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lulu b's:vietnamese sandwiches/snacks in 78704!

r
reina_de_fideo Feb 2, 2008 05:43 PM

i just got back to austin after a month of travels, and to my great excitement, i noticed that there's a new food trailer in 78704 -- that sells vietnamese sandwiches, drinks and snacks! (on s. lamar, just south of the office depot on s. lamar and oltorf, on the same side of the street as the OD)

since i moved here 3 and a half years ago (from ny), i've lived in this neighborhood, and while my attitude toward tacos is one of reverence, i sometimes get a craving for something else. one of my favorite snacks/small meals is the vietnamese summer roll -- 'goi cuon' -- refreshing and cheap, and satisfying. when i was working up north i was close to asian food of all sorts, but i am now working downtown, so i don't venture too far north anymore, especially on weekends. thus, i was especially excited to find out that this new trailer (it's been open about a month) is selling fresh summer rolls($3), vietnamese sandwiches (including several veggie versions, such as lemongrass tofu - $4), vermicelli bowls ($5.75), bubble tea($3), and hot or iced vietnamese coffee(the ultimate way to satisfy my sweet tooth and caffeine craving simultaneously, $2.50). when i biked by today, they were closing up shop, so i grabbed a menu and found out the hours: tues-sat 11-6.

can't wait to taste lulu b's creations! i will definitely venture there next saturday and report back here.

  1. c
    chucklesmcfarland Feb 4, 2008 07:47 PM

    This sounds great.
    I wish there were trailers of more foods than just Mexican, street food rules.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chucklesmcfarland
      r
      reina_de_fideo Feb 9, 2008 02:20 PM

      i was very pleased with my experience here. the two sisters who run it together (with their mom) are very sweet. i was having a hard time deciding between the summer rolls & the vietnamese sandwiches, and since the sandwiches are their specialty, i decided to go for one of those; having noticed my difficulty in deciding, they surprised me with a set of summer rolls too! (one avocado, one avocado & shrimp.) i thought the sandwich (i tried the lemongrass chicken) was very tasty -- the meat was flavorful, the pickles veggies were tangy, cilantro and jalapeños gave my mouth something extra to be happy about, and the bread was perfectly crusty/soft, and it was just the right size; of course, i couldn't help but devouring the summer rolls as well. my only complaint is that there weren't enough (if any) fresh herbs in the rolls -- but that may just reflect my somewhat fanatical obsession with mint/cilantro...
      the vietnamese iced coffee was perfect, too.
      it's nice that they're using recyclable (compostable) packaging/plates. though signs encourage you to bring your own bag if you're getting takeout.. i would definitely go back; in fact, it will probably become a saturday ritual (especially if they extend their hours past 6, which it seems they are going to do!)

      1. re: reina_de_fideo
        c
        crippstom Feb 12, 2008 12:16 PM

        I went there for lunch today. I had the grilled pork sandwhich. The bread is some of the best I've had in a long time. Tasted like real french bread. There was a little wait and they gave me 2 summer rolls when I ordered just one. It was avocado and delicious. Great food,great value. Although my experience with Vietnamese food is very limited the food was top notch.

        1. re: crippstom
          j
          jscro626 Feb 18, 2008 06:21 AM

          My sandwich was served on a wheat hoagie roll from HEB? I had high hopes after reading this thread, but the sandwiches we received there this weekend (after waiting for 30 minutes) while tasty, were not authentic Bahn Mi.

          I will give them another shot, but our first experience was disappointing.

          1. re: jscro626
            abidonfood Mar 17, 2008 07:41 PM

            I kind of agree with this reply. the banh mi were tasty, but not authentic at all. i had the lemongrass tofu version. to me it almost seemed like it had a californian-influence or something. then came to find out that the cook is a transplant from California. funny... ;)

            i didn't get a wheat hoagie roll from HEB though. the french roll i got was actually QUITE tasty--one of the best breads in town for banh mi... (not better than thanh nhi or pho van though)

            gotta say though, it's definitely the BEST Vietnamese sandwich you're gonna get on this side of town. and although $4 is more expensive than what a banh mi usually costs, i think it's definitely worth paying that extra couple of dollars rather than driving into north austin (if you live down south that is)...

    2. Passadumkeg Feb 13, 2008 02:35 AM

      Mod, please, what is 78704?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Passadumkeg
        rudeboy Feb 13, 2008 04:20 AM

        78704 is a zip code south of the river in the central part of Austin. Lulu B's Vietnamese Restaurant is in that zip code. People that live there just love it - you'll see bumper stickers that say "78704, it's not just a zip code, but a way of life."

        I live in another zip code in "New South Austin," which is Burnet Road b/w 45th and Koenig. Our motto is "78756 - it's just a zip code!"

        1. re: rudeboy
          Passadumkeg Feb 24, 2008 03:27 PM

          Yeah, we went to Pacha's Coffee House looking for Bolivian saltenas, but some lady stopped making them. We were bummed.

      2. s
        shelbyk Feb 24, 2008 11:57 AM

        My sister and I ate here yesterday and thought it was great! We each had the chinese bbq pork sandwich, and split an order of the shrimp spring rolls. The sandwich was on crusty french bread, and we also loved the heat of the jalapenos on the sandwich. We're both usually big fans of peanut sauce with our rolls, but found their fish sauce better and fresher than most. We were both pleased by the freshness of the ingredients, and love having a new option within walking distance of our homes. I would recommend this place to anyone.

        1. Passadumkeg Feb 24, 2008 03:32 PM

          We went to Lula B's last Thurs. for lunch. We had Chinese BBQ, Chicken Lemon Grass sandwiches, Pork lemon grass and shrimp and pork spring rolls. EXCELLENT! And really nice folks too. Shelbyk said it all.

          1. p
            panthacat Mar 11, 2008 11:50 AM

            I have to say I love this little place. It is clean, the service is super cordial and they serve great food. I've had the Chinese BBQ Chicken Vermicelli Bowl twice and it was delectable both times. The Shrimp Summer Rolls are delightfull as well. Generously sized at two to an order. Chock full of noodles, lettuce, cilantro, mint, cucumber and nice sized shrimp. Everything is very reasonably priced and I love that they're "keeping it green" with their compostable to-go implements. Way to go Lulu B's!

            1 Reply
            1. re: panthacat
              w
              whoalilponie Mar 15, 2008 08:02 PM

              okay, it was great, great, great, we had the shrimp/avacado egg rolls and the pork sandwich. You really can't get any fresher, the cukes, carrots, cilantro and peppers were fab in the sandwich and the service was wonderful!! We will be back!!!

            2. d
              DrkBgrk Mar 15, 2008 09:35 PM

              really enjoyed all the sandwiches i've tried there.

              1. l
                Lara_Noel Mar 25, 2008 01:47 PM

                Greetings, hounds! First-time poster and long-time lurker here.

                After spending all morning writing papers, I sped over to this little trailer around 2pm for my first meal of the day. Needless to say, I was hungry! The service was nothing special beyond cordial, but the food was great. I got mine to go since I live very close by, but I thoroughly enjoyed the tree-shaded atmosphere while waiting. Also a nice touch: music magazines and newspapers (both the Chronicle and New York Times) to pass the time.

                I ordered the Barbecue Chicken Vermicelli Bowl and as I sat down at my dining table to eat, it smelled so good that I told myself, "Okay, one bite," before I planned to get up and get a glass of water. HA! I inhaled 3/4 of the vermicelli bowl without interruption. The chicken was unbelievably good--"flash grilled" I believe the menu says(?), no trace of grease, and with the perfectly subtle smoky "barbecue" flavor on the outside, but the pure taste of great-quality white meat on the inside. I definitely recommend spending the extra dollar for extra meat! All other ingredients (vermicelli, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, etc.) were fresh and on point as well. The only downside to my meal is that I think I put a little too much of the fish sauce on my vermicelli bowl, but now I know to only use one of the containers on my next visit.

                Also, I got an iced Vietnamese, which is much better than the one I had at Austin Java (Barton Spgs.) the other day. I'm not sure, but I think Lulu B's coffee is stronger and has a more robust flavor. Lulu B's Vietnamese coffee drink is closer in flavor to the first I ever had years ago at Central Market where I fell in love with the drink. If you're a coffee drinker, do try this for a sweet treat.

                I look forward to trying the sandwiches you've all mentioned!

                1. w
                  wwiggins Mar 26, 2008 09:47 AM

                  I'm a big fan of the Bahn Mi at Tam Deli on North Lamar. The chargrilled pork sandwich is especially delicious.

                  1. e
                    ellyguster Aug 14, 2008 12:42 PM

                    Just had the avacado sandwich and it was wonderful! It's difficult to find fast vegetarian lunches, so this was a treat. The service turned out not to be fast, but it was very nice. They're cash only, so plan accordingly. Will try the lemongrass tofu and coffee next time.

                    1. l
                      lauralakoala Oct 3, 2008 01:06 PM

                      I stopped here today based on your great recommendations! I'm sad to say I can't recommend it as highly.
                      First, I had a pineapple smoothie--$4 for a small one, so pricey but delicious. not overly sweetened, and, i chance to say, it had REAL pineapple of some sort in it, not just the (also delicious but not-the-same) canned variety. The reason I ordered one is they supposedly have no running potable tapwater... Hmmm...
                      Then, I waited. And waited and waited. My boyfriend was surfing his iphone, and I was just standing there. Waiting. After 17.5 minutes (timed by the iphone!) I went to the counter and asked about my food--the woman said, "You're the next one I'm calling." And then shortly gave me my food. Without even a "Sorry about the wait." All we had was a sandwich and summer rolls, so... yeah, I don't know. When I think of cart service I think FAST! But this took longer than many casual restaurants. It wasn't overly busy either, sooo... I don't know.
                      On the bright side--my tofu summer rolls were delicious! ($3.50 for two mid-sized rolls.) Peanut sauce was rich and tangy and spicy and sweet, and the tofu was nicely fried/grilled without being greasy at all! Fresh veggies, herbs, yum. Small, small complaint may be that the rice paper they used was a little too meaty/thick.
                      So in sum--took too long, cost a little too much for the 'ambiance,' but tasted good. Real good.

                      1. r
                        renz Oct 8, 2008 04:34 PM

                        I finally stopped in for lunch today and don't expect to return. I waited nearly 25 minutes for a single bbq prk sandwich (arrived at 12:45ish, food in hand just after 1:10). The veggies were fresh and the meat fairly tasty, but overall the sandwich was very dry and more difficult to eat than it was delicious. I definitely missed the pork pate--or any kind of spread or condiment--that I like on banh mis. And 25 minutes is just too long. It seems to have gone from family-run establishment to hipster hangout, but I wouldnt care about ambience or wait if the food was good enough. Sadly, it wasn't.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: renz
                          s
                          sqwertz Oct 8, 2008 06:47 PM

                          I don't understand why people are raving about this place either. I 've tried it twice and was certainly not impressed either time. It's kinda making me wonder about some of the other recommendations here. I almost seems some of the reviews were faked.

                          -sw

                          1. re: sqwertz
                            s
                            shan Oct 8, 2008 07:27 PM

                            The husband and I went last Saturday based on the recommendations here. We thought it was okay, but we aren't going to rush back anytime soon. We got the chargrilled pork sandwich and the tofu spring rolls. The spring rolls were okay, but I've had better. I liked the bahn mi sandwich, but my husband was less than impressed. We had the same thing, but had completely different opinions about it. I would give it about 3 stars, he was more of a 1 star. There wasn't anything really wrong with the sandwich, but it just wasn't super exceptional.

                            1. re: shan
                              f
                              foodiegal71 Oct 9, 2008 09:06 AM

                              I've only been once and haven't returned. It takes too long and is too high priced for what it is. Even though it's close to my house, I could probably drive up to Tahn Mi and get my order and get home for $5 in the amount of time it'd take me to wait at Lulu B's.

                              1. re: foodiegal71
                                d
                                DrkBgrk Oct 9, 2008 09:15 AM

                                I can't understand the wait there and quickly learned to phone in orders.

                                I will stand behind the quality of both the grilled and bbq pork sandwiches. Consistently delicious.

                                1. re: DrkBgrk
                                  l
                                  Lara_Noel Oct 9, 2008 12:18 PM

                                  To update on my own perspective, I've grown much less fond of this place over the last 6 months. Though I've never waited more than 10 minutes for my vermicelli bowl, I've usually gone during "off" hours, like 3 or 4 in the afternoon when there's only been at most two other patrons.

                                  Despite the fact that I have always been very pleasant and chipper during my visits, the two girls (sisters?) who work there have grown increasingly rude towards me. Last time I went, when I picked up my vermicelli bowl from the window, I said "Thanks a lot, any chance I can get some chili sauce too?", to which I received a blank stare and a half open mouth that seemed to say, "Are you really so gauche as to ask for chili sauce when I'm this busy? Keep some in your effin' pantry."

                                  I would agree that the food has slipped in quality since I began eating here. On my last visit almost three weeks ago, the chicken in my lemongrass vermicelli bowl was completely missing any marinade at all and was so dry that I ended up picking out the inedible chicken and eating the dish with veggies only. When I first began going, they were generous with the vermicelli bowl fixings--carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, mint, peanuts. In my last bowl, I had cucumbers and mint.

                                  I understand small businesses like Lulu B's are hurting right now, and I might have been able to look past the veggie's vanishing act, but the fact remains that my wallet's hurting right now as well. So, after having to throw out my meal's most expensive ingredient last time due to either sub-standard quality meat or sub-standard preparation, I will not be returning.

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