About Steve

Hello, I am Steve of Steve's Gastronomic Home Page, which was started as a hobby to let others know about some of my favorite restaurants. This blog is an update and expansion of the original web site, and a chance for readers to leave their comments and suggestions. The most up-to-date restaurant reviews are at OKGourmet.com. For now I am including links to the reviews rather than try to move everything to Steve's Food Blog all at once. I am not a professional food person and I do not have a connection to any restaurant. As a geography major in college (Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Austin) I am interested in different countries and cultures. This has now expanded to food in not only focusing on ethnic, national, and regional foods, but also in trying to determine what constitutes authentic ethnic food. My academic training and profession also inspired me to try to make a "master list" of restaurants, which I have included in the Blog as "Steve's List". I have included a box for comments on the list so that others can help me compile the list and keep it updated. At the very least, though, I hope it will serve as a list of interesting restaurants to try when traveling to different geographic areas.

Johnnie’s (NW Expwy.)–Oklahoma City, OK

Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler
6629 Northwest Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 721-9018
Johnnie's on NW Expwy.

Johnnie’s on Northwest Expressway

Johnnie’s has been my favorite place for hamburgers in Oklahoma City since the demise of the Split-T and The Patio, and follows these restaurants’ formula of serving charcoal broiled hamburgers with hickory sauce. “Johnnie’s sauce” is based on the one at Split- T, with a tangy flavor very similar to some of the sauces served at various barbecue restaurants . It is a difficult task for any restaurant to live up to someone’s childhood memories, and I still think the Split-T and Patio had the best hamburgers ever, but Johnnie’s has been doing a good job of continuing the tradition of what I consider to be “Oklahoma City style hamburgers.”

Photo of the old Split T

Historical photos at Johnnie’s pay homage to some of the city’s early restaurants, including this one of the Split-T

I understand that the hamburgers at Johnnie’s are cooked partially over charcoal (giving them a distinctive flavor), and partially on a gas grill (making sure they are thoroughly cooked). I think it has an excellent result, and is even better with Johnnie’s sauce. I still think this is the best burger in Oklahoma, based on a subjective scale of the burger being important but the sauce being crucial (and I think no one else has a better sauce).

To me the veggie burger is equal in enjoyment to the hamburger, although with the provision that I get it with Johnnie’s sauce. To be honest, most veggie burgers are a real letdown, but the one here is a genuinely good patty with an even better sauce.

I think since about 2012 this location of Johnnie’s has been working hard to maintain its quality control, eliminating the gap I used to see between this restaurant and the Britton Road location. I have not tried the food at all of Johnnie’s locations, but I do believe this restaurant is a good one to sample Johnnie’s food.


Number 5 hamburger

Number 5 hamburger

One of the main attractions here is the No. 5 Hamburger, a charcoal broiled burger with Johnnie’s sauce, pickles, and onions. The sauce is cooked each day for about five hours, and is made with a secret blend of ingredients. It is much like a barbecue sauce, but this one is better than any similar sauce I have tried in the barbecue restaurants. The theta burger (which includes mayo and Johnnie’s sauce) is also quite popular, but is not a favorite of mine.

These hamburgers are good regardless of the toppings. The meat patties are made with chuck, and are higher quality than the average hamburger. Hamburgers are not on my regular diet any more, and I have only tried a few recently, but out of these I thought the ones at Johnnie’s and the old VZD were at the top of the list in terms of quality.

The buns with sesame seeds comprise the third feature that makes this hamburger so enjoyable. Johnnie’s has burgers available without the bun for those who want it this way, but for me the best choices are to get a veggie burger or hamburger on a bun.

Veggie burger

Veggie burger

At Johnnie’s a Veggie Burger is a good alternative to the hamburger, although I would say this would not be the case at most restaurants. Here the meatless burger seems to have a better flavor than others, even though several others match Johnnie’s “Southwest” style with black beans and other ingredients. The veggie burger does not come with Johnnie’s sauce as a default, but I think this is the way to order it.

Johnnie’s offers some other choices if you are not in the mood for a burger. One popular item is the Frankfurter with chili and cheese, similar to the coney hot dogs served at many of the local hamburger restaurants. The frankfurter seemed to be better quality than most, with more meat and less “filler” than many hot dogs, as well as a good flavor. The chili, though, was disappointing compared to the “other” Johnnie’s in El Reno (this is a separate restaurant, not related to Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler). The chili is Texas style–spicy and brown colored (Texas chili can be very good, but I just don’t care much for the one here).


Basil chicken flat bread sandwich

Basil chicken flat bread sandwich

In recent years Johnnie’s has expanded its menu to include items other than its signature hamburgers. Although I was skeptical about ordering any of them, the Basil Chicken Flat Bread Sandwich was surprisingly good. Made with grilled chicken breast meat, provolone cheese, balsamic basil vinaigrette dressing, and herbed flat bread, no one of these components was really a weak link in the sandwich. I cannot say that the balsamic vinaigrette dressing was comparable in flavor to the Johnnie’s sauce used on hamburgers, but I still thought the dressing used on the chicken sandwich was good quality and had a good flavor. The home made chips that came with the sandwich were quite good, and overall the sandwich was a positive addition to the menu. Note: I do not see this on the current menu but the menu changes from time to time and it may come back.

Chicken sandwich

Chicken sandwich with baked beans

The Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich had less flavor than the previous flat bread sandwich but it is a good alternative if you do not want a burger. I frankly prefer the chicken at several barbecue restaurants, though, such as Swadley’s or Billy Sims.


Chicken fried chicken

Chicken fried chicken

The Chicken Fried Chicken did not really stand out to me except for the fact that the gravy was very good, and of course it comes with Johnnie’s french fries (you can also get a baked potato or onion rings instead).

Side Dishes
The French Fries are almost addictive with just the right amount of grease. The large order is probably appropriate only for a family with hungry kids (if you can eat an order by yourself, I would seriously worry about you!).

Baked Beans are a healthier side dish, and just about as good as the fries. Because of tradition, though, I usually order the fries.

Soup and Salad

Vegetable soup

Vegetable soup

The Vegetable Soup is a very worthwhile side dish, not only to make a healthy meal but also for the flavor. I cannot verify this information, but the soup seemed to be made from scratch using fresh ingredients, and I was quite impressed.

Chicken noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup

The Chicken Noodle Soup was also quite good except that I thought it was too salty.

Chef salad

Chef salad

Salads are also available such as a chef salad, Mandarin cranberry, and strawberry spinach (which the menu says is seasonal).

The Iced Tea is very good, partly because the crystal clear ice is much better than the ice I can make at home from tap water.

When I really need a Milk Shake (such as after a visit to the dentist or other traumatic experiences) I head to Johnnie’s. As strange as it may sound, it even goes well with a hamburger (I tried it myself just to make sure I could make this statement). I think the one here is better than at Braum’s, but others are welcome to make their own taste test.



Blackberry cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler was less sweet than those I usually find at restaurants (and I think this is a good thing). Like other items here, the cobbler tasted fresh and made from scratch. The only negative was that the crust was not my favorite.

Apple dumpling

Apple dumpling

The Apple Dumpling was good, but somehow I never had the desire to try it a second time (to me, eating something with Johnnie’s sauce is almost a dessert to me).

Chocolate pie

Chocolate pie

Chocolate Pie always looks like the best dessert in the display case, yet I have found it to be disappointing. It seems to be mostly cream and there is not much chocolate flavor to it.

Summing It Up
Johnnie’s sauce is something that allows me to relive some of my pleasant experiences from childhood, and because of this I am a very loyal customer here. Although eating it with a veggie burger may be an acquired taste, I really enjoy it and actually prefer it to the regular burger. I do believe Johnnie’s has one of the better hamburgers but there are undoubtedly better ones in terms of the meat flavor. I do not worry about it much, though, since my favorite “everyday” eating is the veggie burger with Johnnie’s sauce.

For out of town visitors I might say the Johnnie’s on Britton Road offers more of an “experience” with a larger dining room and usually a larger crowd. Otherwise, though, this location should give a good idea of what Johnnie’s is all about.


Cuisine: Hamburgers
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 22, 2017
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Veggie Burger, Hamburger, French Fries, Cobbler, Milk Shake, Tea

Special Ratings
star 5 Hamburger
star 5 Veggie Burger
star 4 Chicken Fried Chicken
star 4 Grilled Chicken Sandwich
star 4 Frankfurter with Chili and Cheese
star 5 French Fries
star 5 Baked Beans
star 4 Chicken Noodle Soup
star 5 Vegetable Soup
star 5 Cobbler
star 4 Apple Dumpling
star 3 Chocolate Pie

Menu (May 2017):


Blue Donkey–Oklahoma City, OK

Blue Donkey
Food Truck
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 434-5172
Blue Donkey

Blue Donkey food truck

I am somewhat new to the food truck craze, mainly because I do not often make snap decisions to have a meal as I pass by something that looks interesting, but rather I am already going to a predetermined location.

Food trucks in Oklahoma City seem to travel quite a bit, although the ones I think are luckiest find a home location and only occasionally have to travel to other spots. In examining Blue Donkey’s Facebook page it lists a number of locations where the truck will be located at certain times. Its home base is the Arts District in downtown Oklahoma City (near the Oklahoma City Museum of Art). There is quite a bit of downtown traffic at lunch on weekdays, but the down times at evening and weekends afford Blue Donkey ample opportunities to travel elsewhere in the Metro where likely customers can be found.

One of these excursions was at N.W. 122nd Street and Rockwell, where the Blue Donkey truck showed up several weeks in a row, establishing enough of a pattern that I could predict when and where I could find it. This afforded me the opportunity to try all three of its menu items (tacos and two side dishes), and also gave me the desire to go back and try it again (which I did until I no longer found the truck at that location).

The Food

Tacos and side dishes

Tacos with donkey poo and black beans

Information on the truck indicated that this is Guatemalan food. I have been to Guatemala and did not really recognize the food they were serving as being from that country, especially considering the very high spice levels of the food that somewhat approached those of Hatch, New Mexico, the “chile capital” of the United States.

There are two types of Tacos, chicken and beef (I only ordered the chicken ones). These were quite good and whether they are actually Guatemalan or Mexican does not matter very much because I enjoyed the end result.

One of the side dishes is called “Donkey Poo” and consists of guacamole and cucumbers. Also in abundance is a very spicy chile that I was not expecting in a Guatemalan food truck, but it was good.

I thought the Black Beans were more flavorful than the guacamole, and would be my preference except for the fact that they were even more spicy. The problem with this is that it is in a food truck setting where the selection of drinks is limited, and I cannot get my usual iced tea to quench my mouth with this type of spicy food (as I recall Blue Donkey did not have iced tea, much less the refills that I would have required). I was able to take the food home and provide my own drinks, but absent this I am not sure Blue Donkey would have been an enjoyable experience.

Black bean soup

Black bean soup

The Black Beans also come as a large side order that is in the form of a soup (but these are the same beans served as a side dish on taco orders).

Additional Comments
I am still at somewhat of a preliminary stage in evaluating the food because there were a lot of factors that entered into my experience, the main one being that this is not a regular restaurant where they could serve the drinks I would want to have with spicy food.

The tacos were certainly good, and probably better than at Big Truck Tacos (another food truck which was formerly located at this intersection). Big Truck had a much larger selection of tacos, though, so I am not sure how the two trucks really compare to each other.


Cuisine: Guatemalan
Cost: $
Hours: N/A
Accessible: N/A
Smoking: N/A
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 4, 2016

Number of Visits: 2

Best Item: Tacos


Special Ratings
star 5 Chicken Tacos
star 4 Donkey Poo (Guacamole)
star 4 Black Bean Soup

Ingrid’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Ingrid’s Kitchen
3701 N. Youngs Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 946-8444


The Oklahoma City area is blessed with several good German restaurants, and in some ways it is difficult to determine which is the best. Ingrid’s Kitchen in the northwest part of Oklahoma City, though, definitely has the advantage of being more accessible to those of us who have a long drive to Choctaw or Moore for some of the other good choices. Even those who are willing to go anywhere would want to come to Ingrid’s for its excellent food and some specialties that are not found at the other restaurants.

One thing I appreciate about Ingrid’s is that it allows customers to eat German food on a more regular basis without having to wait for a special occasion. Many of the other restaurants seem to be more of the variety where you want to sit down, enjoy a big meal, and have a beer. You can do this at Ingrid’s as well, but Ingrid’s specializes in sandwiches, lunch plates, and deli items. In the past Ingrid’s was only open for breakfast and lunch, but has now started serving dinner as well. I also think Ingrid’s is the place to go if you are on a budget, but by the time I pick up some desserts and other items from the deli case this may not turn out to be much of a saving.

The expanded hours coincided with a change of ownership, and I understand the new chef used to be at Castle Falls (another one of the area’s excellent German restaurants, although Castle Falls requires a reservation). I have enjoyed the food a little more since the ownership change and I like the fact that it is now open for dinner, but I am disappointed that it still does not offer some of the dinner items that can be ordered at other German restaurants (although Ingrid’s is still best for sandwiches and lunch items).

Orders are taken at the counter

Orders are taken at the counter

At Ingrid’s all orders are taken at the counter, and are either prepared to go or to eat in the restaurant. Most items are sold individually except dinner or lunch plates that come with side dishes. Because you can order as little or as much as you want, it is rather difficult to determine the cost category of a typical meal here. I have based it on my experience of ordering a sandwich or main dish, one or two side orders, and a drink.


Meat and cheese counter

Meat and cheese are available to take home

There is a large choice of lunch meats, as can be seen in the display counter that sells meat for take-home. Ingrid’s menu says that they also sell American products, but the authentic German ones are probably the main reason to come here.

Reuben sandwich

Reuben sandwich

Grilled sandwiches are more expensive than the deli sandwiches, but based on my order of a Reuben I would say this is a very good choice. In fact, this may have been the best corned beef I have ever tried. Sauerkraut makes a good side dish, but I think it is even better on top of the corned beef in the Reuben (and the Sauerkraut is home made). The Reuben also comes with Ingrid’s “Special Sauce,” and I will have to say that everything about this sandwich was special.

Turkey reuben

Turkey reuben

I first tried the Turkey Reuben at Ingrid’s Pantry (Ingrid’s former spinoff restaurant in Bethany), and now this is my favorite sandwich here. The sauerkraut, bun, Swiss cheese, and sauce are all top notch, and I think the flavor of the turkey goes well with them all.



The Bratwurst has not been terribly impressive to me, but there is more than one variety served. Some of my trips to Ingrid’s Pantry made me lean more toward the smoked bratwurst, which I enjoyed quite a bit.


Wiener schnitzel light

Wiener schnitzel light order

The Wiener Schnitzel comes in a “Light Order” that makes it a good lunch choice (the light and regular orders are available for both lunch and dinner). This and the other “Specialty Plates” come with three side orders as well as bread, but I think the German Potato Salad is the best of the side dishes. I actually like all of the side dishes, but the potato salad is the one thing that Ingrid’s seems to do better than any of the other German restaurants in town.

Wiener schnitzel

Wiener schnitzel regular order

The schnitzel is made with pork, and some purists say the only authentic Wiener Schnitzel is made with veal. According to the information I have from people who have lived in Germany, though, pork schnitzels are common in the country, are more available and less expensive than veal, and it is a matter of taste concerning what type of meat to eat. Both I and my friends think the Wiener Schnitzel at Ingrid’s is very good except that the meat is sometimes tough (it does not seem to be pounded enough to tenderize it).

Other Meat Dishes



The Sauerbraten had a good roast beef flavor, but I thought the sauce had a rather weak flavor (it was, however, a good flavor). For this dish I would probably recommend the one I tried at Royal Bavaria in Moore, although the side dishes at Ingrid’s are very competitive with the other restaurants.

Pork chop

Pork chop

The Pork Chop was very good, but the restaurant says it is not German style. I think this has to do with boiling it and then frying it, but regardless of the cooking style this was quite a good meal.

I used to rave about the Chicken Jäger Schnitzel, but it now seems to be permanently gone from the menu. All I can say is that if it ever comes back or is available as a special, this has been the best item I have tried at Ingrid’s.

Side Dishes
I have had different feelings about some of the side dishes, but generally I have enjoyed them more after the restaurant’s ownership change (but I don’t know whether they have actually changed or whether it was just my perception of them). I have never been disappointed with the German Potato Salad, and I have found this to be the best in the city. I noticed dill in it, which seems to be an authentic touch.

The Red Cabbage is consistently very good, but most times I think the Sauerkraut is even better.

I have tried some of the salad side servings such as Cucumber, but so far I have not found them to be as enjoyable as at Castle Falls (which I think sets the standard for German salads).

Siegi's mustard

Siegi’s mustard is sold here

A side of German mustard comes with just about everything, and if any is left over this is a great addition to my sandwiches at home. (It is also worthwhile to check out the bottles of German mustard available at the deli, which include Siegi’s from Tulsa).


Pastry display

Pastry display

It is hard to go to Ingrid’s and not end up picking up some pastries either as dessert or to take home. The choices rival just about any bakery in town, and the quality has always been considered among the top two or three by my family. I like the pastries because they are always made with fresh ingredients, and many follow the European custom of not being as sweet as seems to be the normal case in the U. S.

Cream horn

Cream horn

I have not personally visited Germany, but I have it on good authority that the Cream Horn sold at Ingrid’s is a very good representation of the authentic German variety. It was less sweet than most desserts, but had a fresh cream that stood in contrast to many dairy products that seem artificial.

Coffee cake

Raspberry coffee cake

The Coffee Cake (made with different types of fruit) is definitely one of my favorite pastries. It has an excellent flavor, and is not too sweet.

Assorted pastries

Ginger bread, lemon cookies, divinity, hamantaschen (cherry filled)

This photo includes a variety of the pastries available, and I really think it would be overwhelming to try them all. Out of the ones pictured I especially liked the Hamantaschen (the triangle shaped sweet roll with a cherry filling).


Cake display

Cake display

Ingrid’s cakes are popular for birthday cakes, or you can buy individual slices. I really have no idea which cakes are the best because I do not think I will ever be able to try all of them. There are some, though, that I know are good choices.

Black forest

Black forest

The Black Forest Cake is really one of the best cakes I have ordered anywhere, with a rich combination of cream, cake, fruit, nuts, and chocolate that would be difficult to match. The thing that impressed me was not only the complexity of the cake, but also that each part was done perfectly, and added to the overall quality of the cake. The fruit filling inside was not too sweet, and gave just the right flavor to the cake.

Strawberry cake

Strawberry cake

I have made it one of my missions to try the strawberry cake at every bakery that sells them, and the one here had a good, rich strawberry taste. I also think freshness is one of the most important features with Ingrid’s cakes.


Pie display

Pie display

Pies are also excellent, and the Peach Pie really seemed to be the best I have ever had (not counting, of course, the ones that my mother or grandmother made). The syrup tasted home made instead of commercial, and the crust was fresh and crispy.

Dutch apple pie

Dutch apple pie

The Dutch Apple Pie is another of their excellent choices. I think that while a couple of my all time favorite desserts at Ingrid’s are cakes, the pies are what I have found to be consistently good no matter what flavor you order.

Ingrid’s Kitchen sells beer in a separate bar area for its own Biergarten. Another interesting feature of the restaurant is live music on Saturdays at noontime (dance music but not necessarily German).

The dining room

The dining room

Ingrid’s has succeeded in attracting a large clientele with good food, affordable prices, and a casual setting. This combination of factors can easily make German food a part of many people’s staple diet (as it should be). Not all of us can get to Ingrid’s as often as we would like, but the opening of the new satellite restaurant at N.W. 63rd and May Avenue makes it more convenient for many. I know that many people are willing to travel whatever distance is necessary to enjoy Ingrid’s Kitchen, which is justifiably regarded as one of Oklahoma City’s landmark restaurants.


Cuisine: German
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. Evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Drinks

Most Recent Visit: Apr. 22, 2017
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Reuben, Turkey Reuben, German Potato Salad, Sauerkraut, Black Forest, Coffee Cake, Peach Pie

Special Ratings
star 4 Wiener Schnitzel
star 4 Bratwurst
star 4 Sauerbraten
star 5 Reuben
star 5 Turkey Reuben
star 5 German Potato Salad
star 5 Vegetable Soup
star 5 Sauerkraut
star 4 Red Cabbage
star 5 Black Forest
star 5 Coffee Cake
star 5 Peach Pie

Menu (Apr. 2017):