread here is the goods are just as good as the people around the market.

If you want to get some fresh goods, and don’t mind waking up early, we highly suggest you check out the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market. Which happens every Saturday from now through October, starting at 7 a.m. and ending around 11 a.m.

What do you like about the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market? Let us know in the comments.

CONTACT INFO:
The Cherry Street Farmers’ Market
15th St. and Peoria Ave.
www.cherrystreetfarmersmarket.com
www.facebook.com/cherrystreetfarmersmarketassociation
www.instagram.com/tulsafarmersmarket
www.twitter.com/tulsafarmersmkt

Ant’s Choice: Breathing new life into vintage home goods.

Located off 12th and Harvard, Retro Den is a vintage home store not to miss. The outside is bright and vibrant and the inside is just the same. When you first step inside, you are surrounded by beautiful succulents and other plants, some of which have been growing for over 20 years. But when you look past them, you see what the Retro Den is really about: quality and reasonably priced vintage home goods that you can actually use.

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Retro Den does a nice job of arranging their items into different areas and rooms—just like IKEA. This gives you a sense of completeness. Looking for an entire dining or living room solution? They have it set out and ready to purchase. The wide-open interior makes it easy to survey all the goods and find the hidden gems.

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Their glassware selection is second to none. Having been there many times, there is always a new set ready to be taken home. Need new glasses? Check. A serving tray? Check. If glassware is your thing, you need to stop in and see the amazing and diverse collection they have.

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Retro Den isn’t only about selling vintage items. Owners Ashley and Ashley have done a great job of curating local craftsmen to supply them with amazing furniture and accessories. From handmade pillows and paintings, to custom bar carts and desks, they even have a reupholsterer in-house to make sure their items are in the best condition possible.

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If you’ve never been to Retro Den, you need to go. There’s no question about it, Retro Den is one of the best stores in town for vintage goods. Oh, and they have an interesting system for rewarding frequent shoppers. Buy an item, post it on Instagram and tag @retrodentulsa and you get 10 percent off your next purchase. Pretty cool, right?

About:
Retro Den Tulsa
1216 S. Harvard Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74112

918-794-7118
www.retrodentulsa.com

Hours:
Tues. – Sat., 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Ant’s Choice: Kolaches so good, you’ll want a second. Or third.

Each month, a group of Ants is heading out on the town to discover a little more about the little gems Tulsa has to offer. We’re putting in the legwork to keep you informed, one place at a time.

The first thing you notice when walking into Oklahoma Kolache Co. is the atmosphere—from the simple black and white pictures to the copper pans hanging on a door, Oklahoma Kolache Co. has a warm, cozy and inviting atmosphere that makes you want to stay for hours. The amazing customer service helps, too. Victoria, who’s worked there pretty much since it opened, gave us an amazing rundown of everything on the menu. Every question we had, she answered. And her favorite kolache? Mushroom and Swiss.

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Which may not have been what you were expecting to hear, as the traditional Czech kolaches are normally filled with fruits and cream cheese. But at Oklahoma Kolache Co. they offer both sweet and savory options. And they make everything in house, including some killer kielbasa. Tulsa’s very own DoubleShot Coffee Co. is served here, which makes it a great place for a cup of joe or the latte of your dreams.

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Our group tried seven different kolaches while we were there and we couldn’t pick a favorite. They were all that good. Even the kolache of the day, the Cherries and Cream cheese, was perfectly balanced. Just sweet enough to make you happy inside. The one item on the menu that threw us all for a loop was the Dirt Bomb, a cupcake/ muffin mix that is dipped in butter and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. It was the bomb dot com.

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We talked to the chef, Matt, and he has some favorites of his own, like the Ranchero. But what he really loves is making new combinations for the daily special. Which not only keeps you coming back everyday because they’re so good and unique, but it also lets Matt’s creativity run wild. Past daily specials include: Snickers, Corned Beef Hash, Pistachio Truffle and Chocolate and even a take on the Rueben. All are wrapped up in a warm and fluffy dough that has the perfect amount of crunch.

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One thing is for sure, we’re all in agreement that it’s a dangerous thing Oklahoma Kolache Co. is so close to the office.

Ant’s Take:

Cayla // Kolache: Sausage Gravy
Take: “I’ve never eaten anything with the name ‘dirt’ that tasted so amazing as the Dirt Bomb.”

Rachael // Kolache: Ham, Egg and Chive
Take: “It is all around an ideal place to spend a morning eating, drinking and chatting with friends.”

Lale // Kolache: Banana and Nutella
Take: “I’ve yet to taste a bad kolache here. And the coffee was delicious.”

Shannon // Kolache: Pork Belly with Blackberry Sage Jam
Take: “Everything is well executed from the menu to interior design. I’ll definitely be going back.”

Angela // Kolache: Homemade Kielbasa and Cheddar Cheese
Take: “It was hard to not get another one after the first. The Crème Brûlée latte was the perfect side kick!”

Matt // Kolache: Ranchero
Take: “ I’ve had everything on the menu. Now I need to catch all the daily specials. So long, New Year’s resolutions.”

What’s your take on the Oklahoma Kolache Co.? Add it to the comments below.

Visit them for yourself:

Oklahoma Kolache Co.
1534 E. 15th Street
Mon–Sat: 6–11 am
918-295-8822
oklahomakolache.com

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