Autumn has arrived, which gives us a chance to fall into some of our favorite comfort foods to warm the soul as temperatures drop.
Good news: The 405 diningscape is teeming with options to satisfy your favorite fall craving whether it’s a hot cup of soup to start a meal or something warm and sweet.
Pho and ramen soups to warm you up
- Pho Lien Hoa
- VII Bistro
- Tamashii Ramen House
- Goro Ramen
- Fusion Cafe
- Lido Restaurant
Once upon time finding a bowl of soup that wasn’t chicken noodle or chowder was a chore. No more. After the fall of Saigon nearly 40 years ago, a substantial contingent of Vietnamese refugees found their way to Oklahoma City and have since made pho a staple of the Oklahoma City diet at places like Pho Lien Hoa (now with two locations) and VII Bistro the Asian District. Today the dish can be found from Norman to Edmond and Mid-Del to Yukon.
But Pho isn’t the only hearty soup one can find around town. Places like Tamashii and Goro brought ramen tradition to town while Fusion Cafe in Norman features an extraordinary Korean Spicy Potato Soup, and local hot and sour soup tradition was resuscitated when Lido Restaurant was reopened in the spring.
Steaming bowls of chili
- Ike’s Chili
- James E. McNellie’s Public House
- Ron’s Hamburgers and Chili
Let’s get something straight: Chili is not soup. Sure it’s served in a bowl, but how often do you see chicken noodle soup served over a hot dog or burger?
Steaming bowls of beef swimming in a thick river of angry spices were part of the foundation of the Oklahoma food-service industry thanks to places like Ike’s Chili in Tulsa, which has operated since 1908. Today you can find a bowl of Beer House Chili at James E. McNellie’s Public House, Ron’s Hamburgers and Chili, the nearest chili cookoff or Sonic and Braum’s locations statewide.
Salads, mac and cheese, candied yams and more delicious side dishes
- Florence’s Restaurant
- The Hamilton Supperette and Lounge
- Grey Sweater
- Ma Der Lao Kitchen
The coming of Thanksgiving signals the opening of pumpkin spice season and the promise of root vegetables. For more than 60 years, Florence’s Restaurant has been a pillar of northeast Oklahoma City on the merits of its myriad of comfort foods. Among them, candied yams that are dazzling year-round but ideal for the fall.
Florence’s also serves macaroni and cheese, but my favorite version is at The Hamilton Supperette and Lounge. Who makes your favorite mac n cheese?
A recent trip around Grey Sweater in ten courses introduced me to a turnip delicately braised via sous vide and served beneath a muddle of coconut and cilantro.
At the brand-new Ma Der Lao Kitchen, salads serve a different role on the table. Take traditional Nam Khao, which is considered a salad due to the large amount of lettuce it’s served with. But the lettuce that comes with this crispy rice salad isn’t chopped and tossed, instead it’s picked up and used to pinch up the rice into a wrap.
Pie as a fall dessert is a must
- Florence’s Restaurant
- Nic’s Place Diner and Lounge
- Arbuckle Mountain Original Fried Pies
- Jimmy’s Round-Up Cafe
While we’re waiting for the pecan and pumpkin pies of Thanksgiving and the fruitcakes eggnog of Christmas, it might be a good time to reach for a warm dish of cobbler from places like Florence’s or Nic’s Place Diner and Lounge.
For something really decadent, drop by the new Homeland at NE 36 Street and Lincoln Boulevard for a warm slice of iconic strawberry-banana cake from Leo’s Barbecue.