Bánh mì in Louisville (part 4 of an onging series): Return to Annie Cafe

I’ve moved from collective writeups to individual ones, so I can push stuff out while it’s still fresh in my mind. Today I thought, “It has been too long since I had a bánh mì, and Saigon One is showing no sign of opening. I’m off to Iroquois.” Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to synchronize well with a #4 bus, and I wasn’t feeling terribly athletic, so I elected not to go to Cafe Thuy Van, the great mystery on National Turnpike. Instead, I returned to Annie Cafe. For a change of pace I got a thịt (or something like it. They asked whether I wanted “pork” or “traditional”; I chose “traditional”. Pork was probably a thịt nướng). Also for a change of pace, I got take-out, so my impressions here are based on having ridden with it in my pannier for 10 minutes and then eating it.

[Photo of a sandwich from Annie Cafe]As mentioned previously, Annie Cafe (308 West Woodlawn Avenue) is the northernmost of the Iroquois cluster of Vietnamese eateries; it’s not incredibly elegant, but it’s among the least expensive of the sit-down places and generally does right by their culture, with a good solid Vietnamese menu and a considerably shorter list of Chinese lunch specials.

This sandwich, as can be seen in the photo, had a narrow cut down the top and was stuffed rather than being spread open and filled. The organization of the filling seems not to have suffered from the design, although it is atypical. The bread unfortunately seemed a bit less robust than I expect; the crust was softer than expected, and the roll actually started to tear where I had placed my thumbs while grasping it. Some of this may come from traveling instead of eating it immediately.

Today’s sandwich was very heavy on cilantro, which perhaps could’ve been chopped finer, since the early bites pulled whole stems out from the sandwich. The quantity of the cilantro might have been a bit heavy for those who don’t like it as much as I do. The daikon and carrots, by contrast, were used in just the right quantity, and seem to have been sprinkled with pepper for an added kick. Cucumber spears added a soothingly cool and refreshing crunch, and were wide enough to contribute materially to the texture; the cold cuts included an excellent and meaty sliced pork, and a more workmanlike chả lụa. The sweet fish sauce was quite conspicuous throughout the sandwich and may have rendered the whole a mite sweeter than I’d usually go with. The mayo was sufficient but was unevenly distributed, which may be a hazard of the cut used.

This is a surprising departure from my previous Annie experience, which had a more robust baguette, but also bulked up the body of the sandwich with lettuce. Some of this might be a bì vs. thịt issue, or a takeout vs. sit-down, but it’s entirely possible that they reinvent themselves and their concept of the bánh mì every day; more news as I investigate further!

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

One Response to Bánh mì in Louisville (part 4 of an onging series): Return to Annie Cafe

  1. Pingback: Bánh mì in Louisville (part 9 of an onging series): Annie’s Cafe with the folks « The Ecclesiastical Revue

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