Sunday, February 21, 2010

ba le banh mi

Yesterday we made a food trip that we have made many times in the last year, and after we do the Big Trip we will likely make this food trip again any time we get the chance. After running some errands we stopped at Ba Le, a Vietnamese sandwich shop in Alhambra. Our order: two of our favorite mouth watering barbecue pork bahn mi sandwiches on slightly-crunchy-outside soft-and-chewy inside french rolls. Yes, it's another Vietnamese delight that we will miss in LA. There are quite a few places around LA selling their version of these tasty sandwiches born of French colonialism in Vietnam. The sandwich isn't a brand new thing but it was just this year that we first tried out our favorite place. Since then we've stopped in when ever the craving strikes, and sometimes that's nearly every weekend. Ba Le's bread rolls are a delight and we like their barbecue and sweet pickled vegetable filling. We always order them with the hot peppers but pick most of them out before the first bite. I'm too much of a softy for all that heat, it just kills the other flavors, but I like to rub the bread with one of the peppers to give it all a zing.

After the yum sandwiches we had to visit Fosselman's Ice Cream, also in Alhambra. If you live in Los Angeles or are just visiting and you're an ice cream nut, Fosselman's has got to be on your list. We will dearly miss their toasted almond, blueberry, chocolate dipped strawberry, lychee, green tea, horchata, flavors and so many others. They make all their ice cream on the premises, in fact if you stop by in the morning to pick up an ice cream pie for a party they will have the back of the shop open and you can see into where the big freezer/mixers are working. Fosselman's goes way back and started as a delivery dairy in the Pasadena area in 1924. On yesterday's visit while we sat and dug into the three scoops that mrs. a-go-go and I were sharing, I took note of what a true Los Angeles kind of place Fosselman's is. Ice cream has near absolute universal appeal and Los Angeles surrounds Alhambra with a polyglot population like few others. It was a busy day and in the thirty minutes we spent soaking up our ice cream, the shop was visited by two generations of a family from the Indian sub-continent, three generations of a family from Vietnam, Philipinos, Latinos, African-Americans, not to mention us northern Europeans. They had pistachio on a cone, coffee-and-chocolate-cookies in a sundae, strawberry piled in a waffle cone, a four-year-old worked at catching the drips of mint-chip on his sugar cone, dulce-de-leche in a cup, and every other facet of delicious you can come up with.

Oh man... I think we're going to have to go for another visit today too. Fosselman's... I'm gonna miss you.

1 comment:

  1. Waaaah! Alhambra! I sooo miss Alhambra! I grew up there and ended up in Missouri, go figure. Have you been to The Hat? Lord help me, I need a real pastrami sandwich. And I really miss the Vietnamese part of town.



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