Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Chicago Dining World Tour: Don't Stop Belizean

Redz Belizean Restaurant
7605 N. Paulina, Chicago

What I ate: Small Oxtail dinner, Panades, Cornbread, Caramel cake

When I hatched the idea for my Chicago Dining World Tour at the beginning of this year, I began by doing some internet research into places that offered ethnic cuisines beyond the tried and true.

One of the first places I noted as rather unique was Tickie's Belizean Cuisine, which seemed to be located in the shadow of the Howard L station.

But before I even started embarking on any gastro-ethnic excursions, I discovered that Tickie's--though generally well-reviewed on Yelp--was already extinct.

However, another Belizean restaurant, called Redz, had taken over the same storefront at 7605 N. Paulina in Chicago. And based on the Yelp reviews, seemingly rather similar--if not exact--in its menu.

With a Saturday errand to run on Howard Street, stopping at Redz proved rather opportune--and delicious.

The intimate establishment felt quite familial, with likely all other patrons being repeat customers, many seemingly on a first name basis with the proprietor--Red--and other employees.

A few entrees listed on the menu board caught my eye--including King Fish, Red Snapper, Tilapia, Beef and Oxtail--and I asked Red for a recommendation.

He suggested the Oxtail, and as I've never had it and was informed that it is beef that comes from the tail of a cow, I opted to give it a try.

I enjoyed the three pieces of oxtail that came on my plate--they weren't so unlike rib tips--but they a rather minor part of the "Small Oxtail dinner."

I elected seasoned rice from the included side dish options; it came lightly laced with beans--which I generally don't like--but there were few enough that it was fine among the healthy bed of tasty rice. Other choices were white rice, rice & beans, stewed beans & white rice or split peas & white rice.

The dinner plate--albeit at lunch--included a scoop of potato salad, as well as a fried plantain, which I always find delicious.

A la carte, I ordered Panades, which was described to me as fried corn with fish inside. Essentially they were empanadas, which seem to be a staple of many Central/South American and Caribbean cuisines, albeit with slight variations.

Four panades came in a single appetizer order, which is unusually plentiful though offset by the fish filling in each one being rather sparse.

Still, they were terrific, with just a smidgen of really hot habanero sauce, and served as a nice accompaniment to my main dish. 

I also ordered a piece of cornbread, which was quite good, and more out of curiosity than necessity, a piece of caramel cake for dessert.

The caramel frosting was delicious but the cake part a bit dry.

For a beverage, I got a soft drink called Kola Champagne. It's Jamaican, not Belizean, and the spelling reminded me of a Clash song

And it was really, really good, as was my entire initial excursion to Redz--and taste of Belizean food.

Which, for all of the above, cost less than $20.

So I Belize I might be back again. 


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