Sugar Rush: Pistacchio Halwa at Tahoora

Sugar Rush

Reviews of desserts in Chicago.


[Photograph: Kate Bernot]

After the last of the savory curry, cumin, and garam masala-scented dishes have been cleared away from my table, I'm left wandering Devon in search of a sweet bite to end the meal. The neon-lit strip has no shortage of bakeries and confectioneries, but Tahoora stays open late, has ample seating, and serves a saccharine rainbow of treats. Think Willy Wonka, by way of Karachi.

Don't let the highway rest stop decor dissuade you from pressing your nose to the flourescent-lit dessert cases, where multi-colored square barfi (a condensed milk and sugar bar) vie for attention next to caramel-hued, bite-sized gulab jamun (deep-fried milk balls). Like a peacock, the bright blues and greens of the barfi command attention, but it's the more subtle brown pistachio halwa that shouldn't be overlooked.

As with most of the other options at Tahoora, the pistachio halwa are syrupy (halwa translates to 'sweet' in Arabic). But what could easily become cloying is balanced by the savory nuttiness of the pistachios and an unexpectedly bright kick of ginger. Though the bars taste distinctly of the subcontinent, the nuts, spices, and syrup also pluck delicately at memories of American winter holidays. Paired with a warm Styrofoam cup of the house-made masala milk, it's the most exotic comfort food you'll find on the Devon strip.

Tahoora Sweets & Bakery‎

2345 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659 (map)