Glutton's Guide to Monterey Park: Mr. Baguette & Beard Papa's
Greater Los Angeles can proudly lay claim to another homegrown ethnic food mini-chain. With only two shops -- one in Rosemead and one in Monterey Park -- Mr. Baguette is hardly poised to crush Subway and Quiznos, but this humble yet expanding local sandwich chain offers a wealth of delicious and shockingly inexpensive bánh mì, AKA the Vietnamese hoagie.
Combining traditional French baguettes and charcuterie with Vietnamese toppings like pickled carrots, daikon radish, onions, cilantro and chili peppers, bánh mì are a staple of low-cost Vietnamese eats, and Mr. Baguette successfully imports Vietnam's homegrown fusion cuisine to Southern California.
The shops also pay homage to the French half of this cross-cultural culinary trteat. Papered with wall-sized photomurals of cafés and street scenes, the Monterey Park Mr. Baguette shop evokes a vision of Paris as it might look in the background of a karaoke video. When your number is called, it's announced in English, Vietnamese and Mandarin. And as you’re eating your meal will likely be accompanied by Muzak versions of Carpenters songs.