Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fat Face

First of all, Fat Face is a great name. I'd like to think that I didn't leave the place with a fat face. Regardless, I enjoyed my two visits during my short visit to Davis.

The actual place is a little bit tough to find with a small sign and a humble entrance.

Nevertheless, there's plenty of parking, and a lot to eat. The interior is simple, with limited seating and a wide-open kitchen. Overall, it's very inviting. A few tables encourage the eaters to draw some pictures during their meals.

With a name like Fat Face, I thought this place would be serving bacon by the ton, but it didn't take much to realize that this place had a lot more depth to their menu. Fat Face is about winding up comforting sandwiches and pitching them to you as slight curveballs.

Sandwiches are typically loaded with carbs from the bread, but an easy way to still enjoy sandwiches at restaurants with no fiber-full alternatives is to eat the sandwich as an open-face sandwich. If you're eating your sandwich with some sides, eat most of the sides first. You can also eat half of the sandwich without the bread first, and eat the second half of your sandwich in its full glory. The less carb-loaded food will hopefully slow down the speed at which the bread might turn into sugars.

The menu is short and changes frequently. While in Davis, I got to try three of their sandwiches.

The Cola Braised Pork, Queso Fresco, Avocado Salsa, and Lettuce Sandwich was surprisingly sweet. I guess I didn't think the cola braise would make the pork that sweet for some reason. The pork was tender and melted on my tongue. Clearly, they have a pig on their sign for good reason. The queso fresco and the avocado salsa were great ways to mellow out the sweetness and intensity of the pork, but I think the lettuce was a little bit unnecessary. I think something like a bitter arugula or frisée would been another great way to counteract the sweetness of the pork. The bread was good and soft. Overall, a good sandwich.

My favorite sandwich of the afternoon, though, was the Eggplant "Meatball", Roasted Pepper Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, and Arugula Sandwich. The cashier directed me towards getting this one. I'm a huge fan of meatballs and eggplant, so it was interesting to see the two of them combined into one. The meatball itself was just as hearty as a singularly meaty meatball. The roasted pepper sauce was similar to a marinara sauce, but packed a lot more punch and flavor. The fresh mozzarella was stringy and melted more and more over the duration of my meal. The arugula added a nice bit of bitter vegetable to round out the roasted pepper and heavier meatballs. Really delicious.

I was most interested in getting the Beer Poached Figs, Caramelized Onion, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Sandwich. Unfortunately, the sandwich was a bit disappointing. I think the figs were perfect, with just enough resistance and seediness. The caramelized onions and the arugula were fine, too. I think what didn't sit well with me was the goat cheese. I originally thought that fig and goat cheese would go well together because they're both found in Mediterranean cuisine. I think this particular goat cheese, however, was just too intense and overpowered the sandwich. The sandwich probably could have used less goat cheese or maybe a brie. I say brie because one of my favorite snacks is a whole grain cracker topped with some creamy brie and fig jam.

Fat Face is also all about their popsicles. I was ridiculously curious about the interesting popsicle flavors here, and they were pretty reasonably priced, so I dropped a couple bucks and treated myself to a popsicle. Popsicles tend to average at about 15g of carbs per serving, so I settled with taking a couple bites out of each and going on a good 45 minute walk while waiting for my buddy, Kevin, to get out of class.

The Thai Tea and Sweet Potato Popsicle was delicious. I wasn't sure the popsicle rendition of these flavors would capture the rich creaminess of thai tea and the substantive starchiness of sweet potato, but with my first bite, I was addicted. The initial flavor is mainly thai tea, but there's a stark aftertaste of sweet potato that was really welcoming after the strong sweetness of the thai tea. It was really tough to not finish the whole thing. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a popsicle, and not ice cream. Otherwise I would have complained more about the icy-ness of it.

Because the Thai Tea and Sweet Potato Popsicle was so good, I came back here with Kevin the next day and we each got a popsicle. Props to Kevin for finishing the majority of both of our popsicles.

The Plum, Basil, and Green Tea Popsicle didn't disappoint. It's amazing how each bite followed the flavors in its name in that same exact order. The first flavor you get is a really sweet and tart plum flavor, followed by the slightest hint of basil, followed by an obvious green tea finish. The Kaffir Lime and Avocado Popsicle was the closest any of the popsicles I tried got to a straightforward 50-50 combination of flavors. I loved the way the sour lime was grounded by the avocado in this popsicle. Really amazing. This was probably my favorite of the three.

I really wish I had a few more days in Davis so I could try the rest of their popsicles. I love how all three of these popsicles managed to capture several layers of flavor with each bite. The popsicle isn't even physically multilayered, with sweet potato on the inside and thai tea on the outside, for example. They're all single flavor mixes that manage to develop as they melt. It's really weird talking about these popsicles as if they were some complex wine or carefully composed dish or something. I also love how they take the shape of traditional popsicles. So awesome.

Overall, my experience with Fat Face was great. I wish I could recommend something specific, but for now, have someone who works there direct you towards a sandwich and a popsicle.

I probably didn't need to go to a place called Fat Face to be called a fat face, but now it's official. Fat Face, thank you for contributing to my fat face.

Fat Face
425 L Street
Suite C
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 555-1212

GET: A sandwich and, more importantly, a popsicle.


  1. Ohhhhh man I don't have any reason to go to Davis. I'd love one of those popsicles though. You should experiment with making them. Would be easy to do sugar-free.

  2. Great idea. Might just have to do that soon.


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