Monday, August 22, 2016

Staccato's: Great, But Still Couldn't Topple the Best

Restaurant: Staccato's
Address: 11300 Beechnut Street, Houston, Texas 77072
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit:7/28/16


Photo Credit: their website


Background:
Salam/hey guys! Welcome to my latest review! Today I will be writing about my experience at another place where you can get halal burgers, Philly cheesesteak, and pizza. This place is called Stacatto's. I first heard about this place from someone who posted about the restaurant on Facebook. I saw the menu and I thought it would be worth trying out. A few months later, someone who knows me personally told me that the Philly cheesesteak he had was better than Busy Boy. That really got me interested in trying the place out. For many years, Busy Boy has been my personal favorite spot for Philly Cheesesteak in Houston. Last year, I said that Sayad took the spot for the best Mediterranean restaurant in Houston that I have had so far. Will the Philly cheesesteak at Stacatto's be good enough to topple Busy Boy? Let's get this going!
My chance to try it came when I finished work early. It was on the way home, and I had not eaten anything that day. So I decided to drop by and give it a try.



Let The Experience Begin!
Stacatto's is located where King's Chicken used to be for many years. I was one of only a few people inside the restaurant at that time. The restroom was out of order. The owner greeted me, and without any hesitation, gave my order.



Let's Eat!
I gave a huge hint on what I ordered in the "Background" section, but I'll say it here in case anyone doesn't understand what I said. I ordered the Philly cheesesteak. It came with fries. The owner asked me whether I wanted it spicy or regular. I went with regular, which is what I get 99.9% of the time when I go to Busy Boy and eat their cheesesteak. I paid $8.65 (tax included) for it. The waiting time was 14 minutes and 5 seconds. To wait, I browsed the internet on my phone.



Menu: http://www.beyondmenu.com/36606/houston/stacatto-s-houston-77072.aspx#group_1318660
Now what's weird is that on their actual website, the menu is on a Word document. It would be better if it was either on PDF or the website itself. Anyways, not only do they have subs, they also have burgers, Mediterranean food, pasta, pizza, and fried chicken. Nice diverse options in one roof.


The Philly Cheesesteak


The Verdict:
Overall, the food was great. The fries were perfectly crispy, and the cheesesteak was also good. However, the cheesesteak was not good enough to topple Busy Boy's for the title of best halal cheesesteak. I felt that there was something missing from this cheesesteak. I also didn't like how the beef was garnished with what I am assuming to be black peppers.



Conclusion:
Stacatto's may have fallen short of Busy Boy, but it was good enough for me to give this place another try. A lot of their food items look really delicious



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



Restaurant Information:
Staccato's
11300 Beechnut Street, Houston, Texas 77072
Phone: (281) 809-5837
Website: http://www.stacattos.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stacattos/
Timings: Mon-Thu & Sun: 10 AM - 9 PM; Fri-Sat: 10 AM - 10 PM
Caters: yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fly By: A Tradition Broken

Restaurant: Fly By
Address: 3103 Wilson Road, Humble, Texas 77396
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 7/2/16



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Welcome to my latest review. Today, I will be reviewing of a place that offers something that was desperately needed in the Northeast side of town: The place is called Fly By. What is this place offering that was desperately needed? American and Tex-Mex. I know that there are many halal American and Tex-Mex places all over the metro area, but there was only one north of I-10 at the time of the visit. After Burger Gyros Wings on West Little York closed down, there was just a halal burger place north of I-10, a place called Philly Cheese Steaks and Burgers on Rayford Rd east of I-45 in Spring. The area from 249 to I-69 near Bush airport has diversity, but only has just that American place. Mind you, it was only until the opening of the burger place last year that the area between I-45 and I-69 had zero halal American places. I remember my friends who lived in that area always wishing that there would be a halal place where they wouldn't have to either pass downtown to go to Hillcroft or Sugar Land, or have to drive to Spring. A few days before the visit, I got a notification that the place was opened and that it was all the way in Humble. I haven't reviewed a place east of I-45 in a really long time. The only places that I reviewed east of I-45 were Iqra Grill (now closed), and Indian Grill. But this was different. This was east of I-69 at the intersection of Wilson and Atascosita Road. I honestly wondered whether it would be worth driving all the way there for some halal American and Tex-Mex food either from Fred Haas after getting my car serviced, or even from my house. I looked at the menu and was very impressed with the options available (explained in detail below). I actually got the chance to try it when I had to go to a site near the beltway and Highway 90 in the East End. I left early, and headed to the restaurant. With that, it is now official that this is the first ever review to be done for something I had eaten for breakfast.
Now, halal breakfast has popped up over the past few years, but it's been really sporadic. For most of the 10 years I've been living in the US, the only halal breakfasts available in town were halwa puri in some of the Indian/Pakistani places.For breakfast, I would normally go and grab one or two donuts from Shipley's, grab pastries from Panera, or eat an omelette from either La Madeline or IHOP. The first halal non Indian/Pakistani place to have breakfast or even brunch was Nazif's on Fondren with their Sunday traditional Turkish brunch if I can recall correctly. After that, M&M Grill had a breakfast menu for a period of time. They had huevos rancheros and even halal beef chorizo (the only place to have ever featured that). They stopped only a few months later. Then came TG's Cravings (Sugar Land location closed for repair and Cypress location opening soon) being the first place to offer halal American breakfast items. Finally, there is Alcaliente which has some halal Mexican breakfast options. I am really thankful that more halal non Indian/Pakistani places are offering breakfast, since I myself really don't like halwa puri.



Let The Experience Begin!
Fly By is located at the intersection of Wilson Rd and Atascosita Rd. It was really early in the morning, so it was no surprise that I was the only customer. I actually had my mind set at what I wanted to order. I had to decide the night before because I couldn't stay for long and had to be on time for the site visit.



Let's Eat!
I ordered the Super Burrito. The Super Burrito is a breakfast burrito consisting of sausage, turkey bacon, ground beef, chicken, hash brown, eggs, and cheddar cheese on a flour tortilla. Mind you, this place serves no pork and is 100% zabihah halal. I paid $6.48 for it. The waiting time was roughly 7 minutes. They give you a sauce to go with the breakfast burrito.



Menu: http://flybyburgers.com/our-menu/
Wow. Just wow. It's like a little bit of IHOP with the omelettes and pancakes (original only available), a little bit of a Mexican place with the breakfast burritos and the Tex-Mex burritos, and like a typical burger place with burgers. They even have breakfast plates and breakfast sandwiches! It was a very wonderful sight to see. Their wings options were good with many flavors to choose from (not on the menu but it's still available). Now despite all these options available, it all comes down to the taste.



Breakfast Burrito


The Verdict:
To keep it short, put the sauce on top. It made a huge difference. Without the sauce, the burrito wasn't good. The sauce fitted in with the other items, and the burrito was completely different. 



Conclusion:
Fly By definitely has potential to be a great restaurant and to be the main stop for halal American and Tex-Mex food in the northern part of Houston. I will definitely make another trip here and try their burger. But for the breakfast burrito, one major thing have to happen. You have to make your own salsa and then ask when someone is ordering whether they want salsa or not. This is because many people either enjoy with salsa or without salsa.



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 7/10 (without the salsa, it would've been a 3/10)
Total: 15/20 = 75% (C)
Pricing: $ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Fly By
3103 Wilson Road, Humble, Texas 77396
Phone: (832) 644-5007
Website: http://flybyburgers.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FLY-BY-258298214531860/?surface=rese
Timings: Mon-Fri: 5:30 AM - 8 PM; Sat: 9:00 AM - 5 PM; Sun: Closed
Caters: Unknown

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Thursday, August 4, 2016

AlCaliente: Solid Mexican Food in Katy

Restaurant: AlCaliente
Address: 20210 Katy Freeway, Katy, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 7/24/16



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be talking about my experience in another restaurant that has started serving halal meat. This place is called Alcaliente. And it serves something that I've been waiting for in Houston for just over two years: Mexican food that is not inside 610 and is in Harris County (Family Kitchen is in Fort Bend county). Finally, I can no longer worry about either waiting to go to Dallas to get my Mexican food cravings satisfied (though I love the place in Dallas a lot), or have to wait to go to the Bullritos or Coreanos at UH to get my halal Mexican/Tex-Mex food cravings if I were to crave it here in Houston. I can finally get to try some Mexican food that's not far from my house. I first heard about the restaurant serving halal food on Facebook, when somebody posted on one of my Facebook friend's wall about the place serving halal chicken and beef. To clarify, I messaged them on Facebook, and they said the same thing. I also asked about the pork, and they said it was cooked separately. It was a while before I got to try it, mainly because of the fact that it was nearly impossible to try it during Ramadan since they close a little bit after sunset, and class that ended between 9 - 10 PM. I got to try it when I organized a goodbye party for my friend that was going to Philadelphia for medical school. Before the other people came, my friend and I arrived at the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Alcaliente is located off I-10 near Fry Rd. and can be accessed from the feeder. It's in the same are as the Home Depot. Inside, there is a bar, and a whole bunch of tables and booths. We were helped to a table, given menus, and then ordered.



Let's Eat!
We ordered the Alcaliente platter, an appetizer consisting of beef nachos, chili con queso, chicken flautas, and chicken quesadillas with guacamole, salad, and sour cream. We ordered that so that all of us could share. We were given free chips and salsa as well. For entrees, I ordered the combo chicken and beef fajita that came with refried beans (vegetarian), rice, salad, and sour cream. My friend ordered the beef enchiladas, and my other friend ordered the beef chimichanga. All of this costed $47, but with a Yelp deal, we got it down to $20. The waiting time was about 33 minutes in total, good enough for 5 people. After eating here, we went to BJs and devoured a party platter pizookie.



Menu: the options here are wonderful. So many things to choose from! This place has a lot more halal Mexican options than M&M Grill. Along with the fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, and chimichangas, they have 5 different enchilada options, tostadas, and Mexican plates like carne guisada and a chicken dish with poblano peppers. They also have a breakfast menu, but lesser halal options.
I took pictures of the menu because the website didn't even mention the menu prices and the menu on their Facebook page had not been updated.



Breakfasts


Omelettes

Breakfast plates


Hot of The Griddle


Appetizers


Soups and salads. Note the discount


Enchiladas


Tacos


The fajitas


Breakfast and sides. Refried beans are vegetarian


Alcaliente Specialties


Specialties continued


Kids Menu


Desserts and Beverages

 
The Alcaliente Platter


Combo beef and chicken fajita


Spanish Rice and Refried Beans. Cilantro Rice also available


Enchiladas with rice


Chimichanga, refried beans, and Spanish Rice



The Verdict:
Everyone said that the food was actually good, and I agreed with them. The food was not at the same level as M&M's Mexican food, but the taste was still really good. Like M&M, the fajita meat comes in a sizzler. They give a few extra tortillas in a nice dish. It was worth the long wait for a halal Mexican place to open up that was actually a decent distance from my house.
No complaints about the service. The people were really nice.



Conclusion:
Alcaliente is a place that you should consider trying if you either want to not make the drive to M&M, if you want to eat Mexican food on a Sunday since M&M is closed on Sundays, or if you want to eat at an actual Mexican restaurant. I do wish that there were items like barbacoa, halal tamales (yes it is possible), beef chorizo, and empanadas. Nevertheless, the food here is good enough for me to say that I can come here and eat Mexican food without having to drive really far.



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



Restaurant Information:
Alcaliente
20210 Katy Freeway, Katy, Texas
Phone: (832) 321-5232
Timings: Mon-Sun: 7 AM - 9 PM
Caters: Yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse: A Halal Meat Lover's Paradise

Restaurant: Tradicao (pronounced Tradisow)
Address: 12000 Southwest Freeway, Stafford, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: Buffet
Date of visit: 7/1/16


Please see the disclaimer under where it says "Home"

Background:
Salam/hey guys! Welcome to my latest review! I know it's a bit late, but I've been dieting lately (which I really hate). Anyways, I can safely tell you that this is the most anticipated review of the year. Why is it so? It's because this is another steakhouse. Not just another steakhouse, but another Brazilian one! I actually first heard about this place a long time back from my friend. He told me that his friend used to work there and that the lamb was halal, there was seafood in the main course, and that he really liked that place. So pretty much like Fogo de Chao but with seafood options and family run instead of being a chain with location all over the US, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. I actually thought about going here one day since I hadn't known at that time that Fogo's lamb was halal, but the idea never came to work. All of that changed an email that I received a few days before my trip. The email was definitely one of the best ones I have ever received since I started this blog. It was an email which stated that there was going to be halal FILET MIGNON and lamb chops available. Before and after, making the big announcement on my social media accounts, which was received positively by the Muslim community, I communicated with the restaurant and made sure that everything was cooked separately to prevent cross contamination, and that it was available at the Stafford location and also the Clear Lake location. After everything was done, I was invited to bring a friend along and try the experience! Naturally, I would have to go after work and around sunset since it was still Ramadan. The good part was that it was about a 15 minute drive from the mosque that we were going to pray at. So after work, I went to pick my friend up, and we drove to the restaurant.

One VERY important thing to say: You must call at least 24 hours in advance to request halal. Thus, reservation is mandatory if you want halal.



Let The Experience Begin!
Tradicao is located on the 59 feeder just before the intersection at W Airport Blvd. If you are coming from the north, your best bet is to take the exit for the 59 feeder and then continue on it until you reach the restaurant. Inside, the ambiance was very nice. There is a wine cellar that's located near the tables. After confirming that we reserved, we went to the table. The table was wonderfully set up. There was a sign where it said "halal" and right in front was the halal menu (posted below). Top notch service. We met with the manager and talked about the halal offerings. He then said that there's going to be a special ribeye prepared for us. After speaking, we were ready to eat.



Let's Eat!
While the meat was being prepared, my friend and I immediately flipped the meat card to "Yes" and went for the salad bar. From the salad bar, I got fresh mozzarella cheese, salmon ceviche, smoked salmon, potato salad, and heart of palm. We only took one plate of the salad bar because we wanted to save our appetite for the meats. As we were eating, the meat was ready! All the meat and the seafood came one by one. As soon it was made, it was served to us tableside. And then came the insanely addicting cheese bread (pao de queijo). Then came the rice and the garlic mashed potatoes. I think I had about 20 of the cheese breads. We finally had dessert. By the time we got to the mosque, we were so stuffed that we thought we would skip the early morning meal that's eaten before the start of fasting. The ribeye came on a special wooden platter for us. To drink, I had Guarana, which is the traditional Brazilian soda.



Menu: Same concept as Fogo, but they actually have seafood in their main course. I would advise you guys to take a pic of the halal menu and keep it as a reference. It is very detailed and they even tell you what not to eat because of the inclusion of alcohol.  Like Fogo, there is also a salad bar, which has a lot of options available to try.
One thing you must remember: if you want halal, you must call at least 24 hours in advance.



The Halal Menu


The Dinner




The Verdict:
Was it worth it? Absolutely! Everything tasted great! The cheese bread was as addicting here at it was at Fogo. We really enjoyed all the meat and seafood that was added. The chocolate cake was one of the best I've ever had! We ate until we were completely stuffed. The service was wonderful also!



Conclusion:
Houston's first Brazilian Steakhouse with more than one halal meat option sets an example of what the other restaurants should do when they start serving halal menu options. It was organized and was easy to read and understand. It was also great to see that they had listed which items have alcohol in it or not. French, Italian, and a lot of Asian places should notify on their menus whether a particular dish contains alcohol or not. This is not just because Muslims do not drink, but also many people have alcohol intolerance. It shall be interesting to see whether other Brazilian steakhouses will start offering halal meats one day whether it be here in Houston, Texas, or anywhere in the US in the years to come, or whether there will be the first ever fully halal Brazilian steakhouse, or whether halal picanha or alcatra (top sirloin) will be first introduced to the United States.
Regarding Tradicao, this is great for special occasions like birthdays, parties, or anniversaries. I know I plan on coming here on special occasions or just a casual trip myself for lunch after saving up some money! If you are in Houston and want to go on a date or celebrate a special occasion, or just simply grab some steak, then this place would be the best one! Don't worry it being too expensive. It is worth every single penny.



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



Restaurant Information
Tradicao (Stafford location)
12000 Southwest Freeway, Stafford, Texas
Phone: (281) 277-9292
Timings:

Lunch: Mon-Fri: 11 AM - 2 PM & Sun: 12 PM - 3 PM
Dinner: Mon-Thu: 5 PM - 9:30 PM; Fri: 5 PM - 10 PM; Sat: 4 PM - 9 PM; Sunday: 5 PM - 9 PM

Caters: Yes
Reservation required for halal menu

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fyza's Al Wadi Mediterranean Sandwiches: Best Halal Gyros in Houston?

Restaurant: Fyza's Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches
Address: 4551 Farm to Market Road 1960, Houston, Texas
Restaurant or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 6/28/16




Background:
Salam/hey guys! I am back after a while. Today, I will be talking about another halal spot that is available on FM 1960. This place is called Fyza's Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches. There is a place of the same name on JFK Boulevard near Bush airport. I am not sure whether both this and the airport located are affiliated with the same owner. Anyways, I had been wanting to try out a new place ever since I returned from Austin. It was tough because my mom was restricting me from going out, even to the mosques for prayer. I also have class until 10 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays, and my mom expected me to break my fast at home all Ramadan long. My friend wanted to do iftar with someone, and I said ok because we hadn't met for a long time. We originally decided for Elshamy off Highway 249, but last minute, we decided to do here. After getting permission from my mom, I headed over to the restaurant.
Long time ago, there used to be a halal place called Alwadi that was on FM 529 and Queenston. I had been there a few times and found their shawarma to be pretty good. Sadly they closed down before I could try something else. I've heard of a lot of good things about the Alwadi on FM 1960 and also the location near Bush airport. A lot of people raved about the gyros and the fries. So let's see how it goes.


Let The Experience Begin!
The restaurant is located in the same strip mall as the Hobby Lobby near the intersection of FM 1960 and Veterans Memorial Dr. Inside, it was nearly empty as it was nearing closing time. Thankfully, my friend spoke with the owner and allowed us to be in late so that we could break our fast. After reading the menu, we were ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I inquired about what was the popular item sold, and it was the gyros with fries combo. We both got that. I got Pepsi while my friend got another drink. The wait was long at 27 minutes and 12 seconds. We got water, and the owner provided us with dates so that we could break the fast. Very nice of him



Menu: Contrary to the name of the place, this place also has platters. The menu has items that are standard in Mediterranean places. You have popular items like hummus, baba ghanoush, shawarma sandwich and plate, kebabs, falafel, and the mixed grill. The prices are pretty similar to Sayad, with the only exception being that the sandwiches are cheaper here than Sayad. They have some pretty neat deals and they also have a lunch special.



The menu: Photo credit: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/alwadi-mediterranean-sandwiches-houston?select=GA4_ixfqCVFze0POb-Ns0Q




Gyro sandwich with fries and garlic sauce


The Verdict:
Absolutely delicious! The gyro sandwich was amazing! It was really flavorful and was also filling. There was no leakage of the gyro sandwich, and the tzatziki sauce had a lot of flavor. The garlic sauce here is the best garlic sauce I've had north of I-10. This is the closest to the level of Busy Boy that I have had so far. My friend absolutely loved the food as well. Overall, two thumbs up for the food.
A special thanks to the owner for letting us stay for a while so that we could break our fast. This is a good thing to hear, as I have heard many people being turned away by owners or employees as much as 30 minutes before closure.



Conclusion:
Along with Zamani, Al Wadi is a wonderful place to get some Mediterranean food. I would definitely be a regular if it was near my house, and would actually consider making multiple visits here while driving to or from the dealership. This goes up with Euro Bakery on Louetta, and Zamani as one of my top places to eat between 249 and I-45. If you want some nice halal gyros or Mediterranean food, then I would recommend you to give this place a try.



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



Restaurant Information:

Fyza's Alwadi Mediterranean Sandwiches
4551 Farm to Market Road 1960, Houston, Texas
Phone: (832) 249-1500
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11 AM - 8:30 PM; Fri-Sat: 11 AM - 9 PM; Sun: Closed
Caters: unknown

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed




Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Arpeggio's Grill: A Good Find in the State Capitol

Restaurant: Arpeggio's Grill
Address: 6619 Airport Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78752
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit: 5/29/2016



Background:
Salam/hey guys! And welcome to my latest review. I have been really busy. I have gone back to work, Ramadan is in full swing, and I focused on getting into shape. Well at the end of last month, my family went to a place in Austin called Arpeggio Grill. Now why Austin? We had taken a road trip to Fredericksburg, which is in West Central Texas, west of San Antonio. We decided to stop at a place in Austin for dinner before getting on the fastest highway in America on our way back to Houston. I would have picked Halal Bros, which I have heard has the best halal food in all of Central Texas. But my family are not big fans of it. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when they said they loved Gyro King when I took them there a few months ago. So we got help from my sister's friend, who is a student at the University of Texas, on deciding on where to eat before heading home. He then recommended Arpeggio's. I have heard a lot about Arpeggio's from people I know that attend UT Austin. I have heard a lot about their giant pizza. Based on the pics, it was the largest that I have ever seen a halal restaurant offer in my life! I have heard a lot of good things about their food, so I went with high hopes and expectations. Despite my sister pleading to go to Brio's (and being extremely salty because we didn't go to a place of her choice), we headed to Arpeggio's.


Let The Experience Begin!
Arpeggio's is located next to Ya Hala Hookah Lounge (not connected to the restaurant) at the intersection of Airport and Huntland Drive. The inside was very nice. There were tables and there were even sitting areas for families and large groups of people. The majority of the people in there were UT students (I assume this is very popular with UT students). We were welcomed and then taken to the table by the really nice waiter. After reading through the menu, and me taking my time to decide what I should get, we were ready to order.



Let's Eat!
Well, the pizza was out of question unfortunately. Dad is not a fan of pizza, and will never be. So we ended up going with the Arab food. We ordered a few items: the Arpeggio Meza platter (hummus, tabbouli, baba ghanouj, rice topped with chicken and beef shawarma, and dolma served with garlic sauce and pita bread), the Mashawi platter (kafta kabab, chicken shawarma, and gyro meat served with rice and tzatziki sauce), the chicken kabab plate, and some garlic hot wings. The waiting time was 25 minutes and 10 seconds. While waiting, we reflected on how Fredericksburg was and how much fun we had on the trip.



Menu: http://www.arpeggiogrill.com/#!menu/c24tf
Their Arab items are pretty standard. You have various kababs with rice, sandwiches, and the popular appetizers. They have a wide variety of pizza toppings available, but they should put the prices of the toppings on their website. The wing flavor choices were fantastic. It's the most that I've ever seen at a halal restaurant in the US so far. I really hope that one day many halal places in Houston that have wings would have other flavor choices instead of just buffalo or BBQ. Everything was reasonably priced, including the giant pizza. They also have a lunch special on weekdays.



(From top left): Arpeggio Meza Platter, chicken kabob, Mashawi platter, and garlic hot wings


The Verdict:
We had a positive experience here, and the stop was worth it. I really liked the wings, the chicken kabab, and the chicken shawarma. I didn't like the kafta kabab though. My family were stuffed after eating half their plates, while my dad and I were able to finish our plates, despite having snacked throughout the trip on chicken sandwiches, water, Coke (for me), and Lays BBQ Chips. After paying the bill, we hit the road.



Conclusion:
Arpeggio's is a solid place to try in Austin. The people are really nice and the food is solid. My dad actually got the flyer from them so that the next time we're in Austin, we would try that place. I hope to try their giant pizza when I hopefully come with my friends to Austin after Ramadan ends. If you want to try some Arab food in Austin, then I would recommend this place. Just don't order the kafta kabab though.



Grading:
Service: 9/10
Food: 7/10
Total: 16/20 = 80% (A)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Arpeggio's Grill
6619 Airport Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78752
Phone: (512) 419-0110
Website: http://www.arpeggiogrill.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Arpeggio-Grill-104967339545904/
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11 AM - 10 PM
Caters: Yes
Online ordering available via GrubHub (source: https://www.grubhub.com/restaurant/arpeggio-grill-6619-airport-blvd-austin/327492?classicAffiliateId=%2Fr%2Fw%2F39492%2Frestaurant%2F327492)

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pizza 101: The Best Halal Desi Pizza in Town

Restaurant: Pizza 101
Address: 15215 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit: 5/28/16



Background:
Salam/hey guys! I hope everyone is having a great Ramadan! Today I will be writing about one of the newest halal pizza places in town: Pizza 101. I first heard about it on Facebook when the owner announced that the restaurant will be opening in Sugar Land. I was really excited to see another halal pizza place opening up in Sugar Land, and wondered how it will compare to U.B.'s. Thing is though, that this turned out it will have both Desi pizzas (i.e. kabab pizza, chicken tikka pizza, etc.) and regular pizzas. So it wouldn't be fair to compare them to a place that has Arab pizzas. Some people actually got to try it, including one of my good friends. She was a really big fan of it. Everyone who tried it got the Desi style pizzas, and they said they loved it. Those same people said that it was the best halal pizza in town, but I took that with a pinch of salt. This is because you cannot compare Desi style pizza to regular pizzas you get at Home Base, Crespo, or Russo's. Just to let you know, regular pizzas = meat lovers, supreme, beef pepperoni, etc. You cannot expect the regular style pizzas to have the same amount of spices as the Desi style pizzas. And I say this because I have had Desi style pizza before in my pre-blogging days. Anyways, the time came for me to try Pizza 101 after I attended a nikkah (declaration of legal contract between bride and groom in an Islamic marriage). I was really hungry, and was in the mood of a major cheat meal. So I thought "why not try this place since it just opened up". After the ceremony was over, I headed to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Pizza 101 is located way at the back of the strip mall complex on 59 and Williams Trace (same complex as Aling's). In fact, you have to turn onto Williams Trace just to get there. Next to it is a Marble Slab. Inside, there was a TV playing and the interior looked really ice. There were facts about pizza on one side of the wall, There were two TVs above the cashier showing the menu. After waiting, I was ready to order.



Let's Eat!
I was originally going to do the build your own, but it ends up that they charge for every ingredient added. This was not mentioned on the menu and I was pretty disappointed. It's not right to rip people off like this, especially those who are on a budget. What Blaze Pizza and MOD Pizza are doing by allowing you to put unlimited toppings for one price is becoming increasingly popular, and we need more than one halal pizza place to do so. I asked them what their popular pizzas were, and they said the kabab madness and the chicken tikka pizza. So I went with a small kabab madness. The kabab madness pizza consists of  Problem was, they didn't have the small crust, so I had gotten a medium pizza. I really didn't get the logic. How can you say that you only have medium or large if they require more dough than a small?? Yes, it may be your soft opening, but you should still be able to make some more dough if one were to order a small and take a lot away from the medium or large pizzas. Thankfully, they let me pay for the medium for the same price of a small.



Menu: Pizza 101 has regular style pizzas along with two Desi style pizzas: the chicken tikka and the kabab madness. They have pasta as well. The drinks are priced pretty high in my opinion. I got the menu from their Yelp page because their website didn't mention the pizza prices for some reason.



The Pizzas (Photo Credit: their Yelp Page)


Appetizers, Pastas, Drinks, and Desserts (Photo Credit: their Yelp Page)

Kabab Madness


The Verdict:
Despite the issues in the menu pricing and the unavailability of the small size, the pizza was phenomenal. The kabab in the pizza was out of this world! Everything else was full of flavor adn was really tasty. The dough was not too thick. Two thumbs up for the pizza.



Conclusion:
Pizza 101 definitely has a chance of beating out Crespo and Home Base Pizza in the title of best halal pizza in Houston. I hope they add the menu prices for the extra toppings in the build your own pizzas. I'll definitely come back and try the other pizzas that they offer.



Grading:
Service: 7/10
Food: 9/10
Total: 16/20 = 80% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Pizza 101
15215 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, Texas
Phone: (281) 201- 8525
Website: http://www.pizza101tx.com/index.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pizza101tx/
Timings: Mon-Thu & Sun: 12 PM - 11 PM; Fri-Sat: 12 PM - 12 AM
Caters: not yet, but will eventually start
Delivery will start soon
Ordering online available

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed