A Burger That’s More Than OK

Much more than ok. Exceptional, in fact. One of the best I’ve had. Ever.
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After scheduling a trip to visit friends in Pampa, TX, I immediately started planning the route, and more importantly, where we would eat along the way. Knowing we’d be hitting Oklahoma City around lunch time, I quickly honed in on Nic’s Grill.

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Guy Fieri introduced me to this dive on a past episode of DDD. A man. A grill. And thick, juicy burgers.

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Nic runs the show, with one server taking drink orders. And it’s a good thing too, because saying space is at a premium is an understatement. There is seating at the counter and couple two-top tables. We showed up at 10:50am, snagged the last tables and ordered. By 11, it was standing room only with people waiting outside.

The menu is simple: burgers, fresh curly fries, and a daily special. If you’re hungry, don’t worry that burgers only come in one size. That size is approximately the same as your head.

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The simplicity doesn’t stop there. A loaded burger has American cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo, loads of grilled onion, lettuce and tomato. The classic American cheeseburger. If any of that isn’t to your liking, don’t worry because Nic asks each patron what they want on their burger prior to dressing it. A great personal touch. Oh yeah, and you can (and should) add bacon.

The curly fries are also perfectly crispy, and way more fun than a plain old straight cut. Good call Nic.

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If you live in OKC and haven’t been to Nic’s, change that. If you’re driving through OKC, take the time for a tasty burger. Just get there early. You can thank me later.

eAT-Lanta

For the past couple of years I’ve been fortunate enough to have a conference scheduled in Atlanta in September. Had a blast checking out the latest home technology at the CEDIA Expo and just as much fun eating some of the best meals of my life. These are some of the highlights.

Flip Burger Boutique
Top Chef All Stars winner Richard Blais was near the top of my list of “Chefs Whose Restaurants I Want To Eat At”. His familiar flavors and chemistry experiment cooking techniques intrigued me and excited my appetite. Liquid Nitrogen milk shakes? Yes please. Deep fried burger with house pimento cheese? A must. And the array of fried sides (pickles, fries, onion rings, okra) and accompanying sauces were paired perfectly. This was my first gourmet burger experience (it was a few years ago) and still one of the best. I can still taste the chilled delight that was the Toasted Marshmallow Nutella milkshake.

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Antico Pizza Napoletana
The. Best. Slice. Of. Pizza. Ever. (That I’ve eaten to date). Everything from the glass case of cannoli at the counter, to the large communal table, to the kitchen dining where all the acton takes place and diners sit at mismatched picnic tables, the place transports you to Italy. When you go here, order your pizza and find a seat in the kitchen. There you will be surrounded by Italian music blaring from a small radio, bags of imported Italian flour and San Marzano tomatoes. You’ll see the pizza masters tossing fresh dough, piling on fresh buffalo mozzarella, sausage, herbs and whipping them into one of three ovens for their 2-minute trip to bubbly crispy pizza perfection. Then you’ll be served your perfect pie on a baking sheet covered in craft paper. And you’ll savor every delicious bite, all the while trying to figure out when you will be able to get back to Antico for another meal (a big challenge when you live in Springfield, MO). Their hours are 11:30 – Until We’re Out Of Dough. Don’t be late.

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Woodfire Grill
Home of my other favorite Top Chef, Kevin Gillespie, master of all things pork (down go the pig tattoo), this was my must stop destination last year. I happened to be in town when Chef Kevin was out cooking on a cruise ship, but was assured by the staff that I would enjoy the same quality experience. They did not disappoint. Splurge when you’re here and order the 5-course chef’s tasting. I tried things I never would have ordered off a menu. And enjoyed every one. For anyone wondering, properly prepared pork belly is melt-in-your-mouth, smokey, salty goodness. Other highlights included the seared scallop with corn and truffle puree, the wood grilled duck breast and the blueberry semolina cake. In reality, all dishes were stunning. I’ve included a shot of the menu (ask for one and they will print out what you ate). All in all, start to finish, the best fine dining meal I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. Thank you Chef Kevin (and Woodfire Grill kitchen staff). And thank you Crestron for paying the bill.

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Varasano’s Pizzeria
#3 on my list of best pizza I’ve ever had. Behind #1 Antico and #2 Pizzeria Mozza (LA). The owner has one of the most viewed pizza blogs on the Internet and decided to put all his research and testing on display and opened a restaurant. It was a good decision. The house sausage and caramelized onion with Emmenthaler cheese was a standout. Bottom line, ATL is a pizza lovers destination.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed these highlights from my dining in the ATL. Bummed the conference got moved to Indianapolis this year. Any restaurant recommendations in Indy?

Tasty Tuesday

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday, a weekly link-up where you can showcase anything tasty you’ve made, eaten, or just seen.

You can post as little as a picture, or as much as an entire week’s worth of meals. Just make it tasty.

I’ll eventually get a button for everyone to put on your posts, but for now please link back here with the Tasty Tuesday Permalink.

https://megabites417.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/tasty-tuesday/

My addition to the festivities was a deliciously simple comfort food experience at RC’s Restaurant & Lounge. In a quest for tasty fried chicken, my sister-in-law recommended this little gem in Kansas City, specializing in hand breaded, crispy, peppery pan-fried chicken. Paired with real mashed potatoes, scratch made white gravy, green beans and biscuits, it brought back childhood memories of Sunday dinner at grandma’s house…great memories.



The Pizza House

There is no other food I crave on a more frequent basis than a pepperoni and sausage pizza from The Pizza House. A Springfield institution for over 50-years, they still crank out the thinnest, crispiest, tastiest pies in town. Bite-size square after bite-size square you will work your way from the perfectly burnt edges (my favorite) to the gooey center. Before you know it, you have eaten the entire pizza.

Stick with the basics here: pepperoni, sausage (amazing), ham, peppers, onions, cheese. If you are looking for gourmet pizza, head to The Grotto or Minsky’s. Want authentic Italian style pizza? Bruno’s is your place. This is Springfield style. And I love it.

Great pizza, great location (north-side!), great owner. Say hi to Stacey for me.

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The edges are always the first to go. (Mouth watering as I write this)
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Our Valentines Day tradition: PIZZA! Stacey makes it extra special for my wife and I.
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Yes, they have salad. Nice and simple: lettuce, tomato, lots of cheese and Ott’s French dressing. Reminds me of dinner at my grandma’s when I was a kid.
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Dinner @ DiGiacinto

Wife’s only requirement for dinner tonight, regardless of location, was garlic cheese bread. This was great. Melty cheese, plenty of fresh garlic, tasty housemade Italian bread. Served with a great warm marinara sauce.


House salad came out next. Loved the addition of salami and provolone. I like my Italian vinaigrette dressing a little sweeter, but all in all a good salad.


Went with the traditional lasagna for my entree. It came out topped with marinara sauce instead of the bolognese sauce mentioned on the menu, but they were quick to bring out a side dish of the meat sauce. Glad they did. The sauce was made with a great tasting Italian sausage and really added to the dish. Everything’s better with sausage.


My wife went with the ravioli trio: spinach artichoke, cheese and seafood–2 each. My favorite was the spinach. Hers was the cheese. The alfredo sauce had just a touch of marinara which we both enjoy.

I also tried one of their scratch made meatballs. Great flavor, but I like my meatball to have a slightly lighter texture. They’d be great on a sub sandwich.


Overall really enjoyed the meal. Place had a great atmosphere. Seems like it has a large following of regulars, which I really appreciate. Kind of like an Italian “Cheers”, except not a bar. We’ll be back. Maybe one of these days they’ll know our name.

Best Birthday Dinner Ever

Without question, the best birthday dinner I ever had was a progressive dinner of sorts, except it all took place at my house. On this particular October 4th, my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, were playing on Monday Night Football. Needless to say, since it was my birthday, we were staying in. Upon arriving home from work, I found that my lovely wife had assembled a dinner consisting of a few of my favorite dishes from various restaurants around town:

-Caesar Salad from Bijan’s–at the time, best in town. Dressing was awesome, included a few anchovy filets, olive tapenade and a parmesan crisp.

-Gilardi Pasta–Homemade ricotta cheese pasta with mushroom, Italian sausage, and a lightly spiced tomato cream sauce. Hands down the richest, most comforting pasta in SGF. The ricotta folded into the pasta dough makes it fluffy as a new pillow.

-Chocolate Heaven Cake from Mille’s: Layers of rich, moist chocolate cake and milk chocolate mousse, topped with chocolate ganache and a drizzle of red raspberry puree.

This was without a doubt the most creative, thoughtful dinner I could have ever hoped for. If you’re ever looking for a way to wow that special someone in your life on their birthday, replicate this idea. It will make a lasting impression. Even more so when the Packers come out with a win:)