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Your Basic (Georgian) Bakery

Misty keeps it simple with pies of every flavor at Devon's Georgian Bakery.
Monday Apr 09, 2007.     By Misty Tosh
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

photo: Misty Tosh
I have become somewhat obsessed with Discovery Channels' phenomenal new series Planet Earth. Filmed over the course of five years, this stunning television show has me completely captivated every Sunday night. I tend to perch gape-jawed on the edge of my seat (Mexican hot chocolate in hand), watching a ravenous pride of lions take down an ancient elephant or, even better, witnessing green grass grow at the iciest ends of the earth.

This past Sunday's episode featured so many segments with animals slaughtering other animals that I swear I don't know if I can ever touch meat again. Ever seen a wild wolf chow down on a fluffy, chirping baby goose? It's just so damn tragic.

That being said, I'm sticking to the basics from here on out, going with easy meals like the goodies at the Argo Georgian Bakery in Little India. This gem of a storefront, which looks centuries-old, has been a longtime favorite, so when I happened to stroll by it recently, I wandered in to see if anything had changed. Nope.

If you've never explored Devon Avenue, you are in for a real treat. Though Indian food is at the epicenter of this foodie haven, Pakistani and Afghan spots mingle with a bevy of one-off's like the Georgian Bakery.

The only things for sale at this delightful, tiny shop are baked goods: Delicate spinach pies, compact beef-stuffed pies, flaky fruit pies and devastatingly delicious farmers' cheese pies line the smudgy glass cabinet up front. In the back kitchen, hordes of bakers spend all day rolling and kneading dough with work-roughened hands before flinging thick slabs into the massive oven.

Despite their seemingly craggy nature, these fellas love when someone ventures inside the shop. They'll even abandon their bread, offer you coffee and shoot the breeze. And why not? Life is short, and the bread ain't going anywhere.

You can always count on finding piles of Hachapuri, a rough-around-the-edges, peasant-style bread, and the steaming fruit pies pair perfectly with a hot cup of coffee. Like any bakery outing, you want to show up early when the first batch rolls out of the oven. Grab a big paper bag full of cabbage, potato and the amazing raspberry pies. Every dense, buttery pouch offers sheer delight, and not even because they cost less than $1.50.

The Final Rave: This haven is a perfect example of eating locally, with as few ingredients as possible. Old-school bakers whip up the kind of food you might find in the mountains of remote Georgia. Now all we need is a tipple of that famous Georgian wine!

Keep It Going:

Eat It: Afghan Restaurant
Absolutely one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, this unheralded jackpot of good food is just a couple doors down from the Argo Georgian Bakery. The succulent eggplant will stun you.

Read It:Saveur
This is the best food magazine in the world. The writers head straight to the source and often dedicate pages upon pages to a single ingredient like artichokes, cheese or onions.

Do It: Check your soymilk origins
I just read that thousands of acres of the Amazon are being burned down so giant companies can plant soybeans. Think twice when you get that soy latte; an entire eco-system might have vanished so you could get buzzed.

Get Crazy With It: Treehugger.com
I'm more crazed than ever about protecting animals and the environment, and this thoughtful site is the most current and comprehensive place on the Web to find out how do your part.

 

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