I first heard about Woolaroc while sitting in the backseat with a friend, on our way into the Arkansas Wine Country for a Rotary meeting – and was immediately intrigued.
The break after Christmas seemed like a great time to go and explore a new, relatively close town, so we packed up the car and were on our way.
We arrived in Bartlesville in time for dinner, and our first stop was The Price Tower – originally commissioned to serve as an office building, it is now a hotel, bar and restaurant and is famous for being Frank Lloyd Wrights only skyscraper. The Copper Restautant and Bar is situated on the 15th and 16th floors, and as children have to be seated 30 feet away from the bar, we found ourselves enjoying our beverages and appetizers in solitude, in the loft.
We chose the Copper Bruschetta (a baguette topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, red onion, tomato and mozzarella cheese), and the spinach and artichoke dip.
|The Copper Bruschetta|
|The Spinach Artichoke Dip|
The rest of the menu consisted of burgers, sandwiches and salads so we decided to sample an appetizer at a different restaurant and discovered Luigi’s. My husband and I shared a bottle of Italian wine, the kids shared a pizza and we also tried a soup, salad and sliced Italian sausage appetizer.
The next day we toured Woolaroc (which stands for WOOds, LAkes and ROCks), Frank Phillips’ Ranch Retreat. It was established in 1925 and consists of a museum, petting barn, Historic lodge home and walking trails.
Frank Phillips has an extremely fascinating life story, which includes starting out as a barber at age 14, owning all of the barber shops in Creston, Iowa ten years later, and almost going bust, before striking oil, in the first of 80 consecutive producing wells.
Although he wasn’t a hunter, there was an impressive and interesting array of taxidermy on display in the Lodge and the museum held such novelties as shrunken human heads and a large collection of colt guns, and we learned the story of how the Phillips 66 name was chosen, which was fascinating.
We gained a large appetite while touring the museum and great outdoors, so we journeyed into town to find lunch. A restaurant that seemed to have produced a lot of interest was the Indian Coffee Co., so we settled in, and fueled up on Indian Fry Bread, a Sweet Thai Shrimp Salad, and an Adam and Eve Pizza – topped with roasted garlic, olive oil, fruit jam, roast chicken, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, roasted pine nuts and goat cheese – fabulous!
Hot drinks abounded to counteract the cold weather, and included a Vanilla Steamer which tasted like a warm marshmallow.
|Sweet Thai Shrimp Salad at the Indian Coffee Co.|
|The Adam and Eve Pizza at the Indian Coffee Co.|
We made it to the Phillips family home in town, just in time for the final tour of the day. Although it is only about 20 minutes away from their country retreat, the grounds, decor and stories are worlds apart.
Dinner was at Sterlings Grille, which appeared to be Bartlesvilles most highly acclaimed and popular steak house, and dessert was at Freddys Frozen Custard, close to our hotel.
Before leaving town the next day, we visited the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum, where the kids and I had some hula-hoop fun, and Nellie Johnstone Number 1 – the first oil well in Oklahoma
|Nellie Johnstone Number 1|
and of course Frank and Lolas. My social media research claimed it overwhelmingly to be THE restaurant to try, and I was too intrigued to miss it. I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by the menu, even after a 35 to 40 minute wait, and the great anticipation. My husband had the pulled pork and I tried the pork green chile, and the kids enjoyed their selections from the kids menu.
|The Green Chile Pork Stew at Frank and Lolas|
HOT SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
4 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
10 ounces of fresh spinach, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
Heat oven to 350F.
Stir together the parmesan, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, lemon juice, garlic and 1 cup of pepper Jack cheese. Fold in spinach and artichokes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into a baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of pepper Jack cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until center is hot and edges are bubbly.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2011