Keep on Truckin': Fez Express
Houston's emerging mobile food scene can now check off "Mediterranean" from the list of cuisines you can find on wheels. The Fez Express truck hit the streets a few weeks ago and has been offering homemade Mediterranean fare to hungry club hoppers on Washington. Fez Express is a labor of love and a family affair, the brother-and-sister team have been working hard to open the truck for the last few months and have seen their hard work pay off, selling out most days.
The idea to start the truck emerged from their own late-night cravings for the food they grew up with, and they have found a prime spot to help others satiate their hankering for shawarmas, hummus and falafel. Though they have no technical training in food, they've worked with an experienced chef and used family recipes to come with an authentic menu of Mediterranean favorites.
The shawarma, a pita sandwich, is a staple fast food in the Middle East. Filling and portable, it is ideal food truck fare. Beef and chicken are the meat options for the shawarma at Fez Express, and you can see the meat being sliced directly off the vertical rotisserie right on the truck. It's an impressive sight and made more impressive by just how good it was.
Slices of beef or chicken, along with thick cuts of tomato, onions, pickles and their fresh-cut fries, were stuffed into a pita and topped with a tangy garlic sauce. Both meats were extremely flavorful with herbs and a slight lemon zest, and the chicken had a subtle heat. The garlic sauce had just enough garlic undertones without being overwhelming. If the pita bread seems familiar, it's because it comes from Phoenicia Specialty Foods. The deluxe size at $8 is big enough to feed two.
Beef and chicken shawarma.
The hummus ($3), a spread made of mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini and other ingredients and drizzled with olive oil, was creamy and smooth but had a little too much acidity for my taste. The Spicy Falafel Dippers ($3), however, were addicting. The falafel had just enough heat to coat the back of your mouth, but dipping them in the tart tahini cooled them down. Some falafel suffer the fate of being too dry, but these were crunchy with just enough moistness in the middle. Vegetarians will be happy to know you can get the felafel stuffed inside the shawarma.
I look forward to trying other offerings, including kibbeh -- deep-fried balls of meat and rice -- meat-and-cheese pies, and even a Kafta burger, where the meatloaf-like patty is flavored with Mediterranean spices.
Plans for Fez Express do include extending their service hours to lunch throughout the week; they are currently only serving Friday and Saturday nights. The ultimate plan is to open a brick-and-mortar location, offering authentic food with modern touches.
They are parked in the parking lot of Rebel's Honky Tonk on Fridays and Saturdays but follow them on Facebook or on Twitter @FezExpress to see where else they'll end up.
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