Food on Ice in OKC

Our second day in OKC was a busy one, but that didn’t prevent us from enjoying some food and fun in this Southern/Midwestern city.  In fact, we had a chance to explore Bricktown, Guatemalan food, and even ice skate!


Café Kacao (Ashley Allen)

For lunch we decided to try out some authentic Guatemalan food at Café Kacao. Before being seated, however, we waited outside the restaurant chatting, a result of the eatery’s popularity. This wait, a bit lengthy, was worth it. The music was upbeat and the interior was very colorful.

Looking at the menu, we were mystified by the many options we had before us. Drinks alone were provided by lot of different choices, from juices, to Mexican sodas, and specialty drinks like the Horchata latte ( a sweet mixture of rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee). In the end, we ordered Migallas, cochinito pibil, adobada, and even crab pupusas.

Cafe Kacao, OK City, LEAP Center, SHSU

Ashely’s favorite dish, the Migallas, was a breakfast dish composed of scrambled eggs, various vegetables, Pico Del Gallo and crushed tortilla chips mixed together, accompanied by a small fruit cup and black beans. The plate was so delicious that she practically wiped it clean, a feat that has eluded many of us during this feast-filled-trip.

Bricktown Brewery  (Ashley)

For dinner, we ventured into the city’s river walk. Following the foot steps of the Sooners, or at least the direction of Paul Moor’s sculptures, we began our trek to the Land Run Monument. With friendly chatter and a shining skyline, we followed the soft, rippling river, and before we knew it, we had reached the city’s Bricktown District.

The historically industrial district turned social district, with it’s bright lights, quirky sights, and lively music, was eye candy so as to make us hungry. After walking a lap around the square, where we saw a Mickey Mantle statue…

Mickey Mantle, Bricktown, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

…and even a statue of Sisyphus…

Sisyphus, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

…we stopped by a restaurant called the Bricktown Brewery. It was  different from the other places that we had eaten during the trip, strictly because it wasn’t an authentic, ethnic-based restaurant. The majority of the group ordered different pizza pies to share amongst ourselves. Ryan’s favorite was the combination pizza which had morning sausage, pepperoni, and ham, topped with additional mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers. The experience here was excellent and if ever in Bricktown again we would definitely go straight to this great establishment. As Ashley commented “every place we’ve eaten in Oklahoma has been such a great experience, and I really appreciate the exposure to the different cultures and the food that goes with them!”


Slipping Through the Ice Rink (Ryan)

After our meal, we walked the few blocks to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, where we took advantage of their skating rink. With Professor Yawn’s instructions all of the LEAPsters and Ryan laced up and took to the ice.

Devon Ice Rink, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

Although it was a small rink, it seemed to take some of us forever to make a full lap, whether it be because we were holding onto the rails or we couldn’t seem to get any momentum.

Devon Ice Rink, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

Some us, however, performed our very best skating abilities. For example, Brian accidentally did his best impression of Charlie Chaplin while sliding and slipping through the ice.

Devon Ice Rink, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

He would seem to fall for about ten seconds and then catch himself on the railing in a cool and relaxed position as if nothing had happened. We only stayed for a little while, as the air grew colder and our feet began to ache. It was unclear as to the professor’s motivation to bring us to the rink, whether it was to expose us to a sport we seldom have a chance to practice or for his own amusement to look at us fall and tumble.

Perhaps his absence at the rink was indication to the latter hypothesis.

Devon Ice Rink, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

Ashley, Ryan, and Kaitlyn proved the best skaters…

Devon Ice Rink, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

…and Ashley and Ryan even raced, with Ryan’s longer legs providing the edge.

Devon Ice Rink, OK City, SHSU, LEAP Center

No matter the falls on the ice, we all had ice-loads of fun. With iced backs (from those that had fallen on the ring), we walked back to the car and headed back to the hotel. As a day well spent in learning, exploration, and vigorous sport, we welcomed our bed with a tired, melancholy sigh, for tomorrow would be our last day of our Texoma Adventure.

 

Midwest Tour, Day 5: Marvelous Madison!

We started our morning with a fun-filled trip to the admission-free Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. Because of its layout, when we first walked into the zoo, we thought that it was very small, but we soon learned that it was not. In fact, it kept expanding into a bigger area that we had anticipated. As we wandered the zoo, we were greeted by a furry-faced lion…

Zoo_Lion_Web…and some surprisingly active orangutans. Some of our favorite animals were the polar bears, otters, a white rhino…

the giraffes…

Zoo_Giraffe_Web

and polar bears.

Zoo_Polar_Bear_Web

The zoo even had a bird aviary where Alex was almost attacked by a parrot! (Okay, not exactly attacked…)

Zoo_Parrot_Web

The zoo also abutted a pretty City park, where they had green space and Lake Wingra…

…along with many geese!

Zoo_Geese_WebBefore heading back, we took some time to enjoy the beautiful foliage in the area…

After that exciting stop, we were ready for lunch–at DLUX. Alex ordered the Farmhouse burger, a beef patty with a fried green tomato, Monterey jack cheese and bacon.

DLUX_Burger_WebThe burger was delicious, but what really gave it a different taste was the tomato jam that came on the side. Constance had the Sunrise burger which featured a fried egg and the tomato jam as well. Alongside the delectable burgers, we shared parmesan and truffle cream fries that were phenomenal. We then tried milkshakes—Salted Caramel, Apple Crisp, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel. All were awesome.

DLUX_Shakes_WebOur appetites satisfied, we made our way to Monona Terrace, via the farmers’ market, which was set up downtown. The market was stocked with locally grown vegetables, fruits, homemade sweets and breads, and of course, plenty of cheese. Some of us were able to sample the many cheeses in spite of our recent, filling lunch.

We ambled our way into Madison’s Monona Terrace, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Built posthumously in 1997, following Wright’s many unsuccessful attempts to get the design approved while he was alive.   Monona Terrace now serves as a convention center in downtown Madison, resting between the capitol and Lake Monona.

Monona_Terrace_Capitol_WebCapitol View from Monona Terrace

Wright designed the complete outside of the building, while Anthony Puttnam, an architect from Taliesin Associated Architects, designed some of the interior.

Viewed from the exterior, multiple curves are a defining element to Monona Terrace’s architecture, adding to an almost space-like futuristic feel. Inside, we passed photos of Wright’s work from all over the nation, while Professor Yawn shared his knowledge of the building. Wright’s theme of circles followed us inside as we observed in the use of lighting, signs, and even a round staircase corridor. The floor, covered in bright burgundy carpet in a leaf pattern, struck us right as we walked in.

Although very different from other works we have seen by Wright, Monona Terrace stands out in its majestic beauty and functionality for the city, two areas Wright strived to make exemplary.

Monona_Terrace_Girls_2_Web

Undeterred by the professionals attending a conference, we wandered the halls and even made it outside to the lake-edge to take pictures and enjoy the brisk breeze off the water.

Lake_Monona_Constance_Alex_WebWe also made our way to the terrace…

Monona_Terrace_Trees_Web…where we enjoyed the lake view.

Lake_Monona_Constance_Alex_Selfie_3_Web…and capitol view.

Mr. Wright would have been proud to see his work come to life, as the convention center served functionally a purpose as well as kept with his original design plans.

After finding our way through the streets crowded with thousands of students walking, biking, and running, we found the University of Wisconsin Law School, ready for our tour. We were guided by a law student who informed us of the strong alum community that the law school has, and described the general day of a typical law student at UW. Our tour guide showed us some class rooms, one of which was the constitutional law class room, and one in which the moot court team holds their practices. We also stopped by the much-occupied library and saw John Steuart Curry’s “The Freeing of the Slaves” mural.

Law_School_Mural_Web

Once our tour guide wrapped up his part, we explored the campus for a while before leaving.

After our enlightening tour at the UW School of Law, we regrouped and returned to another part of the UWM campus for some rec time. We evaded much traffic and many pedestrians en route to The Shell, where students at UWM have the opportunity to ice skate, among other activities, as part of their recreational fees.

Excited to do something not generally available in Texas, we grabbed skates and entered the small arena. What we did not expect was the experience of those who would be skating around us. Natural-born Texans, we both have ice-skated only a few times in our lives, combined, with those living in the North likely to learn to skate shortly after walking, as the tale would be told.

We sucked in our pride, put on our skates, and stepped out onto the slick ice. Close to the stress we encountered at the Willis Tower Sky Deck in Chicago, both of us clung to the sidewalls with death grips to avoid falling at all costs.

After a few times around the rink on the wall, Constance got a bit of a hand at it and slowly sped up and away from the safety net.

Alex, meanwhile, stayed closer to the wall, but made a few friends along the way – even one possible future hockey star, if he is to be believed…. We had less than an hour in the rink but had an absolute ball; and Alex insists she must come back in order to truly master the art of ice skating. (Or maybe to check up on that hockey star…)

Finally, after working up an appetite on the ice, we roved through traffic across Madison once more to find dinner. A cute restaurant tucked in a strip mall, Nile offered Mediterranean food that was very different from what we had tried previously. We began the meal with salad, soup, and an appetizer of Kibbee Balls, a fried meat and bulgur mix that had a great smoky flavor. Alex tried the Mediterranean Shrimp, served in a red sauce with a side of rice, while Constance enjoyed the beef kebab and hummus that was truly, otherworldly good. Overall, the meal satisfied our craving for Mediterranean and impressed us at the same time. It was a great day in Wisconsin; one that made us very happy that our paths had crossed with LEAP and Wisconsin!

RR_Tracks_Alex_Constance_Web