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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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Miya Sushi

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The Pluses and Minuses of Momoyaki:

THE PLUS (+) indicators:

THE MINUS (-) indicators: I

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Maui Teriyaki

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Liquid Ginger

An excellent Asian lunch in serene setting

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

I have had many meals at this Asian Grille and Tea House in downtown's Sun Center, and each one has been very good. As I may have mentioned elsewhere and perhaps recently, a restaurant that serves consistently good food is a gem. I especially appreciate them when I have an inconsistent experience. There is some yin and yang to that thought, and that's appropriate for this review since Liquid Ginger has a zen-like ambience, another one of its positive characteristics. It is serene and peaceful, which is especially nice when you need to get away from work.

liquidgingersignSo let's start at the beginning: Nestled at the back of the Sun Center Plaza, LG is downtown but out of the way. When you walk in through windowed door, you enter a pleasant waiting nook with a couch on one side and a rock garden fountain on the other. As you enter the main dining area, to your right is a wall of glass letting in the day and lined with tables and chairs, and the tables are linen draped. To the left are large booths that have low lighting. One of the most important things that you might notice is that there is no NOISE. Compared with many restaurants where you can barely hear yourself think let alone hear what your lunch partner is saying, this is pure heaven.

Everything is so elegant, you might think that this is a very pricey joint. Not so. Liquid Ginger is very reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food, and especially their lunch menu, which is a limited version of the dinner menu.

LiquidGingerlogoThere are a lot of appetizers to choose from – from Buddha Rolls (vegetarian spring rolls) and Edamame to Crispy Softshelled Crab or Kabayaki Eel. I love their Garlic Eggplant – with Japanese eggplant of course!

The meals generally come with soup and salad. The ginger salad dressing is excellent. I have had the Miso Soup and the Spinach and Tofu Soup. I prefer the Miso because of its rich flavor.



One of my favorite dishes there is the Crispy Lime Chicken. The chicken is coated in panko breading and perfectly fried – no grease. The sauce is tart - a perfect contrast to the fried breading.

Note that LG refers to itself as a Tea House and they have an extensive tea list – 26 teas ranging from the common Peppermint, Chamomile, and Jasmine to several types of oolong and Dragon Well Green. The teas are served in a pot for $3. Drinking an exotic tea served in a Liquid Ginger teapot will make you feel very civilized! The lavender tea is excellent.

I never have had room for dessert. Somebody out there probably has – inquiring stomachs want to know: How is it?

Did I mentioned this is a local, one-of-a-kind restaurant? And if it's a FOTR kind of day, call in your take out order: 371-2323

The Pluses and Minuses of Liquid Ginger

The + Indicators:  It is not noisy, the décor is simple but elegant, and the food fantastic. Parking is available in the Sun Center parking lot; sometimes it is very busy but there is usually an available space.

The - Indicators:  The Pad Thai is not as good as my favorite Pad Thai of old Tim's Thai restaurant on 23rd Avenue.

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Hot Wok

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The Pluses and Minuses of Samuri:

Samuri + indicators:

Sanuri - indicators:

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Empress of China

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Chopstix Cafe

Poor service dampens great lake lunch

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

Editors Note: Farmer Bubba Scott is a container vegetable farmer. To help support the farm, he is a P.H.D., Professional Home Developer, AKA The House Doctor.

It's Friday, and another noon day adventure to a new restaurant. Today was special. Lynn went on the journey with Mike and myself. We chose the Chopstix Café on SW 13th St.

This was my first visit to Chopstix and, upon arriving close to 1 pm, after the lunch crowd was leaving, the first thing that caught my eye was the setting. This somewhat large cafe sits on the bank of Biven's Arm Lake. What a spectacular view, and a perfect location to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

BivensArmAs we entered Chopstix, we were told there was a 15-minute wait. No, "Hello. How are you?" Not even a token smile was offered to the three of us.

The Chopstix host did give me a pink, torn off piece of paper with the number 1 on it and said, "You're next when there is a free table."

I actually received my first pink slip. Standing during our 15-minute wait, I noticed three clean empty tables on the inside and an available table on the patio overlooking the lake. Also, there were two tables on the inside as well as two on the outside which had not been cleaned from previous customers. I didn't see anyone cleaning tables. If my figures are right, that makes 8 tables with 4 seats per table, which would seat 32 people. And we had a 15-minute wait?

After about 10 minutes, two young women walked up behind us and asked a server about a table. The server was about to seat the ladies before we told him we were the next party in line.

ChopstixWith several tables still dirty, and no still no smiles noticed, we were led to the patio and our table, which had a great view of Biven's Arm.
After several more minutes, our server came to the table and bowed.

I asked him about a picture on the menu depicting an entrée that looked like it might be good for lunch.

The server couldn't name the entree. He didn't know it was a picture of the Hot Soup Bowl mentioned in the menu. He said it's just a picture, and then agreed with my observation, but said it might not look like that if I ordered it. So much for me getting any help in my lunch selection.

CHOPSTIX rollsWe ordered 4 spring rolls for an appetizer. They arrived, but there were no plates supplied with the spring rolls, so I used my little pink slip as a plate. Mike and Lynn were left to their own devices.

The spring rolls were just a bit over cooked. I think the inside of a spring roll should taste better than the outside. I was taught in Hawaii that spring rolls are supposed to be like a good book. It's not all about the cover. It's what's inside that counts.

CHOPstixTOPPERI ordered – I think -- the Seafood Hot Soup Bowl and it was really good accept for one thing. There were still shells on the shrimp tails.

"It's soup," I thought to myself perplexed with about how I was to eat this soup. I don't want to spit shrimp shells out when I'm eating my soup.

Everything seemed to be picking up on the service side, until Mike asked for another diet soda. Well, they brought him a glass of tea instead of soda, and gave his drink to Lynn.

I was disappointed my pink slip memento of this lunch blew away in the wind as we were getting up to leave.

I wasn't surprised that customer friendly smiles from the staff showed up when we paid our bill.

Chopstix would be a five star lunch stop if their service was as good as their food.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Chopstix Cafe:

Chopstix Café + indicators: A 5-foot alligator swam from across the lake to watch us eat lunch. No matter where I go for lunch, it can't be that bad when I'm with two great friends. I'll give the food 3 1/2 stars.

Chopstix Cafe - indicators: The staff needs a couple of classes on customer friendly service.

Add your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chopstix.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!



Asian lunch convenient, unremarkable

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

BambooSFI've traveled by Bamboo's Asian restaurant in the Market Square Shopping Center on SW 91st St. and admired how this building was positioned strategically in this Gainesville shopping center. You can't miss it. Bamboos sits at the entrance—like a sentry guarding the community, overseeing the security of this West Gainesville outpost.

Bamboos has their own parking lot with ample space and easy access in and out of the Market Square shopping center. I was getting the feeling that this lunch stop saw a lot of business in the Food on the Run category,

While Bamboos building and location seemed a little unusual for an Asian restaurant, the menu was quite familiar. Do you think there is some giant printing company that sells the same Asian menu to all 60 of the Asian lunch stops in the GLOB. You heard me right – there are 60 Asian restaurants in Gainesville.

BambooMENULets do the math. Say only 50 of the restaurants use this giant printing company. That would be 50 Asian restaurants x 500 menus each = 25,000 menus sold in Gainesville. At 20 cents a menu, that's an easy piece of change..

Speaking of the menu, I decided to pick something different for this lunch and opted for the Boneless Spare Ribs. This entrée included pork fried rice and a spring roll for a reasonable price.  The Bamboo menu can be viewed at the web link at the bottom of this feature.

This lunch turned out to be a close but not a real rib entrée. I did receive a large portion of thin sliced BBQ pork that was coated in a sauce that left me with a sense of eating BBQed ribs.

The flavor and texture of this other white meat melded nicely with the fried rice creating a pleasing Asian food in a bowl experience.


BambooRIBSBecause the pork was sliced thin and appeared to have been cooked in the BBQ sauce, it was no surprise that the meat was a little on the tough, chewy side.

The Spring Roll was fried perfectly and was an excellent medium for the large dollop of Chinese mustard I painted onto this veggie won ton wrap.

Typically, with Asian entrees I have a lot of food sitting in front of me. This was no different. After lunch I had a good portion of ribs left for dinner.

The biggest lunch surprise for me was the absence of any Chinese vegetables in my lunch. As impressed with the bountiful portion of boneless ribs, I was equally disappointed about zero veggies in my entrée.

Would I order the spare ribs again. I don't think so. Next time I go Asian for lunch I think I'm going back to the good ol' Chinese menu #s 9 and/or #27.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bamboost:

Bamboos + indicators: Like a food world beacon on SW 91st St, Bamboos is an oasis to the hungry Food On The Run masses.

Bamboos - indicators: Good Chinese food presented in a very unremarkable way.

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Chopstix Bistro

Daughter makes B-Day lunch special

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CHOPsticks480PATIOYou know how there are times as a child when you're parents never missed an opportunity to remind you of things you think are completely unimportant?

"One of these days you're going to be sorry when your kids are too busy for you," was a favorite saying of my mother as my siblings grew up and moved out of the house.

JANAchopsticksI've always thought I was/am a pretty good parent. I must have done something correct because my Occupational Therapist, mother of two, good wife to her man, middle daughter of three children has become one of my best lunch pals.

That said Jana does make me smile with her mom like questions directed at dear old dad:

"Are you taking your medicine Dad?"

"What did the doctor say the other day?"

"I brought this bandage for your knee."

It was Jana's birthday recently and she chose Chopstix Bistro in the Thornebrook Village for her birthday lunch.



In the GLOB Master's opinion Thornebrook's SW corner with Chopstix Bistro and Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar and their patios, umbrellas, shaded, and spacious seating is a beautiful place for an intimate lunch of conversation and friendship.

Chopstix works for the GLOB Master because Jana can get excited about a Sushi lunch, and I don't have to.

CHOPsticksMENUbdOld friend, now deceased Al Hall enjoyed calling sushi nothing but bait. I equate eating sushi with eating raw fish out of my old salt water aquarium.

Jana is a sushi lover and scanned the voluminous Chopstix menu with over 30 Sushi selections, eight veggie rolls, and three Temaki hand rolled sushi choices. I also noticed several Sashami selections and boatload of Special Makimono, Come to find out Makimono Sushi consists of sushi rice and other ingredients generally wrapped in nori (thin sheets of seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber or shiso (perilla) leaves.

The Chopstix menu also has Pan Asian bowls, vegetarian noodle bowls, rice dishes, salads, Bento boxes, and lunch specials. Phew!

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

"The Threer Amigos Roll" roll with Jalapenos and avocado sounds good Dad," Jana said.


"My Three Amigos Roll ($12.10), was as spicy roll with fresh jalapenos, spicy tuna, shrimp and cilantro. It was very spicy, but fresh and not too heavy. I took out about half of the jalapenos and only needed a touch of soy sauce since the fresh cilantro gave it so much flavor," The best daughter-in-the-world said.

It did sound good, and looked even better. One of the highlights for me in the Asian lunch setting is the beauty of the lunchtime experience. The care and precision of the plate preparation is always spectacular.

My lunchtime selection was the Chicken Teriyaki Bento Lunch ($10.89). Prepared with your choice of chicken, beef, fried or steamed tofu or salmon for an additional $1.21. Served with: Miso Soup, Fried Wonton, Salad and Steamed Rice.



Jana and I shared a cup of miso soups that had a distinct broth and tasty flavor. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called "dashi" into which softened miso paste is mixed with tasty scallions pieces.



I love the way Asian veggies are served crisp, fresh, and pleasing to  the eye. Since rice in on the GLOB Master's no than you list I like to substitute veggies when I can. My plate of vegetables was surprisingly large with delicious pieces of squash, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms. Speaking of parents I adhered to my momma's meal time declaration and cleaned my plate.



It was a nice surprise seeing my lunch served in a Bento Box. My compartmentalized lunch became a check this ingredient out lunch adventure. The teriyaki chicken was crispy fried with good size chicken of tender chicken. Jana ate my fried wonton. The salad was good, albeit somewhat unremarkable.

What a perfectly enjoyable lunch with my birthday daughter. Just talking stuff. Nothing important. I was sharing lunch with my perfect lunch mate living in the here and now, not worrying about what might happen as I get older.

I'm going back to the Chopstix Bistro!

The Pluses and Minuses of Chopstix Bistro:

The CSB + indicators : Beautiful lunch setting. Amazing selection of interesting entrees. I am always impressed with myself leaving the white rice behind.

The CSB - indicators :  Chopstix is known for being slow so keep an eye on the clock.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chopstix Bistro.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!




Chopstix patio creates perfect lunch spot

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CHOPSsf0117Thornebrook Village, with its array of shops and restaurants, is fast becoming The GLOB Master's favorite, go to lunch spot for a host of reasons.

First, my residence is a short, delightful, 10-minute walk to Thornebrook Village. Next, with three different cuisines available, a triumvirate of lunch ideas abound for this eating professional.


The dining patios in front of Chopstix Bistro and Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar could very well be the most serene, inviting, friendly, perfect spot for conversation and lunch in Gainesville.

CHAYA0217This lunch I was meeting Gaineville Lunch Out Blog Ayuervedic Health Coach Chaya Sharon-Heller to dicsuss upcoming story ideas.

I have to quote the GLOB's Bicycle Boy Ron Cunningham now because here I sit on an incredibly beautiful, sunny, afternoon with the temperature close to 80 degrees having a unique, interesting conversation a captivating lunch partner.

I'm not sure which came first with Chaya, her healing arts profession or her close attention to her diet, but the four-page Chopstix menu loaded with meatless lunch options throughout allowed for some excellent discussion about menu entrees like Kal Cashew Stir Fry, Mongolian Fried Tofu, and the Thai Eggplant with Thai Curry Sauce

CHOPSvertThe menu is separated into many detailed categories: Bowls, Salads, Chopstix's Famous Noodle Soups , Pan Asian Vegetarian, Vegetarian Noodle Bowls, Rice Dishes, Dinner Bento, and Pan Asian Specials.

The menu also includes sashimi rolls and an extensive sushi menu listing more sushi roll choices than you can wave a fishing pole at, plus eight veggie rolls.

There is a web link to the Chopstix Bistro's complete menu below.

I was happy to see the voluminous menu had a specific list of lunch specials that also included several meatless options.

After much consideration with the very attentive Chopstix server, Chaya opted for the Indian Curry Fried Tofu and Vegetable ($10.89) (image at top). Chaya enjoyed the vegetables, and the curried tofu satisfied her desire for an Indian flavor profile.

The Chopstix Daily Specials offered a choice of shrimp, chicken, or beef sautéed with broccoli, ($8.99) that caught my eye and I asked for an additional side of Chinese vegetables to pump up my lunch time flavor palette.

I love Asian, stir fried veggies. I like the way they remain crisp, crunchy, with vibrant colors looking like we are in fact eating right out of the garden. Were you aware that many nutrients in broccoli are sensitive to total steaming time, and, as a rule, studies suggest total steaming time be kept relatively short. Researchers find nutrients differ in broccoli steamed for 1 versus 2 minutes or 3 versus 5 minutes.



As Roseann Rosanna Dana says, "If it ain't something . . ."  My side order of veggies was a less than remarkable, smallish collection of snow peas, carrot slices, and broccoli. But they did make my meal too large to finish and, since I now live down the street, I took leftovers home for another lunch on an another day.

It was a deligtful lunch and I could have sat there for the rest of the afternoon in the worm afternoon sunlight like a very happy feline.

CHAYAlogoChaya is also a University of Florida Integrative Health Educator with more than 25 years of experience as a dietitian-nutritionist, holistic health educator, massage therapist, performing artist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and yoga therapist and teacher.

Chaya's ChayaVeda™ Integrative Healing Arts Studio is Gainesville's first Ayurvedic Clinic where a traditional Ayurvedic approach is applied to health care that includes massage and body treatments, cleansing and rejuvenation programs and panchakarma, diet, herbal and lifestyle education, yoga therapy, mindfulness, and integrative healing techniques.

The Pluses and Minuses of Chopstix Bistro:

The CSB + indicators : Great food, varied selections, Fabulous patio.!

The CSB - indicators :  Pricey-er than a lot of Asian lunch stops.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chopstix Bistro.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!


Chopstix Bistro – Delight and Dissonance Collide

By Lynn Dirk, Staff Writer, Content Editor

Editor's Note: Lynn Dirk, a medical research writer/editor with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is an enthusiast for healthy foods.

I am mostly familiar with the Chopstix cafe on South 13th St and was very surprised to just learn there is a Chopstix Bistro at Thornebrook. It's hard to talk about one without referring to the other. I haven't been to the 13th St restaurant in quite awhile, but I usually get their chicken curry. And I love to sit by the window to enjoy the view. I love to look for gators and and osprey.

I also love the aquarium. That's a good thing because the 13th St. Chopstix service is always SLOW. In fact, I would not recommend this restaurant for lunch exactly for that reason. Considering it is easy to get in and out of there transportation-wise, at least from the health center complex area, it should not take 2 hours, but it has. I guess that might be OK if the boss is with you.

My very first visit to the Chopstix Bistro (CSB) at Thornebrook was this past week. It looks very different from the one on 13th St. There's no lake but there is a very nice gurgling fountain and plenty of shaded outdoor seating. There is outdoor seating at the 13 St. location too but I've only taken advantage of that once because it's not shaded. On the day of the CSB visit, however, it seemed a little chilly so I sat indoors. I was quite disappointed for 2 reasons – not only did I miss being outdoors, but the indoors was not that welcoming to me. That's just a superficial impression, however, because I did not realize I was going to be writing this review and so I was not paying close attention. Part of that impression might have been related to the CSB bar, which is the first thing you see when you walk in.

I saw Pad Thai on the menu and was very tempted, but decided not to chance it. The only place that makes really good Pad Thai that I have found in Gainesville is Tim's Thai. Unfortunately, they are not open for lunch.

Many other dishes looked very tempting. It was hard to decide. The menu has a "Famous Noodle Bowl" section. I LOVE noodles so I decided this was where I would find my lunch. It's possible these are famous because there are so many different TYPES of noodles. It was a bit overwhelming. A young Asian waiter came and very patiently provided more information about several of the bowls to my lunch companion, and I listened closely. The information did help a bit, but it was a difficult choice – I counted 8 different types of noodles in 12 dishes: thin rice noodles, bean thread noodles, pan fried wide steamed rice noodles (that's a twice cooked technique like fried rice I guess), rice vermicelli, traditional Chinese noodle, udon (this might be the only kind of noodle I don't like – these are thick squarish noodles that have a dumpling-like texture), crispy noodles, and Korean clear noodles.

I finally decided on Pad Kee Mow, stir fried thin rice noodles sautéed with scallions, eggs, Malaysian curry spices, peanuts and basil. It took quite awhile to get the food even though there were very few people. So that aspect of the two Chop Stix is the same.

I didn't realize it at first but, when I got the dish, it had regular (wide) noodles. It slowly dawned on me, in particular as I kept noticing my friend had thin noodles in her bowl. BUT the wider noodles were also good, so I just let it go. There was also broccoli, carrots, fresh bean sprouts, all of which I love. If you have never had fresh bean sprouts, you are missing out. They are so refreshing – they are like straws filled with this wonderful liquid that has just barely taken solid form and has this unique flavor that is delicate and possibly epitomizes healthiness. So that made up for the wide noodles but then another problem arose – my dish was quite salty, not overpowering but just enough to be distracting.

A wait person came by – not the waiter, maybe the cook? – and my friend spoke up on my behalf about the saltiness. The response was that it was part of the dish, but he would bring more bean sprouts and I should mix it all in and that would fix the problem. It did help and, of course, getting more bean sprouts was great, but I was not convinced that it wasn't over salted. My friend thought it might have been MSG, but I have a very distinct reaction to MSG and that did not occur, so I think it was just regular salt.

The curry was wonderful despite the saltiness. My friend and I tasted each other's dishes and I liked hers a lot – she had the thin noodles I was hoping for and they were very good, but my dish had more flavor.

There was LOTS of food in my Famous Noodle Bowl, so I took the leftovers home, combined them with beet greens and vegetable broth, and that made a FANTASTIC soup and totally "fixed" the saltiness.

I will go there again, but not when I'm in hurry – it would probably work to call in an order (if they take call ins), pick it up, and take it to work. That would be a good lunch!

The Pluses and Minuses of Chopstix Bistro:

The CSB + indicators : Good food even when it's not perfect!

The CSB - indicators :  SLOW service that is also a little out of kilter.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chopstix 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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