Stream of consciousness report:
Have I ever been to Pita Town, the other (besides Sphinx) middle eastern place up on the stretch of Milwaukee Near Niles? I ducked in there on a whim today, the Polish place on Elston I'd planned on hitting being closed on Monday and Pita Town snagging me before I reached Le Saigon de Manila. I was convinced I had been to Pita Town before, but it didn't look familiar and I think I must have only been to Sphinx multiple times. Baba Ghanoush was just okay, but the shwarma was perfumed with lots of minty spices and plenty juicy, I do not think Pita Town deserves to live only in the shadow of its fancier cousin. There is room enough among the Polish delis for both of them.
Oh, and one other note: Pita Town wins the prize for being the first middle eastern place I've seen to paint American flags all over its windows and "We support our troops" (actually they spelled it troop's) on its door. I really hope that was an expression of genuine gratitude toward the land of falafel opportunity (and not because of some unpleasant encounter with yahoos). Welcome to America, Pita Town, and bring us your shwarma, your foul. Your char-broiled kifta yearning to be eaten.
Speaking of delis, the counter at Pita Town had a card for a middle eastern deli, Zander, around 8800 N. Milwaukee, which you would never have spotted (unless you guessed it from the name) for anything more than a place to buy Marlboros. It may still only be that, I didn't go in, but between that, the oriental places up by Golf Rd. and a lot of new Polish delis I think someday a food store and bakery exploration of Niles is in order.
Anyway, being on Milwaukee reminded me of a place I had gone to recently with the kids at Foster and Milwaukee, but forgot the name of-- King's #2. It had enough of a Big Boy-like mascot to suggest it had once been a significant chain, but I asked and apparently King's #1 is no more and there was never a Kings #3. Anyway, an okay Greek-inflected dogs-n-gyros place, I'm sure the cops up the street love it, but the souvlaki plate would not quite be worth a long drive for, partly because the tzatziki was not that garlicky (but at that it was better than
One last thing for further exploration: there are two places called Taqueria la Gallito advertising carnitas etc. around Lawrence and Milwaukee. Not sure how promising carnitas in a Polish neighborhood really are, but the fact that there are two of these places says something.