Saturday, May 19, 2012

On Safari to Pita Jungle

Pita Jungle
1200 Bison Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660

It was Katie's birthday, and where does she want to go to eat? That fancy steak place in Corona Del Mar? Maybe an Italian Bistro in Stanton? No, she wanted to try Pita Jungle in Newport Beach. Is there any doubt now why I love this girl? She makes everything so easy on me.

Pita Jungle is new to the area. This Arizona transplant was started in 1994, by three friends that gave up their jobs in broadcasting and engineering. This turned out to be a great move for them. They now have 14 locations in their home state of Arizona, and 3 in California, (the other two CA locations are Pasadena and San Diego).

Their first OC location is located where the old Blockbuster Video was. The building is now transformed into a much bigger space than I had imagined. The restaurant not only is larger than I expected, but also features high ceilings, plenty of space between tables, and as an added bonus they have large art works on the walls for sale and display.

We arrived at 12:30 on a Wednesday and the place was packed with urban professionals having their lunch hours. We were seated immediately though. The menu here is definitely geared towards a more healthy individual than myself. The menu is dominated by pitas, wraps, salads, and wood fired pizzas. Even with my anti-healthy eating campaign I was hoping that I could find something here to eat. Let's see what we came up with.

Starting us off is the Roasted Bell Pepper Humus ($6.69). For you humus rookies, this was made with chickpea puree, roasted red bell peppers, tahini, and seasoned with garlic and lemon juice. If I had ordered a plain humus I would have been more pleased with this. The red pepper was not evident at all here. We should have ordered the Jalapeno Humus instead. Other than the lack of flavor, the humus had a great, smooth texture and went well with the fresh pita bread. We ran out of bread before all the dip was gone. We should have ordered more, but did not. It would have only cost us an extra 50 cents. Good sized portion of humus though.

Fair warning, both Katie and I got hot pita sandwiches. Sorry, for the lack of variety that we ordered here. I could not make her change, since she was the birthday tyrant this day. She went with the Mediterranean Roasted Chicken (Shawarma) ($7.29). I am one of three people in the world that has not seen The Avengers, but even I know this movie makes reference to shawarma. We ate here before the movie came out, so we could have been the trend setters, but more than likely it was the Avengers with their large box office totals. Anyways, this hot pita sandwich came with grilled marinated chicken breast, mixed greens, pickles, onions, tomatoes, garlic sauce, and tahini. Katie liked the pickles and onions on this, but felt the garlic sauce was a little on the thin side. She also felt the chicken could have been more tender. The pita bread really held the contents inside well, while being very fresh.

As promised I got a hot pita as well, the Philly Steak Pita ($7.99). With the Pita Jungle menu, this was as close to a no brainer choice for me as there has ever been. This pita came with steak sauteed with onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. When I saw this pita, I thought I was going to have to order another one to fill me up. This was not the case though. This was packed with steak and cheese, but the meat needed to be seasoned a lot more. It tasted real plain. The bell peppers were tender, and the pita bread was a little on the doughy side, but did its job of keeping things intact.

Pita Jungle is another place that is not really geared towards a guy like myself, but it was easy to find something for me to order here. The menu is large enough that I would definitely come back and give other items a try, including the aforementioned jalapeno humus and their pizzas. The service the afternoon we were here was pretty good, for how busy they were. I was surprised that they used waiter service here, and not counter service. As you can see, prices were not too bad considering the area. In fact, I might even call this place a bargain, just based on the prices alone. Glad I could make the birthday girl happy with her birthday lunch.

Out of five capes, (because super heroes wear capes, and according to the Avengers movie, super heroes love shawarma), five being best to zero being worst, Pita Jungle gets 2.5 capes.

For more information about Pita Jungle, click here:

Pita Jungle on Urbanspoon

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