Monday, May 29, 2017

The Ultimate Wraps: A Halal Food Truck In Greenspoint

Food Truck: The Ultimate Wraps
Address:
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of Visit: 5/3/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be recapping my experience at a brand new halal food truck. This food truck is called The Ultimate Wraps. I first heard about this food truck when the owner first posted about it to get the word out that they opened up, and also when the owner did a competition where the winners would get a free wrap. I was one of the winners, so I got to give them a try. It was also a good study break for me from finals preparation (which is why I've been behind on my reviews). Before heading to Prairie View to prepare for my first final, I headed to the place.



Let The Experience Begin!
The food truck is located at the gas station on Beltway 8 and Greenspoint Drive. There was a line of cars with people waiting to get their food. After waiting a little bit in line, I was ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I asked them what their most popular wrap is, and the answer was the gyro. So I got that. They asked for spicy or regular. I got regular since it is the same thing that I got when I got the gyro at Fyza Alwadi's. The waiting time was about 11 minutes and 46 seconds.



Menu: It's only because of pictures on Yelp that posting the menu pics became possible. The Facebook page does not list the prices of their menu items, and their website is not fully ready yet. I hope they fix that so that people would be able to know how much they are expected to pay.
This place offers Indian/Pakistani, Mediterranean, and American fare. Best of all, the prices are affordable. Nothing in the menu is over $10. Really good if you're on a budget and want a cheap meal. Click the pictures to zoom in.


Fries, Catering Information, and Front of Pamphlet (photo credit: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-ultimate-wraps-houston?select=pYZsSHL_E4-SqhDi1P5mzA)

Wraps, Philly Steaks, and NY Style platters (Photo Credit: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-ultimate-wraps-houston?select=vve08-HB3GhlHmoUSHlYww)


The Gyro

The Ultimate Verdict:
The ultimate verdict was that it was pretty good, and filling as well. Everything complemented each other. The service was great. The people were really nice and helpful. 



Conclusion:
The Ultimate Wraps is a nice new addition to the halal food scene in Northside. This is a good place to go and get a quick bite.



Grading:
Food: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Total: 15.5/20 = 77.5% (C)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$




Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pepperoni's- Yes, That's The Actual Name of the Restaurant AND They Have Halal Options as Well

Restaurant: Pepperoni's
Address: 8502 South Main Street, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of Visit: 4/8/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Finals are over, so this means I am back! I was so busy with school that this is the only review from April that I am writing. Today I will be writing about a new pizza place that has halal options. The name? Pepperoni's. Don't think for a second that they only serve Pepperoni pizza. They have a huge variety as well. I first heard of this only a few days ago at the Menu of Menus event that was hosted by the Houston Press (It was a great event with a lot of good halal/seafood/vegetarian foods). I had their cheese pizza there and it was fantastic. They gave out free 8" pizza coupons to every person who came to their booth at the event. They have locations all over town. I took one and made the intention of going to their Montrose location and getting their cheese pizza again (they have locations in Montrose, Medical Center, Katy, and Fort Bend County). Next thing you know, I get a tip from one of my followers on Instagram that they have started having halal beef toppings at their Medical Center location! Immediately the next day, I was able to go and give it a try!



Let The Experience Begin!
The location that I went to was the Medical Center one. It is located at the intersection of South Main and Braesman. Next to the door is the entire menu. Impressive. Inside, it was small, but it had the usual tables with the cashier area as well as a TV. On the wall, there was a sign that said "Halal Beef Now Available on Request".



Let's Eat!
Without any hesitation, I ordered an 8" pizza with halal beef, and used my coupon. The waiting time wasn't that bad.



Menu: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/555e06e2e4b0f085e3d3d1ea/t/5866aace9de4bbfbbf62837c/1483123414915/Montrose16.pdf

This is the menu for both the Medical Center and Montrose locations. I didn't post the menu for Fort Bend county and Katy because ONLY the Medical Center location has halal beef as of right now. My pizza would have costed $7.57 (tax included).



The 8" Halal Beef Pizza


Halal Beef Sign

The Verdict:
While this had lesser halal options than Russo's a few miles away, the pizza here was impressive. It was piping hot and fresh when it came to the table. The taste was also really good. It was far better than the pizza chains and some of the pizzas that I have had in my life. Overall, the place did a great job. No complaints about the service. The people were really nice and gave me no issues.



Conclusion:
Pepperoni's managed to impress me twice in a week. I definitely see myself coming here again on a regular basis if I want to eat a whole pizza myself without having to order a medium and literally stuff my face. The food comes fresh and hot, and there are no issues in the service. I hope that in the future there will be more halal toppings to choose from.



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Total: 17/20 = 85% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Pepperoni's
Address: 8502 South Main Street, Houston, Texas
Phone: (713) 664-5353
Website: pepperonis.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pepperonis
Instagram: pepperonis_pizza
Email: pizza@pepperonis.net
Timings: Mon-Sun: 10 AM - 10 PM
Caters: Yes
Online ordering available

Feel free to comment below, send me an email, or message me on Facebook!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Holy Land Cafe: Great Mediterranean food in the Great Plains

Restaurant: Holy Land Cafe
Address: 12275 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: April Fool's Day, 2017



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about my experience at a well known Mediterranean restaurant in the Kansas side of town. This is also the only review on the Kansas side of this trip as well as the last review of this trip. I know it has been way too long, but finals are on the corner and I had a huge onslaught of tests this past month along with exhilarating lab reports and assignments. Anyways, the place in question is called Holy Land Cafe. I heard about it from my uncle, who said that it is one of the best. So I took his word and went there before staying at the hotel where the rest of the PV crew were staying. The reason for that was because the bus the next day for Houston would leave at 6 AM, and that it would not be practical to drop there early morning since the hotel is near Kansas City airport and my uncle's house in Overland Park was 38 miles away. After bidding adieu to my relatives, it was time to go there.



Let The Experience Begin!
Holy Land Cafe is located near the interseciton of West 87th and Quivara, a few blocks from I-35. The setting was very modest and it gives the feeling of being in a hole-in-the-wall place. We were welcomed, then given menus.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the lentil soup, and chicken shawarma plate, and so did my uncle from Dallas who was with me. I also got a chicken shawarma for dinner, because the "banquet" that I was supposed to go to did not have any food. Waiting time was a modest 13 minutes and 31 seconds.



Menu (click to view): Lunch MenuDinner Menu
Interestingly, this place serves biryani, but it looks more Arab than Indian/Pakistani (Yes, there is an Arab version of it). Otherwise, this place serves up popular Mediterranean dishes. And they are not stingy on the sides unlike Habashi House.


Bowl of Salad

Chicken Shawarma Plate

Lentil Soup

The Verdict:
Both my uncle and I loved the food here. I thought that this place had the best Mediterranean food that I have had in the Kansas City area. The lentil soup was very flavorful and fresh. The chicken had the perfect amount of flavor and taste. Overall, two thumbs up. No complaints about the service. The people were really nice.


Conclusion:
If you are in Kansas City, then you should give Holy Land Cafe a try! Really good Mediterranean food and good service. I definitely see myself coming back here the next time I visit Kansas City.



Grading:
Service: 9/10
Food: 9/10
Total: 18/20 = 90% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Holy Land Cafe
12275 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas
Phone: (913) 310-9911
Website: http://holylandcafe.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Holy-Land-Cafe-167479979938481/
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 9 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 10 PM; Sun: 12 PM - 8 PM
Caters: yes

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Habashi House: Delivery Time!

Habashi House
309 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri
Date of sampling: 3/31/17

Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be reviewing the food from the other halal restaurant in downtown Kansas City called Habashi House. Instead of going there, I got the food delivered to the convention center. The main reason for that was because I had no ride to that place (located in River Market, which was a significant walk) and also that I had to grab a bite before heading for Friday prayers. Thus, I will be only grading on the food. I used Postmates to get my food delivered to my location. 




Let's Eat!
Habashi House's chicken dishes are halal, but only a select number of beef dishes are halal. To play it safe, I ordered a sheesh tawooq (as what it is spelled on their menu). And I got rice with it. Price? $9.99 + tax.



The pricing is not that bad to be honest. However it would be better if the food had two side options instead of one. I wonder how you can eat just plain meat and hummus without pita bread??

Two skewers of Sheesh Tawooq and rice

The Verdict:
Long story short, it was average. Yes, the food was still fresh when it had arrived, but the taste did not exceed expectations. The rice was somewhat oily as well.



Conclusion:
Habashi could have done better with their rice by making it less oily. I've definitely had better sheesh tawooq dishes in my life.



Grading:
Food: 6/10

Restaurant Information
Habashi House
309 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri
Phone: (816) 421-0414
Website: http://www.habashihouse.com/
Timings: Tue-Sat: 10:30 AM - 8 PM; Sun: 10:30 AM - 5 PM; Mon: 10:30 AM - 2 PM
Caters: yes

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Zaina- A Halal Restaurant in Downtown Kansas City

Restaurant: Zaina
Address: 1108 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri
Buffet or a-la-carte: 3/30/17
Date of visit: 3/29/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about my experience at Zaina, which is a halal Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Kansas City. I got to go here to grab a quick bite before my interview for an internship and also visiting the career fair would be done. I happened to be right next to the restaurant when I went to the FedEx office to print out resumes. After getting the resumes, I headed to lunch.



Let The Experience Begin!
Zaina is located near the intersection of Grand and E 11th in the heart of downtown Kansas City. I walked in, and proceeded to make my order.



Let's Eat!
I ordered a chicken shawarma plate. I paid a total of &7.99 + tax. The food took really quick to come: only 2 minutes and 21 seconds.



Menu: https://zainakcmo.com/menu
Besides the normal Mediterranean food items such as kababs, sandwiches, and hummus, they have spicy curry and biryani. The prices are good for the most part. You'd be better off buying three separate dips instead of buying a trio because the price difference is literally $1.

The chicken shawarma plate


The Verdict:
Overall, a satisfactory meal. Plenty of flavor. The service was good as well and really fast.



Conclusion: If you want some good food at lightning fast service in downtown Kansas City, then you should check this place out! I would not mind going back here again!



Graing:
Service: 9/10
Food: 8/10
Total: 17/20 = 85% (B)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Zaina
1108 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri
Phone: (816) 842-1800
Website: https://zainakcmo.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZainaKC/
Timings: Mon-Fri: 10:30 AM - 7:30 PM; Sat: 10:30 AM - 3 PM; Sun: Closed
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Quick Review: KC Smoke Burgers: Best Halal Burgers in the Great Plains?

Restaurant: KC Smoke Burgers
Address: 1610 W 39th Street, Kansas City, Missouri
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 3/29/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today is the first time that I review a place that is located in Missouri! In my last visit to the Kansas City area, I only got to try three places in Kansas (mainly Overland Park and Lenexa). So why am I in the Show Me State during the middle of the school year? Well, it was because I was attending the 43rd annual NSBE Conference (NSBE = National Society of Black Engineers). I also had an interview the following day for an internship position (if I get it, I'll be relocating to Florham Park, New Jersey for the summer). and I wanted to learn more about my discipline. I came with my school on a 12 hour bus ride from my university to the hotel near Kansas City airport. I however did not stay with them. I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Overland Park (because they're family). So after saying goodbye to them and getting picked up by my uncle, we ordered burgers for lunch from here since it was lunch time.
This was actually a place that I actually wanted to try during my last visit in 2014 since I heard wonderful things about it from my family as well as my friend who moved to Kansas City from Houston. This, from what I know, is the only halal burger in all of Western Missouri and in the entire Kansas City area including the Kansas suburbs. Makes me hope that ONE day, there will be a place for halal Kansas City BBQ, since it is the main food that Kansas City is known for. After going through 635 and 35, we arrived at the place to pick it up.



Let The Experience Begin!
KC Smoke Burgers is located near the University of Kansas Medical School. Oh, and you have to parallel park (which is a rare thing in Texas). Inside, it was simple: seats, and the cashier area. We came, and got the pickup order.



Let's Eat!
I got their signature stuffed burger, while my uncle got the basic cheeseburger. We both got burgers and Coke. The stuffings I got were cheddar cheese and onions.



Menu: https://www.smokeburgers.com/#/
For this place, you have to request for halal. Everything can come in halal except for the turkey and chili. The place is like your typical burger joint.

The burger I had



The Verdict:
The food was just WOW. Even though it was pickup, the food was still fresh and there was a lot of flavor in the burger. My uncle also enjoyed his burger. It was very fulfilling as well. Definitely a gem in the Kansas City Area. The people were really nice as well!



Conclusion:
Well, they definitely gained a returning customer! I hope to dine in there during my next visit to the Kansas City area. I hope to try their other items as well. If you are in Kansas City, then you should definitely give this place a try!

Grading:
Food: 10/10

Restaurant Information:
KC Smoke Burgers
1610 W 39th Street, Kansas City, Missouri
Phone: (816) 931-4455
Website: https://www.smokeburgers.com/#/
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 9 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 10 PM; Sun: 11 AM - 8 PM
Caters: unknown

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers
Zain Mohammed

Friday, March 31, 2017

Aga's Restaurant: Best Biryani In Town?

Restaurant: Aga's
Address: 11842 Wilcrest Drive, Houston, TX
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 3/4/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about my experience in another Pakistani restaurant. This time, it is called Aga's. I first heard about this when someone on social media told me about them having the best goat chops in town. Since then, I have heard nothing but praise about their goat chops, and I had every intention of trying them. Before this trip, the best Pakistani place I have had in Houston was Bundu Khan. However, they only had kababs, naan, and daal. I wanted to look for a place in Houston where I could enjoy biryani, karahi, and kababs, convince my parents that it is much better than Khan BBQ (their favorite place; it has literally turned into an obsession). I tried Larosh Grill's biryani last year, but it wasn't satisfactory. I liked Biryani Pot, which is more Indian than Pakistani, but my parents didn't. Same deal with Hyderabad House (they even complained about the food in the last time we got takeout from there). Unfortunately, it was really hard for me to drive down there from Cypress because 1) distance, and 2) school. I finally got to try it when I went for a birthday party of one of my best friend's. There were about 25 + people who came, and I was one of the last ones to come because I went through a lot of hassle just to come. Also, the weather and traffic were bad.



Let The Experience Begin!
Aga's is located off 59 North and Wilcrest. Inside, it looked really nice. It was also packed. I greeted everyone and then got a menu. After asking for a waitress, I was ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the chicken biryani. I wanted to see if their biryani is actually worth giving it another shot to convince my parents that this would be better than Khan BBQ. I paid $11.80 (tax included). The waiting time was not that bad to be honest at a mere 12 minutes and 23 seconds, since it was packed inside. TO wait, I conversed with my friends.



Menu: http://agasrestaurant.com/menu
The options here have a huge variety. They even have a section that is dedicated to egg curry. as well as an option of having the classic dish of daal chawwal. A downside is that each naan is $1.50, so if you want to order curry, keep in mind of the price of naan. Everything else seems to be ok pricewise (lamb chops are generally expensive compared to other meats).

The Biryani


Chicken 65, tandoori chicken masala, naan, and palak paneer



The Verdict:
One word: WOW. Without a doubt the best biryani I've had at a Pakistani place outside my house since moving from Saudi. Growing up, the Pakistani places my family loved a lot had really good biryani for both catering and regular dining in. The biryani had a lot of flavor and so did the other
items that I was able to try. Two thumbs up for the food. Service wasn't bad either.



Conclusion:
Aga's is a place you should try if you want some great Indian/Pakistani food. I see myself going here more times rather than Khan BBQ.



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Total: 17/20 = 85% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Aga's
11842 Wilcrest Drive, Houston, TX
Phone: (281) 776-9292
Website: http://agasrestaurant.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agasrestaurant/
Timings: Sun-Thu: 11 AM - 10:15 PM; Fri-Sat: 11:30 AM - 10: 45 PM
Caters: Yes

Feel free to comment below, send me a message on Facebook, or send me an email!

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed