I might as well stay in the same North Austin strip mall as my last post, right?
Austin, I've been remiss. Somehow, inexcusably, I've not shown you one of my favorite low-cost lunches in town. I've probably been to Baguette House, oh, at least twenty times since they opened in the middle of 2008, and have tried every sandwich on the Vietnamese side of the menu. I've had their delicious dried beef and papaya salad, their so-so Hai Nan chicken (which i suspect would have been better had it not been reheated in the nuker), and most of their nicely snappy fresh spring rolls with their crunchy vegetables and perfectly balanced peanut sauce.
But we've never blogged them. I have no idea why. Let me remedy that with a quick little post about a lunch there last week. Apologies, but this is the best I can squeeze out after another day of grading student essays.
Baguette House bakes their baguettes in-house. I'd hope so, since both of those words are right there in the name. When you order a sandwich, you get a 10-inch baguette stuffed with greenery, meatery, and picklery.
More sexy sandwich shots and fun baked goods after the jump:
Every baguette I've had there has been great - the thin crust shatters readily under your teeth and the white softness inside yields immediately. All of their Vietnamese sandwiches come with cilantro, jalapenos, cucumber, and lightly pickled julienned carrot and daikon. And these actually have a bit of pickly bite, unlike the simple and less interesting shredded to hell raw veggies I've gotten on banh mi at lesser places (Cafe de Bella, you listening?). You also get a schmear of Vietnamese mayo, which may or may not be lard... I can't quite bring myself to ask. If it is lard, it's super light and tastes more like aioli.
Last week, I ordered their grilled pork, but I've also tried their house special - great if you like pates and Vietnamese luncheon meat. Their chicken sandwiches are great, too, filled with shredded chicken that is usually very moist but has been slightly dry on occasion. They have a vegetarian offering filled with a gingery, earthy tofu and mushroom mix, and a Cajun-style slightly spicy shrimp version, and a grilled beef, and a sauced barbequed pork, and a meatball - you see why this post has been so long in coming? The place is a bit overwhelming!
Back to my most recent visit, here's the porky loveliness I was given:
Lookit that sandwich! The ratio of meat to veggies to bread is spot-on. Their grilled pork, by the way, actually has grill flavor - I've been to a few places here in town where you can't take that for granted - and is just the right amount of greasy. Grilled pork with crunchy, pickled vegetables, sharply grassy cilantro, and a bit of jalapeno heat; now that, my friends, is a sandwich. And it costs like $3. You heard me.
When Logan and I go together, we usually split a side order of their awesome spring rolls. The last time I was there, I saw they'd added pork paste spring rolls (like these from Thanh Nhi, with the phyllo-like cigar and all), but I haven't tried them yet. Since I was by myself on this last visit, I didn't think I could handle an entire order of these filling buddies, so instead I got a Bánh Pâté Chaud. Yup, there's French imperialism lifting its head again, in the form of more French/Vietnamese fusion!
This is a flaky, buttery crusty pastry encasing a knot of chunky, country-style pork pate. It's warm, and savory, and peppery, and terrible for you. At least it's a little guy. And it's worth it to try at least once.
So, Baguette House is unblogged (by us) no more! And I pledge not to make that mistake again. I definitely need to show you guys all about their spring rolls, and that papaya salad, and the banh bao, and the croissants, and cà phê sữa đá, and on and on...
Baguette House is in the Chinatown Center at 10901 N. Lamar in Austin. 512.837.9100.