Sometimes, on the road to sandwich nirvana, you find something when you’re least expecting it.
Take for example this past weekend. It was cooling down in the city and I thought it would be the best time to take on a nice bowl of soup with a cool beer.
That usually means one of my favorite types of soup, Pho.
It’s Not Just A Soup
Similar to Japanese Ramen, but Thai-inspired, it’s a great way to open up the sinuses and warm up on a cool LA evening. The bright notes of lemongrass keep it away from how savory this dish can become. It’s a delicious balance between salty, savory, sweet and citrus.
Despite being in the mood for this now that it’s okay to eat again, (UPDATE: Going to be 103 this weekend again, so Pho is on hold), I arrived at 9021Pho (get it?) in the Glendale Galleria and was quickly swayed to the sandwich side, with what seemed like a real standout: the pork belly baguette.
I love pork belly, but it can also be done horribly wrong. This boneless cut from the belly of the pig is high in fat content. If it’s not cooked right, or spiced enough it can be a bland, jiggly mess.
Not A Pig Apologist
I know, I’ll take some flack for not pledging my allegiance to the meat wholeheartedly, but it’s true. It has to be taken on my a masterful hand to make it stand out. The first time I tried it though, I lucked out and was shown what it took to taste well.
9021Pho’s pork belly is lemongrass braised, with cilanto, cabbage, umami mayo, Asian Salsa Verde, pickled carrot and daikon all on a French Baguette. The pork belly was thinly sliced which allowed it not to suffer from being too fatty. The savory flavors with the bright spots of lemongrass were a great complementary combo.
The cabbage, daikon (a type of radish) and pickled carrots added a crunch to contrast with pork belly and soft and light baguette. There’s really only one complaint: the umami mayo.
Look, I’m not that crazy about mayo ti begin with, but I do appreciate it when it is used in certain situations, and this sandwich definitely calls for it. It has great flavors and would normally not overpower the rest of the ingredients, but there was just so much!
A Mayo Mistake?
If the amount of mayo had been reduced, maybe even to half, the umami flavors would have highlighted the other ingredients instead of hiding some of them.
Don’t get me wrong, this sandwich is great, and definitely worth stopping for, but I’d only ask next time for a reduction in mayo. Next time Pho is calling me though, I might have to see if they do a half-and-half deal so I can get a bit of pork belly baguette, and a bit of soul warming Pho.
Until next week, Readers…
Pork Belly Baguette
1164 Galleria Way