On this late autumn day there were some nice patches of blue in the sky and some faint sunshine, but sadly those clear skies mean that it was a little bit on the cooler side especially in the shade.
There was a simple choice to consider. If I needed a bit of heat, I could have stayed inside curled up on the sofa with the heater on, or I could head off out and about to get my hands on, and my mouth around, some spicy morsel.
I took the outdoor option and so on this day I was heading out looking for some Vietnamese food for lunch, and what better to get the taste buds tingling and some spicy warmth, than a Ban Mi sandwich at Banh Mi & Co in Lakeview.
Not everyone knows what your typical Banh Mi sandwich is or even what it contains, so just to help us all out those kind folks at Banh Mi & Co at Lakeview have created a nice chalkboard drawing on the wall to diagram it all out.
The basic Banh Mi sandwich is a crunchy french baguette filled with cucumber, pickled carrot & daikon, coriander (or cilanto), jalopeno and mayo.
Here at Banh Mi & Co there are a number of fillings that you can choose from as the protein; BBQ Pork, Shredded Chicken, Grilled Beef, Curry Chicken, Veggie Tofu, Lemongrass Chicken, Lemongrass Tofu, or Seitan.
However on this occasion I had the daily special which was a Meatball Banh Mi, with Wonton Soup for $8.50.
The Wonton Soup was great, a lovely flavoured chicken broth, leaves of cilantro mixed in and floating on top, both aromatic and a tasty delight. The Won ton wrapped pork dumplings fell apart in the broth, but that was OK they were soft and silky.
The pork meatball filling was tasty with a touch of cilantro and onion. Apart from the fact that it was boiling hot and I had to wait for it to cool down before slurping it greedily. It was a perfect start to the combo.
The Pork Meatball Banh Mi was just as good. The bread was excellent, freshly baked, a crunchy crust and a nice soft inside. The cilantro, carrots and jalapeno were fresh and crunchy. The chilli heat gave a nice light burn to the lips, and the cucumber slices then cooled them back down again.
I liked the meatball fillings although they were a little bit soft and so they detracted slightly from the crunch of everything else. Having said that, I liked the flavours, I just might have something more solid on another day like the grilled beef or chicken.
The combo was pretty good value at $8.50, especially since the Banh Mi on its own is more or less $6 and the soup just under $3, throw in a soda as well, and it is most definitely a good choice.
This branch of Banh Mi & Co is about 15 minutes walk from the Belmont Red CTA station at 3121 N Broadway.