So, this past weekend we had a Thai-inspired dinner party with the Dains and Bob Stotts. To prepare for it we went on a trek of epic proportions to find the proper ingredients (galangal, etc. etc.). We tried Mitsuma Market first, which is a really cool place out in the ‘burbs, but it’s really primarily a Japanese store. So Tony thought we should try Argyle Street, which he’d heard was like new Chinatown (the regular Chinatown being over by Cermak). We drove in and checked it out.

Smaller in scale, but definitely the right kind of stores. New Chinatown is really a combo Vietnamese / Chinese area. We found almost everything we needed there (and I saw “we” loosely, as Tony did all the cooking). And we ate at a little restaurant called Pho Xe Lua at 1021 W. Argyle Street, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 275-7512.

Definitely authentic! And pretty yummy too. It’s been so long since we had decent Asian food that it was really great. Max really liked the Thai spring rolls, but he ignored the Baby Pho (sigh). Tony had his classic Vietnamese dish — some kind of “everything” soup with unidentifiable (and some all-too-identifiable) pieces of pig and cow. And I had my favorite, cafe sua da. Love that!

There were a lot of places to try, so we’ll definitely have to go again. Nothing fancy, but most good Vietnamese places I’ve been to are that way.