Tofu Bánh Mì / For Men It’s Called a Hardy Boy


I’m excited that you found a cool place in San Diego. It sounds very cool. First, I need to tell you that I appeared on Food Network on Saturday. No, not as a nutrition professional, but as a restaurant patron professing her love of chicken salad. Baby steps. Look it up! Southern Fried Roadtrip. The episode is called “R and R in Athens”. This is the closest I ever want to be to famous.

Now, about your drink. It’s good. I know this, of course, because you’ve made me one, and I would drink it again, of course.

That said, I am surprised by your claim that you prefer the taste of “diet” gingerale in it. If that is the case, and you don’t want it to be too sweet, why not use ginger and seltzer water or club soda?( I promise, I wrote this sentence before I read Josh’s comment on your post- but I concur) You know I like a good Diet Coke on occasion- but I just can’t get behind the use of aspartame and/or sucralose in a cocktail. I consider a cocktail inherently indulgent, and I imagine many might object to the aftertaste. (Please note how well I am restraining myself from telling you boring facts about the several months of my life I spent doing actual lab research on acceptability of low calorie sweeteners)

I’m glad you found out it has a proper name, the Gin Buck. I also googled this, and was DELIGHTED to know it is also called a Ginger Rogers. DELIGHTED, because that reminded me of this scene from 30 Rock:
photo 2photo 3So, you are really in excellent company with your drink. Bonus: This is one of my favorite 30 Rock moments.
Last week I was drowning in a sea of despair (okay, that might be a little dramatic) because, among other things, my car broke down in the parking lot of the gym. It had to be towed to the dealership for the *third* time this year, which seems insane. It’s only 3 years old! Granted, the first two tows were the result of that wreck I was in. Anyway, it was frustrating, and I’ve also been super busy trying to, you know, get my dissertation off the ground. Luckily, several excellent friends came to my aid.
My parents came by and my mom brought me some beautiful looking fresh jalapeños, and I knew almost right away what I wanted this week: Bánh mì
I won’t pretend to be a bánh mì expert at all; this may surprise you, but I’ve never been to Vietnam, nor have I been schooled in the art of Vietnamese cooking. My cursory knowledge of this lovely sandwich comes largely from restaurants on Buford Highway, the two Pho places in town, and various travel shows. I know you’ve made them at least once yourself; I think you used pork? I was in the mood for a tofu bánh mì, and my recipe is below. I would never vouch for its authenticity but I will certainly vouch for it’s deliciousness. I learned that technically bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for bread in general; most commonly the baguette, and it has come to be synonymous with this sandwich. The more you know, right? What a world.
Tofu Bánh Mì
14 oz extra firm tofu
olive oil
nutritional yeast
fresh baguette
pickled veggies:
1 large daikon
3 medium carrots
2 medium cucumber
1 fresh jalapeño, thinly sliced
Vinegar to cover; a pinch of salt, a tablespoon or two of sugar.
extra jalapeños to go on top (if you can handle it!)
To Pickle the veggies: Slice the vegetables into thin 3 inch sticks; matchsticks if you’re good with a knife. Dice one jalapeño and toss it in with the veggies. Pack the veggies into a mason jar (or several, if you make extra or they won’t fit). Mix vinegar (start with about 2 cups), salt, and sugar, and pour over the veggies. I used rice vinegar. Let them sit about an hour before you use them. They keep well in the fridge, of course.
Veggies on deck.
Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices, then marinate in the lime juice and soy sauce for about 15 minutes, flipping once so that both sides get nice and saucy.  (Note: I pressed my tofu for a few minutes with a heavy plate and paper towels to get some extra water out first). Sear each slice in a pan with olive oil until golden brown on both sides and the edges look a little crispy. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with nutritional yeast (They do this with their tofu at The Grit and after getting their cookbook I started doing it whenever I cook tofu this way)
Toast the bread, add a little sriracha and mayo to your liking, then pile that sandwich high with pickled veggies, tofu, cilantro, and a few fresh sliced jalapeños.
IMG_5099 IMG_5067I had enough that I was basically set for a whole week of banh mi dinners, which sounds like a great week to me- and I even ended up making a few for some friends (and making them pose for these pictures!)


We had potluck the other night at my house, and at least two people said “where’s Eric?”. Gone, but not forgotten!
Talk to you soon!

6 thoughts on “Tofu Bánh Mì / For Men It’s Called a Hardy Boy

  1. You also let out the “Y” in “they” in referencing The Grit.

    Who’s your editor?

    Also I was vaguely referenced in this letter a couple time I thank you.


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