The Big Cheese

341 2The cheese board at Hodges Bend offers a wide selection. Photo by Casey Hanson.

Who doesn’t love cheese? Whether you’re a fan of muenster, gouda, Greek feta or good ol’ American cheddar, there is cheese to suit every taste. Put several together on a large plate or board, throw in meat and maybe some fruit or a drizzle of honey and you’ve got a fantastic snack or light meal. Three Tulsa hotspots offer unique cheese and meat boards that are worth immediate consumption.

Hodges Bend (823 E. Third St.) serves a cheese and charcuterie board that is seasonal and can change based on what is available at any given time. While Hodge’s Bend offers the meat and cheese boards separately, Chef Ian van Anglen says that the combo – comprised of four to five cheeses and meats – is the most popular. On the cheese side, selections often include Manchego, Danish Bleu, St. Andre (French Brie) and an aged goat cheese from Spain called Fortaleza del Sol. Meats including smoked trout rillette, fresh pork pate, mortadella, smoked pickled kielbasa and Jamon Serrano and might include a fruity garnish like quince jam, pumpkin pie jam or smoked, candied figs.

The Alley (3324 E. 31st St.) serves a cheese board that includes a wide selection of cheeses – including a few that are smoked in-house, such as cheddar, bleu cheese and gouda. Havarti and muenster are included as well. House-cured salmon, a couple of house-made jams, peanuts, walnuts and honey are included as well.  House-made crostini and focaccia round out this very thoughtful cheese plate. Owner Brian Biehl says the cheese board may vary seasonally, but for the most part, it stays the same.

Laffa Medi-Eastern Restaurant and Bar (111 N. Main St.) offers a cheese board with exotic flavors and varying textures. The Peasant’s Plate, as it is called, has feta that is marinated in lemon, sumac and za’atar – a spice mixture of thyme, savory and sesame seeds. Creamy thyme and garlic goat cheese spread is thick and rich, while Syrian farmers’ cheese is topped with olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade. Grapes and apples accompany the cheese and add a touch of sweetness. Thick date-honey comes on the plate as well and can be drizzled over all. The Peasant’s Plate is served with toasted pieces of freshly made laffa bread.