After a brief visit to the Norton Simon in Pasadena, Fan and I stopped by Mr.Baguette to pick up an afternoon, post-Museum-exhaustion snack. Our favorite things to get here are not the banh mi (which is on the pricey side compared to the many other banh mi shops along Valley), but the smoothies. I am firm in my belief that Mr.Baguette makes the best durian and avocado smoothies in the world. And because Fan and I can’t decide which one we like better, we always end up getting one of each and sharing. The avocado is addictively creamy and barely sweetened with hints of condensed milk. Home in Hawaii, I’m used to splitting open fresh avocados and sprinkling on sugar for breakfast. This smoothie is like the same treat whipped and whirled in a blender with milk and a good cup of ice for chill. It’s plain honest and refreshing. But the durian is a fine competitor, not as thick but equally decadent boasting it’s signature scent that I find terribly inviting and texture, as creamy as cold custard.
To go with the smoothies, Fan had the grilled beef banh mi, which I swear she gobbled down in less than two minutes.
“Was it good?” I asked eagerly.
“Mmmmm. Mmmhmm,” Fan replied, before quickly downing the rest of durian smoothie. Sigh. We should ordered two.
I had the xiu mai banh mi, which is described on their website as an “oriental style meatball made from ground pork with additional spices to add the flavor.” Tells you a lot, doesn’t it! To be honest, I don’t know how else to describe it other than Asian meatball, which implies more savory that sweet, with a bit of fish sauce to taste and cellophane noodles and wood ear mushrooms. The meatballs are broken up and stuffed within the baguette along with picked carrots, daikon and cilantro and peppers. It’s a very satisfying sandwich, both in size and flavor. Though what confuses me is that even though they charge nearly double of neighboring shops, there’s always a line at Mr.Baguette. Banh mi’s are cheap in general, but still. It’s doesn’t feel good to pay more than the guy next door, especially when the taste quality isn’t that different :) Now, the ultimate xiu mai banh mi would have a nice thick spread of pate along both sides the baguette…that, I would pay good money for!
8702 E Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, California 91770