Machine Coffee and Deli

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The first time I walked by Machine Coffee & Deli I did a double take.  This small, quaint coffee shop that serves Four Barrel coffee is located in one of the most dangerous areas of the city.  Even with Pearl's burger (see post HERE) across the street and Dottie's new location down the street, I'm still surprised a place like this exists here, although it reminds me of the first days of Blue Bottle.
The prices for the sandwiches are pretty high considering the area.  You can either eat there or take your sandwich to go.  Considering the sketchy neighborhood, I prefer the later.  Same goes for the coffee.  It's not exactly the most relaxing place to enjoy a sandwich and a coffee.
Crankshaft sandwich at Machine Coffee and Deli-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
The Crankshaft sandwich is a tuna salad with melted cheese on toasted bread.  There wasn't as much mayo as a regular tuna salad sandwich so that led to a lighter tasting sandwich.  I'm no stranger to happily scouting out food in ghetto neighborhoods, but this sandwich is not worth it.

Address:                  Machine Coffee & Deli
                                 1024 Market St.
                                 San Francisco, CA
Type:                        coffee/sandwiches

Popular chomps:      cappuccino
Chomp worthy:         four barrel coffee


Tony's Coal Fired Pizza & Slice House

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I've been to Tony's Pizza Napoletana (see post HERE) and I found the menu to be a little overwhelming when it comes to pizza, from what type of oven to what temperature the pizza is cooked at.  Next door at Tony's Slice House, they keep it much simpler with only a couple choices: cheese, pepperoni, slice of the day, and Silician.

I prefer the thin style pizza over the thicker style.  The Sicilian was the only thick style pizza at Tony's Slice House.  Slices of peppers, prosciutto, and pepperoni are topped on a thick slab of what takes like focaccia bread.  The bottom of this pizza has a nice crisp crust that has a buttery taste.  Surprisingly, this slice was better than their thin slice of pepperoni.

Mini pepperonis that resemble moon craters are speckled over a cheese slice to create Tony's pepperoni slice.  Each slice glistens with grease so much that I have to refrain from dabbing it with a napkin before sampling it with a bite.  The pepperoni doesn't have much flavor, but I do like the thicker texture of the pepperoni. 

Cheese slice at Tony's Coal Fired Pizza & Slice House-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
The best slice ever?  Definitely not, but its a decent slice.  Its crust is sturdy enough to do a proper New York fold and the cheese stays put after each bite.

Address:                   Tony's Coal Fired Pizza & Slice House

                                  1570 Stockton St.
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                         pizza

Popular chomps:       cheese slice

Chomp worthy:         cheese slice


Schubert's Bakery

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If you've never had a cake from Schubert's Bakery and you live in SF, then sorry you aren't a real SFer.  I think 9 out of 10 birthdays, graduations, baby showers, and any other type of celebrations include some type of Schubert's cake.

This place is always busy with people ordering cakes.

You don't have to buy a whole cake to enjoy Schubert's delicious and beautiful creations, you can get most of them by the slice or as mini cakes.

Swedish Princess cake at Schubert's Bakery-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
I was a little surprised to see the Swedish Princess cake on the 2013 7x7's The Big Eat list.  Its one of the cakes I haven't had here.  The cake to get here is their mango mousse.
Swedish Princess cake is a layered white cake of raspberry creme and kirsch custard filling wrapped in a marzipan icing.  Marzipan is usually one of those components of a cake I shy away from.  The commonly dry, pasty, too sweet, unnatural consistency is something I usually peel off the cake and push aside after a few polite nibbles.  I surprised myself by eating the whole piece of cake, marzipan and all.  Well, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise since Schubert's makes some pretty damn good cakes.  The marzipan here is delicious.  Not too sweet with a subtle almond flavor and the consistency is chewy.  The cake is fluffy and light like all their other cakes I've had.  The Swedish Princess cake is good, but it doesn't top their mango mousse cake.

The tiramisu cake is one of the cakes you can get as a mini cake.  One of things that makes Schubert's popular is all the cakes are sweet, but not too sweet.

Address:                  Schubert's Bakery
                                 521 Clement St.
                                 San Francisco, CA

Type:                        bakery

Popular chomps:      mango mousse cake
                                  black forest cake
                                  white chocolate raspberry
                                  Swedish princess cake
Chomp worthy:         mango mousse cake
                                  black forest cake
                                  white chocolate raspberry
                                  Swedish princess cake      


Bar Tartine Sandwich Shop

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I've been to the brunch at Bar Tartine pre-Nicolaus Balla era and it was pretty awesome.  With what seems like a new restaurant opening on Valencia every day, it was hard to find time to come back.  I'm no stranger to their magnificent freshly baked breads from Tartine Bakery (see post HERE), so the thought of eating freshly made sandwiches on their luscious bread needed no persuasion.  Unfortunately, their sandwich hours (Weds-Fri 11a-3p) takes some MacGyver moves in my work schedule.

Walking into the restaurant turned sandwich shop, you can order to go or place an order and sit at one of their tables and have the food brought over to you. I thought it would be crowded, but it was relaxingly peaceful and a nice place to enjoy lunch if I was that lucky.

Corned beef reuben sandwich on rye pan loaf at Bar Tartine Sandwich Shop-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
I rarely order ruebens so its hard for me to fairly judge it, but the sandwich was hearty and meaty on their rye pan loaf.  A little too greasy for me, but the corned beef is flavorful.  Doubt I'd order this again, but I can now cross one more item off that 7x7 list.

I didn't plan on ordering another sandwich besides the reuben, but the egg salad, avocado, grilled onion sandwich caught my eye.  My eyes naturally draw attention to anything avocado.  First of all, I highly recommend cutting (carefully!)  this sandwich in half.  Its one of those sandwiches that one bite and everything would gush out and the disappointment would ruin how great this sandwich is.  Its not the ordinary egg salad.  The egg salad is custard and creamy, almost like it was poached or something.  I can't figure out how they got the consistency to be so smooth and creamy.  However they did it, its absolutely delicious.  I don't normally like to order things I can make at home, but this egg salad is far from anything I could conjure up.  Large chunks of avocado are oddly misplaced in the sandwich and slip all over the place so its hard to get a good bite of everything, but it works well with the egg salad.  Much better than their popular reuben, I think.

Address:                   Bar Tartine

                                  561 Valencia St.
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                         sandwich

Popular chomps:       reuben
Chomp worthy:          egg sandwich      


Shanghai Dumpling King

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Sugar Egg Puff at Shanghai Dumpling King-  2013 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
When the 7x7's 2013 Big Eat came out, I was a little perturbed that a part of the list included previous restaurants with different dishes.  With an exasperated "again", I hauled myself to Shanghai Dumpling King.  Shanghai Dumpling King made it appearance on the 7x7's 2011 Big Eat, but for its soup dumplings (see post HERE).  It was a big fail on that dish, but the one dish I was looking forward to was the sugar egg puffs, which I loved as a kid.  The only problem with the first time around here was that they ran out and the next batch would take another 30 minutes to fry up.  I filed it under my things to possibly eat later and thought I actually might not come back since the rest of the food was subpar.
Fast forward two lists later and I'm back.  With quick maneuvering around the huge crowd of people, that must never have had good dumplings before, and quick to go order of one sugar egg puff dish, I was in and out in less than 5 minutes.
When I was a kid, these fried egg puffs were really common on dim sum carts, but now they seem hard to find or at least freshly made ones.  My order was still warm when I got home.  Hollow, eggy, and fluffy with heavy dusting of sugar, they are almost like I remember them.  Still missing a crispier outside, but better than the greasy ones that have been sitting out all day in the Chinatown bakeries.  

Address:                       Shanghai Dumpling King
                                      3319 Balbao St.
                                      San Francisco, CA
 Type:                            Chinese

Popular chomps:           Xiu Long Bao (XLB) (#4)
                                       Green onion pancake (#21)
                                       Sugar egg puff (#141)

Chomp worthy:              Tianjin steamed dumplings (#6)
                                        Lion Head Meatballs (#37)
                                        Sugar Egg puff (#141) 


Da Lat Restaurant

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I'm still on the search for that perfect bowl of Hu Tieu noodles.  Another attempt in San Jose led me to Da Lat restaurant.  The menu is pretty large, but only two dishes populated every table - the fried chicken dish and the Hu Tieu (dry).

The Hu Tieu sauce comes on the side so you can add as much or as little as you like.
Looking for Hu Tieu on this menu is confusing!  As with most Vietnamese restaurants, the English translation doesn't help much.  They were kind enough to point me to the #47, which is rice noodles with a crab claw and prawns.  There are 2 other types of Hu Tieu on the menu:  #45 is the same with clear noodles, #49 comes without crab, regular shrimp and egg noodles, which is the same version as the one at Nam Vang (see post HERE).  Of course, you can get Hu Tieu  as a soup, but the dry (kho) version with the soup on the side is the preferred method of eating this dish.
The Hu Tieu here is fantastic.  The seafood is fresh and the dish really hits the spot.  Also, they have fried chinese donuts (yau tieu) here.
Toppings for Hu Tieu here are jalapenos, limes, and beansprouts.  I like to add jalapenos to my soup for an extra kick.

The soup is your standard broth with a light, satisfying taste.

Address:                  Dalat Restaurant
                                 408 E. William St.
                                 San Jose, CA
 Type:                       Vietnamese/soup

Popular chomps:       Hu Tieu (dry) - #47
                                   fried chicken rice plate

Chomp worthy:         Hu Tieu (dry)- #47      



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The sushi snob in me was a little excited when I saw how small the restaurant was and how simple the menu was.  With only 6 tables and couple seats at a so called bar, Eiji fills up quick!  Even on a Sunday, the consistent flow of admiring customers never stopped from the minute the restaurant opened.

The oboro tofu is literally cooked in front of you.  First time I've ever seen this.  It's quite an experience after eating tofu all my life.  The closest I've gotten to fresh tofu was picking up at the store, still warm in the plastic containers.  I'm still in awe that it takes such a short time to cook it.  Each spoonful was creamy, smooth, and delicate.  Very similar to the silken tofu made fresh in the store without the sweetness.

Along with tamari soy sauce, a tray of toppings are provided to add to your tofu.  From left; clockwise:  bonito flakes, green onions, sesame seeds, shisho, spicy radish, and grated ginger.  I found that adding just tiny bits of each one with a dash of tamari soy sauce was the perfect combination.  

The seared ahi tuna steak was perfectly cooked and slightly rare in the middle, just how ahi tuna should be cooked.  The ponzu sauce balanced perfectly with the tuna and even better soaked into the salad.

I can never resist a good chirashi.  Eiji's is simple and not overcrowding with slices of fish.  Each piece is fresh and clean tasting.  Even the ikura led the perfect amount of saltiness to the rice.  It's hard to find good tamago.  It's some of the fluffiest, custardy tamago I've had in the city. 

The sushi combination:  tuna maki, magura (tuna), aji, sake (salmon), hamachi, tobiko (flying fish roe), ebi (shrimp), halibut.  Super fresh fish with just the right amount of rice.

Saving the best for last.  Since these homemade strawberry mochis are so popular, you need to make sure you order them right away.  In the middle of the winter, it makes you wonder where these strawberries came from.  They are fresh, sweet, and juicy.  Although, they don't fool me, these strawberries are sprinkled with sugar or dipped in a simple syrup before wrapped with a thin layer of red bean and an outer layer of mochi.  Slightly cheating, but still delicious.

Address:                    Eiji
                                   317 Sanchez St.
                                   San Francisco, CA
Type:                          Japanese

Popular chomps:        strawberry mochi
                                    oboro tofu
                                    miso cod
Chomp worthy:           strawberry mochi
                                    oboro tofu
                                    seared ani tuna steak
                                    sushi dinner    


7x7 SF's (The Big Eat) List of 100 Things to Eat Before You Die - 2013

Pin It Now! 7x7 SF's List of 100 Things to Eat Before You Die 2013 List is out.  I noticed (like with Girl Scout cookies) they put out this list right at the time when New Year's resolutions start falling apart.  Anyways, with a new addition of 80 dishes, I'm hoping I'll be able to complete this year's list.  I'm kinda glad they took off some of the items (Slanted Door) and happy they acknowledge some oldies, but goodies (Art's and Molinari)  Some of these raised a questioning eyebrow (Hapa Ramen) and some were just no brainers (Craftsman and Wolves, State Bird Provisions).  Also, am I the only one who noticed a Betelnut dish is always on the list every year?  Sounds like one of the writers must live in the Marina.

(Click on the blue to see the corresponding post and what I've eaten so far!)

Here's the list:

1).    Sardine Chips at Rich Table
2).    Mac and Cheese at Citizen's Band
3).    Chicken Wings at San Tung
4).    Carnitas Taco at La Taqueria
5).    Chicago Dog at Da Beef
6).    Corned Beef Reuben on rye pan loaf at Bar Tartine's Sandwich Shop
7).    Princess Cake at Schubert's Bakery
8).    Mandilli al pesto at Farina
9).    Hash brown sandwich at Art's Cafe
10).  Gateau Basque at Piperade
11).  Jewish style artichokes at Locanda
12).  Stuffed falafel at Old Jerusalem
13).  Xiao long bao at Yank Sing
14).  Preserved lemon 6:10 at Coi
15).  Sugar Egg Puffs at Shanghai Dumpling King
16).  Hummus and house-made pita at Terzo
17).  Pizza Margherita at Una Pizza Napoletana
18).  Seasonal sformato at Cotogna
19).  Rebel Within at Craftsman & Wolves
20).  Angolotti dal plin at Perbacco
21).  Big Daddy ramen bowl at Hapa Ramen
22).  Quiche at Cassava Bakery and Cafe
23).  Ahmohk (curry fish mousse) at Angkor Borei
24).  Banana cream tart at Tartine Bakery
25).  Sloppy bun with an egg at Bun Mee
26).  Meatball, kale, and fregola soup at Claudine
27).  Bix Club burger at Bix
28).  Roasted chicken and bread salad at Zuni Cafe
29).  Amatriciana pizza at Ragazza
30).  Pupusas at Balompie Cafe
31).  Prime Rib at House of Prime Rib
32).  Chicken katsu and tofu buns at Izakaya Yuzuki
33).  The Brass Monkey at Little Star Pizza
34).  Parisian empanada from El Sur truck
35).  Salted-caramel ice cream at Bi-Rice Creamery
36).  Garlic pretzels at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
37).  Pasta tasting menu at SPQR
38).  Pan-seared chicken livers at Serpentine
39).  Egg custard tart at Golden Gate Bakery
40).  Goat taco at El Norteno taco truck
41).  Angry Korean wings at Wings Wings
42).  Beef and cheese piroshka at Anda Piroshki
43).  Nojo sundae at Nojo
44).  Complete crepe at Galette 88
45).  Duck larb at Lers Ros Thai
46).  Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee ice cream at Humphry Slocombe
47).  Chicken wings at Aziza
48).  Seafood chowder at Bar Crudo
49).  Banana split at The Ice Cream Bar
50).  Rosemary, fiore sardo, and pine nut pizza at Pizzetta 211
51).  Pho ga at Turtle Tower
52).  Caldo tlalpeno at Nopalito
53).  Katsiki youvetsi at Kokkari
54).  Almond croissant at Thorough Bread & Pastry
55).  A dozen Sweetwater oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co.
56).  Fried plantain and black bean burrito at The Little Chihuahua
57).  Mission Burger at Mission Bowling Club
58).  Pork shoulder fried rice at Sai Jai Thai
59).  Fried Chicken Yum Yum at 4505 Meats
60).  Lamb tacos at El Huarache Loco
61).  The Crankshaft tuna melt at Machine Coffee and Deli
62).  Peking Duck at Hong Kong Lounge
63).  Chilaquiles Veronica at San Jalisco
64).  Manti at Troya Fillmore
65).  Renzo special at Molinari Delicatessen
66).  Vada pav at Dosa
67).  Meatloaf at The Blue Plate
68).  Foccacia at Liguria Bakery
69).  Omakase at ICHI
70).  Dogpatch Millionaire at Kitchenette
71).  Green onion buns at New Hollywood Bakery
72).  Sea urchin dish at Commonwealth
73).  The Boca at Deli Board
74).  Lobster xiao long bao at Benu
75).  Super carne asada burrito at El Farolito
76).  Faux gras ridged pasta at Acquerello
77).  Fried chicken at Foreign Cinema
78).  Jerk-spiced duck hearts at Alembic
79).  Biscuits at Brenda's French Soul Food
80).  Matzo ball soup at Wise Sons Delicatessen
81).  Pot Pie at Comstock Saloon
82).  Ikura at Ino Sushi
83).  Spicy miso ramen at Ramen Underground
84).  New York-style cheese slice at Tony's Slice House
85).  Pomme d'amour at Knead Patisserie
86).  Glazed roasted squab at Bodega Bistro
87).  Faith's warm ham and cheese toast at Town Hall
88).  Beggar's chicken at Betelnut
89).  Beef tongue at Namu Gaji
90).  Warm bread, artichoke, and crescenza salad at Jardiniere
91).  Cumin lamb at Spices! II
92).  Crispy potatoes at Plow
93).  Bun rieu at Soup Junkie
94).  Whole wheat flour carrot cake at Farallon
95).  Deviled eggs at Park Tavern
96).  St. Honore cake from Dianda's Italian American Pastry
97).  Lamb shawerma from Truly Mediterranean
98).  Banh mi at Irving Cafe & Deli
99).  California state bird at State Bird Provisions
100).Cracked Dungeness crab at Swan Oyster Depot

Guess I need to start getting my eat on...

2012's list:  7x7 SF's (The Big Eat) List of 100 Things to Eat Before you Die (2012)

The Dog Pit

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Finally, I found a Japadog type place in the city!  This place reminds me of Batter Up (see post HERE) .  Similar vibe - a twist on a simple comfort food.

If something unique and crazy isn't your thing, they have the standard dogs and sausages too.

The Tokyo dog was a regular hot with wasabi aioli, shredded seaweed, and bonito flakes.  Even though it was served up on a regular hot dog bun, I was pleased to see that everything stayed intact until the end.  Also, the proportions of ingredients was well balanced. 

This is the first time I've seen pesto on a hot dog.  Its one of those toppings that makes you surprised you've never seen it on a hot dog or as a topping before.  Basically mimicking a pesto pizza with tomatoes, basil,  and baked with mozzarella cheese.  Pretty delicious stuff even though trying to scrape off the toasted bun from the foil seems a little challenging.  I ended up stuffing my face in the foil, which sometimes you have to do for good food.

So there is a Tokyo dog, a New York, and a Chicago, so of course there has to be a Seoul dog.  Kim chee, carrots, pickled daikon, and topped with korrake aioli, this dog was another amazing take on a hot dog.  Only wish these dogs were sausages instead of normal hot dogs.  I think it a heartier dog.  
Best twist on a dog that I've seen in the city so far, but it doesn't beat Doggy Style Hot Dogs (see post HERE) in Alameda.  But for those days when you are trying to save on toll or you are too lazy to drive across the bridge, it hits the spot.

Address:                  The Dog Pit
                                 1404 Taraval St.
                                 San Francisco, CA
Type:                        hot dogs/American

Popular chomps:      Chicago dog
                                 Tokyo dog
                                  bacon cheese dog
                                  chili cheese dog
                                  Seoul dog
                                  baked pesto dog 

Chomp worthy:         baked pesto dog
                                  Tokyo dog
                                  Seoul dog      


Uncle Boy's

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If you are Filipino or know a lot of Filipino, the name of this place is pretty funny.  Its a little bit of a trek than the usual late night food, but its open till 3A.  Its one of the only late night burger options out this way except for Jack in the Box.

Even though its not super crowded like El Farolito, the food does take a while to arrive in your hands.

The sides options include:  fried mozzarella, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, and french fries.  The mozzarella sticks are really cheese.  They are served extra hot with gooey cheese and a nice fried exterior. 

The sauces are self serve: (from top;clockwise) pesto mayo, chipotle, marinara sauce.  All the sauces were pretty tasty.

The fried zucchini seemed to be one of the more popular side options.  These disks of fresh cut zucchini were extra hot inside and fried nicely.  Every bite was a challenge in keeping the zucchini from slipping out.

The lightly seasoned fries were crisp, but nothing special.

The burgers here remind me of an Ike's sandwich, but with a burger instead of a sandwich.  The word "spicy" caught my eye when glancing over the ingredients of the Hot Mess burger.  Two strips of bacon folded over, cheddar, 1 beef patty, onion, tomato, lettuce, jalapenos, and their hot mess sauce.  I was hoping for something more hot and messy.  I got neither.  Its a decent burger and at this time of the night its a nice option, but not sure if I'd travel all this way if I wasn't in the area.  My late night taste buds sprefer Sam's (see post HERE) when I'm craving a burger. 

Mamma Mia is another funky twist on a burger.  Melted jack cheese over a beef patty, 3 mozzarella sticks (but the menu said there should be 4!), and marinara sauce.

Address:                 Uncle Boy's
                                245 Balboa St
                                San Francisco, CA
Type:                       burgers/American/Filipino/late night eats

Popular chomps:     mamma mia burger
                                 zucchini chips
                                 hot mess                                                             

Chomp worthy:        zucchini chips        


My Canh

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Another exploration of late night non Mission eats led me to My Canh.  This tiny restaurant in the middle of Chinatown is popular with the after hours crowd.  

Raw beef doesn't exactly scream late night food, especially in a crowded, not so clean, restaurant in the middle of Chinatown.  The bo tai chanh here is fresh and delicious.  Not the most obvious after hours late night grub, but probably one of the best raw beef salads I've had.  The tangy lime juice with the crunch lettuce and raw onions wakes up your senses in a good way.  Also, its nice knowing you aren't going to regret eating some greasy food the next morning.

Another popular dish here is the banh canh cua.  Thick udon like noodles in a thick yellow broth seems like it would be soothing and satisfying after a long night out, but the noodles are soggy and mushy.  The one crab claw they give you is soggy and screams frozen and do not eat me in the most unfresh way. 

Address:                   My Canh
                                  626 Broadway
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                         Vietnamese/soup/late night eats

Popular chomps:       bo tai chanh
                                   banh canh cua (crab noodle soup)
                                   bo tai chanh (sliced raw beef)

Chomp worthy:          bo tai chanh      


Little Vietnam Cafe

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Always looking out for the perfect banh mi, especially one in the city so I don't have to cross the bridge for my #1 place - Banh Mi Ba Le (see post HERE). 

Little Vietnam Cafe sells a little bit of everything from banh mi, soups, salads, spring rolls, rice plates, and vermicelli plates.

A display of freshly made spring rolls.

Usually  I don't care too much about prices on food as long as it tastes good, but at almost $5 for a banh mi in an Asian area of the city was a little disturbing.  The lemongrass pork banh mi didn't have much lemongrass flavor or juicy meat.  Disappointing.

After a bite of the pork banh mi, I wasn't expecting much from the combination sandwich.  The bread is too dense and dry.  Combined with the flavorless meats and the too sweet pickled vegetables on this sandwich is starting to make me think that a good banh mi in the city is hard to find.

Although the sandwiches were fairly disappointing, the spring rolls were delish,  Just the right amount of chewiness to the rice paper combined with fresh shrimp and vegetables made the spring rolls here a winner.

Address:                     Little Vietnam Cafe
                                  309 6th Ave
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                          Vietnamese/soup

Popular chomps:         lemongrass pork banh mi
                                   pork banh mi   
                                   tofu banh mi 

Chomp worthy:           spring rolls