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Best Middle-Eastern Market

Caravan Mideastern Foods
2817 N. Country Club Road

STAFF PICK: The Endangered Species Act ought to protect that increasingly rare specimen, the independent neighborhood market. Virtually all of the mondo-megamarts have discerned the value of "ethnic foods," offering bland, anglicized, soylent green-type ciphers in their stead. So, where do you go to get the real thang? One place on your radar should be Caravan Mideastern Foods. Yes, a little cluttered, a little chaotic--exactly what you might hope from a popular Middle-Eastern market. True to form, this means open bins of almonds, pistachios and three kinds of delicious olives; refrigerators full of yogurt, cheeses, filo dough; and containers of honey, sesame and olive oil. And let's not forget bulk spices and sheet pans of gooey baklava and other like-minded pastries.

Caravan is a place where you can see, taste and smell the food you're buying, a contrast to the sterile, medicinal supermarket atmosphere. The pleasant service, the wide cultural spectrum of its patrons, and the sheer variety make Caravan an excellent example of what a market can and ought to be.

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