Okay... I admit, maybe I don’t know Cal State L.A. as well as I thought... Recently, I had a craving for Carnitas, the crispy fried in lard kind. I thought I’d go hunting on some back streets, maybe find a little Carneceria on a corner somewhere. But nope, instead I somehow ended up at the Intersection of Garvey and Atlantic!! I was right infront of the 99 Ranch and I though I might stop by the deli. Instead of crispy pork, perhaps crispy duck. Nope, this branch had no deli, Strike two... BAH!!!!!!
I gave up, so instead I headed down Atlantic with my sights set on the Hat. But driving down the hill, past Little Sheep, New Concept, the Mexi-catessen, I saw a lone shining building along the dark street. It had a “grand opening’ banner. It was a BRAND NEW Mr. Baguette!! Whoo hoo... my salvation!!
Unlike my usual Bahn Mi stop, Lees where sometimes I wonder if the 2 buck sandwich is worth getting elbowed every 5 minutes, This place was dead. It’s along the residential stretch of Atlantic on the border on Monterrey Park and East L.A. Neither communities seemed to have any idea it was there. So I was greeted with great enthusiasm upon entering and making my order. I was hungry (And having pork lust) so I ordered... A Meatball Baguette, a Combo Sesame Baguette, A Pork Pie, a Chicken Pie and a Avocado Smoothie. The total came to $12.00... which at the time at check out seemed a little high for a Bahn Mi stop. Instead of the average $2.00 of Lees, Mr. Baguette’s Bahn Mi is on average $2.50 to almost 3 dollars for sesame baguette. The pies were almost $1.50 each and the killer thing was the Avocado Smoothie at $ 3.45.
My order came quickly and the girl was happy to announce that I had won a free Baguette!! I think it was a ploy to get me back, but I needed to make Croutons for a dinner party later in the week, so I was very happy..
* The Pork Curry and Chicken Pie: These were one of those impulse I could eat my hand buys. They just looked so good! They were about hockey puck sized and when I got home was happy to find the crust very flakey and the filling to be a pretty nice sized meatball. I liked the pork better than the chicken
* Meatball Bahn Mi and Combo Sesame Bahn Mi: First I was SO happy to see that on my to-go order they packed the Daikon, Carrot, Jalapeno and Cilantro separate from my Sandwich. That is one of my biggest gripes about Lees. I drive anywhere 30 minutes away and the sandwich is a soggy mess. With the veggies on the side, my Sandwiches were perfectly crisp after the 30 minute ride. Meatball is my favorite Bahn Mi at Lees and I was a bit surprised to see how different Mr. Baguette’s version was. It was more ground beef. It had peas in it. The flavor was excellent through, especially with the veggies. And another thing was it was SO much meat, stuffed through out the whole sandwich (instead of a few scant meatballs from Lees). The Combo was equally as impressive in terms of filling. WAY more and of better quality than Lees (Mr. Baguette sells it’s Pate, Ham and Head Cheese for sale at the store. The quality of the head cheese was particularly impressive). The taste was also much better than the Combo’s I’ve had. Funky, Chewy, not too weird. I gave this sandwich to my SO and didn’t tell him about the Headcheese (I wouldn’t call him a ‘fan’ of ‘parts’) and he really enjoyed it!! The only thing though, is the bread. I don’t think the Sesame brought all that much to the sandwich, so I don’t think it’s particularly worth the extra they charge for it (Although the ‘extra’ is only .20 cents. So if you are Sesame fan, go for it...)
* The Avocado Milkshake: A.K.A. The Bill Killer!! Was YUM. It had that grassy Avocado taste with just an edge of the condensed milk that they used. On occasion I would slurp a big chunk of Avocado. So yeah, it was worth pushing the bill over with it....
Finally the FREE Baguette: A.K.A. Bribe. It made great croutons. I think I liked it better for croutons than the Normandy Bakery Baguettes because it was dense, bready. Not so many air holes so my Croutons absorbed lots of flavor and became wonderful crisp.
All in all, another successful SGV adventure. And I think tomorrow I might have another one soon... come to think about it the Hat does sound REALLY good about now... ;)