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Local [Halal] Thai Food

I don’t like Chinese food, so I just always [wrongly] assumed I wouldn’t like Thai food either. Similar taste profile and all. Chinese food is way too salty, for the most part, for my liking… and I don’t particularly like that distinct taste.

I hesitantly tried Thai food last November when a bunch of us cousins went to a local [halal] place, called N’ Thai Palace, and I was pleasantly surprised that a) it didn’t taste like Chinese food and b) I actually liked it! It was flavorful, visually pleasing and delicious. I had been meaning to go back but didn’t get the chance to… except for the one time I got all the way there only to find out that the restaurant was closed on Mondays!

All of us got different meals to try and we each loved everything. Which is rare– usually some are good while others… not so good. I especially liked their drunken noodles and Mango Chicken and Shrimp.

Last week, I tried another local [halal] Thai place with a friend– this time to Pan Asia [also closed on Mondays]. It was just as delicious; so much so that I got the family to try it for dinner last night. I love their Pad Thai with chicken and the rest of my family also liked their Hakka Noodles [with chicken] and Chicken Fried Rice.

Bad Customer Service from KFC

I don’t know if there is anything I hate more than bad customer service.

Remember the Halal KFC I talked about back here? Today, my brother and I drove back there today because I was craving it. It took us over an hour to get there… and almost THREE HOURS to come back home. But I wasn’t too annoyed because it was me who really wanted it.

You know what sucks?

Well, I only eat white meat… and got the same thing for the rest of my family. So I ordered a 12 piece combo of extra crispy fried chicken with all the pieces being substituted for breast pieces. The cashier told me she would go back and check that she had the right amount of breast pieces from the halal section and that I would have to pay extra for substitution. Which I was okay with (and figured).

When the cashier came back, she said that she could do a combination of extra crispy and original friend chicken — which I was fine with. I went ahead and paid for my order (VERY expensive because of the substitutions). Some time later, I got my order and headed back home. Getting home would take over two and a half hours because of traffic.

When I got home, and my family started eating, I could not believe that two of the pieces that were ALL THE WAY AT THE BOTTOM had been substituted for their grilled chicken! While I am sure their grilled chicken is delicious (I did try it some time ago), it was not what I ordered and I do not appreciate them cheating their customers like that!

She went back to check and confirm that they had the right amount of pieces… if she didn’t — all she had to do was tell me!!! Is that sooo hard? Not only did I pay extra for what I wanted, but I didn’t even get what I wanted!

In my opinion, customer service makes or break your business. There is this bakery I loved to visit for a particular cookie that I have NO where else, but refuse to step foot in there because of terrible customer service.

P.S. I was asked to post their contact information for others. Here is their Customer Service number 1-800-CALL-KFC.

Red Lobster

I love seafood… and tilapia is one of my favorites!

So it should come as no surprise that one of my favorites when I go out to eat is the Wood-Fire Grilled Tilapia at Red Lobster. It’s what I get EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I go there. Without fail.

Love the Caesar salad at Red Lobster. LOVE their biscuits.

I finally convinced my parents to go there about a year and a half ago for the first time. Since then, I have gone with them twice more — the  most recent time was today. In fact, we went today solely for their wood-fire grilled tilapia (my mom tried a piece of mine last time and loved it as well). Two out of the three times I’ve gone with them, however, they have for some reason not had Tilapia available.

This is despite the fact that it’s listed on their menu and on their list of “Today’s Fresh Fish”. I was not informed that they didn’t have any Tilapia until I placed my order, and was quite disappointed. Especially because this isn’t the first time that has happened.

We went during peak dinner time (7 PM), so it is not like we went really late and they might have ran out of tilapias by then. If we went really late, and they didn’t have any available at that point, I would  have attributed it to that.

While I liked the Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp that I ordered today, it wasn’t what I wanted. I go to Red Lobster pretty much for their wood-fire grilled tilapia and their biscuits and if I am not sure I’ll be getting that — I don’t know if it is worth going there!

Choopan Grill

Food: 3
Staff: 3
Atmosphere: 3.5
Overall: 3.0

Choopan Grill is a new Afghani Restaurant that opened recently in our area. It apparently has two other locations by the same owner in NY (or so I’ve heard). I tried it today with three of my cousins (and we all love Afghani food).

The service was… not so great? We were the only ones there for a pretty long time (it was around 7 PM) and the greeter/server pretty much “watched” us, which is beyond creepy and annoying. Then, she came over and asked “what do you want?”. What I wanted to say was, “to leave”… but, of course, I didn’t do that. They are going to have work on how they talk to their guests because it was very unwelcoming.

Portion size was good (too much for me). Taste was okay — not great, but not bad either. There are definitely other Afghani restaurants in the area that I would recommend instead. There wasn’t really anything memorable about Choopan Grill that would make want to go back there again.

Here’s a picture of my plate — I had the Chicken Breast Kebab entree:

Levant

Food: 3.5
Staff: 3.5
Atmosphere: 4
Overall: 3.5

I went with a bunch of girls, and so got to ‘sample’ a few different dishes. I can honestly say I only liked what I ordered. I got the Chicken Kabab and it was juicy and delicious. I found a few of the other dishes to be on the dry and bland side (like the chicken shawarma).

Staff — Seemed friendly, but I guess because it’s a new restaurant and they aren’t very busy yet (we were the only ones there)… they pretty much watched us eat. Did.not.appreciate.that.at.ALL.

The place is decorated nicely though, which was a major plus! It’s new so it was clean and welcoming.

A major downer — would not let us split the check in terms of giving them separate credit cards. Who doesn’t do that? We either had to pay cash or put it all on one card… so it would be a hassle for someone to go there with a group of friends. I hope they change that soon.

Chicken Kabab


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Kabab Paradise

Food: 5
Staff: 4.5
Atmosphere: 3.5
Overall: 4.5

I’ve had several things from here and have enjoyed them all.

My favorite is the Chicken Tikka Sandwich with fries. Their chicken wings are delicious, their hummus is great. I was hesitant yet anxious to try their fried chicken and that was great as well! I love fried chicken, but usually most places don’t made it so great. Oh, and their lamb chops are delicious too — and I’m not even a meat fan usually! Their gyros are great — portion is great for two people to share in my opinion — as are all of their entrees.

This place has become a favorite for my family very fast.

It’s a popular place here and is usually packed, but we can usually find a table. We live nearby though, so taking it to go is not a problem either.

It’s closed on Mondays though! On more than a few occasions we have wanted to go or have actually driven there to then be reminded it is closed. 🙁


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Max Brenner

Yesterday, my brothers, Shazia and I went to Max Brenner in NYC. Faraz had been there before, but it was the first time for the rest of us.

While ‘Chocolate Chunks Pizza’ by name doesn’t sound so appetizing, it was absolutely delicious (and not as heavy as I was expecting it to be) :

it consists of double chocolate melting chunks, bananas, and peanut butter.


 P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Halal KFC in NYC

If there’s one thing we are always looking for, it’s new local places that serve halal food that serve great food. While our local area has a variety of food available, a good fried chicken joint is what our area is missing. I grew up in Canada, so we  all miss the Popeyes’ that are mostly all halal there.

A few months ago, though, we found out that there were two KFC joints in NYC that began to serve halal food. No, not Kennedy Fried Chicken, it’s the real deal – Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I tried it once at my cousins’ house a few months ago, but by the time they brought it back – it was cold. It’s kind of far from our area, but I knew I wanted to go try it when we were in that area.

Last weekend after visiting family, my family and I finally went and tried the food and it was delicious! We got a bucket of the ‘extra crispy chicken’, but also ordered a piece of the grilled chicken – and it tasted phenomenal. The grilled chicken’s seasoning was marinated quite well and every bite had a great taste. The portions of the sides were great too.

But, FYI for all the locals – as of now, only the chicken pieces are halal and nothing else (that means no sandwiches, tenders, popcorn chicken, etc.) and neither is the gravy for the mashed potatoes. All three styles of the chicken pieces, though, are halal – classic, extra crispy, and grilled styles of chicken.

I would definitely recommend it!

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

What I Missed in Orlando, Florida

This is probably the last of my blog posts for the florida trip.

Here’s what i wanted to see/do, that i didn’t get to:

see:
buzz lightyear (at magic kingdom)
spiderman (at universal studios)
cat in the hat (at universal studios)
ariel (magic kingdom)
the shuttle launch from a closer vicinity.

take a picture with:
snow white (i did see her from far though at magic kingdom)
winnie the pooh and tigger (stood in line forever, and then gave up)

rides:
men in black – stood in line forever, and had to leave because we were running late. we had to leave the park early that day to drive down to see the shuttle launch attempt (that was canceled).
simpsons – left park early cause of the shuttle launch attempt.

i heard neither were very good though.

eat at: the halal dairy queen (minutes away from our hotel)

oh, well… there’s always next time. 🙂

Orlando Favorites

I figured I’d do a separate post of favorites from the trip.

Favorite Meal:

My favorite meal was at “Adam’s Philly Steak & Gyros”, where we had lunch the afternoon of our flight. It served halal food, which was of course a plus… but best of all, the food was absolutely delicious… and the portions were large! Anyone in that area should definitely dine there. The only thing i was disappointed about was the fact that we didn’t get to go there until our last day… even though i had looked it before our trip.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many halal restaurants were near our hotel.

Favorite Theme Park:

my favorite theme park from the ones we saw was epcot (magic kingdom came a close second)… because of the shows we saw (the shuttle launch and soarin were my favorite!)

the part of epcot that features different countries was quite amazing as well – each country was very well represented!

also, considering the amount of people in the park that day – the restrooms were immaculate! i was definitely pleasantly surprised and quite happy (magic kingdom was the total opposite).

Favorite Ride:

from epcot – soarin
from magic kingdom – splash mountain

Favorite Show:

from universal studios – shrek, twister (my god, it was SO realistic!)
from magic kingdom – mickey’s musical

Favorite Picture:

My favorite picture would be the one of all sixteen of us at epcot right outside of the character spot (where i got a picture taken with mickey, minnie, goofy, donald duck, and goofy).

Favorite Character:

My favorite characters that i saw would have to be minnie mouse and cinderella!