Tag Archives: sandwich

Airport Exploration

Posted from Dallas, Texas, United States.

We have a layover in Dallas, and my BBQ experiences here have been horrid, so let’s get the furthest we can with “Banh Shop“, a Vietnamese offering where they don’t even list their sandwiches as “banh mi”.



Vietnamese-ish bland sugary pork meatballs on a baguette with cilantro, pickled carrots, cucumber and daikon is topped with a supposed aeoli that tastes like mayo and nothing else.


The same ingredients, but on lettuce with some bean sprouts and noodles makes up their “Bun” salad. Equally bland. But hit anything with enough Siracha and it becomes palatable.

Only redeeming thing is that they have Vietnamese iced coffee, though the menu doesn’t call it out as it’s buried in fine print under “sofas, coffee, iced coffee”.

I can honestly say every meal I’ve had in Dallas Fort Worth has been disappointing. I’m really disliking this airport.

Finding a Midwest late night secret

Posted from Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

Dining options on a Sunday evening in a quiet Midwest downtown can be quite limited. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find Ontario Street Cafe in Cleveland stashed in the ground floor of a parking garage. Open late, and reviews claim it to be one of the best sandwiches in Cleveland; why not give it a whirl?. $2.50 for a bottle of Bud ($1.50 for the generic on tap) and a $7 hot pastrami. Top-shelf Jonnie Walker Black at $4.50. Hard to argue with those prices. Not everything needs to be haute cuisine.

  A dark wood interior makes this place a clear watering hole with locals. This is the kind of cash-only place where regulars have tabs pinned up over the register. Late on a Sunday night, patrons filter out chatting with the bartenders about what days or shifts they’ll see them next. Everyone’s decked out in Cleveland Cavaliers gear and discussing the game.

  
 Smoked pastrami piled high on fall-apart-rye with tomatoes, lettuce, sourkraut, grilled onions, and smothered with melted Swiss and a hint of mustard.

The pastrami is nice and peppery, with a great smokey char and piping hot. The grilled onions greatly enhance the savory. The lettuce and tomato add a simple freshness that make this sandwich simultaneously rich and light.

This sandwich is so good, I’ll forgive the beer. And that’s saying a lot for an admitted beer snob.

When in Asia…

Posted from Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong.

Modern French bistro decor and soft jazz. Lots of white brick with dark wood and simple framed black and white photos. This is clearly not Chinese! We found ourselves in Nha Trang, a Vietnamese restaurant that’s becoming popular in Hong Kong. Perusing through the English menu found all our usual American Vietnamese delights like Pho and Banh Mi, plus some more Chinified dishes.

  
I started with my favorite Vietnamese iced coffee, but double-shot to wake me up. Also shown, a sweet drink with orange candied orange peel and candied pineapple which was too sweet and could really have benefitted from the tartness of fresh pineapple.

  
My wife went with a noodle soup, with a broth a little richer than typical pho. Filled with tender slices of pork, beef, fish cake, and all the usual proteins. The noodles had perfect texture and the broth savory and slightly sweet and spicy – simultaneously rich and light. I was scared by the mention of fish paste in the broth, but I found it amazing!

  
For myself I selected the pork chop banh mi. They warned me it would take an extra 15 minutes, which surprised me. How long does it take to assemble a sandwich? It didn’t actually take that long, probably because they grabbed pork that had already been cooked – it was clearly not “sizzling” as the menu described. Still good, with a great crispy crust baguette and crispy pork. Too much mayo though kinda killed it all leaving it a bit bland.

  
So how does Hong Kong Vietnamese compare to the American stuff? While I’ve had much better banh mi sandwiches stateside, I don’t think I’ve ever had pho that could top the rich stuff found here. I guess proximity does help somewhat.

BBQ, Beer, and the Bay

Posted from San Francisco, California, United States.

20140217-235454.jpg

Just off the plane and checked into my hotel on a Monday night in San Francisco. Stuck without a car, and not wanting to figure out the public transit just yet, I decide to stay in walking distance. Being a daytime tourist trap, the Fisherman’s Wharf area is pretty light when it comes to late night options. Applebee’s, Subway, and In-N-Out top the list. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Double-Double, grilled onion, protein style, but if I’m traveling, and blogging, then it needs to be a little more special.

After a bit of googling, I landed in The Pub BBQ, a BBQ bar with a late kitchen tucked away to the corner of Ghirardelli Square. It’s a typical dark wood paneled pub, but with BBQ. Quiet, with only me and a couple of locals, but it’s a Monday and there’s few tourists in February.

20140217-230719.jpg

Deciding on a pint of whatever I didn’t recognize on tap, I found 312 Urban Wheat, a nice light cloudy heff from Chicago. (I may have to look up the brewery next month when I’m there.)

Considering this is a BBQ place, and not too touristy looking, I opted for the pulled pork sandwich with a side of tater tots.

20140217-233020.jpg

Good, crispy, hot tots with house BBQ sauce for dipping. Very different BBQ from any I’ve had before. It’s apple cider tangy, sweet, heavy in the catsup and almost overwhelming celery salt, but not much molasses. Not quite Carolina style, but still worlds away from dark Kansas City sugary stuff. The pulled pork is served on toasted sourdough (this is San Francisco and Boudins is just around the corner). The pork is smokey, juicy, and tender, with a soft, but dark bark. Clearly this is prepared right and not just simmered in a crockpot. The pork is thoroughly tossed with BBQ sauce. Not sure if it was the same sauce as with the tots, but if so, it totally transforms on the meat. There also a house hot sauce, with the tang of Franks Red Hot, but some nice smokey flavors too. It blends really well with the BBQ sauce by adding heat without wrecking the flavor.

My only regret? It’s a beautifully clear night in the city and I forgot my camera and tripod.

Overall probably the best I would have found for late night dining without a guide. Next time you’re in San Francisco, step away from the generic seafood on The Embarcadero and try The Pub BBQ. Just don’t forget your chocolate soda upstairs.

Cafe by the Canal

Posted from Indianapolis, Indiana, United States.

Day one on our own in Indiana, and we decided to wander around the museums and attractions in White River Park, an urban park and cultural area in downtown Indianapolis. First we hoped to try the LS Aryes Historic Tea Room, but that is only available for special events. So instead we tried the cafe in the Indiana State Museum, figuring museum cafes usually have decent choices.

20131023-201733.jpg

I selected the only thing that comes close to being a regional specialty, a fried pork tenderloin sandwich. This was delicious! The pork tenderloin was amazingly tender, literally falling apart at the touch. The breading was nice and crispy, holding the meat together. Topped with some lettuce, tomato, onions, and a spicy dijon mustard dressing, this was a well-constructed sandwich. My only complaint was that the crisp of the pork was a bit oily in flavor, but the texture was great.

chicken salad with corn chowder

Pearl is a sucker for corn, bacon, and soup, so how could she pass up the bacon sweet corn chowder. Loaded with corn, potatoes, and bacon, this was a rich hot creamy dish. She paired the cup with a half-sandwich, a chicken salad sandwich so loaded that she needed to eat half of it with a spoon! The chicken salad was delicious, with flavorful chunked chicken instead of shredded. A surprising touch was the addition of cherries instead of the usual raisins. The result added a nice fresh tang to offset the creamy dressing.

So, if visiting the museum area, check out the cafe. It’s a great option in an area with little else to choose from.