At the vivacious Bolero Tapas Bar & Spanish Grill, the clatter of passing plates competes with the chatter of diners as they enjoy their multicourse meals. Executive Chef Curtis Bramlett and second-in-command Justin Ward constantly enhance the menu with weekly specials, adding to the diversity of flavors already found among the tapas. The small servings are meant to be divided and discussed, much like the drawings that Rembrandt produced on flimsy paper. The golden-fried goat cheese drizzled with tupelo honey earned laurels from the Oklahoma Gazette, which also called the caramel flan “heavenly.”
Dark plank flooring supports the warm browns of the restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light and fresh air to imbue the indoor space. At rows of outdoor tables, patrons can sit beneath the starlight to arrange their tapas plates in shapes that mimic constellations.
After a lifetime of practice as an ob-gyn and 10 years as an amateur winemaker, Gary Strebel’s vinting hobby hit a bump in the road: His fermenting creations were taking up too much space in the kitchen, and his wife, Sherry, was tired of the mess. After a lengthy licensing process, Gary moved his operation into the barn, first taking his wines to the public in 2007. The now-renovated hundred-year-old barn currently serves as both a winery and gift shop, which frees the Strebels’ kitchen space for the family and frees visitors from having to wedge themselves between the refrigerator and the dishwasher. In addition to its overflowing wine racks, the gift shop also fills its rustic bounds with paraphernalia such as glasses, billfolds, jewelry, scarves and purses, and Cowboy and Sooner memorabilia.
Papa Dio's owner and head chef Bill Bonadio is a strong believer in tradition. His restaurant has spanned three generations of Bonadios, who have carefully crafted hearty Italian cuisine served on tables across two dining rooms. Boasting a sprawling list of more than 160 items, the menu runs the epicurean gamut through classic spaghetti and meatballs to Dio's original fried pizzas, while their new "Little Menu" includes items under $10. At the wine bar, tables draped in crisp white linens surround a horseshoe-shaped bar that was made with wood salvaged from an 18th-century home in Louisiana and a horseshoe salvaged from an 18th-century giant horse.
Throughout wedding season, bells in the century-old Spanish chapel at Chapel Creek Winery ring out across the grape fields. Students of Redlands Community College's enology and viticulture program tend to the vines’ more than 60 grape varieties, taking part in each step of the winemaking process. They grow, crush, and reanimate the grapes before fermenting and bottling the wine. Guests visiting the winery can tour the fields, watch the students in action, and stomp on grapes inside wooden barrels.
Determined to keep their students interested and engaged, the instructors of Wine and Palette hold classes at myriad locations throughout the city. Each class focuses on a different art piece, be it a painting of a stained-glass window, a multihued owl, or an autumn farm scene. Additionally, each artist brings their own outlook and skills to the class, helping students learn specific brush strokes and how to touch up their daily driver so it looks just like the sheriff?s squad car.
More than 100 years ago, Stockyards City was a public livestock market and packing district. Today, many of its original buildings remain?but what was once an industrial area is a hub of dining and cowboy culture. On the main street, Western apparel stores, restaurants ranging from a steakhouse to a taqueria, and the historic Rodeo Opry country-music venue bring American heritage to life. Regular events include private tours and street festivals.