Root & Pecker proudly brags, "Real food. Intentionally sourced, made well." The joke is, "You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay." My blessed mother always she didn't care what her name was as long as she was called for lunch. All that said the only thing that has changed about this lunch stop is the new name. If there is a restaurant in town close to the Starbucks idea of grab your space, get your goodies, and stay a while, this is it. R&P has a very interesting menu that features several Meatless lunch choices. That's OK, its all right, it was still easy for me to choose the R&P Gourmet Farmer sandwich because it just sounded really good. I was hoping for more of a grilled cheese idea but this sammie loaded with Chevre (goat cheese), apples, candied bacon, carmelized onions, cashew aioli, lettuce, served on pressed sourdough bread was amazing. The goat cheese intermingled with the sweet bacon flavor, and the cashew aioli made for a mouthful of creamy chewy flavors. I'm going back for another one of these prize winning lunches.
Lunch pal Lynn Dirk opted for the meatless R&P Simply Fresh Burger with a veggie patty (made from nuts, seeds, and veggies), lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, sprouts, nacho cheese, and cashew aioli, served on a gluten-free deyhydrated onion bread. The bread looked closer to a tortilla than onion bread and the burger flavors were highlighted with nacho cheese, and cashew aioli. I know this was an excellent veggie choice because Lynn and I shared our sammies a half, for a half. Lynn also ordered a cup of Thai Tomato & Squash soup which was nice blend of butternut squash, tomato, garlic, ginger, and coconut milk. (V/GF) I ate my Gourmet Farmer sandwich half first, and I think that was the better sandwich.
Friendship, 'talking GLOB' highlights brunch
Here we are again: Another weekend passed, and another brunch outing helped fill the sun-soaked days. This last weekend that the GLOB team ventured to Cymply Fresh for Sunday brunch was an especially sunny one, with the high temperature in the 60s and an enjoyable breeze. It was the perfect day to be outside, and I think this GLOB outing provided the best of what the day could offer: good atmosphere, good company, and brunch.
My previous Cymply Veggie article dabbled on a few lunch items, mostly notably the Cymply Fresh sandwich. On this beautiful Sunday, the musical stylings of Shaky Earle and Anna Surento hummed sweetly with slow tunes to set a relaxing mood. It didn't take much argument to get the GLOB team to a table outside, with two new faces joining in – the newest GLOB staff writer John Richardson, who is covering some of Gainesville's interesting happenings (look for a GLOB Gainesville Roller Rebels feature from him), and Ami Santos.
First, we had to order at the counter, and then we were each presented with our dishes at a large wooden table the staff moved into the sun at our request . The six of us dug in, although the time between the first plate arriving and the last plate was a good 10 minutes. I ordered the gouda, spinach and bacon quiche, image above, as I was intrigued by the Cymply Fresh version of a vegan quiche crust made of chickpeas.
I was actually grateful that my dish was the last to arrive, as it was nice and warm, the eggy filling encasing very scant pieces of spinach, gouda and bacon. A nice crispy "glaze" of sorts covered the top, and I was pleasantly surprised with the crust, the chickpea giving a pie texture that was still crumbly but with a healthy twist. I was grateful to have ordered a side of the candied bacon and potatoes, though, as a slice of quiche is not a full meal. The potatoes were fine but were not particularly crispy or seasoned and came out a good 5-10 minutes earlier than the quiche. I typically love the unique maple taste and thicker texture of the candied bacon, but today it was certainly greasier than normal.
Thomas said his omelet with some veggies, cheese and bacon was pretty underwhelming, commenting that the candied style of the bacon worked against his favor as it lent an unappealing greasy element. However, Lynn finished her entire eggs Benedict, commenting on how perfectly cooked the poached eggs were. Mike seemed pleased with his omelet, and John ordered the California Chicken Club with veggies, candied bacon, chicken, and a smattering of cashew aioli, which is one of their standard menu sandwiches that I am pretty fond of, as well.
Ami, who was celebrating her birthday, ordered the same quiche as I did — great minds think alike, of course — and seemed pretty happy with her choice. After we finished our meals, we moved to the shade and ordered a round of mimosas to celebrate , and I thought it was one of the better bubbly brunch beverages I've had.
The service, in general, was not too bad even though we changed tables three times (!), and the server gladly accommodated our party by moving a table into the sun for us, so I cannot complain. However, for Thomas' omelet and my quiche with potatoes and bacon, I paid just shy of $30, which seems a tad steep for what we received. Will I be back for breakfast foods? Probably not. Will I be back? Yes, but for the CYM coffee and chai tea, which are very tasty, and the great outdoor seating. The food, at least from where I sat, left something to be desired, but as I said before, some live music and good company can certainly make for a great time.
Content Editor Lynn Dirk's take on GLOB brunch
Mike and I were much happier with our food than Melissa and Thomas were. We shared the eggs Benedict and an omelet of gouda, red peppers, and spinach (top image), that had wonderful seasoning. I thought the potatoes were cooked to just the right texture as far as doneness, even though they weren't crispy. The omelet came with some very tasty, thin-sliced whole grain and cranberry bread that was so good it did not need butter or jam. I concur that the coffee was really good and the staff were quite accommodating -- and very friendly. It was the food that was slow. In fact, the bacon and potato side orders were the first dishes out, and Melissa and Thomas were polite enough to hold off on eating until all the orders were out. They probably would have enjoyed the sides more if the came out last! The server mentioned the kitchen was having some issues.
Speaking of the kitchen, one especially neat thing is that there is a vegetable garden there tended by Buccholz High School students that is used by the kitchen. And another local aspect is that one of the people behind this business is a local celebrity, Ken Block of Sister Hazel. In fact, CYM is a play on a Sister Hazel tune called Change Your Mind.
Speaking of local, as part of the birthday celebration, The GLOB Master gave Ami a jar of tupelo honey from Land of Flowers. If you have never tried this honey, you are missing out on one of the most wonderful, healthy sweet flavors in the world. Everyone, especially Van Morrison, knows tupelo honey is special, but the tupelo that Charlie Lybrand bottles is even more special. He told me once that it is different because it comes from white tupelo trees in the Florida panhandle as opposed to black tupelo trees further north (I hope I am remembering that right!).
In summary, a good time was had by all!
The Pluses and Minuses of Root & Pecker
Root & Pecker + indicators: Friendly, lots of outdoor seating, willing to accommodate, local foods, good concept, nice to have a good ice cream and coffee venue in close proximity.
Root & Pecker - indicators: Not very extensive breakfast menu, subpar food, not cohesive food delivery. The $30 brunch price for Melissa and Thomas did not include the mimosas, which were 3.99 each.
New foodie friend, veggie sammie, score big in 'GLOB-'ville'
Lately, I have been leaning toward dining establishments that serve healthier options. Many of local places tout serving locally-sourced food, some of which provide the farm-to-table approach of serving unprocessed produce to the community.
I have been to a Cymplify Food Truck Rally, the sun setting over a few small shops and a myriad of food trucks that provide dinner during the show, namely a local band (I saw Sister Hazel). I didn't realize that within the small plaza where this was held, there was a gift shop, an ice cream parlor, a coffee shop and a café, all under the Cymplify umbrella. I do absolutely love ice cream, but I was very curious about the farm-to-table café, Cymply Fresh, with its healthy soups, salads, and sandwiches.
It was love at first glance: A row of cute, airy shops gave way to quaint tables inside for studying, the smell of fresh-brewed coffee wafting through the open shop. Attached was the homemade ice cream shop, surrounded by a well-stocked gift shop, and followed by the café. The best part of this was the many outdoor tables that allowed my dining companion and fellow foodie of the blog OutInTheVille, Tanai Milgram, image right, and me to enjoy another beautiful, clear fall day in the ville, er, uh, Urban GLOB.
I love a place with unique spins on healthy food, such as the Super Nachos with flax seed crackers, mock bean pate, and cashew cheese. After a quick peruse of the menu, a handful of both salad and sandwich options, we were torn between the same two sandwiches: the Cymply Fresh Burger and the Cymply Veggie. To my delight, Tanai is a sharer, so we decided to get both sandwiches and split them, along with a side of the Raw Broccoli Salad.
These two sandwiches were the epitome of farm to table. The veggie burger was not only gluten-free, but raw and vegan. It was certainly evident that the patty, made with seeds, veggies and nuts, was raw. It was a tightly packed, thin slab of protein, almost taking on a nutty tempeh quality. I was glad that atop the firm texture of the patty was the crunch of lettuce, onions, and sprouts and some acid from a tomato slice. One of my favorite parts of a sandwich is the sauce, and the "nacho cheese" and cashew aioli were pretty scarce, but did help a little in giving the burger some dimensions. The most interesting part was the "onion bread," which was essentially a very sharp-tasting onion cracker.
Despite the unique flavor of the burger, Tanai and I agreed that our favorite of the two sandwiches was the veggie. For $2 less than the burger, it was certainly a better bang for the buck, too. I am usually not the biggest fan of peppers on sandwiches, but thankfully the roasted red peppers didn't overpower the other flavors. The freshness of the cucumber, lettuce, and red onions and the creaminess of the chevre (goat) cheese brought about a flavor reminiscent of a Greek dish. The walnut pesto was a star in this, there being a generous smear across one half of the hearty pressed wheat sourdough bread. The raw broccoli salad on the side was fine, but certainly not the best I have had. I agree with Tanai that the lettuce/spinach added to it did not do it any favors.
Would I go back again? Sure. Perhaps I will try the Waldorf salad next. It wasn't a truly remarkable experience in comparison to other farm-to-table dining options in Gainesville. So far, Tempo Bistro To Go has the number one slot for locally-sourced, fresh lunch time sandwiches in my book. I also eyed the ice cream container with such flavors as chocolate fudge brownie and lemon blueberry cake a tad too long not to come back and try a flavor...or five.
The Pluses and Minuses of Root & Pecker
Root & Pecker + indicators: Ample outdoor and indoor seating; lunch, dessert and coffee shops within walking distance of each other; standard prices; fresh, local ingredients; extended grass parking.
Root & Pecker - indicators: Nothing particularly amazing; a little tricky to find if don't know the directions well; not too many menu options
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- Phone Number: 352 3021-3309
- Address: 5408 NW 8th Ave., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Newberry Road
- Web Site: Root & Pecker
- Latitude: 29.659715
- Longitude: -82.400939