Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria is a casual American style eatery that is just across the street from the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California. The Mission has been a place that I’ve enjoyed visiting over the years, whether it be for the Latin American/old world style of the city or for the “Swallows day” celebrations every spring. It’s always been a small point of pride for me that there is this historical monument near the place that I grew up, because I always thought that South Orange County was so bland. Turns out, we have historical monuments & a tradition of mooning the first Amtrak train that shows up on the second Saturday of July (that actually happens). I’m also always reminded of my time in San Juan Capistrano whenever I watch one of my favorite movies of all time:
Selma’s has a bigger emphasis on craft beer & pizza, but one of the beauties of sandwiches is that you can find them served in almost any restaurant. The dining room is kind of a fun play on the history of the city, with an old world kind of feel mixed with modern sensibility. Beer bottle caps are cemented into the brick and there are televisions playing sports all over the dining room. I couldn’t help but wonder how the legacy of people like Tomas de Toquemada (the first Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, look it up) would be effected if someone wrote about his exceptional interior design sense (along with his penchant for torturing people into converting). Now that I’ve sufficiently convinced you that I must live a really boring life, I’m happy to say that the sandwich that I ordered at Selma’s was quite good.
Selma’s Pesto Chicken Sandwich
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Red Onion
- Feta Cheese
- Mayo and Pesto
It comes on a soft french roll, but the server insisted that I get it panini pressed so I obliged. I’ve found that chicken pesto sandwiches tend to be the same everywhere you go. Pesto always has that big herbaceous flavor and it’s always paired with roasted red peppers. What I liked about this is the use of feta cheese, which can give a touch of tart and salty flavor to work with the pesto. One thing that Selma’s does that I haven’t seen in other places is that they use pesto (a sauce of basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts and other ingredients blended with olive oil) along with mayo. I know it sounds ridiculous but it does make a difference, because pesto is essentially blended ingredients in olive oil, it tends to be messy and very bold in it’s flavor. Compare that to a pesto mayo, which is thicker, less messy, and also a touch more subdued in its flavors. The sandwich had it’s fair share of oil from the sauce, which was absolutely delicious (especially soaked in the toasted bread) but also incredibly messy. This sandwich for all intents & purposes is what you should look for in a chicken pesto sandwich, but don’t expect anything that deviates too far from the formula. The housemade potato chips where really nice too.
Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria & Tap Room
31781 Camino Capistrano