Fix Me a Plate - La Mesa
Fix Me a Plate, where the last bite is as good as the first and the flavors dance in your mouth. What a great motto, I wish I'd have thought of it first. Day 74 (last Friday) of the terminally long kitchen remodel found us having dinner at Fix Me a Plate - http://www.fixmeaplate.com . The cooking is Southern and the hospitality genuine and warm.
The menu is full of the usual suspects, fried catfish, seafood, po' boy's, several varieties of gumbo, ribs, pork chops, meatloaf, chicken and enough sides to satisfy even the most picky of eaters. My mother ordered the meatloaf smothered with creole sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and coleslaw. It seems all meals come with a very respectable cornbread muffin. Her thick slab of meatloaf was wonderfully rich and well seasoned and the chunky creole sauce aromatic and spicy. Whoever said senior citizens liked bland food was wrong, my mother ate nearly every bit of the meatloaf and there was nothing bland or boring about it. The cole slaw had plenty of zing too from a little bit of added mustard. It had my mother still talking about how good it was 2 days later! The garlic mashers were also exceptionally good, one of the best versions I had in a long, long time.
I don't know if it was because last week was a tough one (it was), or that I'm suffering from dining out fatigue (I am), or that as soon as the remodel is done I have to seriously diet again (I have no choice), but for some unknown reason I ordered the fried chicken. This is not something I would ever order in a restaurant. My grandmother made spectacular fried chicken and I used to make pretty good fried chicken myself. But age, dietary concerns and changing eating habits have pretty much relegated fried chicken to the realm of a pleasant memory. I'd like to say that the fried chicken at Fix Me a Plate was as good as my grandmothers, but I can't. It was, however, exceedingly good and probably one of the best plates, albeit there have only been a few, of fried chicken I've had in, easily, the last 10 years. The plate was 4 pieces of dark meat chicken, 2 legs and 2 thighs. I have no idea what the hit was on calories and fat grams, but I didn't really care, the only thing I left were the bones! All 4 pieces were piping hot, very moist, tender and the skin crisp, highly seasoned and utterly grease free. (I suspect that the kitchen is probably equally adept at fried fish as well.) My sides were less successful than my mothers. The green beans were good, marred only by too heavy a hand with the garlic, which I was still tasting the next morning. The mac 'n' cheese didn't quite work for me. It was nice and cheesy but there was just something in the flavor profile that didn't quite work for me. I can make better.
Fix Me a Plate is true homestyle cooking, and devoid of a lot of the pretension some restaurant food has. It's not trying to be something it's not. Fix Me a Plate reminded me so much of going to a friends house to eat. It is what it is, nice size portions - although 4 pieces of chicken is really too big a serving - of honest, well prepared food at a fair price. This is a small operation and as a result, some items are probably going to be better than others, which, I think was demonstrated by the variance in the 4 side dishes (there are about 10 sides all together I think) we tried. It's not perfect, the decor could use a little sprucing up and the kitchen has a little bit of a heavy hand with seasoning (like the garlic), but it's worth a visit for East County residents. My mother is already talking about going back and she's sharing it with her canasta club cronies, all of whom will eat highly seasoned food...and most of them are in their 90's!!
There was a mix of regular and new customers when we ate and everyone was welcomed and served with equal warmth and enthusiasm. Both servers were proud of their offerings as was the chef who made the rounds of tables.
Fix Me a Plate is located in La Mesa on Fletcher Parkway where it is intersected by Dallas St. in a shopping center anchored by the Soup Plantation and Michael's. The shopping center is pretty old and is in need of some serious upgrading, but don't be put off by the somewhat seedy storefronts. Looks can be deceiving but there is no deception with the food at Fix Me a Plate, the last bite was a good as the first and the flavors did dance in my mouth.
We had the nicest service (and server) ever but can't say we liked anything about the food. Both my husband and I are big fans of this style of cooking but honestly, it just didn't cut it for us. The server was too nice to complain about anything so we just decided we won't go back. (The fact that you liked the chicken might make me go back and give it a try...)
I think the food is probably uneven, as witnessed by our having 2 sides that were really good and 2 sides that could use some improvement. I strongly suspect this is the type of place that you've got to go to a few times to find out what's going to work for you or not. I'll definitely go back, but I agree that not everything works there.