I was in Minnesota for my brothers engagement over the weekend, and as a tourist that I am, I had to try all the food places they had in the area, and I did exactly that. Our first stop was Holy Land, in Minneapolis. Featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. The store itself is separated into two, a super market and a restaurant. They have their own logo on all of their items because they make it themselves and use those in serving in the restaurant, like hummus, tahini, etc. We were a group of 6, so we ordered the Chef’s Choice combo which feed between 2-8 people based on your group size. The combo included: Hummus, Grape Leaves, Falafel, Mixed Pickles, Basmati Rice, Fresh Salad, Lamb Kebab, Kufta Kebab, Chicken Kebab, Chicken Kufta Kebab, Gyro/Chicken Gyro, and Dessert.
Everything you need for a 3-course meal was included. Although the food tasted fairly good, I personally didn’t feel like praise it was given was well deserved. As an Arab myself, I feel like I have tasted much better Kebab and Gyro in my 20 years of existence and this just didn’t live up to that standard. The food was somewhat oily, and the meat was dry. The grape leaves were canned not made fresh, and the hummus could’ve been much better. What I was very impressed with was 1) The set up of the entire franchise and its organization and 2) The cleanliness of the supermarket and its set up as well and their own brand that they’ve created. The food, not so much. If you’re in Minneapolis and wanting to try basic Middle Eastern food, I’d say go here. But I definitely had higher expectations.
The second place we visited which I thought was much much better was called the Crescent Moon Bakery. The cuisine was Afghan and delicious. Again, we were a large group, almost 20 people, so we ordered 3 of their combo for 4 plates. Their combo plate included: Afghan rice, Gyro meat, Chicken Kebab, Shami Kabob, Goat Kourma, Curry and Chicken Tikka. We also ordered one of their famous Football Pizzas. It’s exactly as it sounds, a football shaped pizza. We ordered the Mediterranean Pizza which was: Green peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese and chicken. The combo platter was delicious. All the meat was just juicy enough and had that BBQ char grilled taste to it which just made it 10 times better. The rice, Afghan and delicious (kind of hard to mess up). The curry was delicious mixed with their home made bread that we had a side of. Everything tasted delicious. The pizzas crust was not too thick or too thin, and everything on top if the pizza mixed so well together with the melted cheese I was genuinely impressed. I would recommend Crescent Moon Bakery over Holy Land any day.