D'Novo Lean Gourmet's chef Drew Flatt has managed to conjure a seasonally inspired menu of healthy, gourmet lunches and dinners without ever once tipping the 500-calorie scale. Stay in kangaroo prize-fighting form with a tasty salad such as the coconut-marinated chicken drizzled with an orange-basil vinaigrette atop a bed of crisp greens, macadamia nuts, mango, and red peppers ($10.95), or warm up chilly chitlins with a bowl of the black-bean soup, topped with Oaxaca cheese and cumin sour cream ($4.95). Dieting coworkers can keep grumbling bellies from breaking out into embarrassingly loud, profane tirades with hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, including the open-faced grilled bison burger ($10.95), the turkey taco burrito ($8.95), and the southwest chicken wrap ($8.95). As you luxuriate in D'Novo's chic white leather booths and crystalline chandeliers, indulge in a slice of lemon pound cake ($4.95) or two chocolate flourless cake ($4.95)—both of which sweetly prove that one can stay healthy without having to subsist entirely on stale rice cakes and still-life paintings of fruit bowls.
Sunlight filters through the thick leaves of whispering pine tress, illuminating a 20-acre clearing of vineyards, lily ponds, and lush gardens. This is the site of Whispering Pines Restaurant and Lounge, whose fairytale backdrop and upscale French fare has won the veneration of Discover Oklahoma. Guests who find their way onto its grounds are greeted by a towering 1900s-style mansion adorned in ivy and surrounded by a wrap-around porch. Inside, white-clothed tables scatter across deep-red carpets amid hanging artwork and a roaring fireplace.
Owners and head chefs Chinda and Rany Kchao await to serve guests, drawing on years of fine-dining and French-continental culinary experience. The Kchaos and their family bring forth plates of upscale French fare and decadent steaks, punctuating each course with a house-made, palate-cleansing sorbet instead of a palate-cleansing spray from the garden hose. After dinner, guests of the inn climb the grand staircase to the main-house suites or meander across the grounds to independent cottages, where whirlpools and baskets of treats await them. In the morning, servers deliver freshly prepared breakfasts to each room.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
All Royal Bavaria's unfiltered beers are brewed by guidelines of German purity law, which means they can use only four ingredients: hops, malt, yeast, and their own well water. Owned by Andy Gmeiner, a chef and restaurateur from Munich, the microbrewery sits on a 5.5-acre property. The central building is fashioned in the image of a 5,000-square-foot Bavarian farmhouse, complete with an enormous gabled roof, a 175-person outdoor beer garden, and guard rails to prevent polka dancers from flying out of control. As cool steins click to punctuate songs and toasts, traditional German dishes such as wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, and bratwurst unfurl banners of steam against the wood-paneled walls and vaulted ceiling.
The dining room, which is reminiscent of a rural bed and breakfast, is lined with antique knickknacks, pans, and deer antlers. Large picture windows offer patrons a view of the brewery, where copper tanks mash and ferment Royal's six house-made beers. While noshing on a handcrafted sausage, revelers sway to sounds of occasional live entertainment or purchase beer by the half-barrel, hand-squeezed from the folds of the finest accordions.
The owners of Tidal School Winery and Vineyard chose a fitting venue for educating the public about their selection of European-style and Oklahoma sweet wines—an 8,000-square-foot historic schoolhouse. Originally built in the 1920s to educate John D. Rockefeller’s workforce, the building now houses a banquet hall and tasting room where visitors can swirl, sip, and see who can spit take the farthest with the vineyard’s wines. Further entertaining the senses, the winery hosts monthly musical events that are free to the public and spotlight Oklahoma-based bands.