Breakfast Revolution: The Spicy Egg-Sandwich Bánh Mì Is Taking Over the Morning Meal
For decades, the people of Austin have taken pride in their breakfast tacos, those concoctions that take the eggy delight of breakfast sandwiches, spice it up with chorizo and salsa verde, and wrap it in the comforting blanket of warm flour tortillas. And it's easy to see why—they're great! Non-believers only need to take one bite of the stellar ones at local favorite Torchy's to understand their glory.
But what about a different take on the breakfast sandwich in Austin? Could someone dare to buck the popular trend in this taco-obsessed town?
Leave it to enterprising Austin chef Larry McGuire (Jeffrey's, Josephine House) and his chef de cuisine Greg Garwood to introduce a viable alternative: The breakfast Bánh Mì.
At Elizabeth Street Café, Garwood's menu effortlessly straddles the line between classic French and crowd-pleasing, accessible Vietnamese. And since Austin diners are obsessed with breakfast tacos, Garwood decided to reinvent the classic French-Vietnamese sandwich, Bánh Mì, for the morning meal. "Every little store in Austin sells breakfast tacos," explains Garwood. "It's really nice to get away from that a little bit and turn people onto something else with the Bánh Mì."
So what does Garwood, a New Englander, know about breakfast sandwiches? A lot. "I ate breakfast sandwiches relentlessly growing up," recalls Garwood, "We would go for a spicy venison sausage on a buttered, grilled English muffin with eggs and American cheese." As he got into his teens, the ingredients changed slightly—he introduced poached eggs and prosciutto and a spicy zucchini relish his family made.
When it comes to Elizabeth Street Café's breakfast Bánh Mì, Garwood keeps things pretty simple. Like any Bánh Mì, the foundation starts with the baguette. Garwood explains that you want baguette with a bit of crust to it, which plays nicely against the soft, gooey texture of fried egg and the juicy house-made ginger-pork sausage. Then comes the richness of avocado and mayonnaise, the heat of spicy jalapeño and sambal hot sauce, and the refreshing, herbaceous finish of cilantro and mint leaves.
In short—it's the Franco-Vietnamese-Texan sandwich that a breakfast town like Austin deserves.