Great Margaritas, Hot Tamales at Cafe La Paloma
As temperatures dip and nature forces us to remember what season comes next, a visit to Cafe La Paloma will help us to forget. Brightly painted walls and colorful art chosen by La Paloma’s owner immediately offer a sense of being south of the border. The warm barroom gives way to a cozy dining area of tables and comfortable chairs. Friendly servers are ready to greet patrons with a basket of freshly made tortilla chips and salsa. With appetite whetted, it is no challenge to find something to appeal to every taste on La Paloma’s menu. Vegetarians take note—there are a lot of meatless delights here too!
For starters, try the hand-made tamales ($8) stuffed with tender chicken, pork or poblano pepper slices and topped with queso fresco. They pack a mild punch of heat, cut nicely by the accompanying side of guacamole and sour cream. Or sample the tostadas de ceviche ($9.25) for a lovely taste of the sea.
At many restaurants, the soup section is easy to gloss over. Not so at La Paloma. Go for the sopa de limón (cup $2.95, bowl $4.95). Loaded with chicken and veggies, topped with crispy tortilla strips and suffused with a wonderfully bright lime flavor, this is a soup that will cure the winter blues in a flash.
Entrées consist of the expected tacos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas and tostadas. All are topped or stuffed with fresh, flavorful ingredients including authentic roasted pork (pibil) and traditional spicy chicken (tinga) set off with nice notes of lime. Among one of the more unexpected items, the torta ($7.50), a Mexican griddle-baked sandwich, is packed with the freshest ingredients and will be sure to satisfy even the most ravenous customer.
Don’t skip the desserts here even if you have to share with the table. All are made in house and the choco flan ($4), drizzled with a delectable caramel sauce, is to die for.
Along with all of this delicious food, you’re going to need something to wash it down. La Paloma boasts a solid list of Mexican import beers ($4.50), craft/micro beers ($4.50) and domestics ($3.50). Red ($4.50) and white ($5.50) wines are sold by the glass. Let’s face it though, the big question about a new Mexican restaurant is, “Do they make a good margarita?” The answer is a resounding yes! Once again the fresh lime rules. La Paloma’s traditional limón margarita ($6) puts you in mind of a warm sunny day. Other flavors, including strawberry, blueberry and raspberry ($8), are also available.
On a street with loads of competition, Cafe La Paloma should be able to hold its own. The inviting atmosphere, top-notch food and friendly staff are sure to gain it a loyal following all to itself.
Cafe La Paloma
606 S. Fifth St.
Handicap access: Yes (call in advance)