It was another day in paradise last weekend and the GLOB Content Editor and I started our weekend off with a late lunch at CafeC on NW 8th Ave. No one told folks at this popular café that later is better. The café was bustling with hungry lunchouters who were lining up behind us 10+ deep. And for Meatless Mondays, there are several MM sammies to choose from like the Grace's Garden Sandwich and the Italian Caprese Sandwich, and several salad options such as the popular Sweet Escape Spinach Salad, the Cypress Salad, and my choice, the Smiling Buddha Noodle Salad: A bed of greens topped with fettucini noodles tossed in spicy peanut sauce with broccoli, asparagus and mung bean sprouts. Toasted sesame seeds and chopped peanuts are sprinkled on top. All of these entrees were barely under $10. The Smiling Buddha was a different taste experience for the GLOB Master who is not a big Indian cuisine adventurer. The salad dressing had a spectacular flavor, spicy, piquant appeal. Plus the noodles and peanuts were an eye opening elements not only adding flavor but an unusual crunch component. Captain Dirk decided on Pam's Pesto & Pollo Focaccia sandwich served on a pressed focaccia bread spread with roasted red pepper hummus, pesto roasted chicken breast, lettuce, and dill-havarti cheese. What is becoming a regular routine with us we split our lunches and enjoyed her sandwich very much. The red pepper hummus was a prominent flavor and the dill-harvarti cheese melded nicely with the roasted chicken and hummus. Lynn had a local "I am an NPR fan card" and we both ate for under $20. Now that's a deal.
- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
'I'm sittin' here thinkin', just how sharp I am'
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
Sometimes I think I need to pinch myself. You know, to make sure I'm not dreaming all this stuff up.
Here I sit on a beautiful afternoon with the Cinema Verde Film Festival Director in the ultra cool, chic hide-away of caféc on NW 8th Ave. And I say hideaway because if you are just driving by, you might not even notice that this is a popular lunch spot. Just shows to go ya, you can't judge a café by its cover.
CV Festival Director, Trish Riley, and I were trying to categorize the avant garde decor of this multi-roomed lunch spot: Contemporary, art deco, fusion. You know -- all the words I use to make me feel like I am being a very cool dude.
We did consider sitting on the outdoor patio, which has its own unique flair, but we decided at an inside table.
A pop art style, mosaic design pulls the cafe together with colorful, kitsch scattered around the cafe lures customers into wandering the premises looking for aesthetic surprises.
Then there's the cafes alternative-world menu nomenclature. You can choose your lunch from sandwiches with name like Here's the Beef, Wilbur Smith Ciabatta, Sweet Home Alabama, To David with Love, and the Hogtown Press.
Salad names I like are Eighth Ave. Salad -- get it? --, Eggsistenstial Salad, Smiling Buddha Noodle Salad, and the Good Afternoon Vietnam Salad.
The CV Director and I opted for a sandwich and salad with the idea of sharing our lunches. There was nothing alternative about the chicken entrees we selected. To understand, read on:
The Rajaee quickly became our sandwich selection, and we paired that ciabatta sandwich with the Good Afternoon Vietnam Salad.
The Rajaee sandwich was today's winner for me. The lightly toasted ciabatta roll encompassed a creamy, albeit spicy, chicken salad. After a few bites of this spicy, creamy salad, I detected a certain amount of heat created from the Cilantro Almond Relish with roasted yellow peppers. If that relish were available by the jar, I would have purchased some.
I don't know who Rajaee is, but that guy knows his sandwiches.
Unique has to be the word best describing the Good Morning Vietnam Salad. Chilled, refreshing vermicelli rice noodles accompanied by chunks of chicken breast, cilantro-seasoned cucumbers, sesame sticks and peanuts is an extraordinary combination. The garlic lime dressing included on the salad brought all the ingredients to this Robin Williams -- oops sorry wrong subject/movie -- Good Morning Vietnam salad together creating a fresh, tangy, noodle salad presentation the likes of which I have never tasted before.
This was a great lunch out at a fashionable, fascinating, and flavorably correct cafe, and we gave our lunch tickets a caféc stamp of approval. "I'm going back!"
BTW, I couldn't resist quoting the Rolling Stones in the caféc head line, "cuz I'm the under assistant, N. Florida, GLOB Master man."
After talking about grilled cheese sandwiches, I jumped at the opportunity to try café c's Sweet Home Alabama: "A traditional gooey grilled cheese sandwich served with a side of fresh sliced mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and mixed greens topped with salsa verde and a side of balsamic vinaigrette." You can choose to have your Sweet Home Alabama Grilled Cheese on sour dough, whole wheat, or rye bread. I selected whole wheat bread because that was the thickest sliced bread of the three choices. (Come on GLOBers, we're talking toasted, melted grilled cheese here.) I also added tomato and onion to my sandwich. I thought the sandwich was good in a teasing kind of way. The bread could have had a little more toasty crunch. The SHA was lukewarm, which isn't a big deal, but hot off the grill would have been nicer. I'm thinking my sandwich was made first of our three lunch entrees and sat on the counter waiting to be served, resulting in congealed cheese. Cheddar cheese was an interesting choice for the sandwich, especially paired with large pieces of mozarella cheese in my side salad. I liked my sandwich, and I enjoyed lunch at the busy café c. I did mention to the cashier, with all the cheese and starch on my plate, they might want to change the name of the SHA to the cafe c Heart Stopper Special. café c's is a perfect Meatless Monday lunch stop with several veggie sandwich options including salads listed at the restaurant menu link below.
- GLOB Master
The Pluses and Minuses of Café C:
Café C (+) indicators: Excellent lunch! Contemporarily cool setting with personality to discuss world issues and make plans for the weekend. Abundant seating including inviting patio.
Café C (-) indicators: None noticed.
Sunday lunch buffet excedes expectations
It is not often that I indulge myself in going out for what is hands-down my favorite meal experience of each week. Many times it is a modest, homemade meal that fits my Sunday brunch time bill, but on those rare occasions I convince a friend or my boyfriend to accompany me to a brunch outing or if there is a dining event that happens to occur then, I feel I have to savor the experience and choose location wisely.
I have heard mixed reviews of Café C's Sunday brunch from 10 am to 3 pm, namely with the busier Sundays actually running out of food. However, I was eager to see for myself if this Sunday brunch could make my repeat list. After a precautionary quick call to make sure breakfast items were still available at noon, we ventured to NW 8th Avenue to try out the buffet. Yes, it is a buffet-style brunch. My taste buds salivated at the thought of such a beautiful variety of food experiences.
A roughly $15 brunch per person included unlimited visits to the buffet table and my favorite brunch beverage, a mimosa. I was pleasantly surprised, as this wasn't a mass quantity, long-line style buffet but had more delicately prepared items that I would have ordered in a typical breakfast dish.
From the Eggs Benedict with salmon and asparagus to the mini muffins, quiches, bacon, and grits, I was in breakfast heaven. All my favorites were waiting for my arrival! There were various lunch items also for those looking to indulge in later day fare, including meatballs, mac and cheese, and an entire ham for carving.
As shown by the pictures, I did not hesitate to load up my plate with breakfast items. I'm not sure if it was the amount of time I spent ogling the food items in the buffet or if the heaters weren't on full blast, but my food was not particularly warm. There were pros and cons to this experience, as with many buffets I have experienced, but I was overall pleased. I will be back to try again, as they claim the buffet items change frequently. Plus, I will take any excuse to have Sunday brunch.
Wide selection of sweet and savory breakfast/lunch options
Couldn't get enough of the mini cinnamon and blueberry muffins
Fruit was fresh
Slightly obsessed with bread, so very happy about the biscuits
Good potato salad
You can sit outside, although they boasted live music which was missing
As said previously, the food wasn't very warm. The bacon and grits, two of my favorite breakfast items, could have been great, but alas
The poached egg on the Benedict was overcooked to an almost hard boiled consistency
Was sad not to find a scrambled egg replacement presented on the table. Will have to order an omelet next time
No bagels to go with my delicious lox!
The mimosa was made with an off-brand orange juice, and tasted very "fake"
I feel the need to comment on the heat temperature again, as it would have improved most of the food
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about cafec. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 377-7433
- Address: 424 NW 8th Ave., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Every Where Else
- Web Site: caféc
- Latitude: 29.659717
- Longitude: -82.329697
Hello Scott, I don't specifically remember your comments. The only reason I wouldn't post a comment is because the comment wasn't relevant, or appropriate to the content of the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog. Follow this link for a GLOB Comment Policy: http://www.gatorglob.com/en/add-a-comment
Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
Scott T Thursday, 26 September 2013 12:05 Comment Link
This cafe is only OK! Seriously $10.00 for a sandwich? And the meats are all processed. These are all recycled comments.
If you MUST go - get a GROUPON and save 50% - it;s the only way it;s worth it.
angie shepherd keen Thursday, 26 September 2013 10:17 Comment Link
GLOB Master, don't pinch yourself! Café C is real, and really, really good!! I can't believe you are just now discovering their awesome and cool place. CC has the best soups and salads around in my opinion (surprised I didn't see you there ;)), not to mention their delicious sandwiches...and more. Love me some Café C's!!!
Hi Keith! Thanks for bringing up a good point about the GLOBS brunch links. My thought was even though I haven't been able to go to all the restaurants that serve brunch to review them, I thought it would be handy to mention the brunch spots and perhaps GLOBers could check the restaurants web address link at the bottom of the features to see what the word BRUNCH actually meant at the different brunch locations. I'm trying to eat brunch at all of the brunch spots Keith. However there is just one GLOB Master and a bunch of brunch spots.
Keith Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:52 Comment Link
To Glob editors,
Thanks for the great review - but I have one caveat. I found this by searching on the site for "brunch" restaurants. But for the second time (also tried the Jones B Side review) the review mentions the interesting lunch items but not a word about brunch. Not what might be on that menu, not what days or hours it's served - just nothing. Why have this listed a search item without info on it. Still, thanks for the great source of restaurant reviews.
Barbara Wednesday, 28 September 2011 14:31 Comment Link
So, last week there was a buffet offered from 11:00 to 3:00. Except... they ran out by 12:15. Better planning people. :)
Jon Rose Thursday, 09 June 2011 10:40 Comment Link
Sorry you did not comment on the decor inside and the rather "dull" paint job outside. One word describes it -- funky! Like a trip back to the '70s and '80s in style and music being played. not to mention the laid-back atitude of the staff. sort of a "only in Gainesville" kind of place. And, TASTY food.
Pamela Wednesday, 01 June 2011 13:19 Comment Link
I think they serve the fastest lunch in town.
Quentin Thursday, 19 May 2011 12:01 Comment Link
The food quality is amazing and the service is great!