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Holiday weekend brunch

Finding new brunch appeal in Haile Village

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

HaileBistroSFEver since the closing of my beloved Sisters restaurant in Haile Plantation, its big-as-my-plate omelets, perfectly poached eggs, and savory baked breakfast goods luring in all who dine, I have been skeptical but hopeful as to whether another establishment could take its place. I was more than satisfied with the Jones Eastside brunch, but of course it has also closed, leaving an even bigger whole in my heart for a consistently tasty, locally-owned brunch joint for my treasured weekends off of work. Some chains are certainly up for the task: Peach Valley Café regularly leaves me yearning for their hot and fresh apple fritters and extremely tasty Picker's Skillet with the best breakfast potatoes I have ever consumed. However, I have been checking out local joints one by one for one that could fit the brunch bill.

A friend suggested brunch on Saturday, and anyone who has read my other reviews knows I can never say no to a brunch outing. I was intrigued when Erin mentioned Haile Village Bistro tucked away in Haile Plantation on the same street as the late Sisters. I could not shake the hope that this small bistro and brunch spot could possibly be the new Haile go-to.

haileDINING

On arrival at about 10:45 on a Saturday morning, I was expecting a long wait as Haile Farmers Market patrons were bustling along the street parallel to the bistro. Instead, I was greeted with available indoor and outdoor patio seating, plus, outside the front doors, there was a live band entertaining diners and market-goers.  Although the daunting grey skies did not scream "nice day," I am an advocate for outdoor seating and live music when possible, so I took to a small patio table in earshot of the band. By the time Erin joined me, it started sprinkling, and we quickly huddled indoors to find the quaintest little dining room area attached to the Queens Arm Pub where many a FIFA game has been watched.

haileFRIENDI wanted a warm beverage, so I ordered one of the drink specials: Godiva white chocolate, coffee, and some Baileys for good measure. I wish the drink had been a little hotter when I got it, but the almost 10-minute wait time for it and my friend's Cuban coffee indicated that the drinks had probably been sitting for a while before making their way to us.

We scanned the menu, brunch fare ranging from the typical pancakes or waffles (combo) and breakfast sandwiches to less ordinary items like the Irish Benedict with corned beef hash. To my delight, each week a brunch special menu provides unique, one-time-only options. I was beyond delighted to see two of the items in particular: Red Velvet Pancakes (!) and the Winter Omelet Soufflé. Being the ideal dining companion, Erin agreed to split the two limited-edition dishes with me.

haileOmelet I could not have been happier to see the food. The omelet was everything I want in a unique omelet. The sausage provided a hearty contrast to the crisp, very distinguishable texture and taste of kale. I wished there had been more cheddar and Gouda cheeses--I like to see cheese oozing or stretching across my plate after removing each bite. While I am not usually a fan of onion reels (thin spirals of onion), they proved a flavorful, sporadic addition to the omelet, while the scalloped potatoes that lined the bottom melded perfectly with the kale and cheeses. The side order of hash browns was pretty good, not too mushy and with an outer crisp, but nothing to write home about.

haileREDdessertOn to the pancakes: While I do not ordinarily opt for a predominantly sweet meal, aside from dessert, a half order proved the perfect amount of sweetness alongside my omelet half. I think the thought of something being red velvet makes it seem more exotic, but its red color is merely from a dye. Honestly, without the sinfully sweet cream cheese frosting nestled between each of the three layers of pancake, it wouldn't have tasted remarkably different then a slightly chocolate flavor pancake. However, the frosting was absolutely delicious, and I could have put that on any breakfast baked good and called it a day.

While the service was pretty slow and the water refills were sparse, it was a charming dining area with a very decent brunch menu. The ingredients tasted fresh, and it did remind me a tad of Sisters, but that could have been due to the scenery shared by both Haile Bistro and Sisters. I will certainly be back to try more of these brunch items, specials specifically, as well as the English Afternoon Tea the restaurant hosts on the first Saturday afternoon of each month. Any takers?

The Pluses and Minuses of Haile Village Bistro:

Haile Village Bistro + indicators: Standard prices, sizeable portions, good food and fresh ingredients, cute indoor atmosphere, nice outdoor entertainment/scenery, unique specials, does typical breakfast items and specialty ones well.

Haile Village Bistro - indicators: limited parking during busy times, Haile is a tad out of the way, slower service.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Haile Village Bistro .  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

English bistro lunch was 'a bit of alright'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

The Village Shopping Plaza in the Haile Plantation subdivision is not in my usual navigation circle. So I was excited about meeting my UF Entomology & Nematology friends Jane Medley and Kathy Milne at the Haile Village Bistro for lunch late last week,

HAILEwindowThis neighborhod shopping plaza is the perfectly planned village center of narrow streets, side walks, and store fronts depicting an era that time has swept away.

The Haile Vilage Bistro fits this neighborhood style to a tee. The HVB creates an old English pub experience complete with fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, and an assortment of European beers.

This bistro/pub is divided into two areas with a friendly, bright dining area replete with large windows suitable for viewing what is happening in the village. The pub part of the HVB is a cozy bar suitable for conversation over your favorite dark beer, stout, or ale that any pub-meister would appreciate. Did I just say pub-meister? Maybe I should have said bistro-meister.

The HVB dining room is nicely appointed with ample available light from the large windows around the perimeter of the room. We picked a table near a window that lured us into ideas of being a part of what was happening in the village outside, as we were lunching inside.

Caught up in the sense of dining on another continent, the English-themed lunch entrees caught our attention. Salad Olivieh, the aforementioned Fish and Chips and Steak & Kidney Pie tantalized our sense of being natives of that village we imagined we were part of.

Timeout: I was just checking the online HVB menu to verify some lunchtime information, when I noticed the online menu does not mention any of the English entrees. Well, the GLOB Master is mentioning them for your future eating out consideration.

BistroJANcruditiesWe started our lunch adventure with an order of hummus that was served with pita bread, carrots, celery, and black olives. The black olives were the 'most valuable player' in this appetizer. The tart, spicy flavor of the olives added tremendous flavor to the hummus.

HAILElunchI ended up picking the more American Steak and Cheese Sub for lunch, The sandwich consisted of ample portions of flavorful steak, onions and melted cheese that had great texture and flavor: It was a good sandwich. photo at top of this feature.

Kathy's quiche looked very appetizing, Jane's Fish and Chips was large enough that all three of us could have lunched on her entree.

HaileFISHJane's fish was fried to perfection. Ms. Medley smartly included a healthy dash of malt vinegar to the fish to pump up the flavor level and bring the white fish filet to life.

With 3 very satisfying meals testifying to consistent quality, if I lived in Haile, I could see me visiting this bistro/pub regularly.

BistroJANesfA a trip back to the HVB with an English pal of mine to get his take on the authenticity of the HVB is on my bucket list. Of course, that perspective would be taken with the accompaniment of a good number of English stout, porter and/or ale.

The Pluses and Minuses of Haile Village Bistro:

Haile Village Bistro + indicators: Ambience, setting and friendly environment.

Haile Village Bistro - indicators: This neighborhood bistro/pub is convenient for the Haile residents. Living outside of Haile makes this trip less practical.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Haile Village Bistro .  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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Mother's Pub & Grill

Sloppy Joe, make Mother's special

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

mothersdoor

If you are a game day lunch out sports fan you may have dined — or just drank if that is your game day procedure — at one of the city’s pubs, bars or any place with a large televisions, screaming fans and good food and drinks. At least, this is what I envision the ideal game day set-up to be.

To watch some FIFA World Cup Soccer, I wandered to local watering hole Mother’s Pub and Grill, 1017 W. University Ave., nestled in between Karma Cream and Gyro Plus. I have ventured into this small pub previously for the popular $.40 wing Mondays, and $3 burger and $2 Yuengling pint Wednesdays. There are always seats filled at the bar and tables filled in the main dining area and extra upstairs dining areas.

The popularity of the joint persuaded me to arrive at 11:00, an hour before kickoff, and even then just about every table was filled. We snagged one of the only available tables, which was perpendicular to the large TV screen - definitely not the ideal seat to watch without some serious neck straining.

“We need food.” That’s all my friend Julia had to say when the server, Zach, arrived at the table. The staff is always so chill and casual, as if just another friend joining the group. I can only assume this welcoming casualness sets the tone for the customers who frequent the establishment, too.

mothers5Zach suggested the Bloody Mary for starters, although it was anything but typical. This breakfast drink had bacon, sausage and cheese skewered on a toothpick, dangling into the spice-filled drink. How could this culinary adventurer not dare try this twist on a classic? It also came with a free small beer, so there’s that, too.

The breakfast menu — available from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — appealed to Julia, while I had heard nothing but raves of the Pub Favorites on the standard menu, from Shepherd’s Pie to Pub Style Fish and Chips. There is a complete Mother's pub menu at the Mother's P & G weblink below this featute.

MOTHERSsloppyJoeJudging by my previous food adventures, it is no secret that I try new foods whenever possible: The more exotic, the better. This may sound silly, but my big food venture of the day was the Sloppy Joe on Texas Toast. This sandwich lover has never had this particular sandwich before, and honestly felt a bit silly.

“What kind of childhood did you have?” Zach was just as taken aback as Julia upon hearing that I have never had a simple sloppy Joe – a fall-out-of-the-bread sandwiching of meat, lettuce and good messy fun. In the pub’s case, it boasted “Pat’s famous homemade sloppy Joe from a secret family recipe” for just $5.

mothers1As the match started my sloppy sandwich was brought out with a side order of tater tots. I’ve had this side dish before at Mother’s, and I have to say that they are always served hot, cooked well and with just the right amount of crisp. My sandwich, as shown by the pictures, overflowed with tender seasoned beef atop a layer of lettuce from in between the two slices of Texas toast. After enjoying a few tots, I slowly picked up the well-packed sandwich as pieces of marinated beef slid down my hand and onto the tray. Although hesitant to dive in, one bite provided a mouthful of crispy, thick bread contrasting the hearty beef chunks dripping with flavor and spice – and by spice I mean this sandwich had a kick. It took a few messy bites to really taste the spiciness of the meat, but I wasn’t complaining.

I felt as if I were reliving a child-like scenario of stereotypical kid food. It had everything from the fun of a mess to the simplicity of meat and bread and even the tater tots dipped in ketchup, which are a pretty kid-friendly addition to a meal.

The server checked on us constantly throughout the roughly three and a half hours of agonizing, edge-of-the-seat game watching that consumed the entire pub. Everyone cheered together, everyone booed together, and what was the most appealing aspect of the pub, other than the well-prepared and reasonably-priced food, was the family aspect that everyone could interact together as if at just another tailgating event.

Add your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Mother's Pub & Grill. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

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Paramount Grill

PG burger is reason to go off diet grid

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

paramountstoresfIt was time for a UF Entomology Nematology lunch pal gathering with longtime friends Kathy Milne and Jane medley. In the last year we have added two new lunch partners in Kathy's husband David, and now Jayne's friend Kenny Denham. So a table for five has become the order of the day in this visit to one of the GLOB Master's favorite lunch stops in the picturesque down town Summer in the City venue of the Paramount Grille.

 

paramountDINING

I arrived first and was enjoying the wonderfulness, beauty of being swept into an old world feeling as the dark silhouettes of the PG windows allowing a view of the brick streets and oldest buildings in Gainesville providing a brief look at how Hoggetowne use to look.

In the GLOB Master's view the Paramount Grille is one of the two, or three more stylish, professional, and delicious Gainesville lunch stops.

Sorry GLOBers, the GLOB Master is not going to divulge the other two my other two lunch time favorites right here, right now . . .

Come on lunch outer you know our fair city is awash with a variety of excellent cuisine options, and 'just right' venues and over 240 different kinds of lunch adventure you are choosing.

I do admire Paramount's contemporary approach to a unique menu Daily Specials board with surprising, compelling lunch time entrée suggestions. The Paramount Grille lunch menu is loaded with enticing entrees including:

  zzGLOBbullet Braised Bison Short Rib Panino with Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, gorgonzola and tomatoes – horseradish mayonaisse, ($11).

zzGLOBbullet The lunch menu includes three extraordinarily delicious sounding hamburgers ($15), and Main Plates including a blackened salmon ($21), and a veggie, stir fry curried tofu ($13).

Kudos to the PG Kitchen Team for creating one of the better looking panini sandwiches toasted, pressed to perfection and presented with very high lunch appeal. Sure, I'm Ok with plate presentation being very high on my lunch time appreciation list. GET INAGE FORM PG PAGE HERE.

 

ParamountPANNINI

In fact the Roasted Chicken Panino with bacon, apple, Boursin, and dijonaise rang the lunch chimes for Jane, Kenny, and Kathy with Kathy choosing a Kaiser roll fir her lunch time Sammy.

 

ParamountWRAP

David's lunch was also chicken drive but he went the Wrap route for his that included bacon, avocado, and pesto in a yummy looking wrap.

I'm sad to say I don't include hamburgers in my diet ant more. I was thinking outside the salad plate for the PG Southwester Hamburger with fried green tomato, goat cheese, avocado, and chipotle aioli stacked on a magnificent piece of plump, juicy, 'Grilled Angus Beef''.

 

ParamountBURGERa

My lunch was sitting 'Tower of Pisa' like in front of me when I decided eating my lunch open face seemed like a good idea. Plus, feeling smarter, my knife-and-fork hamburger modification allowed me to eliminate a slice of white bread carbohydrate from my mid-day meal.

The juicy red meat protein was glorious. The layers of spectacular flavors offered a visual tower of avocado, fried tomatoes, cheese challenging me to eat the entire burger.

So I did.

zzsmallknifefork0311

PGmushroomPanini

The 'little somethings' spoil great lunch 

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

paramountstoresfThe question I hear the most when I introduce myself as Gainesville's GLOB Master is, "What is the best restaurant in Gainesville?"

After saying there are 243 restaurants in Gainesville with many unique 'best restaurant' choices, I quickly say if my mother were coming to town I would take her to the Paramount Grill downtown.

My friends and I were in luck with an early arrival there for lunch with only one table of six ordering ahead of us. The PG ambiance, service, and uniquely interesting menu never fails as a great lunch experience. This lunch stop is special if for no other reason than to gaze out the PG windows onto the old Gainesville brick streets and historic preserved buildings.

I was with long-time friends and previous UF Entomology & Nematology colleagues, Jane Medley and Kathy Milne, to celebrate Ms. Milne's birthday.

 

ParamountBurger

Ongoing adventures with my diabetes led me to choose the Paramount Grill Southwestern Hamburger with fried green tomato, avocado, goat cheese, and chipotle aioli for $11 as an excellent option, YELP image above.   I could easily leave behind the bread (and thus keep my carbs down) by treating the sandwich as an open-faced dish.

I find my cerebral logic wires working more often since I am trying to marginalize bread, white ingredients from my diet.

To start the meal, our server described a soup special of Indian-spiced, roasted garlic and tomato soup with cilantro that sounded divine down to the cilantro that had me thinking outside my lunch box for a side order of soup.

PGrosanneWhile we were catching up on Kathy's birthday, and Jane Medley's retiring from Entomology & Nematology, our server returned with the news there was no more hamburger meat in the kitchen. I was surprised by that – how do you run out of an important product like that so early during the lunch interval? As a second choice, like my pals, I too ordered a panini sandwich and lamented the toasted bread thinking Giilda Radner's very cunny character Roseanne Roseannadanna is correct saying, "If it ain't somethin', iIt's something else."

The Portabello Panino with asparagus, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, spinach, brie and pesto for $7 did sound good, image at top of this review. In fact I had even given the Panini serious consideration before deciding on the red meat protein.

 

PGbello

There is a link to the complete Paramount Grill menu at the restaurant link at the bottom of this page.

Our order arrived in a timely manner and I eagerly tasted the soup for spices and flavors. The soup was delicious with a very small tinge of Indian spices which made me happy since I am not a big fan of curry. I did manage to squeeze in a little bread during this lunch as the soup came with a tiny homemade basil roll. Yum.

 

PGsoup0616

"This is really good soup," I said to the server. "But I'm not tasting the cilantro," I say to the server disappointed about missing my favorite spice.

"Oh, the Chef decided he wasn't using any cilantro today," the server stated matter-of-factly. Another missing ingredient!

The Portabello Panino was a very good alternative to my red meat dream. The bits and bites of red pepper, onion, and spinach were delicious in the melted brie. The pieces of asparagus jumped out off the flavor palette literally making me stop to smile at the delicious, crunchy asparagus flavor. The accompanying side order of a light salad with navy beans and a tangy vinaigrette dressing was my substitute for the waffle fries.

As always lunch with friends from my bug/insect working days is an enjoyable lunch hour and the food served was delicious. Unfortunately this trip created a quandary as far as my recommending the PG as one of the best lunch stops in the future. Should I mention the ingredient missed steps in my evaluation or should I think of the missing cilantro as a grain of salt?

The Pluses and Minuses of the Paramount Grill:

The Paramoung Grill + indicators :  Excellent cusisne, atentive service.

The Paramount Grill - indicators :  With attention to detail falling off is the Paramount resting onit's laureals?

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Paramount Grill. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS

 

ParramountMEATLOAFpannini 

A wonderful, 'old Gainesville' lunch experience

zzGLOBbullet Paramount Grill one of Gourmet magazine's best Valentine's Day dinners.

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Would it surprise you to learn that the fine dining establishment, the Paramount Grill (PG) in downtown Gainesville, is serving up a sandwich at lunch?  It's an incredibly tasty, pressed sandwich called "Grilled Chicken with Havarti, Bacon, Plum Tomato, Organic Greens and Avocado with Garlic Aioli."

PmountPICThat's quite an inventory of ingredients combined in this toasted, pressed-to-perfection, melted cheese flavor extravaganza.

When it's my turn to suggest a lunch out spot to friends I am happy to pick the Paramount Grill because I like to think of the PG as one of my special lunchtime discoveries.

The Paramount Grill is a great friendly lunch gathering spot for your biz meeting. The tables are spaced out evenly enough that you don't feel like you're invading the space of lunch outters at the next table.

There is no sense of being in a hurry at the Paramount Grill. Located on a side street just off of Main St, the PG has a large front window with a great view looking out on one of the oldest streets in Gainesville. Directly across the street is a beautiful, red-brick rustic building that once housed what may have been the first hardware store in Gainesville (Rice Hardware, now American Apparel -- which retained the original well-worn wooden floor).

 

paramountstoresf

You can imagine yourself in a Gainesville from another era as you sit amidst a gracious decor at a table traditionally laid out with a white table cloth and cloth napkins, and an attentive, quick-to-please wait staff eagerly anticipates your needs.

The Paramount Grill lunch menu is an interesting variation of their dinner menu and features salads, soups, and wraps.

They have also included a nice collection of burgers, some veggie items, and a very nice assortment of special lunch entrees like Almond Encrusted Crab Cakes, Salmon Saute' with Portabello Mushrooms, and Pesto Roasted Chicken Roulade.

From the perspective of this professional eater, if you are looking to impress, to close a big business deal, or just to stop, step back, and take a breath away from every day madness, the Paramount Grill might very well be your designated destination.

So fellow GLOBers, if you are out to impress where's your best lunch out spot?

 

ParamountTOPPERa

Plans had been made for a Paramount Grill Sunday Brunch for quite a few weeks.The PG's menu of excellent choices made decision-making very hard but eventually entrees were chosen. Gold stars go to the Crab Cake Benedict with lots of crab, plumtomatoes, roasted garlic and basil hollandaise, and gooey poached egg yolks over all, despite the curiosity of crab cakes sitting atop a slice of sourdough bread. The Chicken salad crepes with brie were a close second with tasty chunks of chicken over baby spinach, asparagus, and plum tomato salad tossed with fig vinaigrette and finished with walnuts. The thick slice of Almond Crusted French Toast served with fresh blueberries, raspberry coulis and sour cream was very good. Two friends took advantage of the all-you-can-drink mimosas. How good was our Sunday brunch?  Our plates were cleaned spotless, we had enjoyable extended conversation, and I'm going back!

-- Mike Sanford, GLOB Master

The Pluses and Minusesof The Paramount Grill:

The Paramoung Grill + indicators :  A superior lunch experience in beautiful, old Gainesville.

The Paramount Grill - indicators : Lunch can quickly work up to the pricier side of a good lunch deal . . .

 Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Paramount Grill. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS

Read more...

Valentine lunch suggestion

I have always found Valentine's Day to be a special time of sharing to most special ingredients in a relationship.  And the GLOB Master isn't talking about cheese, spicy red sauce, and a dessert to share.  As the GLOB Master likes to say, If my momma was in town my first thought about a special lunch would be downtown Gainesville's Paramount Grill lunch stop.   I was thinking about the Paramount Grill's Fried Egg, Avocado, White Cheddar Burger on a pretzel bun for this Valentine's Day mid0day meal. The idea of tasty slices of avocado layered underneath a perfectly fried egg combining in culinary harmony with the obligatory lettuce, tomato, mustard and catsup had me eatified. Wouldn't you know the last of the three specials mentioned for this Friday lunch was a panini meatloaf sandwich with bacon and fried green tomatoes? I'm talking a meatloaf sandwich on toasted panini bread -- that sounded like an oxymoron to me. Then I noticed that the current hamburger of my dreams along with an order of fries was selling for $12! I quickly remembered hearing a Krystal ad selling 12 burgers for $7.99. I'm not sure if it was the good hamburger angel or the bad hamburger angel convincing me to try the meatloaf sandwich for my birthday. But it was a good decision. The fried green tomato was a smart addition to the tried-and-true, very tasty, hearty, comforting chunky meatloaf 'sandwiched' between the tasty slices of panini bread. How good was my sandwich? Lucky for me Jane wanted just a little taste of my meatloaf wonder in exchange for a bite of her Roasted Free Range Chicken Salad Wrap with avocado, plum tomato and exotic greens. I never found out what made the Paramount greens exotic. I do know that if I am buying a $12 hamburger, I'd be sharing it with somebody. Now with the Krystal special, "everyone in your car can have two . . ."

A wonderful, 'old Gainesville' lunch experience

zzGLOBbullet Paramount Grill one of Gourmet magazine's best Valentine's Day dinners.

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Would it surprise you to learn that the fine dining establishment, the Paramount Grill (PG) in downtown Gainesville, is serving up a sandwich at lunch?  It's an incredibly tasty, pressed sandwich called "Grilled Chicken with Havarti, Bacon, Plum Tomato, Organic Greens and Avocado with Garlic Aioli."

PmountPICThat's quite an inventory of ingredients combined in this toasted, pressed-to-perfection, melted cheese flavor extravaganza.

When it's my turn to suggest a lunch out spot to friends I am happy to pick the Paramount Grill because I like to think of the PG as one of my special lunchtime discoveries.

The Paramount Grill is a great friendly lunch gathering spot for your biz meeting. The tables are spaced out evenly enough that you don't feel like you're invading the space of lunch outters at the next table.

There is no sense of being in a hurry at the Paramount Grill. Located on a side street just off of Main St, the PG has a large front window with a great view looking out on one of the oldest streets in Gainesville. Directly across the street is a beautiful, red-brick rustic building that once housed what may have been the first hardware store in Gainesville (Rice Hardware, now American Apparel -- which retained the original well-worn wooden floor).

paramountstoresfYou can imagine yourself in a Gainesville from another era as you sit amidst a gracious decor at a table traditionally laid out with a white table cloth and cloth napkins, and an attentive, quick-to-please wait staff eagerly anticipates your needs.

The Paramount Grill lunch menu is an interesting variation of their dinner menu and features salads, soups, and wraps.

They have also included a nice collection of burgers, some veggie items, and a very nice assortment of special lunch entrees like Almond Encrusted Crab Cakes, Salmon Saute' with Portabello Mushrooms, and Pesto Roasted Chicken Roulade.

From the perspective of this professional eater, if you are looking to impress, to close a big business deal, or just to stop, step back, and take a breath away from every day madness, the Paramount Grill might very well be your designated destination.

So fellow GLOBers, if you are out to impress where's your best lunch out spot?

 

ParamountTOPPERa

Plans had been made for a Paramount Grill Sunday Brunch for quite a few weeks.The PG's menu of excellent choices made decision-making very hard but eventually entrees were chosen. Gold stars go to the Crab Cake Benedict with lots of crab, plumtomatoes, roasted garlic and basil hollandaise, and gooey poached egg yolks over all, despite the curiosity of crab cakes sitting atop a slice of sourdough bread. The Chicken salad crepes with brie were a close second with tasty chunks of chicken over baby spinach, asparagus, and plum tomato salad tossed with fig vinaigrette and finished with walnuts. The thick slice of Almond Crusted French Toast served with fresh blueberries, raspberry coulis and sour cream was very good. Two friends took advantage of the all-you-can-drink mimosas. How good was our Sunday brunch?  Our plates were cleaned spotless, we had enjoyable extended conversation, and I'm going back!

-- Mike Sanford, GLOB Master

The Pluses and Minusesof The Paramount Grill:

The Paramoung Grill + indicators :  A superior lunch experience in beautiful, old Gainesville.

The Paramount Grill - indicators : Lunch can quickly work up to the pricier side of a good lunch deal . . .

 Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Paramount Grill. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS

Read more...

Valentine lunch suggestion

FTmenuBRDSThere is something about walking into the Fat Tuscan Café that makes your body go, "aaahhh . . ." It's like stepping into Mama Michele's home for a good lunch, conversation and a wonderful respite from the outside world. It was the White Apron Catering Queen's birthday day lunch and she was pleased about making the FTC our lunch spot. I quickly made it clear that I always order the Fromage Au Trois grilled cheese sandwich (please see below.) Jules chose the Prosciutto Sandwich that includes Prosciutto, pears, brie and arugula lightly dressed with house vinaigrette on ciabatta bread. Fat Tuscan's owner Michelle Rotinna stopped by our table to wish Jules a happy birthday and was proud of the fact that she is very particular about her prosciutto. "I search out and buy only the best prosciutto because good ham is important to this sandwich," Michele said. Jules and I shared our sandwiches so we could have our own Fat Tuscan Italian sandwich taste test. The Prosciutto Sandwich was spectacular with so many textures and flavors. The GLOB Master isn't big on sweet items in his savory lunch entrees, Today there were slices of pear in the sandwich that opened my eyes to a startling flavor surprise. The brie was a nice addition of mellow, chewy flavor tucked between the yummy prosciutto, pears and vinaigrette. it was fun enjoying the different textures of the ciabatta roll, and panini bread.  The Prosciutto Sandwich was very good, and Michele reminded me that the PS is a popular Fat Tuscan lunch choices. For all the reasons mentioned below I still think the Fromage Au Trois is one of the better grilled cheese sandwiches in Gainesville. OMG! This sandwich, the Fat Tuscan Café is a wonderful lunch stop!  I love menu boards, they would make a great subject for a photographical essay. 

- GLOB Master

FT makes for a nice lunchtime European diversion

> Mission Epicurious: Fat Tuscan Candlelight Dinner

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Correspondent

Editor's Note:  The Gainesville Lunch Out Blog is suggesting it's favorite lunch spots for a cozy, intimate, loving lunch hour. 

FatTuscan1stStOn the northern edge of downtown on 8th Avenue sits a wood frame house painted a beautiful deep orange-yellow color. It has stained glass windows and a brick courtyard with a gurgling fountain and just the right amount of sun and shade. This is the place for a lunch that will make you feel as if you have truly escaped from the stresses of the American work place to an authentic European café. Not only that, the food is very good. Especially the dessert, but that comes last!

I have been to The Fat Tuscan several times now and the food has been consistently good. In my book, that is the highest compliment I can pay a restaurant. There are salads, sandwiches, soups and the last time I was there, quiche was a special item. Even though I expect the food at the FT to be good, I was surprised by just how good the quiche was – it had the consistency of flan and a rich flavor was diffused throughout the quiche. Maybe that had something to do with the addition of brie, a French cheese favorite of mine.

FTsSaladTheir salads add just a few more ingredients than the usual The Eggplant Caprese salad, on the other hand, is very simple, but all the better for that. The same approach applies to the sandwiches – for instance the Turkey Baguette includes cucumbers as well as avocado and fontina cheese and the Ham and Cheese Panini includes roast apple-mustard and arugula.

FT has a unique approach to soup: 3 choices – Large Bowl, Small Bowl, or Cup. I LOVE soup but so far have not had theirs. That will be high on my list when I next lunch there, and I'll be sure to let you know how that goes via an additional comment below.

And the best thing of all is the Chocolate Panini for dessert, a heated and pressed concoction that combines chocolate hazelnut spread with marscapone cheese. The powdered sugar sprinkled on top seems to actually add something as well. When you have had a REALLY bad morning – just go there and have this sweet panini for lunch. It will warm your heart.

FTjulesROOMEating inside the restaurant is as nice as eating outside – the décor is warm and homey with beautiful wood and stained glass and, since this is an old restored house, there are actual dining rooms.

The prices are comparable to similar restaurants (Wine and Cheese Gallery and The Paramount). The salads range from $3.75 for a small house salad to 12.75 for a Salad Nicoise that includes seared tuna and imported Nicoise olives (with pits, the menu notes). The sandwiches range from $7.50 for the Grilled Vegetable, which includes gruyere cheese, to $9.75 for Antipasto Sandwich on Ciabatta or for Prosciutto Sandwich, which includes pears, brie, and arugula.

fatsuscanLOGOThe Fat Tuscan seems to have it all -- food well made with special ingredients in a setting that is relaxing, warm, and visually pleasing.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Fat Tuscan Cafe.

The + Indicators: Consistent food and a parking lot!

The - Indicators: Servings tend to be smallish. Actually that's a plus -- I have left satisfied but not stuffed! Prices are little high but probably comparable to similar restaurants.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Fat Tuscan Cafe.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

FTfornmageAyTroi

I was meeting Gainesville's PRO iNK's Director of Operations and new friend, Elayana Rexrode, for lunch and this was Ms. Rexrode's first visit to the Fat Tuscan Café. I was happy to find the FT's signature lunch item, the Fromage a Trois Panini, on their menu and thought this would be a great lunch for this day and also next time I was looking for a Meatless Monday lunch. Elayna was quick to point out she was a salad-for-lunch GLOBer and selected the FT's Tropical Salad.  Elayna described the salad:  "The crisp greens, chilled shrimp and abundance of feta cheese crumbles were perfectly fresh and delightful. The dressing was light, but full of flavor that did not overpower the salad ingredients. The Fat Tuscan atmosphere was very conducive to a nice conversation with the Glob Master -- you didn't have to shout to hear each other."   My Formage a Troi – I love to hear myself say that – was an extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich of gruyere, fontina, brie, roasted tomato, and sautéed shallots on grilled panini bread and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Not to sound like the UF Gators Mick Huber but, Oh my. The cheese blended to a rich, melted, flavorful concoction of gooeyness shrouding grilled, juicy tomatoes and sautéed shallots. The piece de resistance to my French café lunch masterpiece was the balsamic reduction that added a distinct, subtle, flair of sweetness with every toasted bite. Uh huh! Bon ami mademoiselle! Fat Tuscan owner Michelle Rotinna stopped at our table to say hello and share some great stories about her month long vacation to the Czech Republic. Michelle said the Fromage a Trois Panini as a Meatless Monday wasn't a good idea since the Fat Tuscan is closed on Mondays . . .

- GLOB Master

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Correspondent

Editor's Note: Lynn Dirk is an administrator in the US Department of Veterans Affairs Brain Rehabilitation Research Center and a devout enthusiast of all food things healthy.

 

On the northern edge of downtown on 8th Avenue sits a wood frame house painted a beautiful deep orange-yellow color.  It has stained glass windows and a brick courtyard with a gurgling fountain and just the right amount of sun and shade.  This is the place for a lunch that will make you feel as if  you have truly escaped from the stresses of the American work place to an authentic European café.  Not only that, the food is very good.  Especially the dessert, but that comes last!

 

I have been to The Fat Tuscan several times now and the food has been consistently good.  In my book, that is the highest compliment I can pay a restaurant.  There are salads, sandwiches, soups and the last time I was there, quiche was a special item.  Even though I expect the food at the FT to be good, I was surprised by just how good the quiche was – it had the consistency of flan and a rich flavor was diffused throughout the quiche.  Maybe that had something to do with the addition of brie. 

 

Their salads add just a few more ingredients than the usual   The Eggplant Caprese salad, on the other hand, is very simple, but all the better for that.  The same approach applies to the sandwiches – for instance the Turkey Baguette includes cucumbers as well as avocado and fontina cheese and the Ham and Cheese Panini includes roast apple-mustard and arugula. 

 

And the best thing of all is the Chocolate Panini for dessert, a heated and pressed concoction that combines chocolate hazelnut spread with marscapone cheese. The powdered sugar sprinkled on top seems to actually add something as well.  When you have had a REALLY bad morning – just go there and have this sweet panini for lunch.  It will warm your heart. 

 

FT has a unique approach to soup:  3 choices – Large Bowl, Small Bowl, or Cup.  I LOVE soup but so far have not had theirs.  That will be high on my list when I next lunch there, and I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes via an additional comment below.

 

Eating inside the restaurant is as nice as eating outside – the décor is warm and homey with beautiful wood and stained glass and, since this is an old restored house, there are actual dining rooms. 

 

The prices are comparable to similar restaurants (Wine and Cheese Gallery and The  Paramount).  The salads range from $3.75 for a small house salad to 12.75 for a Salad Nicoise that includes seared tuna and imported Nicoise olives (with pits, the menu notes).  The sandwiches range from $7.50 for the Grilled Vegetable, which includes gruyere cheese, to $9.75 for Antipasto Sandwich on Ciabatta or for Prosciutto Sandwich, which includes pears, brie, and arugula.

 

The Fat Tuscan seems to have it all -- food well made with special ingredients in a setting that is relaxing, warm, and visually pleasing. 

 

The Pluses and Minuses of the Fat Tuscan Cafe

The + Indicators: Consistent food and a parking lot!

The - Indicators:  Servings tend to be smallish.  Actually that’s a plus -- I have left satisfied but not stuffed!  Prices are little high but probably comparable to similar restaurants 

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Genghis Grill  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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Civilization

Lunch with these girls is always special

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

civilizationSignJust 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.

 

2012MICHELLElynn

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.

 

 

2020LYNNsandwich

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.

 

2020SOUPsalad

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.

 

2020MIKEb

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

 

 zzsmallknifefork0311

CIVILIZATION: What LOCAL is all about

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

civilizationSignIn 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:"

zzGLOBbullet Dogwood Lane Farms, The Family Garden Organic Farm and Possum Hollow Farm.

zzGLOBbullet Our organic croissants and baguettes come from Vine Bakery in Gainesville.

zzGLOBbullet Our organic grits and grains are purchased from Ward's Super Market on NW 23rd Avenue.

zzGLOBbullet Our organic spices and teas come from Frontier Natural Products Co-op.

zzGLOBbullet Our coffee is a special house blend made for us by Sweetwater Organic Roasters on South Main Street.

zzGLOBbullet Our Beelers bacon & Cochon sausage are all natural & from companies that use humane practices in raising animals.

zzGLOBbullet 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.

 

CIVILdiningROOM

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.

 

CIVILdining

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.

 

CivilBOARD

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?

 

CivilME

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.

 

CivileBLAKbeans

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.

 

CivilSAMMY

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.

 

CivilBEETS

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

zzsmallknifefork0311

 

CIVILbistro480

 

'Hidden' bistro perfect for catching up, lunch  

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

civilizationSignThe 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.

 

102017MCjavier

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.

 

SHRIMPgrits480

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.

 

2017MCslunch

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.

 

102017Tacos

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.

zzsmallknifefork0311

 

VEGGIEtopper

'Tucked Away' cafe offers atypical lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

civilizationSignIf 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

 

091717TerranovaA

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.

 

Veggiewrap480Chaya 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.

ChickpeasThe 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.

 

Veggiewrap480

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!

 

zzsmallknifefork0311

 

 

CIVILLunchTOPPER

 

Feeling civilized at GLOB work brunch

By: GLOB Staffers

civilizationSignMelissa Kahan:
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.

CIVILmimosa2After 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.

 

CIVILfritta

Lynn Dirk:
CIVILBeignetsMimosI'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!

 

CIVILpancakes

Kim Harris
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.

 

CIVILgrits

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.

CIVILplate300ACivilization 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.

Mike Sanford:
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.

CIVILgrilledCheese

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.

Melissa again:
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.

 

CIVILbeingetsA

In summary, four thumbs up for Civilization!  There is a Civilization menu link at the bottom of the page.

 

CIVILgcheese020116TOPPER

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

CIVILLunchTOPPER

Unique elements create cultured brunch experience

By Lynn Dirk, Content Editor

civilizationSignOne 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.

CIVILdiningROOMIt'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).

CIVILLunchAWes 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:

zzGLOBbullet 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.

CIVILLunchBzzGLOBbullet  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.

zzGLOBbullet 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.

zzGLOBbullet 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.

zzGLOBbullet 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.

zzGLOBbullet AVOCADO - This shows up in a good number of Civilization dishes. It was an excellent accent for the beans and rice.

zzGLOBbullet 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.

zzGLOBbullet 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."

CIVILLunchCombo

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

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Top Restaurant

Great expectations lead to brunch let-down

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

I don't think there is any meal that makes me as giddy as Sunday brunch. I love a good lunch outing, and I look forward to intimate dinners and making food for a good friend or my boyfriend, but brunch on Sunday makes the dining out experience truly enjoyable. In all my expectation and desire for a perfect brunch outing, I may have set the bar too high at my latest brunch, however, I think it may have been more than too-high expectations in regards to a recent Sunday brunch at The Top restaurant downtown that left me very dissatisfied.

062614TopSFI have seen people wait in a line out the door to dine at The Top, and I have heard great things about the food. A friend's invite to accompany her and another friend to this bustling downtown hotspot provided a double dose of excitement: trying a new place for the first time and trying it for brunch on a Sunday.

I was leary of the possibility of a long wait due to having seen those lines of hungry patrons at The Top door, but we were seated immediately and the wait staff was pretty attentive throughout. 

This downtown restaurant has something for everyone. They have expanded the bar and create some delicious drinks. There is all kinds of fun kitch and memorabilia in the dining room and in the bathrooms. Where else can you see an old fashioned oil lamp, self help books from the 50s, and baseball trading cards all used as decor? Plus, check out the amazing collection of lamps.

Per my usual indecisive dilemma at restaurants, I wanted to try too many things to narrow down the options to just one thing. Luckily, one of my dining companions, Ariel, shared my struggle over the desire for a sweet and salty element to each meal and offered to order the Crabby Benedict, the top choice on my Benedict list, if I ordered the Crème Brulee French Toast so we could split both meals in half.

062714Topbrunch2While Barbara happily munched away on a bigger-than-her-face breakfast burrito, complete with a slathering of green guacamole atop the creation, Ariel and I were ready to dive into our half-portions of each dish. Unlike Barbara, I was not as enthused about what was presented. I wish I had positive things to say of the meal.

The three, moderately-sized slices of Crème Brulee French Toast were extremely sweet, which I'm sure was the point. The main disappointment, however, was that the inch-thick bread came already drenched in syrup. If there is one thing I cannot stand with my breakfast pastries, it is not being able to control the rate at which they are dunked in syrup. I felt like I had to eat the French Toast at record speed to avoid a soggy dish.  No number of berries — which were very scarce on the plate as well — could salvage it.

06271Topbrunch3It could be the sheer number of varied brunch spots that has turned my taste buds into finally-tuned machines or perhaps it is the number of eggs Benedict dishes I have consumed, but the Crabby Benedict was very underwhelming. The idea of crab resting over a biscuit-type bed and generously blanketed with artichoke, tomato, and spinach underneath a poached egg just ready to pop seemed like a taste explosion! Not to mention I am a sucker for a good hollandaise sauce. However, after just one bite I could tell the aforementioned ingredients were bland and subpar. Not even my go-to spice, pepper, could revive this dish. The egg wasn't even runny, which would have given the dish a nice coat of flavor, especially considering the sparse hollandaise.

I am surprised at the long lines and crowded tables at the Top on Sundays, their Sunday brunch being the only non-dinner meal served there. That could also contribute to my less-than-stellar brunch experience since it is not their focus, but I imagine it is their popularity that draws people to try the brunch as well.

I have to report that despite the unusually timely service for The Top, I walked away from this brunch extremely dissatisfied. I hope the other Sunday brunch dishes have more effort put into them then mine.

The Pluses and Minuses of the The Top Restaurant

The Top Restaurant + indicators : Downtown-located, fun nighttime bar, decent service this brunch (despite more negative reviews of this)

The Top Restaurant - indicators: Subpar brunch food, almost too dim of lighting, previous reviews left expectations too high

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about The Top Restaurant.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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2 Friends Coffee Shop

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The Queen's Arms

Finding new brunch appeal in Haile Village

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

HaileBistroSFEver since the closing of my beloved Sisters restaurant in Haile Plantation, its big-as-my-plate omelets, perfectly poached eggs, and savory baked breakfast goods luring in all who dine, I have been skeptical but hopeful as to whether another establishment could take its place. I was more than satisfied with the Jones Eastside brunch, but of course it has also closed, leaving an even bigger whole in my heart for a consistently tasty, locally-owned brunch joint for my treasured weekends off of work. Some chains are certainly up for the task: Peach Valley Café regularly leaves me yearning for their hot and fresh apple fritters and extremely tasty Picker's Skillet with the best breakfast potatoes I have ever consumed. However, I have been checking out local joints one by one for one that could fit the brunch bill.

A friend suggested brunch on Saturday, and anyone who has read my other reviews knows I can never say no to a brunch outing. I was intrigued when Erin mentioned Haile Village Bistro tucked away in Haile Plantation on the same street as the late Sisters. I could not shake the hope that this small bistro and brunch spot could possibly be the new Haile go-to.

haileDINING

On arrival at about 10:45 on a Saturday morning, I was expecting a long wait as Haile Farmers Market patrons were bustling along the street parallel to the bistro. Instead, I was greeted with available indoor and outdoor patio seating, plus, outside the front doors, there was a live band entertaining diners and market-goers.  Although the daunting grey skies did not scream "nice day," I am an advocate for outdoor seating and live music when possible, so I took to a small patio table in earshot of the band. By the time Erin joined me, it started sprinkling, and we quickly huddled indoors to find the quaintest little dining room area attached to the Queens Arm Pub where many a FIFA game has been watched.

haileFRIENDI wanted a warm beverage, so I ordered one of the drink specials: Godiva white chocolate, coffee, and some Baileys for good measure. I wish the drink had been a little hotter when I got it, but the almost 10-minute wait time for it and my friend's Cuban coffee indicated that the drinks had probably been sitting for a while before making their way to us.

We scanned the menu, brunch fare ranging from the typical pancakes or waffles (combo) and breakfast sandwiches to less ordinary items like the Irish Benedict with corned beef hash. To my delight, each week a brunch special menu provides unique, one-time-only options. I was beyond delighted to see two of the items in particular: Red Velvet Pancakes (!) and the Winter Omelet Soufflé. Being the ideal dining companion, Erin agreed to split the two limited-edition dishes with me.

haileOmelet I could not have been happier to see the food. The omelet was everything I want in a unique omelet. The sausage provided a hearty contrast to the crisp, very distinguishable texture and taste of kale. I wished there had been more cheddar and Gouda cheeses--I like to see cheese oozing or stretching across my plate after removing each bite. While I am not usually a fan of onion reels (thin spirals of onion), they proved a flavorful, sporadic addition to the omelet, while the scalloped potatoes that lined the bottom melded perfectly with the kale and cheeses. The side order of hash browns was pretty good, not too mushy and with an outer crisp, but nothing to write home about.

haileREDdessertOn to the pancakes: While I do not ordinarily opt for a predominantly sweet meal, aside from dessert, a half order proved the perfect amount of sweetness alongside my omelet half. I think the thought of something being red velvet makes it seem more exotic, but its red color is merely from a dye. Honestly, without the sinfully sweet cream cheese frosting nestled between each of the three layers of pancake, it wouldn't have tasted remarkably different then a slightly chocolate flavor pancake. However, the frosting was absolutely delicious, and I could have put that on any breakfast baked good and called it a day.

While the service was pretty slow and the water refills were sparse, it was a charming dining area with a very decent brunch menu. The ingredients tasted fresh, and it did remind me a tad of Sisters, but that could have been due to the scenery shared by both Haile Bistro and Sisters. I will certainly be back to try more of these brunch items, specials specifically, as well as the English Afternoon Tea the restaurant hosts on the first Saturday afternoon of each month. Any takers?

The Pluses and Minuses of Haile Village Bistro:

Haile Village Bistro + indicators: Standard prices, sizeable portions, good food and fresh ingredients, cute indoor atmosphere, nice outdoor entertainment/scenery, unique specials, does typical breakfast items and specialty ones well.

Haile Village Bistro - indicators: limited parking during busy times, Haile is a tad out of the way, slower service.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Haile Village Bistro .  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

English bistro lunch was 'a bit of alright'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

The Village Shopping Plaza in the Haile Plantation subdivision is not in my usual navigation circle. So I was excited about meeting my UF Entomology & Nematology friends Jane Medley and Kathy Milne at the Haile Village Bistro for lunch late last week,

HAILEwindowThis neighborhod shopping plaza is the perfectly planned village center of narrow streets, side walks, and store fronts depicting an era that time has swept away.

The Haile Vilage Bistro fits this neighborhood style to a tee. The HVB creates an old English pub experience complete with fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, and an assortment of European beers.

This bistro/pub is divided into two areas with a friendly, bright dining area replete with large windows suitable for viewing what is happening in the village. The pub part of the HVB is a cozy bar suitable for conversation over your favorite dark beer, stout, or ale that any pub-meister would appreciate. Did I just say pub-meister? Maybe I should have said bistro-meister.

The HVB dining room is nicely appointed with ample available light from the large windows around the perimeter of the room. We picked a table near a window that lured us into ideas of being a part of what was happening in the village outside, as we were lunching inside.

Caught up in the sense of dining on another continent, the English-themed lunch entrees caught our attention. Salad Olivieh, the aforementioned Fish and Chips and Steak & Kidney Pie tantalized our sense of being natives of that village we imagined we were part of.

Timeout: I was just checking the online HVB menu to verify some lunchtime information, when I noticed the online menu does not mention any of the English entrees. Well, the GLOB Master is mentioning them for your future eating out consideration.

BistroJANcruditiesWe started our lunch adventure with an order of hummus that was served with pita bread, carrots, celery, and black olives. The black olives were the 'most valuable player' in this appetizer. The tart, spicy flavor of the olives added tremendous flavor to the hummus.

HAILElunchI ended up picking the more American Steak and Cheese Sub for lunch, The sandwich consisted of ample portions of flavorful steak, onions and melted cheese that had great texture and flavor: It was a good sandwich. photo at top of this feature.

Kathy's quiche looked very appetizing, Jane's Fish and Chips was large enough that all three of us could have lunched on her entree.

HaileFISHJane's fish was fried to perfection. Ms. Medley smartly included a healthy dash of malt vinegar to the fish to pump up the flavor level and bring the white fish filet to life.

With 3 very satisfying meals testifying to consistent quality, if I lived in Haile, I could see me visiting this bistro/pub regularly.

BistroJANesfA a trip back to the HVB with an English pal of mine to get his take on the authenticity of the HVB is on my bucket list. Of course, that perspective would be taken with the accompaniment of a good number of English stout, porter and/or ale.

The Pluses and Minuses of Haile Village Bistro:

Haile Village Bistro + indicators: Ambience, setting and friendly environment.

Haile Village Bistro - indicators: This neighborhood bistro/pub is convenient for the Haile residents. Living outside of Haile makes this trip less practical.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Haile Village Bistro .  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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