We decided to have a short Staycation. Like many Americans this Summer we found the idea of venturing far away too… um, expensive. With gas prices and the thermometer both rising rapidly it made sense to consider destinations close to home. With air conditioning.
We started by visiting a strange and novel place unfamiliar to most residents of Tulsa County. It’s called “Downtown Tulsa.” The landscape of this unique area is made up mostly of asphalt ponds and a forest of Art Deco. Tulsans seldom venture here for fear of one-way streets.
Seriously, things are looking up downtown. But don’t look up too long, or you’ll step into an excavation! It seemed like every street was under construction of one sort or another. It appears to be utility infrastructure work is being performed in addition to asphalt renewal. Hopefully it will all be finished soon, and worth the wait.
It Means Roasted Corn
Our first stop was for lunch at a new Mexican restaurant call Eloté. If you’re not familiar with the name, you’ll probably know the location- they are in the old Nelson’s Buffeteria at 514 S. Boston. The menu is not the typical Texican fare, but a refreshing mix of authentic south-of-the-border and nouveau Mex. Eloté emphasizes fresh ingredients, and they use as much local produce as possible.
I had the fish tacos and Jackie ordered veggie tamales with sweet potato sauce. The fish was grilled just right- a little crusty and not too soft. The sweet potato side order is highly recommended. Oh, speaking of sides, eloté is roasted corn, a common snack sold by street vendors in Mexico.
After lunch we strolled Boston Avenue and admired our “art deco main street.” My favorite is still the old NBT Bank Building (now know as 320 Boston Building) with its ornate ceiling and dirigible mooring mast on top. In October this street will very busy as thousands of architecture geeks descend on Tulsa for the National Preservation Conference. We decided coffee and dessert sounded good, so we headed west toward the historic Mayo Hotel.
The main lobby is available to rent for special events, receptions, weddings, etc. That’s been going on for a couple of years. Renovations upstairs are finally underway at the Mayo, something Tulsans have heard over and over through the years. It appears it might actually be happening this time!
Not in Kansas
Another business on the ground floor of the once-grand Mayo Hotel is the Cafe Topeca. Topeca Coffee is from El Salvador and available in the US through this Tulsa business. They roast the beans nearby and serve light snacks and desserts, along with their excellent coffee of course. The atmosphere is calm and inviting. We enjoyed coffee and a creamy cake-thing and lounged for almost an hour.
Oh yeah- they pronounce it tow-PAY-kuh.
After our coffee break we visited the Central Library to pick up a couple of videos and then headed back home. All in all a very enjoyable staycation.
more fun links and other tidbits for exploring Tulsa