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30 Catt. 1: In re Phonation

2014 April 9


Opinion of JUSTICE CATTLEYA, in chambers.

From across Farragut Square, Phonation’s truck—painted white with blue signage—slightly resembled a classic ice cream truck. I was surprised when I got close enough to read the truck’s name and see its menu of Vietnamese pho and bánh mì. My surprise, however, was quickly forgotten as I began to picture in my mind’s eye a beautiful bánh mì sandwich.

Phonation's Picture Menu

Phonation’s picture menu.

(This was not difficult to do at the instigation of Phonation’s menu, which included large, color photos.)

Phonation describes itself as “the real deal on wheels with fast serving, delicious PHO and gigantic BANH MI.” Pho may be ordered with either chicken or beef, and the available bánh mì sandwich fillings are BBQ chicken or BBQ pork. All entrée items are $9.

I ordered the BBQ pork bánh mì. Because a bánh mì sandwich is “street food” under the Supreme Cart’s case law, e.g., In re Lemongrass, 7 Catt. 1 (2012) (holding that a bánh mì is street food); In re BONMi, 25 Catt. 2 (2013) (same); In re PhoWheels, 24 Catt. 1 (2013) (same), my review must assume that Phonation’s sandwich should be affirmed unless it suffers from a significant flaw. See In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011) (defining street food as “the kind[] . . . that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up”); In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012) (discussing the burden of proof for street food). Phonation’s bánh mì sandwich suffers from no such fatal flaw. It is a solid rendition.

BBQ Pork Bánh Mì

BBQ Pork Bánh Mì

Pork. While I typically prefer grilled pork in my bánh mì sandwiches, Phonation’s heavily sauced pork was tender and flavorful. But as the sauce was still on my tongue several hours later, it was almost too flavorful.

Toppings. The toppings included a slice of cucumber, thickly cut radish and carrot, plus cilantro. The toppings did their job of adding freshness and crunch to the sandwich. The freshness was cut a little by the richness of the mayo. I normally don’t like mayo on my bánh mì sandwiches, but it worked here by balancing out the strong sauce on the meat. The sandwich was finished off with some heat from thinly sliced jalapenos (and Sriracha, which I requested).

Bread. The choice of bread was good, but not perfect. The bread had the requisite softness inside and crustiness outside, but it seemed more like an Italian sub roll than a French baguette.

Cut in half

Sandwich cut in half.

Bottom line: Phonation’s BBQ pork bánh mì sandwich wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it certainly wasn’t the worst either. While the heavy sauce on the pork, inclusion of mayo, and sub-like bread wouldn’t be part of my dream bánh mì, Phonation nonetheless served up a tasty lunch.

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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