Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Banh Mi Throwdown

What a great idea... Create food competitions with various specialty dishes for a panel of judges and audience to taste and judge! My sister, our best friend and I went down to Cafe Gutenberg to attend the Banh Mi Throwdown last night - a competition where chefs Jen Mindell and Garrett Berry of Cafe Gutenberg battled against Patrick Harris, chef and owner of Boka Truck in creating the best Banh Mi – a Vietnamese sandwich made on a baguette and is one of the best tasting sandwiches I’ve ever had. I’m not a professional writer nor food critic (and don’t plan on being one either), so I won't go into details on the history of the banh mi sandwich or all the ingredients but feel free to Google it!

Once the chefs created their sandwiches, samples were passed around to the audience and the judges table for review...

The sandwiches were delightful. Cafe Gutenberg's pork banh mi was very traditional, full of flavor, and tasted great. Even the tofu banh mi was awesome. However, I am loyal to Boka Truck and anything with heat. Patrick's banh mi packed a lot of spice, which always gets my attention. I loved the toasted sesame seads and sriracha on absolutely anything is always good. The judges all agreed that Patrick used too much mayo (3 different aoli sauces were drizzled all over), and that was probably the weakest link, but otherwise Boka Truck's banh mi provided more flavor than Cafe Gutenberg's version. Boka Truck orders their baguettes fresh from Catina (Vietnamese bakery behind Horsepen) and have a light buttery crispiness to them that melts in your mouth (....or mouf!). Take a look at the photos below, and tell me if you don't drool just a little...

To top it all off, it was one of the judge's birthday (@rvafoodie) and his wife provided us with mini cupcakes by Pearls, another delightful treat to wrap up the evening.

I really hope more food competitions pop up in Richmond soon! You'll certainly find me there!

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