Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

Terra

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I was curious about the big explosion of mixed use real estate around the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. 30 or so blocks of it snuck in while I wasn’t looking and it’s growing still. I’ve always liked this area of Fort Worth with its density of parks, museums and crazy criss-cross streets, some still with the original bricks from a horse-based transport era gone by.

I walked the area opposite of the Modern Art Museum and stumbled across Terra, a pan middle eastern restaurant buried underneath a tumble of post modern apartments. Anytime is the right time for kebabs!

Atmosphere
The interior is soft mod and comfortable, it’s lively without the need to scream through a conversation. Casual, mixed crowd, good patio space, which is probably quite nice on a day that isn’t 103.

Food
Chicken Kebab. So, I forget that the crowd in Fort Worth likes volume which is the polar IMG_1216opposite to the crowd living in its younger sister, Dallas. I asked Server if it was a double order since the plate weighed 3 pounds. Server laughed a little at my surprised expression and said “Good luck and welcome to Fort Worth!”. The chicken was marinaded in saffron and cream then grilled; pleasantly charred on the out, juicy and flavorful on the in. The rice had a distinct flavor of chelo, the Persian saffron rice, but the long grain rice was mixed with a pan fried vermicelli giving it a more silky texture; perfect. Grilled vegetables were just that although did pick up a faint lemon and pepper taste on what was mostly yellow bells, zucchini, button mushrooms and carrots; good pairing with the rice and chicken.

I could barely finish a third of the kebab, so it made for nice snacks later.

Service
Friendly, informative and efficient, apparently with a good sense of humor.

Price
Prices are a little more than normal about $15-20 for the kebabs but factor in that its seriously enough for two people. Unless you live in Fort Worth.

IMG_1213If you are ever in the Fort Worth near the area hosting the Botanic Gardens, Modern Art Museum and The Kimbell, I would definitely hop over University Ave and take a meal break at Terra. Just remember to bring a friend so you can split one Fort Worth sized plate. Also, parking in this area is completely insane so I’d leave your car at the museum and just walk the few blocks; it will take less time and be more enjoyable.

Dinner: 11 July 2013

Terra | 2973 Crockett St | Fort Worth, TX 76107

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Phoenicia

IMG_1072Several friends simultaneously recommended Phoenicia to me. Not that Phoenicia is new to Houston, it isn’t, but the location downtown is relatively new and they said it was HUGE. Typically I avoid the eastern edge of downtown, it is dense with sports arenas and the prospect of running into herds of drunk Texans pissed off because their team lost, doesn’t appeal. But a HUGE grocery specializing in middle eastern fare, I’m there.

I’ve been test driving Phoenicia downtown for a few months now and I have to say, its impressive. It is HUGE, two stories and its not just a grocery, its also a restaurant and bar and apparently live music often plays on a small stage near the back. If you want to explore before its gets busy, try a Saturday around 9a.

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As a grocery, it is full service; meat counter with a good selection of halal items, limited but fresh produce, rows of off-topic legumes, spices labeled in Arabic, stacks of fresh baked breads, cheeses galore and even a decent set of Le Cruset cookware. However, for me, the standouts are

  • Deli Counter : Hummus, baba ganoush, falafel and other mid-east salads you wont find anywhere near downtown. Definitely snag a container of basil chicken salad to stuff into your fresh baked pita!
  • Dessert Counter: Freshly made baklava, halva and other desserts I could not pronounce even if I could remember my Arabic.
  • Wine: Upstairs you find what is quite possibly the oddest selection of wine in town. Standard products from France, California, Argentina and Australia exist but notice the options from Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon and Croatia.
  • Condiments: Also upstairs, the largest selection of non-Italian olive oils I’ve seen as well as a good selection of tahini. I use loads of olive oil and tahini but other ethic stores only offer them in industrial sizes; Phoenicia has smaller sizes for those who are not feeding a family of 12.
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Phoenicia is now a staple for my weekly acquisitions and I’m thrilled that the owners, one from Armenia, the other from Lebanon have brought authentic mid-east fare into the downtown area!

Phoenicia | 1001 Austin | Houston, TX 77010