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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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

Sandwich Depot, CLOSED, February, 2017

The Pluses and Minuses of Sandwich Depot:

Sandwich Depot + indicators:

Sandwich Depot - indicators: 

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

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16th Ave. Diner

You're going to love Chef JP's lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

16thAveDinerAI was out purchasing a Gainesville Sun paper, when I decied it was time to give the 16th Ave Diner a try. The ghosts of Karol and Bill, the former owners of this lunch stop on NE 16th Ave, could very well be floating around in another dimension inside the diner, but make no mistake GLOBers, 16th Ave. Diner Chef JP is now in charge of this lunch counter.

Chef JP is an Xtra-large individual with a tell-it-like-it-is, matter-of-fact attitude, and he takes extreme pride in the NE 16th Ave. Diner Daily Specials surprisingly called, "Chef JP's Daily Specials -- $8.99."

With true diner authenticity these mid-day gems never change, so you might want to make a copy of these five luncth time prizes:

DINERcounter

MONDAY - Meatloaf
TUESDAY - Chopped Steak
WEDNESDAY - Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich
THURSDAY - Country Fried Steak and Gravy
FRIDAY - Fried Cod, Fries, Hush Puppies, Coleslaw ($9.99)

The Daily Specials are served from 11-2 with two sides and a biscuit or cornbread. There are 8 side orders to choose from for your JPDS: Coleslaw, corn, fried okra, green beans, lima beans, potato salad, and mashed potatoes and gravy.

Since it was Country Fried Steak and Gravy day I was thinking a side of lima beans would be a perfect complement to the crunchy steak crust and creamy gravy.

 

DINERbeans

"Are the lima beans really good?" I asked JP, who was towering over the lunch counter looking a lot like Mr. Clean with his shiny bald dome.

The Chef leaned over closer to me with a fierce look of consternation, and with the sound of utter conviction in his voice, he said, "They're the best you've ever had."

That was good enough for me. I like this Chef JP. The 16th Ave. Diner was bustling with serious homecooked- lunchtime lovers appreciating hearty, stick to your ribs lunch entrees, and i was feeling right at home enjoying my paper and hearing JP orchestrate breakfast among this clan of hungry eaters.

I was grooving to the fact that the oldies station on the sound system was playing Elvis singing Blue Hawaii right after John Lennon's Instant Karma tune. I was enjoying a very good piece of crispy fried steak with some most excellent brown gravy when JP saunters over to make sure I was a happy customer.

"So whaddya think of the limas?" he asked.

"They are really good," I said. "I love the pinch of sweeteness the baby limas possess, and the tender texture along wihth the fresh, green crunch shows me you obviously know your lima beans Chef."

The 16th Ave. Diner is a good, fast, quick 'n tasty lunch for lunchouters in a hurry. I'm going back to the 16th Ave. Diner. That Wednesday Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich Special is screaming out my name. The 16th Ave. Diner also serves breakfast starting at 7:00

AAsmallknifefork0311

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CH-CH-CHANGES:  A few days later, I stopped at the 16th Ave. Diner for breakfast hoping to get a better image of JP for this feature and I couldn't resist the Uot-Mex 3 Egg Omlette on their breakfast menu.  The cholesterol delight included onions, ham, cheese, jalapeno peppers and a very spiccy salsa topping.  My breakfast plate was beautiful, suitable for framing.  16TH Ave. Diner waitress Chelsea checked to see if I was a happy customer when I asked if JP had the day off.  "JP doesn't work here any more. He's moved on to other things," she said indifferently. And so it goes Grasshoppers, in the fluid world of the restaurant/food service industry the only thing that remains the same is constant changes.

The Pluses and Minuses of the 16th Ave. Diner:

16th Ave. Diner + indicators:  Serious home cooked goodness, never changing lunch specials.

16th Ave. Diner -  indicators:  Perhaps a few knicks knacks, images for the walls, and/or a giant photo of former 16th Ave. Diner Chef PJ could add to the curret limited ambience.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the 16th Ave. Diner. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

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Applebee's Grill & Bar, Newberry Rd.

Applebee's opens 2nd location on Newberry Rd.

FOLLOW THIS LINK for  a Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Applebee's Gril & Bar review.

May 4, 2015 - Applebee's Gril & Bar has branced out with a new lunch stop heading West on Newberry rd. just past Iintersate 75.   With eight new entrees, and a completely new Bar Menu touting 19 news appetizxers, this big box lunch stop is serious about being your mid-day meal house.  FOLLOW THIS LINK for more Applebee's information.

 

The Pluses and Minuses of Applebee's Grill & Bar:

The Applebee's Grill & Bar + indicators:

The Applebee's Grill & Bar -

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

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Uppercrust Bakery

FA discovers fresh bread nirvana

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

There is nothing the Food Adventurere loves to eat more than bread. I can appreciate loaves of seeded rye, warm pressed sandwiches of ciabatta bread and savory scones that adorn the glass cases within bakeries and specialty shops. It takes all I have to not snatch up every baked good behind these glass barriers. I tried for one week to cut out the sandwiches, bagels and pastries that encompass such a large portion of my diet, and it only made me feel ill. Needless to say, bread and flour products are not going anywhere.

uppercrustFRIEND0913jpgI have heard nothing but high regards and seriously-worded recommendations for Uppercrust "artisan bakery and luxury food and wine boutique" at 4116 NW 16th Blvd., next to the Fresh Market. After one last nudge from a close friend, Mariel, right, I gave in to a lunch date at Gainesville's oldest bakery founded in 1981.

While the proximity from campus was not an appealing aspect, I cannot deny the marvel that I felt upon opening the glass doors of Uppercrust. Immediately I was hit with the wafting aroma of rosemary, although its origins would be a feat to track, as there were dozens of loaves of freshly made bread snuggled together and rows of salivating-inducing baked goods, from croissants to "roses" and butter rolls. Not to mention that just around the corner from the checkout counter were stacks of specialty wine bottles and another food case of desserts, teasing and taunting me until I could extricate myself from the area.

 

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I have found fresh bread nirvana.

With a plethora of options, my anxiety as a food adventurer was growing steadily, as narrowing down lunch choices was proving to be the most challenging aspect of the day. My friend insisted we order the ham and cheese rose, and from there the ideas snowballed into uppercrustLEMONADE0913a carb-overloaded menu befitting an Uppercrust first-timer. The just-out-of-the-oven turkey, goat cheese and basil rose sprinkled with rosemary was a no-brainer, followed by its oven partner-in-crime, the artichoke, onion, garlic and tomato rose. Following suit were the decadently-crafted desserts. After much debate, we ordered the raspberry cream rose and the pistachio croissant. To complete the elegant food feast, we each grabbed a bottle of sparkling lemonade.  There is an Uppercrust bakery menu web link at the bottom of this page.

We decided to sit at one of the small tables in the outside seating area in front of the bakery, which is really the only available seating at the shop. A word of warning: While pleasantly shaded and easily accessible, our dining experience was frequented by one too many love bugs for comfort. Not to mention that the few tables were quite close together.

 

uppercrustPastry-013

But to the fun part: Each selection (right, above and below) was nothing short of a confectionary masterpiece, from the aesthetics to the flavors. Diving straight into the food, the turkey rose was up first: Warm, thick slices of turkey coated the pastry beneath the weight of the crumbly goat cheese, the basil leaves a shaded covering over the compilation of meat, dairy and that rosemary I consistently smelled. The runner-up proved to be the veggie and garlic rose: Flaky, seasoned pastry shrouded the thick layers of clumped grilled artichoke and surrounded the tomato and onion slices as a hallelujah chorus rang throughout my taste buds. Even the simplest lunch option, the ham and cheese rose, reminded me of those warm breakfast sandwiches I used to order to-go from various breakfast shops.

 

uppercrustRaspberry0913

This lunch would not have been complete without the dessert pastries, though, and the two options Mariel and I agreed on were nothing short of an experience. The raspberry cream rose was first, the center fluffy dough contrasting the crisp outer edges sticking to my teeth akin to the sensation of chewing cotton candy. The sporadic dollops of raspberry cream nestled into the flaky croissant layers created the ideal sweet and tangy addition. I couldn't put it down. The windmill shape of the pistachio croissant, up next, offered a hands-on way to section off a helping at a time. The folds of baked dough encased pistachio and walnut pieces in a savory concoction speckled with grains of sugar.

uppercrussPistachio0913a

It took everything I had not to inhale every bite.

uppercrustCOUNTERS0913All of this would not have been possible without the baked — always in-house, I might add — dough that is the moist, flaky base of all these goods and, in my opinion, the true secret to Uppercrust's success. It is the variety and the unique nature of the baked goods that has set also set them apart from other bakeries. Well, it's that and the just-baked, melt-in-your-mouth sensation that every bakery is not able to duplicate, unfortunately. In this case, I was more than happy it did. This food explorer will be a return customer.

My only problem will be consumption in moderation.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Uppercrust Bakery:

The uppercrust + indicators : Unique and varied selection; well made products; quality ingredients

The uppercrust  - indcators : Seating area close together and prone to bugs

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

 

UCtopper

Lunchouting in the 'hood'

UClunchDESSERTWhite Apron Catering Queen Jules Gollner, Rusty the Wonder Dog, and the GLOB  Master decided that lunch around the corner from where Jules' old neighborhood would be an excellent lunch because we had heard that long time friend Lupe Moser was now working at the Uppercrust Bakery. Just like in neighborhoods of old, it was perfect timing: We bumped into fellow GLOBer Sam Boone, enjoying the beautiful lunch time outside of UB at an adjoining table; Jule's husband, Paul (below, left), showed up; and Lupe (below, center) took a break and joined us for an Uppercrust buffet of feta and ham, and ham and cheese rose pastries, an Eiffel Tower scone, and some of the best cookies this side of White Apron Catering. (That was a shout out to my pal Jules.  Woof!  Woof!  That one is to rusty)

The scone was the lunch prize winner being flaky, moist, and filled with ham and cheese that resulted in a wonderful explosion of flavor. But a close second is the UB meat-filled rose pastries, which are legendary – and if they are not, they ought to be. Jules, Paul, and I decided to divide everything into thirds. What a deal, we couldn't eat all of the superb lunch that the three of us enjoyed for less than $20.

Oh, all right, Paul did get up and purchase a couple more cookies, just because they were his favorite. There is an Uppercrust Bakery menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

Our neighborhood luncheon was informal, convivial, great fun, and very special due to the friendship energy at the tables outside the local bakery.

UClunchB

 

Find your 'old world' Food On The Run here!

by Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Something about the Uppercrust Bakery (UB) on NW 16th Blvd. exemplifies old world charm. Aside from the familiar fragrances of bread, cookies, and croissants stuffed with chocolate and cheese, there are gourmet and speciality items stacked in every nook and cranny of this store creating a feel of being transported to a french village in another era.

Uppercrust features an assortment of holiday gift options and stocking stuffers. They offer interesting French glassware, linens, fetching hand-made olde-fashioned European cooky molds, ceramics, luxury food products, and unusual wines. Uppercrust also custom creates gift basket to your liking.

uppercrustsf

The cleverness of this bakery/speciality shop is that there are so many unique, interesting and tasty products in this tiny bakery that when you visit you want to wander through the shop inspecting every package or item that catches your eye with the possibility of uncovering a special food treasure.

There is a fabulous array of amazing gourmet delicacies in jars, boxes, and bags and many rows wine bottles with interesting labels.

Plus the folks behind the UB counter are extremely attentive to their customers. I always feel like a valued customer when I enter the cozy confines of this 'other world'. Maybe the friendliness is because thay have so many returning customers. Or is it the UB has so many returning customers because this is a Top Crust bakery selling quality products.

Stopping at the UB the other day to pick up a loaf of their addictive Rosemary garlic bread I noticed they had an extraordinary menu of tasty lunch items available for the customer that was in the grab-and-go, pick-em-up-and-eat-em-up, or -- as we say in the GLOB world --the FOOD ON THE RUN (FOTR) mood.

Several different kinds of fresh baked golden brown pastry, cheese, meat and veggie lunch items are arranged inside a glass presentation case to tantalize me as I walk in. There they sat, their melted cheese, and buttery goodness wafting their bountiful aroma directly at me, or so I thought.

Now I am somewhat of a large individual. I'd like to think that is why I thought it would be OK to buy four or five of these pastry medallion belly bombs. They would make a great lunch.

Reason prevailed however and I decided to be responsible and purchase just two of the Ham & Gruyere Cheese Rose delicacies for my FOTR experience.

Since this was a FOTR moment I didn't have a problem eating one of the 'roses' as soon as I got back to my car. The hard part of this eating exercise was saving the other rose for later.

Allow me a chance here to do a Food Network 'Best Thing I Ever Ate' impersonation:

"What they do is take a thick slice of honey glazed ham, gruyere cheese, fresh herbs, spicy mustard, light pastry dough and bake them into a rose-like shape at a very high heat until the pastry dough is mouthwatering, flaky, and golden brown. Then at that first bite the flavors of this ham, cheese, mustard and herb goodness explode into a glorious mouthful of french cafe heaven."

You know what my mistake was? I should've bought another Ham & Gruyere Cheese Rose to eat while I was writing this UB review. . .

Since I didn't do that, I am going back now to get another one, and I think I will also get one of those Artichoke & Swiss rolls while I'm at it . . . .

The Pluses and Minuses of the Uppercrust Bakery:

The uppercrust + indicators : This friendly, small bakery is filled with very tasty FOODie happiness. Their FOTR lunch items are unique, one-of-a-kind lunch treats including their own, fresh pate perfect for that GLOBer in a hurry.

The uppercrust  - indcators : It's a small, but very popular FOTR stop so be prepared to demonstrate a certain amount of patience while waiting your turn.

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

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Paramount Grill

The 'little somethings' spoil great lunch 

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

paramountstoresfThe question I hear the most when I introduce myself as Gainesville's GLOB Master is, "What is the best restaurant in Gainesville?"

After saying there are 243 restaurants in Gainesville with many unique 'best restaurant' choices, I quickly say if my mother were coming to town I would take her to the Paramount Grill downtown.

My friends and I were in luck with an early arrival there for lunch with only one table of six ordering ahead of us. The PG ambiance, service, and uniquely interesting menu never fails as a great lunch experience. This lunch stop is special if for no other reason than to gaze out the PG windows onto the old Gainesville brick streets and historic preserved buildings.

I was with long-time friends and previous UF Entomology & Nematology colleagues, Jane Medley and Kathy Milne, to celebrate Ms. Milne's birthday.

 

ParamountBurger

Ongoing adventures with my diabetes led me to choose the Paramount Grill Southwestern Hamburger with fried green tomato, avocado, goat cheese, and chipotle aioli for $11 as an excellent option, YELP image above.   I could easily leave behind the bread (and thus keep my carbs down) by treating the sandwich as an open-faced dish.

I find my cerebral logic wires working more often since I am trying to marginalize bread, white ingredients from my diet.

To start the meal, our server described a soup special of Indian-spiced, roasted garlic and tomato soup with cilantro that sounded divine down to the cilantro that had me thinking outside my lunch box for a side order of soup.

PGrosanneWhile we were catching up on Kathy's birthday, and Jane Medley's retiring from Entomology & Nematology, our server returned with the news there was no more hamburger meat in the kitchen. I was surprised by that – how do you run out of an important product like that so early during the lunch interval? As a second choice, like my pals, I too ordered a panini sandwich and lamented the toasted bread thinking Giilda Radner's very cunny character Roseanne Roseannadanna is correct saying, "If it ain't somethin', iIt's something else."

The Portabello Panino with asparagus, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, spinach, brie and pesto for $7 did sound good, image at top of this review. In fact I had even given the Panini serious consideration before deciding on the red meat protein.

 

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

Our order arrived in a timely manner and I eagerly tasted the soup for spices and flavors. The soup was delicious with a very small tinge of Indian spices which made me happy since I am not a big fan of curry. I did manage to squeeze in a little bread during this lunch as the soup came with a tiny homemade basil roll. Yum.

 

PGsoup0616

"This is really good soup," I said to the server. "But I'm not tasting the cilantro," I say to the server disappointed about missing my favorite spice.

"Oh, the Chef decided he wasn't using any cilantro today," the server stated matter-of-factly. Another missing ingredient!

The Portabello Panino was a very good alternative to my red meat dream. The bits and bites of red pepper, onion, and spinach were delicious in the melted brie. The pieces of asparagus jumped out off the flavor palette literally making me stop to smile at the delicious, crunchy asparagus flavor. The accompanying side order of a light salad with navy beans and a tangy vinaigrette dressing was my substitute for the waffle fries.

 

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As always lunch with friends from my bug/insect working days is an enjoyable lunch hour and the food served was delicious. Unfortunately this trip created a quandary as far as my recommending the PG as one of the best lunch stops in the future. Should I mention the ingredient missed steps in my evaluation or should I think of the missing cilantro as a grain of salt?

The Pluses and Minuses of the Paramount Grill:

The Paramoung Grill + indicators :  Excellent cusisne, atentive service.

The Paramount Grill - indicators :  With attention to detail falling off is the Paramount resting onit's laureals?

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

 

ParramountMEATLOAFpannini 

A wonderful, 'old Gainesville' lunch experience

zzGLOBbullet Paramount Grill one of Gourmet magazine's best Valentine's Day dinners.

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Would it surprise you to learn that the fine dining establishment, the Paramount Grill (PG) in downtown Gainesville, is serving up a sandwich at lunch?  It's an incredibly tasty, pressed sandwich called "Grilled Chicken with Havarti, Bacon, Plum Tomato, Organic Greens and Avocado with Garlic Aioli."

PmountPICThat's quite an inventory of ingredients combined in this toasted, pressed-to-perfection, melted cheese flavor extravaganza.

When it's my turn to suggest a lunch out spot to friends I am happy to pick the Paramount Grill because I like to think of the PG as one of my special lunchtime discoveries.

The Paramount Grill is a great friendly lunch gathering spot for your biz meeting. The tables are spaced out evenly enough that you don't feel like you're invading the space of lunch outters at the next table.

There is no sense of being in a hurry at the Paramount Grill. Located on a side street just off of Main St, the PG has a large front window with a great view looking out on one of the oldest streets in Gainesville. Directly across the street is a beautiful, red-brick rustic building that once housed what may have been the first hardware store in Gainesville (Rice Hardware, now American Apparel -- which retained the original well-worn wooden floor).

 

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You can imagine yourself in a Gainesville from another era as you sit amidst a gracious decor at a table traditionally laid out with a white table cloth and cloth napkins, and an attentive, quick-to-please wait staff eagerly anticipates your needs.

The Paramount Grill lunch menu is an interesting variation of their dinner menu and features salads, soups, and wraps.

They have also included a nice collection of burgers, some veggie items, and a very nice assortment of special lunch entrees like Almond Encrusted Crab Cakes, Salmon Saute' with Portabello Mushrooms, and Pesto Roasted Chicken Roulade.

From the perspective of this professional eater, if you are looking to impress, to close a big business deal, or just to stop, step back, and take a breath away from every day madness, the Paramount Grill might very well be your designated destination.

So fellow GLOBers, if you are out to impress where's your best lunch out spot?

 

ParamountTOPPERa

Plans had been made for a Paramount Grill Sunday Brunch for quite a few weeks.The PG's menu of excellent choices made decision-making very hard but eventually entrees were chosen. Gold stars go to the Crab Cake Benedict with lots of crab, plumtomatoes, roasted garlic and basil hollandaise, and gooey poached egg yolks over all, despite the curiosity of crab cakes sitting atop a slice of sourdough bread. The Chicken salad crepes with brie were a close second with tasty chunks of chicken over baby spinach, asparagus, and plum tomato salad tossed with fig vinaigrette and finished with walnuts. The thick slice of Almond Crusted French Toast served with fresh blueberries, raspberry coulis and sour cream was very good. Two friends took advantage of the all-you-can-drink mimosas. How good was our Sunday brunch?  Our plates were cleaned spotless, we had enjoyable extended conversation, and I'm going back!

-- Mike Sanford, GLOB Master

The Pluses and Minusesof The Paramount Grill:

The Paramoung Grill + indicators :  A superior lunch experience in beautiful, old Gainesville.

The Paramount Grill - indicators : Lunch can quickly work up to the pricier side of a good lunch deal . . .

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

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Francesca's Trattoria

Panini featured in fine dining lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

FrancescasI just had a Northern Italy home cooked lunch of a sausage, peppers and onion panini made with homemade ciabatta bread, homemade tomato sauce with tons of halved cherry tomatoes, and some of the best Italian sausage packed with spicy fennel seed I have ever eaten.

This five-star sandwich wasn't served to me on plastic plates or wrapped in paper with somefranchise logo stamped all over it.

I was enjoying my lunch time surprise at the fine dining restaurant Francesca's Trattoria off of NW 43rd St, behind the Zaxby's fried chicken shack.

Excuse me for sounding excited, but this lunch was unexpectedly remarkable.  Plus they have an unbelievable Sunday Brunch!

 

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Walking into Francesca's from the noon day heat, I was pleased with the subdued setting that lay before me. The darker than normal lighting combined with rows of tastefully appointed tables ready for lunch time guests and with starched yellow tables cloths and burgundy napkins. The several rows of geometrically aligned dining tables in front of me gave the impression of lunch time elegance.

My friendly waiter expertly assisted me with my lunch time dilemma of whether I should have the lasagna or the sausage panini. A knowing glance from my server made it clear that the panini was the better choice. And was he ever correct.

The Francesca's Trattoria lunch special is a free salad included with any Panini sandwich choice. I chose the house salad of mixed greens lightly tossed with tomatoes, olives, red onions, and pepperoncini and a side of creamy Italian dressing. The salad delivered an excellent assortment of flavors and textures.

 

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My panini was served in halves with tomato sauce, peppers, onions and sausage overflowing the sides of very softly toasted, freshly baked ciabatta. After picking up this juicy, fennel-laden sausage concoction, I realized that eating an open face approach was a better idea if I didn't want to wear tomato sauce the remainder of the day.

The abundance of flavors heightened by perfect amounts of spices in my sausage sandwich made me eat slower than usual so I could enjoy this culinary experience to the max.

Francesca's Italian sausage is the best sausage I have eaten in quite some time.

There isn't a lot of heat in this protein. However, with the dominant presence of fennel seed, I wanted to eat more, and more, and more of this delightful other white meat.

Did I say this was an excellent lunch?

I'm going back to Francesca's Trattoria soon. I make an excellent lasagna that includes sausage and ground beef. I'm eager to try FT's lasagna and see how it compares with mine.

Francesca's also has a brick oven pizza that I plan to try.

So let's see. I invite two friends for lunch and I order the lasagna. I talk my two friends into ordering pizza and a Sausage sandwich. Then we can have a sharing party.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Paninis, pizzas, and lasagna for lunch. That sounds like an extended lunch hour that will be elegant and remarkable.

The Pluses and Minuses of Francesca's Trattoria:

The Francesca's + Indicators: Five star lunch with authentic homemade ingredients

The Francesca's - Indicators: A little pricier than some places, but worth every penny of your lunch money.

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

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The Jones, CLOSED, Sept. 2016

113015KonaJONESThe Jones is a very cool place. The hip, contemporary staff have food lover etched into every aspect of their service. They talk buying local. They respect healthy, smart, meatless eating principles. The dimly lit atmosphere with customers sitting alone or together at tables and at the comfortable bar sends me to a far away place like a cafe in the Mediterranean. More importantly, the Jones Falafel Burger rocks the cazbah

The customer friendly Kona (right) stated that the chick peas (AKA garbanzos and the main ingredient of falafel in case you don't know) are bought fresh locally. "This is the Jones, we buy everything we can locally," declared Kona. "And our French fries are awesome," she continued. You can tell the Jones's attention to detail in the fresh flavor of this handmade patty of garbanzo beans, cilantro, onions, red pepper, and garlic. The extra large patty--crunchy on the outside, flavorful on the inside--works. You get a mouthful because there is no 'cooking down' of this burger patty. The addition of pickled onions to the standard lettuce, tomato, and pickle made this sandwich come alive. Remembering that falafel can sometimes make for a dryer than usual sandwich, I had also ordered a slice of pepper Jack cheese on my burger. "I was wondering who added Pepper Jack cheese," The Jones's Chef 'Wolf' Woolford said later as he came to the front of the house to investigate this apparently unusual combination – which I highly recommend.

- GLOB Master

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 SHRIMOgritsTOPPERa

Anti-Cristo, Shrimp & Grits rock Jones

zzGLOBbullet For Jones Chef 'Wolf' Woolford being a good chef is more than wearing a nice, clean chef's coat.

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

JonesBSIDEsfI'm not sure when the name of the Jones restaurant officially changed but it makes sense since there has only been one Jones restaurant standing for some time. Chef Michael Woolford is constantly working on making the menu an interesting lunch time adventure.

081215WoolfordJones Chef Michael says he has seen some increased business from the Downtown Farmers Market on Wednesday since it to relocated to Union St., but he is OK with that change.

"We are seeing more customers and we are selling more Anti-Cristos," the Chef said. "We decided to create our alternative to the Monte Cristo and called it the Anti-Cristo. It wasn't a lot different but it was OUR sandwich," Michael said. With awesome homemade bread, two eggs over easy, applewood bacon, and cheese, this is a very good sandwich. Woolford added, "The Anti-Cristo is still popular and guests ask for it regularly."  Another difference from the usual Cristo is that Chef Michael uses "homemade brioche bread and soaks the bread slices in an egg wash with some of secret spices."

JONESmonteCristo

JonesBSIDEtablesThe Jones Pandora music selection is superb in this low-lit dining area. Dining tables are spaced just far enough apart to allow customers to engage in intimate conversation if the mood arises. Available light from the large windows adds a comfortable sense of easy- going ambience and a relaxing approach to lunch.

Chef Michael said he is getting a lot of requests for the Jones Wild Shrimp & Grits lately. "I don't know, maybe it's all those farmers across the street grooving on the organic grits," Michael said.

 

SHRIMOgritsTOPPER

What impressive Southern cooking. The Wild Shrimp and Grits combines garlic-seared Mayport shrimp, local wild boar sausage, jalapenos, sweet corn, and smoked gouda grits in a very filling tomato based roux. I was reminded of many of my favorite cups of seafood gumbo, but the grits add a fortifying base to a very tasty, albeit somewhat spicy, amalgamation of delicious ingredients. Not only that, I was feeling incredibly smart and healthy partaking in ingredients like WILD shrimp, ORGANIC SMOKED grits, and WILD boar sausage. You can't get more LOCAL than that GLOBers.
The Jones walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to local, healthy, organic and don't forget delicious.

JONEScoverART

The Jones menu is loaded with veggie and meatless options from the "All That In A Bowl" with stoneground organic yellow grits and "go crazy with a fried egg, cheese, soy merguez, and sautéed garlic to the popular "Tree Hugger Bagel" that comes on a plain or everything bagel toasted and served open-faced with layered local vegan cashew cheese and stacked with fresh tomato slices, red onion, and sprouts.

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner the Jones door is always open with friendly servers ready to welcome Gainesville hipsters to the cool Southeast side of downtown.

The Pluses and Minuses of The Jones:

The Jones + indicators: Excellent lunch specials, friendly staff, spacious lunch spot

The Jones - indicators: Service is on the hipster, cool, ;aid back, slow side.

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

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Dave's New York Deli

W. Gainesville's slice of N. Y. heaven

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

012814ddavesJANmenuBRDCreating a good deli experience is not an easy feat, no matter the location. In fact, a deli that boasts providing a "true New York deli experience" is another ballpark all its own. The Big Apple is known for having uniquely delectable food items, from New York-style bagels to a great New York slice of pizza. Claiming to provide that aforementioned "New York deli experience," Dave's New York Deli in Gainesville's Tioga Town Center says that it even gets all of its corned beef and pastrami meats directly from Carnegie Deli in New York.

I don't know about anyone else, but I was sold.

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when walking up to the small shop with the Statue of Liberty and New York-esque signage out front. As an annual visitor to this northeast state, I have had countless deli sandwiches, one from Carnegie Hall itself which was an experience too lavish and detailed to go on a tangent about now. Needless to say I was ready to try what, in my opinion, is the most traditional of sandwiches at such a shop, especially with all the hype surrounding it. However, I was overwhelmed and surprised by the amazing selection of menu items available.

 

DavesReubenI figured there would be the hot and cold sub list, with maybe a few salads thrown in for good measure. Dave's seemed to attempt to fit all — and I mean all — of New York's signature bests into one shop: the sweetness of the cannoli and black and white cookie to the savory of a breakfast sandwich and knish and the classics of wings and hotdogs. Despite this, the cashier was adamant that although Dave's sold everything from burgers and "grinders" to bagels and cheesecake, if I wasn't going to get a Philly cheesesteak or a Reuben, both of which she said people have come from all over to try, then I had to order off of the "Hot NY Deli Sandwiches" menu.

Thank goodness for the cashier's advice, or this food adventurer would have attempted to try one of everything. After settling on that one menu page out of many others, I was drawn to the classics: pastrami and corned beef. This led me to the New York, New York, which gave me the best of both worlds, and then some. Actually, I got the "special" version, which meant my sandwich would have coleslaw and Swiss cheese on it, too. My friend opted for the Reuben after the cashier's convincing argument. With a side pickle and a reasonable price (under $8 without a drink), I was salivating just envisioning it.

 

012814ddavesJANreubenAfter a brief parting from the menu of maybe 5-10 minutes tops, my friend and I were presented with our sandwiches, nay, masterpieces. My sandwich, image at the top of this feature, was a delicate assembly of both hot corned beef and pastrami piled high with a thick layer of creamy coleslaw and Swiss cheese gracing the bottom inner slice of rye bread that, according to the cashier, "makes the sandwich so special." I couldn't agree more. The flavorful seeded rye bread was the perfect blanket to encompass the rich fillings, from the hearty, but thinly-sliced meats to the creaminess of the homemade coleslaw and cheese. Each bite was a flavor explosion as exciting and tantalizing as the last, leaving me wanting more despite the sandwich's size. A bite of my friend's Reuben produced similar sensations, as the sauerkraut, dressing, Swiss cheese and hot corned beef married together perfectly as one of the better Reubens I've tasted.

Note: As I am writing all of this I find myself with an insatiable craving for a NY-style sandwich. This place may be the death of my diet (and wallet), so heed this word of warning.

 

012814davesJANstorefrontAfter a pleasant lunch outside on a cool, crisp, sunny Gainesville day, I have found another gem on the outskirts of Gainesville. However, it is very worth the drive. Maybe Dave's can even fill the void that TooJay's Gourmet Deli left after closing its Gainesville location. I have yet to find a black and white cookie as perfectly done as TooJay's, but perhaps next time I go back to Dave's I can find one that gives the TooJay's version a run for its money – and there will most certainly be a next time.

The Pluses and Minuses of Dave's New York Deli:

Dave's New York Deli (+) indicators: Delicious food, knowledgeable staff, timely food delivery, varied and abundant menu items, reasonably pricedt.

Dave's New York Deli (-) indicators: A bit of a drive out, may cause addiction.

 

DavesTopper

It was National Hot Dog Month, and do you know of a better place to get your All-American Doggie satisfaction than an authentic deli like Dave's New York Deli in the Tioga Town Center on Newberry Road? This is a great lunch stop of All-American food, real authentic deli atmosphere plus some honest to goodness New York attitude from Dave. This deli is now settled into their new restaurant after relocating from Jonesville several months back. Dave's is a busy lunch stop at the noon hour. But Dave demands excellent customer service from his staffers, and the wait time for your lunch is not very long. I ordered the Classic ¼ Pound Coney Island Jumbo in honor of this Red, White & Blue Hot Doggie Month. It might be because I was ready for a good hot dog. It could be the anticipation of mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili sent my olfactory cells over the top, but this was one of the best darn hot dogs this red-blooded boy has ever eaten. The Nathan's frank snapped to perfection with each bite. The quarter pound all beef hot dog was juicy, cooked just right and was the predominate flavor in a quarter pound sea of American taste bud wonderment. Onions, chili, cheese, MUSTARD, OMG! I DavesDESSERTthought I had died and I was sitting in the arms of the Statue of Liberty. Lunch Pal and White Apron Catering maven Jules Gollner had the excellent idea of finishing off our All–American lunch with dessert from the TCBY yogurt shop next Door to Dave's in the Town Center. A hot dog followed by chocolate turtle sundae for lunch?!?! Excuse me while I stand up and sing "God bless America."

Reuben sandwich, deli, is NYC authentic

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Editor's Noter: Dave's New York Deli has relocated to Tioga Town Center since this story has been written.  Look for a new Dave's feature soon!

The GLOB Master was in search of a very tasty Reuben sandwich leading up to St. Patty's Day on Saturday.

DavesLUNCHline

Starting from the edges of the Urban GLOB on this corn beef odyssey, we decided to start with Dave's New York Deli at Jonesville. Inside Dave's to the right as you enter is counter after counter of delicious deli items and giant menus on the wall.

Could there be better place to seek out corn beef and kraut?

DavesPHOTO

The checkerboard taxi theme throughout this narrow lunch stop works. It's like an alley way of authentic lunch time joy with the other wall of Dave's lined with tables filled with hungry customers and on the wall a giant photo of New York City depicting the good 'ole days of NYC.

More importantly, Dave is right there in the middle of it all imparting his New York 'tude. But his demeanor is a demonstration of how he loves his deli and the folks he serves. Dave is a talker, and he keeps the deli jumping with his continual banters and friendly delivery of your order directly to your table in quick fashion.

DavesMEreuben

When it was time for the GLOB Historian, Jon Roosenraad, and myself to order, I told Dave, left in photo, we were in search of the most authentic corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich Gainesville.

He replied: "Well, if you're looking for authentic, then you want the Dave's Hot, Toasted Corn Beef Sandwich. And there's no need to go anywhere else because my Reuben is the best in town."

Dave suggested I order the New York size. It was filled with double the corned beef and sauerkraut, 1000 island dressing, and Swiss cheese.

"Is the dressing really an authentic aspect of the sandwich, Dave?" I asked, not being a big fan of mayo-ketchup mix.

"You said authentic didn't you," he says, looking at me puzzled.

That's when the sandwich maker behind the counter spoke up saying he would add a little spicy mustard on the side.

My lunch pal, whose last name, may I remind you, is ROOSENRAAD, is from the midwest -- if you couldn't guess from that last name, and I have noticed he always orders pastrami instead of corned beef. With a little Irish luck, he will add a comment explaining his preference of the two cured meats. I have added a link here to REUBENOGRAPHY for another take on the differences. It seems like the particulars are 'all about the deckle'.

Dave2SANDWICHES

When Dave delivered our sandwiches I was flabbergasted at how my CB & SK was twice as big as Jonny's pastrami on rye.

I'm a big guy, and I could have eaten both halves of that giant sandwich. However I did feel better about taking half of my lunch home for later. The corned beef was sliced very thin and stacked impressively, mountain-like, between two perfectly toasted slices of rye bread. The sauerkraut had a nice crunch and very good tart, sour flavor that complemented the spices in the corned beef. The 1000 island dressing was all right. There is so much flavor from this sandwich that my indifference toward the dressing was not an issue, but I happily dunked bites of my sandwich into my mustard on the side.

That's kinda like a 'side order fries,' isn't it?

Kudos to Dave's sandwich maker for offering up the side order of mustard. This busy deli with the spicy mustard, my new pal Dave, and the excellent sandwich blended together to make a fabulous Reubenesque lunch experience.

DavesSFDr. Roosenraad's first question as we headed back into town was whether I thought Dave's New York Deli worth the drive. The GLOB Master's quick response was, "I'm going back."

Was there a mustard ban in the old days and THAT's why they created 1000 island dressing?

DELItopper

Long time pal and GLOB Historian, Jon Roosenraad, and I were in serious conversation about the differences between a Dave's NY Deli Pastrami Sandwich on rye bread, and a DNYD Rueben with stacked corned beef, sauerkraut, and spicy mustard, when Dave's owner, Dave Anderson, walked up pointing at a packaged, hermetically sealed slab of beef brisket. "See this," he says proudly raising the brisket a little higher. The Boar's head regional sales guy says I am the only restaurant in his district selling this Boar's Head, USDA Choice Beef Mesquite Smokehouse 1st Cut Smoked Seasoned Beef Brisket. "You're making a big mistake if you don't try our Mesquite Smoked BBQ Beef brisket sandwich today," Dave said with that look–in-your-eye matter of fact-ness only a New Yorker can get away with. "Think about it," he added. "Slow smoked beef brisket topped with BBQ sauce, and our homemade, creamy cole slaw served on on a garlic toasted Kaiser roll." I understand when not to say no, and I was pleasantly pleased with my lunch time brisket sandwich. Like all of Dave's sammies, the thin- sliced, 100% natural mesquite smoked beef wasn't a tough chew like most briskets I have experienced. The cole slaw added a nice moist touch to the BBQ that included a very mild BBQ sauce. I'm more and more realizing a good sandwich is only as good as the bread encasing the yummy ingredients. This was an excellent Kaiser role -- crunchy on the outside with a divine texture of warm, chewy bread inside. NOTE TO TEE LEE: This beef brisket deserves your complete, red-meat protein attention.

The Pluses and Minuses of Dave's New York Deli:

Dave's New York Deli (+) indicators: An excellent lunch in an authentic N.Y. deli environment.

Dave's New York Deli (-) indicators: At times I think passports are necessary this far out of town .

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

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Adam's Rib Co., SW 13th St.

Every time I would see Adam Brewer, the owner of Adam's Rib Co., he would look at me with this look of puzzlement and say, "You haven't tried our Meatloaf Monday yet?" Since the GLOB Master is a serious lover of meatloaf -- any way you cook it -- this was my Monday destination. Wouldn't you know it, the Adam's Rib King wasn't working the Monday I showed up. How ever I did get to the BBQ shop by 11:30, before this popular SW 13th St. BBQ pit becomes busy. Just like in one of those old, fast action movies, the entire dining area was filled with curtomers before my order came to my table. And what beautiful plate of home style, stick-to-your ribs joy was presented to the GLOB Master. The greens were fresh, tender, with the flavor of the seasoned pork broth oozing out between the flakes of army green goodness. The Adam's Rib Mac & Cheese is the perfect creamy compliment in both texture, and taste to the tart, salty greens. My nice sized chunk of A R's meatloaf was divine. Cooked with a crisp crust on top, the dense packed red protein had tons of onion, smoke, and spice flavors to bring many smiles to this very happy lunch outer. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming about the best meatloaf in the world. (Of course the best meat loaf ever is the meatloaf my momma used to cook.)

AAsmallknifefork0311

ARhotsauceThe GLOB Master has been hearing stories about how the SW 13th St. Adams Rib (AR) Co. has been wall-to-wall with lunchouters every day. I am here to tell you the stories are true. I went, I saw, I concur--my entire lunch hour customers flowed in the AR front door, while Sarah, the customer friendly server, manned the cash register ARswTOPPERsmoothly enough that everyone seemed happy about having a BBQed lunch. It could be the Adam's Rib 2-rib lunch special has a lot do with customer happiness. Two of Adam Brewer's GIANT, tasty, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs will soothe the most savage AR2ribsAcarnivores. These ribs are so good it seems unfair to the juicy pork flavor to use one of Adam's multiple BBQ sauces choices. But choose I did and I opted for hot and spicy--Heater BBQ Sauce.  The swamp sauce had some heat but was a little on the sweet side for my palate. My only disappointment was I knew the image of the 'cue sauce bottles would have been a better image with Sarah's photogenic face beaming from behind the the bottles of sauces. Unfortunately for you, Sarah was way too busy to play with the GLOB Master. Maybe next time I can get that photo shot and add onion rings to the rib special.

Editor's Note: A Gainesville Lunch Out Blog feature of Adam's Rib Co. can be viewed on the Adam's Rib Co. NW 13th location. GLOB page.

The Pluses and Minuses of Adams Rib Company:

Adam's Rib Co. + indicators: Arguably the meatiest, best BBQ ribs in town.

Adam's Rib Co. - indicators:  This is a popular lunch stop so plan your time accordingly

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

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Blue Gill Quality Food

'Foodie' GLOBers rejoice in holiday dinner

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

BlueGillSFGLOB gatherings are the perfect opportunity to talk shop and catch-up on the happenings of fellow staffers. I look forward to the periodic meet-ups and the prospect of dining out and enjoying each other's food, er, company. I will admit, half the fun of GLOB dinners is the communal dining experience. Even new GLOBer, Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, right in image below, who we are pleased to welcome onto the GLOB team to contribute a regular nutrition column, says she will try just about anything. It seemed like Michelle would be a seamless fit to our food-happy bunch.

 

GIRLSphones

Speaking of food-happy people, it truly is amazing how food can be discussed in such depth, critiqued, and picked apart, literally and figuratively. You know who those people are because when they get around food of all kinds, they won't shut up about it (in the best way of course). When it comes to food-happy folks talking about really great food, brace yourself for a whirlwind of elaborate sighs and an endless stream of alluring adjectives.

 

CHOPSburger

To my delight, Blue Gill (BG) Quality Foods was the chosen spot for a GLOB get-together before the holidays, and for a few members to meet Michelle. In a previous GLOB article, I gave the BG burger a slot on my top-five Burgers in Gainesville list. To that I add that I have nothing negative to say about any of BG's other menu items either. The best part is that, despite each dish being of such consistent high quality, every menu item, including the items on the constantly-rotating specials board, sounds so great, I try something new every time I dine in there. Luckily, with four food enthusiasts looking to sample as many different things as possible comes four different opportunities for tasting.

 

BURGER

I must have gushed about the Blue Gill Burger, $10.25, for so long that Michelle felt obligated to order it. I didn't fight her. For those who have never had this delectable creation, a marriage of pork and beef in a juicy, thick patty that rests on a soft bun smothered with pimento cheese. Of course, what is a burger without a little bacon? Not a single bite was left on anyone's plates, and I was informed that I didn't oversell it.

 

CHOP

Mike had his heart set on a meat-lover's dish fit for a die-hard carnivore, so he landed on the pork chop special. This bone-in chop would have been a substantial size for one person and easily shareable. To our delight, The GLOB Master was happy to share -- the chop was lightly breaded with the chestnut-laden brown sauce, which was very satisfying. The true star on that plate, though, was the whipped, smooth-as-silk sweet potatoes that, given the chance, the lot of us would have licked the plate clean for.

 

FriedChicken

GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk was leaning toward a vegetarian dish, the Fiesta Mac and Cheese, until she happened to mention the Pork Rind Fried Chicken, $15, under the "Bird" section of the menu, and the rest of us insisted on ordering such a masterful-sounding creation. I was sold on its Southern-style sides, which I am always partial to in any setting – cornbread, collards, and mac and cheese are all golden in my book. Blue Gill did an exceptional job executing all three, actually. I was particularly glad the mac wasn't swimming in a cheap-tasting cheese concoction, but seemed to be baked with higher quality cheese. I could eat cornbread by the loaf, so I was in a love-hate relationship with the cornbread, which is one of the better versions in Hogtown. All sides aside, the chicken was cooked to perfection. As strong a statement as that is, I cannot get over the crispiness of the fried coating. It was so good I couldn't stop devouring it, especially when dipped in the most addicting honey mustard-esque sauce. Who would have known pork rinds make the most sinfully amazing crumb coating for chicken?

 

Grouper

My meal addition to round out the array of dishes was fish: the grouper special, $27, and was the unanimous choice. Compared with the other outstanding dishes, it paled a little in comparison. It was prepared very well, though, and the veggies with butternut squash risotto were very tasty, but I think everyone agreed the fried chicken and burger were the winners. Considering the cost difference between the burger and the fish entrée, that also speaks volumes.

 

Dessert

If for some reason you have another stomach reserved for dessert, as I do, the rotating dessert specials at Blue Gill are not to be missed. From fried pie to ice cream made in house, any choice is a sinfully decadent one. The four of us split one generously-sized slab of cheesecake that night, and let's just say we were glad we didn't order any more considering the number of entrees we had already devoured. It had a great balance of that density from the cream cheese while still having that whipped texture. Mike and Michelle used it as an opportunity to compare their respective cheesecake recipes, so I am hoping more cheesecake will be in our future very soon.

 

TEANphoto

GLOB Staffer selfie shows off their holiday gift clocks,
from left Mike Sanford, Lynn Dirk, Melissa Kahan, Michelle Cardel

There was nary a bite consumed between the four of us that didn't merit a "yum" or "mmmm" reaction. You would think with everyone ravenously devouring each morsel of food that there would be a silence that would fall over the table. It was quite the opposite: We all could not commenting on how great everything tasted and reiterating our favorites. For any non-enthusiast, we all might have sounded like we had too much good food and it went to our heads. Blue Gill is one of my favorite local spots not only because of the quality and consistency, but it doesn't try to be something it's not, and it excels at what it does. There doesn't need to be a fancy gastrique or impressively expensive exotic ingredients to make a memorable dish. Everything Blue Gill did, they did it right, and I was happy to share the experience with my band of food-happy GLOBers.

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Gill Quality Food:

Blue Gill Quality Food (+) indicators: Consistent quality; good price for value; varied menu options; extremely tasty; sizeable portions; always friendly staff; excellent cocktails 

Blue Gill Quality Food (-) indicators: That they only serve biscuits on Sundays

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

 

BGtopperJUNE2014

A couple of months ago, I created my GLOB best burger list with five of Gainesville's best burger choices, from the quality patties at Copper Monkey to the late night, greasy creations at Relish. However, upon a recent visit to Blue Gill, I feel it would be an injustice not to amend my best burger list and include the Blue Gill Quality Food Burger.

Complete with ground beef AND shredded pork, all melded into one succulent, thick patty, this burger was enjoyable from first to last bite. Perhaps it was the pimento cheese sauce smothered over the delicious patty, or perhaps it was the perfectly-crisped bacon that rested atop it, but I cannot even describe the enjoyment I had eating that burger. Admittedly, I did have great company, which always enhances a dining out experience. Further contributing to my enjoyment of the burger, however, was the lack of onion as a burger topping – it only including tomato and lettuce, which is exactly how I like my burgers. It seemed that this burger was made for me.

The side salad, also, was extremely enjoyable, as it was the same one served at another favored burger joint that did make the best burger list, New Deal Café. I just felt it would be a tragedy to not include a burger that truly merits a top five Gainesville burger spot. If you dine in at this establishment, it seems tempting to go for one of their seafood specials, which are very good as well, but the burger, for under $10, is an amazing meal choice.

- Melissa Kahan

Cafe takes lunch to another dimension

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor  

So let me get this right. I am sitting in a parking garage on SW 13th St. I feel like I'm sitting an in old Florida diner over on US Highway 1 just off of the Indian River in a grove of orange trees. There is a Stuckey's-like Florida map painted on the wall. Looking out the front window of this café, cars are racing by in both directions, going north and south, oblivious to me and my lunch time diversion.

BlueGillSFI grew up in Brevard County just off US Highway 1. Seeing the old-time tourist map of Florida on Blue Gill's wall and the menu with items like boiled peanuts, pimento cheese sandwiches, corn fritters, and sardines quickly sent me to another dimension.

In reality I am sitting in the cool, relaxed confines of Blue Gill Quality Foods in the new Shands parking garage on SW 13th St., and I am munching down on a most excellent ham and turkey club sandwich.

Excuse the big word but this is quite a juxtaposition. Me sitting in a parking garage on SW 13th St. imagining I am lunching in a quaint, old style, Florida diner with breezes blowing and a river flowing by.

BlueGwindowBlue Gill Chef/Owner Bert Gill has that lunch time warp working here in BGQF. I was making my first trip to Blue Gill's with lunch partner, and VA Hospital staffer, Lynn Dirk, eager to find out if this lunch spot had enough intrigue, ambience, pizzazz to lure the multitude of health center employees outside their medicinal confines for a little lunch, relaxation and decompression in an alternative dimension to their work world.

I think Blue Gill's is going to work. The Chef has created a lunch menu of snacks, seafood, sandwiches, and salad entrees that should bring health center GLOBers back for second and third visits.

Quality Food is the perfect moniker for this diner, er, uh, restaurant. Chef Gil knows what's cooking in the kitchen, and it's great lunch choices.

The Blue Gill menu includes a wide spectrum of lunch options from fried fish to sloppy Joe tempeh. You can check the BGQF menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

If you noticed the pimento cheese feature story on the GLOB's home page today, you will know pimento cheese is chefs' designer food' for the month of July.

A GLOBer needs to try the Blue Gil pimento cheese sandwich and report back on how it compares to your momma's PC sandwich.

BlueGtomatosLynn and I took the sharing route for lunch. Lynn chose the Fried Green Tomatoes and I picked the Blue Gill Club Sandwich. The fried tomatoes were prepared just right. Large slices of tomato battered and deep fried in Panko bread crumbs creating a very crisp, crusty shell that housed a juicy, flavorful, thick slice of green tomato. The thin crust was fried just right and didn't over power the tomato inside.

This appetizer was perfect for the two of us to share. I will do a Food Network Chopped judge imitation here: "The fried green tomato was excellently prepared and very well thought out. However I was disappointed that I didn't get any of the smoked bacon dressing mentioned on the menu."

The tomatoes would have been the lunch winner with the dressing. But Lynn and I didn't notice the dressing was essentially missing until the dish was almost gone, so it was still good if incomplete.

BlueGsandwichThe smoked turkey, ham and cheddar club sandwich on whole wheat bread was the grand prize winner. This sandwich also sent me to another place and time where sandwiches are always made with thick slices of bread enveloping layers of bountiful ingredients waiting to make your mouth smile.

My sandwich included a side order of homemade potato chips. These fried potato delights were crisp, crunchy perfections loaded with potato flavor.

My club sandwich was stacked high with thinly sliced ham and large chunks of white turkey breast melded together with slices of white cheddar cheese. Each sandwich ingredient held its own in the melting pot of taste in my mouth. This club sandwich was an excellent lunch entrée that was also large enough to share.

I can see Blue Gill Quality Food acquiring a nice list of lunch time regulars. The unique and convenient location to the G'ville medical world will create a whole new group of lunchouters seeking this new dimension of good food in a place that will seem much further away than a 10-minute walk.

BLUEgillTOPPERaprilGIF

The sparse, South Florida-accented space with pieces of fruit crates, tin roofs, and unfinished wood framing inside Blue Gill's Quality Food always takes me back to several of the Dixie Highway diners of days gone by. That said, I have never experienced a sandwich like the Fried Pig smothered in cheese that Blue Gill serves. I admit the idea fried pig gave me cause to pause. And my only question when it appeared on the table in front of me was if the sandwich was of the open BlueG1face variety. The waitress said it wasn't. My thought was, no matter what she said, I wasn't about to wear that cheese sauce the rest of the day. I think I say "This is the best" a lot. So let me say the deep fried, thick chunks of . . . pig coated in a very crunchy crust and THEN immersed in a glorious cheddar cheese sauce made for a prize winning-sandwich. The portion was big enough to share. For the record, I will never be sharing my BG's Fried Pig Sandwich. You can order chips or a salad with the sandwich. Need more convincing? The fried pig sandwich is the cheapest sandwich on the Blue Gill lunch menu. I'm going back for another pig sandwich. Heck I could go back every day for this other white meat wonder.
 

You unlock this door with a key of imagination, beyond
it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight,
a dimension of mind . . . Welcome to the twilight zone"

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Gill Quality Food:

Blue Gill Quality Food (+) indicators: Excellent sandwiches choices, salads and unique snacks/appetizers. Plenty of Parking available, However if you have time, this lunch spot is made for a nice walk to and from lunch.

Blue Gill Quality Food (-) indicators: None noted

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

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