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