January 1, 2020

Moroccan - Zoa Moroccan Kitchen - Moroccan "Street" Food in Houston

"Street Food" is how the chef/owner describes the offerings at Zoa Moroccan Kitchen, just off of Washington Avenue. You see, when you're in Morocco, you'll see your regular sit down restaurants but you'll also have your quick pick up and go food stands for the working man's quick lunch. Had I just had my memories of Morocco from my time there in 1971, and my personal cooking from books by Paula Wolfert and Kitty Morse, I might have had different expectations, expecting a so-called haute cuisine that is the kind that shows up in fancy cookbooks, and not the everyday cuisine as it is made and sold in Morocco. Here are some photos from Morocco.

Don't laugh but, this may have been my favorite meal of the Morocco trip. Of course, being a food geek, I sampled everything everywhere. And I was able to taste, first hand, dishes that I had only made based on a cookbook recipe previously.

We were on our way south and decided to pick up food for a picnic. There was a guy on the second level of this restaurant with a big pile of meat and spices that he was running through a meat grinder. He would then shape softball sized meatballs and hurl them across the room to a guy on the outside manning the charcoal grills, who would catch them in a plastic bucket, form them for kebabs and grill them. It was amazing. The meatballs at Zoa are highly recommended and for me, they brought back that nice memory.

So what I am saying is that Zoa is awesome. It's based on the assembly line, build your own food bowl, model of Subway, the various pizza places like Mod Pizza or our local Lebanese restaurants such as Fadi's or Dimassi's.

You pass through a line, ordering either one of the already crafted bowl dishes, or, you make your own, choosing from couscous, white beans or other options for your base and then topping with your kefta meatballs, lamb, beef, shrimp...all spiced per classic Moroccan spicing, and then your toppings. For less than $10 not including tax. And the pastries are fantastic. Walnut date bars, coconut citrus cookies, baked pears in a puff pastry. I would come back just for dessert here.

I love this place and hope you will get to try it soon. I recommend choosing either couscous or white beans for your base.

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