Hello, my name is Kate Valdovinos, and welcome to Gainesville Greens, my contribution to the Gainesville Lunch out Blog. I am looking forward to sharing the green side of lunch opportunities with you! When I discussed the idea for writing this column with the GLOB Master, his focus was for me to cover the lunchtime salad scene in Gainesville. In fact, his idea was to call this column "Gainesville's Salad Lady." That was a good idea, and I do love salads, but I think there is going to be more to Gainesville Greens than arugula and croutons. Don't be surprised to find different kinds of interesting, green subject matter wrapped around your GLOB salad fork.
Salads pull the GLOB's Salad Lady downtown
Downtown Gainesville is full of great festivals, markets, shows, concerts, and awesome opportunities to get involved in the community. VisitGainesville.com says, "Gainesville's downtown is the symbolic heart of the city. A quintessentially quaint tight-knit gathering of shops, restaurants, theatres and parks it somehow pulls off always feeling lively, yet open and personal at the same time." DowntownGainesville.net highlights dozens of events, bars & cafes, lodging, shopping, healty & beauty, entertainment, and restaurants.
It seems that no matter what mood I'm in or how little money I have, I can always find something to do downtown. Since being in Gainesville, my favorites were: seeing Crispin Glover on his It Is Fine! tour, listening to acoustic covers of 90s songs at Artwalk Gainesville, and dancing at The Atlantic.
However, Gainesville is also great for salads. Whenever I go downtown to eat, I find myself drawn to the same restaurants and usually because of the salads. So here is a list of my favorite downtown Gainesville salads.
Boca Fiesta Taco Salad with Okra – I am in love with okra, so I'm a bit biased, but this really is a great salad, photo right. The ingredients lend itself to be a traditional (Americanized) Mexican salad, with an extra tanginess from the lime-cilantro vinaigrette. I would recommend this salad to anyone, especially non-salad eaters.
The Jones B Side Farm Salad – This salad was amazing! I don't know if it was the giant poached egg, crispy lardons, citrus herb dressing, or maybe just the plain ol' microgreens, but it was absolutely delicious and filling.
Harvest Thyme Café Mixed Greens Salad – I'm so glad that I finally made it to Harvest Thyme. This salad was basic but fresh and appetizing, and the salad dressing was perfect, photo right. I'm really excited to go back for another salad. (I did have the pleasure of having a sandwich lunch provided by the library as part of their literacy volunteer program and it was awesome.)
Paramount Organic Beet Salad – This salad is a work of art. The ingredients were fresh and all went together beautifully. The beets, mozzarella, and garlic oil added the perfect amount of extra and interesting flavors.
I'm excited to get downtown for more salads. My next outing will involve Paramount, then Harvest Thyme. If anyone has any other downtown-salad suggestions, please let me know in the comment window below!
Kate Valdovinos is the Editor of Kate's Gainesville Salad Blog and will be discussing with GLOBers all things leafy, green, and healthy with a large dollop of yummy.