Restaurant Review: Iguana Mexican Grill

Iguana Mexican Grill is a name familiar to most who live in or around Oklahoma City. Iguana has been around for about a decade, but has a new vibe to surprise you with. Tucked into 9th Street off Automobile Alley, Iguana is packing a new punch. 

Throughout January, Iguana closed for a brief stint to revamp their space and menu. OKC's taco and tex-mex competition has been upping it's game recently. I applaud Iguana for taking this as an opportunity to stay in the game instead of sinking to the bottom. After seeing Sara Kate share this spoiler a few weeks ago on Instagram, I was even more anxious to see what they had done with the space. 

I've enjoyed Iguana as an easy spot for dinner, the occasional brunch, even a few events. Last week I stopped in for lunch to see what they had to offer post-revamp. Right behind the hostess stand you are greeted with a bright pink neon sign reading "Make Tacos Not War." I now want this for my bedroom. They removed the wall blocking off the bar area, creating a more open space with a community table and bar stools, perfect for happy hour.

We were seated in the original and main dining room, taking a seat at the banquette they created all along the east wall. Little aztec print pillows were scattered along the booth seat. The revamped Iguana is full of pink, turquoise, bright blue, lime green and other bright and playful colors. The food dishes now equally represent those colors too.  

I took my trusty eating partner, Kathleen, knowing that she would be more than happy to share and take bites off each other's plates. Not that guacamole isn't always great, but I'm on a guacamole kick right now. Salsa, sure, queso, I'll pass, I just want the guac. Iguana's GM, Ross, brought out a sampler of guacamoles with all different toppings. Kathleen loved the pineapple, I loved the smoky pepitas. 

For our entrees, I splurged a bit and got the chimichurri chicken with lime rice and veggies. I purposely got a bigger entree knowing my fridge was empty and that my leftovers would be perfect for dinner #noshame.  Kat got the fish taco "a la tuma" style with refried black beans and jalapeño cheese corn bread. What's a la tuma you ask? Named after an Iguana employee, they take the taco tortilla, but first sprinkle cheese directly on the flat top, put the tortilla over it, let the cheese get barely crispy then flip it over and fill the taco. The lunch menu averages around $10 a dish and serves perfect portions for lunch and Mexican food, for that matter.  

The updated menu is a foodgrammer's dream. So much color and so photogenic. The old Iguana fell into the brown, tan and yellow spectrum. The new Iguana is bright, vibrant and flavorful. Colorful food typically leads to better taste too. At least in my opinion!

The food, decor and service were all what I hoped for. Big ups to our server Alex who was as great as our meal! But make sure to take a bathroom break to check out this adorable wallpaper!

And since sister is pregnant, churros for dessert. I have to be honest I refrained to keep from going into a sugar coma and falling asleep during the remainder of my work day. But by her facial expressions and sound effects, I could tell they were delicious! 

Has it been a while since your last Iguana visit? With lunch, brunch, dinner, happy hour specials 2-7PM, $1.50 tacos on Tuesday's, catering and events, they have so much to lure you in. Take a peek back to see all the positive changes they've made! 

Annie

Let's work together! I'd love to review your restaurant. Email me annie@takeabiteblog.com so we can chat!
*Disclaimer: This is not a paid promoted post but I was partially paid in kind for compensation.

Bites of My Life

Happy April! You know what they say, April showers... It's currently raining out my window as I cozy up in bed on Sunday night. I am loooooooving this start to spring rain/storms. I weirdly love crazy storms and tornado weather, but this light rain we have been having, especially at night is the ultimate sleep medicine. Although, I'm trying to hurry through this post without falling asleep so I can stay up to watch the finale of Big Little Lies. I'm so sad and mad it's the last episode, but cannot wait for the plot to unravel. 

-Trying to make salads not boring. 
-"Why are you dressed like a cowboy?" -Mom, "Cause this is trendy right now." -Me. Ugh. 
-When you forgot you had eggs boiling on the stove and go for a walk. At least it was just the eggs that burned and not the whole house...
-Guacamole trio (or quad) at Iguana Mexican Grill.
-I have had this thing for wallpaper recently. How great is this, in the bathrooms at Iguana.
-Back on my homemade matcha game and I think I'm starting to nail my recipe. Still working on it before I share it!
-I never used dry shampoo until this year and now I can't live without. Just got started using Lazy Dry Shampoo and I love it. You apply it at night with a brush and let all the natural ingredients sink in while you sleep! 
-Did someone say frose`, yes way! This is going to be my summer drink c/o The Jones Assembly
-Doing what the bible says, the food bible in this case (Bon Appetit).
-Friday night grill out. 
-Beef short rib stuffed bell pepper. Stella keeps reminding me why it's favorite brunch spot in OKC. 
-Living room inspo from a home tour this weekend. 
-Kettle corn is a very acceptable dinner. 
-Can't stop making my Perfect CCCs. Check out my insta to see how I've been changing them up recently!
-A lick here, a lick there. New recipe post coming later this week!

Annie

Restaurant Review: The Pritchard

Snuggled in the heart of the Plaza District, The Pritchard unifies upscale and casual to create a concept with delicious craft cocktails, wines from all over the world, and locally-sourced dishes being served for dinner, late night and brunch. 

The moment you walk in you can't help but be grabbed by the thoughtfully curated decor and ambience of the space. The well stocked bar is paired with marble countertops, adorable bar stools (that I want to steal for my own home) and an epic gallery wall at the focal point. Across the way a deep green tufted velvet booth runs from the front to the back of the restaurant. They really took the time with the design of the space and it doesn't go unnoticed. I'm a sucker for restaurant ambience and they do it well. 

I came for brunch last Sunday and could not wait to write this post to tell you all about it. Everything from the service, to the food, to being able to doodle on the table had me swooning. 

The Pritchard is open Tues-Sun. During the week they focus on dinner, but add in brunch starting at 10 a.m on Saturday and Sunday. 

The whole menu is set up tapas/small plate style. When I heard this I was slightly skeptical because I'm not usually a fan of this set up. In my past tapas experience things get expensive quick and it's always hard to guage how much to order for whatever size group. I'm not sure how they do it, but The Pritchard just makes it work. 

I arrived Sunday morning ready to put their menu to the test. It is split up into brunch small plates, charcuterie, cheeses and proteins. Our waiter did an excellent job helping describe the menu as well as guide us on what and how many of each to order. We wanted all the brunch food so we stuck to the small plates column. I can't wait to come back for the cheese and charcuterie! 

After gazing the menu we settled on four plates for the two of us to share. That was easily the Johnny Cakes, Spanish Baked Egg, Popcorn Grits and Fruit Plate. The Johnny Cakes were unreal and a must order if you go for brunch. The plate comes with three cornmeal cakes, topped with homemade hazelnut spread, bananas and chopped hazelnuts. The cakes were thin yet fluffy and the hazelnut spread. I can't even. Think Nutella minus the chocolate, but better!

The popcorn grits shown above got the award for "favorite thing we ordered." There is no popcorn in the grits, but the name comes from the way they prepare the corn to become grits. They are cooked up with some pancetta inside and big shavings of grana padano on top, very similar to parmesan. People are skeptics of grits, but I grew up eating them on the reg, so I will always love them in any form.

The Spanish Baked Egg is a tomato ragu made of tomatoes, onions and spices topped with an egg. They use a unique method for cooking the egg that was new to me, but explained as very similar to a poached egg. This dish was great, it really was but everything else upstaged it a bit.

We were feeling great about what and how much we ordered, but head chef Shelby Sieg, sent out a few complimentary dishes she didn't want us to miss. Thank you Shelby!! We willing unbuttoned our top buttons to make room for her delicious concoctions. First up the Fried Chicken Biscuits with housemade pickle and hot sauce. The biscuits were fluffy yet crispy, just how they should be.

She also brought out their brussels sprouts with spanish chorizo. Simply roasted but paired with salty chorizo. They were a good offset to the grits, Johnny Cakes and biscuits!

Now who wants to go back with me for brunch round two? I have to get back to try their delicata squash, housemade kolaches and cocktails. Follow The Pritchard on instagram and bookmark them on Yelp, where you can also read another version of this review.

Annie

Let's work together! I'd love to review your restaurant. Email me annie@takeabiteblog.com so we can chat!
*Disclaimer: This is not a paid promoted post but I was partially paid in kind for compensation.

Bites of My Life

January is coming to an end and so is Whole 30. It has felt long, but also an extremely short 30 days. I'm ready for February. Another new beginning. I've grown up a traditionalist and liked things kept the same, but as I get older I always feel so refreshed with new weeks, new years, new months, new beginnings. Do you dread the start of a new week or month, or feel encouraged by the difference it brings?

-Made my first sweet potato toast and O.M.G. Jill Bauer said just this morning on the Today Show that it is the new avocado toast! Just thinly slice your raw sweet potato lengthwise, run it through the toaster twice, then top with desired toppings!
-I'm slightly obsessed with this recipe and want you all to make it. I posted this Crock-Pot Curry Chicken over Cauliflower Rice last week and you just haaaaave to have it. 
-I finally got some Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides after seeing it go viral on instagram. Collagen is essential in everyday health, but you can read more specifics here. VP powder dissolves into virtually anything. Put it in your morning coffee, tea, smoothie, soup etc.
-Banana and almond butter is my favorite Whole 30 breakfast. It tastes so indulgent to me for some reason. A pretty presentation helps to! Just split your banana lengthwise, spread with AB, sprinkle with cinnamon and an optional drizzle of tahini.
-Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup was lunch everyday last week. The recipe is posted so you can enjoy it too!
-I shared my step by step tips on how to make perfect fried eggs in a cast iron skillet in my insta stories on Thursday. Missed it? Leave a comment and I'll give you the run down. I then topped them with the goods: maldon salt, sumac and turmeric.
-Woke up Sunday to then enjoy the most delicious brunch at recently opened, The Pritchard. A full restaurant review will be coming later this week!
-StudioHop gives you access to a curated list of local fitness studios so you can enjoy one membership at multiple studios. They started in Dallas and are now coming to OKC! I'm so excited to help share the news! The fun starts 2/6, but sign up for their newsletter here (scroll to the bottom) so you can be the first to know more. Now #hoptoit!
-In this final weekend of Whole 30, my non W30 cravings were strong. I wanted pizza and chips and dips so hard. I attempted to fullfill the cravings with veggie chips and compliant salsa. Along with plantain chips and guacamole and copious amounts of cashew butter...

Annie

The Restaurant Style Ginger Dressing Everyone Loves

I love going out to get sushi, but my favorite part is that lick-the-plate-good carrot ginger dressing most Japanese restaurants serve on their house salads. Back at the beginning of the summer my roommates and I went out for sushi and we got to talking how much we loved the dressing. At this point I knew I had recreate it. Last Friday we went out for sushi again. Not my best example of manners, but I couldn't stop dipping my chopsticks in the little dish of dressing. I even saved a little to dip my sushi in. 

I'd done some research on recipes a while ago and tt was time to finally whip up my own. Lot's of fresh ginger and some carrots processed together with asian oils and seasonings and you get carrot ginger dressing just like your favorite Japanese restaurant! I added some ground ginger as well to give it a little more ginger kick. I could eat this by the spoonful. I sort of did while I was making it...

Japanese Style Ginger Dressing adapted from Pure Wow
yields 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. chopped shallot
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt

Directions:
In a food processor, process the carrots, fresh ginger and shallot until finely grated. Add in the ground ginger, oil, rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, sugar and salt. Process all ingredients until everything is incorporated. Then taste test, the best part! I needed a little more soy sauce, but it's up to your taste buds. Add more if needed and combine until it tastes perfect. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge. Dressing will stay fresh for one week.

Perfect dressed up over some fresh greens, edamame, tomatoes, red onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Restaurant style at home yo!

Annie