Table Talk: August 2012
The buzz on Tulsa’s tastiest products, restaurants and events.
Top chef hits T-Town
James Oseland, editor in chief of the award-winning foodie magazine Saveur and judge on “Top Chef Masters,” is coming to town to speak about his new book, “The New Comfort Food: Home Cooking From Around the World.”
BookSmart Tulsa and TulsaPeople Magazine are sponsoring the two-night event, Aug. 20-21. It will feature a gourmet dinner hosted by TulsaPeople A-List winner Jenny Vergara and her Test Kitchen as well as a book signing at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
Monday, Aug. 20: Guests will enjoy a multi-course dinner prepared by chef Justin Thompson of Juniper (inspired by his favorite comfort-food dishes). At the time I submitted this column, Vergara was busy securing a hip location, so be sure to visit www.booksmarttulsa.com for all of the updated details.
Tuesday, Aug. 21: The public is invited to the Food Bank, 1304 N. Kenosha Ave., for a free evening with Oseland. Guests are asked to bring two nonperishable canned goods as a donation, which will go toward stocking the Food Bank’s warehouse. Oseland will speak about the cookbook, Saveur and “Top Chef” and will take questions from guests before the book signing.
Under Oseland’s editorship, Saveur has won more than 25 awards. Oseland’s book, “The New Comfort Food,” includes more than 100 of the world’s most soul-satisfying meals. It offers up classic specialties ranging from New York cheesecake to Thai tom yum goong soup, Mexican chilies rellenos and Hungarian chicken paprikash.
The book also features many first-person stories from some of Saveur’s most acclaimed writers and ingredient glossaries to help you navigate recipes from around the globe.
And while we’re on the topic of comfort food …
Oklahoma has never been one to skimp on food festivals, and August has its share of great ones. Steak, calf fries (yes, those calf fries) and watermelon are the stars at these three popular events, taking place around the state.
Rush Springs Watermelon Festival
One of the most popular community festivals in Oklahoma since its inception in August 1948, the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival rewards visitors with a seed-spitting contest, carnival rides and free icy-cold watermelon slices during the heat of the afternoon. The festival (featuring more than 100 vendors) serves more than 50,000 pounds of ripe watermelon each year on the second Saturday in August to more than 20,000 visitors celebrating the abundant local crop.
WHEN: Aug. 11
WHERE: Jeff Davis Park, Rush Springs
INFO: Call 580-476-2338 or click here.
Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off
If you are looking for something a bit heartier, this is your event. More than 50 competitive grilling teams from around the region are firing up their grills to compete for the title of “Best Steak in Oklahoma” at the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off. After the competition, patrons will enjoy a 16-ounce rib-eye steak dinner, including steak, a baked potato, salad and bread.
Other activities include a classic car show, live music and tasty samplings offered by many of the cooking teams throughout the afternoon. Don’t miss the Firehouse Cooking Challenge featuring a spirited grilling competition between 10 Tulsa Fire Department teams.
Tickets are $20 each and available at www.oksteakcookoff.com. A limited number of tickets will be available at the event.
WHEN: Aug. 25
WHERE: Downtown Tulsa, East Fifth Street and South Cincinnati Avenue
INFO: Visit www.oksteakcookoff.com.
World’s Largest Calf Fry Festival & Cook-Off
If you are a true Okie, you know what a calf fry is — and may even have eaten one. To put it simply, to make a calf fry, you need a calf. A bull, precisely. And then you need that bull to give up two of the things that make him a bull. And then you fry them. In this case, some 2,000 pounds of them. Got it? Many Oklahomans have, for the World’s Largest Calf Fry Festival & Cook-Off has been a popular Vinita tradition since 1979, when three locals started the festival to honor ranchers as well as gather the community for a good time.
If calf fries are just not for you, don’t worry. There are also beans, cobblers, salsas and baked goods to try, but this is way more than a food-tasting event. There are arts and crafts, children’s games and activities, amusement rides and live music. The Cowboy Games feature four-man teams competing in bulldogging, penning and more, and the evening is topped off with one of the area’s largest rodeos, the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo.
WHEN: Aug. 25
WHERE: Craig County Fairgrounds, Vinita
INFO: Click here.