It’s been a little bit since I’ve written, I know. I have been on a tear of eating out, actually, but as it was a result of my dad visiting, I have been unavailable to share it all lately. One of our dining experiences, however, was, of course, a food truck. It was Dad’s first food LA food truck experience. And it was a good one.
Last Thursday we pulled up along Miracle Mile to scope out our options of which there were many. After some discussion, he decided he wanted to try the Dogtown Dog truck AND Eatphamish. I had eaten at the Dogtown truck previously with little fanfare, but he’s a huge hot dog fan. So we agreed to split a dog and then grab a couple of banh mis down the block at Eatphamish.
I have to say, I am so glad I gave the Dogtown truck another day in court as we were both very impressed with our dog! We ordered the Trailer Trash Dog (all beef snap dog topped with hearty chili and crumbled Frito’s - $6). While neither of us recognized much of the promised snap in our dog, we both agreed that it was great: big and bold. The chili was great and the Frito’s added a fantastic crunch – they really made the whole thing. So, kudos, guys. I’ll be back.
After our dog we ambled down the block to check out Eatphamish’s menu. Now, I had actually checked them out about a week or so prior to this but I only ordered the grilled steak spring rolls (served with lettuce, cucumber, pickled carrots & daikon, bean sprouts, fresh basil and mint in a rice paper wrap - $6 for 2), and didn’t think it was enough to report on. The spring rolls were chubby and ginormous, and the steak was grilled nicely and was quite tasty. But I really only tasted the meat and not much of the vegetables. I will add that they were not very tightly rolled. I also was not a fan of the dipping sauce. It was a little too sweet for my taste and I missed the peanuts. Lastly, the fact that they were just as expensive, if not more, than the banh mis, was very odd. They should make them smaller and cheaper.
But last week with Dad, I tried their banh mi. I ordered the grilled steak banh mi and he ordered the grilled lemongrass pork banh mi, and my buddy, Doug, ordered the lemongrass chicken banh mi (12” baguettes served with garlic mayo, pickled carrots & daikon, cilantro, jalapeños and a dash of soy sauce - $7, $5 & $5, respectively). It was a banh mi festival. And it was delicious.
Lisa Le, the chef of EatPhamish, gets the wonderful baguettes from a Vietnamese bakery in Alhambra fresh every morning. I loved the creative addition of the garlic mayo and jalapeños. It’s so interesting how an imposing 12” sandwich is actually so light and fresh and easy to finish off (if one doesn’t eat a chili dog beforehand). I preferred my steak to Dad’s pork. I thought its marinade complimented the garlic mayo perfectly and the occasional splash of cilantro cut through the peppers - a sprightly surprise on the palate. And unlike the spring rolls, I thought the ratio of meat to veggies was spot on.
The prices were right, the food came out at a fairly good speed and this sandwich is tidy and ideal to eat on the go. I very much doubt I will return to order the pho. I simply cannot imagine how I would eat a large bowl of steaming soup on the side of the road. That, and my lukewarm feelings about the spring rolls aside, I will certainly return for their exceptional banh mi.