Behold the beginning of our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
Mendocino Farms makes a banh mi sandwich that isn't exactly a banh mi sandwich. The bread isn't a baguette; it's ciabatta in the usual ciabatta shape: square. But because it's crisped up on a panini press, the bread crackles when you bite into it, just as the crust of a proper baguette should.
And in eating it further you realize how very banh mi-like this sandwich actually is. Nearly all the flavors you expect and had in the last real banh mi you ate is present and accounted for: pickled daikon, pickled carrots, plenty of sliced jalapenos, cilantro, cucumbers, and a good spackling of mayo.
No, there's no pate, or the umami of Maggi. And the braised and caramelized Kutobuta pork belly stuffed in there as protein is a little bit of an overkill, but that's fine too, since what you're really tasting is everything else in this “banh mi”–an item described on the menu as a “playful take on the popular Vietnamese sandwich.”
All of this is to say that it's still not a banh mi, not exactly–but that's doesn't mean it isn't good.
91. Tostilocos at Tortas y Biónicos “Nice”
92. Milanesa at Delicias Peruanas
93. Super Nachos at Kelly's Korner Tavern
94. Tortas at Sliced and Diced Eatery
95. Seasonal Dumplings at Coconut Rabbit
96. Burrito de Birria de Res from Burritos La Palma
97. Bò Kho at Song Long Restaurant
98. Pancake Sandwich at Willowick Golf Course
99. Tahdig at Tanor Fresh Mediterranean Grill
100. Quatro Formaggi Panini at Old Vine Cafe
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.