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.


RATING: 20

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
Ingrid's

Ingrid’s


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.

Sandwiches

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.

Bratwurst

Bratwurst

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.

Schnitzel

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

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten

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).

Pastries

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).

Cakes

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.

Pies

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.

Summary
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.


RATING: 24

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):

Grand House Express–Edmond, OK

Grand House Express (Closed)
3209 S. Broadway
Edmond, OK
Grand House Express

Grand House Express


The previous restaurant at this location was Zen Asian Dining, a “fusion” restaurant with different cuisines whose menu has partially been retained at the new Grand House Express. The original Grand House is one of the anchor restaurants in Oklahoma City’s Asian District, being one of the largest and longest running restaurants along Classen Boulevard.

Zen was primarily a Thai restaurant, and several Thai dishes have been carried over to the new menu at Grand House Express. I thought their Thai food was overly sweet, but not having tried it at the new restaurant I really do not know how it would be now.

Dining room

Dining room

I did find out, though, that the new restaurant appears to be true to the food of the original Grand House in its Chinese menu. More specifically, it is true to part of the Grand House menu, because Grand House has a regular menu which is largely copied here and a “Chinese” menu which is absent from the selection at Grand House Express. My take on the two Grand House menus is that both are actually Chinese, but the “Chinese” menu has some more interesting items that appeal to me more. For instance, the Express restaurant does not have clay pot dishes, and generally it excludes everything that takes longer to cook than the standard stir-fry dishes served at Grand House Express.

Some Vietnamese dishes on the menu also come from Grand House, and the result is a “fusion” restaurant representing food from different Asian countries, but I think done better than I found at Zen Asian Dining.

Lunch Specials
There are several lunch specials served Monday through Friday that I would find appealing, partly because the price is a little lower but mainly because lunch portions at restaurants are more in line with my appetite. I would probably pick the items that come from Grand House (Chinese and Vietnamese) over the Zen holdovers (mainly Thai).

Stir Fried Dishes

Stir fry in XO sauce

Chicken stir fry in XO sauce

The Chicken Stir Fry in XO Sauce was my first chance to try this sauce since I had another dish with XO Sauce at the original Grand House. Although this was not a lunch special, the price was good and the sauce was still good. XO sauce is something I would describe as having a very intense flavor and is something people will probably either love or hate (I think it is rather smoky and is the Chinese version of chipotle sauce).

While I am not necessarily recommending this sauce for everybody, I did get a sense that the stir-fried dishes and the food here in general is very good. One thing for sure is that Grand House Express has items on the menu that will not be found at many other suburban Chinese restaurants.

Other Details
To me it is a good sign that the restaurant did not have what I really wanted to order, yet I still enjoyed the meal. There are probably at least a dozen other menu items that I think would be equally appealing, if not more.

I think the other Thai restaurants in Edmond are far too good for me to purposely come here and try this type of food, nevertheless there are some Thai menu items for anyone who wants to try them.

The original Grand House is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the city, and adding their food to this restaurant is a huge deal, in my opinion. It is too bad they could not include items like their clay pot dishes, but what they do have appears to be some of the best suburban food in the OKC Metro.

Probably the issue most people will have is the price, but for me it was not too bad (the menu is included below with the prices at the time I went to the restaurant).


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 20, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Stir Fry in XO Sauce

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Stiry Fry in XO Sauce

 

Menu (Oct. 2017):