Friday, October 15, 2004

"What they are currently objecting to is the fact that their hypocrisy has been exposed. To which the only answer is: if you don't want to be exposed as a hypocrite, don't be one."
Andrew Sullivan on Bush-Cheney and their "outrage" over the mention of Mary Cheney as a lesbian.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Slow Food Guide to Chicago + Sabri Nehari

I got my copy of The Slow Food Guide to Chicago the other night. In my humble, but vital opinion, this is (by far), the best guide book available for Chicago. OK, I have a vested interest, being one of the contributors, but I wrote about five pages worth of a 350+ page book. That's not a lot of pride in ownership.

Maybe like other contributors, the first thing I did was see where my name was, and unfortunately, like a few other contributors, I got my name spelled wrong. Next, we all played the what got left out game (or they put that in game). A few things jumped out at me. No MacArthurs in the soul food section, some of my favorite Colombian and Mexican places absent. Still, you can not judge a book like this from its inclusions or exclusions. Any collaborative effort will not be the exact book you would do. Yet, when you start looking at the book in its entirety, you find, clearly, the best, most complete, most thorough, most informative guide to Chicago's restaurants, markets and bars. I highly recommend finding this book ASAP.

You know this is a better guide book when you look in the neighborhood & suburbs index. First, Albany Park, and there are eight listings. Not only does this book range around the city from Austin to Wrigleyville, it includes more than a couple of, that's what that area's called neighborhoods. Did you know that La Oaxaquena was in Kilbourn Park--sounds like a new late night comedy collaboration. This book really covers ground. More important, the entries educate and entice. Ms. VI said to me after hearing me read some to her, "they remind me of Jonathan Gold's [guide to LA]." Could there be higher praise? I especially like the Polish section which really helps demystify. The BBQ section, slightly previewed a few months ago in the Reader, carries the eater to a bunch of interesting and "real" places. The best section, perhaps, is the final, on markets and shops. The Slow Food researchers cover the city like no one else. Not every shop is covered, but nearly any category of food shop (excluding Jewel) gets a spot.

Fueled by Slow Food prose, the Condiment Queen demanded that we visit my particular area of "expertise" last night, Da'Bomb. Specifically, we returned to Sabri Nehari, one of my favorite restaurants on the strip. We got a ton of there stuff: chicken chunks (boti), frontier chicken, lamb curry, strips of beef liver (not on purpose but turning out to be well worth the mistake), both kinds of samosas (their ground beef samosas are especially good), lentils featuring a lot of roasted garlic, tons of naan and pizza like wedges of parantha, and of course, the namesake dish, the nehari. And of course, the nehari was the best dish. The muddy brown sauce belied a hotter than usual sauce yesterday, but it was more than heat as wave after wave of flavor hit you as you soaked it up with the bread. I sat facing the kitchen door. Nearly every order came out the door the same way, huge stacks of naan and bowls of nehari. If you got nothing else, you would well appreciate Sabri.

Sabri Nehari
2511 W. Devon Ave
(773) 743-6200