that we discovered Café a la Carte. Well, maybe—in the interest of accuracy – I should revise that statement. Our first visit occurred in early September of 2009 when the daytime temps reached 104°. Since we spent most of our time sitting in the air conditioned splendor of the RV, I really don’t count that stay. So, technically, we discovered this wonderful café in February of 2010. And it has been a "must stop" on all subsequent visits.
Café a la Carte is co-owned by Judith Michelet, her son Mark, and Mark Jorbin. On our first visit, seating was confined to what is described as a French café space and a fairly large patio
The lunch menu includes a number of salads: the Bistro with apples, chèvre, red grapes, red onion, spiced walnuts, and dried cranberries on greens with raspberry-cracked pepper vinaigrette; the Salmon Field Greens Salad with seared salmon, asparagus, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and red peppers with a roasted red pepper-caper vinaigrette; and the Southwestern Caesar Salad with romaine lettuce topped with black beans, corn, tomatoes, seasoned tortilla croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and chipotle Caesar dressing.
And all of them sound delicious, but we usually gravitate toward the sandwich section of the menu where the café’s philosophy is most evident. Co-owner Mark Jorbin is quoted at downtowntucson.org: “We want it to be a more refined experience, but I don’t ever foresee us becoming fine dining,” he said. “We do classic American with a heavy emphasis on Southwestern ingredients.” For example, the pulled pork sandwich is not just your basic pulled pork sandwich, it is the Achiote Pork topped with avocado, melted pepperjack, and crispy onions on toasted focaccia. One BLT is the Café BLT with smoked peppered bacon, avocado, pepperjack cheese, tomato, fresh spinach leaves, and chipotle aïoli on focaccia.
I selected another version on the BLT—the Salmon BLT with a thick portion of seared filet of salmon, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aïoli on freshly baked focaccia.
I had my choice of sides--none of which do I remember other than fries and mine--and selected the pasta salad. This was a wonderful combination of penne-like pasta with crisp green beans, red onion, red bell pepper, olives, grape tomato halves, and feta tossed in a very light dressing.
Chuck chose the Turkey Havarti with turkey, smoked peppered bacon, sliced apple, havarti cheese, red onion, and baby spinach leaves served with honey whole grain mustard on a ciabatta roll.
Both of us took half of our sandwiches home to finish at dinner that evening. Why? To save room for dessert. Every time we have visited Café a la Carte we have studied the offerings in the display case and every time we order the same item—the Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake.
This may well be our favorite dining spot in Tucson. They are also open daily for breakfast and for dinner Thursday through Saturday. Someday we may have to give their breakfast a try. But for now, Café a la Carte remains a 5.0 Addie location for a great lunch.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.