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Phoenicia Deli Chicken Shawarma

From: Marylin
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2016 2:00 AM
Subject: Chicken Swarma and Yogurt Sauce

There is a restaurant and grocery store in Houston, Texas called Phoenicia's.  They specialize in Middle Eastern Foods as well as most anything European.

My favorite menu item is a chicken swarma with their yogurt sauce.  I have tried to find recipes, but have not found anything that comes close to Phoenicia's.  
The chicken breasts are marinated in a sauce and then grilled on a vertical rotisserie.  They're served on pita with roasted potatoes that are cooked at the 
bottom of this grill and so the chicken drippings baste the potatoes.  They also have sliced fresh tomatoes and THE BEST yogurt sauce.  A long time ago, 
you could buy the seasoning packet for the marinade, but it didn't give you instructions of what to mix it with or what proportions.  I have never seen a 
recipe, a mix, or a prepared product that you could buy for the yogurt sauce.

Anything you could do to help me find these recipes would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Marylin,

First, let’s be clear about what we’re looking for and what we can probably find. Phoenician Deli was started in 1983 by Bob and Arpi Tcholakian, who are from Lebanon and are of Armenian descent. The business has grown considerably, and now includes the restaurant, "Arpi's Phoenicia Deli", at 12151 Westheimer Rd, and two specialty markets, "Phoenicia Specialty Foods", at 12141 Westheimer Road Houston, TX and "Phoenicia Specialty Foods" downtown at 1001 Austin Street Houston, TX.

Here’s how their menu at the deli describes the Chicken Shawarma. Note that the sauce is called “garlic sauce”, not “yogurt sauce.” Yes, it’s made with yogurt, but when you are searching for something on the Internet, you have more success using the exact name that's on the menu.
From the menu: “Our world famous, slow cooked chicken breast, stacked on a vertical spit, carved & dressed with potato, tomato & our freshly whipped garlic sauce”

You can buy the shawarma spice mixture at either of the Phoenicia Specialty Foods locations.
See: Pheonicia Foods

After a thorough search, it appears that Phoenicia’s actual recipes for the shawarma spices and the garlic sauce are not available. I looked for copycats and for “tastes-likes”. No one made strong claims that their recipes were exactly like Phoenicia’s, but I found these:

Lebanese Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Chicken Shawarma Spice Blend Recipe

Lebanese Garlic Sauce Recipe

Another Lebanese Garlic Sauce Recipe

Toum Middle Eastern Garlic Sauce Recipe

I can’t say how close these recipe’s are to Phoenicia’s. I have never eaten Phoenicia’s food, nor have I tried any of these recipes. You’ll have to try them and see.

I’ll post this for reader input.


Lemon Cream Cookies

From: Paula
To: Phaedrus
Subject: Lemon Cream Cookies
Date: Thursday, March 24, 2016 7:51 AM

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,

I copied a recipe last year from a website, but forgot to copy the name of 
the source.  It is for Lemon Cream Cookies and I've typed it out below.

Is it possible for you to find the source for me?

Lemon Cream Cookies   Makes 3&1/2 dozen

1/2 c. shortening                    2 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar                         1/2 tsp. baking soda
1      egg                           1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sour cream                    1/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. Pure Lemon Extract

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar.  Add egg, 
sour cream, lemon extract and mix thoroughly.
Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix until combined.
Form dough into 1" balls: roll each ball into the 1/4 cup sugar.
Place on greased baking sheet and flatten with back of fork.
Bake approx.. 10 minutes.  Do not brown.  Cool on wire rack.

Thank you,

Hello Paula,

I did not find a recipe that was an exact word-for-word duplicate of the above, However, I found one that is so close that it has to be the same recipe, with slight differences in wording. It is on the Durkee’s website.
See here: Durkee


Nestle's Morsels Brownies

From: Patti  
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2016 11:04 PM
Subject: Brownies

Dear Uncle Phaedrus, 

I'm looking for a Brownie recipe that was on a Nestle's Morsels package in the Late 1960's Early 1970's.  
I even wrote Nestle's they don't have it.  I did check your brownie section.  I have searched the internet.
I taped it in an cookbook (Joy of circa 1950's), which was well used and beat up.  It was tossed by a well meaning friend. 
The recipe had 4 eggs a bag of Morsels and I think it was 1 stick of butter.  It was more cake-like and had no frosting.
I would be thrilled if someone could find it.



Hi Patti,

The biggest problem with something like this is that, even if the recipe is on the Internet or if someone has it, they might not have written down where they got it. I couldn’t find a brownie recipe on the Internet or in our files that said “from the Nestle’s Morsels package” and that called for 4 eggs. I did find some recipes that claimed to be from the package, but they had less than 4 eggs or had other ingredients that you don’t mention. (mint, butterscotch, peanut butter, etc”")

There are indeed lots of brownies recipes that call for Nestle’s Morsels, but very few that call for 4 eggs. It would help to know whether it was “Nestle’s Toll House Morsels” or “Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Morsels”. They make several kinds of morsels.

The closest recipe that I found to your description is below. It does not say that it is from the morsels package. It’s one of the few I found that calls for 4 eggs.

I will post this on the site.


The  Best  Brownies

1 (12 oz.) pkg. Nestle semi-sweet morsels
11 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Melt morsels and butter until smooth.  
2.  Beat 4 eggs with 1 cup sugar until thick and lemon colored.  
3.  Slowly beat flour, baking powder and salt into egg mixture.  
4.  Stir in melted chocolate mixture and vanilla.  
5.  Pour batter into a 13 x 9 inch pan that has been sprayed with Pam.  
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Here is a recipe for Nestle brownies. It was originally published on the package with the note that 
this recipe has been making brownie fanciers happy for a very long time.

2 cups unsifted flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
One 12 oz. package Nestle Semi-sweet morsels
1 stick butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. 
Melt over hot (not boiling) water Nestle Mosels adn butter; remove from heat and transfer to 
large bowl. Stir in sugar. Cool 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour mixture. 
Stir in nuts. Spread evenly into greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool. 
Cut into 2 inch squares. Makes 35 2 inch squares. 

Note: This recipe is the same as Nestle Butterscotch Brownies except substitute brown sugar 
for granulated and use Nestle Butterscotch Morsels. The butterscotch recipe was printed in 
the 1979 book: Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars by Ceil Dyer. 


Dear Phaed,

Thank you so much for remembering me.  And thank your reader for his assistance.
I'm going to try out the recipe soon, maybe even today.

Many thanks and for all you do for those of us who are looking for a lost recipe.

A Big Hug, 


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