Growing up in servile poverty, my parents raised me with an absolute dislike and, even more so, distrust of any eatery that they considered to be out of their hardship-strewn social strata. Those hungry days were filled with so many grocery store pizzas, hometown buffets and dollar Whoppers, often leading to impulsively full nights and possibly short lives.
It’s been a damaging bit of culinary bondage for me, one that I’ve tried to desperately break out of for quite some time now; this was really no more evident than when I traveled to the Jones Assembly, 901 W. Sheridan on Film Row, a couple of Sundays ago, finally deciding to give their lauded brunch a feet-dragging try.
I was expecting a stereotypical record scratch when I walked in, but was instead greeted by a massive wall of 8-track tapes, mosaically arranged in a worshipful tribute to Oklahoma City. A popular music venue with two stages, when there’s no live tunes being performed, the Jones is typically converted into a popular dining spot, serving “American” food most of the week.
As my girlfriend and I waited at the bar for the other members of our party to arrive, I ordered a highly recommended Jones Iced Coffee ($5.00), a bit of cold brew dripping with house-made biscoff syrup, cardamom and black pepper, as well as some blueberries and a splash of oat milk. Sitting at the bar, sipping this surprising specialty, I began to ease back into my own skin, many of the monetary worries I was born with dissipating for the moment.
When we were seated and had time to look over the slim menus, I knew that I had to try the excruciatingly popular appetizer—with the kids, at least—Avocado Toast ($9.00); served on a thick slice of sourdough blanketed with fresno chilis, lime, and creamy avocado, it’s a hipster-borne creation that proves millennials deserve more credit for things other than just internet memes and innovative sexual acts.
And even though I theorized (to myself) that spending $16.00 on a fucking salad would have had both my strapped parents spitting right into my dour face, I would silently wipe their saliva from my eyes and, in retaliation, stab my fork deeply into the leafy goodness of the wonderful Okarche Salad.
A true Oklahoma original, it features crispy-enough chicken and freshly fried okra, along with radish, tomato, cucumber, pickled carrots, wheat berries and mint, all cohesively brought together with a tangy lemon buttermilk dressing. If there was ever a reason to spend damn near twenty-bucks on a salad, this Okarche is more than worth it.
As my girlfriend wantonly slid a fork and knife deep into her Croque in a Hole ($12.00), an expert-level take on basic eggs and cheese stuffed in the center of a piece of bread, all over a few strips of substituted bacon, I took a damnifying drink of her noon-time Bloody Mary ($6.00) and just let all of the cool ambiance that the Jones had to offer intoxicate me, the vodka and tomato juice working their out-of-pocket magic.
But, you know, that’s not why I was genuinely smirking when the check came to the table; I imagined that if they knew that I’d be getting (mostly) reimbursed for this somewhat-upscale spread, my judgmental parents would hesitantly be proud of their mostly insolvent son. Cómpralo ya!