Best Places to go with Best Friends
While true that, “It is not where you go, but who you go with,” that matters most, many of the strongest friendships were brewed over a hot cup of coffee, sweetened over a decadent dessert, or strengthened through the steps of a long stroll through the park. Women develop a sense of connection through mutual interests, intimate conversations, and quality time. I am always looking for new places to take ‘old friends’ and I thought I would share a few of the best ones I’ve found with you, so here they are:
If you are looking for a sweet escape, take the friend of your choice out to one of OKC’s top 5 cupcake shops. For only $2-$5 a cupcake, you can treat your friend to great conversation and dessert. Here is my list in order of least to greatest; Sara Sara Cupcakes, Cuppies and Joe, Cupcake Lounge, Pinkitzel, and Gigi’s Cupcakes.
The story behind Sara Sara Cupcakes (http://www.sarasarabakery.com/) will melt your heart, but the milk bar, complete with frosted glasses, will send chills down your throat, washing down these larger-than-life baked treats. Word of warning though, these super-sized cakes have the density and flavor of a loaf of your favorite bread with a thin layer of frosting on top, but the cottage-like atmosphere is one of a kind.
Cuppies and Joe (http://www.cuppiesandjoe.com/) offers friends a drift down memory lane with its small-town, college feel. Located in the older part of Oklahoma City, it is like a treasured antique, nuzzled cozily amongst small buildings, hiding behind its homely exterior (it is literally a renovated home I believe, complete with wooden floors and small rooms tucked around every corner). Cuppies is a great place to study, drink coffee, or chat with close friends. While the variety of cupcakes was disappointing (although they offer several other choices of pastries), the quality of frosting reminded me of the buttery richness found in more expensive chocolate truffles.
What The Cupcake Lounge (http://www.thecupcakeloungeok.com/) lacks on the outside, it makes up for on the inside! Located in Moore, their huge dining space is filled with cushy couches, coloring areas for the kids, and quaint coffee tables making it ideal for every mommy, woman, and friend. Not just the inside of the store will surprise you, but so will the inside of many of the cupcakes; some filled with caramel, butter cream frosting, or raspberry, yum! Word of warning though, while these cupcakes cost less than most, the tasty frosting will leave you wanting more, seeing as how it fails to reach the edge of the cupcake (a pet peeve of this frosting connoisseur/addict).
Pinkitzel (http://www.pinkitzel.com/) strikes a chord with the princess living inside of every woman I know. From the damask wallpaper accented with pink trimmings, to the crystal chandeliers, its atmosphere can only be outdone by its lavish cupcakes, fit for a queen. With an equal cupcake-to-frosting ratio, these paper-wrapped cups of heaven will make you feel like royalty. Of course, you’ll pay a ‘royalty’ for it, but every last crumb is worth it in this diva’s mind, and mouth for that matter! Don’t forget to save time to browse the candy store attached to this massive bakery, it’s Alice’s Wonderland for grown-ups!
Last, but never least, is Gigi’s Cupcakes (http://gigiscupcakesusa.com/) . This place wins my vote for the best cupcakes ever! A moderate price, but elaborate selection with a reputation that precedes itself, Gigi’s rules! However, some of their cupcake stores lack seating (literally no place to sit at all in the Norman store), so take it to-go or make a surprise delivery to your best friend. She’ll love you almost as much as the cupcake you brought her!
If you couldn’t tell already, I am a “Foody”, but that is not the only reason my next suggestion comes with a meal! Food brings people together. We need it almost as much as we need the relationships it fosters. Like food for the soul, a great conversation warms the heart and settles the nerves, lighting up the pleasure centers in our brain like the fourth of July. And throughout history it has been food that brought very different people from different places to the same table for a meal; a meal that led to a conversation, a conversation that began a relationship, a relationship that changed a life. The Native Americans sat down with the Pilgrims (Thanksgiving), Jesus sat down with disciples (The last supper), teens sit down with parents, and soon you will be sitting down at The Inspirations Tea Room I hope!
Raise your pinkies and tip your hats ladies, it’s time for tea at Inspirations Tea Room (http://inspirationstearoom.com/)! This fine establishment, located in Edmond, is worth the ride. Complete with a gift shop, beautiful view, and Victorian style dining area, you’ll think you stepped out of the car and into a English style dining room to have tea with the Queen of England herself! You and your friends can have an authentic tea party for two with real china, tea cups, tea saucers, and lacey table cloths, complete with a lovely flower arrangement at the center of your table. The menu is simple, but elegant. The tea options are endless (literally hundreds of choices). And the amount of fun you’ll have will be priceless.
Tired of Subway, Panera Bread, McCallister’s, and all the other local soup/salad/and sandwich shops? Try Nikkellettes Café (http://www.raspberriesncreme.com/), a frou-frou lunch spot if you ever did see one! The staff is friendly, the food is delicious (must try the chicken noodle soup with a tomato base), and the chandeliers hanging above every table are just dripping with girlyness! You’ll feel so fancy that you might just forget that you don’t live in Nichols Hills, but only your friend will be the wiser.
Want to travel around the world with your best friend, but can’t afford it? Check out Fast Forward Foods on Main street in Norman (http://www.forwardfoods.com/). This tiny grocery story is packed full of the most wonderful delicacies from around the world. You and your friend can find a large cheese case in the back with almost 100 different kinds of award winning cheeses from around the world, which the stores attendants will allow you to sample for free (you have to ask for samples of the specific cheeses you want and they will desire you to purchase a small portion of at least one of the cheeses when you are done). The website is a valuable resource for you cheese connoisseurs, offering a paragraph on each kind of cheese (where it is from, how it is made, etc). My friends and I always buy gourmet crackers or chips and sliced salami to go with our cheese and eat it at the small dining area at the front of the store, a real treat! The store also offers cheese and wine classes on certain evenings for $35 each, a great way to spend an evening with your old friends and make some new ones while you’re at it!
After all of this eating, you and your friends may want to work off the extra calories in a Cardio Tennis Class at the Earlywine Park in Moore. During warmer weather, Coach Randy offers two different 1 hour sessions with class sizes from 8-10 people (mostly women, only one guy I know of). He’ll get your heart rate up, and your confidence going with fun music, constant action, and a can-do spirit that is sure to create some female bonding before the time is up! Classes only cost $10 a session (No membership to the tennis club is required to participate), so call your friends and get signed up as soon as the weather permits you to (http://www.earlywinetennis.com/).
Women who learn together, grow together; which is why taking classes is a great way to spend time with your friends. The Moore Norman Technology Center offers an extensive list of cooking classes for you and your friends to choose from (http://mntechnology.com/search-content/cooking). Class sizes are small and the cost is usually around $30 for a three hour session with all materials provided for you when you get there. Whether you want a crash course in Thai food or to brush up on your cupcake decorating skills, the Moore Norman Technology Center is the one for you. You can easily sign up online or just call 405.364.5763 ext. 7260.
Whether you choose the movies, the nail salon, or the local coffee shop, if you take a friend with you, you’ll have a much better time. There is plenty to do out there, someone just needs to take the first step. Take the time, make a plan, and call a friend. Just like any relationship, your friendships will flourish when you take the time to nurture them (this will take a little effort on your part, but I guarantee you that it’s worth it ;).