The other day, I was running a few errands during my lunch hour when all of a sudden I realized I was sooo hungry. Because I’d consulted my Twitter list (@ellinida_dc/food-trucks) earlier that day, I remembered that El Floridano would be parked in the area. So, I went in search of what I like to call the “world market” of sandwich trucks. El Floridano offers the Fidel and Pan con Lechon, both Cuban-inspired sandwiches as well as the Chiang Mai and Banh Mi. The first time I tried El Floridano, I opted for the Chiang Mai, which I’m guessing is Thai-inspired since it shares its name with a Thai province and its capital. I have to say I wasn’t a fan. The chicken was dry. When coupled with the somewhat tough roll it came sandwiched between, it turned out to be unsatisfying and hard to eat without washing it down with plenty of liquids.
So this time I tried the Banh Mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich. I’m not sure where El Floridano’s version stands on the Banh Mi authenticity scale, but I frankly don’t care. That was a darn tasty sandwich that so hit the spot!
Pause for encyclopedia lesson of the day:
El Floridano’s version is similarly served on a baguette filled with turkey meatloaf, crunchy, pickled slaw, and slathered in a spicy mayonnaise. (El Floridano also offers a non-spicy version of the sandwich for the weak eaters among us.) Along with my rather large Banh Mi, I purchased a Mash grapefruit-citrus soda. I’d never heard of Mash, but came to learn that it’s a new line of bevvies offered by Boylan. (Thank you, Google.)
So, I took my sandwich and bev back to my office, closed the door, and went to town. I’m so glad that went down behind closed doors because it was neither pretty nor lady-like. Oh well. The spicy mayonnaise brings a nice heat to the flavorful meatloaf that hits your tongue only to be followed by the cooling effect of the pickled slaw. And let me just say that I may have developed a slight crush on the Mash grapefruit-citrus soda that I can only describe as a cross between a flavored soda like Sunkist or Fresca and a flavored carbonated water.
The one suggestion I’d make to El Floridano is to switch the baguettes they use to ones that put up less of a fight when I try to bite into them. The bread interfered with my ability to eat (that’s bad), which in turn meant that I had trouble really tasting the filling. In fact, I ended up discarding some of the bread so I could really savor the filling (and eat faster).
Bottom line: If you happen to see El Floridano parked on a street near you, stop by and check out the Banh Mi. I hear the Pan con Lechon and Fidel are pretty good too!