A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Bale on Linda Vista was gone (again) , and in its place was Farm Sandwiches and Market. With a name like that, I almost expected a little mercado making tortas on the side. A bit confused I decided to drop by a couple of days later......
And noticed that not much had changed, except the name. The shop still made Banh Mi and the market side, though looking a bit worn was still trucking along.
Even the sandwich sign looked the same, as were the prices....... for some reason, I couldn't recollect seeing Bo Dao Phong (a peanut butter sandwich) on the menu before! (no kim chi peanut butter banh mi, though).
Since I was here, I decided to order a couple of sandwiches. This might have been my most unfortunate decision of the week. The guy in front of me started snickering when I placed my order. When I asked him what was up, he shook his head and told me he had ordered a dozen sandwiches, and was still waiting for them 25 minutes later. There was one woman who also placed an order for two sandwiches right before me. She was smart enough to leave and returned for her sandwiches later. The poor guy waited another 25 minutes for his sandwiches! Then it was my turn to be the poor guy......
Pacing the floor, I noticed how worn down this place is looking.
Half open containers, partially cut fruit, the place looked quite disheveled. Meanwhile, I looked and noticed that there were three people working on making sandwiches. The woman returned for her sandwiches, and still had to wait ten minutes. It really looked like the folks making the sandwiches were walking under-water...... another ten minutes, and my sandwiches were ready. Forty-five minutes for two sandwiches......
Carrying the bag to the car, I noticed how heavy these sandwiches were.
I started with the Dac Biet (House special combination - $3.50) first.
The bread (from Le Chef..... standing around so long, you couldn't help but pick up on things) for both sandwiches was severely under-toasted. Thus the always pleasing flaky-crusty texture was missing. The sandwich was stuffed with generous amounts of a very bland Cha Lua (defatted pork sausage) and a tough and bland BBQ Pork. The pickles were really cut thick and didn't have much flavor either. I won't even go into the very old and thick cilantro stems.....
I thought I would fair better with the Nem Chua ($3) Banh Mi. Nem Chua, a naturally fermented pork based sausage, is one of my favorite things.
In spite of having all of the sort-comings my other sandwich had, this was a tad better. There was quite a large portion of Nem Chua in the Banh Mi. Still, it was a lot milder than the sour-tangy-salty notes I love in my sour sausage.
I must admit, the folks looked to be trying real hard, but really seemed like they were not up to the task. I don't think I'll be rushing back for Banh Mi from here.
Farm Market and Sandwiches
6959 Linda Vista Rd.
San Diego, CA