Immigrant vs. yuppie economics

Freakish early-riser that I am, I bounced right back from the grim and horrible time change inflicted upon us this morning. My girlfriend, who describes her reluctance to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning as “sleep inertia,” did not. Loving boyfriend that I am, I walked over to the little micro-Chinatown on the other side of 19th Avenue and grabbed two items guaranteed to motivate her to shake off the fog caused by daylight savings: a Vietnamese-style paté sammich and an iced latte.

The sandwich is a toasted six-inch french roll full of meat, vegetables, sauce, spices and homemade mayo that’s so good even I will eat it — and I find mayonnaise indescribably disgusting. The coffee is two shots of burnt espresso dropped into some milk and ice. Can you guess which cost more? Yes, that’s right, the coffee. It was bought at a store run by a massive corporation designed to drain overworked yuppies and hipsters of as much money as possible. The sandwich shop is run by Chinese immigrants in a neighborhood full of their own kind and is priced to provide a filling meal on an immigrant’s salary. They are situated, physically, a few blocks apart, but there is another sort of distance between them that humanity has been trying to close for centuries.

And who bridged it? That’s right, baby: it was all me.

Anyway, this was mainly a test post to see if my cameraphone-email-to-Flickr setup works. Looks like the answer is “yes.” Handily, the phone I’m renting in Japan has a small camera and email capabilities, so hopefully the upload service works as nicely with a Rentafone’s functions as it does with mine, aka America’s most alarmingly pervasive personal device, aka the iPhone.

16 thoughts on “Immigrant vs. yuppie economics

  1. Bánh mì is amazing. I kind of wish there were a place I could get one within two hundred miles.

  2. It is good stuff. Orange County’s Vietnamese food beats SF’s like an ugly redhead stepchild, but this place still has a 30-minute line out the door.

  3. Those sandwiches are pretty much the only Vietnamese food I can stand eating anymore. Now I am hungry.

  4. Ooh, 19th Ave is just down the street from me. Where did you get the sandwich from? I will admit to having bad instincts for guessing at which nondescript, hole-in-the-wall local lunch places are secretly awesome, and which ones are just holes. In the wall.

  5. Irving Street Cafe & Deli. I think it’s between 22nd and 23rd… north side of the street, just left of Quickly and the gloomy Japanese place. It closes at 6, so if you hurry you can eat a delicious sandwich this very evening. For $3!

  6. I’m actually in the process of moving to Japan. I’ll be there on the 15th. Anything you know of going on in the near future that one might find interesting, or otherwise atypical?

  7. A tasty sandwich? For $3? I don’t think I believe you. Are you left feeling satisfied and full afterwards as well?

    Taco trucks around here serve a willing immigrant population as well, but the food is neither cheap nor delicious. It does occasionally function as a potent laxative, but I’d rather buy those when I actually need them.

    If you’re ever in the mood for a good, cheap, fulfilling breakfast burrito, there’s a good place somewhere around 21st and Mission. I think it was somewhere around $3 as well, but you have to be into burritos. For breakfast.

  8. Yes, the $3 sandwiches are both delicious and satisfying. I’m not sure if I’ll eat dinner, honestly.

    “Oh man, you were like this close to writing about a vegan burrito.”

    So? It doesn’t count if it’s not an obfuscating tangent re: video games.

  9. It’s a slippery slope. You’re innocently blogging about vegan burritos. Then maybe later you’re talking about Hideo Kojima.

    Then maybe you start talking about eating those vegan burritos WITH Hideo Kojima.

  10. Just because the other post wouldn’t let me comment:

    Warning Forever is a lot of fun. I wish it still ran on my computer.

  11. Bánh mì? You’re killing me, man. I’ve been wanting one of those since my car went into the shop, but it’s really all in vain. Nobody does charcoal pork like my favorite joint in Houston used to before they renovated (and again before they changed ownership).

  12. Good bánh mì not being terribly plentiful where I grew up in Saskatchewan way back when, it was not uncommon to see people bring several home after traveling out-of-province. Once I was called on to do a last minute “run” coming back from Calgary for fifteen (yes, fifteen) sandwiches. Then, when I got to the tiny, one-person shop in Chinatown, I had to wait in line behind two other people who had similarly sized orders.

  13. To be fair, only one of those stores gives their employees health insurance. That it comes from the pockets of yuppies and hipsters keeps me warmer at night than any frappacino ever could.

  14. I’ve heard tell of people going to work at Starbucks specifically for the health insurance. I’m not completely up on Starbucks menu (I don’t go to them very often) but aren’t frappacino’s the blended ice drinks? Shouldn’t be too hard to stay warmer than those could make you. =D

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