banh mi on the west side?
Not really, not since East West Sandwich closed in Westwood. The pho shop on Wilshire and Barrington SOMETIMES has banh mi but not consistently and they're not very good. There are banh mi in the Valley, at Reseda and Sherman Way, and there are banh mi in the SGV and in Orange County. I'm shocked that there's not a Lee's Sandwiches on the Westside somewhere, but there you have it.
re: Das Ubergeek
The San Gabriel Valley (SGV) is east on the 10. It's mostly a Chinese expatriate community but the towns of Rosemead and San Gabriel have a number of Vietnamese businesses, including quite a number of banh mi shops. If you've never been, you owe it to yourself to go. There's no better place for Chinese food -- real Chinese food, not that sugary deep-fried stuff so common elsewhere.
The #1 place to go in the region for Vietnamese food, though, is Little Saigon, in the cities of Westminster, Garden Grove and Santa Ana in Orange County.
A few banh mi shops to get your appetite whetted (the links aren't working right):
Banh Mi Cho Cu Bakery
14520 Magnolia St, Westminster, CA 92683
Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery
8948 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683
Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery - duplicate
15551 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683
Saigon Sandwiches & Coffee
7219 De Soto Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91303
The San Gabriel Valley (aka "The Other Valley") starts just east of downtown L.A. The 10 runs right through the middle of the SGV. It's essentially bounded by the 210 to the north, 60 to the south, 710 to the west, and 57 to the east. Some of the best Chinese food in North America is located in the SGV. While the Vietnamese restaurants are nowhere near as comprehensive as those in Little Saigon, there are a number of good Vietnamese restaurants here, including bahn mi (Rosemead has a significant Vietnamese population).
Here's some information about Vietnamese restaurants in the SGV: http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv/vi...
I agree, a real banh mi shop is something we desperately need on the west side, but the demise of East-West, whose traditional banh mi were decent if not great and only a little bit overpriced, suggests that the free market may not concur.
If you don't mind paying nine bucks plus drink and tip for your banh mi, there are some decent "haute" versions on the lunch menu at Michelia, on 3rd near Cedars. http://micheliabistro.com/menu_lunch.htm