Banh Mi Chay

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Tuesday’s lunch:

Banh Mi Chay

A wicked good banh mi chay sandwich from Eden (aka “Little Saigon”) in Falls Church, VA. Thanks to the Buddhists perfecting mock meat over thousands of years, the Vietnamese have some of the best faux meat there is. On this sandwich is some fake pork so real-tasting, my wife and brother-in-law were astounded. They couldn’t tell the difference.

We also bought (and consumed) fake lobster (so, so good) and a number of other to-go lunches from the excellent Four Sisters (Huong Que) bakery.

Banh Mi is a sandwich on french-style bread and when I visited Vietnam was what I ate when I was itching for a taste of home, even though these sandwiches have a distinctly different taste than the standard American sandwich. Usually they have pork or other meat inside, but if you see “chay” tacked on to the end, you can rest assured it’s vegetarian. Really good stuff.

Hot Chocolate Time

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Last year, one of my co-workers started getting me addicted to good chocolate. As part of my training in what’s good and what’s junk, I was introduced to Dagoba’s Xocolatl hot chocolate with chiles and cinnamon. The best way to describe this drinking chocolate is, “Really good hot chocolate that leaves a nice burn in your throat.” It’s not hot going down, but a second after you swallow, the chiles kick in.

Read my (former) co-worker’s take on the same drink, which he articulates much better than I can. While you’re at it, check out the rest of his chocolate blog (not all vegan, but still…).

Also, a simple hot chocolate recipe for the less adventurous.

Latkes

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I love latkes. Or, as we (half-)Poles call them, Plaki. There’s just something so comforting about potato pancakes served with a healthy dallop of applesauce or sour cream. Fellow latke lovers will want to check out the Dec 05/Jan 06 issue of Satya for Joshua Ploeg’s latke recipes. Of course, all of them are vegan.

Ealier this week, Huyen whipped up a batch of the sweet potato latkes. We didn’t make the accompanying sauce, opting for some applesauce on the side, instead. I was a bit skeptical of how sweet potatoes would work, but I was floored. They have more depth than the standard latke and have some different layers of flavors than I’m used to. Very, very good.

I’m looking forward to trying the others in the collection, as well as the sauces.