Warming up on a cold day with a spicy Banh Mi in Lakeview

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.

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