Thursday, March 23, 2006

Man Cannot Live on Coffee Alone!... or... Bahn Mi Oh My!

There are a couple of rituals I follow pretty faithfully when I'm on my lunch hour. Generally, I go to the gym in an attempt to counteract the effects of sitting dormant in a cubicle all day. Either that, or I'll hop on my cruiser and tool through the Auraria Campus, formulating fantasies about being a handsome pop-cultural anthropology professor taking advantage of undergrad students desperate to boost their GPA (it could happen!). Alas, even the most unusual preoccupations can become a bore when repeated often enough. When that happens, I'll usually get into my trusty automobile (that's right ladies, it's a Hyundai. Accent.) and head up Federal in search of Dollar Mercados or Asian owned video stores. I'll roam through byzantine strip malls, usually with no intention at all of actually buying anything, as in the case of "Cowbobas" (which is the unlikely marriage of a smoothie joint and a steak house, as opposed to the all beef equivelent of a McNugget).

But today I was hungry, so food was the order of business. Seeing as I had all of $7 in my pocket, and that has to get me my Friday morning coffee as well, my mission was clear -- I needed Bahn Mi.

I headed up to "Ba Le", a small sandwich chain (!) from Hawaii. Now, one doesn't usually associate Veitnamese cuisine with sandwiches, but this little torpedo of a meal - pickled carrots, daikon, onions, cilantro and meat (or not) on a baguette -born of natural selection from the French occupation of Vietnam, serves as possible proof that one itsy bitsy good thing has come out of Western style imperialism.

You may not have a lot of choice in the matter as far as what you're gonna get - traditionally, the bahn mi is served w/ pork - but there are options. I went for the ga (GA!) which is a grilled chicken variation. Sure, sandwich shops like "Heidi's" have enormous menus, but by the time you've ordered, you're too exhausted to protest the fact that you've just spent 9 and a half dollars for a couple slices of bread and some meat. On the other hand, you can go to any Vietnamese bakery in the entire country and order this tasty, filling, and unpretentious little sandwich and not pay more than 2.50 (this includes New York, people!)

Today, for under 5 bucks, I got my sandwich and a 16 oz. Cafe Sua Da (Vietnamese coffee) which tastes a little like melted Frappucino (TM) over ice. Seeing as it's made from condensed milk, it's probably as fattening as 5 Frappucinos (TM), which is frightening. But yummy.

Join me next time, as I continue to sate my wanderlust with the bean juice by visiting a Middle Eastern cafe and sipping Turkish coffee...

Only 2 more weeks 'til Santiago... Coffee with Legs!


Amber said...

Aye, ye, ye is all I can say, café con piernas AND Turkish coffee all in one post. Yum. I'm going to go snort some coffee now. But the sandwich, um, well, I am too picky for such a nicely sounding cheap lunch.

totalvo said...

that looks mighty tasty.. I need to go there with you..

Anonymous said...

I LOVE TURKISH COFFEE. Let us know how it is when/wherever you go!! I love that stuff. The only place I've really had it here in Denver is Gypsy house.

CynCyn said...

have u tried Baker's Palace on S. Federal (near federal and virginia, i think). Great bahn mi, and they have combos that include the boba tea.

ps. i don't think treating yourself to vietnamese iced coffee qualifies as 'detoxing' from caffeine.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where to get a vietnamese sandwich with tofu. The place on Federal only does it with just the veggies... I'm dying to find a place. Seattle, OK city and lots of other towns have them readily available.