When I was visiting New York City, I had the opportunity to eat at a halal cart. It was pretty amazing. The Halal Guys are the most popular of the halal carts. Three partners opened up a hot dog cart on West 53rd & 6th Avenue in New York City in 1990 and then switched over to Mediterranean food to cater to Muslim cab drivers. That’s how Halal Guys were formed. They are pretty well known all over Manhattan and have expanded outside the Big Apple. Now they are here in the Valley of the Sun with a few locations planned. I had a chance to visit their Tempe location which is in the perfect spot because nearby Muslim community. The menu consist of platters (with salad and rice) and sandwiches. You can either get chicken, beef gyro, a combination of both or falafel. I got the beef gyro sandwich and really enjoyed it. The white and red sauce are a must and really add some spice and flavor to your meal. I’m excited to made a return visit!
I just took a red-eye into New York City and was looking for quick bite. Everyone raves about the Halal food carts in NYC and I had to give one a shot. To me, food carts are what make NYC because people are always on the go and need a quick bite. Halal carts have only been on the scene for a few decades. But today halal carts are pretty native to NYC and found everywhere. The Halal Guys carts are the most popular ones in NYC and are expanding to other states. Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law, defined in the Koran. The key is to find a Halal cart that is authentic as there are some that are not. New York City halal usually consists of a combination of rice, greens, halal meat in a bowl or in a pita. They top it off with they famous spicy red or white sauce. The red sauce is an offshoot of Egyptian harissa sauce where the white one is an offshoot of zabadi sauce. I ordered the Chicken over Rice and drowned it with both their red and white sauces. Wow – it was super spicy and super delicious! What a great way to start off my trip to the Big Apple.
Pita Jungle has been serving up healthy and fresh food since it’s first location opened in 1994 by three Arizona State University students. Their goal was to provide Tempe residents with a healthy alternative to other restaurants around campus. They serve up Mediterranean food with a touch of modern flair. Their wood-fired pizzas and pita sandwiches are some of the popular selections. I’ve been eating here since my days at ASU going to the Apache location for lunch. The Mediterranean Roasted Chicken (Shawarma) and Beef Gyro are probably my 2 favorite items along with some hummus and their amazing iced tea. I had a fun night here with my friend Sarah at the Phoenix location in the arts district.
I love how Simon finds these little places. We had lunch at Zaytoon Kabob Bistro – a Mediterranean grill. They serve a variety of menu items that also satisfy the health-conscious individuals. The kabobs are cut, marinated and skewered daily and cooked to order over an open flame. I got the chicken kabob – a marinated boneless chicken that is skewered and grilled and served over a bed of Basmatti rice with a garden salad. I also added a beef kabob. I had a great time of fellowship with my friend and enjoyed a great lunch.
Juba Red Sea & Mediterranean Cuisine specializes in Mediterranean & East African cuisine and has been serving the valley since 2005. This restaurant is located in a shopping plaza that is cultural hub in Phoenix. After teaching at the Somalia center, we headed here for lunch. Their samosas have been voted best samosas in Phoenix. I ordered the chicken shawarma, hummus, a samosa and Somalian tea. The food was excellent and I look forward to many lunches here.
I love the Queen Creek Olive Mill. I laugh because I hated olives growing up, but now I really appreciate them. The Olive Mill was started by Perry and Brenda Rea. There are over a thousand olive trees on their property and the Olive Mill is one of Arizona’s largest suppliers of extra virgin olive oil to the Valley. They have a Mediterranean eatery here that serves up some great food. Christin and I went on a tour of how they process their olives and met my good friends the de Klerks for lunch.