Just tried out a new place for Mediterranean food last night:
Mediterranean Oasis Mart
357 East Bailey Rd.
Near Bailey and Washington - about a block east of Washington
This place has been open for about a month, and I finally stopped in last night. It was fantasic to find I won't have to travel to Andersonville in Chicago to stock up on those great Midde Eastern Breads. They had lots of varieties of fresh bread on hand, most from Chicago area bakeries on the south side.
They advertise the following types of foods: Arabian, Greek, Iranian, Indo Pak Groceries. (I even found some Puerto Rican spices I was about to order from the Internet.)
The store was a larger than the storefront would suggest. They had well-stocked shelves of wares from all over the region. Lots of the items had instructions in English. As I walked the aisles, one of the owners would warmly shout out suggestions for what items I was near. He came down the aisle to find something he wanted me to see.
When I got back to the fresh meat and deli area, he came back and offered me some delicious hot, sweet tea, while explaning his food. He even recommended which Palestinian bread would taste best with their hummus. He explained they offered homemade cooked items too, including shawerma and shish kabob. They don't seem to have a dining area. They also will do catering including stuffed lamb and poultry.
The had meats that were Zabitha Halal (prepared via Muslim dietary laws) and what appeared to be some religious items behind the counter. I didn't know those regions had sausages and lunch meats. I tried some mild Sucuk (soudjuk) sausage which had a zesty flavor - I even heated up some slices in the microwave. I imagine it would taste good fried up with scrambled eggs. I also tried some Cyprus Cheese, which reminded me of Spanish manchenga.
I'd like to go back soon to try the various types of couscous and some of the canned bean items. I'd also like to try some of the sweets.
The other owner was also very friendly and we had a nice conversation about how they created the store. I told him I'd like to come back and have him guide me on how to cook with some of the items. I don't know their hours, but they were open until 9 p.m. on the Saturday nice I went.