The rule is not to go food shopping on an empty stomach. But West Side Market, where chances for epicurean exploration await, is an exception.
The ancient aisles crowded the past Saturday, as they are every weekend. Fighting the crowds is like digging for treasure. Delicious treasure.
My latest excursion took me to Ireland, France and the Mediterranean. Starting with an apple fritter and kataifi from Spano’s Bakery.
What is kataifi? Think of it as a mix of the honey syrupy sweetness of baklava, and the earthiness of Shredded Wheat. It even looks like a brick of Shredded Wheat.
Around another corner, we ran into the line for Crepes de Luxe. The menu made for a tough decision (crepe with ham, cheese, and egg?!), but we decided for the basic…with Nutella of course.
My eyes caught on Judy’s Oasis when we made our first pass, and after buying the crepe we finished our buying there. Spinach and feta fatayer? Done.
Wandering down Lorain, we found an awning to duck out of the rain and eat our goodies. The fatayer a mix of vinegary bitterness and salty cheesiness. And the crepe, a perfect balance of pillowy dough. Enough texture to feel it in your teeth but still light and fluffy. Then all the Nutella squeezed into the corners making for bites full of hazelnut goodness.
Yes, the Market has been written about and visited over and over, both locally and nationally. That’s because it is that good. Even through all the exposure, it remains what it always was…a place to explore food.