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The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, Amy Nichol Smith column
[November 23, 2012]

The Monitor, McAllen, Texas, Amy Nichol Smith column

Nov 23, 2012 (The Monitor - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to welcome someone inside a home, bakery or cafe. It stood to reason then that I would love Corner Bakery Cafe, but something was missing.

When the nationally-known cafe settled into the Valley, it seemed all of McAllen rushed to the restaurant to try breakfast and lunch there. I finally made my way to the cafe and ordered a variety of deli items and then seated myself at a table outside.

Adam (buddy) ordered a grilled ham and cheese Panini and a cup of chili. He liked it well enough, and with a pickle spear and chips, he had plenty for lunch.

David (boyfriend) had a voracious appetite and got two sandwiches for himself -- Mom's tuna salad and Mom's turkey sandwiches. Both were exactly how one might expect a "mom's" sandwich to be: meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato and mayo or mustard. Lunch was filling, but David could've easily made it at home himself.

I tried the turkey on pretzel bread because whenever something is served on pretzel bread or a bun, I'm all over that. My sandwich was stacked with thick slices of turkey, thin rings of red onion, tomatoes and a creamy, buttery Havarti cheese. It was, unfortunately, lackluster. While all the ingredients worked together, the bread was cold and crumbling and it just didn't satisfy me. Serving it hot would've helped, and I found out later from our server that I could've requested it grilled.

I also wanted to try soup and salad there, so I ordered a cup of tomato-basil soup (it was OK) and an Asian edamame salad. Corner Bakery Cafe's salads may be their best offering. Everything tasted fresh, was crisp, bite-sized and lightly dressed with a gingery dressing. It was also a gigantic salad, so it's a good value, too.

Corner Bakery Cafe sold me on their salads, but I think I'll skip the soups and sandwiches next time.

(Corner Bakery Cafe, 4021 N. 10th Street, McAllen; (956) 278-8270) ___ (c)2012 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) Visit The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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