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Banh Mi & Che Cali Opens in Fountain Valley

janetms383 May 17, 2009 02:47 PM

This place opened last summer and the name was Pho Noodle House. I didn't bother trying it because I can walk to Pho'licious. Then the other day, I stopped at Big City Bagel in the same shopping center and notice the signage now said Pho Banh Mi & Che Cali. Hmmm

The next day, I though, let me go check this place out. I walk in the door and sure enough... the same Banh Mi menu as the Banh Mi & Che Cali down Brookhurst in Little Saigon. I ordered a sandwich, picked up some cookies and asked for a coffee. The plastic cup was the same as from Banh Mi & Che Cali down Brookhurst in Little Saigon. Hmmm

I think I'm catching on. So, I ask the very nice lady making my sandwich... are you the same Banh Mi & Che Cali as down Brookhurst in Little Saigon? She smiled and said yes. I asked, have you own this place since it changed from the coffee shop. She smiled and said yes.

I'm not that stupid. I made the connection. This Is The Same Banh Mi & Che Cali As The Place Down Brookhurst In Little Saigon!!!
Wow, right in my hood!

Sandwich rocked on fresh baked baguette ( you also have the choice of a roll) and the coffee was delicious. They also have their wonderful cream puffs! In addition, they have a full noodle house menu. Pho, Bun, Com DIa, Spring Rolls. I was so full from my #25 that I didn't try the noodles, but I'll be back.

The banh mi are $2.25 and they don't offer the buy 2 get 1 free like they do down Brookhurst in Little Saigon, but I shouldn't be eating 3 sandwiches anyway.

Pho Banh Mi & Che Cali is located at Brookhurst & Talbert in the same center that houses the ClaimJumper. They are opened 7 days a week 9AM to 9PM.

  1. m
    mollygirl May 18, 2009 11:25 AM

    Yum! I love Banh Mi & Che Cali.
    Their banh mi are absolutely the BEST. How can anyone eat Lee's after having the real deal.

    1. i
      I got nothin May 18, 2009 12:02 PM

      Sweet, now they are even closer to me. I noticed this place, but figured it was an americanized knock off. I didn't realize it was the real BM&CC.

      1. Professor Salt May 18, 2009 12:03 PM

        Much more convenient to the 405 now. Great news.

        How's the bread at this location compared to the two others further north of Brookhurst?

        I find it odd that this location does pho as well. Generally speaking, great pho and great banh mi don't come out of the same kitchen

        2 Replies
        1. re: Professor Salt
          janetms383 May 18, 2009 12:30 PM

          The bread was wonderful. It looked like they were baking it at this location.

          I used to work at a shop in this center, but when I left that job last summer, I lost track of what was happening with this restaurant.

          Here's what it looks like......... The original Pho shop took over a place that was a coffee house complete with a kitchen and small dining room. Then the owners took over a small suite next door to the restaurant. This is where they have the Banh Mi. It's connected to the Pho shop, but kind of separate too. If you go in the main door, you're in the Pho shop, but if you go in the small door to the left, you hit the sandwiches straight away. There is a woman behind the bar that asks you what you want, then makes your sandwich and takes it to the cash register. Sweets and cream puffs are on this side.

          I didn't have any noodles, but I think they offer table service. I'm going back, so can update soon.

          1. re: janetms383
            Professor Salt May 18, 2009 12:56 PM

            This is the corner storefront that used to be Natale Coffee a million years ago, before the more recent pho shop incarnation? It's too bad I never gave the pho shop a chance, because I am usually too intent on heading to Shin Sen Gumi down the block for ramen.

            I used to live in this neighborhood years ago. I'm glad to hear that good Viet options are moving further south on Brookhurst. Thanks for keeping us updated with reports on the new BMCC store.

        2. christoofat May 18, 2009 01:17 PM

          yeah, baby, after driving all over town to get good banh mi, this place opened up just a mile or so from work. I used to go to the bakery at Euclid & Edinger, but they moved their place back along the backline of the mall, making it a real hassle for parking now, and their BBQ pork was never really BBQ-y enough for me (no char)
          Che Cali has the kind bread AND BBQ pork , and no lines (yet). I went today at lunch & got a Purrfect dac biet version, easily a foot long for $2.25. Take THAT ,Subway.
          Also the "buy 2, get one free" is in full effect. WIN!

          7 Replies
          1. re: christoofat
            JAB May 18, 2009 01:43 PM

            Freeway close, "buy 2, get one free" is in full effect and the possibility of getting the Viet version of the old american standard soup and sandwich = WIN! Indeed!

            1. re: christoofat
              janetms383 May 18, 2009 01:45 PM

              Chris,
              You went to the new location? And, they have buy 2 get 3?? I didn't see anything to indicate that deal was in effect, but the nice lady did ask me...."you only want one?"

              1. re: janetms383
                christoofat May 18, 2009 10:09 PM

                Yeppers, they have signage up above the counter, "Buy 2, Get One Free", & I did just that last Friday, the first time I've been there since the name change. They still use the same restaurant menu from the Noodle House, so perhaps they were still in transition when you visited. Next time, ...tell her "two", & see what happens. =)
                I can't tell you how jazzed I am they are there, because I tried a few times to get into the one up on Brookhurst at lunchtime & it was impossible enough just to find a place to park, much less actually get food. I only hope they get enough business to keep going.

                1. re: christoofat
                  janetms383 May 18, 2009 10:55 PM

                  went there to grab some noodles for dinner and had the chance to speak to the charming manager, Lang. The scoop is the noodle house that opened last summer didn't make it so the Cali restaurants took over the noodle house in April. They were able to pick up some additional space and opened the bakery while still maintaining the restaurant. I had the bun today and it was really delicious. One of the best buns I've had! However, the banh mi and the bakery still rock.

                   
                   
                   
                  1. re: janetms383
                    christoofat May 19, 2009 06:55 AM

                    excellent! I had that bun last week. Again, to me the success of that dish is the BBQ pork being done right ( I usually get the BBQ/eggroll combo)...& they do it right!
                    Mine was still warm from the grill when it got to my table. And yay, you grabbed a pic of the buy 2, get one free sign! LOL..ok, now I'm hungry already.

                    1. re: christoofat
                      janetms383 May 19, 2009 08:56 AM

                      The BBQ port/eggroll combo is exactly what I had. Lang told me they prepare the pork differently at the FV location. My meal had very lean meat, thinly sliced and very well seasoned. I've had the pork in the sandwich as well. The owners also have Cali Restaurant that is located on Brookhurst at Margo Lane. The cuisine here is from the central and southern regions of Vietnam. I'm anxious to try it.

                      1. re: janetms383
                        christoofat May 19, 2009 12:41 PM

                        So of COURSE I headed back again to day at lunch for the BBQ P on baguette.
                        It seems a bit strange ( in a good way, of course) that the baguette sandwich is larger & only $2.25. I also got some of their banh su (cream puff), not the best I've ever had , but certainly yummy.
                        There was a gentleman who came in after me, with a newspaper under his arm , an urgent demeanor, & a noticeable New York accent inquiring if they had a "pulled pork" sandwich LOL She suggested the BBQ Pork , and he ordered it. Hope he isn't too surprised by jalapenos inside <g>

            2. h
              huaqiao May 19, 2009 09:11 AM

              How long before quality ethnic food starts bleeding into Huntington Beach? :D

              At the rate stuff is moving down Brookhurst, looks like it won't be too long!

              7 Replies
              1. re: huaqiao
                janetms383 May 19, 2009 09:20 AM

                By :"ethnic" do you mean specifically Asian? If you want Vietnamese, try Mitasie 3 on Edinger across from Bella Terra. Of course, FV is not too far and in addition to Pho Banh Mi & Che Cali, have you tried Xanh on Brookhurst & Edinger?

                1. re: janetms383
                  h
                  huaqiao May 19, 2009 10:41 AM

                  Just poking fun at HB's reputation for having a pretty bland dining scene. :)

                  1. re: janetms383
                    christoofat May 19, 2009 12:44 PM

                    Xhan is very good too, but a bit pricey for VN food, although the flavors are there in spades. Chef Haley is starting some cooking classes at the restaurant soon & I'm thinking about taking one of the offered VN ones.

                    1. re: christoofat
                      janetms383 May 19, 2009 02:18 PM

                      It's hard to compare Xanh to other VN restaurants. Chef Haley's dishes are inspired by her homeland's cuisine, but her take on them is strictly her own. Was there last week and had the fried tofu, papaya salad and bo luc lac. I know that sounds ordinary, but the taste of each dish was sublime. The bo luc lac is delicately seasoned and served with fresh yam fries. I've thought about that dish every day since I've eaten it. Have to go back soon!

                      1. re: janetms383
                        christoofat May 20, 2009 07:08 AM

                        I totally agree, she has taken her childhood food experiences & evolved them into her own. My co-worker had her as one of her training chefs when she went to Culinary School, & she said she was one of THE best. Hmm..it's time I got there again for lunch...
                        But not today - I am taking a coworker to Che Cali for lunch today! =)

                        1. re: christoofat
                          janetms383 May 20, 2009 08:07 AM

                          Well, I am in a quandry! I still want more of Chef Haley's food, but I'm having trouble getting past Che Cali and this morning on my way to work I was trying to decide which 3 sandwiches I would get on my way home. Oh Dear!

                          1. re: janetms383
                            christoofat May 20, 2009 01:26 PM

                            LOL@ U...I really, REALLY tried to order something other than banh mi when I was there today. Hopeless, simply hopeless. I'm becoming a big fan of the dac biet (combo), their pate they use is very tasty & not too "livery" tasting as others I have had are. They seemed a lot busier today at the sandwich counter, I think word is starting to get around.

                2. n
                  New Trial May 21, 2009 01:14 AM

                  Stopped by to pick up lunch today and made two of my co-workers very happy. I had the terrific roast pork and then gave my co-workers a meatball and a cold cuts, which they split. I also tried the goi cuon (which I ate there), which were quite good.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: New Trial
                    e
                    exilekiss May 21, 2009 08:26 AM

                    Hi New Trial,

                    How did the Roast Pork Banh Mi compare with their other location up the street? Thanks.

                    1. re: exilekiss
                      janetms383 May 21, 2009 08:49 AM

                      exilekiss - I did a reveiw for Food Frenzy in the OC Register and when I was speaking with the manager of this location, she told me that they prepare the pork at the FV location using a different recipe than what they use at the other bakeries. The menu still calls it BBQ pork, but it's more of a grilled pork. It's seasoned well, sliced thin and more lean than what they use at the bakery in Westminster. It was very good though and it's still warm from the grill when they make your sandwich.

                      1. re: janetms383
                        e
                        exilekiss May 22, 2009 03:22 PM

                        Thanks janetms383 and New Trial. :)

                        I'll have to give this place a try next time I'm in the area. :)

                      2. re: exilekiss
                        n
                        New Trial May 21, 2009 04:31 PM

                        I am embarrassed to say, but this was my first time at any BM&CC. I have been to a few other banh mi places, though, and this was better than any of them by a fair margain.

                    2. meltedcheese May 23, 2009 09:42 AM

                      I"ve been meaning to do a write up of this place for 2 weeks now. Sorry. I work right by here.

                      They will be opening at 6am in about 2 weeks.
                      You can get an egg sandwich- just ask. That's my favorite breakfast- egg sandwich and coffee.

                      The bbq pork and bbq chicken is very good. different than most others. The meatball is good too. I took a package of macaroons to my coworkers and they were really stoked. You can get thai tea as well.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meltedcheese
                        meltedcheese Dec 30, 2009 11:30 PM

                        I can't believe I haven't visited this thread since May.

                        UPDATE: they now have a warm display box for pate chaud (pork and chicken) and warm egg rolls to go.

                        The pate chaud is a welcome edition. I brought some to co-workers and they were pretty happy although I think they liked the egg rolls better. Now if they only served a side of duck sauce or plum sauce we'd be talking.

                        One more note. Even though they say they are open at 6am I have found that it's better to wait until about 6:30 ish because sometimes they haven't delivered the bread yet. And lastly this place is a beast when it comes to finding close-by parking at lunch so if I don't grab extra sandwiches in the morning I don't bother coming back at lunch.

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