Just steps from the colorful Argyle CTA stop in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, Ba Le Bakery specializes in Vietnamese food—efficient, fast and tasty fusion food.
You can’t go wrong with the Bun Thit Nuong ($7.95)—piping-hot grilled pork, cold rice vermicelli, veggies and a housemade lemon fish sauce—or any of the various Bánh Mi (from $5.95)—a deceptively simple sandwich of either meat or tofu, mayonnaise, vinegary pickled carrot, sweet daikon, jalapeno and cilantro between a fresh baguette. Though the place is bustling, it's never hectic. Grab-and-go is the name of the game, but it's worth it to order yourself a sandwich or two (they're that good!), then head to Lake Michigan—a short 10 minute walk east—for a little picnic action.
You won't be disappointed, either with the bonne vue or the bahn mi.