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Bites Nearby: Mimi's Cafe

American-French fare at an affordable price.

You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in. But we've got a better idea. Each week, Santee Patch picks a great restaurant, either in town or nearby, that is worth checking out. Here's this week's choice:

Overview: A nation-wide chain, Mimi's has always offered French-inspired American fare at affordable prices. The extensive menus offer a wide variety that would please most diners and they have a new section of the menu dedicated to light bites. Each menu choice has the calorie count listed also, for a healthier, more informed dining experience.

Decor: French-style decor with cute planters with flowers hanging off the windows outside the restaurant and inside there are large tables and many booths. Above the diners on the wall in one dining room is a facade of a quaint, old-fashioned outdoor dining balcony with tiny tables, wine, candles, setting a romantic mood.

Mimi's Cafe is a family-friendly restaurant, there were some kids at the table next to us working on a coloring place-mat. Though the decor is very cute, it still has the atmosphere of a large chain restaurant.

Entrees and Sides: Mimi's has a Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner menu, along with the "Fresh and Fit" menu that offers entrees for 650 calories or less. For a full menu please visit their website: www.mimiscafe.com. Visit the menu online and click on a menu option to get the full list of nutrition facts. 

I was quite tempted to order the West Coast , until I read it contained over 2000 calories! So, I opted for a soup and salad lunch combo and got the French Quarter burger with avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese on grilled Parmesan bread. 

His burger was delicious, still around 1500 calories, so not on my diet. Anything that weighs in at that many calories is usually delicious. My French onion soup was good, traditionally broiled with thick pieces of bread and a layer of melted Swiss cheese. The soup was a little thin in my opinion, French onion soup should have a thick beef stock that has been reduced to thicken into a consomme. 

I also ordered a small, side Cobb salad that the menu said was 325 calories. It came with some pretty large piles of bacon, egg, and cheese which had me seriously considering how accurate the calorie counts were. The lettuce underneath was white instead of green like the signature salad in the picture showed. I was quite disappointed by the salad and didn't eat much of it, a salad should come with fresh, delicious greens, not iceberg lettuce. The tasty zucchini muffin that came with the salad was probably the best part of the meal, and the least healthy. I brought it home and drank it with tea later, mmmmm.

Service:  The servers and manager were very friendly and the food came out in reasonable time. My water glass was always refilled promptly which I greatly appreciate.

Signature Dish: There are so many menu options it is hard to define a signature dish. For a limited time they are offering 2-course, fixed-price menus for lunch ($10.99) and dinner ($13.99).

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