My colleague Amanda announced that we were going to get banh mi sandwiches for lunch. I presumed that she meant Eden Center, which is the hub of all things Vietnamese in the Washington, DC area. Instead we went to Ba le Friends Bakery & Deli, also in Fall's Church, VA
Unlike Nu Lan in Eden Center the place doesn't smell like a pickled vegetable larder. The pungent smell of that restaurant makes me gag. Here the pleasant smells are of cooked meat and fresh bread.
The combination of bakery and deli is fun as you see a great range of foods plus bubble tea. There are 14 different kinds of banh mi, from shredded chicken to mystery meat "kebab." I got the red roast pork, which was divine. The bread was was and crusty without being too hard on the surface. The warm pork had a tangy glaze and the vegetables did not overpower the vegetables. There was not gnarly, stringy bits of meat in my sandwich. Truly excellent. I got the mango smoothie with tapioca bubbles, which was satisfying and a meal in itself. I would definitely try and go back there.
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