Friday, April 16, 2010

Banh Mi, On The Line!

Today seemed like a perfecto opportunity for a knock-down, drag-out Vietnamese sandwich showdown, so I picked tres worthy contestants and went for broke. The first stop was Banh Mi My Tho in Alhambra. I ordered thit nuong (charbroiled pork) on a baguette from this efficient little shop and was making tracks in no time. Next, I hit Saigon's Bakery & Sandwiches in San Gabriel for a thit nuong on a roll. And finally, I sauntered into Banh Mi Che Cali, still ahead of the almeurzo rush, and changed it up with ground beef patties on a baguette (not quite consistent for proper analysis I know, but I had yet to try this one). Before I start judging, I need to admit that I have been to several former French colonies and the so called "salad sandwich" is prepared nowhere better than in the good ole USA. I know I may catch hell for this but my research is solid (ie: scorching already dry pan over charcoal or using congealed offal slices instead of tender carne). Alright then, credibility established let's go for the verdict (note: the price at all cafes peaked at $2.50, all sandwiches contained chiles, cilantro, pepinos, shredded veggies). The chancho at My Tho was the best (so was the vibe) but the pan was a little bland. The pan at Saigon's was the best (soft and fresco) and the BBQ puerco was a close second. The banh mi at Che Cali wins for most interesting (and super tasty) with a sweet brown sauce and mayo accenting the "meatloaf". As for bonus points, My Tho scores with actually having cheaper prices than listed on the to-go carta, while Saigon's and Che Cali both qualify with an alluring "buy two get one free" deal. I thought I would surely be able to name a victor to this contest, but there seems to be a diplomatic three way tie for propiedades. Maybe I am a muy malo decision maker, or maybe I am just easily pleased. Besides, as Debbie Harry might profess you can: "banh mi bahn mi any anytime."

Monday, April 12, 2010

From The Roof Of The World

Que tal? fellow comida lovers and lo siento for the extended absence from my meager insights into the most profoundly important human question of all: What should I venture to eat? I must also apologize for not producing the first internacional entry of CCB while on a recent holiday in Panama. All the intentions were in order, and the local comida was good (highlighted by a simple yet tasty ceviche made with corvina {sea bass}, corn, and cebollas) but I guess in the end it just wasn't that interesting. On that note, I will try and pick up where I left off. One chilly LA Abril afternoon, K (who is now also Mrs. Basura) and I saddled up the Yak and took a circuitous route favored by adroit sherpas to the Crown City; locale of a Himalayan eatery decisively named Tibet Nepal House. The menu here consists of all kinds of appealing dishes like: Mo-Mo dumplings, Phing (long noodles, Sichuan peppers, star anise, verduras), and Thukpa. Today, the goal of our trek was the glimmering 'champagne brunch', a buffet consisting of: Aloo-Taamaa (bamboo shoots, potatoes, curry), tofu saag, pakora, vegetable curry, pollo curry, daal, grilled chicken, shrimp Machha, arroz, roti, and all the flutes of Andre you care to drink at one sitting. I'm not sure where the cheap bubbly idea came from (possibly the result of doing business in fancy pants Pasadena) but it actually complimented the curries quite nicely. Ah, it certainly is refreshing to be back on the trail again. And while I'm way too lleno after this lavish meal to start an expedition up Qomolongma, I can most definitely sit back and enjoy the view.