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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Blue Agave

Blue Agave

Mexican cuisine wasn't even on my menu I was thinking as I turned into the Blue Agave parking lot off of NW 43rd St.

I have mentioned more than once the GLOB Master is a big Mexican food lover. It all started when I cam to Gainesville to go to school many years ago and discovered Taco Bell. I thought the crunchy, hard shell tacos were cheap and very good. Gosh GLOBer not to show my age but sift shell tacos were thing rarely even discussed.

But a Taco Bell lunch of two tacos and a spicy green burrito was lunch time bliss for me any day of the week.

Walking with long time Jon Roosenraad one Friday morning the subject of Mexican lunch stops popped up and conversation shifted to the twenty Mexican/Tex Mex restaurants in Gainesville.

The good Doctor opined on the good old days -- back in 1990 -- how the El Torro restaurant on SW 13th St. was the only Tex/Mex lunch stop in town. "You know they have moved to Alachua and they have become a popular restaurant out there GLOB Master," Jonny said wistfully. "I haven't seen a good Mexican restaurant like that in Gainesville since they left." he added.

That's when I made my pitch for Blue Agave being my favorite Mexican lunch stop.

"If for no other reason Blue Agave has 10 different tacos on their menu," I said. "Plus they have tacos for $1 on Wednesday," I exclaimed.

BagaveSALSA300If that isn't a testament to my lunch time desires I confessed the Pollo Poblano entrée with slices of grilled chicken, onions and mushrooms simmered in poblano sauce served with Mexican rice, black beans, feta cheese and three flour tortillas – $12 - was big enough to share and hads become my favorite Mexican dish.

Sitting down and surveying the B A menu I wasn't ready to commit to such a large lunch. That is when a server walked by with delicious looking salad. I think I could be an expert on lunchtime salads these days. More and more a cruchy salad with a boatload of different ingredients is ringing the GLOB Master's lunch time chimes. So I felt good about selecting the Blue Agave Taco Salad with crispy flour tortilla shell topped with, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole and tomatoes, ($7.50).

The spicy, cool, refreshing flavors worked nicely with a giant dollop of a really good salsa.

I used the complimentary chips to scoop up the salad ingredients smiling thinking I was in fact Tex/Mex heaven less than a half of a mile from my doorstop.

 - Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

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BonataTOPPER

GLOB colleagues meet for muy, muy, lunch

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Blue Agave Mexican restaurantFall seems to be laden with holidays to celebrate, from birthdays to anniversary celebrations. Not only is the GLOB celebrating five years of world-wide web publishing this month, but I can mark my two-year anniversary contributing to the GLOB, as well. First up, though, GLOB Editor, Mike Sanford, was celebrating a birthday and had a few places in mind to ring in another year wiser.

Homemade Mexican cuisine, including taquitos, nachos and taco salad, are in my meal planning rotation just as much as anything else. However, I rarely dine out at Mexican joints. Regardless, I was looking forward to trying out Mike's birthday spot pick, Blue Agave, as it had been on my list to try ever since Mike first raved over the tasty tacos.

MElynnNestled off of 43rd Street by 43rd St. Deli and Saporito Oil, Vinegar & Spice Shop, Blue Agave makes a bold statement upon first glance, colorful signage and interior seeming to be a typical aesthetic for Mexican restaurants. It was just around opening time, so the GLOB staff did not have any wait to be seated at a booth by the window. Several parties filed in and out, though, over the course of our meal, giving the appearance of a somewhat popular spot.

SangriaThe service was very prompt without much wait time for food or refills. After the easiest decision of the day was made to split half a pitcher of red wine sangria, which was actually a little too sweet for my taste which is saying something, we all decided a family-style meal time of shared plates would aid us each in trying as many different items as possible.

Bnota480

The complimentary chips and salsa left much to be desired, in my opinion. The chips tasted a little stale, and the salsa needed to be doctored up with hot sauce to gain some flavor. The Botana (no roll on the "n," although we certainly tried including one), was the Mexican food equivalent of a combo appetizer at any big-box chain restaurant. This medley of quesadillas, fried chicken flautas and individual nacho chips with either chicken or beef and cheese provided a nice little sampler platter for the table wanting it all, so to speak. It was an adequate portion size for three or four people. Each section of the platter was cut into smaller pieces while still including plenty of the tasty fresh fixings that make each meal customizable, including a small cup of queso cheese dip, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, jalapenos and sour cream. One of the best parts of this multi-topping system is creating new flavor combinations. 

Lynn Dirk, the 3rd GLOBer in our birthday fiesta, noted that the menu has an interesting section of sides:  a side order of onions or tomatoes is $1 each, which seems steep, but then some of the a la cart items like one taco or beans or rice seemed very reasonable at about $3.

PorkVerde

TacosMike was also interested in trying something new at the spot where he has ordered many a taco. The Chile Verde dish, image above, piqued his interest. Although advertised as "hot," I did not think the spiciness level surpassed even a medium heat. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the dish: Thick chunks of tender pork coated in green sauce and cilantro fell apart in my mouth, every bite as juicy and flavorful as the last. The addition of rice and beans also pleased my dining companions, and I took to dousing the leftover tortillas from the meal in the Botana's queso sauce. However, true to form, Mike insisted we include tacos into this feast, and no one was ready to deny the birthday boy. He ordered fish tacos, a protein filling that he claimed he had not previously tried at the restaurant, and seemed very pleased with the grilled chunks of tilapia that rested in the flour tortilla. Of course there were again plenty of toppings to customize each taco.  I took to adding some green salsa, red hot sauce, a little pico de gallo and lettuce for a pretty decent stuffed taco. While not the best I have ever had, it did the trick.  There is a complete Blue Agave menu at the restaurant link below.

Dessert480

What is a birthday celebration without a little dessert? Yes, our ambitious birthday party finished two slices of cheesecake as well as all the aforementioned food. The server informed us that this particular cheesecake wasn't on the menu, but it was his favorite and worth a try. It certainly did not disappoint: Traditional-flavored cheesecake was met with a layer of fudgy chocolate in the middle and a generous top coating of caramel that dripped down over the sides. The graham cracker crust was Mike's favorite part, but I had no problem devouring the rest!

Mike claims that Blue Agave is one of the better Mexican restaurants in town, and I do feel that it was a satisfactory experience. As mentioned previously, I rarely dine out Mexican, but if the opportunity to dine at Blue Agave presented itself again, I hope it would be during lunch on a weekday when they have all the great lunch specials.

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Agave: speedy food delivery, attentive and friendly service, tasty food, wide variety of meat and meatless options, reasonably priced for quantities, enticing lunch specials.

Blue Agave + indicators:  One of the more unique Mexican menus in town with eight different tacos. OMG the fish tacos include pico de gallo and tomatillo sauce!  The red, and green sauce available on the tables add nice heat to the B A house salsa.

Blue Agave - indicators: Somewhat standard Mexican food, hard to get to if on other side of 43rd Street.

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

 

TacoTOPPER

Tacos astound GLOB Master with variety

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Blue Agave Mexican restaurantI made it my mission to seek out the best tacos in GLOB land primarily because I am a giant taco fan.  I’m not too proud to say that it has only been recently that the GLOB Master has discovered that the new millennial meaning of taco is way more involved than the yummy fried corn tortilla that encased cheddar cheese, onions, and tomatoes that has symbolized Mexican sandwich bliss for me since I was old enough to pay for my own lunch

On my first trip to Blue Agave off NW 43rd St across from the Thornebrook Village, I experienced the spicy, green, flavorful joy of the BA Enchiladas Poblanas.  If you are a poblano pepper fan you have to give the Blue Agave poblano sauce heartfelt culinary consideration.  The mild but tangy, creamy green sauce added a rich, smooth flavor to the over-stuffed-with-chicken corn tortillas. CARUMBA muchacho! This was an excellent South of the border lunch.  On my second trip, it was the tacos.  More on that shortly

Blue Agave is the third restaurant in this old Las Margaritas location in the last few years.  Not a lot of change has taken place to the design inside the stucco walls of this lunch time hacienda.  There is still a lounge area on the lower level of Blue Agave, plus ample seating inside the restaurant, and some tables line a patio on the outside wall of the café.

Blue Agave has the traditional Mexican combo lunch platters ranging from the $5 Speedy Gonzalez consisting ofone beef taco, one enchilada, and Mexican rice or beans to Special #25, which is your choice of a shredded chicken or beef chimichanga served with Mexican rice, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream for $7.  That is 25 lunch combo platters ranging from $4.50 to $7.

In addition to the combo platters, BA has a full menu ranging from antojitos (appetizers)  to fajitas, ala carte selections, and nine vegetarian lunch options including Chiles Poblano with two poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, fried in egg batter and covered with special sauce and sour cream, and served with Mexican rice and refried beans. (There is that poblano sauce again . . .!)

There is a restaurant link to the Blue Agave menu below

It was tough overlooking all those spicy green choices, but it was a taco kind of lunch day for the GLOB Master, and Blue Agave had an impressive taco of eight, distinctly different, choices ranging from cilantro flavored chopped steak to my selection, the Taco de Alambre.

I think I need a little GLOB help here, amigos.  I am not aware of any other restaurant in Hogtown that serves up that many different taco flavor options.

Carumba!  I have never had a better taco than the Taco de Alambre.  The flavors were battling for my attention from the grilled chicken to the chorizo and bacon.  The bacon and chorizo added a little more salt to my palate than normal, but this taco was GLOB FAB FIVE caliber from the paper thin, crepe like corn tortilla to the cilantro and shredded cheese.

Talk about a conundrum -- I could happily try a different Blue Agave taco every day.  It looks like I will be taking the ala carte Mexican lunch route -- a custom AB Taco with a side of Chile poblanos.   

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Agave

Blue Agave + indicators :  One of the more unique Mexican menus in town with eight different tacos. OMG the fish tacos include pico de gallo and tomatillo sauce!  The red, and green sauce available on the tables add nice heat to the B A house salsa.

Blue Agave - indicators:  So many choices for such a short lunch hour . .

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

 

BAgreenA

BGchipsSALSAReal estate folks like to make a point of talking location, location, location when they are trying to make a big sale to a motivated buyer. Blue Agave on NW 43rd St. is now less than a half a mile from my residence north of Thornebrook Village. More importantly, I have pretty much decided this Tex-Mex lunch stop has all the green chile, corn tortilla, poblano pepper, hot salsa to make it one of the best Mexican cantinas in Hogtown. I have become a giant fan of the Blue Agave Pollo Poblano, which consists of slices of grilled chicken, onions, and mushrooms simmered in a green spicy poblano sauce. This entrée is served with Mexican rice, black beans, feta cheese, and three flour tortillas. Going meatless, I was ready to step outside my corn tortillas, and I ordered the Chiles Poblanos. This meatless Mexican wonder is two poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, fried in egg batter, and covered with special sauce and sour cream. The entrée is served with Mexican rice and refried beans. The Blue Agave Tomatillo Sauce could very well be one of the best, tangy, spicy, green, salsas around. I substituted this gem of a topping instead of the BA Special Sauce on my poblanos. CARUMBA GLOBers! At $10 this entrée is $2 cheaper than my favorite Pollo Poblano and quite possibly more flavorful with the inclusion of the pobalno peppers AND tomatillo sauce. This isn't just a Meatless Monday Special GLOBers, this is an every-darn-day of the week special for the GLOB Master. BTW the Blue Agave free chips and salsa are worth their weight in corn meal and tomato salsa and add a very special 'Mexican side order' to this Meatless Monday prize winner.

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Last modified onTuesday, 19 June 2018 05:38

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 352 363-6969
  • Address: 4401 NW 25th Place, Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: Millhopper Area
  • Latitude: 29.6757472
  • Longitude: -82.3901353
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2 comments

  • Lulu M
    Lulu M Friday, 18 April 2014 09:28 Comment Link

    Blue Agave is now just about the best Mexican food in the N.W. part of town. I've had take-out 3 times and last week took some European visitors and were as impressed as I (again)
    Their Carnitas, moist, tender and flavorful, chile verde, aromatic and delicious, beans and rice, also held their own. I inquired where the owners were from and they cook Jalisco style, my mother's neck of the woods. So, I'll be back again and again.

  • GLOB Master
    GLOB Master Monday, 14 April 2014 11:13 Comment Link

    I agree with you Lulu! There green poblano pepper sauce is very special with a tinge of heat. I love the varied taco choices. Plus it is closer into town than the other good, Mexican lunch stops! BTW were you aware there are 26 Mexican restaurants in the Urban GLOB . . .!
    http://www.gatorglob.com/urban-glob-map?filtertag=Mexican

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