Sunday, September 04, 2005

Bahn mi odyssey

Despite the fact that I try to hit Baguette Express whenever I'm in the San Gabriel Valley, I'm not sure I've ever written about it on the blog. We were looking for a cheap dinner so we used a precious gallon or so of gas and drove out to the SGV. Our first stop was Baguette Express, where we ordered the most expensive thing on the menu: cajun shrimp bahn mi, at $3.99. Vietnamese bahn mi are some of the all-time best sandwiches, since the small, flakey baguettes, the carrot, radish, cilantro and jalapeno garnish and the savory filling combine in a way that is way, way more than the sum of its parts.

The shrimp variety is excellent, although not as decadently saucy as my favorite, the barbecue pork. I like Baguette Express because it's clean, modern and air-conditioned, has plenty of seating, makes great Vietnamese iced coffee and boba drinks and has a good selection of bahn mi fillings. They were out of spring rolls, though, and we were still a bit hungry. So we moved on to Saigon Sandwich just down the street. I guess we were paying a price for the pleasant calmness and choice of shrimp at Baguette Express -- all the sandwiches at Saigon are $1.50 each. How do they do it? I don't know, but our beef sausage sandwich was pretty darn good, although greasier than the ones at Baguette Express.

And they have sardine, too. This block is like ground zero for bahn mi, with Ba Le just across the street and someplace called Paris Sandwich opening soon.
For dessert, we contemplated the wonderful mango/coconut drinks with harsmar (frog ovary fat) at Hui Lau Shan and the human-flesh textured konjac health drinks at Bin Bin Konjac but ended up with regular boba at Lollicup. This Lollicup also serves massive white piles of shaved ice, lavender milk tea and several other delicacies I might have to investigate. Speaking of Lollicup, they're opening on on Vermont and Fountain in Los Feliz, which is far too close to my house for the temptation of boba. Anyway, our meal ended up costing about $16 including our boba dessert drinks -- not bad for a nice little tour of Valley Blvd.
Baguette Express (400 E. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel)
Saigon Sandwich (718 E. Valley Blvd.)
Ba Le (725 E. Valley Blvd.)
Bin Bin Konjac (301 W. Valley Blvd.)
Lollicup (301 W. Valley Blvd.)
Hui Lau Shan or "Healthy Desserts" (250 W. Valley Blvd.) (closed!)
Archived comments:
Matt said...
I could eat a dozen of these yummy things and still want more.
Doran said...After both you and that glutton Pam mentioned Bahn Mi sandwiches yesterday, I felt strangely compelled today to make the trek to Baguette Express for the Cajun Shrimp bahn mi. Mmmmmm, definitely worth the gallon of gas. In addition to the terrific food, the service was also first rate. Thanks for the tip.