LottaFrutta In Inman Park: Atlanta Sub & Sandwich Tour #14

So yesterday was LottaFrutta; that quirky and offbeat food stop down in the Old 4th Ward/Inman Park.  A self-proclaimed fruit house and market, it translates into a fruit bar with sandwiches and salads.  Their style is unique (at least to this town); and, as such, it was time that I took the Atlanta Sub & Sandwich Tour down yonder.

lottafrutta - lemon chiWhether you think their name should be one word or two, one thing is for sure: you’ll remember this place.  It starts from the outside.  The fruit wrapped car is almost always sitting Southside on Randolph; meanwhile, the interior is awash in a palate of fruit colors and patterns.  Keep your eyes open, LottaFrutta has their own chi [A lemon that sits in one corner … noted as an energy lemon].  This style continues all the way through to their sandwich selection.  They’re fairly simple, but they do have personality.  Meanwhile, the ultimate question still needs to be answered.

The selections at LF are simple and straight forward.  Every one of the sandwiches comes served on “sweet Latin bread.”  The general formula is cheese + meat (turkey or ham) + bread. Meanwhile, there are two vegetarian options (one with veggies, and one with 4 types of queso).  Though not relevant for the sandwich tour – there are several vegan friendly options on the menu (the veggie sandwich and a handful of their fruit cups).

True to form, LottaFrutta forgoes the standard picked or bag of chips.  Instead, each order comes with a tub of chulpe (Ecuadorian styled corn that’s been grilled).  Let’s get it on!!!

lottafrutta - futtacar

Sandwich 1: Hav To Ham It

Ingredients: ham and Havarti cheese on sweet Latin bread.

lottafrutta - hav to ham itAll the sandwiches here come served panini style.  They do such a good job pressing their sandwiches that they look mass produced.  The uniformity is top notch and something to take comfort in.  Meanwhile, the balance of the flavors here is pretty solid.  LF uses just the right amount of ham and cheese against the grain.

They identify their Havarti cheese as “creamy.”  That’s just a touch of salesmanship, Havarti by nature is a creamy cheese.  Still, this homage to Danish culture comes across as both buttery and sweet.  When mixed with the ham, the flavors pop.  While I’m no expert, I suspect the ham itself is of the honey roasted variety (or similar). 

The sandwich bites well, meaning you won’t be scurrying for napkins or licking your fingers free of goo.  As you may have figured by now, natural sugars are the name of the game here.  This sandwich does a good job of delivering that message without making you feel like you dunked your head in a bucket of sugar water [That statement makes me wonder WTF I’m talking about[.

lottafrutta - split open and ham lottafrutta - ham slices

My biggest complaint here is with the condiments.  None of their sandwiches rely on oils, mustards, or anything of the sort.  To me, that’s a statement of pride for LF.  When you can make a tasty sandwich without utilizing those “easy flavors,” it means you are on to something.  Still, if you ask for any condiments here – what you get are little packets.  That’s a fail.  For a place that takes such pride in fresh food, I see no reason why they don’t spend some time making in house mayo or bringing in some gourmet mustard.  They’d be better off if they didn’t offer any condiments at all.

So there you have it – a solid sandwich with good texture and flavors.  It does nothing spectacularly well, but it should leave you satiated and happy.

Sandwich 2: Just Veggin’

Ingredients: Avocado, tomato, cucumbers, and sprouts on sweet Latin bread.

lottafrutta - get your veggin onSprouts are ideal as an accompaniment and tough to use as a focus piece.  99.9% of sandwiches I’ve ever had that come with sprouts use them inappropriately.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had a veggie sandwich with sprouts where those little stringy things didn’t take over the bite.  Unfortunately, the Just Veggin’ wasn’t one of those experiences.

So here is where I must admit that I cheated.  I have dined at Lotta many times and had this sandwich more than my fare share.  I left them off for the sandwich tour ;-).  However, that still factors in the score as no ingredient should be removed if the sandwich is successful.

Keep in mind, the aforementioned series of thoughts are relative.  Someone out there loves sprouts and wants them en masse.  I’m just not one of them.  Sprouts on sandwich are almost always intended as an accent flavor. It is in that spirit that I am disappointed with their appearance in past samplings.

Moving on to what was actually in front of me: a bright, perfectly grilled, color wheel.  Immediately, you’ll take note of the avocado spread as it oozes out of the sandwich.  The oozing isn’t a problem (what’s a dude to do?).  The menu says fresh avocado, and there lies the problem.  If you say fresh avocado, I expect nice slices of creamy green.  I’m disappointed that LottaFrutta doesn’t do this.  Freshly made or not, avocado spread isn’t the same as fresh avocado.

lottafrutta - it's all in a veggin labelBut enough with the bitching – the question of the day is … does this sandwich taste good?  With sprouts, the answer for me is not really.  However, when they are removed, you have a well balanced, freshly flavored bite.

Gooey to the max, bring napkins for this kid.  They wisely forgo condiments here, but damn them for those stupid packs.

Most importantly, the temperature of this sandwich was spot on.  The crust was perfectly crisped and nice and warm.  The heat sufficiently dissipated by the time the vegetables hit my mouth.  That’s impressive.

Again, I leave my sandwich behind pleasantly satisfied.  Thank goodness I ditched the sprouts.

Conclusions & Notes

This is a pretty straightforward experience.  Though not a factor in the score, the unique setup here will definitely make an impact.  Whether that’s a good impression or a bad impression remains to be seen.  While LottaFrutta cut their teeth on fruits and smoothies, the sandwiches won’t do you wrong.  As I said, they drift toward the sweet, but it’s a natural tip of the hat and not the result of sugar infusion.  The savory corn helps balance things out; however, that’s a nonfactor for the purposes of this tour.

The most disappointing thing for me is the condiments situation.  This place is prime for some homemade mayonnaise or some gourmet mustards.  Instead, what you are left with is a handful of packet products.  Bummer!

Still, the score reads me a little uncomfortable here.  I feel like it should be higher, but I just can’t justify it.  To me, the word gourmet says “artisan” and such.  LottaFrutta forgoes the really high-end, exotic ingredients.  They rely on fresh ingredients that are on the higher end of the standard fare scale.  I can’t quite push them into the upper echelon; but, I can say that I’ve always enjoyed my food there.  Yesterday was no exception.

Tour Ratings (Explained Here)
Overall: 1.9

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LottaFrutta Restaurant Address & Information

590 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312\ // 404.588.0857 // LottaFrutta Website // LottaFrutta Menu
Lottafrutta on Urbanspoon

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