photo credit: Matt Gendal
Ba Le Sandwich Shop
As you expect from a place whose full name is Ba Le Sandwiches & Bakery, this Alhambra shop nails the taste and texture of the all-important banh mi baguette. The loaves here are long (like really long), soft and fluffy, with the ideal crunch. Do we wish Ba Le went a tiny bit harder on the paté spread, or that their pickled veggies had a little more punch? Yes, but Ba Le also has the misfortune of being just down the street from toppings powerhouse Banh Mi My Tho, which is like being a truly excellent singer who lives next door to Adele. The grilled pork and house special cold cuts are standouts, but they also offer less commonly seen traditional fillings like fried fish cake and betel-leaf-wrapped grilled beef. All around, these are great banh mi with generous heft for the price.