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Maude's Classic Cafe

Classic Café with Eccentricity, & Quality

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

maudestorefrontIt has been a while since I have been to Maude's Cafe next to the Hippodrome Theatre.   They present a brief lunch menu as well as a very nice breakfast menu.  Because they have breakfast food that they serve all day, one of which is quiche, which recently made an excellent lunch for me. I had the southwest quiche, which even included black beans. It was one of the best quiches I've ever had. It was deep dish and had lots of veggies, and the crust did not get soggy. In fact, the crust was fantastic – I could taste real butter in it. Yum!!! It made a very satisfying, filling, and flavorful lunch.  A complete Mause's menu is available on the Maude's web link below this feature.

The GLOB Master was with me, and he had a BLT on an English muffin. We shared as usual, and I thought it was pretty darn good, but I think it was too small of a sandwich for him. There is also a "facon" option. Facon is artifical bacon substitute. There are also wraps, cheese sandwiches, scramble sandwiches, and "other" items usually served at breakfast but which can serve equally well for lunch.

Based on MY experiences with Maude's food, I have to say that whoever cooks things up there, knows what they are doing. I hope that they bring the salads back – and maybe soups too. It is amazing what they can do in a very small space – it's fascinating to watch them get orders ready, especially their specialty, which is coffee. They have to be doing something right because even though Starbucks stepped on their blue suede shoes by moving in across the street from them awhile back, this small, local "classic café" has hung in there.

 

maudeMENUWhat has Maude's got going for itself that has kept it in the competition against one of the biggest food chains in the country? Well, the food is great and has a home made quality that Starbuck's lacks. I actually ordered a sausage biscuit at a Starbucks one time and it was OK but it was obviously mass produced.

MaudeKEITHI have commented elsewhere that when I go out to eat, I take in the complete experience – the food PLUS the ambience and the style of the décor and everything that encompasses. So in addition to the quality of the food, Maude's has character. It is eccentric. It is interesting. There are pictures of celebrities scattered around the restaurant, especially Keith Richards, who has become their "masthead" so to speak. One wall is lined with old album covers from all eras. My favorite cover is "Music for Mixed Emotions" (in high fidelity!). In their 'dining' area, there is even a stuffed chair with an end table and a lamp to make you feel right at home. There are also all sorts of games (but I didn't see any Bananagrams, yet!).

 

maudeALBUMSThen there is the dessert menu, which has items like Johnny Cash (chocolate expresso cake), Dolly Parton (toffee tiramisu), and the Cake Formerly Known as Prince (Special of the Day). Those are the kinds of high notes that tickle my fancy.

The Pluses and Minuses of Maude's Classic Cafe:

The + indicators: Good food, ambience, games, outdoor seating, great downtown location next to the Hippodrome.

The - indicators: No complaints

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Maude's Classic Cafe.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS

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Peach Valley Cafe

Big box cafe scores points for patty melt

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

peachvalleystorefrontI have to admit, I possessed a certain amount of reluctance about having lunch at Peach Valley Cafe off of SW 34th St. Think about it. Peach Valley is positioned in the middle of Gainesville's franchise food world. The big box franchise model is all over Peach Valley Cafe. There is always wall-to-wall customers in this breakfast, lunch, and dinner cafe morning, noon and night.

All hesitation on my part was lifted when I spied the Peach Valley patty melt on their lunchtime menu.

Patty Melts come and go in menu cycles I've noticed. I can't decide if this yummy sandwich is a grilled cheese with a hamburger patty or a hamburger and onions smothered in cheese. Either way, the combination is heart-stopping wonderful!   A complete Peach Valley menu can be found at the restaurant web link below this feature.

 

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Peach Valley Cafe makes a very good Patty Melt. Just the right amount of grilled onions, a juicy hamburger patty that is coated, smothered, and drenched in melted cheese, all encased in perfectly toasted bread.

What's not to like? I could eat one of these toasted prizes every day. In fact maybe I should do a week of Patty Melt features. No, how 'bout a month of toasted protein belly bomb beauties?

Peach Valley has their lunch process figured out. They move you to the table, take your order, and have that food in front of you in record time. It's working because there were a lot of heads sticking out over the top of the little lunch cubbies everyone sits in. Well, almost everyone. There was one open table where eight to ten ladies sat across from my cubby and they were having a wonderful time.

PVdiingcubesYou know what? The GLOB Master's not dissing this lunch stop. I was served in a very professional way by Madie who made sure I was going to be a happy customer. I ate my lunch including very tasty French fries and delightful cole slaw – with a hint of pineapple flavoring -- in a systematic way to clean my plate clean except for the last half of my patty melt. While I was gazing at my plate, Madie interrupted me and wanted to know if I wanted a to-go box for remainder of my lunchtime sandwich.

"No," was my reply, "I'm eating it right now."

The Pluses and Minuses of the Peach Valley Cafe:

PVC (+) indicators: Melted cheese, grilled onions, all beef patty, toasted rye bread

PVC (-) indicators: You will find Peach Valley Cafe in the Archer Rd. Restaurant Triangle.

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

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New Deal Cafe

Burger heaven in center of Hogtownne

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

newdealsfSo here's the deal on the New Deal Cafe close to the corner of University Avenue and NW 34th Street.

The New Deal choice of four unique hamburgers has to be one of the best burger choices in a town of a lot of hamburger opportunities. Their burgers are made with locally raised and naturally aged beef, served with fries, but that is just for starter my burger loving friend.

The burgers are hand made resulting in unique, plump, juicy, blue ribbon beef bombs. The four hamburger selections are: The Classic, the Bison, The Blue Cheese and Bacon, the Bison Burger, and the Classic mini.

The New Deal has a daily burger special included on their menu board. The 10 ounce, aged beef, protein prize on the Daily Special Board is certainly worth you consideration.

How good are the hamburgers GLOBers? I had a business lunch there recently and with a full menu of entrees, PLUS the ability to order off of the Mildred's Big City Foods menu, All three burger lovers in our party ordered ND Burgers.

 

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It was after serious contemplation, and lunch time anxiety, I selected the Classic Burger with Lettuce, tomato, onion and my choice of Swiss, fontina, mozzarella, American, and Bleu cheese on a ciabatta rpll, ($11.00). There is a complete New Deal restaurant menu at the bottom of this page.

My red meat protein was cooked perfectly. The burger toppings were fresh, crunchy, and added a delicious flavor accompaniment to my lunch. It's a shame they can't come up with two more burgers creations. Then I could eat lunch here every day.

 

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Doing my best impersonation of a person with a complete disdain for French fries, I included the soup and salad sides with a modicum of reluctance . . .

 

NEWDEALsaladZ

My salad with a house vinaigrette dressing was a palate cleansing delight. The fresh greens, carrots and cucumbers were crunched magnificently. My inviting, comforting, cup of chowder reminded me of home as I looked around for oyster crackers to no avail.

Of course the lunch time discussion ended with whether we should order dessert from the Mildred's Dessert case. With a majority vote we saved the dessert for another lunch. A next trip to the New Deal will happen very quickly for the GLOB Master.

 

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043019NEWdealPATTY

It was a lunch with the GLOB's Content Editor, whom I sometimes refer to as Captain Dirk. She suggested the New Deal Café, which worked for me as thoughts of hamburgers and fabulous desserts filled the empty space in my cranium. As the New Deal website says, it "features local award-winning burgers using UF beef as well as a rotating draft beer selection and a daily happy hour." The ND Cafe also serves pizzas and flat breads in addition to sandwiches and salads. You can also order from the adjacent Mildred's Big City Food menu, including from the most fabulous dessert case in Hogtown. We arrived at ND and I spied on the menu a yummy sounding ND meatless house-made black bean and beet veggie burger with goat cheese, tomato, onion, and arugula. This meatless burger was an excellent mix of flavors. I'm glad I ate the burger open face as the burger ingredients did not compact into a tight, thick patty. That didn't stop the flavors from being very pronounced and the texture appealing. I have pretty much decided goat cheese could make worn out running shoes palatable. The house balsamic vinaigrette dressing made the side salad a beautiful, tart taste amidst the heavier savory flavors of the 'burger.' The New Deal has a good list of meatless options including a Beet & Goat Cheese Salad, which Lynn ordered and loved. There is also a Sloppy Joe Tempeh and veggie pizzas. There is an ND menu at the restaurant web link at the bottom of this page. The table of customers next to us ordered some amazing looking desserts, which was as close to a full body sugar bomb I could stand, as Lynn dreamily said, "The Coconut Cake is unbelievable."

- GLOB Master

 

MILFREDStopper

Ease of ordering wins out for this lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

newdealsf"Link, or patty?"

"Grits, hash browns, or home fries?"

"How do you want your eggs?"

"Cheddar or American?"

"Toast, English muffin, or biscuit?"

"You want coffee or a soda?"

I am tired of feeling like Jack Nicholson when I order my food. I didn't want a lot of questions, I just wanted lunch. I was near the Westgate Plaza when I thought about a Meatless Monday lunch at either Mildred's Big City Foods or the New Deal Café. Approaching the two side-by-side lunch stops, a NDC server was standing outside her restaurant.

"Which one of these two places serves the best grilled cheese," I asked getting closer to my lunch experience by the minute.

"It doesn't matter," The server said cheerily. "We both serve each other's menu, You can order in line at Mildred's, or we will serve you at your table."

That gave the GLOB Master cause to pause thinking: MILDRED's: Awesome dessert cabinet; good sandwiches; prim, proper, and dignified. NEW DEAL CAFÉ: Casual, hamburgers, Mildred's desserts from the cabinet. I opted for the NDC, and let my server take my order.

 

MilfredsCEILING

It was after 1 pm, and the dining area was filled with a few customers enjoying the comfortable confines of a lunch environment that was very subdued because the lighting was like moonlight and it contrasted nicely with the abrasively bright glow from the mid-day orb shining through the NDC front window. The juxtaposition of the dark and light offered me some serenity that can be hard to find in the busy Urban GLOB lunch world.

I didn't see any grilled cheese on the menu(s). The New Deal Café makes an awesome hamburger . . . but this was a Meatless Monday lunch. I ended up choosing the Mildred's Tuna Melt on multigrain bread served open-faced with sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese. I was thinking a slice of avocado would 'dress' this somewhat unremarkable, perhaps boring sandwich. The Mildred's/New Deal restaurant two-fers doesn't put avocado slices on their sandwiches, but they do create an incredibly mouthwatering, flavorful avocado aoli.

WOW!

The creamy green, yummy condiment livened up my entire lunch. The tartness of the lemon juice in the aoli gave new meaning to the very chunky, delicious tuna salad cloaked underneath melted mozzarella. OK, the bread could have made a bigger impression on this lunch if it had been toasted. But this was still a very good, healthy, plate of lunch yumminess.

MildredsSALAD

My lunch came with a side of Mildred's Greek Salad consisting of fantastic marinated cucumbers, roasted red peppers, olives, and feta cheese on mixed greens with a balsamic vinaigrette. The marinated cucumbers were scrumptious. I could have eaten a plate of those. The crunchiness of the salad combined with the tart vinegar dressing was an extraordinary, 'alternate world' compliment to my lunch belly bomb of hearty protein, bread, and cheese.

All lunch items are fairly priced close to $9 range. The Mildred's menu link at the bottom of this page also lists several other veggie-friendly Meatless Monday lunch options.

I could eat this lunch every day. The tuna salad was really good. I'm making the avocado aoli at home and smearing onto everything I eat.

The Pluses and Minuses of the New Deal Cafe:

THE PLUS (+) indicators: Multiple Meatless Monday choices.  Very appealing, casual lunch spot for serious lunch time, personla, contemplation.

THE MINUS (-) indicators:  Service can be a little slow..

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

 

 

NEWdealMAY13TOPPER

Going burger half-ies at the New Deal Cafe

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

My recent lunch at the New Deal Cafe close to the corner of University Avenue and 34th Street was not only a good idea but, when lunch was complete, the GLOB Master was feeling very smart.

newdealsfThe thought of a New Deal Cafe lunch brought images of medium rare hamburgers to mind. Fat, juicy chunks of beef smothered in a ton of toppings. French fries! This cafe makes a very good hamburger.

Actually it makes a lot of different very good hamburgers that would satisfy any lunch time protein need: The Classic Burger, Mini Burger, Bleu Cheese & Bacon Burger. Mushroom, Swiss & Grilled Onion Burger, the Four Cheese Burger and Artie's Tempeh Burger. Talk about offering the lunchouter an interesting lunchtime burger bonanza.

The prices on the hamburgers did cause my lunch partner and I to look twice at the price column.  All the burgers were $10 or $12. Historically speaking, there is no "new deal" on the New Deal menu.

Our server returned and informed us their hamburgers are 12 ounces, a larger portion of protein than a lot of places, and we would be happy with our lunch choice. He also mentioned we could share a hamburger entree for an additional $1.

I looked at my lunch partner, and he looked at me, and I said, "If you were female I wouldn't have a problem sharing that hamburger."

"I share meals all the time with my ex-wife," he said with what I can only describe as a look of bifurcated hope.

4CheeseBurger"OK," I said to the server.  "We want to share that Four Cheese Burger on your menu."

To my surprise the additional dollar and splitting lunch was a good idea.  The kitchen not only cut our hamburger in half, they prepared us two smaller hamburgers from the 12 ounces of prime-cut red meat.

Our server was correct:  We were happy with our lunch.  This was a good hamburger.  I could distinctly taste the swiss, Gruyere, cheddar, and American cheeses.  The burger was topped with finely chopped salsa that had good pepper heat laced in the tomato mixture. 

I noticed from the menu that the New Deal also serves a three-slider burger combination for lunch.  Our cut-in-half burger was served to us on slider size hamburger rolls, with a generous portion of 'shared' French fries.

This hamburger sharing was a good idea.  Plus what would have been a $30 plus lunch for two of us tunred into an $18 lunch.

So lunch with my pal was not only a very good lunch hour diversion, the GLOB Master walked away from the new half-ie lunch experience feeling very smart, not overstuffed.

The Pluses and Minuses of the New Deal cafe:

THE PLUS (+) indicators: Excellent 12 ounce hamburgers. You can order dessert from Mildred's Big City Foods restaurant next door.

THE MINUS (-) indicators:  Expect $10 plus lunch entrees.

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

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Wine & Cheese Gallery

 

The Pluses and Minuses of The Wine and Cheese Gallery:

Wine and Cheese (+) indicators:

Wine and Cheese (-) indicators:

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

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Thai Fusion Cafe

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

 

 

 

 

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Country Foodly

Korea, America mix in a foodly way

By James Michael Polk, GLOB Guest Contributor

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to James for supplying GLOBers with his opinion on the lunch fare at Country Foodly.

CfoodlySFOne of my favorite things about eating out is trying a new place and, by the end of the meal, realizing that I have a new favorite restaurant. This happened to me recently when my wife and I parked in a strip mall on 34th St. just across from the YMCA. We were in search of a new brunch spot, so after a little research we decided on Country Foodly. This gem is nestled between a dry cleaner and a salon product store. You probably have driven by it a hundred times, which means you've been missing out. I learned that just like its unique name, Country Foodly serves some unique and delicious fare.

KFbulgogiOmelet

It was a little after 1 pm, about an hour before they closed, when we pulled into the parking lot. We sat at one of the booths and looked over the menu. One thing was very clear: This restaurant was having an identity crisis. Side by side with typical diner style breakfast and lunch dishes were a number of Korean inspired meals. Country fried steak shared the same page as a beef bulgogi omelet?!

CfoodlyRAMENMy mind swirled with possibilities. Which style should I choose? Should I get breakfast or lunch? After much internal debating, two contestants emerged from a slurry of corned beef hash, fried dumplings, and korean tacos (all menu items). It was between the gourmet Korean Shin Ramen and one of my all-time weaknesses, chicken and waffles. Who am I kidding? It wasn't a hard call. I went with the chicken and waffles. Fortunately, my wife got the Shin Ramen (right).  There is a complete Country Foodly menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

While we waited for our food, I took a better look around the room. Booths ringed the entire dining area, and the center was taken up with a table big enough to seat 24 people. The decor was "HomeGoods" kitsch, but not over the top, and a windo in the back wall gave us a view of the cooks making orders as they came in. I noticed that the walls were adorned with pictures of the food they served. Also, the noise volume wasn't overly loud, and my wife and I could converse without a problem. The waitress checked in regularly to fill our drinks, and in quick order our meals were served.

CFoodlyWAFFLESbThe portion size for my chicken and waffles was impressive to say the least (pic at top). The waffle was practically the size of the plate! Two pieces of perfectly golden fried boneless chicken breasts sat atop it, and a sweet smelling, honey-colored gravy was drizzled over the top. The first bite was spectacular. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy and moist on the inside. From the taste I would guess that it was hand battered. The crust was slightly airy, with mouth watering spices mixed in. The fresh made waffle complemented the chicken nicely. Light, fluffy with a good crunch on the outside. While eating I found the honey-colored gravy tasted of honey mustard. Strange, but it worked well!

I was able to steal a bite of the ramen from my wife to see how they fared with the Korean side of their menu. That one bite made me reconsider everything I thought about ramen being only a college dorm room dish. Fresh broccoli and spinach floated in a warm spicy broth supported by a cleaner tasting version of the grocery store ramen noodle. It was so good, I tried to duplicate it with partial success for dinner the rest of the week.

Overall, Country Foodly impressed me. I couldn't think of two food types that would be more opposite, but the Korean and diner foods cohabited the restaurant like roommates that were old friends. I look forward to returning and trying their Korean tacos, or corned beef hash, or maybe get a bowl of the shin ramen for myself........

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

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Flying Biscuit Cafe

You say potato, I say Hollandaise goodness

By Mike Sanford, GLOB EDITOR

FBstoreFrontThe GLOB Master has found his new favorite mealtime entrée.

Enter the Flying Biscuit breakfast all day Florentine Benedict.

Sure it is a breakfast entrée, but why not lunch?

I hate to use the Seinfeld comedy show argument here but, "Is a hot dog a sandwich?"

Then again you say 'puh-TAT-toe', and I say 'puh-RAH-toe' which I also a good defense for breakfast twice in one day.

FBmenuBRDI got lucky babe. The FB Florentine Benedict has been on the menu board for several days and I have already had it for lunch, and breakfast.

As a responsible eating professional I had the Florentine Benedict a third time without the Canadian bacon.

What an amazing amalgamation of ingredients collected for a perfect meatless, low carb lunch GLOBer:

 

- Canadian bacon A+

- Sauteed spinach A+

- Sundried tomatoes A+

- Hollandaise sauce A+

 

All served on a carb Friendly English muffin along with FB Dreamy Grits and a biscuit for a scant $10.

The friendly FB staffers are fine with substitutions so I omitted the Dreamy Grits a serving of Oven Roasted Moon Dusted potatoes. I take my potatoes plain and these spuds were crisp, crunchy on the outside, with a wonderful creamy texture inside.

 

FBpotato

Thank you Diabetes Gods for not punishing me for breaking my 'No White Foods Rule'. I understand nothing says Blood Sugar Spikes like carb loading a serving of tasty potatoes. Come On GLOBers. It's not like I eat potatoes every day. Maybe that's why these spuds were REALLY, perfectly, wonderfully delicious.

 

FBbenedict600

My Benedict was a Chef's masterpiece with an incredible goo-factor of Hollandaise running down all side of my breakfast/lunch entrée and onto my plate.  The spinach and tomatoes beautifully adorned my lunch with the appearance of the two veggies trying to escape their ultimate end one savory GLOB Master bite at a time.

I'm not sure if it is a fact but I have become an English Muffin fan of late trying to allay my guilt from sneaking white bread into my diet with the smaller sized, holier than most breads.

What a delightful lunch. The sharp flavor of the Hollandaise complimented nicely the textures and flavors of the spinach and tomatoes.

 

021719SDtomatoes

Did you know sun-dried tomatoes themselves are a product of the Mediterranean region, mainly southern Italy. So that the tomatoes could be used throughout the year, people would dry them out on a rooftop and then preserve them in olive oil. The drying process, they discovered, brought out an intense, sweet and tart flavor in the tomatoes, so sun drying became a widespread technique.

 

FBlunvhCOUNTER

The extremely stacked entrée cut into individual bites of hollandaise, tomato, spinach onion, and muffin was a gastronomical smorgasbord of many different tastes and flavors.

I asked what happens when the Florentine Benedict is no longer on the Menu Board. Have no fear GLOBers. The Flying Biscuit Chef team will be happy to crate this meal time prize if all the ingredients are available.

The Pluses and Minuses of Flying Biscuit Cafe:

Flying Biscuit Cafe (+) Indicators: Breakfast all day, customer frendly staff, lunvh counter is special.

Flying Biscuit Cafe (-) Indicators: Busy, busy, always busy. A corproate feel to the restaurant is evident.

 

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021719FlyingB

'Slammed cafes' result in lunch opportunity

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

FBstoreFrontIt's been right under my nose. Off of my lunchtime radar screen because the crowds of lunch outers filling up outside tables, standing, waiting in line for lunch.

That's not the GLOB Master's idea of a good start to an excellent meal. I got off to a late start this weekend morning and I knew my usual lunch stops were going to be slammed.

I opened the door to my favorite bagel shop and immediately saw the seven backs of customers waiting in line to make their meal choice. Scanning the restaurant tables most were filled with happy, conversational customer sipping coffee, reading papers, enjoying a good lunch.

FB0518VERTI turned exiting thinking I would cross the street to my favorite Deli lunch Stop. Cutting through the parking lot I realized I would be walking back for a Publix grocery visit.

This wasn't making sense this morning. I could walk directly across NW 16th Blvd. and have a Flying Biscuit lunch and drop into the Fresh Market to pick up a few things before walking home. Not real excited about the throngs of Flying Biscuit fans in line, already ahead of me I turned North to the Flying Biscuit café.

That was when I enjoyed a remarkable, AH-HA moment GLOBers. Walking in FB's front door I spied a eight-seat lunch counter I had no idea existed.

Hurrah! What Joy! An opportunity for an extraordinary noon-day meal, and breakfast find in the same visit. Plus I could add café my restaurant rotation.

Grabbing a seat at the counter it felt good to be in the lunch time driver's seat over seeing the Flying Biscuit ministrations, serving up breakfast/lunch to the hungry masses. Come on GLOBers. Did you know they the Flying Biscuit is open at 7:00 a.m. with an amazing selection of brunch entrees including a plethora of breakfast meatless entrées served all day. Of course that is over and above the usual breakfast meat protein selections.

This popular breakfast and lunch spot has a complete FB lunch menu as well a list of salads, sandwiches and the Featured Favorites list of seven interesting sounding, hearty entrees including the Coca-Cola BBQ Glazed Salmon. This entrée is pan-sautéed salmon lightly glazed and cooked to medium, served with mashed potatoes and green beans. There is a complete Flying Biscuit menu link at the bottom of this page.

 

FB0518Nicole

Nicole Gomez the lone Flying Biscuit Server behind the counter appeared to have it all together managing the counter full of customers.

"I get it Mike," She said presenting my drink to me. "This counter service makes sense if you are in a hurry to be served," she added.

Nicole was digging her new gig having worked at the Flying Biscuit since last September. "It's fun, this is my first venture into the food service industry," Nicole said. "It's fast paced, and I have met some very interesting customers."

 

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Since I was thinking meatless I quickly saw the Egg-Ceptional Eggs entrée in the menu that included two over medium eggs on black bean cakes, topped with oven-roasted tomatillo salsa, feta cheese, and sour cream, served with creamy dreamy grits. ($12.99).

"You can substitute a fried green tomato for the black bean cake if you," Nicole suggest. "And you have your choice of potatoes and a biscuit or toast GLOB Master/"

That sounds great," I say thinking of my plate covered with hash round potatoes a biscuit. "Deal with it Sanford," I think, no one is interested in my worn out diabetes stories.

 

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Service was quick and Ms. Gomez served a delicious looking plate of tomatillo salsa, feta cheese delight to this ex cited customer.

I lived dangerously and chose a black bean cake, and a slice of fried tomatoes as a base for an impressive looking meal.

The tomatillo salsa was like a Christmas gift to my lunch. I made a point of including a small glob of the salsa in almost very bite. The Sour Cream topping was a good idea to make my lunch time mixture special.

The oven baked fried tomato was flavorful. The Black Bean cake, albeit slightly on the mushy side, made its flavor palette known. It was fun choosing which bite; A taste of tomato, or a taste of black bean to accompany all of the magnificent flavors of this breakfast/lunch.

 

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Finishing the last bite of my Egg-Ceptional Eggs I noticed my plate was till half full with the potatoes and biscuit.

"My momma would slap me across the head if she saw me leave my plate half-full with such yummy looking potatoes," I said out loud to myself.

"Be a man Mike it's up to you," Nicole said. "You got to do, what you got to do."

"That was great Nicole, I'm coming back, see you soon," I said feeling quite smug about my restaurant rotation addition. What a fabulous restaurant find hiding away a nine minute walk from my front door.

The Pluses and Minuses of Flying Biscuit Cafe:

Flying Biscuit Cafe (+) Indicators: Serves Breakfast all day, multiple meatless choice, seven hearty FEATURED FAVORITE hot meal plates.

Flying Biscuit Cafe (-) Indicators: Way crowded all the time. Be prepared for a long lunch, unless you sit at the counter with customer friendly Nicole Gomez.

 

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FBtopper

FB experience falls flat on busy brunch day

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

FBstoreFrontThere have been a few disappointments that have unraveled this past year in Gatorland, specifically on the food front. Yes, the Gator football team has left much to be desired, but I digress. The true reason behind my woes involves perfectly good — great, in fact — brunch dining establishments closing their doors. I found a cozy, scenically-located brunch stop that never failed in Sisters, which even satisfied my breakfast-fare-picky friend, but alas it has closed once more (perhaps indicating it might reopen one day...). The Jones Eastside was another go-to brunch stop when any relative, friend, or Eastside newbie was hungry for some delicious, local eats, but this favored stop has closed to combine with its less-attractive, disappointing counterpart, Jones B-Side.

The closing of these two favorite local joints for the best meal of the day indicates all good things must come to an end — at least I'll keep reminding myself that this must be the reason. In any event, I have been on the hunt for a worthy counterpart to fill my brunch-time void. Leonardo's 706 Sunday brunch is absolutely fantastic, but a tad pricier then a casual Sunday may allow. I've heard endless chatter about Flying Biscuit located on 43rd and 16th in the Fresh Market plaza, and I finally had to give it a try. To many of your disbelief, it has taken four years in Gainesville for me to try this highly recommended all-day breakfast spot.

 

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I think my first mistake was choosing to dine at the café on a, as of late, absolutely beautiful October Saturday. The café is located in a pretty bustling weekend spot as it was, but the wait to get a seat stayed consistent. Whether an early bird diner or a snooze-button, late brunch goer, at no time between 7 am and 4 pm was FB immune to a line of hungry patrons waiting before you. At 2 pm, we were looking at a 30-minute wait, and I have heard plenty of friends complain about long waits at a myriad of times. Is this place truly worth the hype?

 

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I feel the need to preface my experience with the fact that I was ravenous by the time we were finally seated, not having had a morsel of food prior to arrival. By the time we were seated, I was practically ready to eat the menu. However, I was adamant to not let this cloud my healthier eating judgment, and I opted for the omelet side of the extremely extensive menu. There did seem to be something for everyone I have to admit, with more omelet choices than my impatient stomach could handle. Alas, I settled on the southern omelet option (at top) with shrimp, crab, cheese, collard greens, onion, and I opted for no red/green peppers (note: this item is not on the online menu for some reason). I had to make sure it came with a biscuit, as that is probably one of my favorite parts of a southern-style meal, in addition to bacon and the "creamy dreamy" grits I've heard so much about. Thomas, my omelet-loving friend, selected the Piedmont Omelet with chicken sausage, turkey bacon, onions, cheese, and he added in red/green peppers, in addition to a side of "moon dusted" potatoes.

I was a little displeased to see the omelet a tad on the over-cooked side, but it was huge and I could not abstain from diving in. The best part was the gooey cheese oozing over the hearty helping of collards and large chunks of shrimp folded in. I opted out of the red/green peppers that typically come with the omelet, and I'm glad I did, as I feel they give a more southwestern feel as opposed to the down-home, southern approach I was searching for. The crab was not as present as the shrimp, but all of the flavors, including the onions, which happily only made a subtle appearance, satiated my hungry belly.

 

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On to the sides: The bacon was cooked just to my liking, the right balance of crispy and chewy. The biscuit, while I can never turn one down, was not quite what I had hoped. I had to scrape off all of the sugar from the top of it, as I prefer a more savory over sweet approach although I'm sure it was placed as a backdrop for their apple butter. I felt the butter was a tad too sweet. Thomas' potatoes were certainly tasty, but I attribute that fully to the rosemary generously speckled across them, without which it would have been a very standard breakfast potato helping. In terms of the grits, Thomas and I agreed they were a little too creamy, creating a bowl of mush rather than the fluffier, yet still creamy grits I prefer. I have tried grits at over 10 establishments in Gainesville, and these were still in the top five at least for flavor. Also, I opted for an iced soy chai, which was quite delicious although I don't want to know how much sugar it took to create the rounded flavor.

Overall, this was a pretty standard brunch experience. I know I only had an omelet, and perhaps I should have chosen an eggs benedict dish that might have demonstrated an FB-unique flavor, so to speak. I was not displeased with my experience, but nothing stood out in my head to make me think this is the new "it" spot. The service was good, and the number of tables was many and they were crammed in to make as much room as possible, but Thomas and I agreed this was just another brunch on a beautiful day. I'm sure the lines will still be long, so my advice is to call ahead if you want to check it out!

The Pluses and Minuses of Flying Biscuit Cafe:

Flying Biscuit Cafe (+) Indicators: Something for everyone, breakfast all day, lunch options also, open 7 days a week, central location, standard prices

Flying Biscuit Cafe (-) Indicators: Not local, very run-of-the-mill, long waits.

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

 zzsmallknifefork0311

Ordering hint: The F B is a breakfast house

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

A friend of mine once said buying lunch at a breakfast house was like drinking beer at a winery.

So I was torn with the lunch decision facing me at the Flying Biscuit Cafe on NW 16th Blvd, but I've eaten breakfast many times at lunch. Fried eggs, omelets, quiche can make for a different kind of lunch adventure.

flyingbiscuitmenuboardThere has been a lot of buzz about this new breakfast house the last few months. It could be the real estate adage of location, location, location, since the Flying Biscuit is conveniently nestled in a sea of NW neighborhoods. maybe it's the popularity of breakfast places, it works for I-HOP. Shoot, it could the Flying Biscuit Cafe is serving up some delicious food.

Long-time friend Jane Medley and I made it to the Flying Biscuit just before noon. Fortunately for us a table opened up as we walked into the cafe. The breakfast cafe was filled inside and outside with hungry customers. I'm glad we didn't have to sit at one of the many outside tables because it was getting kinda warm for lunch on their sidewalk patio.

Once inside with menu in hand it appeared that the Flying Biscuit franchise, which started in Atlanta, Georgia, had done a nice job of imparting southern charm into the decor and the menu.

I was set for some of the Biscuit's dreamy grits and a giant egg scramble when I noticed the: Fried Green Tomato BLT, with crisp turkey bacon, fried green tomatoes, lettuce, cashew-jalapeno relish, and goat cheese served on a whole wheat bun.

Fbiscuit600I opted for the FB special BLT. Bacon is a breakfast item, correct?

Jane disregarded my breakfast-at-lunch angst and ordered the: Black Bean Quesadilla with refried black beans and white cheddar cheese folded in a flour tortilla, topped with sour cream, and chipotle sauce. Jane added some salsa to round out her Mexican lunch.

The Flying Biscuit has done a good job of creating a southern style list of side items, including southern roasted moon dusted potatoes and a mac & cheese side dish they call Grilled Mac & Cheese. Other sides are collard greens, green beans, and pudge. Pudge is an old, southern family recipe for garlic and basil mashed potatoes.

I am a mac 'n cheese guy. I could eat this concoction every day. ( I cook up a mean dish of a special recipe called Upscale Mac 'n Cheese that makes me the star chef every time I cook it for friends. It's so good I can't help sharing it: .)

Meanwhile, Jane wanted to try the roasted potatoes, so we decided to share our lunches with each other -- small bites mind you -- to find out what all the Flying Biscuit buzz was all about.

I have heard that service can be sub-par during busy times at the FB. We must have caught them just right, because the staff was attentive to our needs and very helpful to our making up our lunch time minds.

When our lunch arrived, the server presented us with a lot of calories.

Jane was taking photos of our lunch as I sized up the noon time meal that filled the top our small cafe size table.

Fbiscuit1With a flair only a talented graphic designer could conjure up, Jane decided her quesadilla looked naked and painted the tortilla wedges with strips of sour cream, salsa, and chipotle goodness (photo right).

A point goes to Jane's plate for presentation.

Especially relative to my order. The BLT looked unremarkable on my plate, with a flattened mac 'n cheese concoction that appeared to have been sliced off a giant slab of mac 'n cheese.

I had high expectations about my BLT. Unfortunately my expectations were not met in that the fried green tomatoes were not freshly cooked, the bacon was not crispy, and the whole wheat bun that enveloped my sandwich was dense, not toasted and uninspiring.  The feta cheese did add a nice sharp flavor to my sandwich.

flyingbiscuitJane and I traded some of our lunches, and I got to try her black bean quesadilla. The sauces Jane added were a nice addition. Jane created a flavor bonanza with spicy black beans mixed with white, red and green sauces.

Another point to Jane for the taste of her entree.

The side items of roasted, dusted potatoes and grilled mac 'n cheese, we felt, were similar in unique presentations, but both had a flavor problems: My slice of mac 'n cheese didn't work for me. The seeming absence of any noticeable pasta in this overcooked dish was disappointing. The supposedly multiple flavors contained in Jane's roasted potatoes were not apparent.

I made a bad choice with the BLT for a lunch entree, but there were some other lunch entrees that certainly looked deserving of serious attention on a future visit.

Then again, this is a breakfast house, and I think ordering breakfast is what this place is all about.

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Even on a thoroughly unremarkable Thursday, the Flying Biscuit Café is busy with many of the tables full both inside and outside on the patio. Waiting on a friend while I was perusing the menu, I noticed the Biscuit had a good number of meatless entrees on their lunch menu. The one that caught my eye was the FB Devil Burger. According to the menu, The Devil Burger is:  "Spicy and hot! Veggie and grain patty topped with feta cheese, red onions, smoky jalapeno sauce, lettuce, and tomato." My thought was that any meatless veggie patty with ingredients that add some spice is worth my attention. The sandwich was good. The same old issue I have with the meatless world is how to give veggie patties a little more personality. After a good first bite of The Devil, I liked the flavors of the feta cheese and peppers combined with the crunchy of the lettuce, combined with the cool taste of the tomato. The veggie and grain patty offered very little to this tasty sandwich other than a mushy back drop for the other ingredients. I added some hot sauce from the table and--Voila!--I discovered The Devil that was mentioned on the menu. I don't know who invented the first bottle of hot-pepper-sauce-that-goes-on-everything but this meatless Monday I was praising its culinary magic.

- GLOB Master

The Pluses and Minuses of Flying Biscuit Cafe:

Flying Biscuit Cafe (+) Indicators: Breakfast all day. the black bean quesadilla is worth your consideration.

Flying Biscuit Cafe (-) Indicators: The pre-prepared food items were disappointing.

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

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Bento Cafe

Bento brings sushi-boat load of good eats

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Both Bento Café locations on Archer Road and Newberry Road in Hogtown are not new concepts. However, students, parents and people of all ages flock to this chain pan-Asian and sushi kitchen regularly. I wouldn't even attempt going during peak lunch or dinner hours unless you are prepared for an extensive wait time.

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The cooked entrees range from teriyaki, curry and stir-fry creations with protein and veggies to more inspired dishes, like the Cantonese Pork Chop bowl or the Pineapple Thai Fried Rice bowl. Don't even get me started on the sheer number of sushi rolls and bowls available, from veggie-only to standards like the Mexican and Volcano rolls to sashimi bowls and everything in between. For under $10, a sushi Bento box offers a little of everything: a selection of 2 classic rolls and a California Roll ( 4 pieces + 4 pieces + 8 piece California Roll = 16 pieces ). The long lines are almost welcome to give patrons enough time to wade through the sea of meal options. But that is a big ALMOST welcome.

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At the Newberry Road location on a Tuesday at 7 p.m., the GLOB team and I were lucky to have just missed the swarm of hungry diners eager to get their hands on some reasonably-priced, casual Asian fare. We had a diverse palate for this particular venue: Mike is not a fan of raw fish; Lynn is slightly more open to the idea; And I love sushi more than most. With that being said, we went in with open minds and empty stomachs to try a little of everything.

 

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It took little convincing, but I sort of took it upon myself to navigate the menu for the team, as I have ordered Bento much more frequently than both of my dining companions. Starting with the cooked items, the steamed pork dumplings were a no frills, tasty appetizer with just the right texture and a tangy dipping sauce. Some clever visual signage persuaded Lynn and Mike to order six of the cilantro wings. The sauce was very tasty and the breading had an enjoyable crispness, but they seemed to be more breading than protein content. I liked that an additional dipping sauce was not needed. Without hesitation, I urged Mike to consider the Spicy Cream bowl as the main cooked entrée, especially knowing his love of spicy foods and the sheer amount of praise I hear about the rice dish. The three of us agreed that while it did not pack too hard of a heat punch, it had a great creamy flavor and texture that offset the thick chunks of slightly breaded chicken. Even the veggies in there had a little something extra to them, which I think is completely due to that sauce.

 

BENTOepROLL!

After a 5 minute wait time for the cooked stuff, the raw side of our menu arrived about 5-10 minutes after. First up was the very large Bamboo roll, which I think was the unanimous winner among the three of us. For $9.50 you can get easily an entire meal out of this 10-piece roll: I was surprised that with a filling of tuna, tempura shrimp, masago, cucumber, jalapeño AND Japanese mayo, the flavors were so cohesive. The avocado, eel sauce and tempura flakes piled generously on top, however, truly shown through with each texturally-rich bite. Sushi is just one of those foods that almost requires you to take a large, somewhat unlady-like bite of food to get all of the flavors as intended.

 

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The Veggie Delite roll -- image at the top of this review -- l was a much smaller, albeit refreshing change of pace filled with a ton of crunchy veggies and fried tofu. I usually like to order a more traditional or popular roll to see how an establishment measures up, and I figured a pretty standard sushi roll, the Volcano roll, would aid in this determination. As Mike described it, the roll was much "mushier" than the others, a filling of krab, cream cheese and avocado certainly playing into it, while the salmon, although baked with the addition of spicy mayo, contributed to such a texture. This fishier roll was still devoured in its entirety, as it was pretty well-crafted. That's an understatement: All of the sushi rolls had a beautiful presentation and were certainly crafted with care and attention to detail. Even the edible garnish was eaten. We had to take the spicy tuna-salmon don bowl to-go because there was so much food, but that is my usual order when I dine at Bento so I knew what to expect.

BENTOrpSPECIALSThere are specials offered every day, so Lynn and I thought we would take advantage of the Tuesday one to each get a boba tea since they were BOGO. I ordered a milk tea with red bean flavor and boba tapioca pearls, while she ordered the green tea with passion fruit flavor and tapioca pearls. I greatly enjoy boba milk tea, so that was a treat. The flavor list is quite extensive, so I will have to come back another Tuesday to take advantage of the mix-and-match special.

MKdrinkAIn addition to the three other Florida cities that Bento is expending into, it is no wonder why the fast-casual Asian spot has developed quite the following in Jacksonville, Gainesville and Orlando (I would go as far as to say it's partially due to a cult following for that Spicy Cream dish). Next time, I would love to try some of their lighter menu options in the form of the Kawaii rolls. These protein and veggie-filled rolls take on a healthier approach to sushi, as they are wrapped in rice paper or lettuce, which significantly reduces calories and that overfull feeling that too much rice certainly provides. I also like a more refreshing approach to sushi, and these lighter rolls allow the taste of the fresh fish to be the star. For a chain restaurant, I think the GLOB team will agree with me when I say we are on Team Bento.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bento Box:

The Bento Box + indicators: Friendly service, standard wait time for food, good value for quantity of food, decent quality considering it is raw fish, extensive and varied menu

The Bento Box - indicators: Can get very crowded.

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

 

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Sushi, variety abound in Asian cafe

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

bentoBento Cafe in Royale Plaza on Newberry Road is generally a very busy place, so people apparently like the food. One thing that might contribute to that is cuisine variety and sushi options. The variety comes in a range of pan Asian cuisines including Korean bulgogi, Japanese tempura, Chinese szechuan, Pad Thai, Malaysian curry, and even a Cajun dish and a range of styles: either rice or noodle bowl or the famous bento box.

The GLOB Master, Joan Morasco, and I lucked out and got to Bento Box between rushes. We walked up to the counter and placed our orders and then took our numbers to a table.

The restaurant décor is modern and sleek, not very cozy, but the tables are very neat – the tops are lighted from underneath. Bento Box is a chain restaurant that uses either red or blue as the theme color. So far there are only two in town (thus the GLOB listing as chain restaurants with more than 3 restaurants in town are excluded). I've also been to the Newberry BB, and it has the blue theme.

 

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Generally I have restricted my sushi experiences to the vegetarian sushi from Publix. Joanie persuaded me to share a grouper sushi and I am very grateful because it was fantastic. The grouper had been battered and fried so the sushi had an unexpected crunch that was a great complement to the rice. And my favorite part of sushi is actually the wasabi combined with the soy. Yum. Sushi also includes sliced pickled ginger, and the BB ginger had a much lighter, sweeter flavor than what I had tasted at Publix. Very nice.

About the time the sushi disappeared, the entrees arrived.

Joanie had come along specifically for some bulgogi, and next time I'm back at bento box, that's what I'll get. The sauce had a very rich, spicy flavor, but yet was not overpowering.

I had the chicken and broccoli with rice. It was a bit dry, so thankfully I was able to pour on a little umami with the soy sauce.

Both mine and Joanie's dishes were similar in that the meat was thinly sliced and tender. As in most restaurants, the veggie part of the dish is not predominant, which always bothers me. BUT the broccoli was crispy good.

 

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The GLOB Master had his first bento box – the Cantonese pork chop. I was a little sorry I didn't also get that style of entrée because the dish comes with standard sides of sautéed green beans (yum, again) and a small salad consisting mainly of iceberg lettuce. The ginger dressing redeems the salad. There is also always rice AND noodles, which I think is a strange combination, but being a carb lover, I'm all for it. Finally there is a cute little coconut macaroon for dessert. Mike thought the pork chops were a little dry.

Overall, the meal was satisfying and the portion was large enough to justify the price. This is one of those fast casual restaurants – it's in between fast food and fine dining. As an example of that, BB does a good job.

The Pluses and Minuses of Bento Box:
The Bento Box + indicators: This good variety of food; there is outdoor seating; great grouper sushi.
The Bento Box - indicators: Can be very busy; the ambience is not cozy or welcoming

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

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Saigon Cafe

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Reggae Shack Cafe

ReggaeShackMayShrimpSandwichIt was another lunch at the Reggae Shack. I wanted jerk chicken but I am increasingly avoiding meat so I went with the tofu. The menu indicated this was very hot. I double checked with the waitress and she mentioned scotch bonnet pepper hot. I almost chickened out (ha ha), but decided I would give it try as I do like things hot. I'm glad I was brave. It was just shy of too hot, and excellent. The tofu was very soft but all the better to absorb the jerk sauce and it went great with the rice and peas (there aren't many peas), the cabbage – not too soft and not too crisp, and the ripe plaintains – sweet and caramelized. YUM. The GLOB Master had a fried shrimp sandwich. Knowing about soft crab sandwiches, I had to ask if the shrimp tails were removed. Yes they were. This entree came with Reggae Shack Dutty Fries. The Dutty Fries are sweetened and spiced up, which Mike asked the waitress to withhold if possible, but apparently it was not possible – or maybe she just forgot. Except for that, the fries were very good. The sandwich was good, but the jerk tofu was much better in my opinion. I gave Mike a taste from my plate but I didn't want half of his shrimp sandwich. There was a lot of food on our lunch table and I brought half of it home for the next day. YUM x 2!

- Lynn Dirk

Jamaican lunch turns into island adventure

 By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

"I just went Jamaica mon!"

The Reggae Shack Café in Midtown has been located on University Ave. just west of the railroad tracks since 2003. I finally made it to the shack for some jerk chicken wings this holiday weekend.

It's actually embarrassing that it took me so long to get to this very cool island oasis located in a sea of concrete and cars. There, I've said it, and now I can tell you that the Reggae Shack jerk sauce is as authentic as you will ever find.

ReggaeSwallA combination of the traditional jerk sauce flavors of allspice, brown sugar, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, a touch of soy sauce, and copious pepper combinations mixed together creates a marinade that will sit in your refrigerator for ever. In fact, the longer it ages, the better it becomes. The amalgamation of ingredients combines to build a molasses-like sauce for my wings that made my cheeks pucker, and my eye light up in a flavor sensory explosion that had me mopping up the remaining sauce with my last festival.

You don't know what festivals are?

Neither did I.

Looking at the Reggae Shack menu was like being Alice gazing through the looking glass. Brown stew fish, callaloo, and salt fish, Caribbean shrimp, Reggae Shack dutty fries, rice and peas -- all the menu items were screaming "EAT ME!"

Speaking of chicken wings, the choice are jerk, Caribbean, hot, tropi-q, spicy curry, and escoveich sauce. Escoveich is a sauce of carrots, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, and allspice berries.

 

ReggaeSwings

Since Lynn and I were on an island lunch adventure we started with the jerk chicken wings and two deep fried hush puppies they called Festivals (see photo at right). Festivals are hush puppy-like cornbread sticks with just a taste of coconut. These hush puppies were very tasty, though the consistency was more cake-like than American southern hush puppies.

These mild tasting, just fried, bread yummies were perfect for mopping up the chicken wing jerk sauce and making sure there were no drops left behind.

I thought of GLOBer Pam H.'s comment about how, at Piccadilly Cafeteria, there are so many choices you take more items than you should.

 

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By the time the server returned, Lynn had narrowed down her lunch choices to brown stew chicken, the Down by De Beach mahi sandwich, or the Boneless Curry Chicken.

I was thinking that the Down by De Beach sandwich with peas and rice sounded like an excellent lunch.

As we were making our choices our server looked at us with a knowing smile and said, "It's your first time, right?" With her good suggestions, Lynn chose the curried chicken which came with with sides of cabbage and rice and peas. The peas are kidney beans, which are not Lynn's favorite legume, but there weren't very many of them.

As usual with restaurant servings, there was enough for us to share. The curry was mild but the overall flavor was rich and was a perfect accent for the chicken and the accompanying sides of cabbage and the rice and peas. The curry sauce included little diced squares of sweet potato that added a perfect silky sweet taste and texture to the dish. The chicken itself was amazingly tender and moist.

The Down by De Beach fish sandwich was perfectly battered with a light flour mixture and fried to a thin, tender crust that allowed the flavor of the mahi-mahi fish filet to stand on its own. The surprise of the sandwich was the fried onions, mango-lemon tartar sauce and curry mustard melding my kaiser roll together with the sandwich ingredients like some Jamaican island edible glue.

WOW!

 

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The Dutty Fries didn't work for me. They have a signature dusting with a mixture of salt and sugar that was a little too sweet. However Lynn's cooked cabbage and the sweet potatoes and onions that accompanied her chicken and rice and peas were a lunch time prize winner.

I could keep writing about this wonderland of island cooking but right now I can see those large chunks of chicken breast covered with that savory, yellow Jamaican curry sauce, and all of a sudden I'm real hungry . . .

The Pluses and Minuses of Reggae Shack Café:

Reggae Shack Café (+) indicators: Wow! What a food adventure. Be sure to check the Reggae Shack Cafe menu out online before you head out to lunch.

Reggae Shack Café(-) indicators: We visited the Reggae Shack on a holiday weekend. Traffic can get busy on University Avenue in front of the Shack.

RshackBdayLunch

RshackBdayCAKEIt was a birthday celebration lunch for UF Entomology and Nematology’s Jane Medley and she decided to make her first trip to the Reggae Shack for her birthday lunch.  "That was an excellent idea for a host of Jamaican reasons Mon.  The food is excellent, the dining room has a distinct Jamaican feel, and you feel like you're in the islands Mon!"

Jane is on a mission to eat healthy, and she was pleased at the multitude of interesting veggie lunch choices.  The very friendly and professional server quickly told us that the spicy menu items were on the hot side.  “I like hot,’ was my response as I quickly decided on the Jerk Chicken sandwich with famous Reggae Shack Jerk Sauce, Jerk Lime Mayo with cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion plus a side of RS Dutty Fries.  Jane selected the Curry Palm Hearts Stew, which had hearts of palm, carrots, onions, red beans, and rice stewed in a most excellent, spicy brown sauce.  What a fabulously warm and hearty lunch to enjoy on one of Gainesville’s cooler winter days.  To celebrate Jane’s birthday, a giant slice of coconut cake was delivered to our table with several forks so we could share this delicious dessert.  The Reggae Shack menu is available at the restaurant link below this feature story.

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

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