The week before September 11, 2001, I was in the Ace Hardware on Madison in Forest Park. In the mood for tortillas, I asked the woman behind the counter if there was anywhere nearby I could get fresh tortillas (not made by hand, of course, but just fresh). She didnt know what I was talking about, so she passed the question to the guy in line next to me, who suggested I go across the street to Priya Grocery. Priya had Food of Pakistan painted on the large green sign in front. Smiling benignly at this goombas benighted suggestion, I went home tortilla-less.
The week after September 11, I drove by the store again, and I noticed that the words Foods of Pakistan had been hurriedly painted over, out of fear, I suppose, that the place would be firebombed in a misplaced fit of quasi-patriotic rage.
Today, I stopped in Priya. I had my stomach set on mango pickles, and I found them (Bedeker brand; $2.49/jar), as well as a lot of other cool items in this remarkably well-stocked (for Oak Park/River Forest/Forest Park) store.
I chatted with one of the ladies who worked there, and when she found out I liked the Indo-Pak spices, she pulled the aluminum foil off a large container to reveal a steaming cornucopia of fresh samosas. I bought one (60 cents), and it was terrific: very light and fluffy breading, thinly diced onion and potato inside, with a hint of turmeric. It made every samosa I had before this seem like a doughy bowling ball. The airiness of this pastry was outstanding, and the potato/onion stuffing was moist and did not glop together. Apparently, someone makes these locally and delivers them fresh every day at 1:00 PM.
This evening, for my pre-workout dinner, I had the mango pickles on crusty Italian bread. Some people think of pickles as condiments; for me, they can be a main course. Quite spot-hitting; something about fenugreek and compounded asafetida thats very pleasing.
Anyhow, very good samosas at Priya Grocery, every day at 1:00.
7444 W. Madison
Forest Park, IL 60130
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