Tulsa: May 2006 Archives

Viva Casa Viva


At the end of last September, Tulsa's Casa Bonita closed its doors, but only because the space was to be leased to the founder of Casa Bonita, Bill Waugh, for a new Casa Viva restaurant. Same concept, same decor, and the original ownership.

The restaurant reopened this Monday, and tonight, as a belated end-of-the-school-year treat, our family had dinner there.

Everything had a bright new coat of paint, but otherwise it is the same place, with the same basic menu. The system is slightly different; you pay when order, as you come in, which makes putting a tip on a credit card, a bit awkward, and makes it impossible to add something later (e.g. deciding you want a soda in mid-meal).

They are still working out some kinks with the system. They forgot to put guacamole on my all-you-can-eat dinner. There was some confusion at the order pickup window. We got hold of some sticky silverware, which was promptly replaced. When there were problems the staff were prompt and polite in fixing them. Everyone enjoyed their food.

After dinner, we walked around to look at the other rooms. It looks like they may have reopened some eating areas that had been closed, including the old jail. Here are my two big kids in front of the Treasure Room.


We played some arcade games, then went back to the old cantina for the magic show. We finished up at the arcade. My five-year-old liked the alligator-slapping game and the dragon-stomping game. (I helped on the alligator game, and we set the high score.) The nine-year-old played the Star Wars podracer game a couple of times. I played Centipede, and my wife had a try at Skee-Ball.

All told, we were there about two-and-a-half hours, and it was a fun evening for the whole family.

A friend of mine seems to be a magnet for political survey calls, and she makes a point of e-mailing me when a new one comes in. This one is fascinating. Here's her verbatim account of the call:

Call early this evening, which I cut short after 15 minutes, and told we were only half-way through. He said he wasn't allowed to tell from where he was calling (I asked), yet chuckled somewhat knowingly to some answers. But then, maybe he called other KFAQ listeners...

First 3 questions dealt with approval or not of 1-City Council 2-County Commission 3-mayor

Next several dealt with city heading in right direction, view of city (small regional like Wichita, Springfield, etc.), large regional (KC, San Antonio, JAX !!!), large national (Dallas, NYC, Seattle), international (Paris, etc.) Unbelievable...Then asked if Tulsa was any of the aforementioned in its glorious past.

Should Tulsa be known for something i.e.. energy rather than oil OR something like an Eiffel Tower, St. Louis arch, Golden Gate Bridge (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!)

Then it got into pushing the need for younger residents, higher-paying jobs, downtown dev. to fight crime, things to do in Tulsa, city center more imp. than the burbs, utilizing the river...

RIVER-the main point of the call-need for development to combat all the problems of the city.

Vision of restaurants, parks, recreation...making a lake with an island in the middle with housing for 10k residents, sailing, concerts. A very large canopy (LANDMARK LIKE THE EIFFEL TOWER-NOT MAKING THIS UP!!) Great detail on the canopy over the island which would keep temp to 80 in the summer, warm in the winter, put Tulsa on the tourist map...

TAXES-how much would I be willing to pay? Another penny on the salestax or $140 (not sure may have been $114) on each 100k of assessed value of property.

At this point he lost me & I was late leaving, so thanked him and said good-bye. Hope someone tapes the whole interview for you. There were voices in the background going over the same questions.

Caller ID: out of area

So -- whoever is behind the call was testing the water for higher taxes to pay for doing something dramatic with the river.

Here's an idea -- stop work on the arena, use that money to pay for river development infrastructure (low water dams, bank stabilization, etc.), and leave the skeleton of the arena as a monument to politicians and special interests who pushed their own vision and pushed the people's vision off into the distant future.

(By the way, if ever you get a survey call on political subjects, write down all the details you can and e-mail them to me at blog at batesline dot com. It's a good way to get an early warning of the trends that are headed our way.)

About a week ago, it caught my eye as I was headed east on 11th, just east of Harvard: A portable sign with just three words on it: BEEF ON WECK. It was in front of The Right Wing, a restaurant that specializes in Buffalo-style hot wings.

Those three words won't mean much to most Tulsans, but I took a number of lengthy trips to Erie County, New York, a couple of years ago, where beef on weck is the true local specialty, more so than spicy chicken wings.

Beef on weck is thin-sliced roast beef, served on a kummelweck roll -- a bun encrusted with coarse salt and caraway seeds, with a bit of a glaze to it -- with a bit of juice either on the sandwich or on the side. In a fine Buffalo-area tavern (like the Bar-Bill Tavern in East Aurora) you'll find a pot of prepared horseradish at the table for your sandwich.

I had seen beef on weck on only one other Tulsa menu: that of the ultra-elegant, whiter-than-white Table Ten in Brookside. It was $10, if I recall correctly. (It no longer seems to be on the menu.)

This Monday I saw the doctor for the bronchitis that had been dogging me for several days. His office was near 11th and Utica, just a couple of miles from The Right Wing. It was a perfect opportunity and a perfect reason to have my first beef on weck in two long years -- nothing like a sandwich piled high with horseradish to cut through all the gunk.

It took a while, but it was worth the wait. My only complaint -- I was given a very small cup of horseradish -- nowhere near enough to get some with every bite. I'll remember to ask for more next time.

There is something about the blending of the flavors and textures. I think that coarse salt on the bun is the key.

Here's a recipe for converting kaiser rolls to kummelweck. And here's a paean I wrote to beef on weck back in February '04.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from May 2006.

Tulsa: April 2006 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: June 2006 is the next archive.

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