Sunday, August 1, 2010

On My Way To Argyle…

On my way to Argyle from the Farmers market in Evanston, I met another foodie (Colleen) whose husband is a chef. Lucky for me she was getting off at Argyle and knew the neighborhood.

What I love most about this area is the diversity of ethnic groups - SouthEast Asians, Filipinos, Chinese, Vietnamese and a whole lot of people who look just like Colleen.
I wasn’t planning on having a croissant for breakfast but she raved about how remarkable they are at La Patissire P., a EuroAsian Bakery at 1050-52 W. Argyle Street and walked me right in the front door.

Peter, the owner, used to be the head baker for the Hotel Sofitel Chicago which explains his passion for French pastry. For now, I’ll blame my buttery reality on Colleen because I’m sitting at the counter devouring one of the best croissants I’ve ever had. Lucky for my waistline I don’t live right around the corner like she does.

On my return trip I’ll check out some of the traditional Asian fare because that looked exceptionally good as well.

The reason for my trip to Argyle was to visit the Ba Le Bakery, at 5018 N Broadway, who makes a lot of the Vietnamese bread for banh mi sandwiches in the Chicago area. They moved into a very sleek, modern spot that looked more like Lincoln Park than Argyle. I did like the rather dramatic, large photos posted on the outside the restaurant.

I had the BBQ pork and must admit that even though I love this bread - light and crunchy on the outside and soft/chewy on the inside, - I missed really good pickled vegetables. Sorry but Saigon Sisters and Nhu Lan still get my vote for having a better banh mi. The price was right at $3.59.

And you thought you couldn’t get anything for a dollar any more…

Shan’s Restaurant at 5060 N Sheridan Road was another spot that Colleen turned me on to. This little Pakistani/Indian restaurant serves the best samosas for just $1.00. You heard me…$1.00. I had the best waiter and it was evident he was very proud of his food and wanted to share it even though my tab was just $1.00. There, I’ve said it enough to convince even me that this place is a good deal.

It’s connected to a convenience store and in a strip mall so the location is not idyllic but every cab driver in the city knows where they can get cooking to write home about.

Bon Appetit!