Multiple stops, rewards for mid-week adventure
By David Lluberes, GLOB Correspondent
Editor's Note: David is graduating from the University of Florida College in December with a Bachelor's Degree in linguistics and the mission assessing of Gainesville's Wednesday evening ambience and value.
Midweek does not always mean cheap beer and midtown for a college student, but it works for me. I began my 'Thank God It's Wednesday' Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog Mission Epicurious adventure by attending the Wednesday Tap Take Over at Stubbies & Steins in downtown Gainesville. The Tap Takeover happens every Week from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am (close). Essentially Stubbies features different brewing companies and promote their products at a discounted prices. Not only do you get to sample a variety of beers from a specific brewery but they infuse the beer into their unique menu for that day. Lately they've been giving away free pint glasses to the first few guests to arrive.
This Wednesday night Stubbies filled their taps with our local Swamp Head Brewery and they have a variety of specialty appetizers and entrees infused with the beer to celebrate the Wednesday Tap Take Over.
I even received a free Swamp Head (SH) pint glass for being one of the first dozen customers! Getting there early meant no rush and the opportunity to sample a few different beers and chat with the bartender. Don't let the piercings and tattoos intimidate you, because Stubbies bartenders are extremely savvy drink connoisseur's and very approachable.
They asked each member in my party what kind of beer s/he preferred and provided samples until we discovered which one suited our palates. After a skilled pour, the bartender began small talk and gave us a brief lesson on India ale. We were informed the majority of customers who order an IPA are expecting the American taste of beer, which is "hoppy" and not the traditional English ale taste.
Our first selection of food from the S&S menu was the SH Pretzel Bites with infused SH Big Nose IPA cheese sauce. The pretzel bites were perfectly salted and complemented the cheese sauce nicely.
Next, we ordered the SH Stumpknocker Boiled Peanuts. Growing up in the South and with Gator football right around the corner, I knew this was a must. To my surprise this German brewhouse had the recipe down to a science. The peanuts were full of flavor and extremely addictive.
After taking over the taps, we decided to travel to the other side of town for a little chow that had become my summer tradition -- Wednesday $5 Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill. (TGIW TIP: I learned by sitting at the Bonefish bar that the house burger is available at a discounted price!)
Although I tend to stay away from the food chain scene, the BG price and ambiance cannot be beaten. It's a great place to have quality conversation, in a dim setting, without thinning out your wallet.
After a hearty portion of shrimp, it was time to make plans for rest of the evening. My roommate is leaving Gainesville for Illinois in the next couple of weeks to start his life in the real world with a real world job.
I decided to return to downtown to take him to The Bull, my favorite bar/café in town. Did I mention it was my favorite? I found out about this hole in the wall last summer when I found a flyer advertising it on the ground. Little did I know it soon would become my go to place in downtown Gainesville.
As you enter The Bull, the first things you notice are the extravagant pieces of art hanging from the walls. The art display changes each week, making it unique in the sense that you'll never see the same décor twice.
There is no telling what to expect at The Bull. I've experienced everything from evacuating the building because of a gas leak from next door to dancing to salsa music late into the night. On any given night, you can expect quality live music and best of all there is no cover charge! This place is full of character and continues to grow on me each time I visit.
As the night was coming to an end and the beer began catching up I decided a visit to Gainesville's original Pelican Brothers Food Truck was in order.
Not knowing what to expect I discovered through their informative Facebook page that they were going to be located in front of the High Dive – formerly the Double Down – music venue.
After chatting with Mike Liska and Matt Holmes, I knew I found something special. The Pelican Brothers have been serving Gainesvillians since 2001. The PB's also travel to music festivals all around the country to sell their unique food truck fare.
They came up with the idea to buy the food truck after attending shows at High Dive and seeing a white van sell food outside the music hall. Upon learning that the previous owner was selling the truck and moving to New York, they decided to take a risk and begin a business venture from the inside of their newly purchased hippie food truck.
Although the name of the food truck is not original, they've masterfully crafted a genius menu that will keep you coming back. The P. Brothers post their menu on their Facebook page prior to the next event.
Whenever they're not on the road they love to cater in Gainesville because this is home to them -- they even said they would be willing to cater for customers and parties during home football games.
I ordered the chicken and waffle sandwich and it was instant heaven in my mouth after the first bite, Photo at top of this feature. Who knew a waffle, fried chicken, and local honey gravy would send me into a food coma.
I definitely recommend checking out Pelican Bros. to any foodie out there wanting a one of a kind Gainesville food experience from some very cool dudes in a hippie truck.
Although the chicken and waffle sandwich felt like nirvana, I shall keep searching for more unique and interesting food & fun venues in Gainesville, so check back to hear more of my ongoing mission of interesting food adventures.