#192 - Zoe's Kitchen, Oklahoma City OK

The week before the first home game I very rarely go anywhere other than my house and the office. There’s just so much going on and so many last-minute things to finish that escaping town is almost impossible. But this year I had to go to OKC to meet with a couple of donors. Thankfully they were all pretty close to each other, and the appointments were one after another, so I could get there, do what I needed to do, and get out. My last stop was dropping off tickets to Tina. I have a few favorite suiteholders, and she is pretty high up there on the list. I definitely consider her a friend.

We met at her office, and then discussed lunch options. She recommended Zoe's Kitchen. I had never been there before, but had seen it numerous times. She said it was fresh, really good, and they serve wine. Sold.

The restaurant location we went to is on N. Memorial in OKC, in the same area where I often go shopping. It's a chain, with locations in 17 states. It’s a fast-casual concept, and a Mediterranean inspired menu, where you order at the counter and they bring the food to you. The building itself is nice as well, with bright, bold colors and tall windows letting in lots of natural light. There’s an open kitchen behind the counter, and the manager was back in the kitchen as well. I always like to see management working right along with the staff. The best managers are those who will jump in and help, regardless of how menial the task, to get things done. Staff who see their managers do that will usually be more loyal, more hard working, and more respectful.

The one down side of the fast-casual concept is that if you don’t know what you want, you feel like you’re holding up other people while you look and decide. I admit, I do get annoyed at Chipotle when people stand there forever, deciding what they want on their burrito. I mean seriously, there’s like 5 options. Pick something. Zoe's Kitchen is much different, because there are a wide variety of appetizers, salads, entrees, and sandwiches. So having to take a little time to make a decision isn't so bad.

Even though this was a stewardship lunch, we did have a glass of wine.

I can’t remember the brand, but it was delicious. Very smooth.

Tina then recommended that we start with the hummus trio. I’m always up for recommendations, so we did just that 

Basil pesto, red pepper, and classic hummus
Tina’s favorite is the red pepper. It was good, but my clear favorite was the basil pesto. It wasn't even close for me. I couldn't stop eating it, especially since it had a big dollop of pesto in the middle. The classic was okay, but way too much olive flavor. Probably from the 2 olives plopped in the middle. I did like that they included several things to dip with, including flatbread, pita bread, cucumber, tomato, and bell pepper.

Tina got the Greek chicken pita sandwich with a side Greek salad. I didn't try any, but she said it was one of her favorite things on the menu. It looked really delicious, and I have to admit I was tempted to ask for a bite. I often do that, but held back this time.

Sandwich: lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, feta
Salad: tomato, cucumber, peppers, olives, onion, feta, pita bread, greens
I was scheduled to donate platelets that afternoon, so I needed one last punch of iron. Tina said the steak kabobs were delicious, so I went with those

Two kabobs, red bell pepper, onions, grilled potatoes, roasted vegetables
Wow, the kabobs were amazing. Such a great depth of flavor. I’m not sure what they marinate them in, but I need that recipe. The only thing I’d say is the pieces are so big you need a knife to cut them up. The roasted veggies were really good, and had a lot of flavor as well. The grilled potatoes were okay, but nothing made them stand out to me. Just your basic grilled potatoes. This was a substantial plate of food, so not eating much of the potatoes wasn't necessarily a bad thing either. They also have chicken, shrimp, veggie, or salmon kabobs. Tina said the salmon ones are awesome.

This is a restaurant that would really do well in Stillwater. There's already one in Norman, so that should be an easy decision.

Will I go back? No question. The food was really good, and I really like that it's freshly made to order. Besides, there's a lot of other dishes I would like to try.