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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Bagels & Noodles

Bagels & Noodles

Visitor gives pho, friend, the 'What Pho!'

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

B&NsfMany Gainesville restaurants, delicatessens, and fast food spots have become staples simply because they have been around for many years. It is not until someone visits that you really evaluate these places, especially for those, like myself, who want to show out-of-towners the culinary best of Gainesville.

My good friend Dorothy from my hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla., has visited Gainesville a few times. It wasn't until she heard of a little place called "Bagels and Noodles" that she was intrigued. To anyone else besides Gainesville residents, bagels and noodles sound like the least complementary food items imaginable, from taste to meal to cultural background. And yet, here is the unlikely marriage of two delicious foods. I thought, "Hey, why not try the place again with someone new?"

 

BNtabkeWord of mouth has been the best advertising for the place by far based on raves over their breakfast and their lunch that I have heard. Until I visited for lunch this week, I had completely forgotten about this place. Was the food just forgettable, or was I so clouded with the plethora of new restaurants that I forgot about this small, long-time Gainesville haven?

It was a perfect Fall sunny day with a cool breeze, a sky so blue, and a daytime moon.

The restaurant, inundated with hungry customers of all ages, gave this indecisive food adventurer all the options in the world in the breakfast and Asian food spectrums. Again, how can the two possibly mesh? From big-as-the-plate omelets and banana pancakes — both of which are beyond tasty and extremely generous helpings for the price — to the highly-proclaimed Pad Thai and noodle dishes, I was overwhelmed. But, as with every food outing during my friend's visit — even though there's never enough time in a trip to cover all the bests, I was giving it my all — I aimed for a well-rounded meal experience, as imposing as the menu was.

Dorothy has made, ordered, and eaten pho more times than she can count but was taken aback when this food adventurer proclaimed a lack of pho experience (sorry in advance for the upcoming puns with "pho"!). Of course, we were obligated to try a bowl of their deluxe beef pho, but the meal would not be complete without a bagel. The adventurer in me needed a unique bagel choice, which the restaurant is known for, and I thought a sundried tomato bagel with sundried tomato pesto cream cheese would fit the bill.

After placing our order, not 5 minutes went by before the bagel was served, and not 10 minutes passed until two heaping bowls full of pho emerged before us. Complete with Sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, and a side plate of bean sprouts with lime wedges, it was high-time for a true lesson on the art of consuming pho, "pho" real!

 

BNsauceHERBDorothy showed me how to mix the Sriracha and hoisin sauces in a small dish, take the small ladle to scoop some broth and the clear rice noodles and sprouts into the ladle with chopstick assistance, and grab a piece of meat floating among the broth to dip in the sauce mixture. With ladle of broth and noodles in one hand and a chopstick of sauce-soaked beef in the other, we dove right into the meat then, ladle full in one messy slurp, throwing all proper etiquette inhibitions aside. To say the least, it was a process. Regardless, I was extremely drawn to the aromatic broth warming my belly with each slurp; the long noodles curled at the bottom of the bowl in a heap; the hearty chunks of beef contrasting with the crispness of the fresh sprouts and the dark blanket of deep red Sriracha and black hoisin sauces.

For a first encounter with pho, I was enjoying every bite. But it was not my opinion this time that was the deciding factor. My Vietnamese compadre was weighing each component of the Vietnamese noodle soup for elements of authenticity, flavor, and overall execution. Upon the first taste of the comforting broth, she was pleased with its flavor.

"You can taste and smell when the broth has been cooking for a long time and when the herbs and spices, like cinnamon, have been soaking in it. That's how you know it's good," she said.

 

BNmlLUNCHDorothy not only commented on how the portions were plentiful, but she was also pleased with how well the flavors merged and how the cook definitely seemed to take the necessary time to let the flavors permeate the dish. It takes at least a day for this soaking process, she added, and the longer the soaking, the more aromatic and flavorful the pho. To say that it was the best pho she's had aside from her homemade version is high praise.

With at least a four-star pho-nalé (OK, I'm done) underway, my contribution to the food experience, the bagel, paled in comparison. It's not to say that the bagel was bad — in fact, it was toasted perfectly to a light crisp — but I felt it was overtaken by the pho feast. Regardless, I smeared on a generous helping of the light pink sundried tomato pesto cream cheese to the warm sundried tomato bagel. It was a tasty and hearty breakfast experience, varying greatly from my usual plain or everything bagel and plain cream cheese. The bagel was fresh, and it was a welcome contrast to the large serving of liquid from the pho. While the bagel was flavorful, I am spoiled by the bagels my mom buys from the New York-style bagel shop back home, so I couldn't really boast about this bagel any further.

 

BNmkpalIn my four years in Gainesville, I have been a few times and didn't give the hole-in-the-wall on University Avenue a second thought. Now, I'm not sure why that is. Not to mention there holds a bit of sentimental value to it: Dorothy and I have been friends even before we had cell phones (I figured that would put it in perspective), and it seems that based on our cultural backgrounds and the closeness of our relationship, "Bagels and Noodles" is the perfect metaphor to depict us. I recommend the place hands-down for a casual Sunday brunch with family or friends, a great breakfast with fellow peers to start the school day, or maybe the place to take your out-of-towners for a wholesome and original experience.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Bagels & Noodles:

Bagels & Noodles (+) indicators: Great execution of all specialties both Asian and breakfast-related; fast service compared to number of customers; highly-praised; great price for what you pay for.

Bagels & Noodles (+) indicators: I want to try everything.

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

 

AAsmallknifefork0311 

Midtown lunch surprises with menu variety

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

I like to remark that Ward's Grocery is the only market in town where designer beer, vitamin supplements, and frozen pizzas are eight to five feet away from each other.

The Bagel & Noodles breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot might have them beat in the 'we have it all' category.

If you haven't had any reason to be at the corner of University Ave. and 13th St., you most likely aren't aware of this very old building close sitting cozily behind the Holiday Inn that houses Beef O' Brady's. But if you have ever had any kind of UF business taking you close to this very busy intersection, some might say the true heart of Gainesville, you are thinking, "Oh yeah, I know that place."

B&NsilhouteWalking inside B&N you recognize this gow historic old building continues  to be a convenient retreat for UF folks escaping the stressors and issues that encumber all aspects of life of those lunchouters crossing 13th St. to get away from the world of academia.

In the hustle and bustle of orders being taken, served, and eaten, there is a serenity that made me feel I had escaped the real world looming, passing by, outside the large Bagel & Noodle picture windows.

I was curious to see exactly how far this have-it-your-way-lunch stop goes for the hungry lunch adventurer.

I have heard about the fabulous Asian/Vietnamese lunch entrees and tasty soup called pho (pronounced "fuh").

I already knew B&N served a full menu of breakfast fare including bagels, of course, and lox, pancakes, French toast and numerous breakfast specials.

I was surprised to see an even larger list of typical lunch items including sandwiches, cheese steaks, grilled cheese, tuna salads, and hamburgers.

There is a link to the Bagel & Noodles menu below this feature.

B&Nlunch600The tuna salad patty melt sounded like a good lunch for the GLOB Master. After my server listed six or seven bread options for my sandwich, she suggested a bagel and I opted for the Sun Dried tomato bagel toasted with a slice of tomato and Monterey Jack cheese.

It turned out my patty melt was a large open face sandwich with big scoops of tuna salad, tomato, and cheese on both halves of my bagel, photo above.

The sandwich was very good, and the tomato slice was a nice complement to the creamy tuna salad. The toasted bagel and melted cheese 'sandwiched' all the ingredients into a very nice bite size parcel of lunch time joy. The potato salad was an interesting after thought-like addition. Next time I think I will go for the bag of chips instead. My server suggested I might like a side of jalapeno peppers for my sandwich. I wish I had listened to her. Some spicy peppers would have sent this lunch over the mountain top of great lunch time expectations.

I'm usually not the dumbest guy on the bus, and I did feel smart making my visit to Bagel & Noodles when the UF campus was emptying out. A lot of UF types call themselves Bagel & Noodles regulars, and I have heard it can get busy at this close-to-campus lunch stop hideaway.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Bagels & Noodles:

Bagels & Noodles (+) indicators: Extraordinary selection of lunch items. Interesting elements of campus life within this café.

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

Last modified onThursday, 01 March 2018 06:29

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: (352) 372-7006
  • Address: 1222 West Univ. Ave., Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
  • Latitude: 29.652210
  • Longitude: -82.337867
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5 comments

  • Bill H
    Bill H Tuesday, 01 May 2012 14:03 Comment Link

    I am part of a coffee group that meets at B&N daily and the breakfast are very, very good. The service is very good and friendly like you were at home. So don't look at B&N as only a place to visit for lunch. The breakfast are really good.

    What's wrong with a mixture of American Bagels and Asian noodles, they are both very, very good. If you have to ask then it is time for you to try both and get an answer to your query.

  • JoAnna
    JoAnna Friday, 16 September 2011 15:35 Comment Link

    Bagels & Noodles: Breakfast & Asian

    Three words: Nom Nom Nom! Oh my goodness, I go to Bagels & Noodles on cheat day so I can stuff myself silly (I'm practicing The Four Hour Body slow carb life style 6 days a week). They have everything breakfast or Asian you can imagine. Eggs, bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, french toast. Chocolate chip, fruit, or meat pancakes (yes, traditional pancakes with sausage or bacon in them). Shrimp, chicken, beef pad thai, fried rice, rice vermicelli, miso soup, wakame salad, and LOTS, LOTS MORE! This is the place I crave at 12 am and I get bummed because I know they are closed. The portion sizes are amazing, the prices are great, the service it fast and attentive, I just cant get enough of this place. I haven't been in 10 days and it's torture. I cant wait to visit Bagels & Noodles again!

  • James
    James Friday, 21 January 2011 18:26 Comment Link

    Lol, what's wrong with Vietnamese noodles? U want breakfast they got breakfast, u want noodles they have noodles.... What's so hard to understand lol.. Maybe instead of a Asian owner, it should be a white guy, then you would most likely understand better right??

    - james

  • D
    D Saturday, 04 December 2010 15:08 Comment Link

    I know the concept of the business and the name might throw you off. However, the food is delicious. I will come back to the restaurant everyday if I have the money to eat out everyday. Cheap delious food & very laid-back environment and family-oriented. I personally go to restaurant for the food, not so much the concept of it. I love trying new things; therefore, I suggest you to give this place a try.

  • daniel
    daniel Wednesday, 03 November 2010 18:53 Comment Link

    This place is now called "Bagels and Noodles." A breakfast bagel place that serves Vietnamese noodles...whats up with that?

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