Fez Cafe (a review)

We have two new reataurants in Tehachapi as of this month. One is a Japanese place called Ichiban (Japanese for "#1"). The other is a Mediterranean bistro called Fez.

I have been to both places, now, twice. I always give new restaurants two tries before I review them. Because they are new and still working out the bugs, sometimes one visit is not enough to make an educated statement. I have been to both restaurants twice, and here is my take:

Ichiban-is definitely not "#1" in my opinion. The food is very expensive, and only just 'good'; not great or amazing, just good. Steve and I went for dinner with Chloe and spent nearly $100 (after tip) and even though the sushi was well seasoned, well rolled and decently presented it was not as good as I'd hoped. The "Teppan" which is prepared in the back of the house-so I really have no idea if it is actually prepared on a teppan grill, or if it's just some line cook with a saute pan frying up my dinner-was flat, bland, and unseasoned (except the TONS of salty soy that drenched the entire plate). Chloe's tempura looked good and was lovely and crispy, so they do get points for that.

We then went back for lunch without Chloe a few days later, and it was really just more of the same. I ordered Udon soup and Steve ordered Yaki-soba with a sushi roll on the side. The soup was again just OK, a little too salty and overpriced. Steve's Yaki-soba was just a sad mess of gummy noodles drenched in soy sauce. The rainbow roll was $10 by itself, and not well prepared at all. We spent $45 for lunch!

The truth be told it is an improvement over our only other Japanese place, Kasagiri, but not much of one.

Fez Cafe-Chloe and I met friends there last Thursday evening for appetizers. We ordered the Hummus and the Babba ganoush (eggplant dip). I thought it was pretty good. I wished they had not serves the dip on flat plates though, it made scooping the bread through it a bit tough, but nothing my knife could not help with. The prices for the two app and one kids soda was not too terrible at $13.50 and it was fresh and well seasoned.

Chloe and I were back at Fez yesterday for lunch. She got the kids pizza (beware though...the pizza comes with a side of Fries-yummy yes, but not really nessasary with pizza!), and I got a falafel sandwich with a side of Mediterranean salad. The is pizza made from toasted pita bread, tomato sauce and fresh cheese, and was delightful. The falafel sandwich was very nice too and I really loved the texture. My only disappointment was that in the salad there were plain, canned black olives. I was looking forward to Mediterranean style oil cured, or at the very least, kalamata olives.
Oil cured black olives from Greece
But it is a small thing that I can overlook because the salad on a whole was fresh and lemon vinaigrette was awesome! The price for lunch was $16-so a little on the high side for a mom with a 4 year old, but it was really really good. OH...and the service was SPOT ON!!!

While we are talking Hummus...here is MY take on the classic dish:

1 can of garbanzo beans-drained but the liquid reserved
1 clove garlic
1-2 Tbs. tahini (depending on your tastes)
juice of one lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste
salt to taste

Place everything into a food processor and blend to puree. Add a little olive oil or reserved canning liquid to thin it to your liking. I use the canning juice and just a teaspoon full of oil to cut back on the fat. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a little salt. Transfer to a bowl and serve with veggie sticks, pita bread, and brined olives.

Benefits of tahini

Tahini is a source of calcium, protein and B vitamins. Tahini is a good source of essential fatty acids (EFA), these EFA's are used in helping to maintain healthy skin.
Because one of the ingredients in tahini is sesame oil it has quite a high calorie content. Because of this tahini should be used in moderation. The good news is the majority of fats in tahini are unsaturated rather than saturated.
Tahini is a source of vitamin E which helps to reduce the rate of ageing in body cells.
Sesame seeds are also a good source of the amino acid Methionine. Methionine is an important contributor to liver detoxification and helps with the absorption of other amino acids.

Here are many health benefits of Garbanzos.

Fiber Advantage and Weight Loss
Like other beans, Chickpeas, are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders.

Protein for Vegetarians
Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat protein, they provide amount of protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fats.

Manganese for Energy Production

Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies 84.5% of the daily value for this mineral.

Iron Boost
Garbanzos can boost your energy because of their high iron content. This is particularly important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women and growing children. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar and Low Glycaemic Index (GI)
Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, beans like garbanzos can help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. They have low GI value of 28 – 32 means the carbohydrate in them is broken down and digested slowly. This is helpful for weight loss as it controls appetite.

Heart Healthy
Regular intake of Chickpeas can lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol. Garbanzos contain the significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate lowers the levels of the amino acid, homocysteine and strengthens the blood vessels. Studies have found chickpeas lower the risk of heart attack

For Women
Garbanzo contain phytochemicals called saponins

Weight Loss
Due to high fiber content and low GI, chickpeas are excellent for weight loss diets. Salad with chickpeas are tasty and can keep you full longer, controlling the appetite.

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