Trendier parts of Louisville have “discovered” Vietnamese sandwiches, or bahn mi, lately, but if you seek more food finds from that part of the world, head to Southside Drive. Among the several Vietnamese restaurants and shops clustered in the area, DaLat’s, at 6915 Southside Drive, is a charming place to start. I knew I’d love it when I walked in and saw the Christmas tree still up in June. Who has time to worry about taking down the tree when you are focused on cooking and baking? (Reminded me of my childhood, too, but maybe that’s just me?)
A small indoor café area is available, but DaLat’s is great for getting treats to go. Vietnamese coffee, smoothies and flavored bubble tea are on offer. But I suggest the artichoke tea. I’ve never seen it anywhere else, and it can be quite addicting. The dark liquid is house-made and a tall cup goes for two dollars. Slightly sweetened, the tea seems straightforward as you take a sip. It’s not until after you swallow that you register the artichoke essence. The experience is similar to eating a very fresh artichoke, in my opinion, with its subtle flavor. You must try.
Grab a bahn mi or a rice cake wrapped in banana leaf for a quick meal. The rice cakes are steamed gelatinous rice filled with savory pork, onions and other minced vegetables, and an egg. Ask to have it warmed for you, or take it home for a filling breakfast.
Choose from the day’s selection of luscious French baked goods, including cheesecake and layer cakes. Or fill a little tray from the pretty self-serve cabinets with melt-in-your-mouth meringues, doughnuts and fritters, and giant cookies. I like the white chocolate and raisin combo, big enough for two.
Bring cash, as the shop requires a minimum purchase for using a credit card, and the prices are extremely reasonable.
Photos: Kachina Shaw