August 18, 2008

Spice is Her Lexicon


See Reflejos Flamencos.

When you teach the beauty, flair and melancholy drama of Spanish flamenco dance, steak and potatoes are the last thing you want to see on the menu. For Lexi Beard Allen of Reflejos Flamencos, the spice and aroma of ethnic cuisine can turn a regular night out into an otherworldly experience.

"I love the exotic flavors that ethnic cuisine offers," she says, "and I also love the idea that I am literally getting a taste of another culture."

Whether for dinner or lunch, Allen picks her five favorite ethnic restaurants. Fasten your seat belts:

1. Lanna Thai , 7227 S. Memorial Drive: My husband and I can be seen at Lanna Thai sometimes two or three times a week! It has great atmosphere, great authentic Thai food, and we really enjoy the live jazz music on Friday nights. I recommend #35 and #24 off the dinner menu.

2. Shawkat's , 4123 S. Sheridan Road: Shawkat's is a family- owned Mediterranean restaurant/market and is my favorite spot for lunch. There is always friendly service and they have the best and freshest pita bread that they make in their kitchen. Try the Pita Pie lunch platter, the Kafta or the Tawook platter if you like garlic!

3. In the Raw , 6151 S. Sheridan Road (also 3321 S. Peoria Ave.): I was introduced to sushi rather recently, but In the Raw has already become one of my favorite restaurants. On a nice day, I love sitting outside on the patio overlooking Tulsa and eating some edamame, sushi and vegetable tempura.

4. Desi Wok Indian Asian Grill , 3966 S. Hudson Ave.: Indian food has so many great spices and flavors and I especially love naan bread, so I always enjoy going to Desi Wok. Whether you like your dishes super spicy or mild, it is a great place for big servings of delicious and inexpensive Indian food.

5. Pasteleria Mi Favorita Bakery , 9459 E 31st St.: Aside from the tres leches cake my sister makes, Mi Favorita Bakery, a small Mexican bakery, makes the best around. All the filling options are delicious, but I recommend "crema," or cream filling. I've served their tres leches cakes ("three milk cakes") at birthday parties, flamenco show after-parties and other events.

They come in sizes big enough to feed 100 people. I also love their variety of fresh-baked "pan dulce."

Originally published by KAREN SHADE World Scene Writer.

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