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A rainy day in Tulsa

E.I. Hillin / Red Dirt Report
The chicken fried steak topped with scrambled eggs is a massive pile of deliciousness and one of the many ways to start the day right at Tulsa’s Dilly Diner, 402 E. Second St.
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TULSA, Okla. – When I ventured to Tulsa for a quick trip on Thursday, I didn’t check the weather. I know, duh, right? However, maybe, just maybe this time, I wasn’t meant to.

When I found out Gregory Alan Isakov was returning to Tulsa I didn’t check my schedule. I just bought the tickets. That’s what kind of band this Colorado-based folk ensemble is and it’s why I jumped at the chance to see them for the third time.

Just before my partner and I got into my car to leave, it was decided that we would forego the late night trip home and stay in a hotel instead. Other than the fact driving back from Tulsa to Oklahoma City is always a tough drive after a late show, we had another reason to stay.

If you’ve never visited Tulsa’s treasure, the Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, you should. It is absolutely wonderful. The art is some of the best in the state. What really sets it apart is the spectacular garden. The best time to go is in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom. It’s truly lovely, but it’s closed on Mondays just FYI.

As predicted, the Gregory Alan Isakov show was highly entertaining. I heard new songs and songs they didn’t play at prior shows. The musicianship and the stage presence is mesmerizing, each time. The performance transforms the audience to a time when Saturday night included some dudes in overalls gathered around a microphone with a banjo and standing bass.

It was my first time to see a show at The Shrine, 112 E. 18th St. The venue supports a big crowd, but not much more than that, which was perfect for an intimate show like that of Gregory Alan Isakov. It was non-smoking and 21 to enter. Two things I highly approve of when it comes to killer music performances.

After the show we skipped the party and went to sleep in the hotel room. It was a cozy spot near downtown with underground parking. This would come in handy. I realized upon waking, outside was a flash flood down pour. The plan to visit the Philbrook for their spectacular gardens was officially kaput.

What to do? Well, first thing, obviously was food. A perfect café style place with a comfortable atmosphere would be the choice. Dilly Diner, 402 E. Second St., is near the Blue Dome. They make their own breads, serve coffee and espresso, and their chicken fried steaks take up the entire plate.

After taking care of the most necessary need, it was time to find the best place for tea. I’m a coffee drinker all the way, but my partner, Elaina, drinks tea. She worked at Urban Teahouse in OKC for a while and she knows her teas.

After shopping around on Google, we decided to give the local, Topeca Coffee, a try. It’s coffee yes, but also tea. They have two other locations, but this one was a short drive in the rain to the hard to miss, Mayo Hotel, 115 W. Fifth St.

Everything about this place hit the mark. Located in the bottom lobby of the Mayo, they offered good tea, good espresso, good food selection, good ambience, but most importantly, Elaina approved. That’s saying something. They partner and provide coffee for shops across the nation, including some of my favorites around OKC.

While there, we read the local gazettes. We read about this nonprofit theatre, Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Avenue. Watching a movie, inside a cool independent theater seemed like an ideal activity on a rainy day.

When we arrived we automatically felt it was a good choice. First, the movie selection was small and well chosen. The snacks were local and some were even healthy. We got an unexpected surprise when the cashier noticed my Keep It Local card and offered us a free small popcorn.

Circle Cinema is Tulsa’s oldest-standing movie theatre, originally opening in 1928. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The movie theater was small and comfy, with perfect sound.

We watched The Zookeeper’s Wife. It is based on true events that happened at the Warsaw Zoo in Poland during World War II. It is very moving and by that I mean I sobbed aloud. I could go on about the film, but I won’t. I will just say it is worth seeing for sure.

After we left the theatre, I had a new favorite place to visit in Tulsa and a new hat. Support local. By then, the rain had eased up but not subsided. We began heading back west. As we stopped for gas before entering onto the turnpike, we noticed a small thrift store.

If you are anything like me, finding the perfect thrift store is like the search for the big winner scratch lotto ticket. You know it isn’t likely, but you keep buying those scratch cards anyway. With this one, we hit the jackpot. Super Thrift, 5610-A West Skelly Drive, in Sapulpa is more than a thrift store.

All proceeds go to Green Country Teen Challenge, providing recovery services to men, women, and adolescents. The staff was very friendly. The prices were more than fair and the selection was versatile. Super Thrift is now on my list of best thrift stores in Oklahoma. I left with a new Neil Gaiman book, a Fourth of July shirt, and a new filing cabinet. I will visit again.

As we drove away, with the city hidden behind the fog in the rear view, I felt satisfied. I felt lucky to have my plans changed, on a rainy day in Tulsa.

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About the Author

E.I. Hillin

Elizabeth Ivy Hillin, 30, grew up in Lindsay, Okla., where the dirt is definitely red. Hillin...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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