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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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Applebee's Grill & Bar

I find myself thinking more about salads as lunch time possibilities. I'm not sure how that happened. But I do enjoy seeing my lunch is a crisp, crunchy. This salad as the perfect mid-day meal item to satisfy my food cravings. Of course a salad with absolutely no carbohydrates. Sure GLOBer, the challah croutons in my Applebee's Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, ($9.99), looked really yummy. But the diabetes devil in me dares me to eat them :( The Romain lettuce in my lunch was special. Did you know most varieties of lettuce exude small amounts of a white, milky liquid when their leaves are broken. This "milk" gives lettuce a slightly bitter flavor and its scientific name, Lactuca sativa derived from the Latin word for milk. Maybe the 'milk' is what blends so well nicely with the delicious garlic Caesar dressing. The chicken breast strips were charred perfectly and added a sharp 'burnt' bite to the mix.  The elements of my salad complemented the creamy, subtle flavor of the dressing. The grated Parmesan cheese blend not only added a nice touch to my lunch time presentation I usually end up thinking – as I do when I douse my slice of pizza with P. cheese -- how much do I really taste the Parm cheese flavor. Speaking of Romaine lettuce one head of romaine lettuce contains 44% RDA of Omega-3 essential fats. Surprised? It's not just nuts, seeds, and fish that have omega-3s.

- GLOB Master

 

ApplebeesReubenGIF

Restaurant ignores 'big box' persona

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

ApplebeesSFWhile working at the University of Florida several years back, Applebee's on the corner of NW 13th St. and NW 10th Ave. was a reliable stop for a good lunch.

When I recently entered Applebee's big red brick building for a quick lunch, I took a place at the bar in the center of the dining room, and I immediately felt like I was entering an old friend's home after a long hiatus.

I have to admit Applebee's possesses all the franchise, big box lunch opportunities I have pooh-poohed in other franchise establishments. However, Applebee's doesn't seat 350 people. I haven't seen their staff hurrying customers in one door and rapidly out the other.

Applebee's does have a menu that tries to supply customers a giant number of meal time choices they think will satisfy every lunchouter in Gainesville. I copied off of their online menu the entree choices you can find: Salads, steaks, ribs, chicken, seafood, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and sliders.

Having just written what I think are negative comments about Applebee's, I do have a special fondness for what I see as a very nice neighborhood restaurant.

Applebee's has some enticing lunch specials including an all-you-can-eat soup, salad, and bread entree for $6.99. This isn't the typical salad bar approach to lunch. Your lunch is served to you and your server will happily supply you with all the roughage you can eat.

In the Applebee's sea of choices I opted for the Reuben sandwich and French fries. The AKS -- Applebee's kitchen staff -- did an excellent job of preparing my lunch.

 

ApplebeesFriesCornBeef

I was presented a nice stack of thinly sliced, very tender corned beef. My protein was complemented with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut sandwiched between toasty slices of rye bread. I added my own spicy mustard to this sandwich to top off a lunch time flavor bonanza.

To put it another way: The tender, salty corned beef and sharp cheese played off the bitter flavors of the sauerkraut and mustard to create harmony between toasted book ends. From the first bite to my last bite, all the sandwich's flavors made my taste buds sing.

The French fries were crisp and lightly seasoned.

My Applebee's lunch didn't surprise this professional eater. I've always enjoyed my visits to this handy, neighborhood lunch stop.

The Pluses and Minuses of Applebee's:

Applebee's (+) indicators: Good food, nicely prepared with an excellent customer friendly approach.

Applebee's (-) indicators: Too many choices for this lunchouter.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Applebee'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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Arby's

No surprises in this fast food sandwich stop

By Mike Sanford. GLOB Editor

ArbysSFI was out in the SW13th St. area again today with the intent of trying a quick lunch stop and have a good sandwich for lunch.

I have lived in Gainesville for very long time and to my best recollection I have probably only eaten one Arbys roast beef sandwich while in Gainesville. So I was excited about experienceing the magic that kept this small fast food stand open for so many years.

Pulling into Arbys I noticed there was a line of customers inside ready to place their orders. There were several hospital staffers crossing 13th St. heading toward the same lunch destination that I was.

Yep, I must be in roast beef & cheese fast food heaven.

I went inside and took my place in line. Standing there I looked at the menu board and I could see all the sandwiches were made in small, medium and large sizes. In the silence of every one waiting for their lunch I blurted out the obvious, "What makes the large sandwich different?"

The manager behind the counter was quick to reply that there was more meat on the large sandwich.

The large cheddar cheese, roast beef sandwich was the answer to my lunchtime protein needs. A mountain of thinly sliced roast beef and cheddar cheese piled very high on a soft onion roll.

Add an order of tasty, golden brown, curly fries to the order and it is easy to see why this sandwich stand has been in business for so long, and in one place, the entire time.

The curly fries were a home run. I don't know how they spiral cut those potatoes -- where ever that might happen -- but there were very good.

The sliced roast beef and melted cheese sandwich was at best average. The paper thin sliced beef was ample but I thought the cheddar cheese could have been more generously applied to my sandwich creating a magical melted cheese and meat extravaganza.

I could taste the roast beef flavors in the sliced meat, however, there was also a lot if salt added to this sandwich marriage to the point of taking away from the other flavors of the sandwich.

Maybe it was because this was my second fast food lunch stop this week. perhaps my attitude about franchise food did not allow me an objective perspective for this food stop.

What ever the reason this Arbys lunch could only be labeled unremarkable.

The Pluses and Minuses of Arbys

Arbys (+) indicators: Excellent curly fries. I could drive through Arbys just to pick up an order of these spuds.

Arbys (-) indicators: I don't know, I had high hopes for Arbys, my lunch outcome was disappointing.

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

 

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Sandwich Inn

Nothing fancy about this sammie drive thru

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

I was driving west on NE 16th Ave. just east of Main St. when a Food On The Run thought hit me.

"You want to know where paradise lies, I call it two triple cheese side order of fries."

Of course I was decided to modify that chorus from Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen's tune when I saw the FOTR oasis looming on my right.

SandwichInnMenuIt must be synchronicity -- whatever that is -- that before I finished singing that great song there was the Sandwich Inn waiting for my lunch order.

There is nothing complicated about this longtime FOTR drive thru. As you drive in, the Sandwich Inn menu is waiting for you painted right up on the wall. Not a 1000 choices to choose from, but you will find very tasty burgers, double burgers, triple burgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish, hot ham and cheese, country fried steak, and sub sandwiches plus french fries and onions rings.

I couldn't help myself when I drove up to the microphone and placed my order in a catchy 4/4 beat, "Make mine one double cheese, side order of fries please."

"Drive forward,' was all I heard from the voice in the box, apparently unimpressed with my order delivery.

My Sandwich Inn expectation was a 'utilitarian' type of lunch. Nothing fancy, just a tasty belly bomb and some crispy shoe string french fries. This double cheese, fry and & drink cost me $7.00. It was the best $7.00 I have spent in a long time.

 

SandwichInn

The two burger patties, cheese, mayo, onions, and lettuce packaged in a medium size hamburger roll brought back memories of some of the best burgers I've ever had.  This hamburger did what it was supposed to do.

The order of french fries sitting in a large pile next to my burger made me think of the classic Grant Wood's "American Gothic" painting.  Picture the hamburger as the man with the pitch fork, and the fries as his wife. Now how is that for abstract art symbolism? Americana stylized in today's FOTR lunch of hamburger and fries.

 

STriple480

When I'm cruisn' in my cadillac I gotta have it bad
I pull on over 'cause I know I'll be glad
out comes the waitress with the gorgeous big teeth
right in her hand is my favorite treat
two triple cheese side order of fries
- Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

The Pluses and Minuses of the Sandwich Inn:

Sandwich Inn (+) indicators: French fries, speedy service, one double cheese, side order of fries.

Sandwich Inn (-) indicators: No minuses here.

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

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Gumbys

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

 

 

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Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza, W. Gainesville

Editor's Note: A Gainesville Lunch Out Blog feature of Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza can be viewed on the Piesano's Millhopper Area, and the University Avenue location GLOB page. -- GLOB Master

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

 

 

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Carraba's Italian Grill

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Carraba's Italian 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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