Friday, February 26, 2010

Tip Top is near the top of the banh mi heap

Since my favorite Baguette Express closed, most of the San Gabriel Valley's banh mi spots I've tried have been tiny, with no seating and cramped (Banh Mi My Tho) or chaotic and none-too-hygenic (Banh Mi Che Cali.) But now Tip Top's has opened on Valley Blvd. in Rosemead, setting the bar much higher for banh mi emporia. FoodGPS rated the Orange County branch highly in his Little Saigon banh mi bender, so I was excited to try it. We'll get to the sandwiches in a minute. Tip Top's is a veritable food court unto itself. There's a bakery counter, with eclairs, sponge cake (left) as well as super-cheap fresh out of the oven baguettes. (Sure, they're super light and airy, not exactly artisanal, but they make great sandwiches.)
Then there's a gelato bar, with a good selection of flavors including caramel, peach-mango and peanut. Then there's a smoothie bar, with a variety of fresh fruit piled up waiting to make creations like the Wild Skinny juice or the Protector.
Then, there's a coffee bar with Vietnamese coffee as well as cappucino and ice-blendeds. Not full yet? A self-serve frozen yogurt bar offers more than a dozen flavors (taro!) of yogurt with self-serve Vietnamese toppings like jello (at left) as well as the usual Jelly Bellys and M&Ms. Oh, and there's a colorful party room, should your inner 8-year old want to throw a banh mi and yogurt party.
As for the main attractions, the banh mi are first-rate. The super-fresh bread really elevates the sandwiches, which are stuffed with plenty of shredded veggies and available in bbq pork, bbq chicken, deli special, sardine and a few others. There's also a menu of Western sandwiches on foccacia bread like roast beef or egg salad, as well as Vietnamese meat pies, packaged snacks and all the fixings for making banh mi at home like pate and canned sardines. And, it's open from 5 am to midnight, making it a perfect stop to stock up for a trip to the desert, for example.
Tip Top's Sandwiches
8522 Valley Blvd
(626) 571-8185


Donna - Dishy Goodness said...

This sounds delicious -- everything from lunch to desserts and smoothies! Wow! Gotta try this on my next trip to LA. Thanks!

lynn said...

it looks great. why does it have such horrible ratings on yelp?!

Food GPS said...

Actors Diet, Are you really going to invoke Yelp after Pat has blessed a restaurant? Just go with Pat's advice and head to Tip Top, now. They clearly have the best banh mi in the San Gabriel Valley.

Pat, do you have to be eight years old to have a banh mi party?

mattatouille said...

I'm not sure why I haven't gone to Tip Top yet, considering how much I love the Westminster location. I need to get my butt over there soon.

Food, she thought. said...

I am in the hood all week this week. I think I shall stop by. TY for the review.

Gastronomer said...

My eight year old will have a banh mi birthday party. He just doesn't know it yet ;-)

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Pat,

Thanks for the review and thoughts on this place. I tried the Little Saigon location once a while back and wasn't totally thrilled by it, but I'll give this new location a try when I visit my friends in the area. :) Thanks.

Geoff said...

I went here a few weeks ago and wrote this review on Chowhound.

The short version: awful, but it might have been partly a service issue.

Ethel said...

OMG! Everything sounds and looks so good! Maybe the SGV doesn't sound THAT far if it means you can be comfortably situated at Tip Top for hours on end...nice.