Subway, eat fresh for breakfast

If you watch TV or follow food news, you may have heard that Subway is trying to break into the fast food breakfast scene.  Earlier this week, they offered up free English muffin melts as a promotion.  I stopped in at one that was located in a gas station before work.  I had to fill up…

Muffin melt

Egg whites, ham, cheese and tomato

Subway’s approach to breakfast is the same as lunch – Eat fresh and eat healthy.

Their muffin melts use light-wheat  English muffins which aren’t bad but like other wheat breads, a little dry and rough.  Subway offers several different meat options – ham, bacon, sausage – or you can just do a plain egg melt.   Egg whites can be substituted for no extra cost which is something I don’t think other fast food chains offers and a definite appeal to those trying to be more health conscious.

Like their subs, you can add on toppings and dressings and specify the type of cheese you want, if any.  And if you don’t feel like a muffin, you can get a 6″ or flatbread (different cost).

I added tomato to my ham, cheese and egg white melt.  I think the sandwich would have benefited from some sort of sauce to balance the dryness of the English muffin.  It didn’t fill me up but paired with fruit or yogurt, I think I would have had a decent, well-proportioned and balanced breakfast.

The muffin melts range from $2-3 and at a 160-170 cals and 3.5-4g of fat, are a heck of a lot healthier for you.

3 NOMs for Subway’s breakfast melts.

Subway
Various locations

Buttermilk Truck

Buttermilk Truck

Third try’s the charm, or so the saying goes.  I have been thisclose to Buttermilk Truck twice before but never got to try them due to long lines.  Checking out their schedule for the week, I noticed that they were going to be in Culver City tonight from 7-10pm, which was only 10 minutes north on the freeway.  I called up the Husband and let him know that we were going out to eat tonight.

Order up at the Buttermilk Truck

We got to the truck around 8pm; I was expecting there to be a crowd given how popular Buttermilk was at the Food Fest and the Relief for Haiti event at T Lofts.  Surprisingly, there was no line.  There were a few people waiting around for their orders but other than that…  I was cheering inside.  FINALLY!!

Husband and I decided to order the chicken and waffles ($7), the breakfast sandwich with bacon and hashbrowns ($4) and two orders of the pancake bites ($5/each).  Prices include tax so no need to carry odd change.  The nice thing Buttermilk Truck does is if you order multiple items, they serve each item as it is ready so you don’t have to wait for everything to finish cooking to receive it.

Chicken and waffle

First up was the chicken and waffles – 2 wings and a waffle.  The waffle had cinnamon mixed into the batter which I could smell and a pat of butter was melted into the crevices.  The flavor was nice but texture-wise, I prefer crispier waffles.  Still, this was pretty tasty.

The chicken wings were fantastic.  The skin was crispy and the batter had a little bit of spicy mixed it to it, giving the chicken some heat.  The meat was juicy.  Flavor-wise, these were on par with what I would expect from a sit-down restaurant.

Breakfast sandwich, garlic rosemary hashbrown

Eggy accident

Next up, the breakfast sandwich – an over-easy fried egg, cheese and applewood smoked bacon encased in a homemade buttermilk biscuit.  Chicken apple sausage or torino can be substituted for the bacon.

Husband went in for the first bite and while I warned him about the runny yolk, he still managed to get it all over himself.  There went my yolk…  The biscuit was great – fluffy inside and not at all crumbly.  Crispy bacon, nicely cooked egg, a classic yummy breakfast sandwich.

The garlic rosemary hashbrown, a $0.50 addition to the breakfast sandwich, was delicious.  Garlic and rosemary can be very strong flavors but in this hashbrown, they weren’t overpowering.  Texture-wise, it was like eating a giant tater tot.  Well worth the 50 cents, in my opinion.

While I was finishing up my sandwich, Buttermilk announced that they had a extra mini-Brick and asked if anyone wanted it.  No one went for it so I took it.  Hey, free food and a chance to try another yummy item off their menu?  Why not?

Mini-brick

The mini-Brick consisted of a hashbrown topped with a fried egg topped with half a biscuit and covered in homemade chorizo gravy.  This was pretty tasty but required a fork.  I really enjoyed the chorizo gravy; salty (but not overly so) and meaty, this would be awesome to use in a loco moco or serve over french fries.

Our pancake bites were served up last.  Husband wanted chocolate chip and I went with the red velvet which also had chocolate chips in it.  Served with a side of butter, these were a sweet ending to our meal.  Syrup was available near the forks and napkins.

Chocolate chip pancake bites

Red velvet pancake bites

Husband devoured most of his order before I could get a picture but I managed to stop him mid-nom on the last pancake.  He really enjoyed these, apparently.  He didn’t even offer me a taste…

The red velvet pancake bites were really good, though, with syrup, a little on the sweet side.  Easily consumed in 2 bites, these were fluffy, moist and not too thick or thin.

Now I understand why Buttermilk had such long lines the last two times I saw them.  Great food and great prices for the most part.  I thought the chicken and waffles were a little bit pricy but everything else was cheap for the quality and quantity.  I would eat every single one of these items again.

And according to their Twitter, they sold out of everything tonight…

Buttermilk Truck gets 4 NOMs from the Catty Critic

Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten Banh Mi…literally years.  Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich comprising of a french baguette, meat, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño, mayo and sometimes, pate.  Mmm-yoso had several posts on this Vietnamese sandwich which started a craving.  Then I spotted someone at work chowing down on one a few weeks ago.  After reading Gastronomy’s post about Banh Mi in St. Louis, my craving got pushed into “must have one NOW” territory.  A quick Google and Yelp search revealed several places near my work.  Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery (also referred to as “Banh Mi Che Cali”l) seemed to be a popular spot so I decided to go there on my lunch break today.

Located on Brookhurst and McFadden in Westminster, this little shop looks like an old Taco Bell that got taken over.  Inside are numerous Vietnamese ladies making sandwiches, taking orders and spooning various porridges into to-go containers.  The counter is overflowing with all sorts of things – leaf wrapped mystery items, rice with chicken, spring rolls, noodles, bread-y things….  It’s a very small space so most people take their order to go but there are several tables with chairs inside and outside in case you do want to dine in.  Also, they bake their own bread and sell long baguettes for $1/piece.

The first thing I noticed was the lack of order to ordering.  Basically, you just charge up to the front, kicking all concept of a line to the curb.  Little old ladies will cut in front of you without even giving you a glance.  The lady at the register quickly writes down your order, takes your money and moves on to the next person.  They don’t ask for your name or anything.  Somehow, they just know what order goes to which customer.  I wonder how many orders they’ve messed up.  In the time I was there, I never saw anyone come back in complaining of receiving the wrong items…

The next thing I noticed was the banh mi menu prices.  The sandwiches only cost $2.50 and they advertised a “buy two, get one free” deal.  Wow…that’s some cheap eats.   I decided to go with the 3 for 2 deal.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat all 3 sandwiches despite the fact that I was starving (no breakfast, bad me) but it was too good a deal to pass up.  I could always save the other sandwiches for later…  I ordered the BBQ pork (Thit Nuong), BBQ beef, and ham and meatloaf (Dac Biet Thit Cha).  $5 even at the register because they don’t charge tax for the sandwiches, apparently.

BBQ Pork Banh Mi

Inside the BBQ Pork Banh Mi

Back at work, I opened the first sandwich.  Nothing was marked so I had no clue which one I had picked.  It turned out to be the BBQ pork.  I chowed down.  The bread was soft on the inside and had a ok crust on the outside, though I wish it had a little bit more crustiness to it.  The bbq pork was good.  It wasn’t dry but some pieces didn’t tear easily.  The pickled vegetables added a delicious sour note but I noticed they don’t use cucumbers like other Banh Mi places I’ve been to.  There was just the right of amount of cilantro in each bite.  However, there was only one long slice of jalapeño which was disappointing.  Overall, this was a decent banh mi as far as I could tell and it satisfied my hunger.

Inside the ham & meatloaf Banh Mi

Ham and meatloaf Banh Mi

A couple of hours later, I was starting to get hungry again so I went for another sandwich.  I pulled out the ham and meatloaf.  Now, the meatloaf isn’t really “meatloaf” but more like a steamed pork patty.  This sandwich had pâté on it as well.  It was a little more sloppily put together as the pâté wasn’t evenly spread on the bread and oozed out of the side sometimes.  And they really skimped on the jalapeno…one lonely little slice.  The bread was even less “crusty” than the previous sandwich.  But the ham was nice and salty and overall, this was a good sandwich.  I don’t think it’s as good as the ones I remember getting from the little place in San Diego’s Ranch 99 but for $2.50, it was great.

I haven’t gone for the BBQ Beef yet as I’m still full so that may have to be saved for another time.  Hopefully, it keeps well…

Overall, these were decent Banh Mi and you can’t beat the price.  It did satisfy my craving but I was hoping for something more mouth-watering in flavor.

On a side note, driving from work to this place nearly cost me my life.  There was a section on Bolsa around Magnolia that was INSANE with the stereotypical Asian driver.  It looked like a lot of people were out gathering supplies for the Lunar New Year.  Either way, craziness…  I felt like I was on the road with clones of my mom and dad behind the wheel of the other cars.

Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery gets 3 NOMs from the Catty Critic.

Bahn Mi & Che Cali Bakery
15551 Brookhurst St
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 839-8185
Banh Mi & Che Cali Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sandwich munchie

French baguette
smoked salmon
prepared horseradish
apricot preserves

Makes a great sandwich.  🙂  I think it would also be tasty with a little red onion, romaine lettuce and tomato for fixings.  I just didn’t have any on hand.

The idea hit me yesterday based on a recipe I had adapted before.