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Market Street just keeps getting better.

Yesterday I was walking by, noticing how all the chestnut trees are out in their full green finery, when I saw all these new wooden plank tables just beyond Mak Cleaners, and before the Starbucks at Market and Tenth. Brand new pinewood.

It takes a moment, but then I realize it’s that new sandwich shop, The District (1021 Market Street, 619-269-6172) with the pretty darned good banh-mi, the Vietnamese-French style sandwich that’s showing up more and more around the county.

I found them just after they opened, about this time last month. They have all sorts of sandwiches and soups, but Trong, the owner, is Vietnamese, so I wanted his take on the $6.95 banh mi, and its story.

“The French introduced the banh mi when they occupied Vietnam a century ago, maybe more,” Trong told me. “It was always basically paté in a baguette. But then the people of Saigon started playing round with it, giving it a Vietnamese flavor. They added lemongrass, mint leaves, and things like pickled cucumbers and carrots. That’s what gives it a Vietnamese flavor.”

And that’s what I have remembered about it. The lemongrass flavor with the beef.

And now, we’ll be able to munch it outside.

“The day we got the go-ahead from the City to put seating outside, I went and ordered these plank tables,” says Trong. “We wanted something different than the usual metal, plastic tables you see outside. This is more country. I think it encourages conversation.”


And how about the other thing that encourages conversation? The wine and beer license he said he was applying for.

“That’s in the works, but it’s going to take a little bit longer.”

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