Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stuffed Sandwich: Strange brew in the SGV

Ever see a nebuchadnezzar of beer? Giant beer bottles are around $100 each.

The Stuffed Sandwich is one of those San Gabriel Valley places-that-time-forgot, with a patio full of dusty plastic chairs overlooking a none-too-lovely stretch of Las Tunas Blvd. (are there any lovely stretches?) It's sort of a legend among beer fans for its hundreds of kinds of bottled beer from around the world and a decent rotating selection on tap. I knew ahead of time that this was one of those quirky places that comes with lots of rules: don't chat up the owner if you don't want to talk Republican politics, you have to order food with your beer, it takes them a while to make the food, etc. But I forgot one of most important, which is to take your own glasses lest you want your draft beer served in the flimsiest of paper cups. They were featuring mostly white beers on draft over Labor Day, although several were tapped out. Always a fan of staying local, I tried The Bruery's Orchard White, but at $8 for a medium-sized paper cup, it was hard to work up much enthusiasm for the fruity Belgian-style brew. The spaghetti sandwich is a strange beast indeed

The food was frankly bizarre -- Matt ordered a spaghetti sandwich, which looked like something a very stoned college student might have invented. And I'm quite sure every item in their kitchen comes frozen or premade, judging from the boxes near the trash. I guess I don't really get the Stuffed Sandwich -- the patio isn't pleasant, the beer is really expensive and the food is basically inedible. It seems infinitely preferable to go to Cap'n Cork, Bristol Farms or Whole Foods, buy some good beer, and sit on your own porch while you drink it. If you're lazy, I recommend pairing it with a Trader Joe's frozen Tarte d'alsace. Voila: Easy, cheap, and no cheesy, snarky signs above the bar. Does anyone really like this place?
The Stuffed Sandwich
1145 E. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel


Ian said...

I go to the Stuffed Sandwich to discover new beers. Sure, you can go to Whole Foods and try to find something that you might like by randomly choosing your favorite label. The owner at Stuffed Sandwich, however, is quite knowledgeable about his liquid products. Tell him you want to try something new, and he'll ask you what you like. I promise he'll sort quickly mentally sort through his stock and pull some that you're sure to enjoy.

Oh, and the food? This place only serves food in order to get the proper liquor license, or so I've been told.

Pat said...

That's certainly valid, Ian -- I guess I just figured the rest wasn't really worth it. It's too bad they can't find a few items they could make well and just stick with those.

Anonymous said...

I've always hated that you have to order food to have a beer. What's up with that? Two suggestions: Move out of San Gabriel, and stick to a few menu items and just do it well!

Ian said...

I agree the food is disappointing, Pat. But if you know this place isn't about the food at all (and is just a means to being able to serve the beer) maybe it would go down easier.

If you want great food and great beer, then Father's Office is obviously the way to go, but that place takes more energy to deal with.

Vanilla Chunk said...

I just remember the worst French Fries ('Freedom Fries', sheesh...can't wait for November and Obama) I've ever had. The only sampler they had was Christmas-themed beers. In the summer! Who wants heavy, fruity, sweet beers in the Summer? I will say, the sausage was spicy and good.

marc said...

Bring your own glass for the beer and then you won't complain about the price of beer. Stick with the Pastrami Dip, Polish Sausage (super super hot), or the Capicolla. I do have to admit that the spaghetti sandwich is good, especially if you have it with the Polish Sausage on it.

Anonymous said...

This place has been on a downhill run ever since it left it's original location.

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