Sunday, June 17, 2018

March 2018 Roundup

Salam/hey guys! For March 2018, I will be doing something different. I'll be rounding up my trips from that month. The reason being the fact that I have no time to write full reviews because of school and work. I am in my senior year of engineering school, and the work is so much that I have to devote time to do it. once I finish, I can get back to writing full reviews. So without further ado, here is a roundup.

The Gyro Guys
The first trip was Gyro Guys in Clear Lake. It was my first review in Clear Lake in 4.5 years. I got to go there since I was in Galveston for most of the day and wanted to give that place a try. I got a large mix over rice, and it was delicious! Price was $10.98 (tax included) Service was good also.

Menu: http://thegyroguys.us/

Mix Over Rice

Service: 9/10
Food: 9/10
Address: 12403 Scarsdale Boulevard, Houston, TX
Timings: Mon-Sun: 10 AM - 10 PM
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$


Secondly, I went with two followers to a new Indian/Pakistani spot in Sugar Land called Biryani Bistro. What got me interested in trying out this place was the fact that the owner used to be a chef from the famous Nizam Club in Hyderabad. I looked at the menu, and I saw many Hyderabadi items offered like dum ka chicken, tahari, and marag. We ordered dum ka chicken, goat biryani, and chicken 65. Accompaniments included white rice, raita, and mirchi ka salan. The main standouts were the mirchi ka salan and the dum ka chicken.


Service: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Address: 16100 Kensington Drive Suite 400, Sugar Land, Texas
Timings: Tue-Thu & Sun: 11 AM -  9:30 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM 10 PM; Mon: closed


Koala Kolache
Next, I went to try a Texas delicacy: klobasnek. It's basically a kolache with a meat filling.
A common misconception is that kolache is a pastry with a sweet or savory filling. I used to think that as well, until one follower and some research pointed out that it was indeed klobasnek. And what better place to try out klobasnek than one of the top rated places for it: Koala Kolaches. Located on Spring Cypress and Louetta, Koala Kolaches has grown to become one of the placed highly regarded for kolaches (and klobasnek). And what do ya know, the gyro one was halal, thanks to a muslim food Instagrammer from here in Houston! They in fact use the gyro from Phoenicia for their gyro kolaches (or rather gyro klobasnek). Because of the timings they have, the only time I had to try them was before I headed to school. I got two gyro kolaches, and the hype was actually real! The price for each is $3.69. The kolaches were fantastic. They also have a good variety of vegetarian, seafood and sweet ones as well. I know I'll be back regularly!

The inside of one gyro klobasnek
Service: 9/10
Food: 10/10
Address: 14502 Spring Cypress (Intersection of Spring Cypress and Louetta), Cypress, TX
Timings: Tue-Sat: 6 AM - 2 PM; Sun: 7 AM - 2 PM
Pricing: $ out of $$$$

Las Brasas Charcoal Chicken
I then went and tried a place that has Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken, a first in the state. The place is called Las Brasas. I discovered that they used halal chicken from a group on Facebook. Rotisserie chicken (or pollo a la brasa) is actually one of the most consumed and popular food items in Peru alongside ceviche. I then headed there one night. It's on Eldridge just after Westheimer next to Chennai Express. The people were really nice. The first thing you notice is that the chicken is cooked in an actual rotisserie that was imported from Peru. Second, you'll notice the halal certificate for their chicken. In fact, the chicken is the only thing that is halal, and it's a good thing because that's their main specialty. According to the owner, he said that they have been using halal chicken since March 1.
So the ordering process is that you specify how much chicken you want (1/2 lb, 1 lb, etc.). Then you pick the sides. Oh, and the sides are all vegetarian! So I got a 1/4 lb chicken with rice and beans. The price? $9.73 (tax included).

Menu: http://www.lasbrasaschicken.com/our-menu/
The chicken prices are reasonable! And as shown below in the pic, you get a lot of food for that price.
The Spreadd. Red sauce = spicy. Green sauce = mild

For someone trying Peruvian food for the first time, the place was great! The chicken was full of flavor. Do give this place a try if you are in the energy corridor or want to be healthy (one of the few halal places with healthy food)!

Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10
Address:
2721 Eldridge Parkway, Houston, TX
Timings: Sun-Thu: 11 AM - 9PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 9:30 PM
Pricing: $ out of $$$$

Darna Mediterranean Cuisine

To wrap up March, I took a day trip to Austin. Now many who goes there from Houston would often go to either Halal Bros or Arpeggio for halal food. But I went to this place called Darna Cafe. The reason? Moroccan food. It's unbelievable that Houston doesn't have a full fledged Moroccan restaurant, while Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin have one. I've been wanting to try Moroccan food for a long time. The closest I got was Moroccan Bites in San Antonio back in 2014. Sadly they were closed because the owners took a vacation. My parents went to Morocco in 2015 and loved eating tajine. But finally, it was time for me to try a tajine.
Darna is located at the intersection of W 11th and Guadelupe Street, not far from the UT campus. Because there's construction, it's best to pay for parking and then take a little walk to the place. The interior was nice. After sitting down, I was handed the menu.
I ordered the kefta tagine: ground beef and lamb meatballs with a boiled egg cooked in tomato, garlic, and herbs. I paid $16.23 (tax included) for this.

Menu: https://darnatx.com/menu/
This place is more Moroccan than Mediterranean tbh. The menu is similar to the one at Moroccan Bites. I'm assuming that the prices of the tagines are similar in other Moroccan places (someone please help)

The Kefta Tagine
For a first timer, the tajine really impressed me. It was bursting with flavor. Everything was cooked freshly. The food was washed down with some water. Overall, two thumbs up. Service was great as well. Really friendly people.
If you are visiting Austin or go to UT, then Darna is definitely a place to try! Inshallah I hope there will be a Moroccan place in Houston.

Service: 9/10
Food: 9/10
Address:
408 W 11th Street, Austin, TX
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 9 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 10 PM; Sun: 9 AM - 8 PM
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$

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

Cheers! 
Zain Mohammed

Friday, March 30, 2018

Fanoosh Biryani and Burgers: Where East Meets West

Restaurant: Fanoosh Biryani and Burgers
Address: 1226 Museum Square Drive, Sugar Land, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 3/12/18



Background:
Salam/hey guys! I will be writing about my experience at the recently opened Fanoosh Biryani and Burgers restaurant. So how did I arrive at coming to a place that serves both biryani and burgers? I saw the owner on Facebook posting about the restaurant opening up in a few months. Next thing you know, he invites the public to give the place a sneak peak. I went for it, and the biryani was absolutely spot on. I decided to come again, this time with two friends. It was a challenge, because I had invited some friends and bloggers to try the food here since the biryani was that good. Unfortunately, many canceled at the last minute despite several answers of "Yes". Another challenge was the time. The place closes at 8 on Mondays, which honestly is early. I got off work late on that day, so getting there was a real challenge with the traffic Houston is known for. Thankfully, the traffic was actually not bad since it was Spring Break, so I made it with some time to spare.




Let's The Experience Begin!
Fanoosh is located exactly where UB's used to be (same strip mall as Bahama Bucks and the Sugar Land location of Stacked Ice Cream). The layout and outside patio are still there. The place was bustling when we went inside. After browsing through the menu and meeting the owner, we were ready to order.




Let's Eat!
We ordered three things: chicken biryani, house fries (fries with burger meat, cheddar jack cheese, onion, cilantro, and Fanoosh sauce), and the angus burgers (angus patties with gouda, Fanoosh sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes). We split and paid about $14 (tax included). The waiting time wasn't bad at 14 minutes and 23 seconds. They give you a pager, and when it buzzes, it means that the order is ready. We sat on the patio and talked until the pager sounded.




Menu: https://fanooshbnb.com/
If you want to see the menu, you just have to click "menu" and it will take you there. The menu is limited, and for a good reason. The owner wants to make sure that all the food is fresh. They have various types of biryanis and burgers that are available to order, even though some of the biryanis are only available on the weekends. The prices are honestly not bad, and all the meat is halal.


The Chicken Biryani


House Fries


Angus Burger




The Verdict:
When we got the burgers, there was something that caught my eye. All the vegetables, and the sauce were on the side instead of on the burger. It's most likely like that for picky eaters to choose what goes on the burger and what is left out. You add the vegetables and the sauce, and you get what you see in the above pic.
Tastewise, the biryani proved to be the clear winner yet again. The taste was simply marvelous. Perfectly spiced biryani with a lot of flavor, just the way I like it. Second place was the house fries by a close margin. The Fanoosh sauce had the perfect spice kick: not too mild yet not too hot. When they say that their food is fresh, they really mean it. Last place was the burger, which was just ok. The patty wasn't up to my taste tbh. Nevertheless, a good experience overall.
The service was good too. The owner is a really nice guy.




Conclusion:
While the burger was just ok, the biryani was superb. Fanoosh is a great place to have some delicious biryani without having to drive far if you live in Sugar Land. It's also a great place to have biryani if you do not want to wait in the line at Aga's (in the past few trips, the line was up to the door!). I hope to come visit this place again when I am in Sugar Land.



Grading:
Food: 23/30 (9/10 for biryani, 8/10 for fries, 6/10 for burger)
Service: 9/10
Total: 32/40 = 80% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Fanoosh Biryani and Burgers
1226 Museum Square Drive, Sugar Land, Texas
Phone: (281) 201-2067
Website: https://fanooshbnb.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tasteofgreek/
Timings: Mon, Tue & Thu: 12 PM - 8 PM; Fri-Sat: 12 PM - 9 PM; Sun: 4 PM - 9 PM; Wed: Closed
Caters: N/A

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Taste of Greek: A Food Truck in Kingwood

Restaurant: Taste of Greek
Address: 1956 Northpark Dr, Kingwood, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 3/10/18



Background:
Salam/hey guys! For the first time since Summer 16, I am reviewing a place that is in the Northeast part of the Houston area (Kingwood, Humble, Porter, etc.). It's rare I come this side because 1) it's REALLY far away from Cypress and 2) there aren't as many halal options there as there are in other parts of town. The place I am reviewing is of a food truck off Northpark drive called Taste of Greek. My entire family was out for the day, so I decided to drive down there before heading home and then heading to one of my best's friends wedding.


Let's The Experience Begin!
Taste of Greek is located all the way in Kingwood off Northpark just after Russell Palmer Dr. It's located in a small food truck park. There were people there already, so I just waited in line.

Let's Eat!
What's a good thing to try when you're visiting a Greek place for the first time? Gyros of course! I got the beef/lab gyro sandwich. I paid $7.57 (tax included). I waited only 5 minutes for the gyro.

Menu: http://tasteofgreek.wixsite.com/tasteofgreek/menu
The only halal item here is their beef/lamb gyro sandwich, and plate according to the person manning the cashier area. Other than that, the prices weren't that bad tbh. The keftedes (beef meatballs) looked real good though.

The Gyro

The Verdict:
The gyro was actually tasty. Everything was fresh, and it had a lot of flavor.
No complaints about the service. The person was really nice.


Conclusion:
Taste of Greek is a great addition to a place that barely has halal food options (compared to other parts of town). If you want a nice wrap that is affordable, then give it a try!



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



Restaurant Information:
Taste of Greek
1956 Northpark Dr, Kingwood, Texas
Phone: (832) 335-7587
Website: http://tasteofgreek.wixsite.com/tasteofgreek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tasteofgreek/
Timings: Mon - Sun: 11 AM - 7 PM
Caters: Unknown

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

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Fuzzy's: Halal Deep Dish Returns to Houston

Restaurant: Fuzzy's Pizza
Address: 8914 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 2/19/18



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be writing about a spot that has been around for a while: Fuzzy's Pizza. I am going to keep this one short, since it was a spontaneous trip planned by me and my friend. I found out about this place using halal on Facebook. I messaged them, as well as called them, and they said yes to having halal toppings. I decided to go there after finishing my work at Prairie View.


Let's The Experience Begin!
Fuzzy's is located on Westheimer just before Fondren. There were tables, as well as pictures of the owner with many famous customers. For the most part, we were the only customers.

Let's Eat!
We ordered the deep dish pizza with beef pepperoni. We split the check

Menu: https://www.myfuzzyspizza.com/
The halal items that are available in this restaurant are the beef pepperoni, and chicken wings. They have regular, Chicago style, gluten free style, and Italian style (similar to Neapolitan pizza). They also serve pizza by the slice

The Deep Dish Pizza

The Verdict:
The food was pretty good. The only issue really was that the pepperoni was too thin. Nvertheless, halal deep dish is back.


Conclusion:
The absence of halal deep dish in the Houston area was a short one. Fuzzy's is not bad of a place to try. What you should do though is call ahead in advance, because deep dish takes around 40-50 minutes to cook!



Grading:
Food: 7/10
Total: 7/10 = 70% (C)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Fuzzy's Pizza8914 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX
Phone: (713) 787-5200
Website: https://www.myfuzzyspizza.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fuzzyspizza/
Timings: Sun - Thu: 11 AM - 9:30 PM; Fri - Sat: 11 AM - 10:30 PM
Caters: Yes

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

Deen's Cheesesteak

Restaurant: Deen's Cheesesteaks
Address: 5222 Barker Cypress (Barker Cypress and Keith Harrow), Houston, TX
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 1/23/18



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be writing about two experiences that I had at a new spot for halal American fare: Deen's. After seeing on Facebook about their opening, I had to give them a try. It is really nice to see another option for halal American food near the mosque that's near my house. For many years that I had been going to that mosque, there was one place that dominated it all: Khan BBQ and Grill 😒. Khan BBQ was something that literally everyone who goes to that mosque obsessed over. 9/10 times will they cater to the mosque for events that happen. I really hope this can be a good alternative for me.



Let's Eat!
Deen's is located on the intersection of Barker Cypress and Keith Harrow. Inside is really nice. They also have frozen yogurt, and get this, VIDEO GAMES. You can literally play games on PS4 or XBOX One while waiting for your food! They have games such as Need For Speed and Fifa! I've come here on four occasions, and I have tried a variety of foods. The first trip consisted of their authentic cheesesteak (ribeye, sauteed onions, and real cheese whiz) and fries. The second trip consisted of their American cheesesteak (ribeye, sauteed onions, bell peppers, and American cheese), fries, white garlic wings, and honey BBQ wings. The third trip consisted of what they call the Texas Cheesesteak. It's basically a fusion of Philly and Texas (No, not the Cowboys and Eagles bonding together lol). It's ribeye, onion strings, and American cheese drizzled with BBQ sauce. The final trip consisting of a cheesesteak that combined the Indian subcontinent and SE Pennsylvania: the tandoori chicken cheesesteak. It was tandoori chicken, onions, bell peppers, and American cheese drizzled with white sauce. The white sauce was what the owner recommended doing, so I had to go for it. While waiting, I played some games.



Menu: https://deenshouston.com/
Not only do they offer a variety of cheesesteaks and wings. They have calzones, pizza, and even frozen yogurt! Really promising items.



Clockwise from top left: White garlic wings, honey BBQ wings, Deen's Cheesesteak, and Fries

Authentic Cheesesteak: Just like Pat's

Texas Cheesesteak

Tandoori Chicken Cheesesteak

The Verdict:
Great food, I mean a wonderful addition to the food scene here. And it was something that was desperately needed in the area. Out of all the items I've tried, the standout was the tandoori cheesesteak. Nevertheless, the quality was consistently high for all the dishes.



Conclusion: 
For the Cypress and Katy, Deen's is a great addition to the halal food scene. It's a place to try Philly chessesteaks, both original and innovative, if you don't want to drive to Hillcroft. I definitely see myself coming back here more often!



Grading:
Service: 10/10
Food: 8.5/10
Total: 18.5/20 = 92.5% (A)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Deen's Cheesesteaks
Address: 5222 Barker Cypress (Barker Cypress and Keith Harrow), Houston, TX
Phone: (832) 772-2618
Website: https://deenshouston.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeensHouston/
Timings: Sun - Thu: 11 AM - 10 PM; Fri - Sat: 11 AM - Midnight
Caters: Yes

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


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Winbern Mess Hall: Two Food Trucks in One Building

Restaurant: Winbern Mess Hall
Address: 3701 Travis Street, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 2/14/18



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be writing about my experience at a place in the heart of Midtown: Winbern Mess Cafe. This place is basically the brick-and-mortar restaurant for two of Houston's many food trucks: Oh My Gogi (Korean) and Happy Endings. I was on Yelp looking up options for halal food. Then I saw them offer a halal chicken adobo dish. When I first saw pics of it, I thought that it was just a way to say that it's literally their version of the chicken over rice from the Halal Guys. I was wrong! It was legit chicken adobo, which is Filipino, with halal meat! I decided to give them a try after getting off work.



Let The Experience Begin!
The place is located on Travis and Winbern. A downside is that parking is very tight. I ended up paying for parking to eat in here (I paid $3). I was also the first customer of the day. The place seems to be very popular at night. They have both indoor and outdoor seating. The friendly guy was ready to take my order.



Let's Eat!
The halal chicken adobo was $8.65 (tax included). It's chicken adobo with spicy mayo and regular mayo, gochujang (spicy Korean red chili paste), garlic fried rice, and kimchi. I sat outside as it was pleasant and patiently waited for the food.



Menu: https://www.winbern.com/
Good news. You can use the halal chicken on any of the other chicken dishes! The food is a fusion of various Asian foods.



The Bowl. Small for $8.65 tbh


The Verdict:
Despite the small portion, the food was pretty decent. Service was great. The guy serving me was really nice! Food was washed down with water as well as a craft cola!



Conclusion:
Winbern Mess Hall is a good place to try food late night! It's a place that I wouldn't recommend for families due to the atmosphere, but it would be good to take friends!



Grading:
Service: 9/10
Food: 7.5/10
Total: 16.5/20 = 82.5%
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Winbern Mess Hall
3701 Travis Street, Houston, Texas
Phone: (281) 974-2952
Website: https://www.winbern.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WINBERNMESSHALL/
Timings: Tue-Sat: 12 PM - 2 AM; Sun-Mon: closed
Caters: Yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Zayed's Mediterranean Grill: Long Kababs, and Great Food

Restaurant: Zayed's Mediterranean Grill
Address: 797 Sorella Court (CityCentre), Houston, TX
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 1/14/18



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be writing about my experience at the first halal spot in the popular CityCentre shopping area: Zayed's Mediterranean Grill. Honestly, it was about time a halal spot pops up in that area. I got invited to a food blogger event by the restaurant (and no I did not get paid), where they would be bringing out food to try. Let's just say that I am thankful that the restaurant invited me. After bidding adieu to my family, I set off for the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
The restaurant is located in the heart of CityCentre. I was directed to a room, where I met a few foodies, and the pictures commenced! I then took a little tour of the kitchen. The most significant things I saw were an automatic shawarma meat cutter, which may be the future of shawarma serving. But the main highlight of the tour was the long skewers of shish kabob that were on the grill. It was without a doubt the longest skewer of kabab I've ever seen. EVER. After the tour, it was ready to eat.



Let's Eat!
So the meats we had were: kafta, chicken kafta, shish tawook, and beef tenderloin. There was also  spicy hummus, baba ghanoush, tabuli, different salads, and cheesebread. I got them to do a special request for me, which was to fold it.



Menu: http://zayedsgrill.com/menu/
Zayed's runs a lot like Fadi's and Aladdin: a variety of meats with options of adding sides and dips. The prices were ok.



Regular hummus, salad, and baba ghanoush

Two salads, tabuli, and the spicy hummus

The long skewers on the grill

A perspective of the setup. All the side dishes are at the bottom

A shot of the actual kababs

Another perspective. Please disregard the man giving me the finger in the pic. Stay classy thatboyasad

Folded cheese bread
The Verdict:
Food was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed every kabab that was offered. They also give bread, which was baked fresh. Bread went very well with the kababs. The cheesebread was fantastic as well. So cheesy. Food was washed down with a craft cola drink (forgot the name, but it was good; I'm kinda a cola connoisseur tbh).



Conclusion:
It's nice to see a place pop up in a popular area of town that is both halal and really tasty. I'll definitely be back for more visits.



Grading:
Food: 9/10 (no service due to the fact that this was an event hosted by the restaurant)
Total: 9/10 = 90% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Zayed's Mediterranean Grill
Address: 797 Sorella Court (CityCentre), Houston, TX
Phone: (713) 984-8383
Instagram: zayedsgrill
Timings: Sun-Fri: 11 AM - 10 PM; Sat: 11 AM - 11 PM
Caters: yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed