Got take-out there friday. It was my first visit to the restaurant and the market. They do not seem to be suffering from recent events. The restaurant was packed with folks of all ethnic persuasions. The food was an incredible value as we got more than we could eat for under $20. Kabob was decent but not great, red somewhat spicy dipping sauce was interesting and good and falafel was very, very nice--they were shaping the balls and frying them before our eyes.
At the market, I was initially excited because I saw a big sign saying "special - vegetarian grape leaves". I thought that this must mean that normally they are not vegetarian (As those who read an earlier post of mine know, I have been looking for these).When I asked about this the owner volunteered (without any sort of asking)his nationality (palestinian)of course I am brown-skinned myself so this may have lessened his fears. He let me know that traditionally dolma from his native land are made without meat. He was really a sweet guy, keeping our stuff regrigerated there until after we picked up our food from next door, plying me with olives, etc
Unfortunately, the dolma here were no better than what is available canned under the sultan label, so my search continues.
has anyone been to the places on kedzie to see if they are suffering any fallout from 9/11?
I may try to finally try afghan cuisine on main. I'm a little worried after hearing out the taxicab driver up here who was chased.
Sorry to hear you didnt think much of Pita Inn Markets dolma. I certainly dont claim to be a dolma expert but I liked them quite a bit. Ill be very curious to hear the further results of your quest.
One other place comes to mind, Casablanca Bakery at 1541 W Devon (but you might want to avoid it based on my previous recommendation!). Its a three room store, the first being the bakery, a deli in between, then a grocery section. They do all their own baking and make most of the deli items.
They have both meat and veggie dolma. I dont think Ive tried the veggie ones but was pretty happy with the meat version. Even if you dont like them they make some other very good things.
One of my favorites is "yogurt and garlic", even better than it sounds. Very thick homemade yogurt with large amounts of (pickled?) garlic folded in. Sometimes on my trips to Devon I get a loaf or two of bread from the Georgian bakery and practically make a meal of that with the yogurt and garlic. They make an interesting torshi, a dryish mix of finely chopped eggplant, carrot, celery, and other things. Extremely sour, a little goes a long way. I havent yet tried too many of the bakery items. From what I can tell, the Kedzie places may be better for this (incidentally, it looks like Salam Sweets may have changed its name; anyone know the story?). I like their olive bread, even though it isnt at all what I expected. The loaves are stuffed with a yogurt cheese as well as olives.
re: Rene G
don't get me wrong the dolma from Pita inn weren't objectionable (I actually somewhat like those canned sultan ones--they're kind of a nice snack to have around the house)and enjoyed the visit to the market in general--we got some nice cookies with sesame while there as well.
I think part of the issue though is living up to my memory of home-cooked iraqi mom stuff. Thanks for the lead on the egyptian bakery - I'll let you know how the dolma quest continues.