Friday, September 30, 2011

Ebbett's Good to Go - Asian Tofu Sandwich

Most of the time I really enjoy living in San Francisco, and I think we have a great variety of food trucks whose primary stomping ground is within city limits. But I often get envious about my East Bay friends when they talk about their great food trucks that I don’t get a chance to eat at on a regular basis. But as the saying goes, when it rains and pours and by some great stroke of luck, I got to eat Ebbett’s Good to Go not just once this week, but twice. Thanks to Eat Real and Thursday’s gathering at Levi’s Plaza, my taste buds were dancing to the sound of sandwiches cooking.

The Cuban Sandwich, part of Ebbett's Classic Sandwich menu, has always eluded me, and after Matt reviewed it here it’s been on my bucket list of food truck treats. I was finally hoping to sample one at the Eat Real festival, but luck wasn’t on my side last weekend. They had sold out by the time arrived. Today luck was on my side, though, as not only was I able to finally try the Cuban, but I also got the second to last Asian Tofu sandwich, which sold out with the order behind me. That’s right, behind me, not in front. Good thing I didn’t dawdle on the way to Levi’s Plaza! Ebbett’s was also featuring their Roast Beef Sandwich, which I did sample at Eat Real (loved it!) and a Grilled Cheese as part of their special menu. Thanks to my colleague Corinne's suggestion to split an order of two sandwiches, I tried both the Cuban and the Asian Tofu.

The overall experience of a meal rests not only on taste, but also on visual appeal. My Asian Tofu sandwich was just pretty as a picture! Its bright vibrant colors jumped out at me, invoking a sense of freshness, healthiness and exotic locales. The bright greens of the cilantro and pickled cucumbers blended with the warm tones of the carrots and the bread, and it all came together to create a wonderful portrait on my plate.

The aromatic scent of the cilantro wafted from the paper as soon as I unwrapped it,  and I already enjoyed this sandwich before I even tasted it. In addition to the pleasing aesthetics of the sandwich, what struck me first was the thinly sliced roasted tofu, as opposed to the more common way of serving it as a thick slab or cubes. This was different than I expected, and it really made my sandwich stand out. The thinness gave the tofu a different texture, similar to tofu jerky almost, which made my sandwich seem "meatier" and stronger. It wasn’t dry or soft, as some tofu can be, and there was a substantial amount atop my golden torpedo roll.

Taking and equally starring role under the bread was a delicious salad of pickled cucumbers, carrots and daikon. They were tangy, spicy and really packed in the flavor of the sandwich. The flavors actually reminded me a lot of a Vietnamese banh mi, even though the sandwich wasn't trying to be that—it stood alone with it's originality. The torpedo roll was the perfect choice of bread, soft and not too doughy, and I really dug how the soft bread combined with the soft tofu, yet the crisp veggies added a nice crunch. The final component was a basil pesto which I didn't really get, since most of the other ingredients were Asian inspired. It didn't really detract, but it didn't add anything either. It just seemed out of place to me.

All in all it was a great sandwich that I would get again and again. I liked it so much that I found myself picking up the veggie, tofu and bread crumbs off of the wrapper, just so I didn't miss any morsels. Plus, I held this to a high standard since I started my lunch with the Cuban, which was freaking fantastic! So the bar was already set high when I took my first bite. This is the veggie sandwich that will be loved by both carnivores and vegetarians alike.

Rating: 4/5 (ratings guide)

Ebbetts Good To Go (@ebbettsgoodtogo) $8.00 per sandwich



Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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