In the mood for a panini? Maybe a bierock, or a luscious brownie that’s almost a meal itself? Mabel’s Kitchen recently opened in a funky corner of downtown carrying all those things.
The restaurant, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, is at 1445 Tuolumne St., which is west of the train tracks (map here). It’s actually inside Tuolumne Hall, a little building inside a chain link fence that’s rented out for quinceaneras and other events on the weekends.
But Tuesday through Thursday, you can get lunch to go or eat at one of its four tables. The paninis are the star of the show here, like the Cuban — roasted pork, Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese with a mayo & mustard spread — along with a turkey panini with roasted tomato and a few other options. Owner Susan Valiant makes her own bread, including a pickled sweet pepper bread that really adds flavor to the sandwich. Bierocks are for sale only on Tuesdays.
You may have had Susan’s cooking before. She’s sold her brownies and bierocks at the Vineyard Farmers Market, the Clovis farmers market and block sales around town in the past. For a while she was supplying those big fat brownies to a Dean & DeLuca gourmet food store in St. Helena.
Mabel, by the way, is her 92-year-old grandmother, Mabel DeMorales. It’s her bierock recipe that Susan uses. And Mabel herself stops by the restaurant about once a week.
Below is the panini I bought, with two kinds of cheese, roasted tomatoes and dijon mustard.
This is the pickled sweet pepper bread the owner makes for her paninis.