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October 2010

Favourite Places to Eat: Indian

This is one of those categories where there is no serious competition.  And it is the first time Omaha wins.

My Favourite

Mother India in Omaha, NE.  Mother India is located just a couple of blocks south from our house, and we walk down there regularly.  Funny thing is, we ate there on our very first trip here, when we came up for the interview and had one free meal on our own.  I've had nothing bad here and have tried a handful of things.  The biryani is my favourite so far.  Make sure to get the samosas or pakoras for an appetizer.

Compared to Mother India, the places I've gone in Oklahoma City and Norman just seem second fiddle.  All of them.  I did one time go with friends to a great India restaurant in Chicago, but I don't remember its name.

More things Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwest

I don't necessarily have a favourite Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Southwestern restaurant.  And I know that that is a really wide variety of foods, flavours, and cuisines, though the lines do often blur.

So, let me write about some restaurants I've liked in various places.

Shawnee, OK

(Note: we didn't have any good Mexican in Miami).  In Shawnee the old standard places that folk had gone to for years and years were pretty bad.  While I was living there a handful of Mexican places came and went, and some of them were really good.  The one that came and stayed and that I enjoyed going to often and that eventually had multiple locations was Abuelita's.  This is not fancy, it is typical Tex-Mex greasy and drenched in cheese.  And really enjoyable to eat.  Especially with the complimentary chips and salsa, tortillas, the little pickled veggies to put in the tortillas, and a sopapilla at the end of the meal.

Seminole, OK

Nearby in Seminole, OK was Polo's, though it is now closed I understand (there is still a location in Ada, OK).  Polo's made the best fajitas I've ever had.  A couple of years ago I took a group of friends from OKC all the way to Polo's to have the fajitas.  They were that good.  Also enjoyed the queso.  Polo's was located in the old train depot downtown, so the location was even a little fun, though the bathrooms were odd -- sliding doors.

Stillwater, OK

Stillwater has two very similar Mexican places that are much like Abuelito's -- greasy, cheese-drenched.  The salsa and queso blanco in both are good.  These places are El Vaquero and El Tapatio

Dallas, TX

Dallas, of course, is filled with Mexican places.  I never liked the old traditional El Fenix.  And Mi Concina, also a standard, was good, but not memorable (though I did like the mojitos).

The best chile relleno I've ever had is from Matt's in Lakewood.  I enjoy Blue Mesa and its contemporary southwestern flavours.  The restaurants have great atmosphere, and I recommend the Painted Desert Soup (a combination of corn chowder and black bean soup), the sweet potato chips, and the jalapeno relish.  Chuy's, on McKinney, I ate at all the time.  I like their use of green chile's from New Mexican cuisine. 

The Mexican we ate most often at Royal Lane was Cantina Laredo, because it was close to us.  Mostly we drank beer there and ate their excellent chips and two different salsas.   It was also while living in Dallas that Chipotle became my favourite fast food restaurant. 

Oklahoma City, OK

My favourites are those I listed in the last post, the one about tacos.  For Mexican when going out to eat with friends, I like La Luna (or for catching a quick lunch meeting).  I also really enjoyed Las Palomas, particularly the way they served a Dos Equis in a nice big, chilled glass, with salt and lime.  I was never a huge Ted's fan, thinking it was not as good as its reputation and too expensive for what you got, though the tortillas were good.

Santa Fe, NM Area

I love New Mexican cuisine, particularly the green chiles.  There are SO many great restaurants in Santa Fe and the surrounding area, but my favourite is Rancho de Chimayo, partly because you have to drive out to it and go through these great villages and enjoy the sight-seeing.  But it isn't just that, or the setting, it is great, great food.

Omaha, NE

We haven't found any great Mexican, Tex-Mex, or New Mexican in Omaha, but Stokes has a nice Southwestern menu.

Favourite Places to Eat a Taco

My Absolute Favourite Place to Eat a Taco

Big Truck Tacos in Oklahoma City.  BTT opened last year and was an immediate hit.  I was so glad it was in our neighborhood, because we could go often, including walking down there after the Christmas blizzard.  These tacos are creative, innovative, fresh, and flavorful.  Michael swears by the Okie Baha, and I usually get one of those too.  There various sauces and salsa are superb.  And you simply can't beat the guacamole.  Be prepared to stand in line.  And don't forget your cup, as bringing your cup back gets you some cents off the price of another drink.  They serve a marvelous breakfast as well.

Honorable Mention

Iguana Mexican Grill also in Oklahoma City.  Iguana was the big hit until BTT opened.  It is still great for a meal, especially when they had Taco Tuesday.  They have different sides, good drinks, and a fun, hip atmosphere.  If you aren't stuffed, stop by Sara, Sara Cupcakes next door for dessert.

Cuba Libre in Dallas.  Also a fun, hip atmosphere with fun flavors and ingredients.  This was one of my favourite places to eat in Dallas (my going-away party was there) and take OKC friends there when visiting.  I forget now what my favourites were.

Taco Diner, also in Dallas, is a nice chain of more upscale tacos.  This was the first place I had the very simple tacos with just meat, cilantro, and lime juice.

Habermas addresses growing anti-immigrant furor in Germany

Noted philosopher Jurgen Habermas discusses the growing anti-immigrant furor in Germany and warns of the loss of objective in the political sphere.

The real cause for concern is that, as the Sarrazin and Wulff incidents show, cool-headed politicians are discovering that they can divert the social anxieties of their voters into ethnic aggression against still weaker social groups.


That we are experiencing a relapse into this ethnic understanding of our liberal constitution is bad enough. It doesn’t make things any better that today leitkultur is defined not by “German culture” but by religion. With an arrogant appropriation of Judaism — and an incredible disregard for the fate the Jews suffered in Germany — the apologists of the leitkultur now appeal to the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” which distinguishes “us” from the foreigners.


Does participation in democratic procedures have only the functional meaning of silencing a defeated minority, or does it have the deliberative meaning of including the arguments of citizens in the democratic process of opinion- and will-formation?


Democracy depends on the belief of the people that there is some scope left for collectively shaping a challenging future.

Correlation between brands and political party

Interesting article in HuffPost.  Republicans' top brand is FoxNews and Democrats' top brand is Google and neither appears on the others list.  Here is what the author concludes:

Fox News: a hermetically sealed bubble of unquestionable absolutes, with sacred sages, approved opinions, official history, bright-line boundaries, party-line facts.

Google: the cacophony of the crowd, the contest of contradictions, the boundless wild west, the jumble of truth and rumor, the burden on its users to sort science from fiction -- with all the anxiety, uncertainty, tentativeness and humility that comes along with that obligation.

On a good day for the network, a couple million or so Americans watch Fox News. On an average day, a couple hundred million or so Americans use Google or some other search engine. It's odd that the media frame the battle lines as Fox vs. MSNBC, when the real fissure may be the one between the zealots and the searchers.

And here is the original Advertising Age article.

Restoring Sanity

Howard Fineman writes about the need to restor sanity to America:

Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Yeats wrote in his poem "The Second Coming" that, "the center cannot hold" in an era when "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

Less than two years after Barack Obama's inauguration offered the country a moment of what I thought was peace, we are at each other's throats with an intensity not seen in decades.

I'm all in favor of arguing. I wrote a book (The Thirteen American Arguments) about how debates are the essence of our being.

But for them to work we need to acknowledge, however grudgingly, that the people we are arguing with are human beings.

For a host of reasons -- some valid, some cynical -- we are in a season in which we refuse to accept the humanity of the people we oppose.