Columbus’s Katalina’s Eatery Channel’s Modern Twist on Classic Foods

by Culinary Spelunker / May 22, 2016 /
Culinary Spelunker's picture

Springy, buttery pancake batter envelops creamy dulce de leche in a bite-sized ball that’s gently crisped all around. Pair the pillowy pancakes balls with a few strips of bacon glistening with a combination of brown sugar and a kick of spice, and you’re having breakfast at a quaint, eclectic spot in Columbus called Katalina’s.

Columbus’s Katalina’s Eatery Channel’s Modern Twist on Classic Foods
 
The Central Ohio town, also the state’s capital, has a surprisingly robust foodie scene – including a long list of breakfast hotspots.
 
One of those breakfast finds is Katalina’s. The café, located in a 100-year-old gas station, feels like a retro nod to all the comfort foods of breakfast, brunch, and lunch reimagined with a nod to global tastes.

 

The décor – and the menu – are the result of a lifetime of experience and passion for fresh food from Kathleen Day, the owner and culinary mastermind.
 
Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Day, Katalina’s namesake, to discuss how she came up with her menu that often draws crowds standing in line going out the door waiting to order. What are they waiting for? Menu items like the Mexican “French” Toast, made with delicate Brioche bread, cinnamon and nutmeg and Mexican chocolate and a Breakfast Chick ‘Wich – a Southern-fried chicken breast covered with a sunny side up egg and Amish cheddar cheese on a ciabatta bun (and yes, there’s a splash of hot sauce inside).
 
“I’ve lived in a lot of places but grew up in the South, in New Orleans and Arkansas,” explains Day who ticks off a number of locales that inspire her menu from California to France, Buenos Aires to Seattle. With a quick smile that extends all the way to her large, bright blue eyes, Day notes that food helps people experience other cultures.

Columbus’s Katalina’s Eatery Channel’s Modern Twist on Classic Foods
 
“There’s no truly American food culture, except that we’re a combination of cultures. That’s American food.” Day embraces that mix in her dishes and pairs that with a devotion to local, ethical, and organic ingredients.
 
Take the Breakfast tacos - they’re made with Columbus’s own Koki’s tortillas, piled with Katalina’s chorizo (a spicy Mexican sausage that just begs to be paired with eggs), tomatillo, mild queso fresco, locally sourced crèma, and pico de gallo.
 
“I like to say our food is tradition with a twist,” says Day, who gives the example of the Puebla BLT. The sandwich, made on toasted 9-grain bread includes sweet ‘n’ spicy bacon, fresh greens, heirloom tomatoes, Amish cheddar and a Sriracha-lime aioli. (Yes, Sriracha – Day likes a bit of spicy heat.)

Columbus’s Katalina’s Eatery Channel’s Modern Twist on Classic Foods
 
Use Day’s example at home to create your own fusion foods that cross cultures. For example, put a spin on a regular sandwich by dressing regular turkey with Asian Bulldog Sauce. Or what about making a dipping sauce for veggies by swirling vinegary, spicy Valentina’s hot sauce into ranch dressing? Let your kids’ creativity be your guide.  
 
Now as far as getting Day to divulge a few trade secrets – including the recipe behind her signature sweet ‘n’ spicy bacon, she listed a few ingredients like brown sugar and cayenne pepper, but as far as the exact spices she uses, Day answered with a sly wink, “I can’t really say.”

 

Katalina's
1105 Pennsylvania Ave. Columbus, OH 43201
614.294.2233
http://www.katalinascafe.com/

 

Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering
Educators
. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--atMyKidsEatSquid.com.

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough