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Sunday, August 7

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« You Must Try This: Smoked Yam Salad with Ginger Eat Your Veggies »

Restaurant Wed May 13 2009

Sampling Lebanese Food @ Maza

MazaSince moving to Chicago a year and a half ago, I have come to love Middle Eastern food and jump at any chance to further explore the cuisine. After hearing friends rave about Maza for months, I finally got around to trying it out. This was my first time trying Lebanese food and I was thrilled with the helpful service and the ease of sampling many of the items on the menu.

The restaurant is very small cozy and I immediately felt the day's tension melt away as I got settled into our candle-lit table and had a sip of the Lebanese wine that was waiting for us. The owner of the restaurant, Joe, greeted us immediately and brought us menus. It must have been obvious that we were a bit overwhelmed because he didn't hesitate to offer suggestions for first-time Lebanese diners.

At the owner's suggestion we ordered the maza (similar to tapas, maza is an array of small dishes) for two and, though we knew it would be a lot of food, were shocked when 26 little plates came out from the kitchen. First though, was the lentil soup and it may have been one of the best cups of soup I've ever had. It was the perfect way to start the evening.

Each sample plate was the perfect amount for two people and it was so much fun to try all of the different dishes. It was impossible to remember what everything was, so we never really knew what we were biting into. I don't remember all of the dishes that we sampled, but luckily for you a Yelp! reviewer, Terri M., did.

"After a cup of yummy lentil soup to start, there was of course houmos and baba ganoush, and falafel--the standards--but also, cabbage salad, fatoush salad, tabouleh, eggplant in pomagranite sauce, green beans, olives, cucumbers, pickled beets, potato salad, thickened yogurt dip, grape leaves, spinach pies in philo pastry, beet salad, and just a couple of meat items: chicken shwerma and kibbeh (ground lamb in a ball of cracked wheat)."

The baklava served at the end of the meal was just right and complemented the espresso perfectly. People always ask me what my favorite restaurants are and I always struggle with the question because there are so many to choose from. I think I can confidently say that Maza has made the list.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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