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Find Sindi’s Snack Shack for bánh mì and street toast

Tucked away take-out spot brings pan-Asian treats to Solana Beach

Korean street toast: a breakfast sandwich with cabbage and carrots
Korean street toast: a breakfast sandwich with cabbage and carrots

There’s a new snack shack in Solana Beach, even if the physical shack itself is anything but new. Sindi’s Snack Shack recently opened within the “Detached Garage of Witmer Residence and Drug Store,” built in 1931.

Place

Sindi's Snack Shack

150 S Acacia Ave, Solana Beach

Or so reads a small notice posted by the local historical society. Apparently, the Witmers lived upstairs from the drug store and soda fountain they operated on Highway 101, and originally built the detached garage behind their shop.

Which doesn’t put it in a highly noticeable spot. The rear building is neither visible nor readily accessible to anyone surveying the continuous strip of businesses fronting the coast highway. Even when you go around the block to approach from Acacia Avenue — official site of the Snack Shack’s street address — the small structure sits removed from the street, found at the back corner of a large, mostly private parking lot.

A detached garage from 1931, turned counter restaurant

Or, not found. I never knowingly laid eyes on the small restaurant that previously operated here, though it did so for nearly forty years! My colleague, Ed Bedford, visited the aptly named Hideaway Café about ten years ago, finding it despite a thick layer of vines that completely covered the outside of the building, further obscuring its view.

That longtime business became a victim of the covid economy late last year. Now the shack has a new name, and gone is the vegetation and standard breakfast fare. Rather, Sindi’s Snack Shack offers a bevy of affordable, pan-Asian dishes, beginning with bánh mì.

Better than average bahn mis, served on thin, crispy baguettes

I happened to bump into the namesake Sindi as I walked into her small sandwich shop, and when I asked for a recommendation from a menu featuring such items as kimchi fried rice, rice noodle salad, Korean bibimbap rice bowls, and Spam musubi, she without hesitation suggested the grilled pork bánh mì.

And I’m inclined to think she was right. In general, its $8.99 price tag runs at the pricy end for the classic Vietnamese sandwich, but being sold in a North County beach city, I’d have to consider it a reasonable value.

And it’s not one of these bánh mì-inspired sandwiches we tend to see these days — this is the real thing, made on a slender baguette with a crispy crust wrapped tightly around toppings of pork, cilantro, pickled carrots, cucumber, and daikon radish. They’ll also throw on jalapeño and mayo if you’re amenable (I was). It tasted so right on, I imagined a smear of pâté in there, though I don’t think any was there.

Beside the pork, sandwiches may be made with lemongrass chicken, garlic shrimp, or vegan alternatives ranging from vegetables to mock versions of the pork and chicken. The same proteins can also be applied to bun-style rice noodle salads for $10-12, or spring rolls for $7-8. All can be washed down with an assortment of boba teas.

While the Vietnamese side of the menu is solid, the Korean side yields some of the more fun-loving dishes, such as kimchi topped hot dog ($4.99). But it’s the breakfast sandwich menu that kept catching my attention. There’s no surprise to finding $6-8 egg and cheese sandwiches featuring the likes of bacon, sausage, or even Spam. But the so-called Korean street toast was new to me.

But it’s actually a thing, better known in South Korea by the name gilgeori Toast. I haven’t been able to find much about its history, other than the breakfast sandwich has long been a staple of street carts in Seoul. And that a key feature is cabbage.

Not kimchi, but shredded cabbage, along with shredded carrots and green onions. In this case on a sandwich of ham, egg, and cheese, served between slices of buttery, grilled white bread with a sweet and savory sauce. I’m not sure it will replace sausage and egg bagel sandwiches in my breakfast affections, but I might grab for it first by virtue of the fact most breakfast sandwiches do not help you start your day with any serving of leafy greens.

I don’t want to suggest the Korean street toast is tasty despite the cabbage, as I really think the vegetables add something to the sandwich, texturally at least. But I do think that you’ll have to embrace a little cabbage in order to choose it over Sindi’s other offerings. Provided you can find her place.

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Korean street toast: a breakfast sandwich with cabbage and carrots
Korean street toast: a breakfast sandwich with cabbage and carrots

There’s a new snack shack in Solana Beach, even if the physical shack itself is anything but new. Sindi’s Snack Shack recently opened within the “Detached Garage of Witmer Residence and Drug Store,” built in 1931.

Place

Sindi's Snack Shack

150 S Acacia Ave, Solana Beach

Or so reads a small notice posted by the local historical society. Apparently, the Witmers lived upstairs from the drug store and soda fountain they operated on Highway 101, and originally built the detached garage behind their shop.

Which doesn’t put it in a highly noticeable spot. The rear building is neither visible nor readily accessible to anyone surveying the continuous strip of businesses fronting the coast highway. Even when you go around the block to approach from Acacia Avenue — official site of the Snack Shack’s street address — the small structure sits removed from the street, found at the back corner of a large, mostly private parking lot.

A detached garage from 1931, turned counter restaurant

Or, not found. I never knowingly laid eyes on the small restaurant that previously operated here, though it did so for nearly forty years! My colleague, Ed Bedford, visited the aptly named Hideaway Café about ten years ago, finding it despite a thick layer of vines that completely covered the outside of the building, further obscuring its view.

That longtime business became a victim of the covid economy late last year. Now the shack has a new name, and gone is the vegetation and standard breakfast fare. Rather, Sindi’s Snack Shack offers a bevy of affordable, pan-Asian dishes, beginning with bánh mì.

Better than average bahn mis, served on thin, crispy baguettes

I happened to bump into the namesake Sindi as I walked into her small sandwich shop, and when I asked for a recommendation from a menu featuring such items as kimchi fried rice, rice noodle salad, Korean bibimbap rice bowls, and Spam musubi, she without hesitation suggested the grilled pork bánh mì.

And I’m inclined to think she was right. In general, its $8.99 price tag runs at the pricy end for the classic Vietnamese sandwich, but being sold in a North County beach city, I’d have to consider it a reasonable value.

And it’s not one of these bánh mì-inspired sandwiches we tend to see these days — this is the real thing, made on a slender baguette with a crispy crust wrapped tightly around toppings of pork, cilantro, pickled carrots, cucumber, and daikon radish. They’ll also throw on jalapeño and mayo if you’re amenable (I was). It tasted so right on, I imagined a smear of pâté in there, though I don’t think any was there.

Beside the pork, sandwiches may be made with lemongrass chicken, garlic shrimp, or vegan alternatives ranging from vegetables to mock versions of the pork and chicken. The same proteins can also be applied to bun-style rice noodle salads for $10-12, or spring rolls for $7-8. All can be washed down with an assortment of boba teas.

While the Vietnamese side of the menu is solid, the Korean side yields some of the more fun-loving dishes, such as kimchi topped hot dog ($4.99). But it’s the breakfast sandwich menu that kept catching my attention. There’s no surprise to finding $6-8 egg and cheese sandwiches featuring the likes of bacon, sausage, or even Spam. But the so-called Korean street toast was new to me.

But it’s actually a thing, better known in South Korea by the name gilgeori Toast. I haven’t been able to find much about its history, other than the breakfast sandwich has long been a staple of street carts in Seoul. And that a key feature is cabbage.

Not kimchi, but shredded cabbage, along with shredded carrots and green onions. In this case on a sandwich of ham, egg, and cheese, served between slices of buttery, grilled white bread with a sweet and savory sauce. I’m not sure it will replace sausage and egg bagel sandwiches in my breakfast affections, but I might grab for it first by virtue of the fact most breakfast sandwiches do not help you start your day with any serving of leafy greens.

I don’t want to suggest the Korean street toast is tasty despite the cabbage, as I really think the vegetables add something to the sandwich, texturally at least. But I do think that you’ll have to embrace a little cabbage in order to choose it over Sindi’s other offerings. Provided you can find her place.

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