*** Bale has closed and is now Farm Sandwiches and Market.
So finally, Ba Le on Linda Vista resurfaces. The sign on the "old location" said the end of May, but when I took that photo it was already June! And when I shopped a Vien Dong Market a few days later, that sign was gone. This past weekend, I noticed that Ba Le had indeed taken the place of the old Dai Tan Supermarket, which had been there for quite a while.
In spite of the looks, there is quite a bit of parking further down the lot, where you're not packed in, and people aren't backing into you(I saw a little Vietnamese Lady driving a BIG SUV, hit another parked, BIG SUV, and she just kept on going...). As I walked in, I wondered what the heck Ba Le was doing with a market....but I guess that's the plan.
Seeing that the sandwich counter is not yet completed, I inquired about Banh Mi, and was told, that even though the counter, and seating area wasn't finished yet they were serving Banh Mi. And the current special is; buy 2 get 1 free. So I placed my order, and seeing the chaotic situation; a line of grocery customers, I took a walk around the market.
Dai Tan never struck me as being the cleanest looking market, but the place has been cleaned up a bit, and the lighting is much better. The produce looked fresh, and there was quite a steady flow of customers.
Which meant I'd probably be waiting a while, so I took a seat. Surprisingly, a few minutes later one of the Gentlemen comes walking out of the back of the market with 3 Banh Mi. Which I paid for, than proceeded to hightail it out of the parking lot, before a little lady in a BIG SUV had a chance to hit my car.
So, what did I get? Well let's start with the Dac Biet (special - $3.50):
In my visits after my post on the old BaLe location, I found the sandwiches to be inconsistent. There was a tendency to over-margarine, than over toast the baguette, making the bread crouton-hard...the stuff that rips up the roof of your mouth. This would obviously distract from the decent crust-to-bread ratio. Today, the baguette was okay, slightly crusty, but nothing special. The meats were piled to each side of the baguette...the ham on one side, the Cha Lua on the other...kind of strange. All of the meats, and the pate were very mild in flavor, if not down-right bland. The jalapenos were quite mild on this day. All in all, nothing special....
The Xiu Mai(meatball sandwich - $3.00):
The crumbled Xiu Mai(meatball) had a very mild flavor...sort of like what could be described as a "pork meatloaf". Not bad, even though I enjoy a more assertive flavor. Because of the juicy meatballs, this Banh Mi got soggy pretty quickly, but at least it wasn't dry.
As for the Banh Mi Bi, the Missus didn't feel like eating it, so I took it for lunch, well, breakfast the next day. I won't go into that, "Bi-cause" I wouldn't want to wish that decomposed sandwich on anyone. It just is not a fair assessment of the Banh Mi.
With regards to the Banh Mi, not much has changed at BaLe. If you enjoyed the sandwiches at the former location, you'll enjoy them here. But at least now you can catch up on some shopping while waiting for your sandwiches. All sandwiches run from $3 to $3.50.
BaLe Supermarket and Sandwiches(In the former Dai Tan Market location)
6959 Linda Vista Rd.
San Diego, CA