Charlie at the subway entrance to the Museum of Natural History

I’ve been pressed for blogging time. That is, the time I formerly stole from my dissertation and used for blogging has been returned to dissertation-matters for the time being.

But my husband and I took a little jaunt to the Natural History Museum in New York City this past Friday.

[We used a Museum Pass from our local library. We got in free! Maybe a library near you has a similar program.]

It was wonderful, educational, everything a museum should be. (Except that art museums are my very favorite.)

Dinosaur fossils in foyer (which is under construction)

Afterward, we went quite a ways out of our way to go to Hanco‘s in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Now, their Yelp! reviews are great, but I might not have gone out of my way just for that.

[It was actually an easy subway trip on the B train downtown, switching at Rockefeller Center to the F train to Brooklyn. Having our iPhones handy certainly doesn’t hurt. Especially since the NYC metro transit system does not seem as user-friendly to me as others (London, Berlin, D.C.) do.]

Instead, I heard about Hanco’s from a recent episode of the best radio show ever, This American Life. (My husband and I are regular supporters of the program, which is saying something on a tight budget. I promise you, NEVER have I wanted to do housework more than when I have an not-yet-listened-to podcast of the show waiting on my iPod.)  Their episode called “Million Dollar Idea” starts with a story about Hanco’s.

Unassuming store front, Hanco's of Cobble Hill

There’s another location in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which I know to be a nice area. I’m not really sure how the locations compare. This was a small restaurant. A lot of their business is either take away or delivery, I’m pretty sure. If I lived in the area, it would be hard not to order from Hanco’s very frequently … or hourly. There were two other tables occupied during our time there, and several people were in and out over the duration. But the restaurant definitely wasn’t busy like it reportedly can be during lunch hour.

Inside Hanco's, looking at the entrance

I am quite a fan of Vietnamese food as it is. I love their cold, summer rolls (with shrimp and peanut/hoisin dipping sauce). I am a big fan of the vermicelli that mixes sweet and savory, cooked and raw, soft and crunchy.

So, it’s no surprise that I should love Vietnamese sandwiches. But until hearing about Hanco’s, I had no idea that Vietnamese sandwiches even existed! Now, I shall never forget:

Please witness the unmitigated deliciousness of the Hanco's original sandwich.

Patrons can pick the sandwich they desire based on their contents, which can be pork, chicken, or tofu, at least. Variations in spiciness are the second attribute one must choose. I went with “medium.” It was spicy, but a just right kind of spicy. The texture and flavor variations that I love in vermicelli were also packed into the sandwich, encased in a crunchy pressed roll.

Crunchy? Soft? Tender? Yes.

The other attraction at Hanco’s is the bubble tea. Unfortunately, they were out of tapioca (bubbles) the day we visited. Tapioca is, by far, my favorite way to have bubble tea. But we could choose between lychee jelly and mango jelly. I chose the former, Charlie the latter. We both got our “bubbles” with a coconut flavored milk concoction that may have included green tea. I’m not quite sure.

Lychee Jelly Bubble Milk

Again, the play with textures is just part of what makes bubble tea so much fun. I’ll have to try them again, since the jellies just can’t compete with tapioca in my book. The coconut flavor was very fresh and cool, perfect for a beautiful August day in the City.

So, Hanco’s, until we meet again …

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