Kamps–Edmond, OK

Kamps Cafe (Closed)
3325 S. Boulevard
Edmond, OK
Kamps

Kamps in Edmond


The name 1910 keep showing up in connection to Kamps, noting the year when Bill Kamp’s Meat Market first opened in downtown Oklahoma City (Kamp’s Meat Market is currently operating at 7310 N. Western Avenue in OKC). Kamps Cafe in downtown Oklahoma City with a second location in Edmond are an outgrowth of the market, but they have a larger menu than would be expected at a regular meat market and deli.

I have only had a chance to try the restaurant one time, and this was at the Edmond location. I got an idea of the overall good quality of the food, and it is a good sign when I am happy with an item I order at random from the menu (in this case it was the grilled chicken pesto).

The dish I really wanted to try was the Hobo Pie (chicken pot pie with green chiles). It is listed on the menu as a special dish with the suggestion to “Get it while it lasts.” Unfortunately it had run out when I was there in the early evening, but I assume they have a fairly good supply if you go around noon or the early lunch hour.

The dining room was a little bit like a fast food restaurant. This is a place where you order and pick up your food at the counter, so it is a good restaurant for people who do not have a lot of time for a meal but they do want one of good quality. Other than sandwiches, though, the menu is mainly limited to salads and soups.

Kamps is popular for breakfast, and opens at 7:00 a.m. (7:30 on Sat.). It is open for dinner, but menu items are mostly the type of thing people like to have for lunch. It seemed that a lot of people were there for the WiFi, and they have a good Barista selection.

The Food

Grilled chicken pesto

Grilled chicken pesto

With a large variety of sandwiches available, I thought my choice of Grilled Chicken Pesto worked out well. It was not spicy, but the parmesan pesto ranch dressing gave an interesting flavor to the sandwich. The chicken breast had more flavor than many I have tried. The size of the sandwich was pretty good for those who want to make a dinner meal out of the food here (side dishes are relatively inexpensive).

I did not think the Pasta Salad really stood out as being special, but it was solid and was better than the side dishes at quite a few other places.

Comparisons with Other Restaurants
This was more of a straight sandwich place than other restaurants such as Cafe 7, Saturn Grill, etc. I thought the quality of the sandwich was comparable to other restaurants I have tried, and the chicken sandwich was interesting in terms of getting something fairly healthy that also tastes good. Kamps would be in my rotation if I ate enough sandwiches to have a rotation, and it seems to have unique sandwiches rather than just giving different versions of the same ones.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Sandwiches
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 26, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Grilled Chicken Pesto

Special Ratings
star 5 Grilled Chicken Pesto
star 5 Pasta Salad

Menu (Jul. 2017):

 

 

Stray Dog Cafe–Bethany, OK

Stray Dog Cafe
6722 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK
(405) 470-3747
Stray Dog Cafe

Stray Dog Cafe


I have only eaten at Stray Dog Cafe once, but my reaction was positive. It started out as a hot dog restaurant, but they turned it into a cafe with a fairly extensive menu at breakfast and a variety of items at lunch. For dinner it is only open on Friday and Saturday nights, but they make the menu pretty interesting with choices such as the pollo loco that I ordered.

One thing it is famous for is having a popcorn machine and serving the popcorn to each table as an appetizer. I do not know if they do this at breakfast, which seems to be the most popular meal here, but it is available at other times.

This is a restaurant that tries to catch the spirit of Route 66, on which it is located. The food is a step up from the greasy spoon type of restaurants which dot the highway, but it is still down-to-earth everyday type of food.

Other sources say their specialties include the corn dog, a chili cheese dog, and their namesake “Stray Dog” which is a coney island style hot dog. Desserts are made by a third party and when I was there they seemed to have a very impressive pie display.

There is an overflow parking lot behind the building in case spaces are not available on the street.

El Pollo Loco

El pollo loco

El pollo loco

El Pollo Loco was one of the weekend specials (served Friday and Saturday nights) that expand the menu beyond the normal dishes. I am not sure what I can say about the regular menu except that my food had a good flavor and was of good quality. I enjoyed the food more than I thought I would from a non-Mexican restaurant, and I thought they really did their research to make it the right way.

This was a grilled chicken sandwich with two types of toppings (the ones on the left of the photo were American toppings and the ones on the right were Mexican). I used all of the Mexican style toppings except one, and one of the keys to this is that you can omit whatever you do not want. In my case I found it to be too spicy with the jalapeños, so these were discarded after I took the first bite. The sandwich came with a ghost pepper mayo, and this was plenty spicy enough. I thought the flavor was excellent, and I was especially impressed with the bun compared to the standard ones I find in restaurants. I was certainly a convert to this restaurant, even though what I tried is not served all the time.

Desserts

Coconut pie

Coconut pie

Desserts are a specialty of Stray Dog Cafe, and they have a pie display as well as other desserts which are available (such as a cinnamon roll for breakfast). The Coconut Pie was in the high range of what I would consider to be a good pie.

Recommendations
I definitely had a good experience with my dinner special at Stray Dog Cafe, but comments from reviewers on the Internet are also very strong that the breakfasts and lunches here are worthwhile. The Restaurant was featured on Discover Oklahoma, where the owner and some of the customers are interviewed. To me the most interesting food seems to be the dinner specials on Friday and Saturday night, but many people say the regular menu items are very good as well.


RATING: N/R

Cuisine: American
Cost: $$
Hours: Breakfast & lunch Tue-Sat; dinner Fri & Sat
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 22, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: El Pollo Loco, Pie

Special Ratings
star 5 El Pollo Loco
star 5 Coconut Pie

Oklahoma Station–Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma Station Bar B Q (Closed)
4331 N.W. 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Station BBQ

Oklahoma Station BBQ


Although Oklahoma Station is one of the oldest barbecue restaurants in Oklahoma City, a change of ownership in 2015 not only prompted me to start over with a new review but more importantly, I think the food is quite different than before. The menu is the same and on the outside everything looks the same, but I have noticed marked differences in the items I have ordered.

In some cases these differences are good. For instance, the smoked turkey not only seems better than before, it is also my current choice as the best in Oklahoma City (this has been the case the three times I have gone to the new Oklahoma Station, so I don’t think this is likely to change).

The outside smoker

The outside smoker

Some items are about the same as before, and this is a good thing. Included on this list are the okra, sweet beans, creamy cole slaw, and most of all the incomparable banana pudding (at least I have not found any others that match the pudding at Oklahoma Station).

Some other meat items pose quite a mystery to me as to why they could be so good before but so forgettable at the current restaurant (especially when the turkey has been consistently good).

The Barbecue
The first thing I should point out is that there are more meat items available than are listed in the review, and as is the case with most barbecue restaurants, I have not been able to try them all. You can get a head start, though, with the three meat combination dinner (shown in the next two photos). Both of these served as a meal for two people with leftovers to take home, but your appetite may vary.

Three meat dinner

Brisket, turkey, ribs, creamy cole slaw, Texas toast, okra

The Smoked Turkey has seen a marked improvement over the ones I tried at the “old” restaurant. The gentleman in the serving line included it in his list of recommendations, and based on this I would say asking the employees is a good starting point if you are not sure which items to order.

I thought the turkey had everything required of good barbecue– it was cooked well, it had a good smoky flavor, and the meat was high quality. I recently had the opportunity to order the turkey at Swadley’s (another contender for the best turkey in the city), and I would say Oklahoma Station was the clear winner.

Three meat dinner with pork tenderloin, ham, and turkey

Pork tenderloin, ham, turkey, creamy cole slaw, okra, apple cobbler, sweet beans

The Pork Tenderloin was one of my favorite items before, but the one I had recently was dry. In fact, dry meat was a common theme with many of the meats I have ordered here. The Brisket had the added problem of being tough, but it had a better flavor than many of the others.

The Pork Spare Ribs have been my biggest disappointment at the new restaurant, with the texture and flavor of the meat seeming so wrong I was wondering if they just had a bad day.

Ham is an item I have only tried at the new restaurant, and I thought it had an excellent flavor but was dry. Somewhat inexplicably a piece I took home as a leftover was much better, so based on this I am rating this as one of the better items at the restaurant.

Side Dishes
The creamy Cole Slaw was one of the best in the city at the old restaurant, and I think it is the same now. They have two types of cole slaw, and I have always found it best to stick with the creamy one (rather than the vinegar based version).

The Sweet Beans were excellent.

The fried Okra has been excellent two out of three times, with a good flavor and texture. Like all the side dishes they frequently put out fresh batches, but if you happen to be there when they do not look fresh out of the oven I would advise ordering something else.

Several other vegetables and side dish choices are available, and I think the selection here is unmatched by any other barbecue restaurant in the city. Generally the items are fresh, but in the case of the okra they will tell you if it is not right out of the oven (and therefore you may not want to order it).

Be sure to check the “relish bar” in front of the restaurant for pickles or other appetizers (customers can take whatever they want).

Desserts

Banana pudding and cherry cobbler

Banana pudding and cherry cobbler

The Banana Pudding was my favorite dessert at the old restaurant, and is still available. Somehow they have found the secret to making the best banana pudding I have found anywhere, but I think the secret is just keeping it simple but making sure everything is fresh and follows the recipe correctly.

There was a great variation in the cobbler, though. The Apple Cobbler was excellent, but I thought the Cherry Cobbler was bland.

Additional Comments
I have discovered that high quality iced tea is an integral part to the full enjoyment of a barbecue meal, and the fresh brewed tea here is among the best (sweet tea is also available).

The trouble with the new Oklahoma Station, compared to the old one, is that only a few items have impressed me as being standouts. If you are looking for turkey and banana pudding, I would say this is the best restaurant in town. Some other items are solid, including the ham and several of the side dishes. I had one fairly good experience with the pork tenderloin, but it was not up to the standard I found at the old restaurant. The brisket and ribs are certainly letdowns compared to what the restaurant served before (in my opinion, of course, but I do owe it to readers to give you my best judgment).


RATING: 18

Cuisine: Barbecue
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. Evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 24, 2017
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Turkey, Sweet Beans, Cole Slaw, Banana Pudding

Special Ratings
star 5 Turkey
star 4 Ham
star 4 Pork Tenderloin
star 3 Brisket
star 3 Ribs
star 4 Okra
star 5 Sweet Beans
star 5 Cole Slaw
star 5 Banana Pudding
star 3 Cherry Cobbler

Margarita’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant
7801 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 848-8394
Margarita's

The new Margarita’s on the west side of May Ave.


The original Margarita’s had been a landmark on the east side of May Avenue just south of Wilshire for a number of years, and was so popular that it many times tested the limits of the old diner/drive-in style building. The owners served Zacatecas style specialties from their family recipes along with many Tex-Mex style favorites to a public that probably did not care very much whether their food was authentic, but they did appreciate good Mexican comfort food.

In 2013 I made my first visit to the “new” Margarita’s across the street from the original location. I immediately noticed a larger dining room with more comfortable tables, and there were several indications that it had changed ownership. It turned out that the couple who had run the restaurant for years had retired, and their daughter had opened the new restaurant. I think the daughter added some items to the menu, but the “Specialidades de la Casa” and other Zacatecas style dishes were still there.

At the new restaurant I have seen decorations on the wall from Aguascalientes (a neighboring state to Zacatecas). They have added new items to the menu, so my take is that they have retained many of the elements of the old restaurant but are branching out to include additional items that customers will enjoy. Some of the new dishes I have tried have been the Calvillo style of food (from the state of Aguascalientes) that I have found in various restaurants around OKC, so I think this is the main focus of the new dishes.

My review of the old restaurant describes some of the dishes I tried before the restaurant moved. Those dishes for which I have a before and after comparison seem to be the same at the new restaurant, with the exception that I do not remember the meat being as tough as it was in a few items I have tried recently.

Set-Ups
Like most Mexican restaurants, Margarita’s gives you a “set-up” of Salsa, Cheese Sauce, and Chips. Overall I was not very impressed by these items, but they are better than at some other restaurants. The tortillas did not come with real butter (but instead there was some kind of spread), and I would guess that they were not home made.

Habanero sauce

Habanero salsa can be requested

A pleasant surprise, though, was the tastier than average Habanero Sauce I ordered, which was also a larger serving than average (and came free with the meal). This was not fiery hot, but was spicy enough to be very good, and to satisfy my craving for something more authentic than the first set-ups had been. A bonus was that I was able to take home the leftover sauce, and it was very good there as well.

Guizo

Guizo de puerco with red chile

Guizo de puerco with red chile

The Guizo de Puerco with Red Chile was one of the first dishes I tried at the new restaurant, and was one reason I became very encouraged about the new restaurant. In contrast to many similar dishes I get in other restaurants, this one reminded me of the kind of food I would find in Mexico. In fact, other than the meat being a little tough this was just about as classic an example of this dish I could find. It is listed as being “with red chile” because customers can order either red or green (another sign that this is authentic Mexican food). The heat level of the chile was about four stars out of five, and was at the level I find comfortable. I also thought it was at about the level it would be served in Mexico, and that was lacking the extreme spiciness that would only be appreciated by dyed-in-the-wool chileheads. As one of the dishes listed under “Specialidades de la Casa,” this is one of the Zacatecas style family recipes that have been carried over from the old restaurant, and I think it is a very good choice.

It should be noted that the order normally comes with rice and beans, but I asked them to omit these items. The fact that they will do this and I can have a more reasonably sized meal is another reason I like this restaurant (it is also a little bit less expensive this way).

Mole

Chicken in mole

Zacatecas style mole

Margarita’s Mole (also listed in “Specialidades de la Casa”) is a very good dish that I have enjoyed at both the old and new restaurant. The chicken seemed a little dry at the new restaurant, but it had a very good red colored mole sauce (I think this is one of the “must order” dishes of the restaurant). To get the full flavor I recommend getting it with the rice and beans, so this makes quite a substantial meal (and is the reason I do not order it very often).

Tacos

Mexican style tacos

Pastor (pork) and chicken Mexican style tacos with papas (potatoes)

Mexican Tacos are similar to the Calvillo style tacos served at numerous restaurants in Oklahoma City. The tacos are good because they are authentic, and you can order the amount you want to fit your appetite. Out of the two types tacos I tried the chicken was better, with the pastor meat falling a little flat compared to the tacos I get at Abel’s.

The Papas tasted greasy to me, and I thought I could have gotten a better side dish.

Quesadilla

Quesadilla

Quesadilla with beef fajitas

The Quesadilla was another example of the type of food I thought was better at Abel’s (and some of the city’s other Calvillo style taco restaurants). The main problem here was the the fajita meat tasted gristly.

Costillas
Costillas Zacatecanos are another specialty of the restaurant that I think are quite good. They come in a huge serving, though, and I have not ordered it at the new restaurant (so please refer to the review of the old restaurant for a photo).

Enchiladas

Green enchilada

Enchilada with chile verde

The Enchilada with Chile Verde is among the ones in OKC that I consider to be quite good, and the beans were above average as well (the rice was about average). The green chile had about a “4 star” spice level (out of 5). This was about right for me–spicy but not fiery, and it had an authentic Mexican flavor.

An Overview
The “Specialidades de la Casa” are generally the items I like best here, and I believe they are made from authentic family recipes from Zacatecas. This is not the reason I like them, but rather it is because of the sauces such as the mole and the sauce used in the guizo. Many of these dinner are huge, though, and I do not order them all the time simply because I do not normally have that kind of appetite.

Some of the “Tex-Mex” items I tried at the old restaurant did not seem to match up to the ones at other restaurants (fajitas and cheese enchiladas are examples). I thought the guacamole and tortilla soup were quite good (I classify these as Tex-Mex as well, although I do not know their origin. A chile relleno I sampled was much better than one I had at the old restaurant, and several items seem to be better than before.

The third type of food I have found here is the Calvillo style tacos, quesadillas, etc. (street food). Overall these have been a disappointment compared to some other restaurants, although I would still take them over the Tex-Mex food which is still served at many restaurants in OKC (particularly restaurants in the north side suburbs).

The main issue for all the food at Margarita’s is the price. The street food is pretty reasonable, but everything else seems higher priced than anywhere else in town unless you go to a restaurant such as 1492. When restaurants charge more I expect higher quality, and I have had issues such as dry meat, etc. Still, this has not been the case with everything I have ordered, and this is one of the few places in the city where I feel that the sauces taste like they do in Mexico.

I have seen a lot of negative reviews for Margarita’s on various web sites. My conjecture is that it has more to do with what you get for the money than it does with the food itself. I have pointed out both the positive and negative I have found with the food here, but the bottom line is that I really do love their sauces (which to me is the heart of Mexican food).


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Mexican Zacatecas
Cost: $$
Hours: Open daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Bathroom is not accessible
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 9, 2017

Number of Visits: 7 (many more at the old restaurant)

Best Items: Chicken Mole, Enchiladas with Chile Verde, Guizo de Puerco, Habanero Sauce

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Enchiladas with Chile Verde
star 5 Chicken Mole
star 5 Costillas Zacatecanos (from the old restaurant)
star 5 Guizo de Puerco
star 5 Chile Relleno (from the old restaurant)
star 5 Mexican Taco (chicken)
star 4 Mexican Taco (pastor)
star 3 Quesadilla (Beef Fajita)
star 5 Refried Beans
star 5 Borracho Beans
star 4 Rice
star 5 Guacamole
star 4 Chips
star 5 Habanero Salsa
star 4 Horchata

Menu (Jun. 2015):