#118 - Smoke on Cherry Street, Tulsa, OK

The last 2 weeks have been tough.  My "OSU husband" Bob, his niece was tragically killed right before Thanksgiving.  The funeral was Wednesday, so even though I had just gotten back from Maryland on Tuesday, there was no way I was missing it.  Bob and his parents have become my second family here in Oklahoma.  Joni and Tony drove up Wednesday morning as well, and we decided to meet for lunch before the service.  I honestly didn't even think about it, but when we got to the church they had food there for guests.  I guess that made sense though, since the service was near lunchtime.  

I'm really not familiar with Tulsa, and even less familiar with the area near the church. So I had to go online and look.  And since I had no idea where we were going I couldn't really search by district.  So I just put in "restaurants near" and the address.  There's almost nothing near the church, but just a few miles away I found a few places that looked good on Cherry Street.  It's an historic district filled with restaurants, shops and a big farmer's market.  The market is the oldest and largest in Tulsa, so you can bet I'll be going there soon, and will definitely do a blog post about it.

I found a couple of restaurant options that looked good, and sent them to Joni for them to help decide.  Tony picked Smoke on Cherry Street.  Done.  I definitely like that all the parking around there is free, which doesn't happen much anymore, especially in a popular area.  And I found a space right in front of the door.  The restaurant isn't very big at all, with maybe 25 tables & booths.  I really like the interior. All the walls are brick, except for the back wall of the bar.  It's a small bar space, but probably lots of fun for happy hour.  In the restaurant the tables are in the center, with the booths along the walls. There's also a cigar room in the back.  They had great blues/Jazz music playing in the background.  

I arrived about 15 minutes before the others, and sat down to make sure we would get a booth.  There weren't many people there when I arrived, but everyone who did walk in seemed to want a booth.  Ours was in the back, and was one of the semi-circle ones. They're nice, but not when you're sitting in the middle and have to go to the bathroom. And not when you have to maneuver and contort yourself to get in or out.  

Our waitress brought out homemade chips with ranch.  Very dangerous for me, since I knew I still had 10 minutes by myself.  I forced myself to nibble slowly

These chips were so good!  They were freshly made and warm and crispy.  And the ranch had a little kick.  I was going to ask what else was in it, but then Joni and Tony showed up, and we started chatting, and I completely forgot.  

I saw the menu described on an online review as "upscale American".  They've got lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, chef's tasting, and even daily $9 lunch specials.  So unless you're absolutely the pickiest eater on the planet, you're likely going to find something you want. 

Pulled smoked pork, corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, queso fresco, avocado salad, chipotle salsa
I don't do well with big menus. Which should have been a good thing here, because the lunch menu really isn't very big.  None of the menus are.  But instead of looking at the menu while I waited, I took notes for this blog post.  And then we were talking.  And then we realized we were on a time crunch to make sure we made it to the church on time. Shawn met us as well, and he was running a little late, so waiting for him to pick his dish gave me about 30 extra seconds. When I asked the waitress her opinion of the fish & chips, Tony basically scolded me for considering fish in a smokehouse.  So I left that alone.  Then I was back and forth between the burger and the pork tacos.  But when she said the burger was at least 10 ounces, I passed.  Smoked pork tacos it was.
The tacos were really good.  When I first saw them I was disappointed there were only 2, and thought it wouldn't be enough.  But they were packed with pork, and I had to force myself to finish both of them.  I usually prefer flour tortillas over corn, but these worked really well with the pork.  The salsa was just okay.  I wish it was chunkier, like salsa at a Mexican restaurant.  The avocado salad was delicious.  I love that they grilled the onions instead of raw.  So much sweeter, and lent a great flavor to the salad.  

I had asked for fries on the side, but she said it would be an extra charge.  And Joni had fries with her pulled pork sandwich. So I just ate some of hers.  The fries were good, but thankfully I didn't eat a bunch of them or I never would have been able to finish my food.

Will I go back?  No question.  I've heard the brunch is outstanding.  And whatever the meal, I want to be able to go when we're not in a rush.