The bakery is the first place I had bánh mì, which I'd read about in one of John Thorne's books. I was in an Asian grocery and asked if they had them. "Next door!"
The bakery is a little hole-in-the-wall place, and there's nothing to indicate they sell sandwiches. "Bánh mì?" I asked and got the reply: "How many?" Um, one?
So the lady goes in back and makes me a sandwich. Darn good one, too, with pâté and sausage filling, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber, jalapenos and mayonnaise. And fresh cilantro. Very crusty French roll. The cost? $2. Yes, TWO dollars.
I was hooked.
I've been back to the bakery many many times, but that's not where I went today, mainly because of traffic logistics. Today I went to Ba Le, which is part of a chain, I think.
I started going there when a Vietnamese cow-orker told me about it. He said he likes the bread there better, and the variety of fillings you can order (instead of the complete lack of choice at Vinh Xuong).
But I have mixed feelings about Ba Le. The sandwiches are tasty, and yes, the bread is a little softer, but it doesn't quite have the charm of the bakery, nor the fabulous treats you can get for dessert.
|You can pick up some spring rolls, assorted sausages and pâtés, and a rainbow of ... something. I have no idea what this is. I would've asked, but had to get to work and didn't want to get into a lot of conversation.|
You're my friends, right?
So here's my BBQ pork sandwich with iced coffee. Yummy. The sandwich is $2.50. The coffee, too (which I think is overpriced, but I can't resist it).
Ba Le is at 1044 S. Federal. It's in a strip mall on the east side of the street, just north of Mississippi.
Vinh Xuong Bakery (which I'll post about with pictures another day) is in the Far East shopping center at 375 S. Federal (the shopping center with the pagoda over the entrance to the parking lot, just south of Alameda). The bakery is in the back left corner (i.e. southwest) as you enter the parking lot from Federal.
If you're in Denver, go get you some banh mi!