#92 - Cafe Mezza and Grille, Houston, TX

Quick recap on my tire dilemma during my trip to the Houston caravan.  I drove to Houston in a school rental, and the tire went soft about an hour from the city.  I called the campus motor pool and they sent me to Firestone to get it looked at.  The guy at the Firestone in The Woodlands was a jerk, and treated me like a dumb female.  Had he done his job, my tire would have been fixed that Monday evening.  But since he didn't, my trip to Galveston the next morning was ruined, I spent way too much time at the Firestone just down the street from my hotel, and the tire kept going soft.  Since it's an Enterprise rental, the garage has to get approval from Enterprise before they can replace the tire, and that approval can take hours to come.  Which to me is the stupidest thing ever.  Wednesday morning I happened to see an Enterprise office so I stopped in, hoping I could speed them along if I was standing in front of them.  And lo and behold, the approval has to come from corporate. Again, stupid.  They sent me to another garage, and of course by then the tire was ruined and had to be replaced.  By the time my tire was fixed, it was past lunchtime and I was starving and annoyed.  So I decided to just eat lunch before heading to Flower Mound. 

I found Café Mezza, and it was only a couple miles from where they replaced my tire.  It had gotten really good reviews on Trip Advisor, so I went with it.  It's located in a strip mall in the Galleria area.  Even though it was super hot outside, I decided to sit on the patio because when I went into the restaurant it was freezing.  Thankfully the patio is covered, and has ceiling fans that created just enough breeze to make it a great atmosphere in the oppressive Houston heat.  There are about 10 tables out there, mainly large, but also a couple of 2-seaters.  The down side is that you can smoke on the patio.  One guy was, but he was far enough away and the smoke is blowing the other way.  Inside is a big open kitchen, 12 booths around the perimeter, and regular tables in the center.  The music in the restaurant is also out on the patio, which I love.  The station was a great mix of jazz, oldies, and a little R&B. 

The first thing they bring out is crisp pita bread with seasoning, served with oil and extra seasoning. 

The bread is warm, and absolutely delicious.  I poured a little of the extra seasoning into the oil, and it added a lot more flavor.  I was starving and devoured almost the entire plate while I was looking through the menu.  I did get another serving, and then had to stop myself from eating too much.

The menu is huge, with so many different and unique dishes.  As usual, I couldn't decide what to eat.  The server said since it was my first time I should try the mixed grill platter.  I hesitated when I saw it takes 15-25 minutes to get it.  I was supposed to be in Dallas at lunchtime, not still sitting in a restaurant in Houston.  But she said that a lot depended on how you got the steak done.  Since mine was medium, she said it would be on the shorter side.
3 Skeweres of Filet Mignon, Shish Tawook & Kufta Kabob Served with
Saffron Basmati Rice & Grilled Vegetables
I don't even know where to begin.  First, I was super excited that the plate arrived in only about 12 minutes.  It's a huge plate of food--and the server did warn me about that.  But I loved that I had lots of different items to try.  The saffron rice was amazing.  So much flavor.  The grilled veggies were cut into huge pieces, and cooked tender crisp, just how I like them.  The Kufta (Marinated Angus Ground Beef Mixed with Diced Parsley, Pureed Onions & Garlic) was by far my favorite.  I didn't notice on the menu that it was ground beef so I was a little caught off guard with the first bite, but I quickly got over that.  It had really delicious flavor.  I'm not a huge fan of filet (I prefer more marbled cuts like ribeye), but it was very tender and cooked to medium.  Yes, I realize most people get it more rare than that, but I just can't do that.  The chicken was good and the marinade was excellent, but the pieces were a little dry.  The garlic cream sauce was amazing, and not overpowering at all, and you can hardly taste the garlic.

I ate all the kufta, filet, and veggies, and about half the rice and chicken.  And was absolutely stuffed. 

Will I go back?  No question!  The menu has so many different types of items, and I'm looking forward to checking more out.

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