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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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Newk's Eatery

The Pluses and Minuses of Newk's Eatery:

Newk's Eatery + indicators: 

Newk's Eatery - indicators:

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


grub Burger & Bar

grub Burger & Bar Butler Plaza winner

 By Mike Sanford, GLOB EDITOR

GRUBsfIt had been a whirlwind week of lunches and dinner for the GLOB Master. It seemed like every meal was better than the last. There I was standing in front of the new grub Burger and Bar dreamily thinking of burger with unique names like: Bacon Love #9, Mac 'N' Cheeseburger, You're My Boy Blue and the Hippie Chickpea Veggie burger.

I like to think of myself as a good student of today's lunch time menus. After a serious perusal of the interesting online menu the day before lunch I quickly picked out my Friday birthday lunch. We will talk about my lunch order later on GLOBer

No doubt about GRUB being a big box corporate lunch stop. Celebrating five years since starting their first burger place in College Station, Texas.

From the GRUB BURGER & BAR website:

"You can go to a bunch of restaurants and get a burger and fries," College Station grub manager Jimmy Loupe says, but it's Grub's fun, laid-back and creative atmosphere that's really worth celebrating. He credits this positive atmosphere to the great people Grub employs. From the cooks and dishwashers to the servers and bartenders."

It must be working GLOBers. Walking into grub for lunch I was warmly greeted by every grub burger uniform I encountered. And the GLOB Master felt like each friendly greeting was an honest, friendly, considerate.

I was early and had the pleasure of Meeting Zachary at the bar who possessed a vast collection of IT, computer Tech ideas, and online web design.



That was just the start as we stood in line waiting out turn to order when Jordan, image left. gave the impression she was a long lost friend. That was when grub Manager Jared lizak walked up with Nina wanting to know where was Mike, the Birthday boy.


OMG with all the special attention we moved through the food line quickly and found a table close to the windows.

The grub menu is categorized into burgers, sandwich & tenders, salads, sides, shakes, snack and drinks.

This was lunch with my Entomology / Nematology pals Jane medley, Kathy Milne, and her husband Dave. And I appeared we cover the entrees well with three burgers and a salad between us:


I started us off with a bowl of delicious Brussels Sprouts topped with ancho lime vinaigrette, and queso fresco. ($4.95). The image above does not fairly treat what were perfectly cooked sprouts with a tangy sauce, tart queso flavor, and magnificent tasting Sprouts.


Dave opted for the Ahi Tuna Bowl of seared Ahi Tuna, bacon, black bean & charred corn medley, lettuce, campari tomatoes, avocado, queso fresco, sprouts & ancho lime vinaigrette. ($10.95). Dave was generous enough to share his tuna that was absolutely heavenly. That is an impressive, delectable looking salad to consider for my next grub lunch. How good was the Ahi Tuna GLOBers?  It was eaten BEFORE I could grab this image . . .

Kathy chose the Jive Turkey Burger. an awesome looking melted cheese delight sandwich with Jive Turkey ground & pesto seasoned turkey burger, bacon, Swiss, sprouts, avocado & chipotle aioli on a wheat bun. ($8.50). Kathy's lunch included some of the biggest, yummiest looking Onion Rings I have seen in some time.


Jane ordered the Wild Caught Salmon burger with hand-chopped wild caught salmon and ancho chili burger, avocado, black bean & charred corn medley, tequila lime aioli & fresh cilantro on a white bun. ($8.50).  Kudos to grub and their tassty Sweet Potato Fries.



Being adventurous Jane and I decided to share sammies and I gave her half of my California Chicken Sandwich with grilled chicken breast, bacon, Swiss, sprouts, avocado & chipotle aioli on a wheat bun. ($9.95).



Finally be sure to check out the Milk Shakes list of hand Spun, and Spiked shakes including the Dirty Kitchen Sink with chocolate vodka, pretzels, peanut butter, salt, butterscotch sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, coffee grounds & potato chips. Great Gosh A mighty! It was my birthday so the GLOB Master tried the standard chocolate shake. ($4.95).

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



There was some spectacular flavors on our table including the Ahi Tuna, crunchy, yummy onion rings, and the chipotle sauce on my chicken sandwich. Jane Salmon sandwich was tasty, however I think she got the better deal as my chicken sandwich was a fives tar winner in my book. The Chipotle sauce must have been home made because it screamed my name in every bite. NOTE TO DIABETES GODS: I only, reluctantly. Ate half of the hamburger bun.

grub was busy for lunch. The lunch entrees were excellently delicious. We had a nice table and friendly service that kept us in a very good mood.

I'm going back to GRUB Burger & Bar. It is right on Archer Rd just past the SW 34th St., Archer Rd intersection.

The Pluses and Minuses of grub Burger & Bar

grub Burger & Bar + indicators:  Delicious Brussels Sprouts. Very nice selection of lunch entrees, salads and an amazing milk shake list. Customer friendly service.

grub Burger & Bar - indicators:  This busy, popular lunch spot would be a suicidal experience on a Saturday game day . . .

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


Beef O'Brady's: CLOSED: October, 2019

The devils’ in the fries at B-O-B’s

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

BOBstorefrontI took my son Bob to his first Florida Gator Sports event when he was 10 years-old.

“Look Bob,” I said standing in front of what we called the O’Dome back then pointing at the Ben Hill Griffen football stadium.

“Gator football, Gator basketball, and Gator baseball all right here side by side,” I added waving my hand from left, to right.

Bob and I saw the Gators win a Saturday basketball game that day and then we headed over to Beef O’Brady’s on NW 43rd St. to catch another game on television and share a victory meal.

The GLOB Master might have more great Beef O’Brady’s memories than they have Gator sports memorabilia. Well, I have a lot of great memories . . .



Last weekend I was excited thinking about catching the end of the regular season Gators vs. Wildcats basketball game while enjoying a Beef O’ Brady’s Saturday lunch. Plus it was an opportunity to experience all things deep fried, and grilled to game day satisfaction.  And on Florida Gator game day everyone at Beef O’Brady’s is wearing orange, and blue.

Beef O’Brady’s calls their restaurant a family sports bar. I think that moniker works at Beef’s. Every time I have been to this lunch stop there is usually one each of every kind of customer you could think of including moms, sisters, dad’s, sons, sports fans. Gosh GLOBer there is a good chance there might be one or two non-sports fans in the building, however if I was a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on it.

‘Beef’s menu’ has all the heart stopping, artery clogging bad food prizes, and some new B-O-B entrees – to me -- for the daring, brave, first time customers,  For example Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders ($10.29) that are 3 chicken tenders hand-breaded, fried and served with BBQ sauce or honey mustard dressing sounds like a good lunch item.. Plus a yummy sounding Seafood Combo ($12.99) consisting of a fillet of mild white fish and shrimp served with fries, coleslaw, tartar sauce, lemon and cocktail sauce should be large enough to share..

Those entrees were in addition to the burgers, char grill , chicken wings, sandwiches, wraps, salads, tacos, and bowls.

There are several lunch combos available, and a ‘Build Your Own Premium Burger Combo’. Combos include ‘straight cut’ French fries, and a soft drink or tea for ($8.49).



A good friend has more than once mentioned he thinks the Beef O’Brady’s chicken wings are the best in town. With their own webpages on the website chicken wings come in many different flavors, and different levels of heat from Garlic Parmesan to Nuclear for the manly man chicken wing eater. Wings can be bought in sizes ranging from six wings to 20 wings starting at $10.29

There is a complete Beef O’Brady’s menu at the restaurant link below this review.

So I was engrossed in the menu, seriously thinking about an award winning poultry lunch when I spied the flyer on the bar describing Saturday’s featured Item:

Delicious, sliced, tender smoked sirloin with caramelized onions,
pepper jack cheese with a drizzle of Kentucky Bourbon sauce.
Served on a buttered brioche roll.

Surprisingly I over came my diabetes eating guilt trying not to think about the brioche bread and a plate of glorious French fries looming in my lunchtime horizon.



My lunch arrived and right away I felt a sense of elation seeing my Smoked Sirloin Stack was in fact wedged between two slices of bread, not a sub sandwich roll.

It could have been the steak sandwich of my dreams GLOBers. With pieces of steak, cheese, onions oozing, creeping out the sides of my sandwich was completely in love with the flavors, tastes of this diabetes belly bomb.



Remember stories about the the good angel, bad devil sitting on your shoulders? I know there is a French fry diabetes devil laughing, sticking, prodding me to take that giant step to spuds-ville and eat all the crispy, fried to perfection, potatoes on my plate.

I have reached a point in eating, a lifestyle with food restrictions, to realize there is no longer such thing as bad French fries. I must be re-programmed. Looking at the plate of white potato goodness my thoughts turn to, “That’s a lot of French Fries, maybe I will just eat a few.”

So be proud of me GLOBers. Please don’t rain on my lunchtime parade. I did eat some fries. But I didn’t eat all of them. And I only ate one slice of the brioche bread.

It may not sound like a big deal to you.   I find myself thinking of what my slightly built sister says about food, eating.   “Sometimes I feel like there is a 500 pound women trying come out of my body, so I have to be careful about what I eat all the time.”

And she doesn’t have a diabetes devil on her shoulder heaping guilt on her lunch time food fest.

The Pluses and Minuses of Beef O'Brady's:

Beef O'Brady's + indicators:  Tailgate, bar food, deep fried bliss, plus a sporting event on every television in the building.

Beef O'Brady'sn - indicators:  There are not many things in here your doctor, nutritionist, or the food police would applaud you for eating.

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



The Pluses and Minuses of the Culver's:

Culver's (+) indicators:

Culver's  (-) indicators: 

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Social at Midtown

The Pluses and Minuses of the Social at Midtown:

Social at Midtown (+) indicators:

Social at Midtown (-) indicators: 

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Ironwood Golf Course

Lunchstop is not just for birdies or the birds

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

IWsfI know of an off-the-beaten-path lunch stop I like to think is all mine. You know what I mean GLOBers. A hideaway place that's not too crowded. Somewhere I could take a special friend and not be bothered with other lunch outers in my space.

The irony (hint, hint) is this lunch stop is in the midst of a busy environment of customers talking seriously about the best round they ever had; the last time they birdied old number #17; or whether they will rent a golfcart or walk the 18 holes of Gainesville's Ironwood Golf Course on NE 39th Avenue. 

There are a number of good reason why this lunch stop deserves your consideration even if intimate conversation isn't important in your lunch world:

IWSilhouttePerhaps some of the most lowest lunch prices in G'ville including:

zzGLOBbullet Chipotle Black Bean Burger for $6.50
zzGLOBbullet Chicken Salad Sandwich for $4.50
zzGLOBbullet Chili Cheese Fries for $4.00 from a full list of appetizers
zzGLOBbullet Broccoli Cheddar Bacon Bites $5.50

For the Meatless Monday lunch outer, there is an extensive list of options including veggie wraps with hummus, guacamole, lettuce or spinach, tomato, onion, cucumber and salsa. A variety of sandwiches and a grilled cheese sandwich can also be made for the vegetarian luncher.

For the meat eater, there is an Italian sausage dog and pizza.



The Ironwood pro-shop is run by staffers Erin Maynard, behind the counter, and John Andreu with kitchen responsibilities. John made several visits with us at the golf course lunch counter to make sure we were impressed with his lunch time creations.

Erin mentioned there is ample table seating in the adjacent meeting room for lunch customers who would like a bit more privacy. 


"We do get customers stopping in from time to time to eat on the golf course patio, or who just want a little more privacy during their lunch hour," Erin said.



My lunch pal this visit was GLOB Advertising Manager Gary Miller and he selected the Chipotle Black Bean Burger which had a spicy patty made with a blend of black beans, brown rice, onions, corn, fresh red bell peppers and Anaheim chilies with a touch of cilantro and garlic, served with lettuce, tomato, and onion for $6.50. IMO Anaheim chilies are a great addition with loads of pepper flavor but not necessarily all the heat.

Eating every bit of his spicy burger, Miller said it was very tasty. 


I was pleased to see old fashioned sandwiches available on the menu with the choice of white, wheat, or marbled rye bread. My turkey sandwich was stacked very nicely with breast of turkey, lettuce, tomato, and Muenster cheese. The Muenster cheese was a special tasty surprise for the GLOB Master in a very good $4.75 sandwich. You can also order a ham sandwich or a sandwich with both ham and turkey for the same low price. All sandwiches are served with chips, fries, or sweet potato fries for an additional $1.50



I enjoyed my sandwich, but I thanked the lunch gods for including a bowl of soup with the Ironwood Burger, Basket, or Sandwich order for $1.50. The very cool thing about my bowl of cream of broccoli soup was the packet of Oyster Crackers floating in my Styrofoam tureen that gave a delightful crunch to the creamy, cheesy goodness.

I used to play golf and frequented the Ironwood course for my fair share of sporting punishment. It's nice to see all the upgrades the course has taken under the management of Jeff Cardoza


If you need one more reason for this special lunch stop, the Audubon Society listed the Ironwood Gold Course as an "Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" as of July 1999.

The Pluses and Minuses of Ironwood Golf Course:

Ironwood Golf Course + indicators:  Low prices; great sports surroundings; can be a quiet, intimate lunch spot. A true NE Gainesville lunch outpost.

Ironwood Golf Course. - indicators: They need to post their menu online.  There is a menu on their Facebook site

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


Wings & Teriyaki

The Pluses and Minuses of Wings & Teriyakii

Wings & Teriyaki+ indicators: .

Wings & Teriyakii - indicators:

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


Big Mill's Cheesesteaks

Bright smile, 'Stallion' work for lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

You know how sometimes it is the little things that will make a lunch special GLOBers?

It was a Friday lunch time and I had an excellent week of managing my blood sugar levels and decided a Big Mills cheesesteak sub should be my reward for a culinary job well done.

JaimeBIGmills"You're the lunch blog guy aren't you," Big Mill's Staffer Ms. Jaime Martin yelled from begin the lunch counter. "What restaurant did you feature today," she asked with a bright smile.

Conversation quickly evolved into lunch as I explained my conflict of enjoying both the BM's cheesesteak sub and the BM sausage sub.  Not only that I have been dying to try one of their Hot dogs.  There is a complet Big Mills menu at the bottom of this page.

"The Italian Stallion Sandwich of the Month is really good," Jaime said pointing to the Sandwich of the month sign on the wall. "It's loaded with simmered beef, au jus, topped with cheese and fantastic Giardiniera Relish, or sweet peppers and it is SO GOOD," Jaime added.

Taking Jaime's advice the Italian Stallion sub with a side of crinkle cut French fries sounded like the perfect lunch to me. Regarding the French fries, I told I had been good, behaving, monitoring my culinary consumption.



Big Mills is a good old fashioned diner full of old fashioned tables chairs and regulars where everyone seems to know everyone else. That makes it a friendly, comfortable lunch stop for the GLOB Master.  You can't call Big Mills fast casual. BM's is your lunch stop loaded with a baseball theme of great old pictures and baseball history.

Before opening Big Mill's Keith Miller had already earned a reputation for his subs, sandwiches selling out of the back of his truck at the gamed day Florida Gator games. That's why after being open a relatively short time this lunch stop has a good size following.

Waiting for my lunch I was thinking about other cheesesteaks in town and how they compared on the Cheesesteak Sliding Yummy scale. There are a couple of other good cheesesteaks including Charley's Philly Steaks in the Oaks Mall, and Piesano's makes a good cheesesteak. The Big Mill's Cheesesteak is right their at the top in the yummy-ness category.



Jaime presented my lunch with a knowing smile and a platter of a steaming hot Italian Stallion sub, well done fries and a very nice accompaniment of fabulously dark and rich au jus, image at the top of this review.

The Italian Stallion was special. The flavors of the marinated beef combined with the tart flavors of the au jus made for a magnificent mouthful of joy. The soft sub roll, and melted provolone cheese complimented the crunchiness of the Giardiniera relish perfectly.



The French Fries were incredibly tasty, crunchy and made me wish I was brave enough get a second helping of fried spuds. I use to have friend that always made a point of getting her fries cooked well done. These spuds would have received her passing grade.

"How was lunch GLOB Master," Jaime asked from across the diner as I was leaving.

I gave her the two thumbs up GLOB Master seal of approval as I happily exclaimed, "I'm coming back!"

The Pluses and Minuses of Big Mills Cheesesteaks:

Big Mills Cheesesteaks + indicators: Excellent monthly sandwich specials.  Happy, custopmer froend;ly place.

Big Mills Cheesesteaks - indicators: none noted.

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




BM's Polish Boy 'Sandwich' is special

APRILspecial250It was Friday and everything was going the GLOB Master's way. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I just published the Daily GLOB to 19,000 subscribers. A fabulous weekend was looking me straight in my face.So to hell with any diabetic counting, measuring, or grading my lunch plans which include Big Mill's Cheesesteaks and my very own order of French Fries. You got it. I was a very happy boy thinking seriously about chopped steak, onions, and cheese over-stuffing a sub roll.

Arriving early I scanned the menu and spied delicious sounding sausage subs the Italian Sausage Sub and the Polish Sausage sub. "Which of those Sausage subs is the hottest," I asked Jamie standing behind the counter.

"The Italian is a little sweeter with the pepper, the Polish sub is a little spicier," Jamie explained from behind the counter.

"Did you see the Big Mill's April Special on the wall," Jamie asked pointing upward toward the specials board. "That's a popular sandwich," she added.

The Big Mill's Polish Boy Special did sound good with Kielbasa sausage, French fried onions, slaw, Cheese Whiz, on a potato roll for $7.75 I decided ordering my fir BM Polish Boy Special.

I like the table in the back corner so I can watch Big Mill's fill up with patrons, and the staff delivers your lunch.

My Sub and fries appeared quickly as Jamie brought my devil-may-care lunch to my table. "You're gonna like this sandwich." Jamie said with a gleam in her eye. "I love Cheese Whiz and it as my idea on this special," She added proudly.

I cut the sandwich in half and the Cheese Whiz flowed out onto my plate. My first bite was meat protein nirvana. The spicy sausage enveloped by the yummy goo of the Cheese Whiz. The slaw and onions added tart, and crunchy features to an incredible sandwich fulfilling my desires to perfect. 

I was for certain  eating outside the GLOB Master lunch box.

I'm not sure what the BBQ ingredient was on the special but I don't care, I could happily eat this Sammy every day.

The French Fries were amazingly crunchy on the outside, yummy, creamy spuds-like on the inside, and I ate every one of them.

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor






Supreme Cheesesteak is top flight sandwich

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

BIGMILLSsfSometimes you have to stand up, and take one for the team.

You know, give it up, be brave for all your GLOB compadres.

I was ready to jump in front of that hurtling dill pickle spear to protect my fellow lunch outers.

Those were my thoughts as I checked out the Cheese steak menu in the Big Mill's Cheesesteaks house on NW 13th near NW 23rd St.

Sure GLOBer, I knew I was trashing a day, or two of good diabetes blood sugar numbers by even thinking should I eat a whole cheesesteak sub,. Or even just a half? But I was thinking of you fellow GLOBer as I gazed upon a menu of Chicago style, Hoagie Style. Italian and polish sausage subs.

I'm not even going to talk about the six different hot dogs on the Big Mill's menu. Those are for another day of being bad, er, ugh, doing what must be done for all good lunch time GLOBers.



We're talking lunch time diner food here GLOBers. Nothing fancy, a good number of tables with all the lunch time pit stop, deli style kitsch. A nicely moving lunch counter line, guided by a customer friendly Big Mill's staffer named Elizabeth.

Elizabeth keeps the orders moving and isn't afraid to talk over customers, staffers and even Big Mill himself.

You have to like that I thought to myself knowing my lunch will be efficiently served to the GLOB Master at my checkerboard covered table for two.



I decided since I was a newbie at Big Mill's I should go for the tried and true and ordered the Big Mill's Supreme Cheesesteak topped with bacon, your choice of cheese and toppings (Reg $10.25, Big $13.85).

Big Mill's has an impressive list of free sandwich toppings including marinara sauce, giardiniera peppers, and sauerkraut. Bacon, Pepperoni, Extra Cheese, and extra meat can be added to your sandwich for an additional charge. There is a complete Big Mill'S Cheesesteak menu at the restaurant link below this review.



Big Mill's was jumping with a steady line of customers with most of the tables filled. This was a happy lunch stop. It was obvious there is much enthusiasm on this side of Gainesville for a cheese steak shop they can call their won.

There did appear to be many customers that new Big Mill's Cheesesteaks and hotdogs. These tailgators made a lunch trip just to catch up with Big Mill who has been serving sandwiches and hot dogs to Florida football game fans for a while.

My lunch of certified angus beef sirloin was masterful in appearance with an amazing regular sub ($8.25, Large $11.85) that easily could have fed two customers.



I tried to be traditional by adding provolone cheese, peppers, onions a, and mushroom to my sub. The bacon was automatically included and added an additional salty flavor to my sub.

The bacon was unique, however for a $1.95 up charge. I won't do that again. 100% chicken breast may be substituted in place of the beef protein.

The supremely soft sub roll encasing my sandwich was divine holding all my toppings together with the bread melding into my sandwich almost like an extra cheese.



The onion rings were spectacular ($8.75). With an extra thick, crisp crunchy coating the O-Rings created a nice crunch factor amidst my cheesesteak's sautéed toppings. Elizabeth was doling out free boxes of Crackerjacks to happy customers

Big Mill's is going to work here on NW13th St. I'm thinking you can expect lunch lines at the busier times of the day. That said this is a very good cheese steak sub certainly worth waiting in line for.

The Pluses and Minuses of Big Mills Cheesesteaks:

Big Mills Cheesesteaks + indicators: Sandwiches large enough to share. An abundance of free toppings. Onion rings are a nice treat. I'm thinking the GLOB Master is waiting to check his blood sugar in the morning . . .

Big Mills Cheesesteaks - indicators: Pricey for a sub. But they are big enough to share. If lines bother you need to be first in the lunch line or lunch later in the day. A serious one hour walk prior to lunch could lessen my bodies carbohydrate shock.

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


Twisted Peacock, CLOSED

The Peacock quickly generates 'restaurant buzz'

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

TpeacockSFI have to admit: When I heard that the owners of Gainesville's Reggae Shack and Southern Charm Kitchen restaurants were looking to open another restaurant, my ears perked up quickly. Holding Southern Charm Kitche nin a dear place in my heart, cracking my top 5 favorite restaurants in Gainesville, I had high expectations for any sibling restaurant. The Indian fusion restaurant that had been in the works for some time, now dubbed the Twisted Peacock, finally opened its doors.

Despite lacking any advertisement or promotion of the newly-opened, niche restaurant, the youngest restaurant sibling was already creating some buzz. Other than a few Instagram photos tagged at the Twisted Peacock, a menu was nowhere in sight either. I was diving — or I guess, dining—in blind. At least I had seven other blind, yet willing, participants to accompany me on the restaurant's first Saturday open. In fact, everyone at the table was pretty unfamiliar with Indian cuisine. I believe some Googling was involved.

While eight glasses of water were promptly brought to the table upon our arrival, our server became somewhat sparse throughout the duration of our meal. I'm not sure if the restaurant wasn't anticipating a solid 40 percent of the dining area full of hungry patrons and they were slightly short-staffed, or if the opening week just came with a few challenges, but our slightly scatter-brained server was a good indication of the slower service. The meal, from the first glass of water to the last check returned, took about 2.5 hours, which is a bit lengthy for a restaurant visit, especially considering we did not delay ordering.



That brings us to the food. I was pleased with the menu, probably because of the association I made to it and that of Southern Charm's menu. It was laid out very similarly, but it certainly had very different menu items. Curry was not a main theme of the menu, which surprised me some, but the other menu items, including Tandoori, Tikka Masala, and Vindaloo all were representative of popular Indian cuisine. However, this was Indian fusion, which I tried to keep in mind.



The first menu section, Street Food, had a handful of appetizer-sized dishes. Samosa was the one item on that list that I was familiar with, so of course a couple orders of those hit the table first (and by first, I meant a solid 30 minutes after ordering). I had heard the naan bread wasn't made in-house, so I avoided that, although I hope that changes. Nonetheless, the samosas, $5.95, which I described to the uninformed as being akin to empanadas, were adequately-sized and very full of vegetables and potatoes. I appreciated that, as many flaky pastry-type items are too airy inside.

There was a decent mix of entrees present on the table about an hour after initial ordering, which seemed a little too long considering the restaurant did not meet even half-full capacity. Nonetheless, everyone dove into the decent-sized portions of proteins over a silver dish full of a couple of cups of basmati rice per person.



Three hungry members of our party ordered the Pig Vindaloo, $11.95. Originally a Portuguese dish, "carne de vinhad'alhos," it is now typically served in India with lamb, which apparently was the protein in front of us despite "pig" in the name. The sauce was not as spicy as the server suggested it might be — a somewhat disappointing discovery — but it was flavorful nonetheless. Another person at the table got the Duck Korma, $17.95, and she certainly received her money's worth of duck with a few thighs, a breast, and drumsticks filling the silver bowl. It was cooked well, but the curry gravy lining the bottom of the bowl certainly made it shine.


Two friends ordered the Tandoori Chicken, $10.95, with a sizeable number of pieces stuffed in their respective bowls. However, both agreed it was the least satisfactory entrée at the table, commenting on its "blandness." The green-colored sauce brushed over a few pieces didn't lend much to the red chili powder marinade the menu claimed it to be cooked in.



One of my two favorite entrees of the night was my friend's surprising order (he typically sticks to what he knows) of the goat dish, comically named the "Rogan Josh," $11.95. The goat was submerged in a deep red-orange sauce of Indian spices, and the meat fell apart so tenderly with the swipe of a fork. My dish, the Chicken Tikka Masala, $11.95, was my second favorite. The waitress considered it one of the more popular dishes at the restaurant, and I have experience eating it at an Indian restaurant in London, so I was familiar with the flavors.

The masala gravy should have been doubled in quantity: The strong spice-filled sauce was soaked up by the tender white meat chicken, which I wished didn't run out as soon cause it was so tasty, despite it being a dinner-size portion. It was clear that the sauces of the night were what helped make or break the experience. The one thing I also had hoped was an option to include cooked veggies in the dish, as those would have been a great addition to round out my tikka masala.


Of course there is always a second stomach for dessert. The GulabJamun, $5.95, peaked multiple interests, so three servings of that came next. Each hot bowl of two, larger than donut hole-sized Indian donuts floated over a "rosewater and cardamom-scented syrup." After one bite, one person thought the donut was doughy and undercooked, but it actually appeared to just not have a cake-type filling as an American donut hold would. The outside was so crispy and evenly-cooked that I thought it played well into the somewhat doughy insides, and I loved it. The syrup really stole the show, sugary and rich with some noticeable punches of flavor from the cardamom and rosewater.

PeacockARTAfter getting through the menu, I noticed the little description of why the Twisted Peacock got its name, and I learned the musical symbolism behind the animal. That certainly explained the décor: Two large walls toward the back were covered with Indian music posters; the very back wall was splattered with Indian musical instruments, such as the Sarod and Sitar, which resemble a thinner guitar/violin/banjo combination. Indian musicals were playing on the overhead TVs; two children at an adjacent table were enamored by the screens all night. It certainly had a cozy feel, although seemed a bit above just a casual jeans and tee experience.

No one ordered a vegetarian entrée, and I think if I came back I would try one of those and another "Street Food" item to expand my Indian taste palette. I do not have an extensive knowledge of Indian cuisine, only having had it a handful of times and never having been to India. I do not claim myself to be an expert of the cuisine, but I do know what works well. With that being said, it is not a dining spot I will be rushing back to, as it was overall somewhat subpar considering the collective dining experience of myself and the other seven at the table. However, I could have drank the syrup those donuts were in, so I will say it left some memorable moments with me.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Twisted Peacock

Twisted Peacock + indicators: Unique food entrees, good quality food items, good value for price, open for lunch and dinner

Twisted Peacock - indicators:  Not quite cohesive service, long waits for food (don't go if in a rush)

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


Road Trip: Cilantro Tacos, Newberry

W. Coast Mex food love brought East

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Nothing against Mexican food, but it's never been my go-to meal for dining out. Taco salads are in my rotation every so often, but I guess I haven't been to a restaurant that truly inspired a must-return reaction. Usually, I'm in it for the margaritas. Perhaps that is why it took me so long to venture over to Cilantro Tacos; well, that and the fact that it is in Newberry, about 30 minutes from 34th Street in Gainesville. Once Cilantro Tacos had a food truck that started circulating at local brewery events, food truck rallies, and even occasionally at Midnight Cookies, the family-owned, 3-year-old Mexican restaurant has been on my radar.


020516CilantroA trip out to Newberry for some outdoor laser tag — yes, the kind of laser tag that has you running around shooting opponents in the woods — brought my group right around the corner from Cilantro Tacos. We were all new to the very simplydecorated establishment, a dozen tables scattered around the dining area with a bar in the back for ordering beer and checking out.



The eight of us took up a few of those tables, while only two other parties were dining around us. After our server, Sam, promptly helped us set up the tables, she asked if we wanted to start with anything and got a flurry of "guacamole," "queso," and "salsa" requests thrown her way. She was a trooper. The tortilla chips, which seem very fresh, certainly possessed the crisp, seasoned mark of homemade freshness. The tomatillo salsa verde and roasted chile red sauce each had a unique, very pronounced, flavor, and the guacamole was creamy and zesty. However, I think I speak for a few members of the group when I say the pico de gallo was the star, each bite of the very chunky, cilantro-topped condiment as flavorful as the last.



On to the main event: If I was going to Cilantro Tacos, I surely was going to order the one thing the proprietor's felt a need to highlight above the rest – tacos. If the restaurant doesn't excel at what it is "known" for, that is a strong indication of quality. I already had my order in mind, but I was extremely pleased to hear that each taco in my order of three, $6.99, could hold a different meat. Carnitas is a go-to for me, and the barbacoa and the soft corn tortillas were highly recommended by the server.

The real adventure would be the lengua taco, which, for those unfamiliar, is beef tongue. Don't shy away from the sound of it: My previous experiences with the Mexican delicacy is that, if prepared correctly, it is pretty tender and should certainly have good flavor. It was my favorite taco of the trio, the chunks of meat just as savory and tender as I remembered. The carnitas and barbacoa were both good, too, but the carnitas was a close second to the lengua, the flavors of the marinade-soaked pulled pork indicative of hours simmering in a spice-laden sauce and pulled tender.

020516TacosVERTICALI opted to get my taco "all-the-way", which included cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion. and cilantro toppings, instead of the authentic style with just the basic onion, cilantro and lime, which I will be ordering next time for sure. I may or may not have snuck that pico de gallo in a few bites, too.

I had a bite of the al pastor pork, and it was a bit sweeter than expected (apparently due to marinating with pineapples and some other spices), and a bite of the fish, which was probably my least favorite protein, as I didn't feel the heavy seasoning was as cohesive with the white fish.

The burrito truly was a two-hander, as reaffirmed on the menu online, and the steak in it was well prepared, not dry or tough at all. I love nachos, and the beef ones I tried were well loaded, but the combination of the queso cheese, sour cream, and refried beans quickly made the chips soggy. The amount of lettuce, tomatoes and handful of cilantro perched atop the hill of protein topping was just right, though.

The fajitas seemed a good size, my friend remarking how flavorful the carnitas were, also, and how it was just the right portion size, even if eaten as a bowl without tortillas. Another friend even said the refried beans were very good "for refried beans," commenting that they did not get a thicker, glob consistency when cooled down as many lower quality types do.



The Southern California family brought generations of cooking with them to Newberry. Priding themselves on cooking fresh meat that hasn't been previously frozen, it is a tried-and-true family operation. Our server, Sam, was not only very attentive, but was extremely fun and friendly throughout our visit, chatting about everything from our interests to her background. Before we left, she introduced me to the chef who she fondly called "Mama," and who was just as charming as Sam.



Mama first mentioned how, although she had been in Newberry cooking at Cilantro Tacos for 3 years, she had been cooking with Grandma for over 10 years. She said that's where she got a lot of her recipes and tricks of the trade. She emphasized most how Grandma made sure Mama knew how to prepare meat, and that it is not just as simple as salting and grilling. "The meat takes time, it needs to be marinated."

I asked Mama about the delicious marinade she spoke so highly of, and she told me it was family secrets. Despite that, I had to also ask about the addicting pico de gallo, and she said there is much more to it than just lime juice and salt. When pressed further, she revealed spices were the key, mentioning cloves as a component. Interesting, no?
The time and cooking skills certainly showed in each dish, and I will be back to try another menu item, probably the fajitas, and chat with these extremely passionate, fun (and food)-loving people.

One friend at the table asked about how shrimp would fare in a quesadilla, and I am intrigued enough to return and find out once and for all. And to potentially buy out their stock of pico.

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