I have three talents in this world:
- Attracting unbelievably awkward situations
- Losing my check card
- Destroying my phone in impossibly stupid ways
Talent 1 happens nearly daily and talent 3 happened two weeks ago — so I can’t really do that again. Which leaves us with talent 2. I really don’t know how I can lose it with such frequency – I tend to be serial killer obsessed with keeping things in their preassigned places. So here I am (again), trying to make it through the week with only $20 dollars or so in cash until my new card arrives.
“But IronCityspy! Why not use your credit card?!?!?!”
“But IronCityspy! How about going to your bank and withdrawing money?!?!?!
That would be awesome, except I choose my bank based on how badly I feel for it. As such, I picked a bank with precisely 4 locations and all of them far away.
Anyway, I was prepared to get my third stupid $5 footlong of the week, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So as I was about to trudge my way to CVS (only place to get a comparable under $5 meal) I had the genius idea to Google “cheap Arlington lunch”. To my eternal pleasure they spat out THIS!!!
As casual readers of this blog know, Spy and I are Pho phanatics — and for quite some time we’ve been meaning to go to the Eden Center. The Eden center is this crazy stip mall in Falls Church that looks like it was pulled right out of Saigon. In addition to all the delicious restaurants, there are a whole assortment of stores for the primarily Vietnamese clientele. Moreover, we’ve been meaning to try this particular sandwich shop since Bourdain featured it on “No Reservations”.
Pulling in was something of a trip. I was definitely the only non-Asian there — which is certainly not a bad thing (you know the food is good when you see the indigenous frequent it). It took me a while to find the shop, as it was tucked away in the back of the mall, but god when I did was it exactly what I wanted it to be:
The entire shop could fit in my apartment (and I mean every inch of it), there were only two tables and a list of 6 sandwich options. Now for the uninitiated, banh mi sandwiches are this wonderful amalgamation of French baguette and Vietnamese ingredients and flavors (who said imperialism never did any good?). I opted for the shredded pork and pig skin, but if I did it over I’d either go with the pâté (which I suspect is just head cheese) or the meatballs. However, the sandwich was AMAZING. Warmed and buttered baguette with pork, an assortment of marinated vegetables, and some delicious spread (with fish sauce). Simply one of the best sandwich experiences of my life. But here is the kicker:
1. They were basically the size of a foot long
2. THEY COST $3.50 a piece!!!!!
So dear readers, do yourself a favor. Make your way over there and experience probably the only good thing to come out of French Indo-China. There are certainly other places that sell banh mi, but no where near as good. Though maybe do it before you lose your check card.
Nhu Lan Sandwich Shop
6763 Wilson Blvd Ste 14
Falls Church, VA 22044