Up With Trees is a non-profit organization in Tulsa, Oklahoma that promotes urban forestry. You’ll notice ‘Up With Trees’ signs along most of the roadways and public properties in the area.
The signs are made of wood.
This observation began our weekend in Tulsa where there was no shortage of smart-ass comments and tons of fun with friends. We were “up all night to get lucky,” we explored a pre-Columbian garden “obviously before cocaine,” and much to the dismay of OU fans, we called the Hogs in the middle of a restaurant.
Our first adventure was sans pooches at Los Cobos Mexican Grill. I know this is supposed to be about dog friendly places, but Henri had already spent two hours in the car, and really, who am I to turn down Mexican food and margaritas?
Los Cobos is on the water- and by ‘water’ I mean a pond- with an outdoor cabana bar and live music seven nights a week. They have some of the best ceviche I’ve ever had in the states, a ton of margarita options, and a good time atmosphere. On Friday nights, it gets pretty crowded, and there’s a dude making balloon animals ‘for the kids.’ So, the dogs would have hated it anyway. We had a great time, and there will be no photos of us dancing.
On Saturday morning, we begrudgingly got up early to hit The Gardens at Gilcrease Museum before it got too hot. A week of 80 degree weather, and now suddenly, it’s 95 and high humidity.
Gilcrease Museum houses the world’s largest collection of art showcasing the American West. The five theme gardens reflect gardening styles and techniques from this period. You can grab a map from the front desk at the main entrance, and the docents are very nice. The security guard, however, was a little unhinged about Henri being in the lobby for all of 15 seconds.
The best of part of the self-guided tour are all the animal tracks in the concrete sidewalks. The rest…? Meh. Unless you like murky ponds, bronze statues, and dried-up landscape. My granddaddy, a nurseryman for 25 years, would’ve had a fit. Water your plants, Gilcrease!
I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have walked the entire 23 acres had it not been for the witty commentary on the pre-Columbian Garden and the singing at the Grizzly statue.
“Running Bear looooooved Little White Dove…” (plus hand gestures).
I suggest going to Woodward Park instead. It’s on 21st and Peoria, also has bronze statues, and is close to Utica Square. After leaving Gilcrease, that’s where we went for brunch.
Utica Square is an outdoor dinning and shopping area with a unique village design. Bronze sculptures (what is Tulsa’s love affair with bronze?), manicured and watered landscaping, and dog-friendly restaurants and stores make this a destination you don’t want to miss.
Our first stop was the Coach store, and yay Coach for being dog-friendly. They even provide a water bowl right outside their door. Time to ditch the Tano; Mommy has a new brand loyalty.
Mommy would also like that leather jacket behind us, and a matching collar for Henri. We’ve been mostly good this year.
Next, we got ourselves on the waiting list at The Wild Fork. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is always a wait, and IF you get there before 11:00 on Saturdays, they have beignets. If you do not get there before eleven, you get to watch other people have beignets.
We were a bit concerned about the comfort factor of sitting outdoors on such a humid day, but once seated we realized they had overhead fans (and heaters for the winter). Our waiter immediately greeted all the dogs and offered to bring them a bowl of water.
Always a score when I don’t need my own bowl.
The food at the Wild Fork is great and the fresh squeezed lemonade with Tito’s was fabulous, but don’t be in a hurry. It’s not the servers. Our water glasses stayed full, dog bowl, too, and our table was kept neat, but the prep-time for food and drinks is slow as molasses.
Fortunately, we are more than capable of entertaining ourselves and soon discovered that one of our servers, as well as the table next to us, was from Arkansas. That lead to…well…you know…Wooooooo Pig Sooie! (x3)
Before heading home for mid-day naps- dogs like these- we visited the Ambassador Hotel. Located at 1324 S. Main St., it’s right in the middle of all the places you want to be. They are a boutique hotel chain, and in October 2014 will undergo major renovations and a soft rebranding as part of the Autograph Hotel Collection by Marriot. What this means for travelers is you can stay at the Ambassador, which is maintaining its personal identity, but still use your Marriot reward points.
The Ambassador Tulsa is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features Italian terra cotta relief panels and limestone cornices. They also provide custom memory foam dog beds, gourmet dog treats from the Dog Dish, and will provide you with a list of local dog-friendly places. There is a $50 non-refundable pet deposit, and a size limit of 35 lbs. that I was told was ‘negotiable.’ They said they’d take Henri, who’s about 45 lbs. After Henri finished his complimentary red velvet dog treat, we decided one more stop was in order. We needed more of those treats.
The Dog Dish
The Dog Dish is Tulsa’s favorite canine treat and accessory store and the good news is they will be moving to Utica Square in September 2014. We also picked up a new water bottle that Mommy promptly lost and a new life jacket for our boating activities.
One thing you need to know about Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas weather…don’t take chances!
If it says there’s a 30% chance of pop-up thunder showers with hail, then you might have clear skies or you might have tornados. Regardless, you don’t want to be sitting on a patio with a plate of food and your dog if that happens. So dogs stayed home and we ended up at Smoke.
A steak house and cigar bar with football on the TV? Sign. Me. Up.
I’d been craving a good steak for a couple of weeks and this did not disappoint. In fact, I had ALL the meats. We started with the Wood Grilled Gulf Oysters with bacon Tabasco butter and followed it with the Chef’s Butcher Block.
The Chef’s Butcher Block (for two) featured a strip steak, grilled shark, and a pork loin chop accompanied by a salad of heirloom tomatoes, grilled asparagus, and truffled mashed potatoes. I was hesitant to share this feast until Robert said he liked his steak medium rare, too. Game on.
Dinner was exceptional, and afterwards, Susan and Sam enjoyed panna cotta for dessert while Robert and I had cigars and drinks in the lounge. With the exception of the Dallas Cowboys loosing, it was a great night.
Turns out it never rained, not even a drop. However, Brookside is probably a bit too busy on a Saturday night for most pups. Henri might have been okay, but Emeril and Leah had had enough excitement for one day. It was time for the very full people to head home.
On Sunday morning, I was up and at ‘em early. I had my coffee, fed Henri, and kept waiting for everyone else to get out of bed. It was starting to get a little humid, so around 9:15, I did a quick roll call.
We were headed to the Sunday Market at Guthrie Green, which started at 10:00 a.m. Sunday Market is supposedly a farmers’ and artists’ market, but I guess Sunday farmers don’t get up as early as the regular ones. Ten o’clock is obviously a soft start time. We sampled some homemade fruit wines and I bought a t-shirt, but it didn’t take long to cover everything.
Now what? Oh yeah. BRUNCH!
For this, we headed back to Brookside to check out a Cajun place called Doc’s.
If you’ve got your dog, you WILL need a reservation, as there are only two dog-friendly tables on their patio. Both are on the exterior fringe, and ours, in fact, was basically on the sidewalk.
Doc’s is on the corner of S. Peoria and 30thsomething. If we’d been there at a busier time of day, it would have been too much for the dogs. Fortunately, Henri was able to lie under the table, and Emeril and Leah don’t take up much room.
Our service was immediate, and again, they brought us a bowl of water for the dogs. Robert ordered a Cajun Bloody Mary, and it was the second time that weekend that he won the drink prize (He’s the one who originally ordered the Tito’s and lemonade). Susan and I split a carafe of pomegranate-orange mimosas. It’s not on the menu that way, but we wanted a blend and they said we could have it. The cool thing, however, is that they provide a plastic bag of ice to keep your carafe cold. We were all pretty impressed with those, and decided we’d need to order a few for tailgate.
This was another great food destination. We started with oysters on the half shell. Then, all of us except Sam, who ordered a plain waffle, had the Biscuits and Gravy. I’m a Southern girl. I love biscuits and gravy, but this was Andouille sausage gravy. And it was delicious! I ordered mine with a side of Andouille sausage that I shared with Henri. With very full bellies, it was time for more naps.
Bark in the Park
Our last adventure for the weekend was Bark in the Park at the Tulsa Drillers game Sunday night. It was actually the impetuous for the whole weekend and a good excuse to go to Tulsa and hang out with friends.
There wasn’t a whole lot of info on their page about the event, but we did know we needed proof that our rabies was current. That’s standard. I wish we’d known to bring lawn blankets, but at seven o’clock it was still too hot to sit in the sun-drenched grassy area designated for the dogs. So we wandered the concourse and subjected them to photo opportunities until it cooled off. Then we joined the rest of the pooches and took in a bit of the game.
We stayed until about the 6th inning when we decided we were hungry- again- and not interested in ballpark prices. We had spotted a restaurant with a patio right by the field, so we cruised over there to see if they were dog-friendly. There wasn’t a sign to indicate whether they were or weren’t, but an employee was leaving and said we were welcome.
The Rusty Crane
The Rusty Crane seems like a cool, laid-back place. I don’t know what it’s like other days of the week, but on a Sunday night in August, it was perfectly chill. We even scored a table in front of a big fan. The menu is upscale bar food, and their ‘Signature Plates’ look pretty tasty. I was still full from brunch, and I’m not sure I’d fully digested my dinner from the previous night, but the Cubano with citrus marinated red onion sounded like a must try. Susan agreed to split it with me, and Henri shared in the consumption of sweet potato fries. When we finally hit the sheets on Sunday night, I slept soundly.
Only two hours from home, hugely dog-friendly, and a great weekend getaway, I never knew Tulsa could be so much fun. Of course, you won’t have my friends to entertain you, but you can take a few of your own.