Thanks to this board, I hunted down Ba Le in Dorchester for my first bahn mi. Yum. SO had "no interest in a Vietnamese sub," but we were nearby, and even she's craving another.
20-something year old in front of me in line struck up a casual conversation, asking, "So you like the sandwiches here?" Since it was my first bahn mi, he helped me choose a grilled pork for the SO and a meatball for myself. He also suggested we try the freshly squeezed (ground?) cane sugar juice.
The sandwiches themselves were served on a fresh, warm, crispy french bread (or something like it), and were filled with the meats we selected, cucumber, daikon, carrots, cilantro, thai bird chilies, a light swab of mayo, and some other kind of sauce (maybe nuoc cham?). So fresh and flavorful. Both were terrific, and as much as I liked the grilled pork, I think I liked the meatball even better. I'll have to try the cold cut version some time.
So, given that I live north of the city, is there anywhere closer to Medford/Somerville/Arlington/Cambridge where I can get bahn mi? I've read about the couple of places in Chinatown (Mix Bakery, Thai Binh, and Saigon Sandwich, if any of them still exist) and figure I might find them at the Pho places closer to me (Viet's Cafe, Pho Pasteur, Super 88?), but can anyone point me toward a sure thing?