Friday I had one of the best lunches I have enjoyed in some time. My UF Entomology & Nematology friends and I met Emiliano's Café celebrating and the Friday Special was Paellita, photo above. Paellita is a small plate of seafood paella that contained more wonderful flavors, textures and adventurous bites than I have experienced in some time. Before our lunch arrived we shared an tapas appetizer of Yucca Frita. Yuca Frita is deep fried yucca served with a sharp tasting garlic- tomato mojo sauce, photo below. When my lunch was presented to me I quickly squeezed the fresh lemon juice on my paellita. and that made the flavors more tart and appetizing. What a cornucopia of vegetable and seafood goodness; English peas, asparagus, artichokes, shrimp, clams, oysters on a bed of wild rice. The petite oysters we marvelously plump and juicy. The shrimp were crisp and very flavorful. The clams were deliciously nestled in their black shells, marinating in their own juice. The smaller size for this lunch time meatless entrée was just the right size.
That doesn't mean I couldn't have eaten three plates full of this lunch of the gods. But I did feel smart and disciplined after cleaning my lunch time plate. I've asked the Emiliano's staffers to let the GLOB Master know the next time Paellita is a lunch time special.
Heart healthy plans collide with lunch opportunity
by Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
It was one of those mornings when I decided it was going to be a heart healthy day. I have a good heart healthy drill. I add some additional minutes to my exercise routine. I stay away from sugar and other obvious bad things to eat. And, this morning, I planned to eat a salad for lunch.
And then It was decided by my lunch mate that Emiliano's Cafe was to be my lunch time destination.
After 25 years, Emiliano's Cafe is a downtown restaurant icon to local foodies. A comfortable Latin style, an outside dining area with a great view of a thriving downtown, plus an excellent menu of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine make it easy to see how the EC has attained its lofty, fine dining status. And like icing on the cake, the food is consistently good..
Emiliano's Cafe has added a new lunch special to their menu called the 8-8-8. That's short for 8 minutes, 8 choices, $8. This is a clever strategy of variations on rice, beans, meat toppings, and special dressings apptoach often found in South America. Rice or yellow rice; black beans, chicken, steak, or shrimp; chimichurri sauce, salsa, jerk sauce, mojo, or mango are just a few of the optionss available to create your personalized Latin American lunch.
The 8-8-8 Lunch Special looked worthy of my consideration. The problem was that I was committed to eating a salad this lunch hour.
The EC Caesar Salad I ordered was very tasty. I was happy with my lunch entree. The salad contained all the standard salad ingredients, plus I added a sliced chicken breast to satisfy my protein need.
The only difference between my lunch and the 8-8-8 options was a bed of beautiful salad greens and the price - my Caesar Salad cost $11.
It was a mid-day visit with new friends and I was excited they had selected Emiliano's Café for lunch. The owners like to call their cuisine pan Latin. You say pan Latin, I say black beans and rice. You talk about steak, mushroom and potato empanadas and I say, "Oh my goodness." What a perfect bowl of wonderfully flavored black beans featured dramatically over a mound of yellow rice. There was just enough of the black bean broth in the bowl to tease my hungry palette. The crust on the empanada was cooked perfectly and melted in the GLOB Master's mouth. The steak, combined with the Latin spices, pieces of mushrooms, and potatoes were singing a harmonious flavor of afternoon Caribbean delight! The fun part of lunch was experimenting with the many different salsa flavors Emiliano's bottles themselves. BTW, Emiliano's black beans would be a perfect Meatless Monday lunch.
The Pluses and Minuses of Emilianos Cafe.
The + Indicators: A reliably excellent lunch experience of fine food, stylish environment, and professional service.
The - Indicators: This fine dining establishment can be on the pricey side, thus the creation of the 8-8-8 lunch special may make Emiliano's a more affordable lunch stop.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Emilano's. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS