Monday, May 26, 2008

Mr. Baguette

8702 Valley Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770

I'd heard so many good things about Vietnamese sandwiches that I had to try. I found myself hungry one day while driving around, and as I looked up, I saw Mr. Baguette. Why I was driving around Rosemead I cannot explain. But that's an entirely different issue, I suppose.
As I walked in, I passed by tablefuls of old men, smoking cigarettes and having coffee. It made me feel like I was in a cafe in Vietnam. If only I'd ever been to Vietnam, I could confirm that feeling.
Upon entering the bright and clean room, I noticed a display case of a bunch of different French and Asian pastries. Not a bad sight for someone so hungry, but I was focused. As I walked up, I asked the cashier what was good.
"Do you like Banhg Mi?" she asked.
"Excuse me?" I responded. "Uh, my wife..."
"Do you like Banh Mi?" She repeated.
"Not sure, but how are your sandwiches?"
"That is our sandwich, sir".
She was looking annoyed. So I just ordered a combo sandwich and a coffee. The sandwich, as it turns out, was a foot long baguette filled with goodies. The baguette with super crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. By itself, it would have been amazing. The filling in my combo sandwich, according to the menu, was pickled carrots, picked daikon, jalapeno slices, cilantro, pate, ham, and...head cheese? That didn't sound all that attractive, but like I said before, I'll eat anything. And besides, after the cashier asked if I wanted to Banhg Her, I wasn't about to ask any more questions.
Actually, I'm just playing stupid. If you're not sure what head cheese is, it's a terrine of meat made from the head of a calf or pig. The noggin is boiled until tender. The collagen from the bone and the meat are extracted and finished in a mould. Then, it's sliced, giving you head cheese.
Back to the sandwich...the combination of the flavorful pate and headcheese, mixed with the vinagery carrots and daikon, tied well with the slight spice from the fresh jalapeno slices and made my eyes pop out. It's almost difficult to explain, but every bite was amazing. It was so good, I got up and ordered another one to go. At $2.55 a piece, it was a no brainer.
So now, I'm a huge fan of Banh Mi. Since then, I've been to other places, like Mr. Lee's and Saigon Sandwich, but this place is still the best. I've heard of another place called Banh Mi Cho Cu. Until I try that place, though, Mr. Baguette is my place.

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