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Food Briefs: MasterChef auditions, Bites and Brews and more

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Reality calls

Oklahoma City is one of the first stops as Fox reality cooking show MasterChef begins casting for its eighth season.

Open casting calls are being held across the country and visit Oklahoma for the first time Saturday at Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown-Bricktown, 209 N. Walnut Ave.

Home cooks are encouraged to register for the call at masterchefcasting.com.

Those who can’t make it to the casting call may submit home video through the casting website.

Competition instructions include curious notes: There will not be a kitchen in which to cook or warm up dishes.

The show also will not supply contestants with dishes or utensils.

Bites and Brews

Those looking for a bite to eat and a chance to help might be interested in Bites and Brews, a new tasting event benefiting Youth Services for Oklahoma County (YSOC).

The event is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Chesapeake Boathouse, 725 S. Lincoln Blvd. The event includes sample bites from Oklahoma City restaurants and local beers in support of YSOC, a not-for-profit organization providing professional counseling and innovative behavioral and educational services to at-risk OKC youth.

In addition to food and drink, Bites and Brews will have a drawing for an autographed Thunder basketball, Kendra Scott jewelry and two all-session tickets to the 2016 Big 12 Baseball Championship.

Tickets are $30-$50, available at ysoc.org.

Rachel Cope mixes cocktails during a pop-up dinner at Dunlap Codding in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Rachel Cope mixes cocktails during a pop-up dinner at Dunlap Codding in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

Revolucion-ary

Joining Sunnyside Diner at the suddenly exciting corner of NW Sixth Street and Classen Boulevard is taco concept Revolucion Taqueria + Cantina.

Owner Rachel Cope, (pictured, below left) already busy with popular Empire Slice House and upcoming Goro Ramen in the Plaza District, said the idea is simple: a revolution against Tex-Mex.

“No fajitas, no enchiladas,” she said. “We’re doing authentic, cool, shareable plates and tacos.”

The menu will stay true to Mexican preparations and flavors, including al pastor sliced off rotating spits and barbacoa.

The space will feature a large patio and a nanowall system that opens the restaurant to the outdoors for an accessible taqueria atmosphere with a full bar and late-night dining.

“Our hope is to open July 1,” Cope said.

Jonathan Stranger at The R&J Lounge and Supper Club in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 6, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Jonathan Stranger at The R&J Lounge and Supper Club in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 6, 2015.

Heads and Tails

“We work with a guy who raises some of the best beef I’ve ever had anywhere,” said Ludivine chef and co-owner Jonathon Stranger (pictured). “We just want to show off the beef.”

That’s the idea behind the seven-course Head to Tail Dining event March 21 at the restaurant, 805 N. Hudson Ave. Chefs will use a whole black wagyu steer raised and finished in Shawnee to showcase a variety of cuts and cooking techniques.

“The dishes are very simple, not overcomposed,” Stranger said. “We’re highlighting the taste of each cut as we work through the animal.”

Strip steak is likely the best-known cut on the menu, but diners will get to taste tongue, cheek, tail, liver and heart.

“The heart will look like a very thin steak. The flavor is very beefy, very intense,” he said. “Of course, it will be well-cleaned and brined so it doesn’t have that iron flavor.”

Stranger said he likes using high-quality organ meats because they can stand up to strong flavor that might otherwise overpower the meat.

Tickets are $80, and a wine pairing is an additional $40. Call 778-6800 for reservations.

Heartland spirit

While locally made vodkas by Prairie Wolf Spirits and Success Vodkas are growing in popularity (see P.22 for local cocktail recipes), a new contender enters the market promising a taste of the heartland.

Made with corn from Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and water from Arkansas, Smithworks American Made Vodka is a triple-distilled, charcoal-filtered spirit.

“Blending our expertise in vodka with the passion and pride of our Smithworks plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, we’re excited to bring consumers a new American vodka,” said Kate Pomeroy, Pernod Ricard USA vice president.

Ada native and country music star Blake Shelton was involved with brand development.

“I’m excited for everyone to finally taste what we’ve been crafting,” Shelton said in a media release. It became available March 1 in Oklahoma.

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