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Monday, June 15, 2015

The Time Jay Shipped Me Off to Oklahoma for a Week: Part I

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

The first time Jay sent me on a media trip to represent Bite and Booze, I didn’t know what to expect.

Typically, these kinds of press trips are orchestrated by convention and visitors bureaus to familiarize other travel writers and bloggers with the area in hopes that we’ll like what we see and encourage others to travel to said destination.

I had zero expectations on my first media trip to Shreveport, Louisiana. Originally, I couldn't imagine what Shreveport had to offer that was worth writing about. But during the trip, I was blown away by all the cool things to eat, drink, and do in Shreveport.

With this in mind, when Jay asked if I wanted to go on a trip to Oklahoma City and Stillwater, Oklahoma, I immediately agreed and booked my plane tickets.

Similar to Shreveport, if there’s one thing I learned about Oklahoma, it’s that it isn't what you'd expect.

After indulging in a big (literally physically large) country dinner at Toby Keith's, we enjoyed an informative water taxi ride through Bricktown at sunset before we crashed at the beautiful boutique Ambassador hotel.

Learning about how the Bricktown development came to be with my buddy Karen Dawkins. She admittedly likes me more than Jay. It's the small victories in life that keep you going.
Learning about how the Bricktown development came to be with my buddy Karen Dawkins. She admittedly likes me more than Jay. It's the small victories in life that keep you going.
The lovely ladies at Visit OKC had us up early to show us a different side of town where we had the chance to enjoy an authentic Guatemalan breakfast at Cafe Kacao. If you've never eaten breakfast plates piled high with chorizo, black beans, avocado, eggs, and plantains, I highly suggest reevaluating your lifestyle.

Shorty after we were seated, I realized why Tabbi and Brittany from Visit OKC had us up so early. The place stays packed.

Traditional Guatemalan Breakfast at Cafe Kacao
Traditional Guatemalan Breakfast at Cafe Kacao
I know what you're thinking...

"Blair, where does a girl like you find herself on the average OKC afternoon? Surely you aren't eating the entire time."

It is impossible to eat all day long, so we took a couple of breaks to tour the American Banjo Museum, home to the largest collection of banjos in the world.

Later, we visited ACM@UCO, a highly esteemed school of music run by the manager of The Flaming Lips, zip-lined across a river much to my chagrin (I have a fear of heights), and had the opportunity to tour the Oklahoma Memorial.

My roommate encouraged me to visit the Memorial, and I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know what it was all about at first. In my defense, I was born in 1991, and my history classes in school never mentioned the bombing. So let's just blame the Louisiana public school system for that one.

The Memorial was emotional and beautiful, and I'm glad I carved out the time to visit. 

The Oklahoma Memorial
The Oklahoma Memorial
Enjoying an Oklahoma brew at Bleu Garten
Enjoying an Oklahoma brew at Bleu Garten




After a long and exhausting day, I rushed back to the hotel to get ready for drinks at an amazing food truck park/bar, Bleu Garten, and dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant called Ludivine.

The highlight of the meal was demolishing bone marrow and doing bone marrow luge shots around the table.

Afterward, we hit up the restaurant's sister cocktail bar, R & J Lounge and Supper Club for some classic, stuck-in-time cocktails.

Bone Marrow at Ludivine
Bone Marrow at Ludivine
Most of what I ate in OKC lived up to my standards, but it was our last meal that piqued my interest.



Waffle Champion is everything Leslie Knope ever dreamed of. Sweet waffles, savory waffles, and gourmet sodas to boot; Waffle Champion made me hungry for more of Oklahoma City.

Smoked Duck Banh Mi Waffle packed with pickled veggies, jalapeño, and cilantro mayo
Smoked Duck Banh Mi Waffle packed with pickled veggies, jalapeño, and cilantro mayo

The thing I enjoy most about traveling is discovering great restaurants and bars, and Oklahoma City has plenty of them. We got the chance to try out a handful of cool establishments, but there’s still more to discover, and I can’t wait to go back. From drinking out of a red solo cup in Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill to zip lining across the Oklahoma River, to doing a luge shot of whiskey out of a bone, I did it all in OKC.