If you go out to eat, try to pick a restaurant that you like

We don’t eat out a lot for a variety of reasons.

First, my wife Susan is a terrific cook. She cooks well-balanced, tasty meals. After almost 34 years of marriage, I can say there is nothing she makes that I don’t enjoy.

Secondly, eating out is expensive. I have a regular Friday morning breakfast meeting with my friends Tom McCloud and Rick Collier. (Ken Staley used to join us but he moved to Ohio). We had a favorite restaurant we went to for years. But the cost of breakfast skyrocketed. We switched to McDonald’s after we started paying $17 or $18 for breakfast.

And I think, for the most part, eating at home is healthier.

Don’t get me wrong – I love to go out to dinner. We always go out for special occasions like Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I enjoy eating out when we are out of town or on vacation. And at least once a week, we will go out to give Susan a break from the kitchen.

Here are some of my favorite restaurants. They are not the fanciest but the food is delicious, the service is good and you get great value.

Speedy Gonzales is an authentic Mexican restaurant at  2601 S. Memorial Drive. The menu is so big, they have to post it on a wall.

This is part of the Tulsa Business Exchange and we are a member, so we get a great deal when we eat there. The staff is always smiling, the food is cooked from scratch and two people can eat dinner for under $20.

Tulsa has some fine Mexican restaurants but this is my favorite. The tamales are great and my whole family likes the quesadillas.

Another favorite (and part of the trade group) is Shiloh’s Restaurant at 2604 N. Aspen in Broken Arrow.

Shortly after you are seated at Shiloh’s, a smiling waitress or waiter brings you a freshly baked gigantic dinner roll. Already on your table is a bottle of strawberry/rhubarb jam. That combination is almost a meal in itself.

Sometimes on the weekends, a small country-and-western band will play music and sing. Shiloh’s in many respects is like a country diner.

I love their barbecue ribs (the meat falls off the bone) and they have a wonderful hamburger steak wrapped in bacon. Two can eat at Shiloh’s for under $25.

I was introduced to Uncle Buck’s Grill in Bass Pro in Broken Arrow at 101 Bass Pro Drive when I first attended the monthly Patriot Pastors luncheon.

We are trying to cut down on our carbohydrate intake and Uncle Buck’s used to have the best sweet potato fries in the area. Sweet potatoes have fewer carbs than regular potatoes. Unfortunately, they have dropped them from their menu.

My favorite is the turkey wrap with chipolte sauce. Uncle Buck’s is a well-kept secret. It never seems very crowded and the décor – as you might expect – is fascinating. They have a giant aquarium, complete with an eel to match the giant eel statue by the door.

You can eat there for less than $30. (All my estimates don’t include a drink or tip. We almost always order water because drinks are so overpriced and we usually tip about 20 percent).

Here’s a restaurant that you either love or hate – Golden Corral. I go there at least once a month for the meeting of the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly.

I don’t go to Golden Corral for the atmosphere – I go for the food. The have such a variety and it is very easy to eat your fill but avoid carbohydrates.

You can get a tender steak with a salad bar with dozens of choice additions. They offer steaming hot vegetables (I always get broccoli) along with meatloaf, baked ham, baked chicken, fried chicken, baked fish, fried shrimp, pot roast, fried fish plus Mexican dishes and pizza. The choices are immense.The desserts are nice but not so good that you hate to skip dessert. And two can eat there for under $30.

Finally, I like Goldie’s Patio Grill. We go to the one at 6121 E. 61st Street – less than two miles from our house. Goldie’s has several locations around town.

At Goldie’s, after the waitress takes your order, you go to the pickle bar, where they have sweet pickles, dill pickles plus onions, tomatoes and lettuce for your burgers.

I love the chicken fried steak at Goldie’s. I used to order it but I don’t anymore because I am trying to cut back. A chicken-fried steak with French fries topped with white gravy is a treat. The burgers are big, juicy and cooked to order.

And two can eat for under $25 at Goldie’s.

I will add a few more favorites that I like but don’t eat at regularly: Fish Daddy’s, Cheddars, Delta Café, Mimi’s, Ti Amo, Margaret’s German Restaurant (at the Farm Shopping Center), Jason’s Deli, Cracker Barrel, Nelson’s Buffeteria, Johnny Carino’s, Savoy Restaurant (the best cinnamon rolls in town) and Timmy’s.

This list doesn’t include fast-food restaurants or places I don’t like (including Hooters and Twin Peaks).

Bon appetite!