Monday, October 31, 2011

Middle Eastern Treats

Fans of middle eastern cuisine in the Hub City now have a place to get their fix. 'Al Houda International Food Market' is serving up some delicious foods prepared daily. The market is an oasis itself where Jacksonians can find a number of hard to find products including meats, cheeses and a variety of spices.

Al Houda features a huge assortment of spices and herbs ranging from Tumeric and Sumac to Aniseed. There's also an assortment of dried ingredients like lentils, Garam Masala and tea leaves. Foodies can enjoy sodas from Holland and fresh pita bread.

There's a killer selection of cheeses from Syria and homemade butter from the middle east. Cooks can find filo dough and falafal mix to make their own dishes at home!

For those seeking a true Middle Eastern experience, Al Houda sells authentic herbal teas along with Shisha pipes and tobaccos. (Affectionately known in the west as 'Hookahs')

The crown jewel of Al Houda is their fresh cooked meals. Classic foods include lamb gyros and roasted shwarma. A wonderful marinated chicken dish called 'Shish Tawook' is a big seller. Owner and cook Alex Hanson serves roasted kabobs of beef, lamb and chicken alongside tasty bits like falafel and tabbouleh.  Vegans can try their cool and flavorful Mediterranean Salad served with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. The rich eggplant dip Baba Ghanoosh and Hummus is also available eat in or carry out.

Al Houda International Market 
903 Hollywood
Jackson Tennessee 38301

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cheeseburger in Paradise

" But at night I'd had these wonderful dreams
Some kind of sensuous treat
Not zucchini, fettucini or Bulgar wheat
but a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat"

The great poet James Buffet truly spoke to the heart of many of us who yearn for that big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat. there a more perfect food? The quintessential combination of meat, cheese and bread. And while it seems very difficult to mess up this kind of combination, there are some that  find a way to do so.

The quest for the ideal cheeseburger can lead you into a number of diners and eateries. Want it served 'fast food' style in a value meal at your favorite 'Mc-Indigestion'? How about as the main star at a more formal burger joint that dries it out but serves it with a bottomless barrel of fries to compensate?

Yes the quest for the ideal burger can be rather daunting. But there is hope my fellow foodies...

Jennifer Boals has thrown down the gauntlet in the world of cheeseburgers. She and her staff operate Ruben's Drive Thru in Humboldt Tennessee and their weapon of choice is a delicious dish known as the 'Cheeseburger in Paradise'. Patted and cooked from real ground beef, the CIP is an 8 oz. patty of 100% ground beef served dripping with ooey-gooey American cheese on a buttery golden bun. Topped with fresh green lettuce and a ruby red tomato slice, the burger is amazing!

Jennifer shares that while it takes her staff a little longer to create a burger while not using a pre-made patty, it is definitely worth it.  Her customers come from miles around to get her famous burger. The Cheeseburger in Paradise is but one of their stars. Customers can try the jumbo size Double Corral Burger made from a 12oz. ground beef patty or truly step up to the plate and get a 16oz. Double Paradise Burger. All of their burgers can be custom built with toppings like chili, jalapenos, bacons or mushrooms.

'Ruben's Drive Thru' also serves a variety of dishes including Philly Cheese Steaks, Patty Melts and Chicken Sandwiches. They also offer dishes that no one else in the city offers including deep-fried green beans, deep-fried squash and sweet potato fries. When the winter months hit, Ruben's offers a variety of bread bowl soups. Summer months bring out a wide variety of salads to give customers a 'lighter' menu of items. 

On Saturday's Ruben's offers customers a taste of southern barbecue as they serve full and half orders of smoked baby back ribs. And while I must admit that I usually don't care for pizza from a restaurant that doesn't specialize solely in pizza, the pizza at Rubens is actually pretty dang good. I had a slice of the cheese which was a stringy, gooey, cheesy experience on a very tasty golden crust. 

Have a sweet tooth? Ruben's serves up a delicious array of deserts including chocolate chip cookies made from real butter, pizza desserts covered in Oreo crumbles and old-fashioned milkshakes.

Ruben's is a breath of fresh air in the world of chain restaurants. Remember folks: EAT LOCAL!

Rubens's Drive Thru
2216 East End Drive
Humboldt Tennessee 38343