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SGV Adventures: Mr. Baguette

Dommy Oct 11, 2006 12:32 AM

Okay... I admit, maybe I don’t know Cal State L.A. as well as I thought... Recently, I had a craving for Carnitas, the crispy fried in lard kind. I thought I’d go hunting on some back streets, maybe find a little Carneceria on a corner somewhere. But nope, instead I somehow ended up at the Intersection of Garvey and Atlantic!! I was right infront of the 99 Ranch and I though I might stop by the deli. Instead of crispy pork, perhaps crispy duck. Nope, this branch had no deli, Strike two... BAH!!!!!!

I gave up, so instead I headed down Atlantic with my sights set on the Hat. But driving down the hill, past Little Sheep, New Concept, the Mexi-catessen, I saw a lone shining building along the dark street. It had a “grand opening’ banner. It was a BRAND NEW Mr. Baguette!! Whoo hoo... my salvation!!

Unlike my usual Bahn Mi stop, Lees where sometimes I wonder if the 2 buck sandwich is worth getting elbowed every 5 minutes, This place was dead. It’s along the residential stretch of Atlantic on the border on Monterrey Park and East L.A. Neither communities seemed to have any idea it was there. So I was greeted with great enthusiasm upon entering and making my order. I was hungry (And having pork lust) so I ordered... A Meatball Baguette, a Combo Sesame Baguette, A Pork Pie, a Chicken Pie and a Avocado Smoothie. The total came to $12.00... which at the time at check out seemed a little high for a Bahn Mi stop. Instead of the average $2.00 of Lees, Mr. Baguette’s Bahn Mi is on average $2.50 to almost 3 dollars for sesame baguette. The pies were almost $1.50 each and the killer thing was the Avocado Smoothie at $ 3.45.

My order came quickly and the girl was happy to announce that I had won a free Baguette!! I think it was a ploy to get me back, but I needed to make Croutons for a dinner party later in the week, so I was very happy..

* The Pork Curry and Chicken Pie: These were one of those impulse I could eat my hand buys. They just looked so good! They were about hockey puck sized and when I got home was happy to find the crust very flakey and the filling to be a pretty nice sized meatball. I liked the pork better than the chicken

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Pai.jpg

* Meatball Bahn Mi and Combo Sesame Bahn Mi: First I was SO happy to see that on my to-go order they packed the Daikon, Carrot, Jalapeno and Cilantro separate from my Sandwich. That is one of my biggest gripes about Lees. I drive anywhere 30 minutes away and the sandwich is a soggy mess. With the veggies on the side, my Sandwiches were perfectly crisp after the 30 minute ride. Meatball is my favorite Bahn Mi at Lees and I was a bit surprised to see how different Mr. Baguette’s version was. It was more ground beef. It had peas in it. The flavor was excellent through, especially with the veggies. And another thing was it was SO much meat, stuffed through out the whole sandwich (instead of a few scant meatballs from Lees). The Combo was equally as impressive in terms of filling. WAY more and of better quality than Lees (Mr. Baguette sells it’s Pate, Ham and Head Cheese for sale at the store. The quality of the head cheese was particularly impressive). The taste was also much better than the Combo’s I’ve had. Funky, Chewy, not too weird. I gave this sandwich to my SO and didn’t tell him about the Headcheese (I wouldn’t call him a ‘fan’ of ‘parts’) and he really enjoyed it!! The only thing though, is the bread. I don’t think the Sesame brought all that much to the sandwich, so I don’t think it’s particularly worth the extra they charge for it (Although the ‘extra’ is only .20 cents. So if you are Sesame fan, go for it...

)

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Mi.jpg

* The Avocado Milkshake: A.K.A. The Bill Killer!! Was YUM. It had that grassy Avocado taste with just an edge of the condensed milk that they used. On occasion I would slurp a big chunk of Avocado. So yeah, it was worth pushing the bill over with it....

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhound/Greenie.jpg

Finally the FREE Baguette: A.K.A. Bribe. It made great croutons. I think I liked it better for croutons than the Normandy Bakery Baguettes because it was dense, bready. Not so many air holes so my Croutons absorbed lots of flavor and became wonderful crisp.

http://members.aol.com/pmgon/Chowhoun...

All in all, another successful SGV adventure. And I think tomorrow I might have another one soon... come to think about it the Hat does sound REALLY good about now... ;)

--Dommy!

  1. e
    Ernie Oct 11, 2006 12:37 AM

    Great review, Dommy. Next time you are craving carnitas, La Azteca is about 2 miles away from CSULA. Good fresh tortillas too.

    La Azteca Tortilleria
    4538 E Cesar E Chavez Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90022

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ernie
      Dommy Oct 11, 2006 03:06 PM

      Thanks Ernie!! I think I will check it out tonight!! Whee!!! :)

      --Dommy!

      1. re: Dommy
        Dommy Oct 11, 2006 07:56 PM

        Drat... I just called and they close at 5pm... I'm out of class at 8pm. :( I'll have to save it for another trip!! Thanks so much though!! :) I guess I'll go with my plan B of Al Pastor on Central! :)

        --Dommy!

    2. ipsedixit Oct 11, 2006 12:38 AM

      Nice post.

      As to the Hat ... I love how their chili fries turn an odd flourescent orange after about 5 minutes ... but they're good nonetheless.

      1. k
        kevin Oct 11, 2006 01:04 AM

        the avocado milkshakes are dynamite here, too bad ben and jerry's or thirty one flavors has never gotten a hold of it.

        they could make a killing, after marketing it to the masses.

        veggie ham at mr, baguette is good too.

        1. monku Oct 11, 2006 01:04 AM

          I notice that location doesn't generate the traffic that the one in Rosemead does. Probably more Vietnamese in the Rosemead area than MP. Never understood the 20 cent extra charge for the sandwich with sesame seeds on the baguette...I thought sesame seeds were cheap.

          The owner of Mr. Baguette is French trained in Charcuterie and they make their own pates and head cheese.

          http://www.mrbaguettesandwiches.com/

          Lately I've been going to Lee's Sandwiches on the edge of Alhambra on Valley Blvd. They got a promotion of two fresh baguettes for $1. So I get my sandwich and 2 baguettes and I'm out of there for $3.20. (My favorite is the #4 the BBQ pork sandwich.
          )http://www.leesandwiches.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: monku
            n
            nrique Oct 12, 2006 03:07 AM

            I go bye that area quite a lot and there is good news and bad.
            Dommy if you noticed on the way down just past the freeway there is a HUGE open lot. SOON there will be a new commercial development in the likes of the ones you see on Valley Blvd in Alhambra. Also the Mall that the new Mr. Baguette is in is advertising a remoldeling project. It's been up since the spring so I'm thinking the city or investment is holding them back. My bet is by srping the ball will be rolling.
            And the bad, when both projects are done, there is going to be A HUGE increase in traffice on Atlantic.

            I think I'm going to try it this weekend.

            1. re: nrique
              monku Oct 12, 2006 03:24 AM

              They've been talking about remodeling that property where the MP Mr. Baguette is for a while part of it was the Mr. Baguette.

              Supposed to be a big commercial/residential project going in there on Atlantic across from Shun Fat Market.

              You can shoot up the back side through Fremont Ave. to Monterey Pass Road-Garvey then right on Atlantic Blvd.

          2. caitybirdie Oct 11, 2006 01:36 AM

            i love mr. baguette! ohh yummie. what do u think the difference is between lee's and mr. bag's? the rosemead KILLS me driving!!!! oh i cant stand it, and i am only coming from so pas!

            2 Replies
            1. re: caitybirdie
              monku Oct 11, 2006 02:08 AM

              I'll get flamed for this......about 45 cents. About $2.20 a sandwich at Lee's and $2.65 a sandwich at Mr. Baguette.
              I can't help it, I like both places.

              You're right, your spoiled.....S. Pasadena-Alhambra?

              1. re: caitybirdie
                e
                Ernie Oct 11, 2006 03:27 PM

                Even closer to South Pas is my favorite banh mi place, Baguette Du Jour in Alhambra. It is on Valley Bl just east of Fremont. The BBQ beef sandwich is delicious and cheap (~$2.50) and they bake their own baguettes every day which are very light and crispy.

              2. w
                wilp Oct 11, 2006 04:03 AM

                Thats it, I'm going. I work a few blocks away. So much good food, so little time. Thanks for the review.

                1. h
                  henrychan888 Oct 11, 2006 06:17 AM

                  i actually enjoy the traditional vietnamese (non-baguette) ones more than lees and mrbaguette. there's a store that's been around forever on atlantic and valley in alhambra.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: henrychan888
                    c
                    coconutz Oct 11, 2006 07:08 PM

                    When you say "ones" do you mean sandwiches? And what are they on if not baguettes. I've only had Vietnamese sandwiches in SF and they come on light crisp baguettes. We are headed to Alhambra today so thought I'd pick something up to go.

                    1. re: coconutz
                      monku Oct 12, 2006 12:39 AM

                      Not on a baguette but a "French" roll. I notice that places that don't bake their own baguettes on the premises use the French roll and put it in the microwave to heat them up.

                      1. re: monku
                        h
                        henrychan888 Oct 12, 2006 02:42 AM

                        ah yes, it tends to be softer than the baguettes.

                  2. Will Owen Oct 12, 2006 02:32 AM

                    Thanks a bunch, Dommy. You've got me lusting after those crunchy yummy carbs again. The only way I can make this stuff fit my diet is to add in all the goopy fat, and of course the protein...

                    Banh mi are the most insanely addicting sandwiches anyone has ever invented, swear to God. They make grilled cheese and all the other indispensable icons pale by comparison. Ask me how I know.

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