In October, I will celebrate my five-year anniversary in Chicago. I’ve now lived here too long not to have done certain things, like visit Devon Avenue.
Not in the know about Devon Avenue in Chicago? That’s ok. I knew very little before visiting, and I still know very little. Perhaps I should keep it on my Chicago bucket list. Keep reading, and you can be the judge.
So Devon Avenue is pretty far north in Chicago, near Skokie or Evanston, depending on where you’re coming from. My good friend Wikipedia told me that the major east-west street is home to neighborhoods of various immigrant groups, including Orthodox-Jewish, Russian-American, Indian-American, Pakistani-American and Bangledeshi-American groups. Last Saturday, we spent a portion of our day in the Desi corridor. And by we, I mean my husband Joe, fab pal Casey and me.
Let’s first talk about the food. I’ve obsessed over eating Indian food for months, due to the dry spell of naan and tandoori in my life. So, I debated between a reader’s recommendation of Sabri Nihari and Tiffin, which was endorsed by my pal, Jaii. Joe had actually eaten at Sabri Nihari, so we went for the latter (Thanks Gia for the reco! I’m totally going back).
I adore tiny bites of varying flavors, even though Casey and Joe aren’t fans of sharing entrees. Somehow, my dining propensity prevailed. We feasted on chicken makhni, mixed vegetable curry, mango chicken, basmati rice and garlic naan. In two words: amazing and filling.
After delightfully gorging ourselves, we popped into a few local merchants on our way back to the car. Sari stores, fabric stores, and ethnic supermarkets abounded. I was mesmerized by the colors and textures.
Beyond the food, textures and colors, there were many things that struck me as interesting. In a supermarket, we saw a woman wearing an abaya and toting a Louis Vuitton purse. For some reason, this clash of ideologies was thought-provoking. It just struck me as two opposing forms of expression, but maybe I’m wrong. In addition, the sights, sounds and smells of Devon Avenue made me feel like I was in another place—even if just for a minute.
I enjoyed the taste of Devon Street, but I’m craving more.