You are reading this review for free on the internet. This is because, one, I’m stupid, and two, because of the perceived and real pressures of a system. While you would take great pleasure from me counting the ways of my idiocy in depth, let’s examine that system first. Advertisements


Take A Chance On Me


The world is pretty fucked up right now. Because I’m a lib, this means that certain ideas like arming children don’t really resonate with me. But, maybe you are different. Maybe you are mad because Purdue pharma worked really hard to misrepresent the safety of certain opiates, and you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of fear and loathing that you’ve channeled in to a crippling and destructive fear of the other. Either way, for both of us, the world is not working the way we expected.



They say good things come to those wait. If that’s true, then Shadi Ramli, owner of new Middle Eastern restaurant Masada in Logan Square–which took 10 years to open after he bought the building–is about to receive truckloads of great karma

Shawarma Police


This is what you get (when you eat in the front seat of your car): a combined dry-cleaning and auto-interior-detailing bill that costs four times the price of the sandwich you just ate.

Just Pickled


Forbidden to eat meat during certain Christian holy days, foremost the Lenten holiday, and seeking alternative sustenance, the Coptics ground fava beans, mixed them with spices, formed them into patties or balls and deep fried them.

Rock the Zebda


Zebda, a new tiny Algerian take-out spot in Irving Park, is the kinda place you’d likely drive by without a second thought. Unless you’re a cabbie who hangs out at owner Mohammad Djeddour’s coffee shop Tassili next door, it’s practically invisible. Even though I had the address, I passed it twice before spotting the word “Zebda” (which is the French-Algerian word for butter) painted on a plate-glass storefront window.

A Jewel of a Falafel


Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but for this hungry reviewer, nothing puts a glint in this serious eater’s eye like roast meat on a spit. I know because this afternoon I ignored a pharaoh’s ransom of gold and diamonds and ran straight for a rotating sizzling hunk of golden chicken schwarma. Never having worked downtown, what I don’t know about Chicago Loop lunch could fill a handful of blog entries, and so I had to rely on my best friend Aamir, a regular Windy City skyscraper denizen, when we met for lunch today. Aamir is so discriminating and enthusiastic an eater that I’m pretty sure he’s the only non-pork eating person in the world that I’d still trust with the responsibility of feeding me well. Aamir guided me through the dreary drizzle of a day, under the rusty girders of the elevated train tracks, and shuttled me in to the Jewelers Mall, a co-operative of jewelers hawking rows upon rows of anything that gleams. The shiniest thing though is the Oasis Café, a tiny lunch counter in the back of the mall. If you ever saw the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations where he goes to a café by the Rungis…

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Save this restaurant: Couscous


Calling the owner of Little Italy’s Couscous humble is like saying P. Diddy is slightly ambitious. When prompted for his last name, Jawed says, “It’s not important. I’d rather let the restaurant speak for itself.” But a storefront oasis serving Maghrebin cuisine (a mash-up of Tunisian, Moroccan and Algerian flavors) in a neighborhood famed for Italian joints isn’t going to turn as many tables as its red sauce–slinging neighbors. It’s not surprising, then, that the hookahs perched along the wall outnumber the trickle of patrons. “Luckily it’s a small business, so I don’t have many workers or too much expense,” Jawed says.