Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Madison Time Out: Skokie's Pita Inn

My friends Marjorie and Matthew recently took me to Skokie, Illinois' Pita Inn, a Mediterranean wonderland. They joked that this is the kind of place you'd never enter if you didn't know the cheap fabulousness that is held inside.

Although I do love Madison's Mediterranean Cafe, mostly for its service, Avgolemono, and its hummus (hands-down, the best in town), it does not have nearly the breadth of offerings of Pita Inn, and particularly vegetarian offerings. I don't think I'm being unfair when I say that Med Cafe's falafel is the worst in town, perhaps the worst I've ever eaten. It pains me to say that, because I love the place so much and the owner seems particularly adept at hiring really friendly employees. When I'm absent for a few weeks, I get admonished a little when I return, which always makes me feel a little special. But its falafel is dry, a surprise since it is a Mediterranean staple. Locals know to order anything but.

Matthew kept saying that he and Marjorie had to take me to Pita Inn, because I'd gush over it, and they were right. Matthew sat us ladies down while he assembled an arrangement of dipping sauces, one that has a healthy dose of fire, and I say that as one who loves a heavy hand of heat, and one that is tahini-based:

I ordered a vegetarian combo plate, which came with out-of-this-world baba ganoush; hummus (though in this case, I still slightly prefer Med Cafe's); stuffed grape leaves; a yogurt salad with cucumber and mint, a perfect summer side; and a tabouleh salad with tomato that had a just-right lemony-acidic bite.

Marjorie went for the chicken fatoush salad:

Oh wait, that's Marjorie looking beautiful as usual, not her fatoush:

And Matthew had the chicken schwarma platter.

They told me that they have eaten everything on the menu and have pared down to their favorite dishes. After that dining experience, I think I might be forever set on the vegetarian combo.

This place is absolutely worth a detour on your way to Chicago, Madisonians!

1 comment:

  1. ERHMAGAWD PITA INN!!!! As a Chicago-area transplant in Madison, I am so glad someone else in the city knows the greatness that is Pita Inn. Med Cafe is ok at best...but people treat it like some golden god. Pita Inn is way better. Hopefully more Madisonians can experience this place