- On Saturday, after my board meeting in Rosemead, I had a banh mi with ham, meatloaf and headcheese from Banh Mi Che Cali, which is a small Vietnamese chain in LA and Canada. I am still a banh mi novice, but they are so tasty; I love the combination of the freshly baked baguette that is just a little crispy on the crust, but nice and chewy in the middle, with the different meats: the simple ham, slightly more complex and salami-like meatloaf, and the rich pate-like headcheese, contrasted with the crunch of the lightly picked vegetables and cilantro. I like to add some hoisin and sriracha for a little heat and sweetness. At 3 banh mis for $5 dollars ($1.67 each), where else can you find a better deal?? One sandwich is perfectly filling for me. I also had a nice vietnamese iced coffee that had me buzzing after; I always forget how strong the coffee is. Banh Mi Che Cali is my current favorite; I think they are more generous with the meat and filling than at Saigon's Sandwich and Bakery, which is the only other banh mi place in LA that I've been too. I like Baoguette in the West Village, a small (upscale) chain in NYC, but for $5 for just one sandwich, I feel a little indignant, but then again, it's the West Village. I need to check out Banh Mi My Tho in LA next and I will report back.
- On Friday, after stop at Maxfields to check out the competition (Jen is a buyer for one of their larger and much better competitors), we had lunch at Urth Caffe on Melrose. I had the portobello with pesto panini with their moroccan mint boba iced tea and J. had a tostada. I like Urth Caffe a lot; the food is tasty and fresh, and there is always nice people watching out on the patio. It's definitely a nice place to take out-of-towners for a nice leisurely lunch outside on nice sunny days, like Friday. The only reason that I don't go more often is that I find it expensive. I can never get out of there for less than $20 for lunch. Their portion sizes are ample and often include a nice side salad and I usually have to take home half of my lunch, but I still find it overpriced.
- On Thursday, I made my own panini at home out of leftover scraps from the fridge: a panini with fresh mozzerella, proscuitto and basil from my basil plant, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and seasoned with just a little salt and pepper. It was so simple, but sooo good; the salty meatiness of the proscuitto combined with the mild gooey mozzerella and freshness of the basil, with a little tang from the balsamic vinegar and the crispness from my panini maker (thanks Janice!). So tasty and no more leftover scraps!
Random statue outside of Maxfields
My wonky basil plant
Banh Mi Che Cali
135 S. San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
8565 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069