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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ba Le Banh Mi in El Cerrito

I went up San Pablo Avenue to the El Cerrito Lighting store today to get bulbs. They were closed. But I salvaged the trip by swinging by Ba Le Banh Mi, which I had noticed on my trips up there before, but which had been heartily recommended by that meat-lovin' phool and all-around great guy, Biggles of MeatHenge. This is in the "Peppermint Tree" strip mall, on San Pablo, slightly north of Central Avenue (east side of the street).

I had the #9 (barbequed chicken) and #5 (meatball). Both were outstandingly tasty. (Indeed, so tasty that I pigged out on the second one after eating the first.) The chicken was spicy and the meatballs were like meatball crumbs flavored in Vietnamese style.

The genius of banh mi (which just means "sandwich") is the whole East-Meets-West flavor thing - a lot of the stuff is Vietnamese riff on French charcuterie, with a bunch of vietnamese veggies stuffed in the roll, which is a light french roll, and then given a shot of mayo.

It's good, and at this place, it's like about $2.25 a pop. Next time I'm getting only one sandwich, but I'm going to get one of their papaya salads to go with it, and maybe a Vietnamese coffee. Which I should have gotten because I needed a nap after two sammiches! I'll definitely be back when I'm in the area.

Comments:
Hey Charlotte,

Neat! Yeah, those sammiches are good. Careful of the Pho, though. I ordered the beef & seafood twice, had a fair amount of MSG in there.
If you're interested in getting some decent Pho, check out Pho II down at the Pacific East Mall down off Central and hwy 80. It's a really cool place, stark and heavily lit by fluorescent light. Everyone is bent on eating their lunch. I usually get the #18. Pho rules.

Biggles
 
Hey Biggles, I'm glad a famous person such as yourself still has time to stop by ;). Thanks for the tip on this one. I'll avoid the MSG-laden pho there and head towards Pacific East if I don't feel like going into Chinatown.
 
Yeah, I like to keep in contact with the little people once in a while.

Oh man, I'm hungry. Stuck at work, can't get out. Hunger gnawing at me. gnaw gnaw gnaw.
 
My fav for viet sandwiches is Lee's. They're a chain designed to be comfortable for americans. Try the Coconut Delight (Coconut jello-y stuff in a hollowed coconut husk). Tons of Viet style shakes too. I'm still getting up the nerve to try the avocado shake.
 
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