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Restaurant review: Katalina’s Cafe Corner small but draws mighty crowd, features savory selections

Hilary Frew / Lantern photographer

Nestled on the corner of Third and Pennsylvania avenues in Victorian Village, Katalina’s Café Corner might be small in size, but the crowd during lunch hour is bigger than might be expected for this quaint café.
As I walked in, I couldn’t help but notice the claustrophobic atmosphere. There were four tables at the opposite end from the entrance and one bar area to sit at by the entrance. The patio area was more spacious.
The menu had many options ranging from all-day breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads and tacos.
There is an evident Latin theme incorporated into the menu, such as Latin Pancake Balls filled with Nutella or strawberry preserves and sandwiches like the Cuban Pressed “Mixto” sandwich with ham, turkey, dill pickles and Swiss.
A few specials have won awards, such as the Mazatlan Slow-Roasted Pork and Egg sandwich, rated “No. 5 best sandwich in “Crave Magazine’s” “Cheap eats'” category and the breakfast tacos with chorizo, eggs, secret hot sauce, salsa, avocado and queso fresco (a Mexican mild cheese) a “first-place winner in a city-wide contest,” according to the restaurant’s online menu.
I ordered the Mazatlan Slow-Roasted Pork and Egg sandwich with avocado, mayo, provolone cheese and red pepper strips, along with jalapeño chips as my side, at $9.25.
My boyfriend opted for slow-cooked pork tacos at $9.25, which were placed atop a bed of lettuce, onions, tomato, tomatillo salsa, avocado, sour cream and queso fresco.  
The Mazatlan pork sandwich had a toasty, butter-smeared exterior, grilled panini-style. After conquering the crunch, I had to savor the creaminess of the gooey cheese mixed with mayo. The braised pork was very tender, infused with a sweet, mesquite flavor, topped off with a few red pepper strips to sweeten the deal. Not only did it taste homemade, but it was lip-smacking good. Helpful tip: order one meal and share, because the portions are big.
For dessert, I got a Guinness cupcake: a chocolate delight topped with swirled, cream cheese icing. It tasted OK, but for $3.25, it seemed a bit pricey for the size. Compared to the creamy, moist icing that covered it up, the actual cupcake was a little dry.
As for the décor, the restaurant had an eclectic mix of Roman Catholic votive candles and holiday lights strung about the inside, with ambient lighting, similar to what you would find at a coffee shop.
Chalk boards are also a theme in the restaurant, as evidenced by the menu’s design near the entrance, as well as the back wall, which reads a quote by Warren Zevon, “Enjoy every sandwich.”
Katalina’s Café Corner is located at 1105 Pennsylvania Ave. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays and for brunch weekends.
 

Grade:  B

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