Sunday, January 31, 2016

U.B. Pizza & Mediterranean Pies: Halal Pizza and Pies in Fort Bend County

Restaurant: U.B.'s Pizza & Mediterranean Pies
Address: 1226 Museum Square Drive, Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit: 1/23/16




Background:
Salam/hey guys! Welcome to my third review of 2016. It will be of a place that has a mix of Italian and Arab food called U.B.'s Pizza & Mediterranean Pies. I heard about this place from Yelp. When I had read that all the meats were halal, I had made it a point to give this place a try. Recently, Blaze Pizza had opened up their 2nd Houston location in Sugar Land. It's another build-your-own pizza type of place. Ever since they opened up, I had always wanted to find a place where you could put as many toppings as you want and pay just one price. Alas, my prayers were answered when I saw on their website that there is a build-your-own-pizza. There was no price for that however. But no worries, the week after I saw that on their website, they were having their grand opening. I saw on many posts of them saying that the meat is halal. Convinced by what they were saying, I told my friend this and waited until the day of the visit to try the place. After meeting with him, we drove all the way to Sugar Land to give this place a try.



Let The Experience Begin!
U.B.'s is located at the intersection of Museum Square Dr. and New Territory Blvd. It is next to a Rita's Ice Custard store. Inside was very nice and there was music playing. We were one of the few people there, as it was just past 4 PM when we arrived there. Since it was their grand opening, we just said hello and proceeded to the cashier.



Let's Eat!
We confirmed again that everything was halal (including the pepperoni since it is beef) and we digged in. There were samples of what the restaurants were to offer on a normal day. I went up two times. The first plate consisted of the meat pie, Mama's tawouk sandwich, chicken shawarma, and kashkaval (Bulgarian cheese) pie. The second plate consisted of the Mediterranean cheese pie, the chicken shawarma again, the regular cheese pizza, and the Muhammara (Mediterranean hot sauce) pie. To drink, we got Coke. There was falafel available as well as baklava.



Menu: http://ubspizzaandpies.com/?page_id=122
Wow, these prices are really affordable! Nothing above $10 per their website! Even their build your own is at an amazing price! The best part, unlimited veggies! All that for only $7.49 + tax! I wish they would do that for their meats as well, but still nonetheless great! This is probably the closest you'll get to a halal Blaze Pizza. They also have the pies, which are different than the pizzas. The pies are made on manakeesh, which is a Lebanese flatbread. The shawarma is only sold from Thursdays to Sundays because apparently they are the most popular item.


Chicken shawarma, meat pie, Mama's tawouk sandwich, and Kashkaval pie


Mediterranean cheese pie, regular cheese pizza, Muhammara pie, and Chicken Shawamra


The Verdict:
Both me and my friend really enjoyed the food! Everything tasted amazing, especially the tawouk sandwich and the chicken shawarma. The tawouk sandwich was one of the best chicken sandwiches I have had in a really long time. The shawarma was insanely amazing! It definitely ranks as one of the top shawarmas I have had in Houston, and the best one I have had in Fort Bend county. Everything was fresh and had really high quality. I will say that the Muhammara pie is really hot. One bite and my mouth started burning.
The service was great. The people are really hospitable. They showed us what items were there when we were picking our things to try without any hesitation.



Conclusion:
U.B.'s is definitely a place that I would recommend you guys to try out! This is a great alternative They have really high quality food and they are really friendly. Most importantly, they are really affordable! I know I am definitely going to make more trips here in the future whenever I drive to Sugar Land from Cypress. And I already know what I plan on ordering when I come next time lol. If you don't want to spend a lot money getting deep dish pizza or even a regular pizza at D'Marcos, then you should come here! I would suggest that they fix their website at the part where it talk about their build-your-own pizza and include the prices on there.



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



Restaurant Information:
U.B.'s Pizza & Mediterranean Pies
1226 Museum Square Drive, Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Phone: (832) 939-9678
Website: http://ubspizzaandpies.com/?page_id=122
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UBsPizza
Timings: Mon-Fri: 10 AM - 9 PM; Sat-Sun: 9 AM - 9 PM
Caters: Unknown

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

FIRST LOOK: The Halal Guys- A Halal Icon in H-town

Restaurant: The Halal Guys
Address: 3821 Farnham Street, Houston, Texas
Date of visit: 1/22/16

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid for statements I said. At the time of the visit, I was invited to a media event where other food bloggers came. I am also aware that UberEats delivered some platters to various locations in town


Photo Credit: http://thehalalguys.com/wp-content/themes/halal-guys/img/site-logo.png


Background:
Salam/hey guys! Today I will be one of the first people to review a highly anticipated restaurant: The Halal Guys. Wait, the food cart with the hour long waiting line at 53rd and 6th in Manhattan? Yup, THAT one. Now why would I review this place in Southeast Texas? Well, because they are expanding nationwide. They now have locations (from what I know), in Southern California, New Jersey and Chicago. There are plans to open up 15 stores all over Texas. Their Grand Opening is on the 30th, but I got a chance to try them out before the Grand Opening. I'll admit, I really got excited about trying it because I have heard nothing but praise about the original food cart in Manhattan. I have always wanted to try the one thing that inspired so many knockoff versions like Gyro King and Jones. It was a great feeling as I no longer had to wait to fly to New York City (haven't been there in 12 years and counting) just to try the place. I remember a lot of people telling me to try it to see how real NY Style cart food should be like, and how it was superior to other knockoff places here in Houston. So after being at UH for a few hours, I went to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
The first Halal Guys in Houston is located across from Amy's Ice Cream on Farnham road. It is located near US 59 and in between Greenbriar and Jones. There was outdoor seating and indoor seating as well. It was like Jones but smaller and much cleaner. I was welcomed by the owner and met a couple of people that are also food bloggers and food writers. The ambiance was really niceAfter talking, it was time to eat!



Let's Eat!
I went with the usual mix chicken and beef/lamb over rice with both sauces, fries, and some extra sauces. They ask if you want everything and you can also request whether you want both sauces or not. Since it was a media event, I didn't pay anything. The prices are listed below. I got Coke to drink. There is literally no waiting time as you get the food as you walk down the line. I got one to go for my dad with both sauces as well.


Menu: Really good prices. I do not know what the original prices are in Manhattan. You also have the option of a sandwich and also sides like fries, hummus, falafel, and olives. You also have an option of getting baklava for dessert. The portion looks more or less the same as Jones to be honest. It isn't as expansive as Jones, but still serves authentic New York style cart food.




Menu: Photo Credit: http://media.culturemap.com/crop/37/c9/633x475/Halal-Guys-Houston_172535.jpg


The Mix Over Rice


Fries


The Verdict:
So, the million dollar question: Does it live up to the hype? The answer is yes and no. No because the salad wasn't fresh at all, the pita was ok, and when you have the red sauce, be sure to have a little because it can get really hot. Yes because everything else was great. Both meats were good, and yes, the white sauce had an amazing taste. I actually used up a whole packet of white sauce in the platter I had. My dad, who is very picky, really loved the sauces, rice, and the meats. He did leave out the salad part as he said that it didn't look fresh. Overall, one thumb up and one side thumb.
The people were nice, and so was the owner. No complaints there.



Conclusion: 
What's obvious after trying the Halal Guys is that it's definitely better and much more cleaner than Jones. You can actually eat some of the red sauce here, while a little sample of the red sauce at Jones and your mouth starts burning. Plus the quality of the meats were better. But overall, it honestly needs to fix the salad. Because of that and the red sauce burning, Gyro King takes the edge as best NY style in Houston. They have a red sauce with the right amount of hotness, and a better salad! Since they just opened up, I will be nice in my grading and will do a followup review on the next time I visit. I will also grade the service. 



Grading:
Food: 8.5/10



Restaurant Information
The Halal Guys
3821 Farnham Street, Houston, Texas 
Phone: (713) 681-5465
Instagram: thehalalguyshouston

Timings: Mon-Sun: 11 AM - 11 PM
Caters: yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thai Gourmet - Partially Halal, but still great!

Restaurant: Thai Gourmet
Address: 6324 Richmond Avenue, Houston, Texas 77057
Buffet or a-la-carte: A-la-carte
Date of visit: 1/9/16



UPDATE 8/13/16: I went a few days ago to give this place a second shot. I did mention that I was going to order a curry, but instead I ordered the same Pad Thai with the mild spice level. It made a huge difference. My mouth didn't burn, and the dish tasted amazing! There was a lot more flavor. The dish was very fresh. The Pad Thai here is definitely at the same level as Anothai. I would give it a 9/10

Background:
Salam/hey guys, and welcome to the first review of the year! Today I will be reviewing a popular Thai place in Houston. It is called Thai Gourmet. I decided to go here because of a poll that I had conducted on Twitter. Basically at the start of every year, I let you guys decide where I should do my first review of the year. 
I actually heard a lot of praises about the place. The people would say that the food is the best Thai restaurant in Houston. They also would say about how the place had a lot of flavor and how good it was priced. The time came for me to try after attending a gathering of bloggers from all over Houston. There wasn't anything vegetarian there with the exception of plantains (not a fan of them), and I hadn't eaten anything during the day. So after saying goodbye to the bloggers I met, I headed to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Thai Gourmet is located right opposite Cafe Layal at the back of the strip complex. I always used to think that Thai Gourmet would be empty because Layal has hookah, and hookah usually means that a place would get a lot of business and would be packed. But I was wrong. Inside was really packed! When I went it, the waitress asked whether I would sit inside or outside. I sat outside. I was then directed to a free table, and then handed the menu.



Let's Eat!
I decided to try their Pad Thai with chicken. I wanted to see how their Pad Thai would compare to Anothai. I got the medium spicy level. To drink, I just had water. I paid a total of $12.45 (tax included). The waiting time was 16 minutes and 6 seconds. To wait, I was just shivering in the cold.



Menu: They do have a website, but the menu isn't up to date. Everything, including the lunch specials, is priced higher here than Anothai. The difference is more than $1. Thai Gourmet however has more options, but there is one significant difference between the places: only the chicken at Thai Gourmet is halal. Be cautious as they also have pork. The menu says that it can be used in place of another meat.



Appetizers, Soups, and Noodles

Front

Thai Salads, Beef, and Fried Rice

Seafood, Duck, and Extras

Chicken and Vegetarian

Luncheons (a.k.a. their lunch special). Sorry for some of the prices being blurred out. They range between $6.95 and $8.95

The Pad Thai



The Verdict:
Normally when you order something with a medium spicy level, you would expect it to be not too spicy and not too mild right? Well here at Thai Gourmet, this doesn't apply. One bite of the chicken Pad Thai, and it was literally burning my mouth, and this is coming from someone who eats home cooked spicy food on a regular basis. I honestly wonder whether anyone has survived their Thai Hot level. The food was still great, and I was able to cool my mouth with the big glass of water that they gave me. 
The service was ok. I have neither praise nor criticism to give.



Conclusion:
Thai Gourmet is better than Thai Choice, that much is known. However, I will not give a verdict on whether it is better than Anothai. I will give the verdict on my next trip, where I will try their curries. If you want halal Thai inside the tollway, then you should totally come here, even though only the chicken is halal. I hope that one day they get halal beef!



Grading:
Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10
Total: 16.5/20 = 82.5% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Thai Gourmet
6324 Richmond Avenue, Houston, Texas 77057
Phone: (713) 780-7955
Website: http://www.thaigourmethouston.com/
Facebook: none
Timings:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 11 AM - 2:30 PM and 5 PM - 9:30 PM
Friday: 11 AM - 2:30 PM and 5 PM - 10:30 PM
Saturday: 11 AM - 10 PM
Sunday: Closed

Caters: yes

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

Cheers!
Zain Mohammed