Tag Archives: Skokie

A trip to Romania with Ovy Transylvanian Bakery

romanianflagAs you can tell from our blog, we are big on sweets so we decided to keep the momentum going with a Chicago-area Romanian find. Ovy Bakery (3455A W Dempster, Skokie, IL) is so unassuming, if you blink you’ll miss it for two reasons: 1. it is located in a completely nondescript strip mall and 2. there is a big sign reading “La Patisserie” outside from the bakery’s former incarnation. I only noticed Ovy because I was intrigued by the “Transylvanian” sign in the window – not a common sight. Ovy Bakery is small, and when we visited it was pretty crowded! There were 2 sections of pastries in the glass case: traditional Romanian and more modern French-inspired creations. Chef Ovidiu Pop, the eponymous “Ovy,” who is of Romanian extraction, honed his pastry skills by working at Blackbird and the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, which explains the mashup of Romanian and other European styles.

OvySelection

We were bringing dessert to a friend’s house for dinner so we decided to sample five different pastries from both categories (clockwise from top right):

  • Amandine – This is one for the rum lovers – a chocolate covered chocolate cake that had been soaked in rum. beware – it is very strong.
  • Dobos Torte – This is a classic Eastern European cake that is composed of thin layers of chocolate buttercream and yellow sponge cake. Ovy’s was a perfect rendition that equally blended both varieties, which complemented each other perfectly, with neither flavor dominating. A creative new twist was the crunchy, caramelized top
  • Honey Cake (seen at the bottom of the page) – This was similar to the Dobos torte in appearance, and featured delicate layers of honey cake, pastry cream and apricot jam. It had a faint graham cracker flavor, which was both delicious.
  • Creme – This dessert looked simple, but had a very unique taste – it was puff pastry filled with a vanilla cream that tasted more like a gelatinous zabaglione than pastry cream. Though the texture was a bit unusual, it was still very good!
  • From the modern side we sampled a Passion Fruit Mousse on a cookie base, which was exquisitely presented, and tasted even better.

OvyPastries
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of Ovy Bakery. They even offer catering for savory Romanian dishes, and other tidbits like breads (the most popular seemed to be the sweet bread Cozonac) and doughnuts. If you are in the mood for something a little different to bring to a dinner party, these pan-European treats from Ovy will definitely impress your guests

OvyHoneyCake

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Our Favorite Place for Middle Eastern in the Chicago Suburbs: Pita Inn

turkey.png Pita Inn
New Location: 4700 Dempster St.
Skokie , IL

If you see that a restaurant is packed full at 3 PM on Sunday, you know it’s probably pretty decent. In the case of Pita Inn, It was more than decent. Talk about bang for your buck! From the outside, the Pita Inn just looks like a typical fast food operation. Same on the inside – there is a counter where you place your order and get a number. One word: Amazing. The menu features a variety of pitas and platters: Chicken and Beef Shewarma, Kifta, Beef and Chicken Kabobs and Falafel sandwiches. There are also all of the classic appetizers: Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Tabouleh and Dolmeh.

Our table ordered 2 falafel sandwiches and 1 each of the chicken and beef shewarma pitas. Each sandwich came in a chewy, obviously-fresh pita at the bargain price of less than $4.50 each. The shewarma sandwiches were tasty and well-seasoned. However, the stars of the show were the falafel. These are some serious falafel – good texture, crispy outside, even better drenched with tahini. Yum!

The best part, however, was the fact that the Pita Inn factory was located in a strip mall that shared a parking lot with the restaurant. There was a little window that connected the pita factory to a Middle-Eastern grocery store by a pass-through window. You could buy bags of fresh pitas in the grocery store for less than 4 bucks to take home. Here’s our fresh-out-of-the-oven purchase. As you can see, the bag is full of steam! These pitas were absolutely delicious. Pita Inn doesn’t have a Zagat rating of 24 for nothing.

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