~ Libations in Tulsa ~
It might be obvious that we are fans of the underdog cities. Don't get me wrong, we love Chicago, I used to live in NY, and what's not great about visiting San Fran, but there's so much overlooked in smaller markets. Tulsa has a lot to offer for the beverage lover, and that's why we're bringing the Caffeine Crawl city there, finally! Here are the stops I made in a day's work covering all the Crawl spots, some booze, too, and a little local history.
Dwelling Spaces is wacky and flat out awesome! Where else can you select from cool, local music posters, a selection of Oklahoma-centric wearables, and get a good espresso drink? Joebot's Coffee Bar (inside the shop) pulled me a great macchiato with Topeca beans, and I had to do a little shopping, too.
After visiting a few 100 coffee shops in a given year, I'm becoming more of a fan of coffee spots that have a strong culinary focus to them. Antoinette Baking Co. and Mod's Coffee & Crepes both deliver this combo experience. At Antoinette I had a bacon-spinach, four cheese waffle sandwich that was so damn good and espresso from Elemental Coffee out of OKC. Great little spot with simple (I mean that in a good way) cocktails, and lots of rotating culinary offerings. Mod's was my breakfast stop. These crepes are tasty! I lived the life of a millennial with a Nutella and banana crepe with my cup of coffee from Nordaggio's in town. Rusty made me an adffogato, which they plan to offer up for the Crawl. Yes!
Took a tour of the Topeca Coffee Roasters spot. Tyler, who I met during the U.S. Coffee Championships - Qualifying Event, was a great host. Really like what these guys are doing, and their connection to the local food & beverage community. Had several coffees from Topeca on my trip, and have been drinking their coffee for several years, so Tyler and I just split a brew he brewed up on the Chemex. Topeca has several spots around town, including their Hodge's Bend bar that I visited.
I've heard a lot about Foolish Things Coffee, but this was my first time there. A real nice shop that had 4 different roasters on bar when I was there. I was able to get a coffee from Blueprint out of St. Louis, and Mariposa from Norman, OK - both Caffeine Crawl veterans. These guys are also doing a bean-to-bar chocolate, Middle West Chocolate, which was nice. I brought a few home. Great spot and check out these house rules: Don’t take yourself too seriously, we don’t, and don’t complain about the tables, we did that on purpose; make new friends.
Chimera Cafe also has a rotation of coffee roasters they offer, plus a large selection of brewing methods to choose from. I'm a sucker for a good Aeropress, so I went with a Guatemala from Coava (yes, another Caffeine Crawl veteran roaster). In addition to good coffee drinks the taco options and full bar looked like a must-do on my next trip.
Coffee is good in Tulsa, and overlooked, but so is the beer and cocktail scene. Good things being produced here. We've worked on events that have been hosted at McNellie's, and gone to their OKC restaurant, but I had to make sure I stopped by for a beer while in Tulsa. Tons of taps with a good range of distribution. I drink a lot of Oklahoma beer when I visit, so I took a step outside the box and went with a Washington brewery I haven't had before.
Two places I went for cocktails did not disappoint at all. Both places could be dropped in cities like LA, and hang with their cocktail bars. If you don't believe me, Imbibe has featured both of these places in their end of the year 75. Topeca ran Hodges Bend not only had an espresso machine for top coffee shop level drinks, but an impressive bar, and food offering list. I ordered a mezcal-based drink from their seasonal signature list. Valkyrie, was impressive, also. Great cocktail list nicely organized, plus an option to pick by descriptors. I wanted to see how one of their drinks was with a bottled shrub and also the beet juice being used. In addition, it had gin, thyme syrup, lemon juice, a salt solution, and Regan's Orange Bitters. With all those ingredients it was still really balanced in taste, and I could easily have two.
I've started incorporating a little American history, and other sites into my trips when I can find time. And, way too often left out of our history books was Black Wall Street, which existed in Tulsa. It was important for me to make a visit, and take a few minutes here. If you do not know about the prosperity in the black community during the early 1900s in this area, and the sad occurrence, please take time to read up on it. Tulsa doesn't have a pro sports team, but as a big baseball fan I had to check out the AA Tulsa Drillers field. Route 66 runs through the city, and a total of 400 miles through the state. A lot of cool stops along the way on the highway.
Thanks for the hospitality, Tulsa. I witnessed a lot of pride in your city. Genuine pride, and I love that. There was also a unique connection to Kansas City from those I met. I'd like to see that fostered, and grow. If you have a weekend to spare put Tulsa on your getaway list. More can be found on Tulsa activities here. We'll see you for the Crawl on the 25th of March!