#188 - Guernsey Park Restaurant, Oklahoma City OK

Once August gets here, I rarely leave Stillwater, and it's even more rare for me to leave Oklahoma. There's just too much to do to get ready for the first game. The last 2 years we've played our first game in Houston and then Dallas, so of course I went to those. But other than that, only 2 exceptions. The first was a couple years ago for a reunion with my Purdue friends, many of whom I hadn't seen in 20 years. The second exception was 2 weeks ago, for Joni's daughter's wedding. 

The wedding was Saturday evening, but I decided to drive down Friday afternoon. You can't check into the hotel until 3pm so I didn't want to be rushed. And besides, I was in pretty good shape work-wise at that point. I had to deliver a couple of suite ticket packages in OKC, and then figured I should stop for lunch before hitting the road. I've stopped for lunch in Norman numerous times on my way to Dallas, always wearing my blazing OSU orange. For those of you who don't know, OU (located in Norman) and OSU are bitter rivals. I don't have the same level of hate because I didn't go to OSU, but I get it. I'm always afraid they're going to spit in my food if I wear orange. 

As usual, I didn't really know what I wanted to eat. I checked restaurant.com first, but nothing jumped out at me. Then I checked Keep it Local. This is an Oklahoma-based program that gives discounts at Oklahoma-owned businesses. Most of the discounts are about 10% off the bill, but the more important thing is supporting local businesses. My friend Dianne had raved bout Guernsey Park Restaurant in the past, saying it was definitely food blog worthy. She doesn't play around when it comes to food, and it's part of the Keep it Local program, so I was sold. It's located in the Paseo District in uptown OKC. Until this year I had never been to this part of OKC, but now I've been here several times and eaten at a few places. 

To be honest, as I walked up to the building I really didn't know what to expect, because it's down a little narrow road, behind the row of shops on 23rd. If you don't know where you're going, you will totally miss it. It's a 2 1/2-story building, with a sizable patio on the right. As you enter the front door, the waiting area and bar is all white furniture. Kind of like what you would see in a NYC nightclub. They've got a sushi bar and some dining tables that are down a couple of steps, and then upstairs is a much larger dining area. I chose to sit upstairs because that's where I could hear the most people. The upstairs has tall ceilings, light maple wood floors, dark cherry wood tables and chairs. There's whitewashed wood paneling on the walls, and one black feature wall. There is also a ton of natural light flowing in from the large windows.

The menu is Asian inspired. At first I thought about getting sushi, but then as I read the other side of the menu there were several items that jumped out at me.  I rarely do appetizers, especially by myself, but I was starving so I started with the oxtail ravioli

Fried oxtail ravioli served with a "Pho" salad and sriracha powder
Wow. This could very possibly be the best appetizer I've ever had. I know some people don't like meat on the bone. You have no idea what you're missing. That bone keeps the meat so tender, and adds just a great depth of flavor that you won't get otherwise. I could have eaten a whole tray of these and I would have been happy.

I've never been a fan of tofu. To me it's just super bland, and I have a hard time getting past the texture. But I knew I wouldn't really be eating well on this trip, so I planned to go healthy. At first I 100% decided to do the tofu wrap, which was shocking in and of itself, but then I started to waiver. Yes, it has lots of iron and is super healthy, but it was almost too healthy. My server immediately said tofu. I didn't really believe him, and questioned why. He said it had a really good mix of flavors. I was almost convinced, and then made a comment about not really being a big fan of tofu, but wanting to be a little adventurous. And then he said the tofu wasn't fried or even sauteed. At that point we agreed it wouldn't be a good choice, so I went with my other option, grilled nem nuong

Grilled sweet pork sausage medallions over vermicelli in nuoc mam with chiffonade romaine in a
peanut vinaigrette, cilantro, lemongrass, oil, mint, and fried wonton wrappers
Again, wow. I can't describe the flavor of the sausage other than outstanding. Like the oxtail, it was so tender and juicy.  I almost always buy spicy sausage at the store, but I really enjoy the sweet as well. I was caught off-guard by the vermicelli being cold, but I guess that makes sense since this is technically a salad. The hot sausage provided a great contrast to the cold noodles and lettuce. I'll say it, I love everything fried. So I was extremely happy with the wonton strips. I've never had peanut vinaigrette, but it was delicious and quite a bit lighter than peanut sauce. This was a pretty substantial lunch dish, but at the same time quite light. And it was so good that there was no way I could leave any. I honestly can't imagine how the tofu wrap has even a remote chance of being more flavorful than this dish.

When I texted Dianne to ask what to get for lunch, her response was I couldn't leave without getting carrot cake. Clearly that's not lunch, but since both she and Betty raved about it, I had to try it out.  I also asked the server to immediately bring me a to-go container, because I knew no way I could eat all of it.

Carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream, ginger tuille, candied orange,
candied pecans, and rum caramel
I have to be honest. Carrot cake is low on my list of favorite desserts. But, this one was really good. The cake was more dense than I'm used to, but it had a lot of flavor. The cream cheese ice cream was so good.  I ate about 1/3 there, and had the rest as a treat after the wedding.

Will I go back? Absolutely. I have to go to OKC this Friday. Maybe I'll head back to Guernsey Park for another round.