The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

November 16, 2012

Old friends, best friend make for great travel

EDMOND — It’s fun seeing old friends in new places. Jack and I were visiting Grand Lake and we remembered that Jim Sellers, familiar to longtime Edmondites from Schaefer’s Deli, Sellers Steak and Crab House and The Catering Company, had a restaurant in the area.

What did we do before Google? Sure enough, Jim and his wife Diana own The Artichoke in Langley.

The exterior of the restaurant is unprepossessing — a 120-year-old farmhouse — but inside everything is first class. There are several cozy dining areas featuring tables set with sophisticated black cloths, and the flatware has an attractive, hammered finish. The walls are decorated with paintings (for sale) from Oklahoma City’s Dodson Gallery. In their eight years in business, the Sellers have built a loyal following. We know why.

Every diner is greeted with a plate of toasts and a dollop of the restaurant’s signature artichoke and spinach dip. Even Jack, who eschews all things green, was won over by its garlicky creaminess.

Jack refused to participate in trying Watt Notts, named in honor of originator Chef Randy Watt who dreamed it up in the late ’70s at Tulsa’s Fountains Restaurant. Great! More for me. The tasty mushrooms, stuffed with cheese and more and served in a sea of garlic butter, were wonderful.

Jack couldn’t resist trying the Plaza III Steak Soup. Yes, this is the original, famous recipe. And as former Kansas Citians who have slurped more than our share at the Plaza III, we both gave it thumbs up.

For his entrée, he chose the Large Gulf Shrimp sautéed in garlic butter with a mushroom and cream sauce. What possessed him — since he won’t eat mushrooms — I don’t know. But he did enjoy the shrimp.

I picked The Artichoke’s best seller, Chicken Santa Fe. The dish consists of boneless chicken breasts stuffed with green chile cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, grilled and topped with Mornay Sauce. The hot rolls which came with our entrees were accompanied with a baked head of garlic.

Because I was doing research, we felt honor-bound to order dessert. The hot chocolate cake was the perfect ending. We left happy, full and probably in need of a big swig of Listerine!

The Artichoke is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, year round. Stop in and say hi to Jim and Diana and treat yourself to an excellent meal.

Accompanying us on our Grand Lake trip was our 12-year-old, red heeler, Roxie. Traveling with a dog definitely requires planning ahead. Our home base was Pine Lodge Resort, which has several pet-friendly cabins.

We travel with a collapsible crate for Roxie so she is never left alone and loose in an unfamiliar facility. When driving, we stop regularly to let her out of the car, to get a drink of water and to check the local pee-mail. The stretch is good for us, too.

Here’s what we take with us:

• Jug of water and water dish

• Food and food dish

• Leash

• Plastic bags for clean-up

• Crate with bedding

Being a good guest makes places more willing to accommodate travelers with furry friends!

Other pet-friendly places we’ve traveled lately:

The Canebrake, on Lake Fort Gibson near Wagoner: A great retreat for grown-ups with a big yoga component. With 5 miles of walking trails, a spa for a great massage and a wonderful restaurant, this is the perfect place to re-charge. And your dog will love it. Again, we took her crate, but while we were in our room, she had a special comfy pillow provided by Canebrake to curl up on. For younger, more energetic dogs, there’s even a little agility course.

La Quinta: We stayed at the La Quinta in Ennis, Texas, but their pet friendly policy is in effect chain-wide. They list 50 pounds as the maximum size they’ll accommodate.

Moonrise Hotel: We didn’t have Roxie with us on our trip to St. Louis, but in the lobby, you couldn’t miss the welcome mat, bowl of treats and water dish under a blackboard with the names of visiting pets.

Before hitting the road with your pet, be sure and check ahead for accommodations that will welcome them. Always ask about deposit policies — some places, like La Quinta, do not require a deposit. Other places may require one — and it may or may not be refundable.

ELAINE WARNER is an Edmond resident.

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