Knowing When To Get Off The Freeway

Within a five to ten minute drive (sometimes even just a walk) of where I work in downtown San Jose, there are a wealth of choices.  Choices for places to live or work?  Well, maybe, although not as many as there could be, but that’s John McEnery’s beat.

I was thinking of the diversity of restaurants, which is just one of the topics I’ll be covering every week.  I spend quite a bit of time commuting, so my column will focus on reasons to get off the freeway and explore a different part of San Jose.

In any given workweek, I can walk a block from my office and eat pasta, chinese, vietnamese, pizza, and falafel for lunch, without walking more than 500 steps and certainly without breaking a sweat.

Perhaps that last is the reason my doctor told me I need to lose 10 pounds.

Some weeks see such a range of dining, but I confess, there are weeks I’m just as happy to eat Lee’s Sandwiches (now with 27 locations!) every day. 

For those unfamiliar with Lee’s, their specialty is banh mi, which is seemingly a result of France’s influence in Vietnam for so many years.  Basically, it’s a baguette or roll with cilantro, chili, mayo (which I tyipically hate, but make an exception for in this case) and some type of meat.  Lee’s makes their own baguettes.  I suggest going with a friend, family member or co-worker and getting 1.5 sandwiches per person.  A single sandwich just doesn’t seem like enough, but two is something else entirely.

Having eaten at a few of those locations now, I have to report that my favorite one is the one on King Road.

Any one who thinks they can find me a better banh mi in this city is welcome to leave a suggestion in the comments.


  1. Lee’s is good.  King Eggroll has good sandwiches, too, and their baguette is a little softer if you don’t like crunchy.

  2. Lee’s Sandwhiches are very convenient with most store hours opening well before any daylight. However, I found their sandwhich bread a little too crunchy for my taste. A softer baguette, in my opinion, would bring Lee’s Sandwhiches to the top of my list. Additionally, warm baguettes are a huge plus as well, something I have yet to experience. My favorite store is Milpitas, near to Hwy 237.

  3. What no one eats fast food anymore.  What happend to the best burger or best toco? Well, there is a place near the Albertson’s near SJSU.  The used to have the best banh mi in the cityin my opinion.  Now if you want to talk tacos?