Katrina's Cafe, located on Grass Valley Highway, has set the breakfast standard in the Sierra Nevada foothill city of Auburn, CA for many years, and is a favorite breakfast and lunch restaurant of Auburn locals. Over the years, word has got around about the amazing breakfast and lunch served at Katrina's... so many travelers get off the Interstate and drive the short mile to Katrina's Cafe, to enjoy superior breakfast and lunch cuisine...
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's five minutes past the 07:00 in the morning opening time, and I'm the first customer of the day! It's Thursday morning, December 10, 2020, and I've arrived at Katrina's Cafe, located in Auburn, CA, to enjoy one of the best breakfasts served in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Photo: Thanks to the current COVID-19 crisis, along with mandates by the state, and Placer County, there is no indoor dining, as all dining is enjoyed outside, on the patio, or on the "new" patio, in front of the restaurant, in what used to be the parking lot. No worries about parking, as the lot next door is both ample and spacious.
It's sad to say that Placer County, as of this writing, has reached the benchmark where, beginning tomorrow, NO ON-SITE DINING will be allowed, as per state mandate. Like all restaurants in the greater Sacramento area, Katrina's Cafe will be forced to offer only take-out, curbside pickup, or delivery. The mandate is expected to expire in three weeks, if the virus threshold is lowered. I certainly hope so, as it looks like I won't be doing any restaurant dining, as I don't do takeout or delivery.
Photo: The breakfast menu features all of your breakfast favorites, and offers something for every breakfast lover. If you're a vegetarian, you've come to the right restaurant, as Katrina's offers tofu options on any scramble.
I carefully looked over the breakfast menu, but as I was admiring the "Eggs" section, my eyes stopped on the "Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs," and I didn't proceed any further.
The menu at Katrina's Cafe is four pages, which is HUGE for a restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch. If you're interested in viewing the complete menu, click on THIS LINK as I've presented the menu in it's entirety, for your enjoyment.
Photo: Alright, it's a little after 07:00 in the morning, but what better way to get your day going than to start it off with a "Bloody Mary" to enjoy with your breakfast? After placing my order of "Chicken Fried Steak," my friendly server, Shannon, brings my "Bloody Mary" to me, with a masked smile.
Photo: The dining room is quite compact, and appears to be what was once the living room in a former residence. It's separated into two sections, divided by a low partition. The furniture is tables and chairs, as there aren't any booths. Decor is simple, attractive, and very "country" in keeping with the rustic nature of Auburn. The dining room is clean, attractive, and would be a comfortable and cheery place to enjoy a fine meal.
Today as I walked in the front door, I was greeted by my super friendly hostess, Shannon. Unfortunately, due to state mandate, all dining is outside on the patio, as the state has ruled indoor dining is too risky, thanks to the virus. As of tomorrow, even outdoor dining will be banned for at least three weeks...
Photo: The dining room is divided into two sections, and separated by a low partition.
Photo: Looking out the front window, to the patio, the "parking lot" patio, and busy Grass Valley Highway - CA State Route 49 - in the background. The patio on the porch of the building has always been part of the operation, and the overflow patio in the parking lot was added after the county mandated outdoor dining only.
Photo: The white board, which lists today's specials, is on the wall, next to the kitchen, where I got a peek at the two talented chefs at work, cooking my breakfast. The "Country Benedict" looked good, but the "Chicken Fried Steak" had my name on it.
Photo: On this chilly 42-degree Thursday morning in early December, I felt like celebrating, so I forgot my coffee and ordered a "Bloody Mary." At $6.50, the drink isn't cheap, but it's a custom-made mixed cocktail, and the price is certainly delicious.
My drink had the usual tomato juice and vodka, and I definitely could taste the Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, black pepper and all the other great spices and flavorings that make a great "Bloody Mary." My drink was garnished with a stick of celery, a chunky lemon slice, and a tooth pick, with two green olives and baby onions, sprinkled with celery salt.
There is nothing like a delicious "Bloody Mary" to get a Thursday morning in Auburn started the right way!
Photo: Meet my amazingly friendly server, Shannon, who brought my breakfast to me with a masked smile. She was very friendly, and treated me like a member of her family.
Photo: I smile, as I know that I'm ready to enjoy an amazing breakfast at Katrina's Cafe. Thanks, Shannon, for taking my picture. I'm glad that I've dressed with warm clothing, as the morning is quite chilly, at 42 degrees.
Photo: From the "Eggs" section of the breakfast menu, I went with "Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs." How could I resist such a choice offering? The menu describes this as "Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs, with homemade gravy," and I describe it as delicious! Side choices include potatoes, fresh fruit or biscuit and gravy. I've never met a potato that I haven't loved, so I ordered potatoes. Curiously, Katrina's menu doesn't offer hash brown potatoes. An orange slice enhances the presentation, and the "Bloody Mary" makes the amazing meal even better.
The "star" of my meal was the chicken fried steak, and Katrina's chicken fried steak is as good as it gets. For starters, you get a large piece of meat, that is quite thin - less than a half inch or so - and the slab of steak is fork tender, so a knife is simply window dressing. The meat is seasoned and covered in a seasoned batter, and deep fried to a perfect, golden brown, with just enough "crunch" to remind you how delicious this steak is. The meat is tender, moist and juicy, the batter is "just right" - enough to enhance the taste of the meat, but not in excess - and the batter-to-meat ratio is perfect. Katrina's Cafe knows how to serve a superior chicken fried steak!
I noted the steak was in the middle of the plate, covered with gravy, and the two eggs overlapped half the steak, while some of the potatoes were on top of the other half of the meat. Extra gravy covered most of the eggs. You love breakfast gravy? This meal is for all gravy lovers...
For sides, you choose between potatoes, biscuit and gravy or fresh fruit. Potatoes were my choice, as I am a connoisseur of potatoes, and Katrina's potatoes aren't ordinary fried potatoes... they're EXCEPTIONAL potatoes! The red potatoes were diced into "chunks," and most chunks had some skin left on, which is something that I love. The chunks were seasoned with seasoned salt, along with parsley flakes, and were griddle-fried to a perfect golden brown on most sides, with a side of white, tender potato on each piece. These fried potatoes are some of the BEST homestyle potatoes that I've ever eaten during my restaurant adventures! They were seasoned perfectly, fried to perfection, and simply melted in my mouth. Come to Katrina's to enjoy the chicken fried steak, but stay for the potatoes!
I ordered my two eggs fried over easy, and they arrived as ordered, fried perfectly over easy. The mark of a good chef is how he/she fries eggs, and the chefs at Katrina's Cafe have talent, as my eggs were fried perfectly. I "enhanced" my eggs with some of the Cholula sauce, as I'm a fan of most Mexican hot sauces with my breakfast.
The meat, some of the potatoes and most of the eggs were covered with a generous portion of Katrina's homemade gravy, which added a delicious, finishing touch to this wonderful breakfast. The gravy was creamy, smooth, seasoned with the right amount of pepper, and had lots of chunks of sausage. The texture of the gravy was perfect - nice and smooth - and the taste was sensational.
The two pieces of buttered sourdough toast arrived on a separate plate. Great toast, perfectly toasted, and made a perfect compliment to my breakfast. I used my last piece of toast to sop up the last of the gravy and egg.
Photo: Close-up of my main plate, which gives you an idea of the beauty of Katrina's potatoes. The potatoes look beautiful, but the photo does not do the taste of these potatoes justice, as these are simply amazing fried potatoes! Note that you get a generous portion, which will put a smile on the face of anybody who is a connoisseur of homestyle potatoes.
After enjoying my amazing breakfast at Katrina's Cafe, I am a true believer in Katrina's, and like the Auburn locals, I look to Katrina's when I'm in the mood for a superior breakfast. Now, it's time to enjoy lunch at Katrina's...
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