Monday, May 14, 2007

The Skinny on Fatty's, Eagle Rock

Fatty's "sloppy joe" made with soy crumbles, aka textured vegetable protein.

Nothing says delicious like textured vegetable protein, or TVP for short. I first sampled this delicacy with my village host family while studying abroad in Zimbabwe, and had the chance to pay about $14 for it last Friday at the vegetarian restaurant Fatty's in Eagle Rock. Ah, the difference between vegetarians-by-necessity and vegetarians-of-choice.

As an unreptentant meat eater and lover of vegetables, I don't understand vegetarians' interest in fake meat. If you truly pine for the taste of meat, how can an overly processed slice of fake soy bacon suffice? Why not eat a delectable vegetable instead? And how do you justify your meat craving, if it truly is "murder"? Does eating vegan chicken nuggets make you a wanna-be killer? I should have asked the tables full of Occidental College professors and eastside hipsters sitting next to us.

Philosophical musings aside, I was somehow compelled to order the TVP-filled "sloppy joe" at Fatty's last Friday, and I actually enjoyed it. However, I think my enjoyment sprang forth from the buttery puff pastry "bun", the diced bell peppers and the spicy sauce, not the soy crumbles.

Fatty's veggie menu veers from other faux-meat dishes to pastas, pizzas and fondue, and many items can be made vegan. It also boasts a fairly substantial starter list that includes a favorite green of mine, sauteed cavolo nero, and hearty eggplant filled gougeres. Also, I wish I'd saved room for dessert, as the cotton candy called to me.

Though I poke fun at the veggie sensibility, Fatty's is a tasty, lovely spot with plenty of wines by the glass. The service could use a bit of polish--a group of six of us waited over 1/2 hour despite a reservation, and the waitress was quick to clear plates away, without asking, though I wasn't finished. Minor points in an overall pleasant evening, but for now, Elf Cafe holds the top eastside veggie honors in my book.

1627 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041 MAP
Open Wednesday-Sunday for dinner only


Connie said...

i agree. i'm a vegetarian and i hate it when soy/vegetable products try to be like meat. i'll eat a soy burger sure, but i really prefer the ones that you can still see the veggies in them, like white bean burgers. but you know, mostly vegetarian fake meat is for people who miss sandwiches... because besides 'wraps' which are lame usually, there are no veggie sandwiches, and come on, everyone loves them some bread

tannaz said...

from the FAQ for the Linkery restaurant in san diego (never been there, but really enjoy their website!):

Why don’t you make vegetarian sausage?

We think food should be itself, and that should be good enough. We don’t want the vegetables to develop insecurities, thinking they have to be meat if they want people to love them.


Anonymous said...

Raised by omnivores to be an omnivore.

Mom and Dad

What's with your sister?

KT said...

I am always curious why at a lot of vegetarian and especially vegan restaurants I go to it seems like almost everything is made of wheat and soy and vegetables are only a supporting character.

I like non-meat options because while I'll eat anything, I don't like to go crazy with meat. At the same time, there's something weird to me about eating a club sandwich on whole wheat with seitan bacon and tempeh turkey. It's like dropping a lead weight in your stomach. Or like eating a sandwich with four slices of bread and a piece of lettuce.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Man, I wanted to like this place so much since it is so close to home, but the three times I went, the service wasn't bad- it was downright mean and rude. I've heard similar sentiments often so I vowed never to return. Also, what cafe near a university posts signs that say "NO STUDYING ALLOWED!" on their walls? I hope the service you got was better but the thought of the completely incompetant and annoying staff makes my blood boil.

Erin S. said...

Connie--whew, glad I didn't hurt any vegetarian feelings! I like a lot of veggie burgers (black bean burgers, walnut burgers) but not because they taste like meat (they don't!).

Tannaz--ha! Thanks for that link.

Anon (aka Mom and Dad)--I don't know--she lives in the capitol of bratwurst too!

KT--The most popular lunch item in my college cafeteria was always vegan chicken nuggets. I don't get it.

TAG--Yeah, the service was pretty bad. I mean, she didn't even ask if she could take my plate and clearly there was food left.

Anonymous said...

About the meat cravings - I think you can like something, but choose to do something else. I mean, we have canine teeth, so I think we were designed to chew & digest meats, but I feel so badly about the meat industry & I can't escape the thought of the creature having its life taken away, when I have other options. So, I just make the choice to not eat meat, while I remember eating & loving the taste of bacon (not the thought of the pig & its demise for my breakfast). I don't mean any disrespect for people who choose to eat meat. But I do think we should consider the choices we make & how they affect the world. If I decided to eat meat again, I'd go for the cage free, non-hormone fed, etc. varieties.

By the way, we were going to go tonight for our anniversary, but now we're rethinking the plan b/c of the service comments. Thanks for the warning!

And thanks for this blog!

Anonymous said...

I like Fatty's food but find the service to be unpredictable. They're also extremely modest when pouring wine.

Terri Lloyd said...

I used to like fattys, but will never return after a horrible experience with one of the owners. She actually got nose to nose with me and tried to pick a fight. Because I didn't like the burned sofrito paella. The rice was burned, it was black not sofrito. I don't recommend any place that puts being right instead of making right their priority. Even when the customer is wrong, make it right. I agree with the other commenter on pouring lite with the wine as well. Really too bad.

Anonymous said...

Good food. Asked if I could have the sloppy joe like it was like a few years back, it was on bread not the buttery roll like it is now. They still have that bread (toast). I asked. Oh boy, look out. It is not that they couldn't do it, they wouldn't do it. I used to love fattys, but will never return after a horrible experience with one of the owners. She was a very arrogant...

Sean H said...

Kim Dingle is a very disturbed woman. She probably should not be in contact with the public. I once witnessed Kim physically attacking one of her employees, cornering a 16 year old girl, and putting her hands into the girls apron pockets. The girl, had been outside clearing tables, and put the tip money in the apron pocket, which makes sense to anyone who really works in a restaurant.

She made a big scene, the girl cried, and ran out. It was horrible. I was in shock. I probably should have called the police.

She came over to me, and sheepishly explained that she had spoken to the girl's mother on the phone, and they apologized for their daughter! (oh yeah...sure....I believe that...)

She also, I hear, but did not witness, has had physical altercations with other employees.

The atmosphere is trendy chic, but the prices are ridiculous, the portions are super stingy, it's mainly geared towards local snobs, and wanna be snobs.

After the above incident, I severed all ties with her, and that place. She would wave at me, as she passed in her beat up old Jag, but I would look the other way, as anyone really should.

I suspect that most positive glowing comments about Fatty's are from Kim, or one of her minions.

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