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When I was out to lunch last week with Farmer Bubba and we visited the Sushi-2-Go lunch Stop in Midtown on University Ave. Bubba was thinking raw fish, while I was thinking, 'this would be a perfect Meatless Monday lunch stop. There's no red meat in this Food On The Run Asian raw a bar. I was OK with choosing the Sushi-2-Go Master Veggie Roll for lunch. I've said it before the is nothing more stylish than an Asian lunch. The colors, symmetry, style of my lunch was enough to make me smile. Beside the food always looks tasty, and inviting. I was imagining the sushi chef rolling the Avocado, cucumber, asparagus, carrots, scallions, shitake mushrooms and sweet potato inside the white rice and seaweed presenting the GLOB Master with eight bites of very interestingly matched veggie crunch and flavors. I applaud Japan's first Sushi Master that created a plate of spectacular looking rolls for the Japanese Emperor.  When he took his first bite taste test bite he must have immediately declared, in Japanese of course, "Go get the wasabi, we need to punch the flavor index of these rolls up a notch for the Emperor-San."

Asian lunch falls short in taste, authenticity

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

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

SushsigoSFThis week GLOB Master Mike and I decided it was time for a GLOB lunch outing, sushi style. My kind of lunch spot.

I was spoiled living in Hawaii eating fresh sushi and sashimi.

We didn't pick a new Japanaese establishment, but one that has been around for eleven years. SUSHI-2-GO in Midtown on University Ave, which moved from University Ave. next to the Taco Bell a couple years ago.

This place is a made-for-students Food On The Run lunch stop.



When we walked inside SUSHI-2-GO, my first thought was, Wow, this place is very cool. They spent a lot of money on the decor. I mean, the inside really stands out. It's painted red, stylish, and real curvy. A few shiny red tables were available for eating inside. Napkins and soy sauce were available at each table. I find that to be a nice authentic toucn in an Asian restaurant.

What did make me a little nervous was the one of the walls of SUSHI-2-GO was all glass mirrors. It made the dining area seem larger but I was wondering if there were people behind the mirrors watching us eat our lunch.

After the GLOB Master introduced himself to the SUSHI-2-GO staff and let them know we were on a GLOB mission, it was time to check out the menu. Not a large menu I might add, and that's a good thing.

Remember, this is a FOTR eatery. You order your lunch, pick it up at the counter, and off you go. It might have been an off day, but the S2G service was a bit slow.



I ordered the Sushi Master Roll, a Bowl of Sushi Rice and Spicy Dipping Sauce, photo right. Mike ordered the Ultimate Veggie Roll. I almost fell over when he did that. Mike likes his fish cooked. There is a complete SUSHI-2-GO menu at the restaurant link below this feature.

Now about my lunch. Its was pretty on my plate.

After tasting the dipping sauce, I told Mike that I was surprised that it tasted like Thousand Island dressing.

Mike replied, "Well Bubba, there are a lot of islands in the Orient." I'll go with that, but this dipping sauce was disappointing.

The SUSHI-2-GO rice, I believe, was just the white rice you use for sushi. I had figured it might be something special even though it was called Sushi Rice, but it semed blander than rice can usually be and needed some help to kick up the flavor.



The sushi rolls were also a little bland and none of the ingredients really stood out in the taste category.  My rolls were filled with tuna, imitation crab (krab), avocado, shitake mushroom and spicy sauce. Now you would think one of those items in that combination would jump on the taste buds and wake'm up.

By adding a mixture of soy sauce and spicy sauce, I did find a new taste without drowning out the combination flavor of my lunch. I'm guessing there was just something about those Thousand Islands in the orient the GLOB Master mentioned that created a unique SUSHI-2-GO flavor.



The GLOB Master is not a big fan of sushi, however he did enjoy his Sushu-2-Go Master Veggie Roll.  Photo at top of this feature.  He remarked how the crispness of the veggies were complimented by the complete opposite pastey texture of the white rice.  Mike did say his rolls cried out for additional soy sauce and a good smack of wasabe (that is an additional charge.) Of course he always makes the same comment about having his Japanese lunch wrapped in marinated electrical tape . . .

I think this sushi shop is truly a place for the students in a hurry, lunching out on the run. I am a big sushi fan and SUSHI-2-GO fell short. It has to be tough for a sushi stand on University Ave. with so many other Asian restaurants close by.

The Pluses and Minuses of Susi 2 Go:

Susi 2 Go (+) indicators: Stylish, smart idea for a quick sushi lunch.

Susi 2 Go (-) Indicator's: Unremarkable sushi rolls.

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Sushi-2-Go.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS! 


Fuji Sushi

Five star sushi surprises House Doctor

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

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

FujiSushiSFI was working on a job in Jonesville, just West of the Town of Tioga, extracting a floor safe.  Remember Al Capone's vault?  Well, I believe the guy who put this safe in the floor had to have built Al's vault.  So far, it's Safe 2, Farmer Bubba 0.  While working on the safe, my friend and home improvement customer Susan, asked me if I had ever eaten at the Fuji Sushi restaurant in Jonesville.

I believe my response was no and yes.  No I haven't, and yes to a good lunch trip.

For a brief time, the safe extraction became a distant memory.  SUSHI was now on my mind.  Fuji Sushi is a Sushi lunch stop I haven't visited.

Susan said it was her favorite lunch in Jonesville.  That's a big plus right there I thought to myself.  After checking in with GLOB Corporate Headquarters, and the GLOB Master specifically, I was given the throttle-up for another sushi review.  I love my job as GLOB Correspondent!

Upon entering Fuji Sushi at close to noon, the place was busy but not crowded.  The piped in music selected by the Fuji Sushi management was light, and the atmosphere was pure, authentic  Asian.  I noticed the restaurant had a calming effect on me.

Heck, with my mind on sushi, a polka band could have been playing "Play that a Funky Music White Boy" and I would have thought it was an Asian version of this 70s favorite.

Susan quickly straightened me out on the music and we were motioned to a booth for our lunch.



We sat down to a really neat table with Chinese writing on it.  Also on the table were two bottles of soy, napkins and chop sticks.  No forks and spoons.  You can't get any more authentic than that.

Later, Wade, our server told us, "No chop sticks, no eat."  Being a seasoned Asian food guy, the chop sticks mandate was OK with me.

Wade brought us menus and asked if we preferred sushi or sashimi.  Before we could get the answers out of our mouths, he said he knew what we would like.

Wow!  This guy is good.

Before the food arrived, I again noticed how I felt comfortable in this Asian dining room.  I didn't feel rushed.  This was going to be a lunch to enjoy at the baseline level of one bite, one flavor at a time.

Our first selection was a Japanese Green Seaweed Salad, which was served in martini glasses.  The flavor of the seaweed was unreal.  It had a unique fresh, crisp, green vegetable taste.  This was an excellent starter for our lunch.

I have to say this.  The presentation of the lunch was timed perfectly.  The entrees didn't arrive one on top of the other.  I actually had time to enjoy each item before the next was delivered.



Next was the Dynamite Roll.  The menu describes this as an egg roll deep fried, but believe me, I didn't see any grease on the plate.  This egg roll appetizer had a spectacular crunch, which added greatly to the taste of the ingredients.  The Dynamite Roll included fresh salmon, cream cheese, processed crab meat called krab topped with eel sauce and spicy mayo. The key ingredient in all the rolls was a very good spicy mayo/  Also, each roll had it's own type of fish and it's own disrinct flavor.

The Dynamite Roll was followed by more appetizers: the Crunchy Shrimp Roll, Mount Fuji Roll, and the Kamikaze Salmon Roll.  These are the Chef's Signature Rolls.

Aside from being done in a beautiful way with sauces artistically "painted" on the plates, each roll had a unique taste and the spices were delicately applied, never overwhelming.  For fried appetizers, I would have never known they were fried, had it not been for the crunch.



What I've learned about Asian food is, you should be able to taste each ingredient that you're eating.  Asian food isn't supposed to be overcooked or soaked in oil.  In between the rolls, a plate of edamame arrived.  This is lightly salted, broiled soybeans in the pod.  The taste of the bean itself was perfect with just a slight flavor of salt.

Throughout our meal all the elements of our lunch complemented each other, exactly the way Asian food should be presented and enjoyed.

Much kudos and applause is necessary to complement and thank Wade for making our Fuji Sushi visit a memorable lunch stop that will have us returning for seconds.  When I had a question, Wade took the time to answer it fully.  From our arrival to departure, I was made to feel very much at home.

Plus I also learned something about wooden chop sticks.  I never looked at the wooden chop sticks that close. They're all white. All of them. Bamboo isn't white. I found out, they're bleached! Yikes! I've been eating with bleeached bamboo.

Often it's not just about the food, it's the overall experience of a good lunch that moves a restaurant into the five star category.  That's what you will find at Fuji Sushi in Jonesville.

Thanks to Susan for taking me from unearthing her Al Capone-like, great grandmother's safe to some excellent Asian cuisine deep in the heart of Jonesville.

The Pluses and Minuses of Fuji Sushi:

Fuji Sushi (+) indicators: Very authentic sushi lunch!

Fuji Sushi (-) indicators: no negatives noted.

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


Ichiban Sushi

Millhopper sushi bar satisfies cravings

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

I know I'm not the only person who gets those insatiable cravings for various foods. Some are less discernible than others, but when a sushi kick comes about there are only a few places I dare venture to for a quality experience. In the case of consuming sushi, this is not the time to scrimp on money for lower quality, as there is a sizeable chance you will be, to put it bluntly, quite ill.

012914IchibanSFIchiban sushi downtown was a go-to in my first years coming to Gainesville until they closed their doors some time ago. Although the other location at 4401 NW 25th Pl still existed, I had never been. I have since lost touch with the "family-owned and operated" Asian restaurant's food for the last two years until a window of opportunity came about in the form of a birthday lunch with a sushi-loving birthday girl.


012914IchibandiningAt about 2:30 p.m. on a Friday, there were few patrons donning the booths and sushi bar area of Ichiban nestled behind Zaxby's and next to Blue Agave, but it seemed the one server struggled to handle the handful of tables as it was. Ten minutes after being seated, the server brought our drinks and it was clear that unless we ordered right then we risked the server never coming back to the table (OK, a tad exaggerated, but you catch my drift).

Since I had been to Ichiban before, unlike the birthday girl, Carol, I knew of a few must-try rolls. This actually proved more of a hindrance than a help, as I wanted to order one of almost everything while still indulging my adventurous food side and trying something new. Honestly, this is a problem for me at most restaurants. That being said, Carol ordered a bowl of onion soup to start, and we decided to split the house-recommended Aji-San roll and one of the specialty rolls: a take on their Leo's Bacon Roll, both of which were listed as baked rolls. I talked up the Aji-San roll so much to Carol there wasn't a chance she wouldn't try it, but at least the special take on the bacon roll would be new for us both.



Although, as mentioned previously, the service was pretty slow due to one server attempting to appease what was about five or so tables at a time, the food was well worth any wait. The variation on the Leo's Bacon Roll only came in the form of replacing the avocado typically atop the roll with an (imitation) krab and sauce mixture, although for the up charge from the original roll this slight change was barely visible. As this was the first roll presented, we took a moment to marvel at this compilation of seafood and pork smothered beneath a rice blanket covered with a cream cheese, sauce and tempura flake mixture spread atop. This was the epitome of balance in a roll: The shrimp and krab melded beautifully against the fatty yet crispy zing that bacon offers to any meal, as well as the opposing softer sensations of the sauce and cream cheese and the crisp contrast that a bite of cucumber and scallion provided. I'm sure the original version of the roll would have been just as enjoyable, though.



The Aji-San roll then revealed itself as nothing short of "interesting," in every sense of the word. Physically, a pink outer casing of smoked salmon enveloped the roll while a layer of spicy mayo and tamago rested under a chunk of banana balanced on top. Yes, you read correctly: banana. As each of the six pieces of the roll were big enough to require at least three bites to finish each, the flavorful insides became one with the outside. Aside from the extremely soft yet savory smoked salmon that accompanied each bite, the tuna, krab and, for a more zesty twist, smoked eel provided the meat base, alongside avocado and cream cheese.

Needless to say, each ingredient provided an incomparable richness by its own terms. This might seem a tad off-putting to some, but the hearty layers of this roll, with that unexpected punch of banana, was mouth-watering.


012914IchibanDESSERTI then felt the birthday girl needed to try the fried ice cream with a smattering of chocolate sauce and orange wedges to complete the experience. The ball of crispy, yet sweet, warm dough hugging in a cold, runny vanilla ice cream surprise was just enough for two people, and it provided the sweet tooth satisfaction that accompanies my meals typically.

012914IchibanFRIENDIn general, the cooked entrees, for the less adventurous or seafood-opposing consumers, are also very well-crafted and flavorful to a sizeable portion and consistency each time at the restaurant. The teriyaki dishes and beef gyoza are some of my favorites. Again, the consistent quality is what sets Ichiban apart from the many Asian fusion and sushi establishments trickled throughout Gainesville. But I cannot stress the quality and care taken in assembling each roll presented, as well as with every experience I have had at the former downtown-located Ichiban as well. There is no other way to understand how unique and vivid each specialty roll is without going there, immediately.

The Pluses and Minuses of Ichiban Sushi:

Ichiban Sushi + Indicators: Excellent, unique food; consistent quality; sizeable portions.

Ichiban Sushi - Indicators: :A tad too pricey for an everyday occasion

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


Ballyhoo Grill

Seafood, black beans & rice get high marks

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

ballyhoosSFThe Ballyhoo Grill on Newberry Rd. is a popular lunch spot that I should have featured before now for many reasons:

zzGLOBbullet  Ballyhoo's has an excellent patio for dining, music, conversation and lunch outings when the climate gets cooler.

zzGLOBbullet  They have a varied menu of seafood, sandwiches, hamburgers and pasta entrees.

zzGLOBbullet  Ballyhoo's has the only Tim TREEbow ever created.

Ballyhoo's island get away theme works throughout this friendly, fun restaurant.

I have spent most off my adult life thinking tacos are those crispy, crunchy, deep fried corn meal shells that contain ground beef, lettuce, cheese, onions and Mexican hot sauce. YUM!!

BallyHooTacosJANUARYI recently discovered the wonders of what tacos can really be.

Shrimp. Fish. Duck. My Latin American food pyramid foundation has been shaken with the discovery of the wonderful proteins that a corn tortilla can be wrapped around.

Ballyhoo's shrimp tacos are very good, very large, and very flavorful.

You know about the good angel and the bad devil that sit on your shoulders when its time to make a decision? These lunch partners show up when the server asks, "And what will your side dish be?"

In my case, the devil screams "FRENCH FRIES" and usually wins the debate.

Like my mother used to do, the angel looks at me, hands on her hips, tapping her toe, expecting the correct answer.

"I think I want to try the black beans and yellow rice today," I tell Courtney, our server.

TimTreebow"Good choice," Courtney says nodding her head in agreement with my selection as I sit up straighter enjoying doing the right thing.

Ballyhoo's blackened shrimp tacos were top shelf, prize-winning lunch time entrees. I will be back to order those beauties again.

The best thing I ate at Ballyhoo's this lunch time, however, was the black beans and yellow rice.

There's a Maria Muldaur tune titled, 'It Ain't the Meat, It's the Motion', that I will paraphrase when I say, "It ain't the beans, it's what you cook them in" that makes them wonderful.

Ballyhoo's black beans are some of the tastiest beans I have had in some time. The island spices included in the cooking broth create a fresh, bright, flavorful back drop to these yummy black pods of protein.

There is a birthday club at Ballyhoo's that you should join -- Members receive a free lobster on their birthday.

Not to be outdone by all the deals and offers of the Archer Rd. franchise restaurant establishments, Ballyhoo's has four different food challenges: fish, pork, hamburger, and hot dogs. Click the restaurant web link below this feature for more food challenge information.

Ballyhoo's was a great lunch stop. I became an unofficial Red Hat BhoosPatioSociety member. I reaffirmed my love for fish and shrimp tacos. I have discovered what I think might be some of the best black beans in the Urban GLOB.

I'm going back to Ballyhoos!





I was meeting good friendKate Valdovinos for lunch at Ballyhoo Grill.  I was excited about ordering the Ballyhoo guacamole that is made at your lunch table.   You can't get any fresher than that. Courtney, our server, was adept at combining the cilantro, onions, herbs, garlic, lime juice and tomatoes into a BallyhooSaladcreamy, chunky, very tasty green conglomeration of goodness.  Avocados are one of the GLOB Master's favorite food and this guac was delicious.  Since this was my first face-to-face meeting with Kate I applaud myself for not eating all of the guacamole.  The guac was very good, and made a very nice additional topping to the shrimp tacos mentioned below.  BTW Kate V. is the Editor of Kate's Salad Blog, and you can read her assessment of her Ballyhoo lunch salad on her blog.

The Pluses and Minuses of Ballyhoo Grill:

Ballyhoo Grill + indicators: Excellent seafood, extraordinary black bean.

Ballyhoo Grill - indicators: I was disappointed it was too hot to sit outside on the patio.

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



Miya Sushi

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






The Pluses and Minuses of Momoyaki:

THE PLUS (+) indicators:

THE MINUS (-) indicators: I

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





The Pluses and Minuses of Samuri:

Samuri + indicators:

Sanuri - indicators:

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


Chopstix Cafe

Poor service dampens great lake lunch

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pluses and Minuses of the Chopstix Cafe:

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

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

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


Chopstix Bistro

Daughter makes B-Day lunch special

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CHOPsticks480PATIOYou know how there are times as a child when you're parents never missed an opportunity to remind you of things you think are completely unimportant?

"One of these days you're going to be sorry when your kids are too busy for you," was a favorite saying of my mother as my siblings grew up and moved out of the house.

JANAchopsticksI've always thought I was/am a pretty good parent. I must have done something correct because my Occupational Therapist, mother of two, good wife to her man, middle daughter of three children has become one of my best lunch pals.

That said Jana does make me smile with her mom like questions directed at dear old dad:

"Are you taking your medicine Dad?"

"What did the doctor say the other day?"

"I brought this bandage for your knee."

It was Jana's birthday recently and she chose Chopstix Bistro in the Thornebrook Village for her birthday lunch.



In the GLOB Master's opinion Thornebrook's SW corner with Chopstix Bistro and Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar and their patios, umbrellas, shaded, and spacious seating is a beautiful place for an intimate lunch of conversation and friendship.

Chopstix works for the GLOB Master because Jana can get excited about a Sushi lunch, and I don't have to.

CHOPsticksMENUbdOld friend, now deceased Al Hall enjoyed calling sushi nothing but bait. I equate eating sushi with eating raw fish out of my old salt water aquarium.

Jana is a sushi lover and scanned the voluminous Chopstix menu with over 30 Sushi selections, eight veggie rolls, and three Temaki hand rolled sushi choices. I also noticed several Sashami selections and boatload of Special Makimono, Come to find out Makimono Sushi consists of sushi rice and other ingredients generally wrapped in nori (thin sheets of seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber or shiso (perilla) leaves.

The Chopstix menu also has Pan Asian bowls, vegetarian noodle bowls, rice dishes, salads, Bento boxes, and lunch specials. Phew!

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

"The Threer Amigos Roll" roll with Jalapenos and avocado sounds good Dad," Jana said.


"My Three Amigos Roll ($12.10), was as spicy roll with fresh jalapenos, spicy tuna, shrimp and cilantro. It was very spicy, but fresh and not too heavy. I took out about half of the jalapenos and only needed a touch of soy sauce since the fresh cilantro gave it so much flavor," The best daughter-in-the-world said.

It did sound good, and looked even better. One of the highlights for me in the Asian lunch setting is the beauty of the lunchtime experience. The care and precision of the plate preparation is always spectacular.

My lunchtime selection was the Chicken Teriyaki Bento Lunch ($10.89). Prepared with your choice of chicken, beef, fried or steamed tofu or salmon for an additional $1.21. Served with: Miso Soup, Fried Wonton, Salad and Steamed Rice.



Jana and I shared a cup of miso soups that had a distinct broth and tasty flavor. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called "dashi" into which softened miso paste is mixed with tasty scallions pieces.



I love the way Asian veggies are served crisp, fresh, and pleasing to  the eye. Since rice in on the GLOB Master's no than you list I like to substitute veggies when I can. My plate of vegetables was surprisingly large with delicious pieces of squash, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms. Speaking of parents I adhered to my momma's meal time declaration and cleaned my plate.



It was a nice surprise seeing my lunch served in a Bento Box. My compartmentalized lunch became a check this ingredient out lunch adventure. The teriyaki chicken was crispy fried with good size chicken of tender chicken. Jana ate my fried wonton. The salad was good, albeit somewhat unremarkable.

What a perfectly enjoyable lunch with my birthday daughter. Just talking stuff. Nothing important. I was sharing lunch with my perfect lunch mate living in the here and now, not worrying about what might happen as I get older.

I'm going back to the Chopstix Bistro!

The Pluses and Minuses of Chopstix Bistro:

The CSB + indicators : Beautiful lunch setting. Amazing selection of interesting entrees. I am always impressed with myself leaving the white rice behind.

The CSB - indicators :  Chopstix is known for being slow so keep an eye on the clock.

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




Chopstix patio creates perfect lunch spot

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CHOPSsf0117Thornebrook Village, with its array of shops and restaurants, is fast becoming The GLOB Master's favorite, go to lunch spot for a host of reasons.

First, my residence is a short, delightful, 10-minute walk to Thornebrook Village. Next, with three different cuisines available, a triumvirate of lunch ideas abound for this eating professional.


The dining patios in front of Chopstix Bistro and Formaggio's Bistro & Wine Bar could very well be the most serene, inviting, friendly, perfect spot for conversation and lunch in Gainesville.

CHAYA0217This lunch I was meeting Gaineville Lunch Out Blog Ayuervedic Health Coach Chaya Sharon-Heller to dicsuss upcoming story ideas.

I have to quote the GLOB's Bicycle Boy Ron Cunningham now because here I sit on an incredibly beautiful, sunny, afternoon with the temperature close to 80 degrees having a unique, interesting conversation a captivating lunch partner.

I'm not sure which came first with Chaya, her healing arts profession or her close attention to her diet, but the four-page Chopstix menu loaded with meatless lunch options throughout allowed for some excellent discussion about menu entrees like Kal Cashew Stir Fry, Mongolian Fried Tofu, and the Thai Eggplant with Thai Curry Sauce

CHOPSvertThe menu is separated into many detailed categories: Bowls, Salads, Chopstix's Famous Noodle Soups , Pan Asian Vegetarian, Vegetarian Noodle Bowls, Rice Dishes, Dinner Bento, and Pan Asian Specials.

The menu also includes sashimi rolls and an extensive sushi menu listing more sushi roll choices than you can wave a fishing pole at, plus eight veggie rolls.

There is a web link to the Chopstix Bistro's complete menu below.

I was happy to see the voluminous menu had a specific list of lunch specials that also included several meatless options.

After much consideration with the very attentive Chopstix server, Chaya opted for the Indian Curry Fried Tofu and Vegetable ($10.89) (image at top). Chaya enjoyed the vegetables, and the curried tofu satisfied her desire for an Indian flavor profile.

The Chopstix Daily Specials offered a choice of shrimp, chicken, or beef sautéed with broccoli, ($8.99) that caught my eye and I asked for an additional side of Chinese vegetables to pump up my lunch time flavor palette.

I love Asian, stir fried veggies. I like the way they remain crisp, crunchy, with vibrant colors looking like we are in fact eating right out of the garden. Were you aware that many nutrients in broccoli are sensitive to total steaming time, and, as a rule, studies suggest total steaming time be kept relatively short. Researchers find nutrients differ in broccoli steamed for 1 versus 2 minutes or 3 versus 5 minutes.



As Roseann Rosanna Dana says, "If it ain't something . . ."  My side order of veggies was a less than remarkable, smallish collection of snow peas, carrot slices, and broccoli. But they did make my meal too large to finish and, since I now live down the street, I took leftovers home for another lunch on an another day.

It was a deligtful lunch and I could have sat there for the rest of the afternoon in the worm afternoon sunlight like a very happy feline.

CHAYAlogoChaya is also a University of Florida Integrative Health Educator with more than 25 years of experience as a dietitian-nutritionist, holistic health educator, massage therapist, performing artist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and yoga therapist and teacher.

Chaya's ChayaVeda™ Integrative Healing Arts Studio is Gainesville's first Ayurvedic Clinic where a traditional Ayurvedic approach is applied to health care that includes massage and body treatments, cleansing and rejuvenation programs and panchakarma, diet, herbal and lifestyle education, yoga therapy, mindfulness, and integrative healing techniques.

The Pluses and Minuses of Chopstix Bistro:

The CSB + indicators : Great food, varied selections, Fabulous patio.!

The CSB - indicators :  Pricey-er than a lot of Asian lunch stops.

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


Chopstix Bistro – Delight and Dissonance Collide

By Lynn Dirk, Staff Writer, Content Editor

Editor's Note: Lynn Dirk, a medical research writer/editor with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is an enthusiast for healthy foods.

I am mostly familiar with the Chopstix cafe on South 13th St and was very surprised to just learn there is a Chopstix Bistro at Thornebrook. It's hard to talk about one without referring to the other. I haven't been to the 13th St restaurant in quite awhile, but I usually get their chicken curry. And I love to sit by the window to enjoy the view. I love to look for gators and and osprey.

I also love the aquarium. That's a good thing because the 13th St. Chopstix service is always SLOW. In fact, I would not recommend this restaurant for lunch exactly for that reason. Considering it is easy to get in and out of there transportation-wise, at least from the health center complex area, it should not take 2 hours, but it has. I guess that might be OK if the boss is with you.

My very first visit to the Chopstix Bistro (CSB) at Thornebrook was this past week. It looks very different from the one on 13th St. There's no lake but there is a very nice gurgling fountain and plenty of shaded outdoor seating. There is outdoor seating at the 13 St. location too but I've only taken advantage of that once because it's not shaded. On the day of the CSB visit, however, it seemed a little chilly so I sat indoors. I was quite disappointed for 2 reasons – not only did I miss being outdoors, but the indoors was not that welcoming to me. That's just a superficial impression, however, because I did not realize I was going to be writing this review and so I was not paying close attention. Part of that impression might have been related to the CSB bar, which is the first thing you see when you walk in.

I saw Pad Thai on the menu and was very tempted, but decided not to chance it. The only place that makes really good Pad Thai that I have found in Gainesville is Tim's Thai. Unfortunately, they are not open for lunch.

Many other dishes looked very tempting. It was hard to decide. The menu has a "Famous Noodle Bowl" section. I LOVE noodles so I decided this was where I would find my lunch. It's possible these are famous because there are so many different TYPES of noodles. It was a bit overwhelming. A young Asian waiter came and very patiently provided more information about several of the bowls to my lunch companion, and I listened closely. The information did help a bit, but it was a difficult choice – I counted 8 different types of noodles in 12 dishes: thin rice noodles, bean thread noodles, pan fried wide steamed rice noodles (that's a twice cooked technique like fried rice I guess), rice vermicelli, traditional Chinese noodle, udon (this might be the only kind of noodle I don't like – these are thick squarish noodles that have a dumpling-like texture), crispy noodles, and Korean clear noodles.

I finally decided on Pad Kee Mow, stir fried thin rice noodles sautéed with scallions, eggs, Malaysian curry spices, peanuts and basil. It took quite awhile to get the food even though there were very few people. So that aspect of the two Chop Stix is the same.

I didn't realize it at first but, when I got the dish, it had regular (wide) noodles. It slowly dawned on me, in particular as I kept noticing my friend had thin noodles in her bowl. BUT the wider noodles were also good, so I just let it go. There was also broccoli, carrots, fresh bean sprouts, all of which I love. If you have never had fresh bean sprouts, you are missing out. They are so refreshing – they are like straws filled with this wonderful liquid that has just barely taken solid form and has this unique flavor that is delicate and possibly epitomizes healthiness. So that made up for the wide noodles but then another problem arose – my dish was quite salty, not overpowering but just enough to be distracting.

A wait person came by – not the waiter, maybe the cook? – and my friend spoke up on my behalf about the saltiness. The response was that it was part of the dish, but he would bring more bean sprouts and I should mix it all in and that would fix the problem. It did help and, of course, getting more bean sprouts was great, but I was not convinced that it wasn't over salted. My friend thought it might have been MSG, but I have a very distinct reaction to MSG and that did not occur, so I think it was just regular salt.

The curry was wonderful despite the saltiness. My friend and I tasted each other's dishes and I liked hers a lot – she had the thin noodles I was hoping for and they were very good, but my dish had more flavor.

There was LOTS of food in my Famous Noodle Bowl, so I took the leftovers home, combined them with beet greens and vegetable broth, and that made a FANTASTIC soup and totally "fixed" the saltiness.

I will go there again, but not when I'm in hurry – it would probably work to call in an order (if they take call ins), pick it up, and take it to work. That would be a good lunch!

The Pluses and Minuses of Chopstix Bistro:

The CSB + indicators : Good food even when it's not perfect!

The CSB - indicators :  SLOW service that is also a little out of kilter.

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

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