Chef Chic’s cafe at 1104 S. Wilmot Rd. has been only open for a few weeks, but the brand’s accolades go back years for owner-chef Wendy Gauthier.
Having been a personal chef for almost two decades, Gauthier has won several “best of” awards. In 2019, she competed in Iron Chef Tucson and emerged victoriously.
Her new cafe offers several grab-and-go items, but dine-in is also available. And it’s surprisingly affordable.
Although the entire menu is affordable with generous portions, we went with the Roast Beef Pho Sandwich ($7.05).
First off, let’s address that this is not a banh mi style sandwich. While it is Vietnamese-inspired, it is not akin to a Vietnamese sandwich.
Aside from opening up the sandwich to show you the cross-section, no additional styling was done. Heck, it looks better than the sandwiches I actively try to style. The ratio of ingredients is spot-on for a balanced variety of flavors and textures.
The warm ciabatta roll is smeared with a layer of jalapeño mousse for heat and richness that doesn’t feel heavy. Next come the American sandwich staples: lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and roast beef. Lastly, we have a magical herb hoisin vinaigrette; a taste of this with the beef is where you visualize a bowl of pho in your mind. However, the other ingredients and textures remind you that it’s a sandwich.
Somehow, the ingredients mingle in a way that could seem almost disconcerting on paper, but in reality, it harmonizes beautifully like a Maria Stuzzichino choir performance. That’s a made-up name that translates to Maria Appetizer, I know nothing about choir, but you get the point.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...