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. Advertisements

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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.

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.