Philly Cheesesteaks

Phat Philly’s
Day and night, crowds line Passyunk Avenue in south Philadelphia. They think they’re getting the world’s best cheesesteak. They aren’t. Here’s how they make it in Philly: They fry strips of steak, toss them on a long soft loaf of Amoroso’s hearth-baked bread and pour melted Cheez Whiz on top. But at Phat Philly’s in Tulsa, says co-owner Thomas Regan, “we add the love.”

The meat is slowly simmered on the grill along with onion and peppers. Then a cheese-smeared bun goes on top while the meat is still grilling. The steam from the steak melts the cheese and, says Regan, “the cheese just liquefies through the meat and flavors everything.”

In a daring departure from the cheesesteak tradition, Phat Philly’s offers a choice of meat. Most patrons opt for steak (sirloin carefully trimmed in-house and served with the traditional Cheez Whiz) but a knowing few choose chicken. It’s made with the same time-consuming care as the steak, but with tangy, gooey Monterey Jack cheese, and it all melts to form a sinfully rich fondue on bread. And the bread? It’s Amoroso’s bread shipped in from Philly. Some things are better left unchanged. 1305 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa. 918.382.7428 – Brian Schwartz


Thai Cuisine

Thai Garden
Every town of a certain size deserves an establishment designated the “best Thai food in town.” For Broken Arrow, that place is Thai Garden restaurant, serving Thai and Chinese cuisines. While the Tulsa suburb has several choices for Chinese food, Thai Garden just may be the only Thai place in town. A strong repeat-customer base validates the claim. Unassuming on the outside, Thai Garden lures through curiosity, first, and menu, second. Yes, there are the standard appetizers, egg rolls and spring rolls, but they’re fresh, as is the papaya salad – a starter with tomatoes, a hint of lime, crunchy cabbage leaves and thin-sliced, juicy papaya. Popular Thai fried noodle plates such as pad Thai and pad se yu top the menu for lunch and dinner, but dig a little deeper for the authentic – bean curd chicken, pad park chicken and gang ped chicken. Choose your heat (on a scale of one to 10) and enjoy the egg drop soup, a delicate surprise of flavors. Whether you’re enjoying lunch or getting take-out for dinner, Thai Garden’s offerings bring a true taste of its namesake to Middle America, which makes it a real prize for Broken Arrow. 813 W. Kenosha St., Broken Arrow. – Karen Shade


Gourmet Coffee

Café Evoke
Fussy is the last word that comes to mind when considering Café Evoke, the Edmond coffeehouse that sometimes just goes by “Evoke.” And what does this downtown establishment offer customers stopping in for a hot-brewed cuppa’ joe? Waffle sandwiches for breakfast and brunch, scones, tea, cookies, boutique wines for after five, a satisfying selection of artisan-brewed beers and, well, coffee. Coffee – latte, cappuccino, espresso, mocha, skinny, tall, iced, hand-brewed and regular old-fashioned drip. For all that Evoke brings to your table (indoors or out), nothing defines it better than its gourmet coffee. With a selection from better-known roasters and a few yet-to-be-discovered varieties, Evoke makes coffee as strong as you want, any way you want it. If that’s not evocative, find yourself a Starbucks. 103 S. Broadway, Edmond. – Karen Shade

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