My dad had read about a little place just off the corner of Main and Taylor. He's been wanting to go check it out, so we headed that way. At first glance, one might think opening a cafe right next to the Oliver Gospel Mission might be an odd location. And frankly, if Main Street weren't finally coming back to life, I'd agree completely. But, this location may work just fine. Especially since they feature many vegetarian menu items and a large healthcare organization, owned by a health-conscious vegetarian, is renovating 3 buildings right around the corner on Main.
Cali's Cafe is probably the smallest restaurant I've ever been in! It has 3 booths and a few stools at the window. But its smallness creates a friendly, intimate environment. Within 2 minutes of entering, we had been welcomed and introduced to the owner, her sister and her mom, who are all in the restaurant helping out. I posed my age-old question about the chicken salad...you know the one..."Does the chicken salad have celery in it?" Yes. Yes it does. However, the owner told me that she doesn't really care for it either so she chops it finely. She sent me a sample of the cranberry chicken salad to try. It was very tasty, but a little too sweet for me, so I chose to order one of the sandwiches.
I ordered the "Redwood." I really liked the flavors of this sandwich, especially the brie. If you look closely, you can see the good ooziness of the cheese. My one critique of the sandwich would be that the meat was a bit scant. Just one more slice of turkey and one of ham would have given the sandwich the "heft" to stand up to the bread and the horseradish. Would I get this sandwich again? Yes, but with my suggestions.
The sandwich was accompanied by some pasta salad. I must be honest. I got burned out on pasta salad at its advent...in the 80's. Yes, of course, I've had some pasta salads over all these years that have been pretty good, but for the most part, I'm over the whole pasta salad thing. Unfortunately, Cali's is serving exactly what I hate about pasta salad. Pasta with some bell pepper, carrot, whatever, drowned in bottled Italian dressing. Not a winner on any level. I'd rather have any other side on the planet. Even just simple chips would do.
As you can see from the photo, this all came served on a styrofoam 3-sectioned plate. Styrofoam..well, I don't need to say much here. But, if you're going to use a 3-sectioned plate, be it plastic or china, there should be something in that 3rd section. Presenting a plate with an empty slot, well, it just screams "Something's missing!" And that's because it is. I mean, even just plopping a pickle there would solve this problem. But, please,make it a good pickle.
So, it may sound like I'm all critical and $%&t, but I'm really just telling it like it is. And this is what it is...I like this little place. I like the wonderful, friendly and inviting family of women that run the place. I want them to succeed. Thus, my comments and suggestions. I hope you will check out Cali's Cafe. If people keep them going they will do well when the Main Street explosion happens, which I think is on our near horizon.