Every once in awhile I have to take my taste buds on a vacation. Being pressed for time and short on food inspiration, it seems easy to fall into a predictable routine of uninspired meals.
I rediscovered my love for spice and curry and creative food again when I came across Hema’s Kitchen in Chicago’s Indo-Pak neighborhood on Devon Avenue. What started as an interest in broadening my food horizons has turned into a weekly staple. Each of the entrees I’ve ordered at Hema’s are infused with the same kind of divine flavor. Hema Potla, of the eponymously-named kitchen, is often seen managing her staff and seeing to the details that have made her restaurants so successful. The lamb and vegetable samosas are wrapped in a flaky crust that is so delectable you could almost have it for dessert. The chicken vindaloo (the hottest curry on the menu which should not be tried by newbies unless they’re already addicted to spicy food) delivers such an intense savory experience that all you are bound to also rediscover you love for water (and lots of it!). The chicken tikka masala is always tender, creamy and just the right amount of sizzle if I’m not prepared for the vindaloo. But the final tasty piece of the puzzle is the thin bread varieties which are the key to my love of Indian dining. The breads are amazing, with my favorites being the plain but delicious paratha and the aloo paratha (bread stuffed with spiced potatoes).
Last time I dined at Hema’s I noticed new carpet on the floor, a fresh coat of paint on the walls, exotic new beaded chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and a new computer on the front desk for processing orders. I suspect that I’m not the only one consistently supporting Hema’s entrepreneurial endeavors and devour her delicious cooking. A definite must try!
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