ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, Museums, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Museum Cafe at OKCMOA


One thing I’ve learned over my years of travel is to eat at art museums whenever possible, or at least check them out.  If you find a service window, a chalkboard and bare table tops, move on.  However, if you see crisp white tablecloths and a printed menu, you’re in luck.  The Museum Cafe at OKCMOA is one of the good ones.

We’d Seen It All

Deb and I had been sightseeing all morning.  We’d had a good breakfast at the hotel, but that was several hours and many, many steps ago.  As we left the OKCMOA’s gift shop I suggested the restaurant in the museum for lunch and Deb didn’t argue, but she sort of used her go-along-to-get-along voice, instead of her I-can’t-wait-to-do-that voice.  We wandered toward the end of the building to look things over.  It was possible this was just an add-on opportunity with bags of chips and over-priced sandwiches.

When you enter the cafe from inside the museum, a sign tells you to find the hostess at the other entrance.  As we strolled through we saw upscale patrons enjoying delicious-looking platters at tables covered in white tablecloths.  The more she saw the more amiable Deb was to having lunch there.  We were seated at a table near a large plate-glass window, looking out over a nice patio.  Then we ordered wine.  It was going to be a good lunch.

Tough Decisions

Whoever put the menu together knew all about us.  We could have closed our eyes and pointed indiscriminately.  We would have still come out with something we loved.  Instead, with eyes wide open, we opted for the soup and salad platter – a generous cup of lobster bisque with a house salad on the side.

As we waited for our food we chatted about the many beautiful things we’d seen that morning and anticipated the event we’d be attending the next day.  Then the food arrived.  It was as delicious as its descriptions were.  We loved every bite.

The lobster bisque was hot and creamy with huge chunks of lobster floating around with the tasty puff pastry disk.  And let me tell you this was no iceberg lettuce and carrots salad.  Oh no, this was spring mix, apricots, blueberries, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts and boursin with creamy champagne vinaigrette.  The meal was perfect.

(Hello, Dallas Museum of Art, are you out there?  I miss Seventeen Seventeen!  I am not enchanted with standing in line and sitting at those bare-topped tables in your less-than-comfortable metal chairs.  It may all look very cool and modern, but I haven’t eaten there in years.  I’m a loyal patron and partner, but your cafe is not the reason.  Give me back my restaurant!)20150911_122755

Let’s Hit the Road Again

We’d parked just outside the museum, so when our lunch was done we were just steps away from the car.  We stopped on the patio just long enough to get this great shot of Deb.  I was having a bad hair day.  It was my own fault and I don’t want to talk about it.  Come back next week and I will talk about Wichita.


ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Chihuly at the OKCMOA

Chihuly in the lobby of OKCMOA
Chihuly in the lobby of OKCMOA


We were in Oklahoma City to see Chihulys. You might say Deb and I are Chihuly Groupies.  It doesn’t bother us to go a little out of our way to add a piece to our collection of Chihuly sightings.  We know we are not alone.

My Love Affair with Chihuly

Though Chihuly was not unknown to me, I really didn’t pay that much attention to him until 1995 when one of his creations was added to the Dallas Museum of Art.  All of Dallas became Chihuly crazy and we just haven’t gotten over it.  That love affair was renewed when the Dallas Arboretum featured him throughout the garden in 2012.  In my opinion, the garden has never looked as good.  Were I one of those mega-rich people, I would have just bought the whole collection so it could stay here.

Chihuly at DABS
Chihuly at DABS

In my wanderings I’ve seen Chihulys in the Bellagio in Las Vegas and in the Casino at Atlantis in the Bahamas.  He’s graced gardens from San Antonio TX to St. Louis MO.  I saw him in a museum in Portland OR and in Flint MI.  Once in California Bill and I were taking a little vacation in Palm Desert where he played one of their golf courses.  While he signed up for his game, I stood awestruck looking at the chandelier.  I asked just to be sure I wasn’t mistaken, but yes, a Chihuly graced the clubhouse.

OKCMOA’s Chihuly Collection

Bill and I made a pilgrimage to OKCMOA back in 2011-12, while the museum was celebrating the re-installation of their Chihulys.  It’s one of our favorite shared memories.  I’d raved so long and so hard about it that Deb was dying to go.  The Trip With No Name gave us a reason to satisfy her longing.

Chihuly takes up most of the third floor of the museum.  In the exhibit area, the ambient lighting  has been turned way down and bright spotlights on the art makes it seem to reach out and grab you.

If you haven’t seen Chihuly in OK City, then you haven’t seen Chihuly at all – and since I’ve seen a lot of Chihulys, I know whereof I speak.  At the gift shop I bought a package of cards decorated with photos of his pieces at the museum.  I told myself I was getting them to share with you and then I could use them for correspondence.  Well, here I am, sharing them with you, but I somehow doubt they will ever make it to the mailbox.  I’m thinking they will make spectacular pages in my scrapbooks.

So enjoy these wonderful postcards and then come back next week.  We’re going to have a fabulous meal at the Museum Cafe before we head off to Wichita.



ART, Attractions, Decorative Arts, DESTINATIONS, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

Oklahoma City Museum of Art


OK, I’ll admit a lot of things didn’t go very well as I planned this trip, but one thing went very right.  I discovered a collection of Faberge artifacts were on special exhibition at the OKMOA.  We would have gone to the museum anyway, because they have wonderful, marvelous Chihulys, but to also see Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs?  We were in heaven.  I don’t want to go all nanny-nanny-poo-poo on you, but the exhibit ended  back in September.

Faberge Eggs I Have Seen and Loved

The story of the Romanffs and their Easter Eggs are not exactly a hidden gem of the art world.  I can’t remember not knowing about them.  However, my first opportunity to get up close and personal with them was at the Kimbell Art Museum in 1982.  Sometime around that time I also saw some Faberge items in New Orleans, but back in those days I had no idea I’d be a blogger one day and I can’t find a shred of evidence to prove I was there or exactly where I found them.  I’m guessing they were a few items on loan to the New Orleans Museum of Art from the famous Hodge collection which were later featured in a full blown exhibition of the collection back in 2008.   Faberge Book

I do however cherish the book I got at the Kimbell exhibit.  I have read so many books and watched so many movies about the Romanoffs that I can’t tell you what I’ve actually seen in person and what was delivered to me via various media.

The OKCMOA Exhihibition

The signature item of the OKCMOA Exhibition, featured on banners throughout the city, was a lapis lazuli egg decorated with gold filigree.  I made the mistake of assuming the entire exhibition would be eggs, which was not true, but we were in no way disappointed, because the exhibit was full of spectacular, awe-inducing items collected by an avid American fan of Faberge.

Faberge pelican eggThe first egg displayed in the galleries was this darling piece with the pelican on top.   It was a gift from Nicholas II to his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.  Pelicans are not exactly my favorite birds, but according to the information provided by the museum, they symbolize motherly love and care, so that makes it more charming.  It was displayed as it is shown on this postcard, but a video showed how it opened up into a series of frames holding pictures of members of the royal family.  Quite a remarkable feat.

Along a wall, magnificent religious icons dripping in jewels and precious metals filled a case.  The lighting was low to preserve the artwork, but it also made it difficult to appreciate all the details.  However, you didn’t need much light to tell you they were spectacular.

The next case had a grove of gold, tree-like arms holding miniature eggs exquisitely decorated by Faberge.  The Pelican Egg, the icons and the miniature eggs filled the first room of the exhibition, but there were four other rooms full of treasures to enjoy.  There was everything from furniture, to serving pieces, to animals, to lots and lots of frames, to cigarette cases, to…well pretty much whatever you can imagine.  Photography was a new fad in those days, so a frame from your sovereign with a family photo was a real treat.  Pre-rolled cigarettes were newly fashionable at the time too, so cigarette cases are well represented.  I think the items which sparked the most interest for me were parasol handles.  Fashion demanded the well-put-together woman complete her ensemble with a parasol and woe to the woman who didn’t have an assortment of parasols to chose from.  Similarly, men carried canes with handles to rival the women.

The Technology

Audio tours were available on your smartphone and the museum provided earphones to cut down on the noise.  The information available, some of which I have shared here, is quite interesting.  However, the Kimbell has spoiled me.  Their acousti-guides are a little more user-friendly, because you don’t have to go in order.  You just input the number of the item you’ve happened upon and listen to what is said.  You really had to follow the order of audio guide on your phone at the OKCMOA, because there was no way to select a specific item.  You also used up a lot of phone juice.  I had to charge up after I left.

I also felt like they were stingy with their information.  There were so many wonderful items in the show and only a fraction were touched upon in the audio guide.  I know they can’t tell us everything about every single item, but the guide only explained 14 of the 230 items.  That’s not even a tithe of the objects.

Upstairs was a hands-on craft area for families to enjoy.  Many people had designed plans for their own Faberge Eggs using colored pencils and glued on rhinestones.  There was also a timeline with photos of all the Romanoff Easter Eggs.  The rest of the floor held the bulk of what was being displayed from their permanent collection.  We strolled through, but we were getting antsy to see the Chihuly’s

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I hope each and every one of you has a marvelous day.  I hope you come back next week and check out the Chihulys.