(This is one of those sad times I forgot my digital camera, but hopefully my personality and eloquent words will help you forget that you are looking at lame cell phone images.)
Sometimes I crave a good sandwich. It's not often, but when I do, I just want to sink my Chiclet-sized chompers into a toasted french baguette filled with grilled pork. In other words - a banh mi !
Xe May opened early this year, on the Japanese-centric neighborhood of St. Mark's, and the shop still has that slick, new store smell.
The menu is simple, with a variety of banh mi options including a vegetarian rendition with glazed portobello and cauliflower spread, and others featuring all the key meat characters: curried lamb with coconut, lemongrass chicken, grilled pork (aptly dubbed 'The Hog'), and of course, the traditional, classic banh mi with headcheese and other coldcuts.
In addition to banh mis, you can also opt for tacos which use similar fillings as the banh mi, with added options of grilled meatballs and beefsteak.
Jamie and her beau shared a couple tacos and proclaimed them delicious.
The trio also opted for the Super Club Classic, the traditional banh mi with bbq pork and headcheese.
The sandwiches were beautifully layered. The group nodded agreeably as they munched on the sandwiches. "You can taste the pate!" said Thanan. Pate is such a beautiful thing.
I pigged out on The Hog, jammed with plenty of lean, grilled pork, and fresh, lightly pickled carrots and cucumbers.
What's particularly nice about this sandwich is that either they hull out the bread, or the bread interior itself is minimal. It's a perfect balance of filling to bread ratio, with a solid crispy exterior that doesn't cut up your mouth. The pork was nicely marinated, not dry, benefiting from the healthy douse of spicy mayo, and was altogether satisfying, especially washed down with a cup of their tasty Vietnamese coffee.
I can't wait to go back to try the classic, ask for extra pate, and fill up my punch card so they can feature it on their wall of superfan fame!
We then stopped in next door to Puddin'. The shop specializes in pudding parfaits, with a variety of pudding flavors, including seasonal pumpkin, banana, butterscotch and lemon, in addition to an assortment of toppings like brownie pieces, homemade peanut brittle and lime angel food cake.
I sampled the pumpkin, and thought it tasted exactly like spiced up pumpkin puree, so I went for one of their signature concoctions - banana cream dream, because basically I dream of banana cream (I'm just a simple girl, y'know?).
The small cup will run you $4, and it's a phenomenally tiny ol' thing, but will satiate your sweet tooth enough for the two minutes it will take you to finish it.
This one had layers of banana pudding, banana cake, and crushed graham crackers. It was good, but I just wasn't that impressed.
Around the corner is my forever love, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, which debuted its pumpkin soft serve flavor last week, so naturally, I had to have it.
I'm sure the pumpkin soft serve would taste good in any shape or form, but the Bea Arthur is a worthy presentation fit for that flavor.
The soft-serve was creamy, lightly spiced with lovely notes of pumpkin...taken in full with the crushed Nilla Wafers and generous drizzles of dulce de leche...you can just forgetaboutit. A total fall slam dunk !
Han's Nonsensical Rating: It's too hard not to eat a variety of things on your stroll in the East Village, so it's best to just unbuckle those pants, gear up for the winter weather and eat your heart out in this beloved neighborhood!
96 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY 10009
102 Saint Marks Place New York, NY 10009
125 E 7th St, New York, NY