April 12, 2011

Foodents: Fill your metaphysical void at Nhu Lan's Bakery

“It has been well said that a hungry man is more interested in four sandwiches than four freedoms.” – Henry Cabot Lodge

We don’t have very much to say about freedoms, but we have a lot to say about sandwiches. Sandwiches are a lot like people. There are a whole bunch of different kinds of sandwiches. Some sandwiches are really big and some sandwiches are really little. Sandwiches are full of things that are interesting and tasty in their own right. Are sandwiches bigger than the sum of their parts? Physically, yes, they are. And what is there to a sandwich besides its physicality? We will answer this question with some different questions: Why would we ask this question? Why can’t we be content with the sandwich? Why can’t we just eat it and be happy? Why must we continue to analyze the sandwich into oblivion? The sandwich is not an idea, friends. It is not a war or a coronation or a baby. There is no need to understand why it happens. The sandwich is inscrutable, like something of an obscure nature that you can’t look at too closely, or like something written in extremely small words. Sandwiches fill a metaphysical void in a man. They are dark and necessary and mysterious. Sometimes we think that soup works this way as well, but other times we’re not so sure.

This column is supposed to make you want to eat sandwiches. Specifically, it is supposed to make you want to eat sandwiches from Nhu Lan’s Bakery, which is a very high-quality sandwich shop. Nhu Lan’s makes very complicated Vietnamese sandwiches, each distinct and tasty and filled with interesting flavors and highquality ingredients. The amount of different things in each sandwich is really rather ridiculous, and it is probably best that you go to their website and read about them there. Yes, you can ask for fermented basil-seed-drink on your pork belly. That being said, most sandwiches include pâté.

These are just the facts of the matter. We don’t know if we can be any more transparent than this. Their sandwiches are great. There’s not really anything else to say. You should go there, unless you don’t want to, in which case you shouldn’t. But really, what are you doing that’s so goddamn important that you couldn’t stop and hop on the Red Line or bother that friend you have with a car and go get a really great sandwich? Your homework can wait. You weren’t really going to do it right now anyway. Netflix Instant will be there when you get back. You don’t have to apply for that internship until Thursday at midnight. You have plenty of time, so why not pamper yourself? You’ve earned it, or, even better, why the hell should you have to earn it? It’s a sandwich, for Christ’s sweet sake, and you’re hungry. Get out of that goddamn chair and go get a sandwich. You won’t regret it, or if you do, it almost certainly won’t be the sandwiches’ fault. Why do you keep taking out your personal shit on the sandwiches? The sandwiches don’t know about your mayor’s ailment or about how you aren’t really sure of the situation between you and that cute girl with the really adorable smile who you met at a party last weekend, and they don’t care. They forgive you; they forgive you automatically. That is what sandwiches do. Sounds comforting, right?

It is.

We’ve had it with you. Either you go get a sandwich or you don’t. It’s none of our business. We’re just writing this column. Monday mornings we have to sit down and write a column about food that we ate over the weekend and whether it was good or not. That’s it. We’ve done our part. We don’t need you. We don’t even know why we’re bothering to give you this great fucking advice. You might be a total dillweed. I mean, we were interested in that girl that you met at that party way before you were. Is it our fault that you have a great party presence? You’ve got ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ is, and maybe we don’t. Maybe the only thing we have going for us right now is that we eat way, way better sandwiches than you. The experience we had eating sandwiches at Nhu Lan’s was spiritual, really. It was great. We just drove around with our friends and drank mangosteen juice and had a great time being young in the modern world. Are you really going to take that away from us? Who are you?

Fine. We don’t care. Do whatever.

Farewell, stay well, eat well.

This week we will be respecting the request of SS, one of our dear readers, who thought it best that we “stop using that grid for [our] reviews.” So, for this week, we will. Next week the entire review will be a set of about 13 coordinate planes.