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Bagels & Noodles

Visitor gives pho, friend, the 'What Pho!'

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

B&NsfMany Gainesville restaurants, delicatessens, and fast food spots have become staples simply because they have been around for many years. It is not until someone visits that you really evaluate these places, especially for those, like myself, who want to show out-of-towners the culinary best of Gainesville.

My good friend Dorothy from my hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla., has visited Gainesville a few times. It wasn't until she heard of a little place called "Bagels and Noodles" that she was intrigued. To anyone else besides Gainesville residents, bagels and noodles sound like the least complementary food items imaginable, from taste to meal to cultural background. And yet, here is the unlikely marriage of two delicious foods. I thought, "Hey, why not try the place again with someone new?"


BNtabkeWord of mouth has been the best advertising for the place by far based on raves over their breakfast and their lunch that I have heard. Until I visited for lunch this week, I had completely forgotten about this place. Was the food just forgettable, or was I so clouded with the plethora of new restaurants that I forgot about this small, long-time Gainesville haven?

It was a perfect Fall sunny day with a cool breeze, a sky so blue, and a daytime moon.

The restaurant, inundated with hungry customers of all ages, gave this indecisive food adventurer all the options in the world in the breakfast and Asian food spectrums. Again, how can the two possibly mesh? From big-as-the-plate omelets and banana pancakes — both of which are beyond tasty and extremely generous helpings for the price — to the highly-proclaimed Pad Thai and noodle dishes, I was overwhelmed. But, as with every food outing during my friend's visit — even though there's never enough time in a trip to cover all the bests, I was giving it my all — I aimed for a well-rounded meal experience, as imposing as the menu was.

Dorothy has made, ordered, and eaten pho more times than she can count but was taken aback when this food adventurer proclaimed a lack of pho experience (sorry in advance for the upcoming puns with "pho"!). Of course, we were obligated to try a bowl of their deluxe beef pho, but the meal would not be complete without a bagel. The adventurer in me needed a unique bagel choice, which the restaurant is known for, and I thought a sundried tomato bagel with sundried tomato pesto cream cheese would fit the bill.

After placing our order, not 5 minutes went by before the bagel was served, and not 10 minutes passed until two heaping bowls full of pho emerged before us. Complete with Sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, and a side plate of bean sprouts with lime wedges, it was high-time for a true lesson on the art of consuming pho, "pho" real!


BNsauceHERBDorothy showed me how to mix the Sriracha and hoisin sauces in a small dish, take the small ladle to scoop some broth and the clear rice noodles and sprouts into the ladle with chopstick assistance, and grab a piece of meat floating among the broth to dip in the sauce mixture. With ladle of broth and noodles in one hand and a chopstick of sauce-soaked beef in the other, we dove right into the meat then, ladle full in one messy slurp, throwing all proper etiquette inhibitions aside. To say the least, it was a process. Regardless, I was extremely drawn to the aromatic broth warming my belly with each slurp; the long noodles curled at the bottom of the bowl in a heap; the hearty chunks of beef contrasting with the crispness of the fresh sprouts and the dark blanket of deep red Sriracha and black hoisin sauces.

For a first encounter with pho, I was enjoying every bite. But it was not my opinion this time that was the deciding factor. My Vietnamese compadre was weighing each component of the Vietnamese noodle soup for elements of authenticity, flavor, and overall execution. Upon the first taste of the comforting broth, she was pleased with its flavor.

"You can taste and smell when the broth has been cooking for a long time and when the herbs and spices, like cinnamon, have been soaking in it. That's how you know it's good," she said.


BNmlLUNCHDorothy not only commented on how the portions were plentiful, but she was also pleased with how well the flavors merged and how the cook definitely seemed to take the necessary time to let the flavors permeate the dish. It takes at least a day for this soaking process, she added, and the longer the soaking, the more aromatic and flavorful the pho. To say that it was the best pho she's had aside from her homemade version is high praise.

With at least a four-star pho-nalé (OK, I'm done) underway, my contribution to the food experience, the bagel, paled in comparison. It's not to say that the bagel was bad — in fact, it was toasted perfectly to a light crisp — but I felt it was overtaken by the pho feast. Regardless, I smeared on a generous helping of the light pink sundried tomato pesto cream cheese to the warm sundried tomato bagel. It was a tasty and hearty breakfast experience, varying greatly from my usual plain or everything bagel and plain cream cheese. The bagel was fresh, and it was a welcome contrast to the large serving of liquid from the pho. While the bagel was flavorful, I am spoiled by the bagels my mom buys from the New York-style bagel shop back home, so I couldn't really boast about this bagel any further.


BNmkpalIn my four years in Gainesville, I have been a few times and didn't give the hole-in-the-wall on University Avenue a second thought. Now, I'm not sure why that is. Not to mention there holds a bit of sentimental value to it: Dorothy and I have been friends even before we had cell phones (I figured that would put it in perspective), and it seems that based on our cultural backgrounds and the closeness of our relationship, "Bagels and Noodles" is the perfect metaphor to depict us. I recommend the place hands-down for a casual Sunday brunch with family or friends, a great breakfast with fellow peers to start the school day, or maybe the place to take your out-of-towners for a wholesome and original experience.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Bagels & Noodles:

Bagels & Noodles (+) indicators: Great execution of all specialties both Asian and breakfast-related; fast service compared to number of customers; highly-praised; great price for what you pay for.

Bagels & Noodles (+) indicators: I want to try everything.

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



Midtown lunch surprises with menu variety

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

I like to remark that Ward's Grocery is the only market in town where designer beer, vitamin supplements, and frozen pizzas are eight to five feet away from each other.

The Bagel & Noodles breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot might have them beat in the 'we have it all' category.

If you haven't had any reason to be at the corner of University Ave. and 13th St., you most likely aren't aware of this very old building close sitting cozily behind the Holiday Inn that houses Beef O' Brady's. But if you have ever had any kind of UF business taking you close to this very busy intersection, some might say the true heart of Gainesville, you are thinking, "Oh yeah, I know that place."

B&NsilhouteWalking inside B&N you recognize this gow historic old building continues  to be a convenient retreat for UF folks escaping the stressors and issues that encumber all aspects of life of those lunchouters crossing 13th St. to get away from the world of academia.

In the hustle and bustle of orders being taken, served, and eaten, there is a serenity that made me feel I had escaped the real world looming, passing by, outside the large Bagel & Noodle picture windows.

I was curious to see exactly how far this have-it-your-way-lunch stop goes for the hungry lunch adventurer.

I have heard about the fabulous Asian/Vietnamese lunch entrees and tasty soup called pho (pronounced "fuh").

I already knew B&N served a full menu of breakfast fare including bagels, of course, and lox, pancakes, French toast and numerous breakfast specials.

I was surprised to see an even larger list of typical lunch items including sandwiches, cheese steaks, grilled cheese, tuna salads, and hamburgers.

There is a link to the Bagel & Noodles menu below this feature.

B&Nlunch600The tuna salad patty melt sounded like a good lunch for the GLOB Master. After my server listed six or seven bread options for my sandwich, she suggested a bagel and I opted for the Sun Dried tomato bagel toasted with a slice of tomato and Monterey Jack cheese.

It turned out my patty melt was a large open face sandwich with big scoops of tuna salad, tomato, and cheese on both halves of my bagel, photo above.

The sandwich was very good, and the tomato slice was a nice complement to the creamy tuna salad. The toasted bagel and melted cheese 'sandwiched' all the ingredients into a very nice bite size parcel of lunch time joy. The potato salad was an interesting after thought-like addition. Next time I think I will go for the bag of chips instead. My server suggested I might like a side of jalapeno peppers for my sandwich. I wish I had listened to her. Some spicy peppers would have sent this lunch over the mountain top of great lunch time expectations.

I'm usually not the dumbest guy on the bus, and I did feel smart making my visit to Bagel & Noodles when the UF campus was emptying out. A lot of UF types call themselves Bagel & Noodles regulars, and I have heard it can get busy at this close-to-campus lunch stop hideaway.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Bagels & Noodles:

Bagels & Noodles (+) indicators: Extraordinary selection of lunch items. Interesting elements of campus life within this café.

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


Emiliano's Cafe - Closed

Staffers reunite on patio for good times

By Mike Sanford, GLOB EDITOR

It was 2019 Spring Graduations weekend and Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog Staffer Emeritus Melissa Kahan was in town with her lunchtime palette set on Emiliano's Café. A great lunch idea for lunch on one of Gainesville's nicest restaurant patios.


Friends and GLOB staffers Lynn Dirk, and Michelle Cardel joined in on the celebration and it was the GLOB Master's responsibility to secure us a table for six including next generation GLOBers and Michelle's children for this late afternoon celebration of excellent cuisine, Emiliano's Mojito's, and a serious discussion regarding the Game of Thrones TV show:

"It's incredibly violent, But I can't stop watching," Doc Cardel said.

"OMG!," Melissa added. "When they flattened that guys head with that giant stone." Melissa added rolling her eyes.



Smart move on Emiliano's part presenting lunch entrees in a condensed menu ready to satisfy the graduating masses.

We were all in the mood for old lunch time favorites like empanadas, black beans, and a deliciously memorable Piñon -- a Puerto Rican sweet plantain-chicken casserole Lynn and I shared with a parmesan mornay sauce, served with white rice. $11.


0519Emilianos EMPAS

The Chicken and Beef empanadas deep fried stuffed turnover with your choice of filling: local tempeh with garlic-lime mojo, traditional beef picadillo with red pepper coulis, or chicken fricassee and cheese with aji amarillo aioli were fantastic, $3.50.



Michelle ordered a giant bowl of Black Beans and tacos for the Cardel clan and the black legumes drought far away thoughts to the good doctor. "The beans are really good," Michelle said. "I love black beans, they always send me back to South Florida and wonderful family memories."



The sweet plantain-chicken Piñon casserole Lynn and I shared with yellow rice entrée was way too big for one customer in my opinion. Felling very smart Lynn was head-over-heals with the yellow rice. Image at the top of this review.

"This rice is delicious, and cooked perfectly which is not as easy as you think," Lynn said. The sweet plaintains offered a tangy taste treat to our casserole and blended nicely with the chicken and mornay sauce.



Conversation the GLOB Master overheard while enjoying his Piñon:

zzGLOBbullet EmilanosMKisabelleMelissa just moved into a new residence closer to work in Durham, North Carolina.

zzGLOBbullet Michelle is planning a Summer of fun with a yoga retreat vacation, and a hiking the Peruvian mountains vacation with her man.

zzGLOBbullet The GLOB Master is more than a little excited waiting on the publishing of his Five Year E-Ticket recovery book.

It was a festive, happy lunch awash with delicious Latin American bites, laughs, excellent conversation, and long time friends catching up on lost time together. Feeling happily responsible for this lunch the GLOB Master was a very happy GLOBer.




may2016ChrisJANAWith all the great restaurant patios for lunching outside in great weather, Emiliano's beautiful canopied patio is right at the top of the GLOB Master's outside lunching experiences. A special meal often has a lot to do with many ancillary elements combining to make a lunch hour special, and I have never been disappointed with lunch at this beautiful downtown lunch stop. I recently met my daughter, Jana, and her man, Chris Heller, for lunch. Even though he is 'still learning about Gainesville,' Chris was all smiles remembering his last lunch at Emiiiano's Café. Jana takes after her father and quickly suggested we start with the Crab Cakes and the Black Bean, Corn, and Cheese and the Chicken Fricassee Empanadas (image above). What a good suggestion, and the two appetizers look like a lot of lunch in their may2016yellowRICEown right.  I must says the Emiliano's family recipe of Caribbean Chicken and Yellow Rice for $11.50 features 'major pieces' of boneless chicken slow cooked in seasoned rice served with English peas, black beans and amarillo.  This recipe is close to what I USED TO create in my kitchen, groan, sigh. Discovering the chunks of chicken buried in the rice and black beans was a joyful experience bringing back many wonderful memories of previous chicken and rice meals. As John Hiatt says in his song GONE!  Yellow rice has become a rarity in the GLOB Mastre's diet.  Jana enjoyed her Ensalada De Pollo al Curri Jamaican Curry chicken salad of baked chicken in a curry mayonnaise with onions, raisins, celery, and green apples, served over a fresh garden salad with grapes. Chris opted for the $10 tacos that included two soft tacos filled with blackened mahi mahi, field greens, tomatoes, jalapeño salsa, cheddar cheese, topped with garlic lime mojo, served with corn chips. The tacos looked very good. I would have shared my abundance of yellow for one of Chris's tacos. That didn't happen . . . What an incredible table of food for a comfortable outdoor lunch stop that had the GLOB Master thinking dessert, drinks, great conversation. We could have sat there all afternoon.

Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor






Small plates, big appetites, and rescued happiness

emilianosstorefrontBy Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Staffer Emeritus Melissa Kahan was back in town for the weekend and Emiliano's Café in downtown Gainesville was her choice for a reunion lunch.

Great memories and lifestyle updates from the Eating Adventurer were in order over a small plate odyssey of Latin American lunchtime delights.

Remy, Melissa's new doggie was a big topic of conversation. The short story is this long bodied puppy is Melissa rescued Remy before he was going to be shipped to as Asian dog meat packing plant. Both are very happy and Remy will not allow Melissa to leave his sight.



Amidst stories of M. Kahn's new job, and her new doggie Remy, Melissa, Lynn Dirk and the GLOB Master eagerly scanned the Emiliano's menu for appetizers, entrees we could share in what has become a wonderful ritual of fill the lunch table with food and choose individually what looks delicious to you.

Melissa now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and the heat of the afternoon forced us inside the café relinquishing the beautiful EC patio for another lunch.

In an Emiliano's Café menu of a multitude of amazing small plate, Tapas choices the GLOB lunch paradigm works because you can experience so many delicious flavors, textures, spicy, sweet, and savory selections all in one lunch.

ECtapasVERTIn Latin America they call these smaller bite Tapas. According to

Tapas are snacks, canapés, or small plates that originate in Spain. But many people don't realize that tapas come in many different forms and can vary greatly throughout Spain, even from town to town. Tapas can include practically anything―from a chunk of tuna, a cocktail onion, and an olive skewered on a long toothpick, to piping hot chorizo sausage served in a small clay dish, to a gourmet slow-cooked beef cheek served over a sweet potato puree.

From Jerk Chicken Coca tapas to Artichoke-Chorizo Fundido tapas Emiliano's Café choices abound on the full page of Tapas available at this Spanish driven lunch stop. It didn't make the lunch choices difficult mind you. It did make me want to try every entrée on the menu.




After much discussion we covered the tables with a good, varied selection of entrees:


zzGLOBbullet The chicken and beef empanadas we selected are fried stuffed turnover with a choice of filling: beef picadillo, local tempeh picadillo, or chicken fricassee with cheese, ($3.50).



zzGLOBbullet We opted for the Coca Vegetariana which is a flatbread loaded with marinated portobello, roasted garlic, piquillo peppers, spinach, chimichurri and very tasty cotija cheese crumbles, ($10.00).



zzGLOBbullet Finally for GLOB carnivores the Costillitas Guayaberas was magnificent. This grilled St. Louis style spare rib is basted in a spicy guava barbeque sauce. The rib was served with a tart, and crunchy very good pea, black olive, and pepper relish that made thios meat very special.

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



I'm not sure what was the most delicious item on my large plate of small plate entrees. The BBQ-ed rib was very good. The flatbread was unique with a plethora of flavors and a very yummy green sauce. I love green sauce! The empanadas were good, however I would have liked a little more sauce. Psst! The GLOB Master is supposed to refrain from flour, corn meal crusts...

Emiliano's is a special place for friends to get together for a great time and excellent Layin American cuisine. BTW Lynn and Melissa got into their Mojito's loaded with berries, fruit, sugar, and rum and ordered a second round.

NOTE TO SIDECAR BOB: We need to try Emiliano's Brunch! Bob Sturm is the GLOB's Brunch expert and the GLOB Master could get into a Sunday afternoon on the Emiliano's Café's awesome patio.



Perfect cuisine, ambience on 'the patio'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

emilianosstorefrontIt was a Friday, and it is well documented that the GLOB Master loves Friday.

Any Friday is a reason for celebrating.

On top of that, GLOB Staffer Melissa Kahan, was in town and we were going to meet downtown to give Tamal, the new tamale restaurant a try. The GLOB's Eating Adventurer and I had some catching up to do so we planned a late lunch with dessert at Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille.

I had already had several failed attempts to try out Tamal due to my not checking on the hours ahead of time. A quick check online showed Tamal was open on this Friday until 6 pm. Melissa and I were stopped in our tracks, however, and our conversation halted by a sign on the Tamal front door:

We Ran Out Of Food

Non-plussed Melissa shrugged her shoulders as we turned and headed north up Main St, "There's a lot of good places to eat downtown, I vote for Emiliano's Cafe," Ms, Kahan said. "I love their tapas, and the Emiliano's patio is one of the nicest lunch spots around."

A cornerstone of the downtown dining and entertainment district for over 30 years, this Latin American restaurant has been labeled nouveau cuisine, fusion cuisine, nuevo Latino, Latin fusion or pan Latin. The reality is -- with fresh, local produce and unique entrees brimming with Latin spices, flavors, and textures are always, Emiliano's never disappoints.



We were quickly seated at a table on the picturesque patio by the railing along the sidewalk. Excuse me, but, sitting with one of Gainesville's better food writers and gazing out onto the tree-lined, historic, brick sidewalk, I was feeling very special.

Emiliano's server, Clara Leibinger, greeted us with a friendly smile and an explanation of the daily specials. Labeled as Pan Fusion cuisine on the Emiliano's website, the menu lists dinner, brunch, tapas and lunch dishes.

Lunch options feature Caribbean Chicken & Rice - Arroz con Polo ($11.50), Ropa Vieja ($12), and an Argentinian-style, flame-grilled Churrasco ($25).

Emiliano's also has eight different Latin lunch bowls for $8-$11 including Portobello, Beef Picadillo, Chorizo, and Wild Caught Shrimp. There is a complete Emiliano's menu link below.

Melissa was talking up the Jerk Chicken Coca entree ($11). With a knowing nod of her head in affirmation, Clara did an excellent job of describing this flatbread tapas as grilled marinated all-natural chicken in a signature sweet and spicy jerk sauce with grilled pineapple, white cheddar cheese, red onion, and diced fresh jalapeno on warm flat bread.



The cornucopia of flavors, nestled on top of this yummy flatbread delight, were startling in their flavor profiles highlighted by the delicious sauce complementing the spicy jalapeno and sweet pineapple. Cut in bite size squares, this 'Latin pizza' was a very good lunch idea, thank you very much Melissa.



Our Empanadas ($6) were perfectly fried turnovers, one loaded with beef picadillo and the other with black bean and corn filling. The beef picadillo was a familiar, delicious compote of spicy ingredients including onions, garlic, peppers, and olives.



I would have been happy to stay on the Emiliano's patio for second and third helpings of the delicious tapas, but Melissa was talking about a brie appetizer she had just experienced when I suggested we walk next door and try the Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille Blackened Brie. This holiday season blackened wheel of velvety Brie cheese topped with Harry's Creole Cranberry Chutney is served with buttered crostinis. This large small-plate dessert was too rich for Melissa and I after our serious lunch. But it didn't go to waste being well received by fellow Harry's bar customers.



The Pluses and Minuses of Emilianos Cafe.

The + Indicators: Menu is superb, patio setting is unique, and very special.

The - Indicators: Lunch at Emiliano's Cafe should be changed to an all afternoon affair.

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




Emiliano's: Birthday brunch with flavor

emilianosstorefrontBy Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Another article about brunch – I'm sure no one saw that coming! Since the GLOB staffers were gathering for another birthday celebration (mine!), it was birthday girl's choice. Emiliano's Latin Café was an untapped brunch treasure that I had to explore: A tasty weekend brunch in the heart of downtown that I had not yet experienced – at one of my favorite Latin restaurants no less — was enough to gather the troops for an official taste test.



I was worried that on this comfortable September Saturday, the popular downtown spot would be very busy around noon. Most patrons were dining outside, but there just happened to be an empty couple of tables ripe for the taking at 12:30. Accompanied by a slight breeze and good company, the GLOB crew perused the brunch menu, which included everything from lunch time entrees to breakfast renditions unique to Emiliano's. Despite having dined at Emiliano's previously, I could testify to the empanadas and curried chicken salad having been extremely flavorful and fresh, this was a new brunch experience for all of us.



We were an ambitious brunch bunch and decided to order a little of everything. After ordering a carafe of passion fruit(!) mimosas for the table, we started on the tostones appetizer. Although they tasted mostly like cornmeal and not much like plantains, the creamy dipping sauce, which seemed like a combination of spicy mayo and Thousand Island dressing, was delicious.



True to form for most GLOB outings, we also decided to share a few entrees to get as well-rounded a taste experience as possible. First up, befitting the Latin flavors that Emiliano's prides itself on : The Benedict Cubano did not disappoint. Essentially, it was an open-faced Cuban sandwich with a poached egg perched on each half drizzled with a Dijon cream sauce resembling a Hollandaise. The pork was pretty good, although not as warm as it should have been. I struggle with my love for eggs Benedicts because I hate soggy bread. I mostly just ate the toppings off, but it was pretty good.



EMILSpinon350Although I am a breakfast food lover first and foremost, I thought the lunch choice of the Pinon was the winner that day. Each bite was different than the next: The chunks of plantains folded into the very tender shredded chicken were good on their own, but the addition of the parmesan mornay sauce took the dish to the next level. It didn't even need the side of rice. We also ordered the Garden of Eatin' salad with the addition of grilled salmon, and I thought it was extremely fresh and a wonderful addition to the richer menu items ordered. The beets and chevre crumbles were what sold me on the salad, but the fresh mango and dried cherries provided an additional texture and taste complex that was unexpectedly refreshing. The soy shallot vinaigrette complemented the salmon perfectly, but the cilantro cream dressing was also very tasty.



No birthday outing is complete without dessert, according to GLOB staffer Lynn Dirk, so we opted for the lighter side of that list with the Guava Strawberry Crepes. The warm guava-strawberry cream filling had just the right amount of sweetness, as it took on an almost cheesecake-like flavor and texture, despite being warm against the thin pancake-like crepe blanket. The strawberries and guava sauce drizzled atop the delicate crepes added not only a pop of tart sweetness but a beautiful pop of color.

Our empty plates and fully bellies indicated another successful meal outing for the GLOB staffers. I would love to come back to Emiliano's and try one of the lunch bowl specials that I've heard high praise about.

The Pluses and Minuses of Emilianos Cafe.

The + Indicators: Lunch and breakfast items on weekend menu, expansive dinner entrée and tapas variety, friendly staff, reasonable food wait times, very nice patio area

The - Indicators: small indoor seating so can be a wait at peak times

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



I had one of the best lunches I have enjoyed in some time with friends I met at Emiliano's Café and the Daily Special was Paellita, photo above. Paellita is a small plate of seafood paella that contained more wonderful flavors, textures and adventurous bites than I have experienced in some time.  Before our lunch arrived we shared an tapas appetizer of Yucca Frita.   Yucca Frita is deep fried yucca served with a sharp tasting garlic- tomato mojo sauce, photo below.  When my lunch was presented to me I quickly squeezed the fresh lemon juice on my paellita. and that made the flavors more tart and appetizing. What a cornucopia of vegetable and seafood goodness; English peas, asparagus, artichokes, shrimp, clams, oysters on a bed of wild rice. The petite oysters we marvelously plump and juicy. The shrimp were crisp and very flavorful. The clams were deliciously nestled in their black shells, marinating in their own juice. The smaller size for this lunch time meatless entrée was just the right size. 


That doesn't mean I couldn't have eaten three plates full of this lunch of the gods. But I did feel smart and disciplined after cleaning my lunch time plate. I've asked the Emiliano's staffers to let the GLOB Master know the next time Paellita is a lunch time special.

Heart healthy collides with lunch opportunity

by Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

emilianosstorefrontIt was one of those mornings when I decided it was going to be a heart healthy day. I have a good heart healthy drill. I add some additional minutes to my exercise routine. I stay away from sugar and other obvious bad things to eat. And, this morning, I planned to eat a salad for lunch.

And then It was decided by my lunch mate that Emiliano's Cafe was to be my lunch time destination.

After 25 years, Emiliano's Cafe is a downtown restaurant icon to local foodies. A comfortable Latin style, an outside dining area with a great view of a thriving downtown, plus an excellent menu of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine make it easy to see how the EC has attained its lofty, fine dining status.  And like icing on the cake, the food is consistently good..

Emiliano's Cafe has added a new lunch special to their menu called the 8-8-8. That's short for 8 minutes, 8 choices, $8. This is a clever strategy of variations on rice, beans, meat toppings, and special dressings apptoach often found in South America. Rice or yellow rice; black beans, chicken, steak, or shrimp; chimichurri sauce, salsa, jerk sauce, mojo, or mango are just a few of the optionss available to create your personalized Latin American lunch.

Emilianos888The 8-8-8 Lunch Special looked worthy of my consideration. The problem was that I was committed to eating a salad this lunch hour.

The EC Caesar Salad I ordered was very tasty. I was happy with my lunch entree. The salad contained all the standard salad ingredients, plus I added a sliced chicken breast to satisfy my protein need.

The only difference between my lunch and the 8-8-8 options was a bed of beautiful salad greens and the price - my Caesar Salad cost $11.

The Pluses and Minuses of Emilianos Cafe.

The + Indicators: A reliably excellent lunch experience of fine food, stylish environment, and professional service.

The - Indicators: This fine dining establishment can be on the pricey side, thus the creation of the 8-8-8 lunch special may make Emiliano's a more affordable lunch stop.

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



TALKING BRUNCH: Leonardos 706

706 brunch: Still tasty after all these years

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column combines reviews of both Lynn Dirk (LD) and Melissa Kahan (MK), because, as everyone knows, two heads are better than one!

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor, and Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

120214LeosFISHLD: I can hardly believe it has been 4 years since I wrote my first review of the 706 Sunday brunch. Time flies whether you are having fun or not – but I have been back for that brunch buffet many times since 2010 and it is a delicious experience every time . . . EVERY time!! Consistent excellence like that is priceless no matter what you are talking about, but when it is a restaurant, it is a very special treat.

120214LeosE!trucksMy most recent visit to the 706 brunch was a celebration bonanza with the GLOB Master and the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog's Eating Adventurer, Melissa Kahan. It started out as a birthday gift to me instigated by Melissa, but then Mike added Melissa's birthday, which had been a little before mine, plus – more interesting and important – a celebration of Melissa starting her new job as a marketing person at E-ONE in Ocala. I was very impressed to hear this company is a "made in the USA" success story. Wow.

I have been lamenting for at least 20 years how everything seems to be made in China. I even decided at one point to give up complaining and just appreciate how those Chinese can do ANYTHING, and a lot of it is very clever. Even so, when I hear about things that are actually made in the USA, that is a real reason to celebrate. Plus, in this case, it is a local success as E-ONE is located down the road in Ocala and is an industry leader in first responer apparatus, and, yes, they actually have factories! I am hoping that Melissa will do a GLOB Local Digest feature about this unique, ideal company, where employees don't leave because it is such a great company.

So, we had a LOT to celebrate, and the 706 Sunday Brunch was the best possible place for the celebration.


MK: Now that I have to wake up so early to commute to work, I have to make myself eat early or I burn out mid-morning, but I am not an early morning food person typically.  I will reiterate to the point of a broken record, I am enthralled with the concept of a mid-morning or even early afternoon brunch. It represents ease, a stress-free special event; overall, brunch represents something magical.

Few places in Gainesville measure up to Leonardo's 706, from the ambiance to the live music and impeccable food. The first time I went, which coincidentally was for the first celebration of my birthday a couple of months ago -- it lived up to the hype. When GLOB Master, Mike Sanford, mentioned that GLOB editor, Lynn Dirk, was also having a birthday soon, I thought a nice dining out experience at a great place would best celebrate the occasion. When he told me Lynn's favorite spot was Leonardo's 706 for brunch, I nearly leapt for joy. Any day I go there is a great day; any day with good company at such a great place is almost sinful.


LD: We arrived about 11:30 and had to wait briefly. IMPORTANT NOTE: I learned you can make reservations for the brunch, and I highly recommend it as this brunch has become so popular. As we waited, Melissa and I compared notes about our favorite brunch dishes. She raved about the French toast and I raved about the fruits.

I have to admit that the 706 brunch French toast was something I had never tried before. I'm pretty fussy about my FT – I do not like it soggy, but since Melissa recommended it so highly, I decided to give it a try. Plus, why would I think that the 706 brunch FT would be anything but perfect? It was. So now I have one more thing to eat – and it is a pretty filling thing. So from now on, only one triangle of FT will do so I can fit in everything else I love off the brunch table.

120214LeosTABLESMK: I truly cannot stress the quality of food. After trying a bite of each salad, the standard breakfast options, and the meat selection, I have raved about and highly recommended all of it. This is not an exaggeration. In addition to the complimentary brunch punch concoction of assorted juices, the mimosas are delicious and very shareable in a carafe--which we had to splurge on for such a multi-purpose celebration.

In addition to the brunch-related goods from unique eggs Benedict to amazing French toast, you can order off a menu, but Mike, Lynn, and I all opted for the brunch, and we could not run fast enough to the buffet line.


LD: After all these years (at least 4 as mentioned above), my favorites are still there – the fruits that are baked or braised, the shirred eggs with tarragon, the baked garlic, the tomato and balsamic vinegar – which Mike was also quite fond of, and the variety of other exotic salads. There is always salmon and a meat, previously always ham, but lately it varies. Sometimes there are surprises – special additions for that day. This time it was kale that was cooked and seasoned perfectly. All three of us raved about it.


MK:: I knew I would be going back for a few plates, so the first consisted of my typical breakfast fare: cheese eggs, boiled and glazed fruits, fluffy grits, and of course my 706 brunch favorite, the delicious French toast. I am not joking when I say it is the perfect combination of crispy edges and a fluffy center, a generous pool of syrup-banana-sugary glaze resting below each toast triangle making syrup obsolete. Everything on the first plate was too good, and then I had my second plate with assorted salads and lunch dishes, including the macaroni and cheese, a mushroom dish, Spanish salad, a purple wild rice, balsamic tomatoes, okra and essentially any kind of salad you could think of. I truly loved it all. The tomatoes were not soggy, but so flavorful; the purple rice and Spanish salad had such amazing, unique flavors. Although I am usually very picky about mac and cheese, I really liked it. The third and final plate included the meats, which, due to being close to Thanksgiving, included turkey, along with the usual cooked and raw salmon. Lynn said she had a tender pork dish one Sunday, which I am curious to try.

It is rare that every bite of every type of food available is tasty, but I could not get enough. Even the complimentary mini muffins and potato pancakes, which I didn't get any of on this trip unfortunately, are a real treat. If you haven't been, find a friend with a birthday and suggest one of the best brunch establishments in Gainesville!

LD: I absolutely agree with Melissa - If you have a friend and you want to do something special for his or her birthday or to celebrate ANYTHING at all and that friend appreciates really good and varied food, you can't give a better gift than the Leonardo's 706 Sunday brunch buffet. Lucky me to have friends like that. That is something to be very thankful for.


International Sunday buffet, celebration of taste

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Correspondent

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

This review is about a Sunday lunch at Leonardo's 706 Sunday International Buffet. And what a buffet it is. I guess they are making up for the fact that they don't serve lunch during the week.

This is it – the only opportunity to have lunch at 706 is the Sunday brunch from 10 to 3.

LeosBuffetAI have been to many brunch buffets– the Mother's Day and T-Giving brunches at Holiday Inns, the long gone buffet of  . . . I think it was called the Magnolia on University Ave just down the road from 706. Buffets on a cruise ship, admittedly it was a Carnival cruise, which has been called the Walmart of cruises. OK, so maybe my experience of buffets is not the widest or most sophisticated. Nevertheless, you can bet your bottom dollar that no matter how many buffets you have been too, the one at 706 will be one of the best you have ever experienced.

leosBuffet1In fact, this is the perfect place for celebrations such as birthdays. So this past weekend, I was treating my green neighbor, Go Green Nation girl and Cinema Verde Director, Trish Riley, to a birthday buffet. I lucked out -- she had never been there. I knew this would be a perfect edible BD gift for her. And she loved 706 as much as I do: "What an incredible treat I enjoyed last Sunday morning, when my dear green friend and neighbor Lynn Dirk treated me to a birthday brunch at 706. I still can't believe I hadn't visited this mecca of international culinary delights before. It is like an escape to a European vacation."

The moniker "international" is truth in advertising. The dishes range from middle Eastern with spicy chicken or lamb dishes to Scandinavian with lox and all its trappings to English with tarragon shirred eggs, to all American with macaroni and cheese, albeit not your momma's mac n'cheese.

I have been to this buffet many times so now I have a system that follows the layout of the tables and groupings of the food:

Leos706SF> A little bit of just about everything. And there are a lot of different plates!!!

> First plate focuses on foods that complement the shirred eggs, which is most foods on the east side of the main table, but includes ham from the meat table on the west side of the buffet.

> Second plate focuses on vegetable dishes and salads on the west side of the main table.

> Third plate focuses on the delectable fruits made special by sauces, spices or both that are on the east side of the south table. This is the second section you come to if you did a straight left to right sequence, so I think I hit this table later than the average bear, and that's because I think of it as dessert.

But wait, there is food that is not on the buffet tables. You get little muffins on your own table and, for a very special treat, one of the owners, who is a fantastic host, comes around with potato pancakes . . . oh, sorry. I guess they are latkes. Yum!!!! The buffet is also served with a beverage that is wonderful mix of fruit juices. And if you are there around at 1 pm, you can order mimosas.

Some of my favorite dishes out of the very many to choose from:

> I've already said the shirred eggs are great – baked eggs that have a very light texture and a light freshness from tarragon.

> Tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and basil.

> Roasted garlic (or maybe I should call it baked garlic?) – OMG. The best ever.

> The fruit!!! Pineapple baked with some kind of sauce that must have brown sugar in it, mango that will make your taste buds tango, baked blueberries, fresh spiced applesauce – I mixed the blueberries and applesauce. YUM again.

> The potato pancake, or maybe it's a latke. Whatever it is, I love it.

The food is so good, and by that I mean tasty AND healthy, that even though I eat way too much, generally I'm not in pain for very long. Apparently, however, the 706 International Buffet is not for everyone. My sister and her husband found it a little too spicy I think. So, this wonderful taste experience is best appreciated by people who . . . have international tastes!

Sadly, with this review, I have covered all the Leonardo's restaurants (oops, the GLOB Master reviewed the bistro next to Leonardo's by the Slice, which is technically a Leonardo's restaurant). Each one is special and unique and very satisfying. I love them all – for the food, the character, and the history. If you don't frequent one or more of the Leonardo's restaurants, you can't claim to be a Gainesville resident.

The Pluses and Minuses of Leonardos 706:

Leonardos 706 (+) indicators: A wide variety of excellently prepared food. I have been there many times and never been disappointed.

Leonardos 706 (-) indicators: Nada!!!

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Leonardo's 706.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!


Paramount Grill Sunday Brunch

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

A wonderful, 'old Gainesville' lunch experience

> 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?


It was the GLOB Master's birthday lunch with long-time UF Entomology and Nematology friends Kathy Milne and Jane Medley. As the birthday boy, the GLOB Master selected an always fun and regular good food lunch stop: Paramount Grill in downtown. I was thinking about the Paramount Grill's Fried Egg, Avocado, White Cheddar Burger on a pretzel bun since early Friday morning. 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 buying a $12 hamburger, I'd be sharing it with somebody. Now with the Krystal special, everyone in your car can have two . . .

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


Mildred's Big City Food, Meatless Monday

Dessert tray, Brie highlight MBCF lunch trade

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

mildredsIt was the perfect lunchtime trade. Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog Image Editor Erica Corbett was giving the GLOB Master a ride to pick up his repaired computer in exchange for lunch at Mildred's Big City Foods just off of University Avenue and NW 34th St.

I'm sure like most lunchouters when you think of MBCF one of your first images is the amazing Mildred's dessert case.

What a feast for your eyes GLOBers. Amazing looking cakes like the Mildred's Carrot Cake, the Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake and the Espresso Torte were on display in the cabinet mix this lunch hour.

Maybe it's because Mildred's has been around since 1994 they have fine tuned their walk-up fast casual service to perfection:

The customer friendly server at the counter is quick with friendly answers, and even better with knowledgeable suggestions about the days menu.

The Mildred's menu is smartly displayed high above the walk up counter easy to view including any daily specials as well as the Daily Quiche special.



The Mildred's Dessert Case is 'Right There' in your view, daring you to ignore scrumptious slices of sugar nirvana.

The menu listed delicious sounding sandwiches like the MBCF Classic Reuben, The Club Sandwich, or the exquisite sounding Seared Tuna Sandwich. Salads sounded enticing with the Crispy Calamari salad, a yummy Buttermilk Fried Chicken salad I have yet to try but are in my future Mildred's lunch plans.



mildredSALADBeing a light lunch eater Erica selected the Asparagus and Broccoli quiche of the day with a cup of fresh cooked soup ($11:00)  We both shared my delicious side salad of greens, carrots, sliced cucumbers in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. BTW, the squares of bread look mighty inviting.




Erica's MBCF lunch observation:


031419EVClav"The two lavish desserts we chose at Mildred's were a Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake ($7.99), and a Espresso Torte ($7.99). The Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake cake, above, was surprisingly light and had fresh strawberries layered throughout a chocolate biscuit cake with a cream cheese ganache and whipped cream. The espresso torte, image below was decadent and had a chocolate and coffee creamy pie like consistency along with whipped cream and espresso bean on top. This torte was heavy and rich and was big enough to be shared with two or more people. I enjoyed the asparagus and broccoli quiche and the side of soup which was the daily special. It was perfect for a lunchtime meal and I left feeling just the right amount of full. I like that Mildred's is an older Gainesville spot that offers a dining experience with a mellow crowd and large dining area so lunch can be quick yet nice."



My Hot Ham & Brie sandwich, image at top of page, was awesome with caramelized onions Dijon mustard, served on sour dough bread ($9.50). The Brie was a new experience for me and along with my side a salad made my lunch an enjoyable, fun experience.

The Brie in my sandwich created a surprising, creamy explosion of tart, tastes and textures. The Dijon mustard added a sharp tangy alternative to the earthy carmelized onions and created the perfect backdrop of stacked slices of ham.

That said Brie is not on daily go-to list insofar as cheese choices:



BRIE: Originally from Seine-et-Marne in northern France, Brie is cherished for its impressionable character, and even graced the tables of royalty in the Middle Ages. Enhancing its surroundings like color to a painting, Brie is thought of as a complement like few other cheeses.

There is a complete Mildred's menu at the restaurant link at the bottom of this page.

Conversation became sparse as Erica and I shared a slice of Mildred's Espresso Torte. Erica decided a slice of the Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake had the Twins Lyle and Lav's name on it and she took a slice home to share that evening.

I'm not going to try to expand on Erica's dessert observations above.  I did ask for pics of the twins enjoying their chocolate shortcake.

"Sorry Mike no pics tonight,' the text read later that evening. "As soon as the kids saw the shortcake it disappeared in a matter of minutes."




The Great Compromise:

Salad, wrap, tabouleh to go around

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

mildredsI speak a lot about where I would take my dear mother for lunch if she came back to life. Mildred's Big City Foods would make my mother a happy lunch outer, from the classic Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad ($10) to the unique and completely southern Grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato on multigrain bread ($8.50).

This smallish café has the unique flair and style of long-time Gainesville chef, Bert Gill, who is comfortable in his cooking skin. And why shouldn't he be, recognized by many as Hogtowne's premier cooking boy?

KSmeDIGESTKSmeDIGESTMy lunch partner for this Meatless Monday meal is good friend Kristina Steinfeldt. As we are getting to know each other better, today we are sharing our lunches. Come on GLOBers, you can't get any better than sharing lunch with a friend.

After having enjoyed Eggplant Napolean with Kristina previously on several occasions, the Mildred's Fried Eggplant Wrap with fresh mozzarella, spinach, basil aioli, marinated peppers and balsamic vinaigrette seemed like an obvious lunch time selection ($9.50).

After much discussion, Kristina opted for the Mildred's Greek Salad with cucumbers, roasted red peppers, olives, and feta cheese on mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette. A protein can be added to the salad for an additional $2 – $4 for tempeh, chicken – grilled or fried, or tuna.



I was feeling smart about ordering the eggplant wrap and foregoing the pleasure of sliced bread. The flavor of the fried, crunchy eggplant stood out in this amalgamation of flavors highlighted by the tart balsamic dressing. The tortilla wrap was somewhat chewier than I would have liked. However it did offer me a legitimate reason for refraining from eating Kristina's share of the wrap. The wrap came with a side of quinoa tabouleh loaded with those tiny beads of grain.



Kristina's choice of the Greek salad was spot on. The olives and goat cheese mixed with the vinaigrette dressing was eye-opening with the sharp, almost bitter flavors of the mixed greens and balsamic vinaigrette. One day I think I might try some delicious, creamy goat cheese on a pack of chocolate covered brownies . . .

Kristina thought for a minute and waxed philosophic as she quoted Will Rogers:

"An onion can make people cry, but there's never been a vegetable that can make people laugh," she said with a serious look. "Actually I disagree with this quote, especially for those who have a sense of humor and wonderful company.

"This lunch had all the taste and texture of an omnivore's lunch," Kristina added with a sparkle in her eye. "The best part of the lunch was sharing it with a wonderful friend," she added.

"There was a lot of lunchtime goodness inside my lunch," Krstina added. "The wrap was tasty without being overly seasoned. The vinaigrette dressing was perfectly distributed, and the entrée had enough substance for me to walk away satiated but not overly full. I would definitely order the eggplant again."



Being at Mildred's leads to talking of a culinary confection conundrum, what could be tougher than looking into the Mildred's dessert case and choosing JUST ONE slice of dessert joy? Today it was a three-layered torte with coffee flavoring, bits of chocolate, cream cheese filling, whipped cream topping, and cookie crumb crust.

OMG! What a wonderful way to end a simply marvelous Meatless Monday munch.

In a political world where the art of compromise has gone the way of 25 cent coffee, Kristina and I both nodded our noggins in agreement. We did an excellent job of sharing our tastes, preferences, and lunch, including my tabouleh.





Two-Fers everywhere but the pie pan

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

It was a Two-Fer kind of lunch day. Biochemist, Research Asst./Lab Manager and good friend Erica Corbett invited me to lunch at her new office with Kaplan Schiller Research in the University of Florida's Innovation Hub. Not only do I get to share a great Food On The Run lunch with interesting company, this is the first time I have been inside the Innovation Hub building.



Since it was a special lunch for the GLOB Master I headed over to Mildred's Big City Foods to see what kind of special take out lunches they might have. I was in luck as TWO of the MBCF Daily Specials jumped off the specials board and I decided on Quiche Lorraine with bacon, and Swiss cheese ($9.50). I selected the Tuna Melt, ($9.50), which I ate as an open face sandwich. The tuna fish salad was a delicious mixture of tuna fish, mayo, egg, tomato, and Swiss cheese on a very good looking multi-grain bread.

ERICAlabcoat300One of the TWO side items was Ms. Corbett's garden salad with a little TOO sweet vinaigrette dressing. I selected a side order of potato salad that was a little on the crunchy side of uncooked.  Apparently the potatoes were diced raw for quicker cooking.  A process that didn't really work.

My tuna salad was very good, and filling for the GLOB Master. There was a lot of tuna flavor combined with juiciness of the tomato. I'm thinking Erica got the better of the TWO lunches because her Quiche Lorraine looked really good.

InnovationLOBBYI quickly mentioned I might like a taste of the quiche to Erica. Lab work must make a chemist work up a real hunger because before I was able to remind Ms. Corbett of my egg pie request her lunch was gone. All gone.

We have talked before about the famous desserts at MBCF and I brought along a slice of Chocolate Torte cake with an amazing looking chocolate crème filling between three chocolate, devil's food layers of cake. My Blood sugar went up a 180 points just looking at this sugary dessert prize. I did allow myself a small bite as the TWO of us hungrily enjoyed dessert.

I was impressed with the lab Lady's, er, uh, biochemist's work surrounding. The atrium of this three story building climbs to the ceiling in an impressive open air environment allowing folks in the lobby to gaze upon walkways on each of the three floors above the ground floor. Erica took the dramatic image below from her third floor offices.

A big GLOB thanks to E. Corbett for inviting the GLOB Master to visit Innovation Square, and for an interesting lunch. I hope I get invited back. The next time I will bring TWO slices of Quiche Lorraine so I will have my own egg pie.







Desserts, ambience puts MBCF in rotation

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Those readres who have been following the GLOB know that I get together with a couple of friends, UF Entomology and Nematology staffers, Jane Medley and Kathy Milne, regularly to share excellent Gainesville lunch out experiences.

mildredsOver the years, we have created a good rotation of lunch venues that fit what we consider to be the ingredients of a perfect lunch experience. Those ingredients are tasty food, proximity to the UF Entomology/Nematology building, and ability to eat and get back to work within an hour.

The now closed Wine & Cheese Gallery, the Paramount Grill, Harry's Seafood Bar & Grill, Mildred's Big City Food and its sister restaurant, New Deal Cafe, are permanent fixtures on our list of regular lunch out spots.

When a month with one of our birthdays arrives, the birthday boy or girl is our official lunch out guest and gets a free lunch and chooses the lunch out destination of his or her choice.

Kathy Milne was celebrating her birthday this mid-day mealtime occasion, and she selected Mildred's Big City Foods, close to the corner of University and 34th St, as our destination.

Mildred's always has an inviting daily lunch special and menu board of varied sandwiches and salads. They also have a fast-casual, 'pay-as-you-go' process that shortens the time from ordering to eating in this busy, convenient lunch spot. Mildred's has two standing specials: Baja Tacos: Cabbage Slaw, Cilantro, Spicy Aioli, and Choice of Grilled Chicken or Seared Tuna, and Quiches of the Day: Two options daily served with soup or garden salad.

Having just typed the above statement, I'm not sure Mildred's is for everyone.



I get excited when Mildred's is mentioned for lunch. I immediately think of their Turkey Club, image at top of this review, which is comprised of turkey, ham, bacon, cheddar and Thousand Island dressing. The combination of toasted bread with the meats stacked a mile high works for me every time.  I added a tossed salad and slice of yummy looking carrot cake to complete my order.  There is a complete Mildred's Big City Foods menu at the restaurant link below.



My Mildred's house salad was fresh, crisp, and very tart with the house vinaigrette. Finishing my celebration lunch with that heaveny piece of MBCF carrort cake had an OMG effect, as in 'Oh my glob!' You could taste the raisons, cinammon, carrots and cream cheese. PS, I am a good-sized person, and Mildred's desserts are way too large for one lunch outer to eat alone all at once. Sharing desserrt is a good idea.

Lacking lunch creativity, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say the Turkey Club is my standard order at Mildred's.

Typically my second thought about Mildred's is one I repeat while sitting down for lunch in this civilized, comfortable cafe.  My friends have heard me say more than once, "You know, if I called Rosey, Andy, or Miller for lunch and told them to meet me at Mildred's Big City Foods, they would either laugh at me or wonder if I had been possessed."

Come on, I know you would agree that Mildred's is not a stick-to-your-ribs kind of lunch experience, or maybe I should say a bulge from your ribs experience that comes from excessive calories and serving size.

That said, if I told my pals I was buying lunch at the best dessert selection and display in Gainesville and it was "All You Can Eat" day, they would show up in a heart beat. Or should I say heart flutter?

But neither one of those things will ever happen.

The Food Network constantly reminds viewers that we eat our meals with our eyes first. Remember that the next time you're at Mildred's. I applaud Executive Chef Bert Gill for presenting his customers with visually enticing salad and sandwich entrees - and a dessesrt display that would surely rival bakeries in Vienna.

When the food is served, however, and I see what my lunch mates have ordered, sometimes I second guess my choice.

MildredsDessertsWhen my grown kids and I do lunch, they often suggest Mildred's. I'd like to think they make that choice for the healthful, bountiful salads and for their use of locally grown produce and veggies.  Or maybe the kids pick MBCF for the fresh-baked bread, interesting cheeses, and special herbed sauces that enhance hot or cold sandwiches.


When the kids think of Mildred's, they are thinking one thing. Dessert. On the way over to MBCF, the kids are lost in thought dreaming of cakes, pies, whipped cream, and chocolate from the confection wonderland that is the Mildred's Big City Foods dessert display case.

If there is a better menu choice of desserts available out there in GLOB land, I'd like to hear about it below.

This sounds like a GLOB Top Five Dessert contest waiting to happen . . .

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Mildred's Big City Foods.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!  






friedEGGplantStrawberryShortcakeOnce a month, I meet SweetBerries Eatery & Frozen Custard's owner and friend, Jane Osmond, for lunch. Jane moved to Gainesville a year and a half ago and, since she is new to G'ville, I have had the pleasure of introducing Ms. Osmond to some of Gainesville's interesting lunch stops other than Sweetberries. Our July Meatless Monday lunch adventure was at Mildred's Big City Foods. Bert Gill and the chefs at Mildred's get my award for some of the more creative entrees in Hogtown. The Mildred's lunch menu is loaded with meatless entrees, plus they are most happy to oblige your imagination by customizing any entrée to your culinary satisfaction. However with lunch items like Fried Eggplant Wraps, Crispy Calamari Salad, Grilled Pimento Cheese, and Sloppy Tempeh Joe, the GLOB Master didn't have to tax his creative skills. The idea of a fried eggplant wrap was ringing my lunch bell as I exclaimed I have a winner! My lunch wrap was a smartly charred tortilla encasing nice fat slices of eggplant, fresh mozzarella, spinach, and red peppers. I'm a sucker for anything with peppers, and this sandwich was an explosion of flavor and textures with the eggplant being complemented by the stronger flavor of the pepper. The elastic texture of the mozzarella cheese and the baby spinach leaves created a rich freshness. I felt like my wrap needed a little more sauce and the chef suggested a garlic-avocado sauce that intensified my lunch wrap's WOW factor exponentially. Alright, I admit it. You say Mildred's, I'm thinking dessert. In another life Jane was a pastry chef so it is fun to get her thoughts on Gainesville's flower, sugar, chocolate scene. We agreed to share a slice of the Strawberry Shortcake Cake with white chocolate frosting. It was incredibly moist and unbelievably good: Sponge cake absorbing strawberry juice presented a sweet, cold, strawberry bite that really had me contemplating buying myself a slice to take home.

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor


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