I tried a baguette banh mi today from my usual banh mi place, Banh Mi Che Cali (next to the ABC Supermarket on Bolsa and Magnolia, in Westminster). I tried their Beef baguette sandwich. I expected the some sort of BBQ Beef, like the one I had at Top Baguette a week ago, but this was entirely different. The beef was actually hamburger-patty-like, like American meatloaf (cut in half so that it can fit inside the long baguette). It was different but good, although I can't quite say excellent. I did really enjoy the deep, aromatic flavor of lemongrass which was predominate in the mix. What I found interesting was also the fact that they put a few squirts of hoisin sauce into this sandwich -- something they do not do on their dac biet or chicken fillings. Along with it, they added their homemade mayo, and a smear of pate. The last two components are my favorite part of the dac biet sandwich which goes well with the not-too-exotic Vietnamese cold cuts they use. But it works with the beef too. Carrots, daikon, cilantro, and jalapenos were plentiful, but the cucumbers were missing. Cucumber is elusive here at Banh Mi Che Cali...sometimes they have it, sometimes they don't.
The one thing that I wish was better was the bread. It has a soft crust, which I usually have to crisp up myself in my home oven. It lacked that satisfying crunch of baguettes made by Top Baguette. If only I can have a sandwich that had Top Baguette's bread with Che Cali's fillings!
By the way, the foot-long beef sandwich I ordered was $1.25 and it was quite filling. Isn't it amazing that I would barely be able to get a bag of chips for this price at Quizno's (let alone a half of a sandwich)?