Let us begin by saying, if you’re not trying, you’re dying. Meaning, there are many many food establishments in the Lawton/Fort Sill area. Fortunately this place in San Diego (SAN) terminal got us off to a great start with some “just right” bloody Mary’s.
Unfortunately, there are so many bad places to eat in Lawton/Fort Sill, and only a couple good; and since there really is no other critdick out there in them parts, we had to rely on Yelp to help direct us to the best places to eat. And, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I really hate Yelp.
After leaving San Diego, I couldn’t imagine, just now getting off an aircraft flying at 40,000 feet, expecting anything less than a good cocktail, or a sandwich . . . or something. The wife and I had an anticipated 1 hour, turned to a 3.5-hour layover. As we were jockeyed around between the gates we happened upon the DFW USO Post and briefly stopped in to see what this USO thing was really all about as we observed several older folks at the entrance. We inquired within.
I guess we happened upon one of the top-rated USO posts at an airport. We were pleasantly greeted and given a coupon for a hot sandwich, drink and bag of chips. Cool, lets see what they have. The wife got a pizza-bread thing and I got THE LAST CHICKEN SANDWICH. Score! The volunteer servers told us exactly how many seconds for the micro-wave, and BAM! A hot sandwich . . . for freeeee! We also found the USO to be a place we could drop our bags off, or watch TV on a recliner, play a video game or even sit in a message recliner. Remember this USO is perhaps strategically placed in front of the now infamous Gate B15. I think this is the gate in and out of Lawton/Fort Sill. And then there’s always plenty of bottled water and quick-grab airline samples of crackers, nuts and whatnot at the USO. Those were mostly stuffed into our flight bags, for the next leg into Lawton/Fort Sill where we found similar services of a local military services assistance station.
We were lucky to get to get the last rent-a-car and quickly found our way to our hotel. Our stay at the Best Western Plus in Lawton/Fort Sill had a staff that really made our stay enjoyable. First order of business was to find the bar . . . and we were pleased that the cocktail server that evening was very friendly, inviting and mentioned “the special”. I think it was two-for-one domestic beer. Hell, I’ll take that . . . and give me one for the wife. I think we were outta there for right about fifteen bucks, including a fair tip; we ARE going to get two more beers, for freeeeee! I’m beginning to like this trip . . .
So let’s get first order of business underway . . . oh yeah, we did. Then onto the next thing is to find our son . . . he is about to be a U.S. Army Soldier. Right on . . . I hope he finds his place and . . .
We head for Fort Sill. Finding your way around a military installation has always been a bit challenging because the civil engineering (e.g. roads and building seeming placed without concern for other roads and buildings) on a military installation is always interesting. But Fort Sill has some very old history, and very historically old buildings. I was fascinated as I drove throughout the installation in search of 1) Our Son who is graduating and 2) the Exchange for some water, for now . . . and beer for later (to find out it’s all 3.2 abv). Ok, grab something tolerable and a bottle of wine for the wife . . . ha, ha, ha, and another bottle opener (see previous stories about air travel and cock screws). And 3) Find Geronimo’s grave, having now seen the sign.
Well our first meal was less than “the Good” list today. But our second attempt at Yelp reviews brought us to Firo. Firo is a similar; albeit exactly like the craze in California, of making personal pizzas quickly (i.e. 8 minutes) in a super hot oven. The crusts are firm, reasonably thin and crunchy. But the topping are selected by the now “touch point” involving the customer just like Subway sandwiches. You pick everything from the sauce, meats and vegetables. And they don’t skimp. You want more, just ask for more. Firo was relatively new but a new name on the block of these types of pizza. They’re just doing it in Lawton/Fort Sill. Firo was so new they even hand wrote large numbers (i.e. #42) with a felt tip marker on a sheet of paper for the customer to stick in their table number holder once back at their own selected seat. The counter cashier had explained they were so new, they were waiting for their plastic table numbers to arrive; and the pen thing was just a temporary solution. I told them to keep doing it on paper because that’s another thing that makes Firo different. Someone’s going to have to tell me if they continue . . .unless, I get back the Lawton/Fort Sill before hand; but I don’t think that will happen.
Check out Firo on your visit. They also had this gelato counter that was unique for this style of “California” pizza. Our pizzas were really good. We didn’t think about the gelato until after we had left. I’m sure it is as good as the pizza. Next time!!!
Another of our quests was to find my Son some Mexican food. First of all, let me begin this part of the story by explaining that my Son is from Southern California. Has always had a weak link for Mexican food done the California taco shop way. Hell, they’re sometimes three taco shops in the same block in Southern California. Now, to find something acceptable in Oklahoma? As a reminder, California has an extremely large Mexican population, especially in areas surrounding the farmlands north of Los Angeles. Not here in Oklahoma. The farms here have been in families for years . . . and there are few Mexicans. And there’s only one real Mexican food taco shop here in Lawton/Fort Sill. And we knew to be leery because we have had Mid-West Mexican food before; and I’m not talking Tex-Mex either.
We found Yelp to have been dead-on accurate about Guadalajara Taqueria. A 4.5 star rating on Yelp with a lot of reviews . . . in Lawton/Fort Sill? That’s pretty good. We immediately knew we had hit the mother-load when the greeter/server/busser and emotional Irma quickly identified us as not from around Lawton/Fort Sill. Irma asked where we were from. We said California. I too noticed her accent was not from Oklahoma either, so I asked where she was from. She said Oxnard. Holy Shit . . . we really hit the mother-load. Oxnard, CA has a huge farmland community, with a heavy Mexican population, and taco shops on every corner. Taco shops even pop up in the middle of the night in Oxnard. Then began our very good Mexican taco shop meal at the sit-down trailer where they first opened. But, they just bought a new building and were then to hope to quickly move. So look for Guadalajara Taqueria at the new building.
Guadalajara Taqueria also had a unique idea . . . at least we’ve never seen it. The salsa was served along with a refill carafe at your table. Now I’d have to research whether the refill carafe conforms to sanitary safety regulations, and if they can legitimately be refilled or whatever . . . but I liked having more, all ready to go. They also had Valentino’s on the table. Just before placing our order I also noticed the beer in the refrigerator . . . yup, authentic California Mexican cuisine, or as close as I’m going to get.
Now let’s see if they can live up to the food. Irma recommended Guadalajara Taqueria’s signature dish of basically mixed Fajitas, with a twist. While the beef, chicken and 12-14 count shrimp were all plentiful and quite flavorful, there was a foreign object (FOD for you NAVAIR folk) on my plate. There was a summer sausage/hot dog thing on the plate. I thought, was that the signature? It wasn’t big. I was . . . odd. I tasted it and that was all . . . otherwise a very plentiful plate.
The accoutrements that accompanied the dish included flavorful rice and homemade beans; although the lettuce plate (a lot of lettuce) was topped with a very small dollop of guacamole (which is somewhat normal), but an extremely small (tea-spoon size) portion of the pico de gallo. The flavors were all there, just kinda killed me with the lack of pico. Oh well, the carne asada burrito my son ordered was large and good. We had French fries added to the burrito, and Irma kinda questioned that one . . . maybe I’m on her side . . . I say, “Irma, in San Diego, we call that a California Burrito”. “Oh, Ok then”, she replies. My wife had the very large tostada salad and again said the chicken was terrific. We enjoyed our “as authentic as it gets here”, one very nice direction-offering patron had told us as we departed. I’m glad my son will have somewhere to target once he gets liberty from the military training on base.
My son also had a hunkerin’ for a great breakfast. Now feeling as though I have researched enough on Yelp, I had to find the best breakfast. We found Sunrise and Shine. A very plentiful and delicious fatty breakfast to get our day started. The hash was fresh and the potatoes awesome. My wife’s omelet did not let her down. Everything we had for breakfast held Sunrise and Shine at the top of the Yelpers paradigm.
Add to Guadalajara Taqueria, the pizza from Firo and my son and his Soldier “battle buddy” will have at least two places in town for some down-home (California style) fast food and a good breakfast. Now, if we can get my son to start saving some money . . . instead of asking us for $10.
There is a lot of good in Lawton/Fort Sill. You just have to look for it.