Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Dining Delight, a Detour to Disaster

Yesterday we took a trip to the city, with the intention of visiting a museum. Our intention was to get away early, but we ended up leaving after 1, so it was about 2:30 by the time we arrived, so we decided to skip the museum.  We decided to go to a furniture store and look around, since we had already made reservations for dinner.

We drove through a historic district of fine homes called Heritage Hills, and ooohed and aaahed at the historic mansions of the hoi polloi. It is interesting, since the homes were a mixture of architectural styles ranging from Prairie school, to Greek Revival and from Tudor brick to Roccoco Trompe L'Oeil. The area encompasses about 8 square blocks and is very well treed and shaded, which is a pleasant change in heat which is over 100F.

We arrived a little early for our dinner reservation at about 5:15, and got our table. This is the place we chose for this particular outing.

Have you eaten Brazilian Food before, or been to Brazil? neither, but I  was interested in finding out. So, let's go in and find our table!

We had a look at the menu to see what they had on offer. The reviews were good so let's see what our opinion is.

The first thing they brought to the table was their appetizer, a mix of eggplant, onion and oil and vinegar with a fresh sourdough bread. Very interesting and unusual.

My beloved ordered the black mussels, which came in a cream sauce with capers. Very tasty. We also got some alligator, which was cut in small pieces and deep fried with a mustard sauce.


We also got some crab with cheese which was small but very tasty. It was served with what they called toast points which was really just some of their sourdough, toasted.

From there we moved to the entrees. Scooterchick ordered a stew of meat, black beans and sauce. There were 3 types of meat in the stew and it was served with rice, pico de gallo, and fresh cut braised collards. There was also a garlic spice seasoning that was underwhelming.

Miss Helen ordered something called Romeu y Julieta, which was Meat with Havarti Cheese and Guava paste in Filo pastry over Risotto.

Here is a picture of Scooterchick's reaction to her entree. The flavor was delicate, the combination of tastes varied and interesting.

Miss Helen's reaction seemed a little more pensive, as though she were trying to figure out exactly what her opinion should be. She continued eating so......

This is what I had. It was called a Churrasco, mixed meat roasted on a skewer. Although the meat was a little dry, I mixed the beans with the rice, and enjoyed the fresh collards and fried polenta. The meat was okay and I enjoyed the meal, although I couldn't finish it.

Here is a picture of my beloved, documenting the scene for her blog. I can recommend it to you as it is an equally good read.

The walls were not surprisingly decorated in a Brazilian style. There was a map on the wall delineating the various regions of Brazil.

Scooterchick snapped my picture. I think I was trying to look suave. She said "I looked as if I was eating my food like I was mad at it."

My beloved snapped a picture of this scary looking dude adorning the wall of the ladies bathroom. What he's trying to convey is anyone's guess, but he's sure surprised by that tambourine!!!

After we left the restaurant we traveled down towards Bricktown, which is the tourist quarter. Along the way we found a mural which is painted for a couple blocks along the Santa Fe rail line. This is elevated about 15 feet above street level at this point.

Above the windows of the rail cars, the names are painted, and the people painted in the windows of the railcars are famous Oklahomans. There are people waiting, boarding and disembarking from the train.

There is a panel with a picture of a Rock Island line caboose. I referred to the Rock Island line in a previous post.

There is a young man in period clothing waving at his friends as he prepares to board the train for an undisclosed location.

The mural, and the celebrities continue......

We had the good fortune to have a train roll past while we were there. This was a through freight that whistled past at about 60 mph.

A little farther on there was a streetscape showing OKC "back in the day". It's incongruous to see this, across the street from a convention center and hotel complex which towers about 25 stories into the sky.

One of the things which is very popular for Bricktown visitors is taking a carriage ride around the neighborhood. Moving at the pace of a plodding draft horse is a sedate way to sightsee.

We started to see people in varying forms of fancy dress. Aha I said. There's a square dance competition going on. Each of the teams had their own costumes. Patsy wished one team "Good Luck" in their competition.

Although we had no way of knowing how many teams attended the 62nd. National Square Dance Competition, it seemed like they were everywhere.

Changing gears in our story, we headed south towards Lawton, and decided to take a detour to Moore OK. You will remember Moore was hit by a tornado on the 20th of May. We wanted to see firsthand the result. News pictures give you an idea, Ground level eyewitness evidence is an altogether different story.

We started to see signs of devastation firsthand with roofs ripped off, and houses torn apart.

As we entered the area where the tornado touched down the damage became much more evident.
One could see how the twister took houses and demolished them with impunity. All the houses you will see are relatively new, having been built within the last 15-20 years and some within the last 5.

There were piles of debris, where houses had to be demolished and were awaiting transport.

Within a couple block we ran into an area of total destruction. In this area the tornado had simply cleaned everything off the landscape. Cars, houses or people all disappeared.

It looked post apocalyptic. For blocks there was just rubble, rubbish and trash.

It began to weigh heavily on the heart by this time. Everyone in the care was softly muttering "oh my God", as we continued seeing new devastation and pointing it out to the others.

Trees stripped of all branches and foliage, pierced through with metal siding.

Houses torn to bits on one side, left standing on the other.

Other houses were torn apart, but you'll notice clothes still hanging in the closet. This house has not yet been dealt with.

This is the lot next door. even the foundation has been removed in preparation for sale. Thirty or forty year old trees, stripped and broken.

This is a storm cellar. It is a concrete box, with a heavy triple locking door. The fact that this remains undamaged, while everything around it is gone is a good testament to it's solidity. No one wants to climb into an underground crypt and shut the door, but considering the alternative.........

Although the clothes are still neatly hanging in the closet, the roof is gone.

Books still sitting neatly on office shelving, front of house missing altogether.

5 or 6 blocks of what was a residential neighborhood, now just a large open empty field/

This person will rebuild. The slab remains and the insurance claim is probably in process.

This is the sign that marks the entrance to Plaza Towers Elementary School. Although there were 500 students and 54 staff the final death toll was only 9. The tragic memory will linger but Oklahomans are a tough bunch and most of them will rebuild where they were.

This is an overhead picture of Plaza Towers. Contrast this with the next picture.

The remaining section of building has been removed. The total devastation is hard to comprehend.
I took a moment to pray for the survivors and families.

Hope springs anew in spite of disaster.

The people who flooded the area to volunteer to help, left souvenir shirts and whatnot to show their support. The fence is about 550-600 feet long and covered with notes, pictures, clothes and stuffed animals in memorium.

Here is another section of fence. The number of volunteers was staggering.

The saddest part was the memorial section to those who lost their lives.

I managed to take a picture of the parking lot as we left. I doubt these will be rebuilt.

The most sobering picture for me was this little girl's jacket lying in the dirt. Adults can monitor the weather, and bug out when necessary, the children conversely are helpless.

We left Moore and it was a quiet ride back down the highway for at least a half hour, before the mood lifted. We ended up back at home around 10:15 pondering both our meal, and what we had witnessed it Moore. From the tragedy, comes faith, hope and charity, as people continue to give for rebuilding.

Thanks for rolling with us.......