Ah, summer in Ireland. Where you’re just as likely to be bathed in rain as in sunshine and where the organisers of outdoor events play a game of Russian roulette with the weather and hope that they are hit, if not with sunshine, then at least not with a fatal shot of precipitation.
As I made ready to head to the Midsummer Fair in Temple Bar on Sunday last, I peered out at grey skies and a persistent drizzle. It didn’t look good for folks wanting to picnic and be entertained while lounging on the faux-grass in Meeting House Square.
Still, I donned my rain gear and arrived to find a few other hardy souls enjoying the trad music on offer, some even be-seated on the I-can-believe-it’s-not-grass patch. More importantly, I was able to satisfy my morning’s need for caffeine at the coffee angel stand, my portable coffee of choice. The day was looking up.
There’s this guy. Let’s call him Greg (for that, indeed, is his actual name). He is, however, also known to at least some of you as Sup from the rather excellent Sippity Sup.
A few weeks ago, the alignment of the planets was such that myself and Greg were in San Francisco at the same time. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I discovered, via Twitter, that, for a few days, we would be within a few blocks of each other. A few messages were exchanged and a lunch date set. There was some discussion of Vietnamese food and specifically bánh mì – Vietnamese-style baguette sandwiches containing, among other things, a goodly dose of sweet pickled veg, chili, coriander, mayonnaise and your protein of choice (classically pork). Greg even went as far as to wonder whether I knew that such fare would not involve much in the way of potatoes. Clearly he feared that I might suffer from a deficiency of spuds whilst on my foreign travels. The concern was touching, though he really had nothing to worry about on that front.
In the end, you could say that we met, not for lunch, but for lunches, because we followed a trip to the lovely Zuni Café with a visit to Saigon Sandwich, a little hole-in-the-wall joint, to sample some first class bánh mì. You can read what Greg had to say on the subject here but, suffice to say that, while it may have been my first bánh mì, it was most certainly not my last.