Lunch with these girls is always special
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
Just off North Main St. North of downtown there is a hidden lunch palace that everyone should have on there regular lunch list of places to eat. It's not on the regular highway of frequently traveled lunch stops. You have probably seen this location bea=caude you were going to eat there. It has been hidden away for the fegular lunch crown for may years. The unique cuisine is special, the spaciuosness of the dining area is open air and friendly. It is always busy but seldom frazzled. It is owned by a coopeartive of the staffer that work ther.
Oh, the lunch and dinner menus are some of the more unique menus you will find in gainesville
I'm talking about the Civilization restuarant at $% St, just off of the corner of NW 16th, ave and the corner of $$th avenue.
Every meal I have had there has been a special treat. Civilization - The GLOB Master usually goes there at once or twice a year with Lynn Dirk and Dr. Michelle Cardel. They have put this lunch spot at the top of there lunch list for good reason. The Civilization staff take great pride in what they do and they have come up with some very interesting menu items.
Lynn's: Felafel Burger - A deep fried patty of ground chickpeas and spices served on an onion kaiser roll with a side of cucumber yogurt sauce and fried potatoes. 10.00 Add Feta cheese – 1.00. Substitute a Civ salad for the potatoes for 2.00. Lynn said it was a good lunch.
Michelle's Soup and Salad of a tasty cup of Tomato Basil Soup with Arcadian Salad. "A nice change. I especially loved that soup," Michelle Said.
And my Hungarian Grilled Cheese - Made with our house-made Korozott – a blend of feta, gruyere & cream cheeses seasoned with paprika and mustard. On wheat with fresh spinach and roasted peppers. 10.25. The Civilization cole was a perfect compliment to the gooeiness of the sandwich.
As usual we all shared our lunch with no problems I think my grilled cheese like no there grilled cheese was special with three unique kinds of cheese 'goo-ed' together. My sandwich was a winner on flavor and the textures of the good cheeses.
The civilization lunch menu is an abbreviated listing of the evening menu with a focuc and salads and sandwiches and an abbreveated list of BURRITOS, TACOS, AND MORE that includes a HEBA bowl of Ethiopian red lentils cooked in spice infused oil, and collard greens sauteed with red peppers and tomatoes. Topped with two poached eggs, goat cheese, yasa sauce & flatbread. 10.75. and Fried Avocado Tacos served in flour tortillas with lime-habanero cole slaw and fresh tomatoes, and a side of our house-made salsa verde. 10.50.
This lunch stop has never disappointed add I have fond memories of the time we had eight pople at our table and we shared each other meal to a point of no one really knowing what they ordered.
The Pluses and Minuses of Civilization:
Civilization + indicators: Good food, great ambience, beautiful building, extraordinary company and plenty of parking.
Civilization. - indicators: Civilization is a cash only location, so be prepared.
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Civilization. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THAN
CIVILIZATION: What LOCAL is all about
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
In the GLOB Master's frequent food adventures when the Civilization restaurant downtown -- just West of North Main St. – is mentioned it always occurs to me this hidden-away-gem-of-lunch stop does an excellent job of proudly carrying the . . .
BUY LOCAL ALWAYS FRESH BANNER:
"We source as much of our produce as possible from local growers including:"
Dogwood Lane Farms, The Family Garden Organic Farm and Possum Hollow Farm.
Our organic croissants and baguettes come from Vine Bakery in Gainesville.
Our organic grits and grains are purchased from Ward's Super Market on NW 23rd Avenue.
Our organic spices and teas come from Frontier Natural Products Co-op.
Our coffee is a special house blend made for us by Sweetwater Organic Roasters on South Main Street.
Our Beelers bacon & Cochon sausage are all natural & from companies that use humane practices in raising animals.
The chicken we use is vegetarian-fed, antibiotic & hormone-free & Humane Certified.
And that's just for starters GLOBers. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a lengthy list of local preferences that makes this restaurant a very special eatery in North. Florida.
it was time once again for a fun meet-up with long time UF Entomology and Nematology Pals Jane Medley, Kathy and Dave Milne.
With Brunch, Lunch, Vegan, and Dinner menus available selecting just the right entrée can be no easy task my food loving aficionado.
Starting with unique salads like the 'Yum Som O (Thai Pomelo Salad). Local pomelo, red bell peppers, roasted cashews, toasted coconut, fried shallots & fresh herbs atop mixed greens with a splash of tamari & lime basil dressing. (available during citrus season) $6.00 / S9.50. The extraordinarily creative list of burritos, tacos, and wraps including the Fried Avocado Tacos served in flour tortillas with lime-habanero cole slaw and fresh tomatoes, and a side of our house-made salsa verde. $9.50.
The clever entree nameology works on me.
Don't get me started on the seven sandwich choices including a astounding sounding Hemingway Burger consisting of garlic green onions, India relish, lots of herbs & spices & a red wine marinade give this burger a deep complex flavor. Pan-seared medium- well for a crispy outside and juicy inside. Let us know if you'd like lettuce, tomatoes & pickles, $11.50 Add goat cheese, $1.50, white cheddar – $1.00. (I plan to give this burger a try on my next visit.)
Brunch is served in salads, small plates, and sides with a full array of egg and breakfast choices.
There is a complete Civilization menu at the restaurant link on the bottom of this page.
Kudos to Civilization for sporting one of the biggest, handiest, easiest to read menu boards in Gainesville situated in an extra large fashion in the center of the restaurant.
Talking about appealing, mouth watering choices here GLOBers. How good did they look you ask?
David and I chose the Pepperjack and Cheddar Grilled Cheese with, tomato, bacon, and carmelized onion, and a side. David selected the Stewed beets, and I chose the cole slaw at the suggestion of Ms. Medley.
Jane opted for the Moroccan Barbecue Sandwich of beef braised in Moroccan spices and served on a kaiser roll with tomato and onion relish and goat cheese.. Jane's side was a bowl of black beans and rice, $10.00.
Kathy M. went for a sandwich she had selected in the past with Terranova Farmers Market Sandwich consisting of pepper Jack cheese, avocados, tomatoes, sprouts & red onions on wheat with red pepper mayo. $9.00. For GLOB newbies the Terranova catering company was the early start for many of the Civilization staffer in the employee owned foodie adventure.
Our Pepperjack & Cheddar grilled cheese much to our delight was presented on giant slices of perfectly grilled Vine Bakery bread. The flavors of the melted, gooey cheese was a wonderful backdrop for the piquant flavor of the tomatoes and perfectly grilled onions.
The tangy lime-habanero cole slaw, with very little dressing, was a perfect tart flavor, not a lot of heat, to complement the gooey, heavy bites of the sandwich.
This was a very big lunchtime sandwich. After eating the first half I liked the idea of dissing the carbohydrate gods by only eating one slice of the wonderful breed and offering the other half of my lunch to Jane M. for a snack later in the day.
The Pluses and Minuses of Civilization:
Civilization + indicators: Employee owned restaurant only accepts cash.
Civilization. - indicators: Ran out of one of the entrees.
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Civilization. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS
'Hidden' bistro perfect for catching up, lunch
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
The GLOB Master got a big smile on his face when GLOB EATING HEALTHY columnist Michelle Cardelle suggested lunch with Lynn Dirk and I. The Special lunch guest was three month old Javier who was the hit of the noon-day Civilization lunch crowd. Michelle broke the news that she is ready to return to work at the University of Florida and looks forward to offering up new healthy eating ideas to the GLOB world next year.
I'm not sure why Civilization and their unique lunch time menu sits just of the GLOB radar screen because I have never had anything but delicious, spectacular meals here hidden back behind the Publix on Main St.
The last time I was here a lunch guest ordered the Shrimp and Grits and it really looked good. I remember the entrée being on the large side of the lunch plate so I thought the price reasonable since two lunch outers could share this entrée. Described as blackened wild caught shrimp over organic yellow corn grits baked with sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, and andouille sausage. Served with collard greens ($15.50). The description had my palate thinking, almost singing., blackened, sausage, shrimp oh my.
Wow GLOBers, the spicy shrimp, sausage, and bacon were powerful flavors combined with the mild corn grits and cheddar cheese. Cheese grits could be one of those entrees I need to give more consideration. But they would have to be included with tasty corn meal grits, not the processed white grits. Remember, no white things for this diabetic.
It was a lot of food and part of the fun eating with these two foodies nothing goes to waste I was thinking as I moved my plate to the center of the table.
"Can I have that," Michelle asked stabbing my plate with her fork as she was eating for her and Javier.
Michelle took advantage of the SOUP & CIV SALAD special and for an additional dollar substituted the Utopian Salad with sweet potatoes, candied pecans, red onions, granny smith apples and stilton cheese over mixed greens with maple balsamic vinaigrette, and a cup of the Soup of the day ($8.50). Michelle enjoyed the salad especially the Kalamata olives, and stilton cheese.
Lynn is working seriously on a meatless diet and selected the Fried Avocado Tacos served in flour tortillas with lime-habanero cole slaw and fresh tomatoes and a side of house-made salsa verde ($9.50). Lynn said the flavors were excellent, including the fried avocado, which had a light coating of fine breadcrumbs. The only disappointment was that the tortilla was flour. According to her, flour tortillas are not really tortillas. It has to be corn! But she ate the tacos anyway. The tangy habanero cole slaw helped take the bite out of the disappointment.
GLOB staff lunches, holiday lunches, dinners, Civilization is a special location, employee owned, enjoying the fact they are just a little bit different.
There is a Civilization restaurant menu link at the bottom of this page.
'Tucked Away' cafe offers atypical lunch
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
If you had to describe Civilization restaurant – off of NW 16th Ave near Main St. – The GLOB Master would use the word unique. This lunch stop offers an eclectic menu of lunch time delights including a plethora of Meatless Monday opportunities from fried avocado tacos to chickpea fritters with onions & fresh spinach
Owned by the Terranova Catering company this wholly employee owned restaurant has the feel of independence from the adventurous menu to a staffer attitude of, 'I'll get to it when I can."
Maybe that ownership charm is what makes this nooner-lunch stop special. That and the GLOB Master enjoys perusing the menu discovering entrees you would never think of. Lunching with good friend and Ayurvedic, massage instructor and Chaya-Sharon Heller I was excited about what our entrees would be presented to us for our eatification.
Chaya a serious eater in regard to health and wellness and I enjoy watching her study menus, seeking out just the right entrée to fulfill her bodies needs. Her questions about lunch emphasis her eastern approach to food and health, Today her lunch choice was the spinach and sweet potato burrito($8.50 with white cheddar, rice, avocado and fresh cilantro. The burrito is served with a side of salsa verde. Add black beans $1.50.) Chaya liked the flavors of the beans, and the idea of adding sweet potato was special, unique, to Chaya, See GLOBers there's that unique idea I'm talking about.
The Civilization Spinach Pakora($6.50) with chickpea fritters, onions, fresh spinach, and cilantro chutney was my choice for lunch. I love garbanzo beans/chickpeas and I find it fascinating how they show up in so many different cuisines. I was delighted to see a fabulous looking plate of what appeared to be three impressive, toasted looking potato pancakes on my lunch plate. The crunch of the fritters immediately generated a GLOB Master smile. T he Garbanzo Bean flavor combined with the fresh spinach was quite remarkable. That said I think the lunch time winning component is the cilantro tomato chutney which was screaming out. "MIX ME INTO THOSE PANCAKES PLEASE!"
There is a complete Civilization menu at the bottom of this page.
According to the www.webmd.com website: More importantly beans are high in fiber and antioxidants. Beans aren't just good for the waistline, they may aid in disease prevention, too. More than just a meat substitute, beans are so nutritious that the latest dietary guidelines recommend we triple our current intake from 1 to 3 cups per week
Extraordinary company, fantastic original lunch entrees in one of Gainesville's more UNIQUE lunch setting demonstrated to me once again that I truly love my job in the first place, with garbanzo beans a very strong second place.
The Pluses and Minuses of Civilization:
Civilization + indicators: One of the more unique menus meatless or otherwise. Extraordinary flavors, unique flavor profiles..
Civilization. - indicators: Service can be tepid. Not a lunchstop or the hurried lunch outer.
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Civilization. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
Feeling civilized at GLOB work brunch
By: GLOB Staffers
It didn't take much convincing for some of the members of the GLOB team to have a meeting of constructive shop talk and brunch time fare over at Civilization. Kim Harris and I were the only ones who hadn't been to this local co-op, and the unique breakfast and lunch options piqued my interest, including plenty of vegetarian options that sounded like they would not be sacrificing taste.
After splitting a carafe of slightly tart yet refreshing hibiscus ginger mimosas and lemon ricotta beignets with a scrape-the-plate-clean raspberry sauce (literally in Lynn's case), $20 total, we decided to share four entrees to get the full "civilized" feast experience. My contribution was the Pipperada Frittata, $9.50, image below. I hesitated to order this at first due to many past lackluster frittata experiences, but the method of baking this rendition seemed like it would make the difference. I was pleasantly surprised: A medley of veggies, including onions, green olives, bell peppers and tomatoes, were baked in eggs and cream in a deeper, round dish. This far surpassed the usual flat frittata that I've had, and I loved how confining the ingredients in that deeper dish kept the insides piping hot even after splitting it in fourths for sharing. Also, the top of the egg creation was coated with a creamy layer of manchego cheese and accompanied by three toasted baguette slices. After seeing Lynn and Kim pick at the remains of the dish, I think it's safe to say that the consensus was this selection was a winner.
I'm not sure why, but it has been awhile since I'd been to Civilization, and I forgot how everything on the menu looks so good and how hard it is to decide what to get, but my contribution to the GLOB feast would be the Florida Cakes, $9.50: pancakes made with shredded zucchini, orange zest and candied pecans that were served with hot blueberry compote. They were even better than they sounded. They were nicely browned all over with crispy edges. The candied pecans were occasional nuggets providing a delightful contrast to the typical pancake texture. The cakes were not too thick and not too thin, but just what the middle bear ordered. The compote provided some tartness, but I was so glad that I had also salvaged some organic raspberry puree left over from the beignets, and that puree was the icing on the pancakes! Also, those beignets (Thank you Melissa for noticing "The Civilized Way to Start the Day" at the bottom of the menu!) were not like the ones at the Café du Monde in New Orleans, but if there were ever a beignet competition, I'd bet on Civilization's over Café du Monde's. Also, with all our sharing and requests for extra plates, our server did a great job with a friendly smile the whole time. Since we all shared our dishes, I will add that I thought the other dishes were equally good. Not only that, the best part of the feast was the sharing because I LOVE variety! One of the things that bothers me most about restaurants is the overabundance of main entrées. Maybe this means I am a buffet girl at heart, but the other remedy is sharing family style. Great food, great company, and excellent spirits put me in Hogtown heaven!
I brilliantly ordered (or perhaps was told to order; either way, it was brilliant) the Grits Florentine, $9.50, which is a dish of organic, yellow grits with fresh spinach and two poached eggs. The eggs were cooked a little too hard to be called "poached", but they still blended well with the grits, which were creamy perfection. The dish also included large green olives, which provided a natural salty flavor, and was topped with local, heirloom cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion. The veggies were all fresh and I appreciate the organic and local ingredients that Civilization uses whenever possible. This was perhaps my favorite of all four, wonderful entrees.
As for the other dishes, I am not always a fan of ricotta cheese, but the lemony ricotta filling in the beignets blended beautifully with the raspberry sauce, made with real raspberries. Mike's grilled cheese was unique and a little messy and, while I loved it, I could probably not eat a whole one, as it was pretty rich.
Civilization is a bit notorious for not providing the best service; in fact, when I told a local foodie friend that I'd been there, her first remark was, "Did you ever get drinks refilled?" Part of a lovely weekend brunch is good company and conversation, so, I didn't feel that we waited an especially long time to receive our meal, and our waitress did a fine job, although, yes, I could have done with one more refill of water and maybe some ice because it was SO HOT in the restaurant. Beautiful as the building is, I'm sure it is difficult to cool, but we were visibly sweating throughout the meal. Being too hot took away from the overall experience for me.
The Hungarian Grilled Cheese, $9.50, is made with a Civilization version of Korozott, a blend of feta, gruyere, and cream cheeses, which tasted surprisingly like a melted, tart pleasing pimento cheese spread. The Hungarian paprika and mustard, roasted peppers, and fresh spinach combined for very flavorful and surprisingly eye-opening flavorful bites. The Civilization home fries were some of the best I have had in quite some time with a nice crunchy crust enveloping some very tatst potato.
This was a really good grilled cheese, however the fun of sharing our briunhc entrees with friends, and staffers created an award winning brunch plate of fabulous mid-day entrees, image at top of this story.
Also, as usual I have to agree with Lynn on many points: the Florida cakes did have just the right thickness and texture; Civilization's lemon ricotta beignets could outshine Cafe Du Monde's any day, in my opinion; and I too resent those big entrees crowding many menus because I would way rather try a little of everything. I also agree with Mike about how the Hungarian Grilled Cheese was very rich and creamy, almost like pimento cheese, and I really liked the toasted grainy bread. Even the Grits Florentine, a seemingly simple-sounding meal of two poached eggs, cheddar, tomatoes, and onions over organic yellow grits and spinach, was absolutely delicious, despite the eggs being overcooked. I try grits just about any breakfast place I venture to, and these were cooked to perfection with just the right amount of creaminess. Even the bill was extremely reasonable. I will certainly return for brunch or lunch.
In summary, four thumbs up for Civilization! There is a Civilization menu link at the bottom of the page.
I was celebrating a birthday lunch with my UF Entomology/Nematology pals, Jane Medley and Kathy Milne, when Kathy suggested Civilization for our next lunch. Much has been written about this unique lunch retreat, and I was excited to see what they had to offer in the way of meatless lunch opportunities. Being the first to arrive, I was happy I had a moment to look over the Civilization menu. The menu proudly announces, "We source as much of our produce as possible from local growers including: Possum Hollow Farm, Siembra Organic Farm, The Family Garden Organic Farm, Graham Farms, and Dogwood Lane Farms." In addition, Civilization has five meatless sandwich choices, five meatless lunch entrees, and a veritable host of meat-free salad selections. As GLOBers who know me might suspect, my eyes, scanning the menu, stopped in their tracks when I saw the Civilization Hungarian Grilled Cheese (below is a link to the Civilization website). Our server said the cheese is made in the Civilization kitchen by combining cream cheese, goat cheese, and gruyere cheese with a generous splash of paprika and mustard to create a creamy palette for the roasted peppers and fresh spinach in this grilled cheese adventure. The creamy cheeses surprised my taste buds with a delightful savory, blend that made me sit back and consider what I had just put in my mouth. The crunch of the spinach and peppers made this noon day grilled cheese surprise something that any member of the Mongolian hordes would be proud of.
- GLOB Master
Unique elements create cultured brunch experience
By Lynn Dirk, Content Editor
One of the neatest things about Civilization, located just of NW 16th Ave. next to the railroad tracks, is the building it occupies. It was built in 1929, and in 2005-2006, a sophisticated renovation resulted in a vintage brick exterior with a beautifully modernized interior. Indeed, a City of Gainesville Beautification Award plaque is proudly displayed at the restaurant entrance. This gives Civilization a special kind of ambience – you could call it "ambidextrience" – old and new elements that represent civilization at its best: respecting tradition but evolving.
It's fitting that such a building would be home to a restaurant unique in other ways: It has an unusual business model – it is a worker-owner co-op; it has indoor seating with style as well as a beautiful outdoor seating area with lots of greenery and good scenery; and it serves interesting, well done food. What's not to like? Civilization menus can be found at the restaurant web link below this feature.
Saturday was a perfect day for brunch at Civilization. When the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Editor and I got there about 12:30, the restaurant was busy with what seemed to be mostly "pink walkers" from the breast cancer walkathon. There was one table left outside, so we took it. Service was pretty slow – perhaps due to the packed house, but it was a beautiful day and it turned out we had some interesting "neighbors" – Wes from North Carolina and Amanda from Wisconsin, both Landscape Architecture students (Ed note: This text has been corrected per Wes's comment below).
Wes and the GLOB Master had both wanted a sausage brunch entree that was no longer available, and conversation commenced upon commiseration. We discussed barbecue and the politics of urban development. Great conversation, which was followed by great food.
We ordered two different poached egg dishes – one with black beans, rice, and avocado (above) and the other, known as Swamp Eggs, with sauteed red potatoes, greens, and a wonderful red pepper sauce (below). We also shared a bowl of Andouille and Corn Soup. It was all very good with the following highlights:
EGGS - The poached eggs on both dishes didn't look like the usual poached eggs with the smooth curved top. I actually thought they were sour cream, but a swipe down with a fork revealed a perfectly round inner cave of liquid yolk, which was dark yellow and rich.
POTATOES AND GREENS - The potatoes were cooked perfectly – soft with nice browning and excellent roasted flavor. I think potatoes and greens are one of the best combinations ever. YUM.
FLAVOR - The black beans and rice seemed a little bland but otherwise good, whereas the red pepper sauce on the other dish had a distinctive satisfying flavor, although pretty salty when tasted by itself.
SOUP - Hearty. Not quite as spicy as I would have liked but great "body." Although bisque and other pureed soups can have great flavor, I love soup that has texture. What the Andouille and Corn lacked in spiciness, it made up in texture.
BREAD - The Swamp Eggs had no bread, but the black bean eggs had wonderful toasted flour tortillas that had possibly been very quickly deep fried, which gave them a nice, very light coating of some excellent tasting oil and a wonderful crispiness. With the soup, there were herbed and buttered sliced croutons that were also very crispy. YUM again.
AVOCADO - This shows up in a good number of Civilization dishes. It was an excellent accent for the beans and rice.
BEVERAGE - Civilization has what they call "Table Beers" for sharing, which would have been perfect for a Saturday lunch, but they also have a fresh ginger hibiscus tea and mint lemonade. I had the mint lemonade before and it's really good. This time, I couldn't pass up the ginger tea, and it was very refreshing.
SERVICE - Slow, but that was not a problem on this particular visit with beautiful weather and interesting "neighbors."
I like Civilization very much. I have been there many times, and, as the GLOB Master says, "I'm going back."
The Pluses and Minuses of Civilization:
Civilization + indicators: Good food, great ambience, beautiful building, and plenty of parking.
Civilization. - indicators: Ran out of one of the entrees.
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Civilization. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THA