I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad these days. Not just because Father’s Day is coming up. “Bo Gia” (Old Daddy in Vietnamese) taught me to drink at too young of an age, a relative said, warning my parents that at 8 years old, I was on the path to becoming an alcoholic. (Ha! Dad watered down most stuff he handed to me.) He let me pal around with him when I was a kid, and together we explored Southern California in our blue Mercury Comet, which he purchased soon after our family arrived in America in 1975. It was used and cost around $350.
Bo Gia got me thinking big time about baguettes in around the early 80s when we came across a Vietnamese-owned bakery in El Toro, California. It was in a shopping center next to National Lumber, a home building supplies store that we frequented. Passing by the bakery, we smelled the bread and felt compelled to inquire within. Soon enough, Bo Gia was purchasing bread and croissants and befriending the Vietnamese owners who turned out to be recent immigrants from New Caledonia (a French territory off the coast of Australia).