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Bahn Mi by Cara Strickland

IN FEBRUARY, Stella’s Cafe will celebrate four years in business, and four years of the bahn mi as its top seller. I sat down with Tony Brown, one of the masterminds behind Stella’s, to talk about the success of this sandwich. “We weren’t the first to have a bahn mi in Spokane,” he said, “but I think ours is just really, really good.” When I took a bite a few moments later, I had to agree. The bahn mi is a simple concept coming out of the French colonial presence in Vietnam. Originally, it resembled something you might find in France, usually a baguette with butter, pate and ham. The Vietnamese didn’t start to claim and remix the bahn mi until French rule ceased in the mid 1950s. It was Stella’s menu, this one uses what Tony describes as “the good stuff.” It has organic, grassthen that they switched out fed meats and organic produce, both as local as they can get. the butter for mayonnaise Although it’s always spicy, there is something magical about this sandand added pickled vegetawich when it is hot. The flavors are simple, but well-considered, and the heat "there is bles and other spicy ingredoesn’t distract from each taste which remains distinct, even as part of the dients, as well as a variety of glorious whole. something thinly sliced meats, still on a Like the Vietnamese, Tony is taking the opportunity to put his own twist baguette. on favorite dishes, making it fun, satisfying, and above all, delicious. “Spomagical..." Tony’s version starts with kane is pioneer country,” he said. “There are so many things that haven’t a hoagie roll, special ordered been done.” Tony plans to shake up the menu at Stella’s more often moving from Amoroso’s in Philaforward, experimenting with sandwich specials, new menu items and more delphia, that pays plenty of soups (don’t worry, the bahn mi isn’t going anywhere). homage to a French baguette. It crinkles at a When I asked Tony why he thought the bahn mi has captured Spokane sandwich eattouch. Then he adds Siracha mayo, and either ers’ hearts so readily, he gave me a signature grin. “I’m not sure how it became the top sellroasted pork or marinated tofu (if you’re iner,” he said. “Maybe it was because it was on the top of the menu.” With the taste of that terested in a vegan version of any sandwich, sandwich still haunting me beautifully, I’m afraid that explanation just won’t satisfy. just ask). He tops that with a variety of pickled vegetables including carrots, cucumbers, daikon radish and jalapeño, before adding a Stella's Cafe is located at 917 W. Broadway Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201, few sprigs of cilantro. Like everything else on 156 • NOVEMBER • 2015

Spokane CDA Living November 2015  

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