I’m getting ahead of myself.
Throughout the last couple weeks I’ve made a visit home to Kansas City and we took a weekend trip to Ship Island (one of my favorite places), but I keep thinking about Petra Cafe. Those post drafts will have to wait, hummus is on my mind.
Petra Cafe has migrated from Clinton to Fondren, into a spot previously occupied by the Jerusalem Cafe. The owners worked swiftly to improve the building by tearing down the overhang and constructing a deck in front. Now it doesn’t feel like you are entering a cave of doom and there’s an open space outdoors to smoke a hookah. (If that’s your thing.)
During their opening week we ate there after church and last Friday I coerced friends from work to try to lunch buffet. On our lunch hour we walked over, were conveniently seated near the buffet stands and handed large, heavy plates.
There are two buffet stands, one hot and one cold. The cold one has salad ingredients, tabouli, dressings, hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, dolmas, kalamata olives, vegetables and feta cheese. On this day, the hot one featured a beef and okra dish, rice, baked fish, chicken souvlaki and fried potato slices. I’m unsure if the dishes change, but am guessing the hot bar features might.
Not being able to contain my excitement, I took a small spoonful of everything (except the corn). A warm basket of pita bread was delivered to the table and with a wedge in hand, I dug in.
The table grew silent. My three friends and I were too busy soaking in the food. Everything was fantastic.
The hummus is extra creamy (I hope from generous amounts of tahinni), the moist meats were well-seasoned and the tzatziki isn’t laden with mayonnaise or sour cream (that I could tell). The clean flavors of each item shines through. I wanted to eat a second plate, but decided to exercise a little self-control. The only item I would pass on next time is the dolma, because I personally don’t like mushy rice.
True to authentic Mediterranean fare the food is fresh, light and for once I didn’t feel terrible after a buffet meal. It would be perfect if they decided to add something sweet to the line-up, but for now you can get baklava a la carte. After paying $10.69 ($9.99 plus tax) for lunch, we sauntered back to work full and happy.
On these occasions I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the two Jordanian owners, brothers Aman (spelling questionable, sorry!) and Max, who are both friendly and welcoming. Good thing because they will be seeing a lot of Ben and I.
While we were in Greece for our honeymoon we ate slabs of feta cheese, salads sans lettuce, souvlaki, and bowls of thick tzatziki sauce. I returned to the United States with a severe Greek yogurt addition that has only been tempered by Fage and Chobani. After getting a taste of the real deal, we’re slightly picky about what constitutes authentic Greek food.
We’ve found a place to re-live our honeymoon meals, at Petra Cafe.
2741 Old Canton Road
Jackson MS 39216