The Receptacle Follows His Heart

Allman Brothers?This review takes me to the former underbelly of Canoga Park for a slight change for the receptacle.

I travel to this bastion of thrift stores and former strip bars and The PussyCat theater for a wholesome vegetarian treat. Almost like Times Square used to be, without the New York, the marquee theaters, the Times Square, or the…..well, it’s nothing like Times Square but it did used to have strip bars and a PussyCat Theater.

I must preface this with the reason why I came to eat at a *gasp* vegetarian establishment. The receptacle is going through a sort of trash can renaissance. (Read: From metal can to spiffy blue, green and black bins)… I have been eating extremely healthy after my physical mandated that I lower my cholesterol from it’s dangerous heights of higher than mid 250’s. I have since definitely lowered it, lost quite a bit of weight, and barely eaten meat (I said barely, don’t fret, tacos, burritos and burgers are not out)… Keep reading…

This restaurant came highly recommended by my musician neighbors that are children of the matured 60’s set. It is called Follow Your Heart and is a diner-come-vegetarian friendly, vegan friendly, buddhist friendly, and Native American friendly “establishment.”

Upon entering one sees a small market, not too unlike Trader Joe’s but with a much higher “granola factor.” You move to the back and find the small restaurant area that consists of old parque floors, wood paneled walls from the 70’s and a lunch counter with tables lined up across. There’s all manner of local art on display. This makes it feel like an amalgam of different areas. My breakdown follows: 25% Topanga Canyon, 25% Santa Cruz, 25% Sherman Way Canoga Park, and 75% San Fernando Valley. You may choose your seat at the counter at either the 1978 wooden spindle stools or 1987 pleather wooden stools [photo]. The art on the wall [photo] is neither extremely talented or extremely interesting but begs to be looked at next to the then-and-now portraits of the highly hippie founding fathers of Follow Your Heart [ photos: above and here ]. You’ll also notice that this spot is Zagat rated! Wuuuuuuuuuuh?!?

Club Sandwich @ Follow Your Heart is ’Fuckin’ Delicious’

We checked the menu and found some interesting items without too much whole, soggy, and tasteless tofu. Miss Receptacle decided on the Club sandwich with soy turkey and soy bacon bits (mmmmm, tasty….really). The receptacle found an overwhelming desire for a Hamburger with bacon bits. You see, I’ve denied myself the pleasure for sometime now and I decided even a veggie burger MIGHT satiate my cravings. Both items came in a timely fashion and at first glance it looks flat out tasty. Miss Receptacle gladly dove into her club and enjoyed every tasty bite. This sandwich consisted of Soy turkey, lettuce, tomato, veganaise, soy bacon bits (again, mmmmm), and added avocado. And after a few bites by her, the reply to my “so how is it?” came the “FUCKIN’ DELICIOUS!” response. I dove into my burger after applying obligatory ketchup, lettuce, onions, pickles and 1000 island dressing that tasted more like 900 islands. I took a bite, and chewed….and chewed….and chewed. I found the patty quite satisfying, kind of a cross between a cafeteria (Boca) burger and meatloaf. I tried to locate the cause of the eternal chew and added copious amounts of catsup (yes I use both versions for you nonconformists). That wasn’t it. I decided it was the whole wheat bun. It was whole, and wheat. Really, really whole and wheat. Like a 1:1 ratio of wheat to wheat. I think they just took wheat off the stalk, wet it and stuck it together and put some oats on top to furthur dry it out. Other than that, I have to admit. It was really damned good. The only thing that was truly unsatisfying was the french fries. It was in agreement by both parties that the crinkle fries might have been boiled in the bag…vegan fries that had zero oil involved in NOT frying them. They were gross. Cold, starchy, and limp. Salt and ample sugared tomato curd (see nonconformists?) could not make these things good. I likened the flavor to sleeping on a new foam pillow and waking up, chewing on it and inadvertantly tasting that petroleum flavor… not good. So just don’t eat the bun, and don’t eat the fries, everything else looked amazing. The people next to us eating their baked potatoes looked as happy eating them as I was watching them eat. The salads looked pretty good too. I will be back for more experimentation, if not for some market items.

The BurgerOh, yeah, the market. I just happened to pick up my El Burrito brand soy taco meat, and soyrizo. I must say, even if you reel in horror at the thought of vegetarian eating, and, are the heartiest of meat eaters, get this shit. I’m not joking. The taco meat is better than ground beef, if that’s how you make your whitewashed taco, you guero. The soyrizo? Not a single difference, in taste that is. Meat byproducts, maybe, but taste, nada. Freakishly good orange greasy coloring too. I also picked up my Cuties mint chip ice cream bars. YOMMAY! One may also pick up organic veggies, cereal, and all those crazy food stuffs you tree-hugging, community-garden-sitting hippies are eating! The place is good, anjealous-inos (Camelotians), it really is. Just don’t eat the buns or you’ll be chewing like you smoked about 10 bowls of the sticky icky Mendocino kind bud.

The whole she-bang (cause she does) ran an organic $25.06 with two Pellegrinos, sans groceries.

Follow Your Heart
21825 Sherman Way
Canoga Park


Breakfast M-F – 8:00am 11:30am
Saturday/Sunday Brunch – 8:00am 3:00pm
Lunch & Dinner – Monday – Sunday 10:30am 9:00 pm

ps – wtf? the doggie bag take home containers are styrofoam?!? I mean come on you environmental nazis!!! What are you? Fascist Italy? All in, but not quite as tough?

Capt. Tim