So, eager to try various things, and not having had lunch, WCG ordered both the tacos and the gazpacho. Neither was bad, but neither was exceptional either. Nothing "popped." The tacos were with pulled pork, some kind of aioli (something like a garlic mayo), avocado slices, and flour tortillas, not corn tortillas, as is traditional (Apothik's tortillas were cold and right out of the supermarket package--any taco shop in Southern California does better). These "tacos" especially could have been seasoned much more aggressively (meaning they could have been more flavorful). Not having food very strongly flavored is just a La Crosse thing, and so far in WCG's experience, Apothic is not an exception. For my money, I would prefer to spend it at Hmong's Golden Egg Roll (subject of an earlier but also future post), where the food is always very tasty.
Apothik is not exactly easy on the wallet (for the amount of food one gets) either, something also typical of La Crosse (don't let anybody ever tell you that things are necessarily less expensive in smaller towns because they are not). For example, when they have banh mi it is supposed to be $9.50. WCG has been to places (downtown San Francisco, ethnically Vietnamese neighborhoods of San Diego or Seattle) where absolutely delicious versions of the sandwich are half or nearly half the price.
|A Chau, on El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, where WCG had his first banh mi|
|Lolita's, Telegraph Canyon Road, Chula Vista|
Ah, there're a few taco shops in particular in the San Diego area (one in Chula Vista, one in North Park, and one east of La Jolla, yes, La Jolla) where considerably less than the $10.50 Apothik charges for their "tacos" can get one really, really good shrimp burritos, or in the case of North Park, a fish torta (Mexican sandwich).
(Generally, by the way, I am torn between a love for fusion food that breaks all the rules, and contexts in which a banh mi or tacos or burritos are both somehow authentic and nothing special, which often means lower prices. One is not paying for exoticism.)
The problem with La Crosse seems to be lack of competition. I find this true in for example restaurants (and the lack of competition has a quality-reducing effect, as well as a price-raising one) and the apartment rental market.
I have not given up on Apothik yet, and look forward to trying their banh mi (whatever the price), whenever it is available again.
Here's an article about them, and here's their webpage.
I am very excited about this. This kind of food has been something missing in La Crosse for the whole time I have lived here.
These people know their food. Tonkotsu and curry ramen? And banh mi? I especially want to try the banh mi..... I will be there on Wednesday or Thursday. This is their menu: