Thursday, April 15, 2010

Backroad Desi- Mezban Curry and Grill

Published by Commandrea (Andrea Afra) at 7:50 PM

By Andrea Afra

Hiding in plain site, Mezban is located in a big shopping center in the Mahatma Gandhi District (did you know the area was recently renamed?) off of Harwin between Hillcroft and the 59 feeder road. The first time we went, there was a party going on in the parking lot complete with a DJ who would spin some records then plug the insurance company that had obviously paid the guy to come out.

Mezban started as a catering company that opened as a restaurant on the side. The main feature is its lunch and dinner buffet of a random variety of Indian and Pakistani dishes as well as a few standards, like the raita, biryani, and fresh baked naan, as well as the standard Texas coleslaw. Yes, coleslaw, and it's quite good.

Most of the dishes were on the milder side of spicy, but they didn't lack in flavor- it only meant less complaining from the kids.

While Mezban doesn't rank at the top of my Indian or Pakistani restaurants, mainly because of the lack of heat, it has a buffet which means you walk in and don't even have to sit down before you get your food. And I like that a lot.

The Buffet at Mezban, an array of meat, rice, and vegetable dishes. There is everything from kofta- meatballs in curry sauce, balti gosht- a mutton dish not unlike pot roast, Frontier chicken, saag paneer, a great cold chickpea salad, and desserts as well.

Hot Naan! Some of the best in town- even without butter, brought fresh to your table when you are seated.

There were no lentils on the buffet one day when we went and when my husband mentioned this to the owner, he quickly offered to bring him some. This is what they brought out, his very own little pan of lentils. Nice!

Mezban on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vini, Vidi, Ceviche!

Published by Commandrea (Andrea Afra) at 10:40 AM

We had a party for my man's birthday this weekend and he requested ceviche for dinner, and this good wife did abide. Ceviche is super easy to make and doesn't have to be expensive. It does need at least 2 hours to 'cook' in the citrus juice so time accordingly. If you want to know what good ceviche should taste like before making it, check out El Pueblito's- it's rife with big chunks of avocado and tangy sweet mango. (On Richmond just east of Mandell)

1 pound fresh saltwater fish, I used tilapia

1 pound fresh bay scallops

1 pound fresh peeled/deveined shrimp

1 big bunch of cilantro leaves chopped

1 medium red onion, diced small

3-5 sliced jalapenos with seeds for heat, sliced thin

2 avocados, diced

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup tequila (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable juice (optional)

1 diced mango (optional)

Salt to taste

Shallow pan for the marinating/cooking process


Cut fish into bite sized pieces (not too small) and combine in the pan with the other seafood. Pour the juice over the top, along with all of the other ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-6 hours depending on how well done you like your ceviche.

Serve with tortilla chips, warm corn tortillas (just throw on a gas burner for a few seconds on each side), plantain chips, or even Saltines.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheeseburger Delivery = Greatness: Lucky Burger

Published by Commandrea (Andrea Afra) at 7:40 PM

It was one of those nights when cooking a meal didn't sound very appealing, so I picked up the phone and called 713.522.5650 (I have it memorized) and ordered up a few cheeseburgers, some fries and a chocolate Oreo milkshake to be delivered to my doorstep. Without warning, a few moments later the skies opened up and within minutes our street began to flood. Lucky Burger is really close to my house, and after twenty minutes the driver still hadn't arrived so I figured they had seen the water rising over the sidewalk and nixed my delivery, which would have been perfectly understandable. I even called them back to tell them that the road was flooded and to not worry about my order, but Peggy, the woman who answers the phones, said they were already on their way.

Now I was worried about the delivery person. Surely they wouldn't come down our street, but what if they did? Their car would be ruined and I didn't want my dinner to be the cause. I ran outside into the rain which was pouring down relentlessly. The water was rushing down the street, already well over the curb and shin high on the sidewalks. Sure enough, I saw a car creeping down the street. The water was too high to walk through so I ran back inside and grabbed my bike, then pedaled down the sidewalk with my feet hitting the water with each downward push. I saw the car stop across the street, just a few houses down from mine. The door opened and an older Chinese guy stepped out with a brown paper bag in his hand.

I yelled, "Hey, wait there!", and rode out into the rapids to grab the food and hand him all the money I had for a tip, a fiver, wishing I had more to give.

"Thank you. You're crazy!" I told him and he smiled and nodded, "Okay", before getting back into the car. I rode back home to enjoy a delicious burger feeling a little bit guilty and very soaked.

So what's so great about Lucky Burger, besides the fact that they deliver in monsoon-like weather conditions? Deep inside the barrel fortress at the southeastern corner of Richmond and Mandell, they are cranking out some great diner style fast food. The burgers are simple yet hearty, served made to order on a fluffy bun with terrific pickles (the 'good' kind), American cheese, and a paper sleeve brimming with hot crinkle cut fries.

If you're not feeling the burger, try the jumbo shrimp. They aren't what you'd think. Instead of just a large fried shrimp, they have taken one decent sized shrimp with the tail still on and straightened it out, then another straightened out tail-less shrimp is laid on top of it before battering it and frying it. It's like a long shrimp baton, and they are super crunchy and tasty.

A friend of mine used to get a Lucky cheeseburger with a fried egg on top, so if that's your thing just ask. If you are totally not feeling the cheeseburger thing, try the fried rice. The order is huge and done as well as any respectable Chinese restaurant.

The patty melt is served on awesome buttery toast with those super crisp pickle slices. While I have had the chili-cheese fries, I have yet to try the chili-cheeseburger which seems rather intense, but I bet it's crazy good. Imagine that with an egg on it. Kill me now.

So the next time you're feeling lazy, dial up Lucky Burger, then hum a few bars from Proud to Be an American, and remember why life is good.

Lucky Burger

1601 Richmond Avenue
Houston, TX 77006-5213
(713) 522-5650

Lucky Burger on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 2, 2010

Arabesque Fest @ Jones Plaza Sat., April 3rd, 2010 Houston, TX

Published by Commandrea (Andrea Afra) at 2:32 PM

Come out to the Arabesque Fest, benefiting Houston Palestine Film Festival

Come celebrate the richness and diversity of Arab Culture April 3rd at Jones Plaza and support the Houston Palestine Film Festival! Come dance to live Arabic music, taste the many 'momma style' foods including a Battle of Hummus from Houston's best restaurants, smoke Shisha, and say hello to friends new and old.

The Arabesque Fest will be held at downtown's Jones Plaza overlooking Houston's skyline ( Directly across the street from Verizon Theater and The Angelika ). Kids 12 and under are FREE to enter and there will be a wide array of children's activities including moonwalk, face painting, and more. So tell your friends, bring your family, and prepare to dance. Doors open at Noon yet festivities go until 10PM.

Slated to perform are:

2 PM DJ Simiyu

3 PM Zylona (bellydancer)

4 PM Khristina Koutsoudas (dancer)

5PM Jabbour (Musical performance)

6PM Hummos Competition (featuring up to 10 local restaurants)

7PM Traditional Dress Fashion Show

Proceeds benefit the Houston Palestine Film Festival; winner of the 2009 Best Film Festival award from Houston Press.

Tickets are $5; free for kids under 12