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Jul 21, 2008 02:52 PM

Banh Mi & Che Cali in San Gabriel?

There seems to be a new Banh Mi & Che Cali restaurant on San Gabriel Blvd (just south of Las Tunas) in San Gabriel. Has anyone been to this one?

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  1. I dropped by there last week. I was on my way to Tops but saw their "2 for 1" deal banner and had to drop by. i pictured myself having two delicious bahn mi sandwiches. Alas, it was 2 for 1 for boba drinks.

    anyways, I order a special sandiwch and one of those puffy pastries with chicken pate inside. Both very tasty and a Vietnamese iced coffee to wash it all down.

    since this place is on my route, I'll probably drop by more often.

    1. Thanks to your post, I went tonight at around 5pm. At the risk of dating myself, I think the building used to be a Foster's Freeze... back when there also used to be a Gemco...

      The place was empty although 2 people did come in after me. I was feeding a crew so I ordered 6 banh mi and 4 boba and paid my $16

      I asked if they could put cilantro on the sandwiches and the young guy at the counter said yes but the lady making the sandwiches told him they were out. Sandwiches were okay but the bread was a bit dry and the veggies were a bit sparse. Almost seems like bad form to complain about a $2 sandwich but I was a big fan of Baguette Express and I've been holding everyone else to that standard.

      I will be back though as the location is pretty convenient for me.

      P.S. the counter guy said they've been open about 3 weeks.

      1. Yes. I just went 2 weeks ago. Two thumbs way, way down.

        Very skimpy on the fillings (both meat and veggies). Bland fillings. No cilantro. Stale baguette. I was very disappointed.

        I'll drive the extra mile or so down to Valley Blvd and get my banh mi from Saigon Sandwich and Bakery. I just had their special banh mi 2 days ago, and the baguette was superfresh. I'm drooling thinking about it.

        RIP Baguette Express, which remained my all time fave banh mi in San Gabriel.

        Saigon Sandwich & Bakery
        718 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        Banh MI Che Cali
        135 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        7 Replies
        1. re: apfb

          I've been going to this Bahn mi che cali about every other week and yes, they're progressively getting worse.

          What happened to Baguette Express?

          1. re: ladius

            Baguette Express closed > 1 yr ago. I spoke to the owner, and he said that he was concentrating on his other branches elsewhere and closed the SG branch, which used to be next to Howard's Appliances on Valley Blvd.

          2. re: apfb

            Last week I went to the one on Valley Blvd. and get the veggies on the side because they give you more, but there was no cilantro.

            There's another that's supposed to open on Garvey near San Gabriel & Del Mar Blvd., the sign has been up forever, but no sign of when it might open. Unless I missed something and it is?

            1. re: apfb

              The one on the east end of Valley Blvd. is good. The one on the west end that used to be another restaurant isn't that good. I usually go to Mr. Baguette because I like the meat there.

              Of course, when I eat Banh Mi, I'm usually in OC. Ba Le on Bolsa is a hole in the wall but very good. I noticed there was a place on Harbor Blvd. and GG Blvd. called Nhu Lan, which is my favorite place in Saigon. Obviously it is not the same owners, but they do know how to name drop the right places.

              1. re: bsquared2

                I think Nhu Lan is owned by the same people as Pho Nam Dinh (named after a city in extreme northern Vietnam). PND isn't very good, and is shockingly expensive (by comparison to Little Saigon places) so I haven't been anxious to try Nhu Lan but maybe I'll give it a shot. It can't be worse than Lee's...

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Worse than Lee's? Lee's will do in a pinch. Believe me, I've had a lot worse than Lee's. No stop at Disneyland is complete without stopping at Lee's ahead of time. As much as I love the hole in the wall places, most of them close early.

                  Next time I am in Saigon, I will make a stop at the real Nhu Lan. Or find a good place on the street. Just look for the Laughing Cow.

                  1. re: bsquared2

                    Ah... Banh Mi Che Cali is open late (at least one of them is, anyway).

                    I just don't like Lee's Sandwiches. I think it's the bread -- it tends to be a bit elderly and therefore stale and sharp to eat and... meh. I'd still rather have Lee's than no banh mi at all.