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May 7, 2009 06:27 AM

Southern California food in Chicago

Moving back to Chicago after six years in San Diego. I'm THRILLED to return to Chicago food-wise -- it's truly an alpha food city (I'd give San Diego a low-beta, bordering on gamma...). However there are several things that I've come to appreciate in SD, most reflecting its Pacific Rim setting, that I cannot recall finding in Chicago. Does anyone know if/where the following might be found...?

Fish Tacos -- a San Diego specialty, via Baja. Should be crispy, slathered in white sauce, plus cabbage and a lime.

Hawaiian plate lunches -- lots of spots here that serve cafeteria-style Hawaiian.

Yakitori/Izakaya -- Yakitori are casual Japanese kebab places, Izakaya serve sort of Japanese pub food.

Bahn mi -- Vietnamese sandwiches on french bread

Also, suprisingly, San Diego is one of the best microbrew towns in the world (Stone, Green Flash, etc). Has Chicago moved beyond the Goose Island monopoly?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I am not certain that the true Baja fish taco exists here, as such. There are some close approximations, and there are even a few outposts of Baja Fresh. But do not order fish tacos randomly at places and expect what you get in San Diego.

    For bahn mi go to Argyle and Broadway and try Ba Le to start. That whole area is a good area for things like Pho, etc.

    Bale French Bakery
    5018 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640

    Baja Fresh Mexican Grill
    180 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL