Right now the Houston Foodie Community is all a'Twitter (and I mean both excited and Tweeting on Twitter) over the new location of Phoenicia Speciality Foods opening Downtown later this month. However, what I have noticed in and around all the excitement and the Tweeting is a general ignorance of the location that already exists and has been operating for years on Westheimer Road and Houston Westcenter in the Alief/Westchase area. Today I did a walk through and took pictures of several items and features that interested me, so my foodie pals in the Heights, West U and near Downtown who don't dare venture out of the Loop can get an idea of what they may be in store for in a week or so.
The original Houston Location over on the SW corner of Westheimer and Houston Westcenter has a very nice facade and is right across a parking lot from a Luby's and a Pappadeaux's. The location's aesthetic evokes a mixture of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Turkish styles, all rolled into one. They have both small and large shopping carts, there is ample parking, and easy in and out access onto Westheimer as well as the back roads coming from Shadow Lake subdivision.
One thing that my family and I loved was the fresh baked pita conveyor belt that takes the warm pita from the bakery down to the floor where it is wrapped and sold. The aroma wafts down from the ceiling whenever fresh Pita is baked. Look at those pictures below: now THAT is FRESH!!!
It also includes a full-service bakery that serves European, Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern style sweets. Baklava, Eclairs, Dobash, Croissants, Marzipan and other such sweets are all available here. I haven't seen such a good selection since Auchan Hypermarket left Houston years ago. It's like a Patisserie for French Pastries and a source of Great Baklava for the Mediterranean lovers out there!!! Feast your eyes on those delicious desserts below. You're probably gaining weight just eyeballing them!!!!
Phoenicia also has a great prepared foods section. Today we bought some kebab, Tzaziki sauce, fresh Hummus, and prepared meats. The prices were all VERY REASONABLE and the food was fresh and delicious. They also have a great Olive Bar that puts the ones at Whole Foods and Café Express to shame. See below for a good snapshot of those two areas.
And last but not least: I like Canadian/European style chocolate bars. Many of them--i.e. Smarties, Kinder, Caramilk, Flake, and Aero bars are hard to find in Houston, though a few show up at Central Market or Spec's every now and again. Phoenicia had the best selection I've seen of these. I just wish they had Aero Balls, Coffee Crisp Nuggets and Kinder Surprise Eggs.
Of course they have many other great selections of international foods as well. This place is awesome and it is one that I visit once or twice a month for certain specialty and hard to find items. If you haven't been to the Westchase location and are near Downtown, the wait won't be much longer. Consider this a preview of what's to come!
Zao an, Y'all!!!