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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Civilization

Civilization

'Hidden' bistro perfect for catching up, lunch  

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

civilizationSignThe GLOB Master got a big smile on his face when GLOB EATING HEALTHY columnist Michelle Cardelle suggested lunch with Lynn Dirk and I. The Special lunch guest was three month old Javier who was the hit of the noon-day Civilization lunch crowd. Michelle broke the news that she is ready to return to work at the University of Florida and looks forward to offering up new healthy eating ideas to the GLOB world next year.

 

102017MCjavier

I'm not sure why Civilization and their unique lunch time menu sits just of the GLOB radar screen because I have never had anything but delicious, spectacular meals here hidden back behind the Publix on Main St.

The last time I was here a lunch guest ordered the Shrimp and Grits and it really looked good. I remember the entrée being on the large side of the lunch plate so I thought the price reasonable since two lunch outers could share this entrée. Described as blackened wild caught shrimp over organic yellow corn grits baked with sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, and andouille sausage. Served with collard greens ($15.50). The description had my palate thinking, almost singing., blackened, sausage, shrimp oh my.

 

SHRIMPgrits480

Wow GLOBers, the spicy shrimp, sausage, and bacon were powerful flavors combined with the mild corn grits and cheddar cheese. Cheese grits could be one of those entrees I need to give more consideration. But they would have to be included with tasty corn meal grits, not the processed white grits. Remember, no white things for this diabetic.

It was a lot of food and part of the fun eating with these two foodies nothing goes to waste I was thinking as I moved my plate to the center of the table.

"Can I have that," Michelle asked stabbing my plate with her fork as she was eating for her and Javier.

 

2017MCslunch

Michelle took advantage of the SOUP & CIV SALAD special and for an additional dollar substituted the Utopian Salad with sweet potatoes, candied pecans, red onions, granny smith apples and stilton cheese over mixed greens with maple balsamic vinaigrette, and a cup of the Soup of the day ($8.50). Michelle enjoyed the salad especially the Kalamata olives, and stilton cheese.

 

102017Tacos

Lynn is working seriously on a meatless diet and selected the Fried Avocado Tacos served in flour tortillas with lime-habanero cole slaw and fresh tomatoes and a side of house-made salsa verde ($9.50). Lynn said the flavors were excellent, including the fried avocado, which had a light coating of fine breadcrumbs. The only disappointment was that the tortilla was flour. According to her, flour tortillas are not really tortillas. It has to be corn! But she ate the tacos anyway. The tangy habanero cole slaw helped take the bite out of the disappointment.

GLOB staff lunches, holiday lunches, dinners, Civilization is a special location, employee owned, enjoying the fact they are just a little bit different.

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

 

 

VEGGIEtopper

'Tucked Away' cafe offers atypical lunch

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

civilizationSignIf you had to describe Civilization restaurant – off of NW 16th Ave near Main St. – The GLOB Master would use the word unique. This lunch stop offers an eclectic menu of lunch time delights including a plethora of Meatless Monday opportunities from fried avocado tacos to chickpea fritters with onions & fresh spinach

 

091717TerranovaA

Owned by the Terranova Catering company this wholly employee owned restaurant has the feel of independence from the adventurous menu to a staffer attitude of, 'I'll get to it when I can."

Maybe that ownership charm is what makes this nooner-lunch stop special. That and the GLOB Master enjoys perusing the menu discovering entrees you would never think of.  Lunching with good friend and Ayurvedic, massage instructor and Chaya-Sharon Heller I was excited about what our entrees would be presented to us for our eatification.

 

Veggiewrap480Chaya a serious eater in regard to health and wellness and I enjoy watching her study menus, seeking out just the right entrée to fulfill her bodies needs. Her questions about lunch emphasis her eastern approach to food and health, Today her lunch choice was the spinach and sweet potato burrito($8.50  with white cheddar, rice, avocado and fresh cilantro. The burrito is served with a side of salsa verde. Add black beans $1.50.) Chaya liked the flavors of the beans, and the idea of adding sweet potato was special, unique, to Chaya, See GLOBers there's that unique idea I'm talking about.

ChickpeasThe Civilization Spinach Pakora($6.50) with chickpea fritters, onions, fresh spinach, and cilantro chutney was my choice for lunch. I love garbanzo beans/chickpeas and I find it fascinating how they show up in so many different cuisines. I was delighted to see a fabulous looking plate of what appeared to be three impressive, toasted looking potato pancakes on my lunch plate. The crunch of the fritters immediately generated a GLOB Master smile. T he Garbanzo Bean flavor combined with the fresh spinach was quite remarkable. That said I think the lunch time winning component is the cilantro tomato chutney which was screaming out. "MIX ME INTO THOSE PANCAKES PLEASE!"

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

 

Veggiewrap480

According to the www.webmd.com website: More importantly beans are high in fiber and antioxidants. Beans aren't just good for the waistline, they may aid in disease prevention, too. More than just a meat substitute, beans are so nutritious that the latest dietary guidelines recommend we triple our current intake from 1 to 3 cups per week

Extraordinary company, fantastic original lunch entrees in one of Gainesville's more UNIQUE lunch setting demonstrated to me once again that I truly love my job in the first place, with garbanzo beans a very strong second place.

The Pluses and Minuses of Civilization:

Civilization + indicators: One of the more unique menus meatless or otherwise. Extraordinary flavors, unique flavor profiles..

Civilization. - indicators: Service can be tepid. Not a lunchstop or the hurried lunch outer.

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

 

 

CIVILLunchTOPPER

 

Feeling civilized at GLOB work brunch

By: GLOB Staffers

civilizationSignMelissa Kahan:
It didn't take much convincing for some of the members of the GLOB team to have a meeting of constructive shop talk and brunch time fare over at Civilization. Kim Harris and I were the only ones who hadn't been to this local co-op, and the unique breakfast and lunch options piqued my interest, including plenty of vegetarian options that sounded like they would not be sacrificing taste.

CIVILmimosa2After splitting a carafe of slightly tart yet refreshing hibiscus ginger mimosas and lemon ricotta beignets with a scrape-the-plate-clean raspberry sauce (literally in Lynn's case), $20 total, we decided to share four entrees to get the full "civilized" feast experience. My contribution was the Pipperada Frittata, $9.50, image below. I hesitated to order this at first due to many past lackluster frittata experiences, but the method of baking this rendition seemed like it would make the difference. I was pleasantly surprised: A medley of veggies, including onions, green olives, bell peppers and tomatoes, were baked in eggs and cream in a deeper, round dish. This far surpassed the usual flat frittata that I've had, and I loved how confining the ingredients in that deeper dish kept the insides piping hot even after splitting it in fourths for sharing. Also, the top of the egg creation was coated with a creamy layer of manchego cheese and accompanied by three toasted baguette slices. After seeing Lynn and Kim pick at the remains of the dish, I think it's safe to say that the consensus was this selection was a winner.

 

CIVILfritta

Lynn Dirk:
CIVILBeignetsMimosI'm not sure why, but it has been awhile since I'd been to Civilization, and I forgot how everything on the menu looks so good and how hard it is to decide what to get, but my contribution to the GLOB feast would be the Florida Cakes, $9.50: pancakes made with shredded zucchini, orange zest and candied pecans that were served with hot blueberry compote. They were even better than they sounded. They were nicely browned all over with crispy edges. The candied pecans were occasional nuggets providing a delightful contrast to the typical pancake texture. The cakes were not too thick and not too thin, but just what the middle bear ordered. The compote provided some tartness, but I was so glad that I had also salvaged some organic raspberry puree left over from the beignets, and that puree was the icing on the pancakes! Also, those beignets (Thank you Melissa for noticing "The Civilized Way to Start the Day" at the bottom of the menu!) were not like the ones at the Café du Monde in New Orleans, but if there were ever a beignet competition, I'd bet on Civilization's over Café du Monde's. Also, with all our sharing and requests for extra plates, our server did a great job with a friendly smile the whole time. Since we all shared our dishes, I will add that I thought the other dishes were equally good. Not only that, the best part of the feast was the sharing because I LOVE variety! One of the things that bothers me most about restaurants is the overabundance of main entrées. Maybe this means I am a buffet girl at heart, but the other remedy is sharing family style. Great food, great company, and excellent spirits put me in Hogtown heaven!

 

CIVILpancakes

Kim Harris
I brilliantly ordered (or perhaps was told to order; either way, it was brilliant) the Grits Florentine, $9.50, which is a dish of organic, yellow grits with fresh spinach and two poached eggs. The eggs were cooked a little too hard to be called "poached", but they still blended well with the grits, which were creamy perfection. The dish also included large green olives, which provided a natural salty flavor, and was topped with local, heirloom cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion. The veggies were all fresh and I appreciate the organic and local ingredients that Civilization uses whenever possible. This was perhaps my favorite of all four, wonderful entrees.

 

CIVILgrits

As for the other dishes, I am not always a fan of ricotta cheese, but the lemony ricotta filling in the beignets blended beautifully with the raspberry sauce, made with real raspberries. Mike's grilled cheese was unique and a little messy and, while I loved it, I could probably not eat a whole one, as it was pretty rich.

CIVILplate300ACivilization is a bit notorious for not providing the best service; in fact, when I told a local foodie friend that I'd been there, her first remark was, "Did you ever get drinks refilled?" Part of a lovely weekend brunch is good company and conversation, so, I didn't feel that we waited an especially long time to receive our meal, and our waitress did a fine job, although, yes, I could have done with one more refill of water and maybe some ice because it was SO HOT in the restaurant. Beautiful as the building is, I'm sure it is difficult to cool, but we were visibly sweating throughout the meal. Being too hot took away from the overall experience for me.

Mike Sanford:
The Hungarian Grilled Cheese, $9.50, is made with a Civilization version of Korozott, a blend of feta, gruyere, and cream cheeses, which tasted surprisingly like a melted, tart pleasing pimento cheese spread. The Hungarian paprika and mustard, roasted peppers, and fresh spinach combined for very flavorful and surprisingly eye-opening flavorful bites. The Civilization home fries were some of the best I have had in quite some time with a nice crunchy crust enveloping some very tatst potato.

CIVILgrilledCheese

This was a really good grilled cheese, however the fun of sharing our briunhc entrees with friends, and staffers created an award winning brunch plate of fabulous mid-day entrees, image at top of this story.

Melissa again:
Also, as usual I have to agree with Lynn on many points: the Florida cakes did have just the right thickness and texture; Civilization's lemon ricotta beignets could outshine Cafe Du Monde's any day, in my opinion; and I too resent those big entrees crowding many menus because I would way rather try a little of everything. I also agree with Mike about how the Hungarian Grilled Cheese was very rich and creamy, almost like pimento cheese, and I really liked the toasted grainy bread. Even the Grits Florentine, a seemingly simple-sounding meal of two poached eggs, cheddar, tomatoes, and onions over organic yellow grits and spinach, was absolutely delicious, despite the eggs being overcooked. I try grits just about any breakfast place I venture to, and these were cooked to perfection with just the right amount of creaminess. Even the bill was extremely reasonable. I will certainly return for brunch or lunch.

 

CIVILbeingetsA

In summary, four thumbs up for Civilization!  There is a Civilization menu link at the bottom of the page.

 

CIVILgcheese020116TOPPER

I was celebrating a birthday lunch with my UF Entomology/Nematology pals, Jane Medley and Kathy Milne, when Kathy suggested Civilization for our next lunch. Much has been written about this unique lunch retreat, and I was excited to see what they had to offer in the way of meatless lunch opportunities. Being the first to arrive, I was happy I had a moment to look over the Civilization menu. The menu proudly announces, "We source as much of our produce as possible from local growers including: Possum Hollow Farm, Siembra Organic Farm, The Family Garden Organic Farm, Graham Farms, and Dogwood Lane Farms." In addition, Civilization has five meatless sandwich choices, five meatless lunch entrees, and a veritable host of meat-free salad selections. As GLOBers who know me might suspect, my eyes, scanning the menu, stopped in their tracks when I saw the Civilization Hungarian Grilled Cheese (below is a link to the Civilization website). Our server said the cheese is made in the Civilization kitchen by combining cream cheese, goat cheese, and gruyere cheese with a generous splash of paprika and mustard to create a creamy palette for the roasted peppers and fresh spinach in this grilled cheese adventure. The creamy cheeses surprised my taste buds with a delightful savory, blend that made me sit back and consider what I had just put in my mouth. The crunch of the spinach and peppers made this noon day grilled cheese surprise something that any member of the Mongolian hordes would be proud of.

- GLOB Master

CIVILLunchTOPPER

Unique elements create cultured brunch experience

By Lynn Dirk, Content Editor

civilizationSignOne of the neatest things about Civilization, located just of NW 16th Ave. next to the railroad tracks, is the building it occupies. It was built in 1929, and in 2005-2006, a sophisticated renovation resulted in a vintage brick exterior with a beautifully modernized interior. Indeed, a City of Gainesville Beautification Award plaque is proudly displayed at the restaurant entrance. This gives Civilization a special kind of ambience – you could call it "ambidextrience" – old and new elements that represent civilization at its best: respecting tradition but evolving.

CIVILdiningROOMIt's fitting that such a building would be home to a restaurant unique in other ways: It has an unusual business model – it is a worker-owner co-op; it has indoor seating with style as well as a beautiful outdoor seating area with lots of greenery and good scenery; and it serves interesting, well done food. What's not to like? Civilization menus can be found at the restaurant web link below this feature.

Saturday was a perfect day for brunch at Civilization. When the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Editor and I got there about 12:30, the restaurant was busy with what seemed to be mostly "pink walkers" from the breast cancer walkathon. There was one table left outside, so we took it. Service was pretty slow – perhaps due to the packed house, but it was a beautiful day and it turned out we had some interesting "neighbors" – Wes from North Carolina and Amanda from Wisconsin, both Landscape Architecture students (Ed note:  This text has been  corrected per Wes's comment below).

CIVILLunchAWes and the GLOB Master had both wanted a sausage brunch entree that was no longer available, and conversation commenced upon commiseration. We discussed barbecue and the politics of urban development. Great conversation, which was followed by great food.

We ordered two different poached egg dishes – one with black beans, rice, and avocado (above) and the other, known as Swamp Eggs, with sauteed red potatoes, greens, and a wonderful red pepper sauce (below). We also shared a bowl of Andouille and Corn Soup. It was all very good with the following highlights:

zzGLOBbullet EGGS - The poached eggs on both dishes didn't look like the usual poached eggs with the smooth curved top. I actually thought they were sour cream, but a swipe down with a fork revealed a perfectly round inner cave of liquid yolk, which was dark yellow and rich.

CIVILLunchBzzGLOBbullet  POTATOES AND GREENS - The potatoes were cooked perfectly – soft with nice browning and excellent roasted flavor. I think potatoes and greens are one of the best combinations ever. YUM.

zzGLOBbullet FLAVOR - The black beans and rice seemed a little bland but otherwise good, whereas the red pepper sauce on the other dish had a distinctive satisfying flavor, although pretty salty when tasted by itself.

zzGLOBbullet SOUP - Hearty. Not quite as spicy as I would have liked but great "body." Although bisque and other pureed soups can have great flavor, I love soup that has texture. What the Andouille and Corn lacked in spiciness, it made up in texture.

zzGLOBbullet BREAD - The Swamp Eggs had no bread, but the black bean eggs had wonderful toasted flour tortillas that had possibly been very quickly deep fried, which gave them a nice, very light coating of some excellent tasting oil and a wonderful crispiness. With the soup, there were herbed and buttered sliced croutons that were also very crispy. YUM again.

zzGLOBbullet AVOCADO - This shows up in a good number of Civilization dishes. It was an excellent accent for the beans and rice.

zzGLOBbullet BEVERAGE - Civilization has what they call "Table Beers" for sharing, which would have been perfect for a Saturday lunch, but they also have a fresh ginger hibiscus tea and mint lemonade. I had the mint lemonade before and it's really good. This time, I couldn't pass up the ginger tea, and it was very refreshing.

zzGLOBbullet SERVICE - Slow, but that was not a problem on this particular visit with beautiful weather and interesting "neighbors."

I like Civilization very much. I have been there many times, and, as the GLOB Master says, "I'm going back."

CIVILLunchCombo

The Pluses and Minuses of Civilization:

Civilization + indicators: Good food, great ambience, beautiful building, and plenty of parking.

Civilization. - indicators: Ran out of one of the entrees.

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

Last modified onWednesday, 08 November 2017 05:09

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: (352) 380-0544
  • Address: 1511 NW 2nd St., Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: NW 16th Avenue
  • Latitude: 29.666142
  • Longitude: -82.326481
From:

1 comment

  • Alix
    Alix Wednesday, 27 May 2015 20:44 Comment Link

    I have enjoyed civilization every time I have been in. My dad loved it too, and he can be a tough sell. Unique and tasty food! I don't mind that they run out of dishes now and then because they offer so many nice fresh local ingredients and one of a kind dishes.

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