Shawarmageddon: Meals and metal

“Have you ever tried shawarma? There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I want to try it.”  — Iron Man/Tony Stark

shawarma avengers

I admit, the only thing I knew about shawarma is that it was mentioned in Marvel’s The Avengers and a quick gag shown at the end of that movie’s credits.

Now, after visiting Shawarmageddon in Reno, Nevada, I find myself asking where have you been all my life?

Shawarma is not so much a type of food as a type of preparation. I spoke to one of the preparers at Shawarmageddon, and he explained that it is the roasting method, usually on a vertical spit, that makes it shawarma. However, based on my experience, and research, shawarma usually refers to this meat as it is used in a wrap, with spices and vegetables.

shawarmageddon door and window

Shawarmageddon is located at 501 W 1st St, with its entrance on Ralston.

Shawarmageddon is literally a hole-in-the-wall operation. Located downstairs of the now-closed Pneumatic Diner, it has a small seating area. There is a small window for ordering and paying for food.

The menu is small, with choices of lamb, chicken or vegetarian shawarma, served as a wrap or as a platter.  It also has spiced chick peas as an appetizer, and a variety of tea, soda, and craft beers. The menu is limited, and I think that’s a good thing.

The atmosphere is heavy metal. “Eat and destroy,” a play on the title of Metallica’s classic “Search and Destroy,” is the restaurant’s slogan. Its specials reflect the metal there. For example, it had a special, lamb and other toppings on french fries called “Fries of the Ancient Mariner,” a pun on “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Iron Maiden.

Did I mention Iron Maiden is my favorite heavy metal band ever? So Shawarmageddon gets a few brownie points for that one.

I have gone to Shwarmageddon twice. Both times I had the lamb shawarma ($8). The wrap includes the restaurant’s home-made flat bread, romaine, tomatoes, onions, mint, cucumber, french fried potatoes, ras al hanout vinegrettte, seasoned labneh, and chili oil.

lamb shawarma

One bite and I was sold! The flavor is a mix of sweet, sour and savory. The lamb was tasty, although a bit dry. The spices are clearly Mediterranean, with a finish that reminded me of cinnamon. Overall, however, the taste was very good, something I’d buy regularly and enjoy.

I’m not sure if the metal theme is something that will appeal to the masses. Honestly, Shawarmageddon’s first goal should be to make money (by selling us an excellent product). While I am perfectly happy ordering my food to the sound of Mastodon, not everyone finds metal appealing.

As a restaurant, its location is a bit of a problem. It is easy to get to, especially for visitors near the western end of downtown Reno. However, there is no signage to catch the attention of people passing the restaurant. I highly recommend some signage for the place.

Shawarmageddon also updated its menu in mid-November, raising prices and changing the make-up of its wraps. Now turkey is offered. I walked into the restaurant (I live in the apartment complex it’s attached to) the other day, and the lamb was $10. Economically, it was just a little too much for me.

The menu changes have also upset customers. Recently on Facebook, customers have complained about the updated menu with comments like:

I hate the new menu. The old one was crazy good. I was eating it like twice a week with my brother John Taglieber. I attempted the new turkey one today and didn’t even finish it. My little shawarma loving heart is broken. — Jessica Levity Daylover
I also am really disappointed with the new menu. The slaw is bland and bitter. The sauces are bland. I miss the yogurt and the tomatoes and the onion and the flavor! I miss the fries inside the wrap! I miss the spicy chick peas! — Brock Young

These are just the opinions of two customers, but it sounds like a bad move to me. However, I have not tried the updated menu. Based on what I had, Shawarmageddon has served one of the best items I have ever eaten. The staff was friendly, helpful and informative.

Reno continues to grow as a foodie town, and Shawarmageddon is a fine example of that spirit.

©  Paul George and The Reno Signal, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Paul George and The Reno Signal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Down & Out in Reno: Recycled Records (Part Two)

recycled records part 2 storefront 2

Sequels are rarely up to the elan of the original work. Likewise, this follow-up to last week’s review of Recycled Records cannot possibly match the entertainment value of the original article.

recycled records part 2 storefrontMy first experience buying at Recycled Records was a fun and fruitful experience – dire urge to find a restroom aside. I managed to pick up two albums I had been looking for at a great price. I had some compact discs at home that I never listened to and decided to take a few of them in for a trade.

While Recycled Records will pay cash for CDs, don’t expect a lot. Even on its website, it warns that the payout is not a lot. Usually trade is the way to go with used record shops. And I wanted some new music anyways.

So I packed a Trader Joe’s paper bag with 18 CDs.  And left my tiny, carpeted prison I call my apartment and walked to Recycled Records to make a trade.

Here is what I took in:

pistolanniesiron maiden final frontiergorillazmoonrise kingdomloto musicsarahbrightman dreamshakira livelumineers

Sarah Brightman Dream Chaser
John Debney Predators (Soundtrack)
Dragonforce Sonic Firestorm
Gorillaz Demon Days
Iron Maiden The Final Frontier
Japan Koto Music Nonesuch Explorer Series
The Lumineers The Lumineers
Brad Paisley Wheelhorse
Brad Paisley Time Well Wasted
Pistol Annies Hell on Heels
Ennio Morricone The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (Soundtrack)
Original Soundtrack Moonrise Kingdom
Original Soundtrack Sucker Punch
Various The Rocky Story
Shakira Live off the Record
John Williams Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire
The Verve Urban Hymns

 

The clerk refused Brad Paisley’s “Time Well Wasted” and The Verve’s “Urban Hymns” because the store already had too many copies.

As he added up my store credit, I walked around the store. It has a large selection of CDs and DVDs, and is starting to stock used Blu-Ray Discs. CDs, however, were on my mind. Immediately I found a copy of Adam and the Ants first album “Dirk Wears White Sox,” which had a $10 price tag. This is a good punk album, and I’ve been looking for a copy of it, especially the remastered version with bonus tracks.

The clerk told me I had $45 store credit. After browsing for an hour, I picked out eight albums.

adamandtheants dirkgabriel passionbowie lowmoby 18moby everythingbjork selmasongsbjork homogenicbjork debut

Adam and the Ants Dirk Wears White Sox (remastered and expanded)
Björk Debut
Björk Homogenic
Björk Selmasongs
David Bowie Low
Peter Gabriel Passion (Soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ)
Moby Everything Is Wrong
Moby 18

For some, this may seem like a bad deal. But both of my kids told me that the trade I got is much better than what they get trading video games as Gamestop. And I got some music that I enjoy.

I published this information to give you an idea of how trade works at Recycled Records. I can’t promise you’ll have the same experience, but I feel the store gave me a fair deal.

If you enjoy music, I recommend you go to Recycled Records, even if it is to just look around. While looking around, I checked out its vinyl selection. Picking up a Yes album, I was reminded of the haptic quality of these large album covers, packed with gatefold sleeves and amazing artwork.

Recycled Records is a local business, so its profits are Reno’s profits. It is run by locals. You save money. The local economy makes money. And we all get to enjoy some bitchin’ tunes. Check it out!

Recycled Records
822 South Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 826-4119
Hours: M-Th 10am-7pm, F-Sa 10am-8pm, Su 12pm-6pm
 

Copyright 2014 Tony George