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Coral Tree Cafe Impresses

A meatloaf sandwich and veggie panino delight.

Driving down San Vicente Boulevard, one notices pedestrians jaywalking, bustling shops, and of course, majestic coral trees.

The Coral Tree Cafe, free standing and charming, enjoys a prominent location at the start of the boulevard. Visitors are greeted by upbeat jazz music the moment you walk through the door.

The setting is casual and quaint. The open kitchen lends itself nicely to fast food service.

A chalkboard lists the vast menu. So many choices, and yet I am drawn to the signature meatloaf sandwich ($11.50). For my vegetarian readers, I also decided to try the grilled vegetable panino ($10.50).

Customers order at the counter, take a number and find a table. How refreshing to seat yourself, thereby avoiding the pretentious aura of many local restaurants. The wi-fi is free, and  many locals, ready to get to down to business, have brought their laptops. 

The meatloaf sandwich combines classic elements with a modern twist. Very nicely done. The mustard seed makes for a tangy surprise.

However, the sandwich comes with a salad that should be re-evaluated. Mixed greens with balsamic dressing? Really? Way over done and not creative.

That said, the grilled vegetable panino is a pleasant delight. The combination of goat cheese and provolone marries local flavors with international flare. But, watch out! The pieces of vegetables are diced.

A white shirt plus diced vegetables falling out of a sandwich equals messy. But the flavors are right.

The menu is vast. The beverages are plenty, offering everything from coffee and tea to beer and wine. Best of all, the little Coral Tree Café also offers a ‘take-away’ menu. The environment is pleasant. Start a conversation with your table neighbor. For families, Coral Tree Café offers a a little kid’s menu.

Areas of improvement have more to do with the attention to detail rather than the food. The servers' uniforms seem inconsistent. Several tables did not get wiped clean for a time. Despite the extensive wines for sale, the prices were impossible to see.

I look forward to going back on a warm summer night with the girls, ordering a bottle of wine and snacking on some delights.

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