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Gelato Company

Panini leaves Eating Adventurer satisfied

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

GelatoCOUNTERaI had never been to Gelato Co. for anything but gelato, but a lunch outing with a colleague merited a new experience.

I informed my coworker I was heading to lunch with a friend and when I said Gelato Co., he immediately dismissed the idea. I shrugged it off and went on my way over to the local spot boasting a decent selection of lunchtime fare and, of course, some killer gelato.

On arrival to the small shop next to Emilianos, I was pleased with the selections. From tuna to a variety of turkey sandwiches and more. I felt a simple, light lunch craving could be satisfied here, and a sandwich had been on my mind all day. My friend was adamant that the Pollo Panini was the way to go, and, although I hate to order the same thing as a friend, I felt a recommendation as strong as that one was not to be taken lightly, so we both selected the Pollo Panini meal, which included two sides: chicken salad and cream of mushroom soup. For about $8-$9, that seemed like a pretty good deal.

It took a good 10 minutes longer for my meal than my friends, but I was hoping it was worth the wait. The first thing I noticed, after finally receiving my food, was that my bread was different from hers: her focaccia bread was seasoned with rosemary and mine was sans rosemary. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in that. However, the longer wait time had me ravenous, so I was eager to dig in regardless.

 

GelatoSANDWICHa

One aspect differing from my idea of a traditional Panini was the extent to which it was stuffed. The generous amount of shredded chicken smothered in a swirl of mozzarella cheese and basil pesto and topped with tomatoes lent itself to a sizably thick sandwich, despite the pressed nature of a Panini. Each bite was as delicious as the first, the bread had a crunch that complemented the soft chicken mixture, and the mild mozzarella cut some of the richness of the pesto. The size of the sandwich did not set the stage for the size of the sides: I received what I would consider a dollop of chicken salad, which was just OK. Also, the soup was thinner than a cream of mushroom should have been. The sandwich, however, was fabulous and left me feeling ideally satiated.

When I returned to work and told my coworker about my lunch, he could not believe that I did not eat gelato. I hope this article will remove the stigma of Gelato Co. being solely in the frozen treat business, as its lunch options were quite good, but not so good as to knock gelato out as the reigning contender for why this establishment merits a visit.

The Pluses and Minuses of The Gelato Co.:

The Gelato Co. (+) indicators: Friendly service (try as many gelato flavors as desired!); tasty sandwich; amazing gelato

The Gelato Co. (-) indicators: Somewhat longer wait time for a lunch break; small and lackluster sides compared with the main dish

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

 

GelatoSaladGIF

Frozen treat company offers lunch surprises!

By Angie Shepherd Keen

EDITORS NOTE:  Angie is a legal assistant, and a lover of all things downtown.

The Gelato Company is absolutely, in my opinion, one of downtown's most finest lunch treats!!  I simply love the atmosphere that this tiny little eatery offers.

gelatoComboAlong with the fabulous Gelato, they have some of Gville's most creative sandwich offerings, delightful and tasty salads, along with my favorite raspberry tea!

I try and eat salads at least 2-3 times per week for lunch and have found that it can be both challenging and mundane, however, Gelato's house dressing and homemade croutons are the bomb!  I also love their chicken salad on greens with the house dressing and those croutons simply send it over the top,

For a bargain price, you can order one of their many daily sandwich specials (which includes a drink), or splurge a bit for a salad and drink (which comes with a Gelato).

They make countless different flavors of their Italian Gelato & cakes daily and they will let you sample each one if you like. It's all yummy goodness!!

The service is always with a smile, and the servers seem to go out of their way to make sure you enjoy the Gelato lunch experience.

If you are lucky, or ask, they will also give you a 10% off card, and there is a Gelato Addict Card, so after every eight visits, the 9th Gelato is FREE!!!

And did I mention FRESH? It's all fresh, homemade breads, croutons, salads and more.

I just love that place and can't say enough goodness about The Gelato Company!!

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

 

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Emiliano's Cafe

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.

 EMILIANOpatio

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.

 

0519EMILANOSmenuA

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.

 

0519EmilianosTACOS

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."

 

PINIONhalf

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.

 

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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.

 

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may2016APPETIZER

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

 

may2016saladTOPPER

 

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ECplate600BEST

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.

WOOF!

MKremy

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 thespruceeats.com:

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.

 

 ECtable

 

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

ECempanadas

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).

 

 ECflatbread480

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).

 

ECsteak

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.

 

ECplateB

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.

 zzsmallknifefork0311

EmilianoTAPAStopper

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:

C L O S E D
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.

 

NOVpatio

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.

 

TOPPERTapas2

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.

 

NOVarwpas2

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.

 

NOVbrie

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.

 

may2016saladTOPPER

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

 

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EMILS2.topper

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.

 

EMILS1

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.

 

EMILSsalad

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.

 

EMILScuban

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.

 

EMILSPinon480

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.

 

EMILSdessert

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

 

EmilianosTOPPERjuneGIF

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. 

EmilianosJANyucca

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

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Chopstix Cafe

Poor service dampens great lake lunch

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pluses and Minuses of the Chopstix Cafe:

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

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

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

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Pomodoro Café

Authentic, calzone = primo Italian lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

pomodoroThe New York Times story the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog published about creating your own calzones and making your own ricotta cheese got me thinking that I haven't been to an Italian restaurant in some time. Plus, I have a friend that brags about being a regular Italian food lover at the Pomodoro Café on NW 39th Ave. near the I-75 interchange.

 

PomodoroWINE

That was two good reasons to go experience my first calzone ever, and see what I'm missing.

Walking to the front door of this café I heard Italian music wafting through the air enchanting folks walking by and luring them into the cafe. You've seen those old cartoons where the scent appears as a serpent like smoke charming the victim and pulling them forward into who knows what.

I was immediately hooked, and then when I walked into the front door of a friendly appointed café of wood, and gingham checked accents I knew this was going to be a fun lunch experience.

I was getting into the feel of the PomodoroVASEold world. The wine bottles on the shelves, wooden beams between the tables, and the comfortable booths were appealing as I looked at the Pomodoro Café menu. Bruschetta Toscana Assortita, Vegetali Con Penne, Cappellini Francesco and six Pomodoro pizza's including the Margherita, Julianana, and Mikey's Pizza Pie. I'm going back for the Mikey's Pizza Pie sooner rather than later.

You will find the complete Pomodoro Café menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

And there is the Italian music continually playing in the background. Songs that reminded me of, sounded like, Dean Martin, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra.

Life is good I thought to myself looking out the Pomodoro window to their patio seating that had the appearance of a cozy, mountain side Italian patio.

A regular Pomodoro lunch special is an open face Calzone with your choice of two ingredients.

Tami my server explained that calzones are sandwiches made from the pizza dough that is folded over the ingredients much the same way a Stromboli is made.

The soup element of my lunch special comes with a cup of Pasta Fagioli (Fuh-jo-ley). This tasty soup is clear chicken stock with white beans, bacon and small pieces of pasta. The Soup was hearty and tasty. Being a non-Italiano lunchouter in a strange cafe I thought it was odd that the soup included both beans and pasta, but it was very good and a nice compliment to my calzone.

 

PomodoroSPECIALMy lunch was presented in an interesting, long and narrow tray that was perfect for the three items of my lunch. My soup, the Calzone and a small bowl of marinara sauce to add to my calzone. It was a very cool, interesting presentation.

Since I was in Italy – wasn't I in Italy -- I added Italian sausage and roasted garlic to my open face calzone. That is a nice touch the way Pomodoro's leaves a little pouch of cheese and ingredients showing on the face of the calzone, and toasting up in the oven for the customer's satisfaction when the entrée is presented.

 

pomodoroMenuBrdMy Italian sandwich was toasted perfectly, the Ricotta and Mozzarella cheese melted into a gooey, chewy combination of cheese joy. The Italian sausage added the spices to the Italian sandwich and the roasted garlic had me ALMOST shouting, "Pasta Fagioli, Calzone si bellissimo!"

We all know the lunch experience is a combination of individual elements working together to make an excellent lunch hour. The Pomodoro Café has their lunch experience elements singing acapella in an Italian opera.

The Pluses and Minuses of Pomodoro Cafe:

Pomodoro Cafe + indicators: Wonderful old world lunch experience. Has any GLOBer tried Pomodoro 's Mikey Pizza pie?

Pomodoro Cafe – indicators: Other than being 'Way out in West G'ville' none noted.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Pomodoro 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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