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Oklahoma City (Pho Hoa and Cattlemen's Cafe Review)


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Sorry for the lack of updates. Last week Abby cooked a great salmon dinner, but she never got around to blog about it. Maybe sometime this week.

We also had to take off last weekend and head to my old hunting grounds: Oklahoma City. My good buddy Jason was getting married and I had to go get in a tux and stand next to him while he did it. There's not much to get excited for in OKC, but there are some things that are well worth the trip: Vietnamese food, Oklahoma Sooners, cheap steaks, and fast food joints not found in Boston.

Before I get into the food, here's a rundown of what happened in OKC:

- Hertz you suck majorly, then again, you might be ok. First we get in line to get our rental car from Hertz and when a sales rep gets free I immedieately went to her. She tells me she can't help me because I'm not a gold club member. She points me over to the next sales rep who was working with a customer. OK, fine, I could understand if there were others behind me in line, but no there wasn't. So I go to the next sales rep and wait while the "gold club" sales rep sits and stares at nothing. Finally it's our turn with the "common people"'s sales rep and she tells me they are currently out of cars and will need to run out and get some keys. No biggie...except it's Thursday morning in OKC!!! Who would expect there to not be cars available in OK-freaking-C? Anyway, while we wait, we see some business people get in line for the gold club sales rep and sure enough she turns a couple of them over to wait in our line. Man, Hertz...you guys suck! Finally, our sales rep returns and tells us that there are no more economy cars available and that we'll have to settle for a Mustang. (Side note: I hate mustangs...always been a corvette guy myself.) This excites Abby and it's not a bad little car. Has a very good first step and handles nicely.

- OU was one of the few top 10 teams to survive and are now #1. I was hoping that an SEC team would be #1, but oh well. I'll be happy on Jan 9th if we are still #1.

- Jason's wedding was a blast. It was good to catch up with all my boys that still live in the area. But damn, weddings are mad expensive and way over blown! It's just one day!!!! Right now we are in the process of planning our wedding and it's going to be a long bumpy ride. Oh well, thank god for credit cards, right? (Side note: While me and some of the other groomsmen were goofing around at the rehearsal, two of the married men mentioned that this is the greatest day in Jason's life. To this I had a reply that probably wasn't appropriate for being in a church. But seriously, "greatest day of your life"? No f-ing way will I believe that. Every wedding I've gone to in the last 5 years the bride and groom have told me that they wish they could have done it differently, simpler, and cheaper...how is that a testimony that it's the greatest day of your life? You are dropping mad cash on a party to please your parents and random relatives you have never met. You are dropping mad cash to impress others and trying to out-do their weddings. Greatest day of your life? Not in my book. Is it a great day...possibly. It's definitely a good day. But it doesn't even crack my top 10 of great days in your life. It's well below becoming a father. Definitely below scoring the game winning point in the NCAA championships. For me personally, it'd fall well behind winning the lottery and buying Hertz out and firing the gold club sales bitch. God I wish I had F-U money...)

Pho Hoa

OKC is known for Vietnamese food. It really is. I took Abby to the one my folks and I would go to after mass every Sunday: Pho Hoa. Now Pho Hoa is a very common pho restaurant name. In fact, Boston has one. So is Pho Pasteur, Pho 87, Pho Vietnam, etc. Just like the food they serve, the names of these restaurants are simple and to the point.

Pho Hoa was better than any pho I've had in Boston. It's simply the best pho I've had in the States that was not made by my mom or aunts. It did not disappoint. The broth is extra special. When you order cafe sua da, they actually bring it out with the french press and glass of ice, not like in Boston where it's premade for you. The service is crazy quick and the place was clean...well clean enough for a pho place. I mean, you'll get the stray bean sprout on the floor and also some random flies. (Speaking of flies, I must have forgotten how many bugs there are in OKC. Seriously! There doesn't seem to be any in Boston. I mean, sure we get the occasional spider in the condo, or the cockroaches in the old brownstones, but we don't have wasps and bees and mosquitos and gnats flying around biting and stinging you. It was gross! I got sick during the trip and I'm worried it might be West Nile.)

Anyway, I give Pho Hoa a very, very strong 4 our of 5. (Also, I'm not sure if this is the right urbanspoon link or not, but whatever.) We took some pics, but it was after the fact. Also, you gotta love the OU pride in a Vietnamese pho place in OKC.

Pho Hoa on Urbanspoon

Cattlemen's Steakhouse

When we were in Vegas for the bachelor party, we told Jason's future in-law (who also is named Jason) that when he goes to OKC he should get some good, cheap steak at either Cattlemen's or Cimmaron. Well, all that talking we did really got his juices flowing to try some good, cheap OKC steak. However, the timing was hard. Being part of a wedding makes it tough to sneak away for a couple of hours and eat steak...especially when you are part of the family (or considered part of the family) and have to be at every function.

Late Thursday night, Jobby got the idea for steak and eggs, and after a quick phone call it was confirmed that Cattlemen's does indeed serve breakfast. Done and done!

We arrive and were promptly seated in the back room. Now Abby was the only non-minority in the group, and this being OKC, we assumed it was because we weren't white. (OK, we didn't assume that, we were just joking around about it and it was really the only place to accommodate 13 of us...but still, the jokes were flying.) The menu was incredible. Every steak comes with two eggs, biscuits, and hashbrowns. Jobby got it all started by ordering a starter of lamb fries. The Floridians we were with were scared by this. (They were also scared by the calf brains on the menu...I nearly ordered this just because I've never had sweetbreads in OKC.) The lamb fries came out and it seemed nearly everyone enjoyed having lamb testicles in their mouth. Taste like chicken!

Abby and I both ordered the breakfast steak, which came out to be a 5oz steak...I would guess a shell steak, but not sure. Mine came out a little cold, probably because it was the first one done and had to sit while the other orders came up. That's fine...it was still tasty. Not the greatest steak in the world, but for $8.50 and it comes with eggs and hashbrowns and biscuits and gravy, well damn, that a fine bargain any day. Other people got real steaks, like the ribeye and the NY strip and those looked great. As you can see, Abby was real excited for her breakfast.

To my amazement, I learned something new about Cattlemen's that morning. Apparently they serve beer all day long. And not just any regular beer, but their own microbrew. I said god-damn!!!! You better bet your sweet ass I got myself a 22oz beer at 10:30 AM in OKC. It's a good beer too. Much better than bud, bud light, miller lite, etc. Two major thumbs up for that!

Cattlemen's get an OKC 4 out of 5!

Cattlemen's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Braums, Sonic and Taco Bell

Braums is a regional fast food joint that is also a major dairy provider. Basically, they serve the best milk shakes in town (and so far in my eyes in the entire US.) They make some of the best fast food burgers around also. Sadly, they aren't the best bargain, but it's so worth it. Here's the wiki on Braums:


Sonic...well you all know about Sonic. You see their commercials and wonder where the hell is the nearest Sonic. Sure enough its hundreds if not thousands of miles away. If you ever have the chance to go, make sure you get the route 44 cherry limeade.

What makes Taco Bell so special in OKC? Surely you can get better authentic Mexican food in OKC, right? Yup, you can. Surely you can get Taco Bell in Boston, right? Yup, you can. So why is it special in OKC? Three words: Chili Cheese Burrito. For some reason I've never, ever seen this on any Taco Bell menu outside of OKC. Maybe in Dallas I've seen it, but definitely not in Boston. Hell, we even drove to one in OKC that didn't have it, only to drive to another one at 2AM and sure enough they had it. It's an incredible thing: chili cheese burrito from Taco Bell at 2AM.

Anyway, OKC was a blast. Now time to focus on our own wedding. (And this blog of course.)


I'm trying Pho Hoa tomorrow night. I live in Norman but Pho Sooner is closed. I just searched for reviews and stumbled upon your blog.
I'm looking forward to it!
Next time you're in town, try The Queen of Sheba for some good Ethiopian food. That was our original plan, but they are closed on Monday.

I didn't know about Oklahoma City's Vietnamese food. Is there a certain section of the city where Vietnamese restaurants are concentrated? Any recommendations of a place to get some a good bahn mi?