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Restaurant lunch highlights:

To get directions enter your address and right click on the desired marker.

Chipotle, Archer Rd.

I think I am an oddity at Chipotle's Mexican Grill. I really like their three taco entrée where I can have it just the way I want it. Most GLOBers like to create a giant Chipotle burrito with all the tasty flavors and items available to choose from on your make-it-as- you-go burrito. I like the three taco selection for the same reason. Since this was a meatless Monday lunch stop, I was excited about making three distinctly different tacos. I made myself a spicy brown rice taco with, onions, salsa, cheese and lettuce that was very interesting in that the rice melded together giving the taco a meatless substance in the crunchy lunch wonder. Next I chose the black beans and topped them off with very tasty, piquant corn salsa and hot sauce from the condiment counter. I love black beans, I think I must have some South American heritage in my background. My last taco, the Meatless Monday prize winner, consisted of Chipotle's spicy peppers and onions topped with guacamole, cheese and some very good hot sauce. This is a great lunch. The crunchiness of the hard shell taco combined with cornucopia of interesting textures and flavors makes me think to heck with Meatless Monday. I could eat these tacos every day of the week.

- GLOB Master

 

Please read Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog's Chipotle feature on this GLOB Blog page

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

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El Indio, 34th St.

The GLOB Master was out in NW G'ville heading North, and around a bend in the road on 34th St. when a long-time Mexican lunchtime friend burst out from the curb screaming, "COMA AQUÍ!" Just like that: "EAT HERE." Mexican lunch there was an incredibly good idea. Being an early lunch starter, I was the first in the walk-up line inside El Indio. The El Indio Special was a California Burrito, which I chose for my lunch and consisted of a standard black bean burrito accompanied by salsa, cheese, refried beans, sour cream, and avocado. The heat from the burrito melted the sour cream into a delicious white sauce with big accents of avocado. The Mexican spices were perfect, with a little green salsa help. Then, I couldn't resist -- I had to also order my typical hard shell taco. Sombreros off to El Indio for their excellently prepared their side dishes of refried beans and rice in an attractive, handy, and eventually recyclable container. PS. Don't forget the homemade green salsa – pictured on the beans & rice - available to spice up your lunch.

 

ElIndioBeansRice

Mexican lunch fulfills FOTR requirements

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

There we sat at the light on the corner of NW 39th Avenue and NW 34th Street. Our lunch hour was running out and we needed to make a quick decision about where we were going to eat.

In no certain order, my thoughts processed immediate lunch alternatives in a random fashion: FOTR, drive thru, fast service . . . Mexican.

ElIndioMenuJust like that I could see myself motoring us to El Indio on NW 34th St. across from the Pinch-a-Penny swimming pool store.

If you have read other Mexican features on the GLOB, you know I am under the impression that there is no bad Mexican food. So, El Indio, with their home style approach to Mexican lunch, worked for me.

Unlike the El Indio drive through on 13th St., close to the University of Florida campus, the El Indio on NW 34th St. has a store front dining area with a few tables for dining on your favorite south of the border lunch fare like tacos, burritos, quesadillas. enchiladas, and taquitos, plus specialties like carne asada, tempeh, and apple burritos.

If you don't see what you like in that list, El Indio also has a good selection of nachos, chimichangas, and salads.

If I have still failed to entice your palate, you might be interested in the El Indio North of the Border Hamburgers. These sliders are available in 9 different variations. There's bound to be a specialized burger on that list that rings your bell, and I don't mean your Taco Bell. By the way, how do you say hamburger in Spanish . . .?

Along with nachos, cheese, and guacamole, you can also purchase a small or large order of French fries.

A familiar brand of ice cream in assorted flavors is available for dessert.

Now that is quite a list of lunch time choices to sort out, being in a rush and all. Lucky for me, there is a list of El Indio Combo Platters that make ordering easier for the uninitiated customer. These platters include black beans, rice, and a small beverage. Black beans and rice on the side of a lunch combo made me realize that I was about to enter the belly buster -- that?s a lot of food.

ElIjndioNUMBER4

Accepting my fate I ordered the El Indio #4: a hard shell taco, an enchilada, black beans, rice and a drink.

zzGLOBbullet The taco was excellent. A warm, crispy tortilla encased spicy ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and salsa that performed a Mexican hat dance on my taste buds.
zzGLOBbullet The enchilada was also very tasty.
zzGLOBbullet The El Indio salsa pulled this lunch together for me in "ay-carrumba-kinda-way.

Not a lot of tomato sauce in this spicy mix but tons of Mexican flavor. I might have made the salsa the main ingredient of my lunch because I made sure it accompanied my rice, beans, taco and enchilada.

El Indio provided a good lunch experience. Heck, it might even qualify for close to the top of my Food On The Run favorite list.  That was tasty Mexican food. and a lot of it.

El Indio's quick service and reasonable prices compelled me tell the Spanish staffers upon exiting, "I'm coming back! 

I need to learn how to say that in Spanish.

The Pluses and Minusesof El Indio:

El Indio (+) indicators: fresh ingredients, spicy entrees, reasonably priced.

El Indio (-) indicators: A functional FOTR stop, El Indio does not possess a lot of ambient charm, how ever the cooks and servers appear to be authentic Mexicans and there was authentic Mexican music piped into the dining area..

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

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La Tienda Latina

LTL offers different kind of Mexican lunch

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

latiendaSFMany of the customers and the employees at La Tienda appear to be Mexican or Latin. Behind the restaurant, there is a grocery store with all sorts of groceries you won't see at the American big name grocery stores. In coolers, there are bottles of drinks with Spanish writing. This place has to be the real deal. And the food was surprisingly different from the standard Mexican restaurant. I am carefully avoiding the word authentic because I have never been to Mexico.

LaTienSIDEjpgAt La Tienda on SW 13th St, you walk up to the counter and order. The waitress there was very friendly. I perused a lot of choices for such a small place. On this particular visit, my 2nd in recent months, I wanted one enchilada, but all the enchilada dishes came with 3 enchiladas, beans and rice. When I asked for one cheese enchilada with beans and rice, I got the OK. Then the waitress asked me if I wanted the beans and rice separate or with enchilada. Then I asked for onions and she asked did I want them chopped small or larger pieces. Wow. She also asked if I wanted them grilled. Later, when I saw my lunch partner's dish had grilled onions mixed in with meat and the onions smelled so good, I wished I had gotten them grilled. But I digress. I was very impressed with the willingness to accommodate my unique tastes – all with the grace of someone who understands that these small things make a big difference. A girl after my own heart. I had the choice of red or green mole. I almost went for the green, but chickened out and decided to stick to the more common red.

The chips came out hot and slightly browned – delicious! The salsa was up there with the best, but so far I think Los Margaritas has the best salsa.

 

LTenchilada

My order came out looking extremely appetizing -- with a slice of avocado on top and a dollop of sour cream, but not the Breakstone type of sour cream; it almost looked like ricotta cheese. The mole was deep dark red, and surprisingly slightly sweet, and very good. The cheese was not overwhelming. In fact, I'm not sure what kind of cheese it was as the enchilada was so buried under sauce and lettuce. The tortilla was difficult to cut through with my fork. At first I thought it was a flour tortilla, but my partner got some steamed tortillas with his meal and I think they were the same ones that were used for the enchilada. They seemed fresh made and were corn, but with more flour than usual. It still had the familiar lime flavor.

 

LaTiendaCHIPS

The beans were very good and the rice as well. The rice actually had some potatoes mixed in and they were cooked perfectly. I would never put rice and potatoes together myself but this time it was very good and I've had that combination in some Indian dishes and was surprised that I enjoyed it.

The serving size was hearty. It didn't look like that much and I only had one tortilla, but I still ended up taking about half the food home with me. Maybe that was because of all those chips.

On an earlier visit I had the chicken soup and it was very good – served with lime and the chicken was indeed the main ingredient.

On this visit, I was tempted to take some flan out of the cooler where the drinks were, but I decided to save that for another visit, and . . . I WILL be back.

The Pluses and Minuses of La Tienda Latina:

The La Tienda Latina + :  Excellent food, having it your way, customer friendly, On a nice day the la Tienda patio looks very inviting.

The La Tienda Latina - :   After two visits, I haven't encountered any negatives.

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The whole Chuy's enchilada

Experiencing Chuy's culture first hand

> Follow this link to view the GLOB's first Chuy's lunch visit

By Terry Van Nortwick

Editor's Note: Chuy's Tex-Mex restaurant hired Gaineville's PRO iNK to help introduce this Austin-based restaurant to Gainesville and treated Elayna Rexrode, Pro iNK's Operations Director and Terry Van Nortwick, President, to two days in Austin to experience Chuy's culture and people as well as its food.

As somebody who has never been a big Tex-Mex fan, I quickly learned what "good" Tex-Mex is all about. Our Chuy-eatification began in downtown Austin with a three-hour Chuy's Tex-Mex food tasting. Mark Hernandez, Chuy's kitchen manager, started us out with all eight of Chuy's fresh made salsas and Chuy's chips. Of the Tex-Mex, Ranchero, Hatch Green Chile, Green Chile, Tomatillo, Deluxe Tomatillo, Boom-Boom and the popular Creamy Jalapeno salsa selections my personal favorite was the Deluxe Tomatillo that included cilantro, sour cream, herbs and Mexican spices..

061512CHUYSplatesThen we savored some 15 different entrees. My personal favorite was the chicken enchiladas. Typical of Mexican food, the sides consist of rice and beans, but there's two different choices for each: Mexican rice or green chile rice and refried beans or charro beans.

Entrees include the Elvis Presley Memorial Combo -- two plates of enchiladas, a taco and tostada chips in chile con queso. For $10.49, it's the highest priced item on the menu. Needless to say, two people could easily share this huge dish.

If you are wondering why an Elvis entrée, early on a few Chuy's patrons decided they should celebrate Elvis and his birthday and the celebration stuck and spread to all Chuy's. Now every Chuy's has its own Elvis shrine. As Elvis would say, "Thank you, thank you very much."

061512CHUYSflanAfter Elayna and I thought we couldn't eat another bite, out came the Chuy's desserts: tres leches cake and flan. Now, I'll admit, having been brought up in Miami where these two desserts are favorites at most Cuban restaurants, I am a snob about flan and tres leches. But after one taste of each I thought, 061512CHUYtreslechesDESSERTmy first question was, "Can I buy a giant cake for my next party?"

Not to be outdone by our first Chuy's food sampling, we were invited to help celebrate the 30th birthday of the very first Chuy's restaurant, located just two blocks from the super funky Chuy's headquarters office -- an old potato chip factory complete with vintage furniture, Elvis memorabilia and a slot machine in the conference room (photo & link here).

061512CHUYnachoScarAt the birthday party, we sampled Chuy's margaritas made with freshly squeezed lime juice and got to see the Fully Loaded Nacho Car, which is open every weekday for happy hour from 4 to 7 pm. Every happy hour customer gets free chips, ground beef, salsa, queso and more. This will be a feature at the Gainesville Chuy's location, too.

After the first day of non-stop eating, we spent the next day visiting the other three Austin Chuy's. We toured the kitchens and met the Chuy's staffers who make Chuy's food from scratch every day in every restaurant.

Beyond the food, the thing that impressed Elayna and I most was the passion everyone at Chuy's has about the food and the company. These people truly are committed to good, fresh Tex-Mex, which, combined with Chuy's quirky atmosphere, creates a unique culture.

'Like' the Gainesville Chuy's Facebook page and you'll be notified of upcoming events, specials and the grand opening on June 26.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chuy'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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Linda Vista

Mexican home cooking in West Gainesville

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

MexicoLindoMy friend Lynn -- a more than occasional lunch partner -- and I share a passion for Mexican food. Early on, we made a pact to visit each of 24 places in the Urban GLOB that serve Mexican/Latin American cuisine. (Editor's note: I checked, and was surprised to find, the Urban GLOB map to make sure there are really that many lunch spots that serve Latin American food in Gainesville.)

Recently, Lynn and I were in West Gainesville near the Publix shopping center on Tower road, so we decided to give Linda Vista a try.

Stepping through the unadorned, non-descript strip shopping center door to this Mexican café, we were immediately transported into another world filled with color and richly decorated south-of-the-border images in a cozy, inviting dining area.

 

mexicolindoDR

Thanks to a framed review hanging on their wall, we discovered that Linda Vista is the fourth jewel of Gainesville's Roman family and partners restaurant group, the other three being Las Margaritas, La Tienda, and the Red Pepper Cafe.

Linda Vista offers up an interesting take on Mexican cuisine that differs somewhat from its sister restaurants. The café-like menu and ambience of L.V. suggests an authentic, home style approach to Mexican food.

The first Mexican food test for me is chips and salsa. Give Linda Vista a plus for their chips and salsa. The chips were large triangles that arrived at our table warm and crispy. They held up well to the copious amounts of salsa I was scooping on to them and pushing into my mouth.

The salsa was good. A thick tomato salsa complimented with onion, a very small sprinkling of fresh cilantro, and perhaps a little horseradish included for some spice.

We quickly finished our bowl of chips and requested a second that arrived at our table immediately.

 

MlindoTACO

The creature of habit in me opted for the Mike Sanford usual Mexican order of a hard shell taco and chile relleno.

If I sit down to a Mexican meal without a hard shell taco, someone else must have placed the order.

Linda Vista makes a good taco. The meat filling could have been a little spicier but the cheese, greens, and salsa, however, satisfied my Mexican food expectations.

Speaking of tacos, did you know some Sundays, Taco Bell runs a special where they sell tacos for 25 cents? That's twenty tacos for five dollars. That might sound like a lot of tacos but once you get started, but I digress, Back to M.L. . . .

When I think of Mexican food I think of chile rellenos. I don't think I've ever had two that tasted the same. I'm guessing it must be like hamburgers. There must not be a Mexican Chili Relleno recipe etched in stone somewhere.

The chili relleno I had at Linda Vista was OK. A little too much mild sauce. The breading on the pepper was a lack luster participant in the entree.

Of course that didn't stop me from cleaning my plate first, and if Lynn had ordered a chile relleno and left some on her plate I would have eaten her leftovers as well.

Lynn did order a Shrimp Quesadilla, image at top of this feature, and beans and rice. She was not pleased with the rice, which was mushy – but she did eat it all. She thought the beans and the quesdilla were good, and concluded that the food did not quite live up to the promise of the décor.

I'm thinking Mexican food must be like pizza for me. The best Mexican food I have ever eaten is always the food on the plate in front of me.

The pluses and minuses of Linda Vista:

Linda Vista  (+) indicators: This is a good moderately priced lunch spot in West Gainesville with authentic decor.

Linda Vista  (-) indicators:  How come these Mexican places don't have a Mariachi band playing at lunch time? AY CARUMBA!

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

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Chipotle Mexican Grill, Midtown

L. Dirk is IN LOVE with Chipotle Grill

By Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor

ChipotleSFuniIt's all GOOD here – literally.  Chipotle Mexican Grill was started in Denver by a man named Steve Ells in 1993. This is a man – and restaurant -- after my own heart in two BIG ways:

"Advertising isn't believable." This was his response to a question about why Chipotle spends very little advertising. Wow – imagine: A product that sells itself simply because it is good.

> He is working hard to serve food with integrity – Chipotle serves more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant. When you eat the food, you can tell the quality is better. Part of that is due to has decision to keep the menu simple so that the food is done right: "If you just do a few things, you can ensure that you do them better than anybody else."

The above quotes and information are from a brief interview of Ells by Business Week magazine in 2007.

So it all SOUNDS good but does it taste good? YES!!! And it LOOKS good too, which is important because, as my mother used to say, "We eat with our eyes."

 

051711chipotle

SO, with Chipotle as with many restaurants these days (I think Chipotle started this trend!?), you walk along a food line and tell servers at sequential stations what you want. You start with the carb – taco shells, a flour tortilla warmed in a press, which starts off a burrito,or rice that has fresh cilantro and lime mixed into it. Fantastic!!!  This starts off the burrito bowl, which is what I always get.  There is also a salad bowl, which does not include a carb.

Then you choose a meat or bean item for your lunch. All the meats look wonderfully grilled and spiced. PLUS, in 2007 (again from Business Week): 100% of the pork is humanely raised and 85% of the beef.

There are also grilled onions and peppers, which they call fajita vegetables and I think are intended to go with the meats but  I always ask for them when I get beans and the servers are always nicely accommodating -- and generous!

Black beans or pinto beans are available and they always let you know the pinto beans have pork in them. Then on to the salsas: roasted corn, fresh tomato (mild) and two types of tomatillo that are medium hot or hot. I always get all the salsas.

Then you can add sour cream, grated cheese, lettuce, and guacamole – there is am extra charge unless you get a vegetarian order.

This is a LOT of food and when I sit down to mix it all together, there's nothing better. It is enough for two meals if I can get myself to stop eating.

 

CHIPOTLEtwoTACOS

Chipotle is famous for HUGE burritos, but you can order three hard shell or soft shell tacos if a giant burrito is not your lunch out choice.

Can you tell that this is one of my favorite restaurants even though it is a cafeteria/fast food venue?I previously commented that Chipotle is a McDonald's restaurant. Not so. Apparently McDonald's owned a large part of the stock from 98 to 06, but none at all now.

 

CHIPOTLErelishI LOVE the the cilantro-lime rice. I LOVE that they spell 'bowl' with a w instead of as 'bol.'  I LOVE the grilled onions and peppers. I LOVE the different salsas and the veggies - the food here is healthy . . . except it is very easy to eat too much! Especially if you get beans AND meat. Also I LOVE that most of their meat comes from humanely treated animals. Maybe that will be true for ALL animals soon, and ironically, I hope I am a vegetarian by then.  I LOVE that they have outdoor seating and there are big beautiful trees that shade the tables and I can look across the street at the historic buildings on UF's campus.

I LOVE Chipotle!!!  Apparently a lot of other people do to.  There are always people here and sometimes there can be quite a line.

The Pluses and Minusesof Chipotle Grill:

Chipotle Grill + Indicators: I LOVE everything!!.

Chipotle Grill – Indicators: Nothing!!

ChipotleTOPPER0315

'It's all' good when this GLOBer does Chipotle

Chipotle3VEGGIETACOI have to give myself credit – I really know how to pick them!! As highlighted in the GLOB recently, the Wall Street Journal gave Steve Ells, the founder and owner of Chipotle, a 2011 Innovator Award and stated, "There is no more important person in the food industry." Check out this compelling WSJ video on Ells.   On a recent visit, the food was as good as ever. As always I order a bowl to go – even if I eat in, I order to go, because there is so much food I SHOULDN'T finish it in one sitting. This time the bowl was filled with cilantro-lime rice – my required bowl base, grilled peppers and onions, pinto beans, grilled chicken, corn salsa, sour cream that is actually more like sauce -- it is ladled on top, grated cheese, and a little of all three tomato salsas – fresh, mild, and hot. The GLOB Master ordered a hard shell taco trio: peppers, corn relish, and black beans. We also had guacamole and chips. To repeat myself – it's ALL GOOD here!!!  -- Lynn Dirk

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

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Tijuana Flats

I've come to the conclusion that if I was going to be a serious meatless individual Mexican cuisine would be my cookery of choice because of the varied ingredient choices, spices, textures, and robust. Since I am now trying to forego flour, sugar and other 'white food products' the taco salad above offers me a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a cornucopia of taste delights sans the giant, molded taco shell. Carumba GLOBers! My Tijuana Flats Taco Salad in a whole wheat tortilla shell, spring mix greens, cheese, refried beans, guacamole, and a side of salsa is a fantastic lunch. I like a flavorful hot sauce and the TF has a interesting 'wall of sauce' and I always choose a green, and red sauce to enhance my lunch time flavors. My taco salad also can be ordered with additional proteins of black beans, chicken, mahi, steak, or carnitas. The scoop of 'guac' was special, the added pinto beans included a very nice flavor to my lunch of proteins resting on a bed of beautiful chopped greens. The added avocado dressing mixed went well with a very spicy, delicious salsa I asked for on the side. FYI GLOBer the next couple of weeks the Tijuana Flats across from campus in Midtown is not quite as busy as it will be in 30 days. At lunch the other day I was discussing meatless options, as opposed to red meat hamburger options. You know my fine friend, and eating partner if you get your lunch all the way, or add several of your favorite ingredients to your mid-day entrée, there is a good chance you couldn't really tell if you were eating meatless, or not. All the flavors combine, intermingle, meld together for an extraordinary adventure of taste, texture and flavor, plus you would be helping the planet in many different ways.

- GLOB Master

 

TFtopper

Taco heaven is located on University Avenue

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

It could've been the below average taco I ate last week at Las Margaritas.

I could say I'm lunching out at Back-to-back Mexican restaurants to inform GLOBers of some excellent Tex-Mex lunch stops.

TijuanaFlatsSF

I do want to feature Midtown's Tijuana Flats to demonstrate the distinctly different lunch opportunities of Las Margaritas and Tijuana Flats to lunchouters:

Let's call it the, 'GLOB Mexican Two-fer.'

zzGLOBbullet  TWO different styles of Mexican lunches.

zzGLOBbullet  TWO completely different approaches to the Mexican taco.

zzGLOBbullet  "Taco TUESdaze"

Tijuana Flats is directly across from the University of Florida campus and takes a certain amount of resolve to find a good parking spot. However your patience is rewarded with a visit to this contemporarily hip, comic book like Mexican lunch experience. There is also a TF Location on SW Archer Rd.

TF's is quick to show the new customer that this isn't your parent's taco stand. They work hard to demonstrate a healthier approach to Mexican cuisine.

Included on the menu is the 'LO Items Under 500 Calories' category. These entrees are made with a regular size, whole wheat tortillas and what they call Power Lite ingredients. Other healthy features of the TF menu are:

zzGLOBbullet  Free of charge you can add low fat cheese, and fat-free sour-cream from TF's Power Lite items.

zzGLOBbullet  Whole wheat tortillas can be substituted in place of the regular flour tortillas.

 

TtuesdayFIX

Tijuana Flats has some different combo platters including the Steak & Cheesy Burrito, Blackened Chicken Caesar Burrito along with many nachos, flautas, chimichangas and quesadilla choices. A rice bowl is also on the menu that loads rice, black beans grilled onions, green peppers, tomatoes and green onions into a large, crispy, whole wheat shell for the veggie lover. For protein additives chicken, steak, refried beans or black beans can be added to your rice bowl lunch entree.

This myriad of choices almost pulled me away from my lunch time mission. I was in Tijuana Flats in search of tacos. Hard shell tacos to be exact.

The GLOB lunch gods must've been watching over me. Plain as day, in the middle of the menu the DOS O TRES TACO special screamed at me, "globalización maestro!" That's GLOB Master in Spanish.

What a lunch! Two 9" inch in diameter hard shell tacos loaded with black beans, jalapenos, onions, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese for $5.49. My first taco included chicken as the protein. My second taco was a beef taco.

 

TFtacoPLATE

These tacos were bigger than my extended hand, and for an additional $1.99 I added rice, black beans and a soft drink with free refills.

TF's also has a very cool 13 different hot sauce bar are available to customize your Mexican heat quotient with clever names and variable dgeres of heat with names llike, 'Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally... Jalapeno The Second Slapping,' to 'Just In Queso Foundation,  Share The Love Feel The Burn.'

I was in crispy, crunchy, taco heaven!

Tuesday's are TACO TUESDAZE, a fantastic taco special that includes two 'tacos on steroids', chips and a drink for $4.99.

 

comicArt

TF is a very hip, comically cool lunch spot. The walls of the restaurant contain many of the Tex-Mex, comically themed graphics that are displayed on the Tijuana Flats website. You should check this web site out if you are into comics, color or graphic design. I will go back to check the web site out again just for a dose of coolness.

I didn't mean to over look all the other lunch time swlections on the TF Menu including salads, tostados, burritos, nachos, flautas and many other Tex Mex entrees.There is a lot of good information on their web site. I also applaud Tijuana Flats for 'having their head' in the right place in regard to appealing to their customer's awareness of their health, well being and social consciousness. (there is a restaurant menu link at the bottom of this feature.)

Me, personally, I'm going back to Tijuana Flats for TACO TUESDAZE.

The Pluses and Minuses of Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats (+) indicators: TACO TUESDAZE, 9" taco shells, visiting the comically cool TF website. (see example above.)

Tijuana Flats (-) indicators: Plan to go to TF early, when UF is closed, or, be patient and enjoy this unique environment while waiting for your lunch.

 

 

TACOsalad480

The cafeteria like cacophony of midtown's Tijuana's Flats was music to the GLOB Master's ears. I will admit it takes a special perspective to walk in bravely , following the Tijuana Flats wall around the corner and up to the ordering counter in a sea of millenials chowing down, getting up, sitting down, coming inside, rapidly exiting. The wall-to-wall activity made it seem like there were 300 fellow lunch outers in my midst. Seeing the friendly server behind the counter was for welcoming experience for this non-millenial. "Hi welcome to Tijuana Flats," she said with a giant smile. "Have you ever been here before," she asked with a curious look. After exchanging pleasantries I order my go to Mexican meal these days of a taco salad with whole wheat tortilla shell, mixed greens, choice of Chicken (chipotle or blackened), or Beef, steak, refried or black bean and crispy fish, toppings, guacamole and a choice of ranch, salsa, avocado ranch or Southwest citrus vinaigrette dressing. I was lucky to get the last table in the corner allowing me to have my back against the wall and to be able to watch the college lunch day madness unfold in front of me. I love the Mexican flavors of the taco salad. All the ingredients combine for a wonderful fiesta of tastes. The spicy chicken melds nicely with the sharp cheddar cheese, and crunchy onion, and lettuce flavor. The big scoop of guacamole and the fresh jalapeno peppers made my lunch salad special.  I went over and picked two of very good sauces from the sauce bar. I selected a green sauce for flavor, and a red sauce for a little scoville punch. The TF website has a clever statement identifying all the politically correct Tijuana Flats processes: No microwaves or freezers.

zzGLOBbullet Vegetarian lard-free beans.
zzGLOBbullet No canned foods ever.
zzGLOBbullet Zero trans-fat cooking oil.
zzGLOBbullet Hormone-free chicken & steak.

-Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

 

 

TijuanaFlatsSF

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La Fiesta

Taco platter ALMOST sways lunch order

It was a perfect day for lunching out on the veranda of Jesse, Lupe, and David Castro’s La Fiesta Mexican restaurant just off of I-75 on NW 39th Ave.  The vibrant blue sky and the warmth from noon day sunshine made the cool winds creeping in from the north tolerable.  Lunch pal Jules Gollner was trying to convince me that the La Fiesta taco platter (image at top) would be a better choice for the GLOB Master than my usual chili relleno, hard shell taco (image underneath) Mexican lunch.  I must admit Jule’s tacos looked mighty tasty.  I like the idea of two hard shell and one soft shell taco on her plate.  The idea of having a chicken, beef and also refried bean taco was enticing.  Mexican cuisine for me is the crunch of the taco, the spice of the peppers and other Mexican spices and the creaminess of the refried beans.  Jules asked for a bite of my excellently prepared chile relleno and afterwards had to agree that the La Fiesta chile relleno is one of the best entrees, in any cuisine, in the GLOB. 

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

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Las Magaritas

When GLOBers say Las Margaritas I think parking.  So many cars, so few spaces.  That said they do make an excellent Mexican Lunch.    Looking at the menu, I spied Chicken Palapa, which is creamed poblano peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese . . . CARUMBA! How could I resist? This dish is becoming the GLOB Master's favorite mexcian lunch.  Chicken Palapa is a chicken breast sauteed with onions, poblano pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, and red wine, topped with cheese, and served with Mexican rice and refried beans. It was delicious. My Lunch partner Blu Dove designs Lisa Renshaw went the ala carte route and chose an enchilada minus refried beans and rice.   It looked very tasty . . . all by itself.  That menu selection is reason enough explain why the web designing super star weighs much less than the GLOB Master.

- Mike Sanford

 

Mexican lunch turns into festive flavor festival

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

LasMargSFBeing a serious Mexican food lover, I was excited when Las Margaritas moved into a new building and new location just off the corner of NW 43rd St. and NW 39th Ave.  Great I thought to myself, no more parking issues.  I don't know how to say no parking in spanish but I intrepret the Las Margaritas parking lot as a nightmare.

With two roomy dining rooms, my friend, White Apron Catering Queen Jules Gollner, and I were quickly seated in one of the comfortably sized booths lining the walls of the main dining room. The other dining area, where the bar is located, also has ample room for lunchouters and their conversations.

Jules was taking in the new Mexican décor and design around us with the keen professional eye of a food business colleague.

LasMpatioOne of the first things Jules noted was the exterior patio seating on the east side of Las Margaritas. Jules likes to take her long-time four-legged pal Rusty out to dine at times, and she quickly discovered LM's spacious, completely covered patio is just what the doggy ordered.

Back inside. The dining room is nicely lit and has a two-story-high ceiling. The spacious room provides ample distance between tables for personal conversation to remain personal.

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The tables and other furniture in Las Margaritas were shipped from Mexico just like the furniture in LM's sister restaurant, NW Gainesville's Mexico Lindo. The bright colors create a festive and are an excellent complement to a spectacular fountain in the center of the dining room.

While the building was new, the chips and salsa were very familiar. Shortly after we were seated, our server brought a generous serving of corn chips and salsa to these two hungry lunchouters. It was the usual crispy abundant tortillas and decanters of jalapeno peppers, onions, and chunks of juicy tomato. The perfectly seasoned salsa is an excellent way to kick start a southwest appetite.

Jules ordered LM's #1 lunch special: A hard shell taco, a chile relleno, refried beans, and a guacomole salad.

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Although I felt like I was abandoning my best friend by ignoring the taco and relleno combo, I broke my Mexican lunch tradition and ordered the Chicken Palapas. It was very good: Chicken breast topped with onions, poblano peppers, mushrooms, and red wine sauce and cheese accompanied with refried black beans and Mexican rice. The hot peppers and onions combined with the red wine sauce to create a spectacular complement to the mild white chicken filet. The GLOB Master eagerly suggests that you give this lunch entrée a try.

Congratulation to LM for upgrading this long-time lunchtime favorite into a unique and festive Central American lunch experience. The food is still some of the best Mexican cuisine in the GLOB in my opinion.

Las Margaritas has always been a friendly yet efficient lunch stop. Now, the restaurant itself is more spacious and stimulating. The new surroundings easily move this GLOB lunch favorite closer to the top of the frequent eater food list.

The Pluses and Minuses of Las Margaritas:

Las Margaritas + indicators: Excellent Mexican cuisine. Festive lunch time environment. Superb patio dining opportunity

Las Margaritas - indicators: Las Margaritas popularity still makes their parking area busy and something to consider.

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El Norteno SW 13th St.

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

 

 

 

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