Friday, August 11, 2017

Chef on the Run: On the Run Towards One of the Best Halal Food Trucks in Town

Food Truck: Chef on The Run
Address: 9598 Main Street (intersection of 90 Alt and Buffalo Speedway), Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 8/4/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be writing about a trip to a halal food truck that has been open for a while. The name? Chef on The Run. An appropriate name tbh because a food truck literally has a chef on the run from location to location (for the most part). I heard about this place from some of my followers on Instagram. They said that this place was worth checking out, so I took note of that. Fast-forward a few months, and I see myself hungry and in the Medical Center. I was thinking of just going to Gyro King or Abu Omar before heading to Tiny's Milk & Cookies to see whether it was truly the best cookies in Houston (and it really was). I decided to give this place a try and then head there.



Let The Experience Begin!
Chef on the Run is located at a gas station at the intersection of Buffalo Speedway and Alt 90. I parked my car at one of the pumps and walked there. I was greeted with "Ahlan" from the friendly lady and then proceeded to order.


Let's Eat!
I was actually about to order the chicken shawarma with the chicken shawarma fries. Shawarma was $6.50, which is the same as Abu Omar. The chicken shawarma fries were $7.50 (you'll see why below), so the thought of purchasing the combo was axed. I then thought chicken shawarma and fries, mostly similar to Abu Omar's chicken shawarma arabi. However, I ended up getting the chicken shawarma over fries. I saw a pic of it on Yelp, and it looked so mouthwatering. The chicken shawarma fries is basically fries topped with chicken shawarma, garlic sauce, and cheese! Honestly, it was the first time I ever heard of fries topped with shawarma. Now I did have fries topped with gyro meat and cheese from The Ultimate Wraps (Westheimer and Jeanetta near the Galleria), and that was incredibly awesome. But both are different and can't be comparable because it's different meats (this food truck doesn't have gyro meat yet) and the sauces are different. Here at Chef on The Run, you have the option of getting a spicy sauce topped as well. To play it safe, I put it on the side. It is recommended you do that if you are unsure of how spicy the sauce is. Wait time wasn't that bad. I spoke to the cashier while waiting for the food.


Menu: https://www.yelp.com/menu/chef-on-the-run-houston
This place is basically a Mediterranean food truck along with some Mediterranean-Mexican fusion. Along with shawarmas and platters, they have tacos and fajitas. Nothing is over $10! The shawarma fries are the newest addition to the menu from what I have seen.



The Chicken Shawarma Fries. Or as I'd say: fried potato salad with chicken and shredded cheese topped with a spicy and garlic sauce lol.



The Verdict:
So much food for less than $8?! I'll definitely take that! Not only was it incredibly filling, it was incredibly tasty. Gourmet fries are a thing nowadays because fries and ketchup is just incredibly boring. This is definitely one of the best gourmet fries dishes I've EVER had. The chicken shawarma meat was simply magnificient: cooked perfectly, and full of flavor. The fries were perfectly crispy. I can now safely say that the spicy sauce is not too spicy. It gives the perfect kick to the dish. This was definitely two thumbs up.

Service was great as well. There was a loudmouth customer in front, but she kept her cool and acted professionally, even though that customer was being awkward. It's nice when workers converse with customers while waiting he/she is cooking the food. It is a nice way to pass time as well as maintain a good relationship with the customers. It makes the customer feel welcome inside the restaurant or outside the food truck, as if the customer is a well respected guest. I honestly feel that at the majority of places, including food trucks, the interactions are very minimal. This can cause people to become bored while waiting for the food to come.

Conclusion:
Many say that in all of Harris County, Hillcroft is regarded to have some of the best halal food in town. But lately, the area inside 610 has been making a push for that title. Never would I have though that I will have to decide between three halal food trucks to choose from depending on if I'm craving Mediterranean or platter food, or having to choose between two places for some good halal burgers inside 610. I'll definitely be starting more trips to the food truck and hope to bring friends and family here as well. Believe it or not, this is actually the only place in town where you can get shawarma fries that is on the menu and not as a customized item. Trust me, you won't be disappointed with this place.


Grading:
Food: 10/10
Service: 10/10
Total: 20/20 = 100% (A)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Chef on the Run
9598 Main Street, Houston, Texas
Phone: (832) 951-9920
Website: none
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChefontheRunTexas/
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 2 AM; Fri-Sun: 11 AM - 3 AM
Caters: Yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Calypto Burger: Halal Burgers near Hobby Airport

Restaurant: Calypto Burger
Address: 6199 Griggs Road, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 7/30/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today's review consists of a new burger place that has opened up in Southeast Houston. The place is called Calypto Burger. I first heard about this place from one of my best friends. He told me that he checked it out and that it was literally a really great addition to the halal burger scene in Houston. I was then invited to a soft opening, but I will mention only a minute amount because it would be unfair to critique a soft opening. This being because the place is still trying to click on all cylinders before opening to the public and also trying to impress the public. On that hot afternoon, I and one of my best friends, along with one of his friends, ventured out all the way to Southeast Houston to give this place a try.



Let The Experience Begin!
The restaurant is located just a few miles down on 45 from UH. It's actually located inside a convenient store on Griggs. This is in fact the closest halal restaurant to Hobby airport. While the outside may seem shady, the inside was very cordial. The owner, Zeshaun, greeted all of us. We spoke a bit about what changes they had made from the soft opening, and also about what got them to start up the restaurant and why they chose that specific area. Afterwards, we made our orders.


Let's Eat!
I ordered the jalapeno cheddar burger, which was double cheddar, jalapenos, caramelized onions and the option of a mayo or house aioli (I got the aioli) on a beef patty with buns. I also got a can of Hansen's Cola. Hansen's is a craft soda from California, and it uses cane sugar. The waiting time was about 13 minutes. Not bad since there were two other people dining with me.


Menu: Unlike other burger places I have been to, the menu here was short. But, it was for a good reason. They wanted to start with a small menu so that they could focus on making sure that the burgers are high quality. The other burgers looked really promising. Everything here is halal, and the bacon that is used is the beef bacon. I confirmed with them that the beef bacon is halal.


The Menu: Photo Credit: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/calypto-burger-houston-2?select=gNUDZ9ndlw0bwxrMzimgnQ

The Jalapeno Cheddar Burger



The Verdict:
I gotta tell you guys, they definitely clicked on all cylinders this time. The burger was excellent. One bite of the burger and you can tell that they definitely put in 110% effort into perfecting the burgers in time for the Grand Opening. Other people I know in real life came in to try their burgers, and they said that they enjoyed them as well. For the food, definitely two thumbs up.

Conclusion:
Calypto Burger showed what most Desi restaurant owners should do when someone gives feedback: use the feedback to better the product. Their willingness to hear back from others shows how they are determined to succeed in their business. And their efforts definitely paid off with the overwhelmingly positive feedback their burgers have received. If want to try something before heading to Hobby airport, or want to grab a bite after leaving Hobby Airport, then this is the place to be. I'll definitely come back and try the other burgers.

Just a heads up though: it is not advisable to come after sunset (since Houston sunsets are early in the winter) since the area is not the best.



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



Restaurant Information:
Calypto Burger
6199 Griggs Road, Houston, Texas
Phone: (713) 874-4626
Website: none
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Calypto-Burger-2029036693991910/?ref=py_c
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 7 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 8 PM; Sun: 12 PM - 6 PM
Caters: Not Yet

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed 

Kingdom Bakery: Halal Kolaches In the Heart of Cinco Ranch

Restaurant: Kingdom Bakery
Address: 3030 Falcon Landing, Katy, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 7/18/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about a new halal spot with a new halal food item making a return. What's the spot called? It's called Kingdom Bakery. And what does it have? KOLACHES! Yup, the popular food item in Southern Texas can finally be found using halal meats! From what I know, a Shipley's used to serve halal kolaches, but they stopped.
This place opened up during Ramadan. Since I planned to not go to any new places during Ramadan since I wholeheartedly am against restaurants upcharging just because it's Ramadan and also my preference of doing iftar at a mosque or my house, I had to wait until after Ramadan to give it a try. I got to give it a try after work one day. It was proven to be challenging because of their timings.. On most days, they close at 7 PM, while on Sundays, they close at 6! The plus side is that they open real early (as early as 7 AM!), so if you want to grab something before work, or have breakfast with your family without having to stick to only halwa puri or IHOP, this would the best bet! So one day after work, I drove there and gave it a try.



Let The Experience Begin!
The restaurant is located at the intersection of Westheimer Parkway and Falcon Landing. It was small compared to other places I've been to. There was a nice display of the food. I asked them if it was halal, but the guy said he didn't know what halal meant. BUT, a lady whom I am assuming to be one of the main persons running the restaurant said that certain items were.


Let's Eat!
I ordered three kolaches: ground beef, mushroom and potato, and spinach and feta. Didn't need to wait for a long time to get them. I then headed home and had them.


Menu: http://eat24hrs.com/restaurants/order2/menu.php?id=101276&utm_source=101276&utm_medium=Website&utm_campaign=WRestaurantSite&utm_content=OrderButton

I put this link up because it featured the prices of the menu items. Based on my messages and what the owner wrote to me on Facebook, everything is halal except for the beef sausage kolache , the turkey sandwich, and the roast beef sandwich. They also have halal savory crepes. Price wise, it is actually good. Most of the menu items are under $10.

Ground Beef Kolache
 
Mushroom and potato kolache



Spinach and Feta Kolache





The Verdict:
Believe it or not, this was my first time EVER eating a kolache. And man, the wait was worth it for the most part. While the beef and feta and spinach kolaches were excellent, the potatoes and mushrooms could've been a bit better. The balance between the fillings and the pastry were perfect. Service was great; no complaints there.


Conclusion:
Kingdom Bakery is a place that I would definitely return to. Not only will I get the kolaches I really liked, I will also try their halal savory crepes as well!



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



Restaurant Information:
Kingdom Bakery
3030 Falcon Landing, Katy, Texas
Phone: (713) 306-5698
Website: http://www.kingdom-bakery.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kingdombakerykaty/
Timings: Tue-Fri: 7 AM - 7 PM; Sat: 8 AM - 7 PM; Sun: 9 AM - 6 PM; Mon: closed
Caters: Yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Crispy Or Grilled: The Closest to Hala Chick Fil A We'll Ever Have, and It's Darn Good

Food Truck: Crispy or Grilled
Address: 2220 Brazos Street, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 7/5/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about the newest halal food truck in Houston. It is called Crispy or Grilled. The name strongly suggests that you get an option between crispy or grilled chicken, since those are the two most common ways that people enjoy chicken. I first heard about this from a food group (which I was deliberately left out off) going and trying a variety of items that they offered. It attracted a lot of fanfare, and I was also eager to try it. There were one surprising fact that I learned about this place. This place is run by the same people who run Dasman, a Mediterranean food truck. And this raised a red flag for me. I actually tried out Dasman during Super Bowl weekend and did not like it. It was basically chicken over rice for $10 served in the same thing that many restaurants use for their fries. So many of their competitors offer the same thing but with bigger quantities and better tastes for similar prices. Now they did respond professionally, but what happened next is the main reason why I did not write a review (and this move truly paid off).A lady, who is friends with the owners, set up the tasting for the food group, and had beef with me because of a cook off I did, literally lost it. And man it was ugly. Long story short, she thought I didn't know what excellent Mediterranean food is, even though I lived and grew up eating Mediterranean food in an Arab country, and she actually threatened to slap me. The biggest irony in all of this stuff is that she loves Cedar's and Abu Omar, WHICH ARE MEDITERRANEAN SPOTS THAT I LOVE GOING TO. It was without a doubt one of the funniest things I've seen in 4.5 years of doing this blog.
This place opened up during Ramadan. Since I planned to not go to any new places during Ramadan since I wholeheartedly am against restaurants upcharging just because it's Ramadan and also my preference of doing iftar at a mosque or my house, I had to wait until after Ramadan to give it a try. I got to give it a try after work one day. So I drove there and gave it a try.



Let The Experience Begin!
The food truck is located on Brazos Street in front of Little Woodrow's and parked next to Dasman. I parked behind the truck, only to find out that it costs $8 to park there. The line was not that bad when I went, although I heard can get long late at night. I went to the foot truck and decided to order.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the crispy chicken sandwich. It was basically crispy chicken with lettuec, tomatoes, and pickles in between two brioche buns. I paid $9.73 (tax included) for this. The waiting time was about 9 minutes.



Menu: Not only do they have sandwiches, they also have chicken tenders (you'll never get halal tenders at Raising Canes), tacos, and starters. It's a limited menu, which is understood because they just started.



Menu. Photo Credit:
 
The Sandwich


The Verdict:
When I saw the dish, I realized that they actually priced this right. Many of the good burger or sandwich places would charge similar amounts. And my goodness, this burger was insanely awesome. The Dasman people definitely redeemed themselves with this food truck. The sandwich was very filling, and the taste was just amazing. There was a lot of flavor inside the burger and everything was fresh. The chicken was very crispy. Overall, two thumbs up.
The service was great. The people were really nice, and thankfully they didn't pick on me for not liking Dasman.



Conclusion:
Even though I never had or will never have a chicken sandwich from Chick Fil A, this sandwich is one of the best chicken sandwiches I've ever had. I'll definitely come back and try their other options. If you want to eat something that literally comes close to a halal chicken sandwich from Chick Fil A, then this is the place to go!



Grading: 
Food: 10/10
Service: 9/10
Total: 19/20 = 95% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Crispy or Grilled
2220 Brazos Street, Houston, Texas
Phone: (832) 998-5955
Website: none
Timings: Mon-Wed: 6 PM - 1 AM; Thu: 6 AM - 2 PM; Fri-Sat: 6 PM - 2:30 AM; Sun: closed
Caters: Yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rehla Foods: Great Filling Meals for a Very Affordable Price

Restaurant: Rehla Foods
Address: 4901 Rose Street, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: none
Date of visit: 7/3/17



Backround:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about a place called Rehla Foods. So what is Rehla Foods? Rehla Foods is more of a pop up place rather than a restaurant. The reason? They are inside another restaurant (The Twisted Palate) and they are open for only three days per week. All that is set to change in a few weeks as they will shift to a new place. But for now, we are just going to write about the past experience. I first heard about the place after I received an email from the owner about trying the place after they opened last year. I never got to try because of school, where I had classes on all days that it was open, and it was a lengthy drive from my old workplace. That all changed when I realized that it was only 10 minutes from my new workplace. After clocking out for lunch, I went there.



Let The Experience Begin!
The Twisted Palate is located on Rose and Durham in the Heights. Nothing much to explain, except the fact that I ordered over the phone. When I got to the place, there were other cars waiting for their food. I just waited until an employee came to my car with the food.



Let's Eat!
I ordered a single cheeseburger for myself and a boneless chicken biryani to share with my boss, since he's a big biryani fan. The cheeseburger had the basic meat, cheese, and vegetables on a challah bun. The sauces came on the side rather than inside the burger (for a good reason). The biryani was Lahori style, meaning that it is biryani that is popular in the Pakistani city of Lahore (considered to be Pakistan's food capital) I paid a total of $11.24 for that. Wow. Incredibly affordable. In many other places, the price would be at least $20.
A very important thing to note is that this is not a dine in place. They only do delivery or takeout as of right now.



Menu: http://www.rehlafoods.com/our-food
Individually, the burger was $5.69 and the biryani was $4.69. This is by far the cheapest biryani I've had in a while actually. They have a diverse selection of food. They hope to add the spaghetti soon.



Le Burger

Le Biryani

The Verdict:
Both food items looked tasty and fresh. Both had big portions as well. Regarding the burger, it was decent, but certainly not the best. There could've been more flavor in the burger. No need to worry about the seeds on the bun; they''re black sesame seeds! The biryani was completely different, It was actually excellent! Without a doubt the second biryani I have had that I actually liked. And at $4.69+ tax, it was a great value. The service was ok. Nothing to complain about.



Conclusion:
I cannot wait to go to their new location and get their biryani again, but for burgers, I'd just stick to my top spots in town. If you want to have some really good biryani in the Heights, then you should check this place out! They even deliver as well!



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 7/10 (6/10 for burger and 8/10 for biryani)
Total: 15/20 = 75% (C)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Rehla Foods
Address: 4901 Rose Street, Houston, Texas
Phone: (713) 340-9172
Website: http://www.rehlafoods.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RehlaFoods/
Email: helpingyou@rehlafoods.com
Timings: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 10 AM - 3 PM
Caters: Yes
Delivery available

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Chicken Holiday: Halal American Fare in Alief

Restaurant: Chicken Holiday
Address: 7030 Addicks Clodine Road, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: none
Date of visit: 6/24/17



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Eid Mubarak to everyone. After taking a break during Ramadan, I am back! The reason I took a break was to focus more on my faith. I also preferred breaking my fast at either the mosque or my house. Breaking the fast at the mosque really reminded me of the time when I was in Makkah during Ramadan as a kid and breaking the fast there. Now that Ramadan is over, I can finally go back to reviewing more places! The first place after Ramadan I went to was called Chicken Holiday. The history is this place is unique. They used to be located on West Bellfort and Dairy Ashford. They were really popular with both Muslims and non-Muslims. Then all of a sudden, they closed down. Finally, just a few weeks ago, they reopened for business again this time at a new location. The two things that they were known for were their fried chicken, and RIBS. Thus, halal ribs are now available at another Houston restaurant! This is welcoming news, since the history of halal ribs haven't been the best. This is due to the fact that many do not understand that ribs are a more expensive cut of beef. The prices of the ribs at the halal places were in fact similar or even lesser than established places such as Franklin's in Austin and Killen's in Pearland. I do hope that this one would actually be successful.
I decided to end my Ramadan in style by trying the place out before heading to the nearest mosque and pray.



Let The Experience Begin!
The new location of Chicken Holiday is located on Addicks Clodine and Bellaire Blvd next to Texas Pizza. The inside was a standard fare of tables and the cashier, but it was eerily empty. Literally nobody but an uncle (who I'm assuming is the owner) waiting for customers to come. The original plan was to dine in, but because there was nobody, I just got it to go.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the chicken and ribs combo. It was basically two pieces of fried chicken and two pieces of ribs with a roll and fries. The price: $10.98 with tax!!! RIBS FOR LESS THAN $15?! What an unbelievable deal! It definitely gets better once I describe the menu. The waiting time was long at 23 minutes and 11 seconds, understandable since it's ribs that are involved.



Menu: This is basically the party piece of the restaurant. They have your average American fare along with ribs as well as an extensive seafood menu. The ribs prices are just phenomenal.

Front

Menu Page 2

Menu Page 3

Menu Page 4

Menu Page 5

Menu Page 6

Ribs and Chicken combo with bun and fries. I got it to go.


The Verdict:
I realized that the trip here from Cypress was worth it. The fried chicken was perfect: not too crispy and not too soggy. The ribs were really good as well. However, they could definitely put some more BBQ sauce on the ribs. The service was not bad. The person did provide me dates and allowed me to get a bottle of water to break my fast.



Conclusion:
Seems like Chicken Holiday picked up where it left off based on previous reviews of the place. I plan on coming as a regular customer whenever I am in the Alief area. If you want to take someone for some halal BBQ ribs, then for now, this is the place to go!



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Total: 16/20 = 80% (B)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Chicken Holiday
7030 Addicks Clodine Road, Houston, Texas
Phone: (832) 672-5576
Website: none
Facebook: none
Timings: Unknown. Will Update
Caters: Unknown

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

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 $$$$