Okcate’s Out and About: The Circle + Calaveras = A Fine Pairing

Today, as I write this entry, my tummy is full and happy. It is full of delicious Mexican food from Calaveras Mexican Grill, a new restaurant that lies in the heart of the Kendall-Whittier district of Tulsa. This area of town has seen much renovation and development over the past few years—changes that have been nothing but beneficial to our community ‘round these parts.

Out in front and leading the charge, and adjacent to Calaveras, is the historic Circle CinemaAs I have mentioned before, I moved to Tulsa nearly ten years ago. At that time, The Circle, as us locals call it, was undergoing a new wave of renovation, one that I have been lucky to witness as it has expanded and brought in new theaters and screens.

It’s mission, “to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the human experience, and create community among the viewers in the restored historic Circle Cinema”, is being realized as it grows with an ever-improving Tulsa.

Through its community events and involvement in the growth of the Kendall-Whittier area, it enhances the culture in this part of town. It hosts everything from movie events around social justice and activism, to workshops for young filmmakers, to the annual Academy Awards live broadcast event.

Which brings me to my happy and filled tummy. Okay, so maybe I didn’t eat this much, but here’s a visual of some of the goodness…

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With a business card like that, how can you go wrong?

My sister’s and my birthdays fall thirteen days apart in the shortest month of the year. It’s hard to celebrate her day with friends and family, my day with friends and family, and still manage to do something with just each other for some bonding time.

This squeeze usually results in many mini-celebrations with different folks throughout the month. There’s also our dad’s birthday, and those of a few cousins and friends, as well. If you see me out and about in February, it’s usually because someone I care about is getting older.

So, for our joint celebration this year, Tallulah (yep, her name is all kinds of unique too) and I decided on a girls’ night out at the Circle Cinema’s OSCAR® Experience. For just $15 ($10 for members), you could have access to the event, light eats, a cash bar, and a night of award show excitement.

Enter Calaveras Mexican Grill.

Now, usually, when I hear the phrase light eats, I don’t generally get all kinds of excited about it. However, the light eats they promised that night were so very tasty! And better yet, they didn’t leave you feeling heavy—but they were substantial enough to keep the hangry away during the three-hour-plus event that was filled with all the award excitement you would expect. Like opportunities for red carpet arrival pics, giveaways, and meeting your favorite (cardboard) celebrity…

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What a guy!

Attendees were encouraged to put their fanciest foot forward, and Tallulah and I love old-Hollywood glamour. She went all out, and I helped her get ready for the night by doing her makeup and hair. We even completed her look with a vintage fur I’d inherited from a friend of mine. 

I, however, had been up since 6:30am that morning and had been at work until noon. And as much as I love dressing up as much as the next lady, I was not feeling it much that night. Plus, the temperatures had dropped steadily throughout the day. Donning a dress was not my idea of staying warm and toasty—hence the casual look to my photo above. Still, I pulled on my best pink sweater and a nice pair of jeans (to my credit, I did put on lipstick and sparkly earrings) and happily played assistant to Ms. Silver Screen.

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Pictured above: My college degree at work, folks.

A fun time was had all around (shout out to the fabulous host Kristin Dickerson of KTUL), and best of all, the proceeds went to The Circle! And like I said, the food was phenomenal. I love that the two businesses partnered up for the event, in true community fashion.

So, this weekend, when the time came to pick a place for a birthday lunch with my in-laws today, I recalled that certain deliciousness I had experienced last week and chose Calaveras. You know, just to make sure I liked it. One can never be too careful when researching a good restaurant, you know.

Apparently, I chose wisely. The place was a hit with everyone. The menu is extensive, featuring a wide array of vegetarian and meat dishes. I chose the wet burrito (so filling and full of distinct flavors!), and my husband, who rates Mexican food restaurants on his personal tamale scale, said they were some of the best he’s had. And when I ate a slice of chocolate mousse pie for dessert (because, birthday lunch), I thought I may have heard angels singing, just a little bit. It’s flavors were complex, and though it was decidedly rich, it was not overwhelmingly sweet.

Bonus! The atmosphere is fun and artistic. The walls and ceiling feature artwork, much of it centering around sugar skulls and dancing skeletons—I really dig the look of the Dia de los Muertos decor in this space.

All in all, to make a long post short, the next time you want to support the artistic and socially relevant aspects of movie-making, check out the Circle Cinema. And because being a patron of the arts is hard work, get you some tastiness next door at Calaveras Mexican Grill. As a certain movie star might say, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful (and delicious) friendship.”

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