When I travel around the United States, I resort to looking up new and exciting restaurants that I wouldn’t otherwise find. My trusty sidekick is my eldest lad who is quite the foodie, but more importantly, he is quite the restaurant picker for great eats and unusually treats.
Normally he would consult the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or Man versus Food websites to see if there was an local establishment that was featured on either of these shows (cool fact: my niece actually worked on “Triple-D’s” show in post-production). We have found great hamburger joints in Indiana, Mexican restaurants in Arizona and Italian joints in our home state of Minnesota.
So I recently was traveling to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and I was searching for a local establishment and came across Afrah Restaurant located in Richardson, Texas. I joke that if there was only one food that I could eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be shawarma or as I love to call it, pure bliss. Shawarma is typically lamb, beef or chicken, mixed with spices, cooked on a rotisserie spit, thinly shaved and then often times put into a pita. The non-fancy name for shawarma is gyros.
Amazingly, I was within about ten minutes of Afrah, which was featured by Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I quickly hoped into my rental car and headed over to the restaurant. Now I wasn’t really sure where I was and I did get a few strange looks driving around in a silver Camaro, but I felt at home the moment that I walked into Afrah.
My first order of business was to order up some falafel, which is a traditional deep-fried ball of chickpeas or fava beans. There was a great assortment of pickled vegetables and tahini sauce, but what I was incredibly surprised at was the piping hot pita bread. I have to say, this was and still is the best pita bread I have ever tasted. I wanted to take a few home with me, but instead I just ate them all right there.
I then moved onto the shawarma, which was the perfect blend of beef and lamb and spices. Now I have tried chicken shawarma before on the streets of Paris…once and only once. I just prefer the lamb and beef. I’m also a sucker for a good side of hummus and clearly Afrah wasn’t going to disappoint me. But not only did I have one type of hummus, I was blessed with two types of hummus on my plate.
So I had my falafel, then I had my scrumptious shawarma. What could be next? Yes, you guessed it. Turkish coffee and some baklava. If you’ve never tried either, you are missing out on possibly one the greatest combinations of coffee and dessert that you could ever try.
For the novice coffee drinker, Turkish coffee is one of the strongest forms of coffee that one could possibly drink. Basically how I make mine at home, is I grind up half a pound of dark French roast coffee, with half a pound of light roast coffee. I then add a secret amount of cardamon and voila, you have the essence of Turkish coffee. I like my Turkish coffee a little on the sweet side, so I will take a tablespoon of sugar and place this into an ibrik (fancy pot for brewing this elixir). I then add a heaping tablespoon of my coffee mix, fill up the water about 3/4 full and place onto the oven to boil. Please note that the grounds will float, which is okay. Once the coffee has boiled nearly to the point of bubbling over the top of the ibrik, the coffee is done. Grab an espresso cup and pour away. You’ll notice that there is a pleasant sludge of coffee grounds at the bottom of the ibrik. I HIGHLY recommend that you don’t eat these grounds.
Lastly, pair up the Turkish coffee with the baklava. Baklava is another one of my favorite desserts, as the filo dough, honey, butter and nut combination (either pistachio or walnut) is sinfully delicious. But don’t just stop at the baklava, as Afrah has a whole incredible dessert selection to eat either there or take enough home for later.
After my meal was complete, I had to loosen up my belt a notch or two as I was throughly stuffed. I drove back to my hotel, content that my eldest lad would be proud of me for following in his footsteps. So I’d highly recommend Afrah Restaurant the next time you are in the Plano/Richardson area of Dallas/Ft. Worth. The shawarma is moist and the baklava is a great choice.
Afrah Restaurant is located at 314 East Main Street in Richardson, Texas. Telephone number is (972) 234-9898. Hours are Monday through Thursday: 10am to 12am; Friday: 10am to 1am; Saturday: 9am to 1am; and Sunday: 9am to 12am. Like them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.