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What's the Deal with Mezzalunas?

In Egypt and the Levant, mezzalunas are old-school fab for chopping up fresh mlukhiyyah (Garden Mallow). Yum!

Dec 18, 2012
zoona in Features

10 Ways to Eat More Greens

Palestinians stuff collard greens like you would grape leaves. Delicious.

Jan 21, 2012
zoona in Features

long sit-down

im seeing a friend after a long time. does anyone have ideas about a place downtown where we can maybe have some light snacks, and hang out and talk for a long time (of course making sure to order something now and then to earn our spot..)? someplace reasonably quiet.

Mar 16, 2011
zoona in Chicago Area

Kaffir lime leaves

Perennial question I suppose, but any idea if they're back in stock and where?
Any part of the Chicago area will do really, but preferably as close to city centre as possible. Thanks!

Jan 05, 2011
zoona in Chicago Area

Group lunch downtown

thanks these are great suggestions.
does saying that nice view is optional open up more possibilities?

Oct 20, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Group lunch downtown

Hi all,

I'm organzing a group lunch, about 25 or so people, for an author coming into town.

The lunch will be midweek. Nothing high-end in terms of food or arrangement, and preferably with a private room. Best if downtown if possible. A nice view would be great.
No particular cuisine, just good eats.
Any ideas?

Thanks!

Oct 20, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

The Basics: How to Make Hummus

Something that almost all Palestinian hummus makers do is add just a tiny pinch of baking soda whilst cooking the chickpeas. It results in much creamier texture. Don't overdo it or else u'll get the soapy aftertaste.
Also, a spoon of yogurt/labaneh is what my grandma does as well. Gives it a bit of creamy tang.
The green salsa often found on top is just lemon juice, garlic, bit of parsley, and green chilies. Pulse once or twice in the blender.

Aug 07, 2010
zoona in Features

Pita Land--Outstanding shawerma on the southside

Last night, we went to this new place for shawerma on the south side, Pita Land.
7831 W 95th St. Hickory Hills, IL 60457

It's been getting quite some buzz in the Arab community, and I see why.

Really, simply the best in the city at this point, and definately on the south side.

The lamb shawerma in particular was outstanding, juicy, perfectly spiced, and using soft kmaaj bread, lightly grilled, instead of the thin lebanese variety. The tahini sauce was especially well-done, tangy and lemony.

The chicken shawerma was also nice, crispy and tender in equal amount, and amazingly he makes the toum (garlic sauce) the original way: with egg whites, olive oil and garlic, rather than simply garlic and olive oil, or the heinous mayo and garlic concoction. The sauce ends up much lighter and airier, with a great garlicky addition. I asked for a small tub for our BBQ today!

To be honest, its the first time I've had shawerma in any of Chicago's numerous middle eastern restaurants that truly transported me to the motherlands, and in particular to Shawerma Reem in Amman, Jordan. Similar store-front/kiosk feel, emphasis on several sandwiches, done very well. Its keeps them lined up at Reem's, and Pita Land is just as deserving.

Apr 11, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Pret A Manger coming to Chicago!

Ive been living between Chicago and London for the past ten years. Yes, UK fresh ready-to-order is better, but it is also usually limited to UK versions of continental food, UK food (roasts, etc), hummus/falafel, and Indian. And on occasion, at least from Chicgao standpoint, some sad attempts at Thai food. Otherwise, forget it.
Bagels or anything Jewish is nasty, even in Golders Green. Corned Beef (aka Salted Beef), HA, and Mexican/Latin is downright revolting.
As for dumbing down, really, if we're think UK makes "smart" curries, we are doomed.

Apr 10, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Best eats near Tinley Park

There's a nice casual fine dining place called Frankie's that we've gone to and have found quite good. Also, Isabella's.
Francesca's, the local chain of very decent Italian, has two restaurants in the area--one in Mokena, and one further up on LaGrange. I'd recommend the Mokena one.

Mar 26, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Non Parishable Gift from Chicago

I second this. Living in the UK part of the year, anytime someone visits me I ask them to bring a jar :)

Jan 28, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Lunch near the Hyatt-Lisle on Monday?

I'm looking for a good place near the Hyatt-Lisle for a group lunch (about 10 ppl).
Any cuisine is fine, but should be good sit-down, bit on higher end, and efficient time-wise.
Any recs?
Thanks!

Jan 28, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Dried porcini mushrooms?

Where is the best place in the city or suburbs to get good quality, decently priced dried porcini mushrooms?

Jan 24, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

New and good Mediterranean Restaurant in Naperville

agree.
also, i was excited by the Hunkar Begendi, but the menu says its served with garlic mashed potatoes??? umm. no.
it is obviously turkish owned, it would be amazing if they fully focused on that..

Jan 13, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

What's The One Thing You Can't Eat, even for money.

not for a million dollars:
natto beans
natural-casinged anything, or natural casings
tripe
whale
blood (inc puddings)
those ridiculous canned desserts in the uk--spotted dick, etc
mushy peas (wtf!)
goat cheese
anything with bone marrow in it
okra (unless its how the sudanese do it with the dried small ones..)
garden mallow (buggers basically!)
rabbit

Jan 10, 2010
zoona in General Topics

Indonesian?

Has anyone tried the Angin Mamiri restaurant in Rogers Park? Thoughts?

Jan 10, 2010
zoona in Chicago Area

Lunch on Southwest Side on a Sat.

Sorry, I should say that most of the places are actually on 87th and Harlem.
the consensus on the best restaurant seems to be AlBawadi.
Village Bakery, and al-Amal are on the same street.
This is a good summary:
http://chicago.timeout.com/articles/r...

Nov 11, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Lunch on Southwest Side on a Sat.

there's a nice bakery in the area called "village bakery" for various meat, cheese and spinach pies.
for pita, sesame bread and things. if you go to al-amal grocers (in the same area) they usually have a great selection from a few of the middle eastern bakeries.

Nov 11, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Lunch on Southwest Side on a Sat.

id try one of the arab restaurants around 95th and harlem.

http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

Nov 10, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

In Search of Manakeesh

there's also a really good middle eastern grocer and bakery on foster and clark. in uptown.

Nov 10, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Halal Turkey for Thanksgiving?

yep
i ordered from them recently, great service.

Oct 22, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Halal Turkey for Thanksgiving?

you can get organic halal turkeys and other stuff here. really great company.

http://www.greenzabiha.com/halal-cert...

Oct 20, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Saturday LUNCH down near the Museum of Science and Industry

if you're at uofc for lunch, my absolutely favourite place is the Valois Cafeteria on 53rd. Its a historic cafeteria in many ways, and you get a true working class lunch where town and gown meet. someone at the university of chicago wrote his dissertation on the cafeteria, and a book called slim's table. tasty food, and relaxing. 55th and harper has that french bakery which is quite nice. bonjour bakery i think.

Oct 17, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Near the University of Chicago

Lol! No, Snail is the name of a restaurant on 55th that caters to the UofC shops.
I second Jimmys (Woodlawn Tap), but its kind of quiet in the daytime.

But if eating is secondary, go to the second floor shop in the Reybolds Club. Just FYI, if you're going to be at the UofC this Thursday, there's going to be a major protest on the corner of 57th and University (i.e. on campus and outside the Reynolds Club), because Ehud Olmert will be speaking there.

Oct 12, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Near the University of Chicago

Cedars of Lebanon on 53rd is also nice, but a bit out of your way. If its for lunch, consider having lunch on campus. uofc has tons of coffee shops in basements and in the library. one nice one is on the second floor of the reynolds club (corner of 57th and university). its run by students (not corporate like the first floor cafeteria and c-shop). many restaurants in the area service the shop, so you'll find falafel sandwiches, noodle dishes from snail, rajun cajun samosas, and delicious sandiwches from pizza capri (which i highly recommend--much tastier than the medici). they also have sofas and coffee and you can lounge a bit before you move on with your day.

Oct 11, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Good food in Roscoe Village?

Hi all,
Im going to a concert at the Viaduct Theatre, Friday, October 16. It starts at 10pm, so Im thinking of having some dinner beforehand in the area.
Any good recommendations? Ill have a car, but something in the neighborhood would be nice.
Thanks!

Oct 09, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Best place for iftar?

Seeing as it is the month of Ramadan, I was wondering if anyone has some good experiences having iftar at a restaurant? Any standouts? From what I understand, Reza's has outdone itself for the Ramadan buffet.

Sep 13, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

Where's the best hummus in the city?

Whether in a deli or restaurant, where's the best hummus?

My money is on Harlem Foods in Bridgeview. Its homemade by a lovely Palestinian woman named Khaltu Hana (Aunt Hana). The most popular hummus amongst southside Arabs.

Sep 09, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area

ISO the best grape leaves in Chicago

i suspect way too many restaurants use that canned greek stuff. yuck. the best is in bridgeview, along the harlem ave strip with all the middle east restaurants. esp. al-bawadi. excellent dolma.

Sep 09, 2009
zoona in Chicago Area