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B is for Brielle's, Bistro and Blueberry Beignets: Midwest City cafe is destination dining

Dear readers, I eat as fast as I can to keep you up to date on the newest, greatest places to find a good meal around town, but for the last few years growth has outpaced my capacity.

Brielle’s Bistro, 9205 NE 23 St., opened last January but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago I was finally able to make it in for lunch. Chef Dwayne Johnson's little breakfast and lunch spot has barely known a quiet day since it opened. Ravenous diners have kept Johnson busy slinging Southern flavors with precision and flair.

For my first visit, I never made it past the appetizers. By the time I’d sampled a cup of gumbo and a platter of shrimp and fried green tomatoes, all I had room for was dessert.

Of course, dessert pings your palate’s radar right as you walk in the door thanks to enormous and inviting slices of cake and pie you have to pass before finding a seat. Mission accomplished! Not only did I save room for dessert, I chose something that wasn't on display. More later.

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Couldn't concentrate until I got a little taste of gumbo, which was rich and delicious. Then came shrimp and fried green tomatoes. I love the restraint Johnson showed in pan-frying the shrimp rather than batter-frying it, which balances the dish. Fried-green tomatoes supply all the crunchy, rich flavor needed and the remoulade was spot-on.As tasty as lunch was, dessert was the star. I was all set to choose between a slice of chocolate cake the size of typewriter and a glorious looking slice of coconut cream pie when I heard the words: “Blueberry beignets made to order.”After the smelling salts revived me, a basket of piping hot beignets spotted with gooey fresh blueberries hidden beneath a snowy blanket of powdered sugar awaited. There were no survivors.

Brielle’s also serves breakfast all day, including French toast, omelets, pancakes, biscuits and gravy. Chicken and waffles are a signature along with loaded fries and wings.

Lunch and supper entrees include a chicken-fried steak, pork chops, fried chicken, smoked salmon, pot roast, and meatloaf. Burgers, sandwiches and salads round out the main menu with side like Jalapeno Mac and Cheese, Dirty Rice, Maque Choux, fried okra, mashed potatoes and red beans and rice.

But I ordered my food from chef Dwayne’s Acadian Appetite menu, which also includes savory Crab Beignets, gator bites and crab queso. Johnson and his crew also serve shrimp and grits, Po’ Boy sandwiches and crawfish etouffee.

For the Acadian menu, Johnson blackens catfish and pork chops, makes a pasta dish out of Jambalaya and pairs fried or grilled shrimp with a rib-eye or catfish filet.

The restaurant is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Wine is in the air

Oklahoma State University hosts an enormous wine forum every couple of springs, and the hour for the next iteration is nigh. The 2019 Wine Forum of Oklahoma is 9 a.m to 10 p.m. Saturday at the College of Human Sciences. The one-day event will host 35 wineries offering numerous points of entry to taste and learn.

The biennial event is also a major experiential educational exercise for students of OSU's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students have been planning and executing production of this event since the end of the last one. The forum includes a gala dinner and auction Friday night followed by luncheons, seminars, and a grand tasting on Saturday.

Honorary chairs include Larry Bump and Tricia Bump Davis of Darms Lane winery in the Napa Valley, and Ed Mascarin and Mia Mascarin-Oven of 32 Winds in Sonoma County. Honorary culinary chair is Jonathan Moosmiller of Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.

A few tickets are still available for various portions of the event. Check the full schedule and purchase tickets online at wineforumofoklahoma.com.

If you can't wait until Saturday to get your wine on, consider dinner at Stella Modern Italian, 1201 N Walker Ave., on Thursday night when Eric Titus will be the special guest at a dinner presented by executive chef Melissa Aust.

To honor Titus and his wines, Aust starts the evening with seared foie gras, fig mostarda, pink peppercorn honey, frisee, and truffled brioche crouton that's paired with a Titus Sauvignon Blanc. Next is a ragu of duck and fennel with goat cheese and orange gnocchi, shaved fried fennel, and candied pine nut crumble served with Zinfandel. Course three is a Marsala and garlic elk sausage with roasted mushrooms, and rosemary polenta paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon. For dessert, olive oil cake with white chocolate mousse served with rhubarb compote and a glass of Andronicus red blend.

Cost is $85 plus tax and gratuity. Make reservations at 235-2200.

If the Wine Forum gets you in the mood for more, make reservations for a special occasion at Edmond’s Fait Maison, 152 E 5 St., on April 11.

Chef Olivier Bouzerand and his staff will execute a special eight-course dinner featuring Fisher Vineyards of Napa Valley for special guest Joelle Fisher, proprietor of the vineyard.

The meal begins with an amuse bouche of potato and roasted peanut soup with lobster bisque emulsion before the slow-roasted green asparagus with lemon and pistachio sauce arrives with a glass of Unity chardonnay.

Next comes turbot cooked in butter with artichoke duo and barigoule cream sauce and a glass of Mountain Estate Vineyard chardonnay. Then comes wild mushrooms on a Parmesan crust with smoked egg emulsion with a glass of Unity Pinot Noir.

Dinner gets serious with slow-cooked pork belly, French-style snap peas and black garlic sauce, paired with Unity Cabernet Sauvignon. Loosen your belt for Wagyu short ribs in red wine and olive stew “Nicoise” and a glass of Mountain Estate Cab. And last before dessert, seared venison loin with dark cherry sauce and fondante potato, paired with Coach Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon.

For dessert, Bouzerand will serve a pavlova with rhubarb compote and strawberries with Lillet Rose, and some mignardises.

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Cost is $165, make your reservations by emailing reservations@fait-maison-ok.com.

Local chefs to do One-Eighty

Four local chefs will team to produce a special dining event called One Eighty, benefiting Pivot, A Turning Point for Youth, on April 12 at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market, 311 S Klein Ave.

A cadre of chefs from the Shoppes at Northpark will participate. Chefs Bruce Rinehart of Rococo, J. Mays of The Hamilton, Robby Vernon of Hacienda Tacos, and Janet Rosebeary of Rosebeary's Bakery will each create a signature dish based on a Pivot youth’s fondest memory of a childhood dish.

“We asked the kids to list their favorite foods — what dish made them recall a happy moment, or person,” Jennifer Goodrich, Pivot interim president and CEO explained. “The participating chefs then chose from the list and put their own gourmet spin on it.”

Goodrich said people will have to attend the event to find out the chef’s take on a childhood favorite, “but I’m sure guests will be surprised and delighted by the new dishes.”

Pivot will also honor business leader and philanthropist H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt at the event for his passion and support in meeting the needs of the resilient youth served by Pivot.

In addition to signature food and drinks, One Eighty will offer spectacular silent and live auction items, including a 10-day trip through Italy; overnight stays in castles and manors in Ireland; and a trip to the Greek islands and a South African photo safari. Other auction items include an exclusive Scotch tasting, a Baker Mayfield autographed Cleveland Browns jersey, David Yurman jewelry, several Oklahoma excursions, a wine-tasting trip and an original oil painting by artist Tim Kenny.

One Eighty is 6 to 10 p.m. on April 12. Reserved tables with seating for eight begin at $1,500 and a limited number of individual tickets are available at $150 per person. For tickets and information, go online to pivotok.org, or call 235-7537.

Quick bites

Provision Concepts is keeping busy in Chisholm Creek, where the group is not only on the cusp of introducing its first pizza concept, Birra Birra, but adding dinner service to the Hatch Early Mood Food location in the northwest development. Applications are currently being accepted at the Chisholm Creek spot. Stay tuned for news when the new service premieres.

Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene. Read more ›

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