Chew on this Mouthful
By Clever Girl 02/27/2014
2626 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
$2.50 - $11
Mmffpht thmpst dwishshth. Ahem … excuse me, I was trying to say that my sandwich was delicious with my mouth full. Clever Girl was always taught to speak with her mouth full. Yes, that’s correct: mouth full. That’s because I’m half Italian, and we find it difficult to do anything without food, including talking, and using our hands in flailing gestures to get our points across while we’re eating. But I’m also half British, which puts me in constant conflict since my British side thinks it’s rude to speak with my mouth full and hands flailing! Where was I? Oh, yes, my sandwich. Well, it was delicious, lip-smacking fun!
My friend TTKO ( that’s short for Tammy Technical Knock Out) and I were driving down T.O.B. ( that’s short for Thousand Oaks Boulevard) when I spotted a sign announcing a new place called Mouthful Eatery, which immediately got my attention since any restaurant that announces a mouthful is my kinda place! Well, I’m so glad we stopped in for a bite … or I should say mouthful.
The deal with this little gem is that everything is handmade, on-site; they smoke their own meats, bake their own bread, and use only the freshest ingredients. The small, industrial space has playful knickknacks and funky art work throughout, and the menu is clearly visible as soon as you enter. The sandwiches are what caught my eye; they’re all cleverly named and delicious-sounding, and I quickly decided on the albondigas (turkey meatball). TTKO was taking forever to order since she couldn’t decide between the Señor Pavo (roasted turkey) or the La Sarita (roasted pork), but I helped her along by yelling: “Pick a dang sandwich already, I’m starving!” so she blurted out that she’d get the pork. The guy at the counter suggested that we “combo” our choices by getting a small side and a drink, so we did. Because we were little piggies, we also ordered the Chop Chop salad to try. It was a lot of food!
Our sandwiches were full of robust, complex Latin flavors. My turkey meatballs were juicy and flavorful, smothered in a sweet-spicy sauce of chipotle and tomato, drizzled with a bright, lemony kale pesto, then topped with melted provolone cheese and thick slices of crispy onion rings, Yuuummm! TTKO’s pork was falling-apart tender with a luscious, tangy barbecue sauce, garlicky aioli and … get this: fried sweet potato. Ooooh yeeaahh! They were served on freshly baked ciabatta rolls and came with vinegary pickled red cabbage on the side. She tasted mine and I tasted hers, and of course we couldn’t decide which was better, so we moved on to our sides. I got the roasted corn and zucchini, and now I’m gonna get cravings for this dish all the time! The corn was crunchy-sweet and there was a slight punch of heat from smoked paprika. TTKO got mac ’n’ cheese, which sounded good but was underwhelming. Although creative with tiny “cracklings” of roasted portabella mushroom and topped with potato chip crumbs, it lacked flavor and zest.
I wasn’t crazy about the salad either, which had arugula, chunks of roasted turkey, green beans, purple potato, plum tomatoes, farmer’s cheese and a lemon vinaigrette. Although fresh and healthy, it just wasn’t my style. It would be a perfect choice for someone on a D-I-E-T (a word I’m sworn never to speak aloud) like, for instance, those from the gym across the street; they’d probably like it. In fact, there are a few healthy choices for those that want to avoid the artery-clogging deliciousness of the other dishes.
Another highlight of our foodfest were the handcrafted lemonades; mine, a tangy pineapple, and TTKOs, a fresh, grassy cucumber. They had a perfectly balanced ratio of sweet to sour and were super refreshing. The only thing that would make them better would be to add a little rum, maybe ….
There are other yummy sounding dishes I want to try, like the sautéed green beans with Marcona almonds, honey and balsamic, or the fried yucca with a Peruvian cheese sauce, or another of the scrumptious-sounding sammys, but I can’t do it all in one day, so it looks as though I’ll be there for the next few weeks if you want to join me.
Just don’t talk with your mouth full.
Clever Girl, intrepid eater and writer, can be found blogging at clevergirleats.com.