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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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Electric Ramen Opens on NE 23rd Avenue

ElectriRamenLOGOMay 1, 2017: Is Gainesville big enough for two soup shops GLOBers? Electric Ramen on NW 23rd Avenue -- in the former The Jones location at 401 NE 23rd Ave thinks so with their lunch time soup & noodle cafe now open Monday - Saturday 11-3 pm. Still in the formative stages, Electric Ramen is offering a limited menu:
Shoyu Ramen with Pork, $7.99
shoyu (soy sauce) based broth, dashi (fish broth), pork, soft egg, scallions
Vegetarian Ramen, 7.99
miso based broth, tofu, soft egg, scallions
Steamed Bun with Pork or Tofu, $3.25
   pork or tofu, hoisin sauce, pickled cucumber, scallions

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Keke's Breakfast Cafe opens in Butler Plaza

KekesSFApril 24, 2017: Keke's Breakfast Café in Butler Plaza, at 4062 Plaza Blvd. With 26 locations, this franchisee generator is open and serving lunch and breakfast every day from 7- 2:20. Keke's menu lists 10 paninis, 5 burgers, and 9 wraps including an Italian Chicken Panini: Chicken breast, pesto sauce, roasted red pepper and provolone cheese (8.99), a Turkey Burger: One-third pound turkey burger on toasted ciabatta bread with your choice of toppings (7.99), and a Portabella wrap: Grilled Portabella, pesto sauce, roasted red pepper, provolone and romaine (8.49). The Keke's lunch menu also includes 8 salads including the Tuna Salad and Fresh Fruit: Tuna Salad, strawberry, banana, blueberry, grape & orange slices on romaine (9.99). Keke's is open every day and you can FOLLOW THIS LiNK for breakfast and lunch menus that have more entrees than you than you can shake a strip of crisp, crunchy bacon at.

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wearhouse

Warehouse Restaurant & lounge reopens for lunch

April 3, 2017: Downtown's Warehouse Restaurant & Lounge is one once again open for lunch. Located in the new, and growing Power District South of downtown Gainesville. This multi cuisine restaurant now serves lunch, dinner and drinks from a menu of salads, seafood, pork, and poultry with daily specials.

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zzGLOBbullet HEROsfIT'S HERO'S NOT HOGAN'S! Since the GLOB's outset seven years ago the GLOB Master has enjoyed saying, "there are 243 places to eat lunch in Gainesville." That statement makes it a tough task of keeping track of all the openings, and closing that happen each and every month. And that's not even talking about name changes, and lunch stops that sneak up, open for business without any kind of public notice.

The GLOB worldwide offices received a nice comment from Heros 'Great Sandwiches' owner Aaron Newbold about our failure to mention the Hogan's heroes sub shop on SW 34th St. changed owners over a year ago and is now HEROS 'Great Sandwiches':

"The owner of Hogan's a year ago April 18 sold me 34th location and I renamed Heros and have tried to become my own entity while also showing where I was inspired from by keeping a lot of the things that makes Hogan's so great. " - READ MORE.

Thanks for the wakeup call Aaron. I love your sandwiches, and tomato crowns!

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SOULfoodSD

Downtown adds three new restaurants

Just like that three new restaurants have opened in 2017 and they are all available, downtown lunch stops:

zzGLOBbullet Celebrity's Soul Seafood, 201 SE 2nd Ave #101, Downtown. Located behind next to Mark's Prime Steakhouse, this neck bones-and-rice lunch stop also serves chicken wings, and fried chicken. A veritable smorgasbord of traditional Southern food, this is the third restaurant opening for owners Fredrick and Taja Jacobs. The first was opened in California and the 3rd is ... in Ft White of all places!

zzGLOBbullet China Garden, Gainesville Shopping Center, 1216 N. Main St. Just south of the Main Street Publix, Café Gardens owner Fiona Liangfoiny is serving a complete Chinese menu with $5.49 lunch specials served with fried rice from 10:30 am to 3 pm. The menu also includes a $7.49 Dinner Special, House Combination Specials, and a diet menu, all dishes available for take-out or in-house dining.

zzGLOBbullet Flaming Subs, Gainesville Shopping Center, 1122.N. Main StNot a lot has changed in this poplar lunch time sub shop except ownership and the new name. Open from 10 am to 4 pm, Flaming Subs serves the same menu of salads and hot and cold sub sandwiches as Larry's Giant Subs.

 

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December 16, 2017 - Three new restaurants have recently opened including a sandwich shop, a vegan restaurant, and a golf course café:

zzGLOBbullet With outdoor seating and a drive-through pickup window, Piper Gi's will be open starting with lunch from 11 am -3 pm and other times. Piper at 204 SW 2nd Ave.  According to owner Tommy Newman the former Wholly BBQ location next to the High Dive will be run with his wife, Shanti Aura Riesch-Newman, and brother-in-law, Jacob Riesch, with combined experience as chefs for several notable Gainesville restaurants including Manuel's Vintage Room, Emiliano's Cafe, and Napalanto's. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

zzGLOBbullet Curia On the Drag, 2029 NW 6th Street, has opened a vegan café to complement their coffee shop and wine bar. Serving lunch, dinner, drinks, and coffee, Curia presents a complete vegan menu. Including mac 'n cheese, jackfruit, fish-less tacos, and many more plant-based entrees. The three-building location also touts domestic and imported beer, sparkling wines, happy hour, board games, and entertainment. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Curia menu

zzGLOBbulletDivot's Café & Banquet has opened in the Meadow Brook Golf Club on 3200 NW 98th and NW 39th Ave. Lisa's Corner Café owner and manager, Lisa Freeze, has jumped across town to accommodate lunch outers and golf enthusiasts with a $7 Cheeseburger and French fry specials and a varied menu of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and hot entrees

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LonghornSF

Butler Plaza opens new lunch stops

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – The Longhorn Steakhouse returns after several years to Gainesville at 2933 Clark Butler Blvd with more steaks than you shake a prime cut at. Featuring 100% grade A beef in over 30 different combinations, entrees with chicken and salmon, and salads and burgers. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Culver's, a restaurant that features "butterburgers" and frozen custard for dessert has opened in Butler Plaza at 912 NW 56 Terr. In 1984, George and Ruth Culver had the idea for a restaurant no one could resist: a combination of his "love for his mom's homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood treat." Four flavors of frozen custard are offered each day with over 30 mix-ins and toppings. In addition to dessert, the menu also includes fried Wisconsin cheese curds, salads, chicken and fish sandwiches, and dinner entres and kids' meals. Culver's is open from 10 am to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to midnight Friday and Saturday. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Jersey Mike's Subs touting 'east coast style' sub sandwiches Jersey Mike's  has opened a second location in Gainesville at at 2803 SW 42nd Street in Butler Plaza. Franchise owners Angelo and Kimberly Crowell own two Jersey Mike's in Tallahassee. Jersey Mike's is open from 10 am to 9 pm 7 days a week. This nationwide franchise has over 750 locations, the first having been established on the New Jersey shore in 1956. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

 

ainesville's oldest restaurant closes Saturday after 82 years.
Related Links:

Louis' Lunch at Southeast Fifth Avenue and Second Street, which is also open today, serves the last of its hamburgers and shakes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Owner Tom Pennisi, 75, cited slow business and his age for his decision to close the diner and sell the property.
His father, Louis Pennisi, opened the business in 1928.
 


Hey Jules I want to start running the feature below every day. 
I would like to include CHOW NOW with a new location but I would need your location by 8:30 in the morning . . .?
Today’s Lunch Plans
Tuesday, October 27, 2010

The GLOB’s Lunch Plans:  Sandwich Inn, Northeast, 110 NE 16th Ave.

CHOW NOW Food Truck Plans: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast, Hawthorne Rd.
GLOB Lunch Spot Update
Downtown:
Newly Opened:
Urban Flatbread, Warehouse
Closed: Louis Lunch, Tori's Big Burger

Midtown:
Newly Opened
: Anthony's Pizza & Subs, O!O Garden Grill (Tentative)
Closed for lunch: Farah's on the Avenue

Archer Rd.:
Newly Opened:
Ghengis Grill, Michael's

34th St.:
Newly Opened:
Bagle Land (tentative)
Closed: J. Doobies Wraps
Read more...

Tamal

Unique sides take Tamal center stage

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

It was a hot tamale lunch at Tamal's with Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Content Editor, Lynn Dirk, and Healthy Eating Columnist and UF Assistant Professor, Michelle Cardel. Michelle was excited as it was her first Tamal experience, and Lynn was contemplating giving the Tamal Spicy Cucumber on a Stick a try. The GLOB Master was thinking tomatillo salsa would make a nice accompaniment to the mild corn meal shells encasing fresh, nothing-but-Mexican flavors, and the side order of black beans.

For your lunch time eatification, Tamal Chef Rachel Iannelli and the Tamal cooking team fly by the seat of their chinos and come up with their tamale choices in the morning and post them on their FaceBook page. Between the three of us we ordered all three tamales available:

CUKEstickzzGLOBbullet The Veg tamale that consisted of poblano chili peppers, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. I added a generous addition of a fabulous tasting homemade tomatillo salsa. MAGNIFICO!

zzGLOBbullet The Chorizo+Potato tamale that Michelle ordered really looked good, however I showed good restraint and stayed away from the diced potatoes.

zzGLOBbullet The Green Mole Chicken tamale was picture perfect with large chunks of chicken slathered with a tomatillo sauce.

Lynn and Michelle both tried the Tamal Cucumber on a Stick. This is a popular Mexican street food style where a piece of fruit or a veggie is coated in lime juice and then dredged in a mild spice mix. Tamal's spice mix on the cucumber is fantastic – it is a startling combination of tartness from the lime, complex flavor from the spice mix that is not hot at all, and refreshing crunchiness from the cucumber.

Two tamales and a Tamal side order make a good sized lunch. The old Professional Eater in me was really trying to talk me into eating a third tamale, however I abstained thanks to the black bean side order.

 

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The surprising lunch time winner was the Tamal Esquite –a cup of delicious fresh cut corn off the cob stewed in a mild cilantro broth, topped with special crema, and a squeeze of lime – the flavors of all melded beautifully in a dish that captures all the primary non-meat ingredients of great Mexican food. CARUMBA!

Lynn was very disappointed there was no mole that day and she hopes that is just because it wasn't on the day's menu. The line of people was out the door so Lynn didn't want to interrupt Rachel to hear whether this was a permanent thing or not. Last time she was at Tamal she had the mole and couldn't stop raving about it. Instead I shared some of my tomatillo sauce with her so she could sauce up her tamale, which she very much enjoyed, except the tomatillo sauce is cold unlike the warm mole. Still, she loved her veggie tamale. And she said she's going back!

 

LUNCHline

 

 

 

TAMALtoppings

Flavors abound in corn meal casings

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

TAMALsfI have had a serious love affair with Latin American cuisine my entire adult life. When I came to school in Gainesville one of my first, new experiences was the Taco Bell on W. University Ave. They made – and still do, sort of -- delicious beef burritos with a sauce that was new to me called green sauce. Green sauce can be many things to a food lover. To the GLOB Master a delicious tomatillo sauce enhances anything I am eating.

As I prefer the crunch of a hard shell taco and the wonderfulness of chili rellenos, tamales have generally flown under my radar screen, but with a new tamale restaurant in town, I looked up tamale on the web and found a good, short history of tamales on the Austin Times website:

TAMALtamale2TAMALES can be traced back to pre-Columbian history, as early as 7000 BC, when Aztec women served as battle cooks. A portable yet sustainable food was needed, and tamales could be made ahead of time, packed, and warmed as needed. Wrappings varied from cornhusks to soft tree bark to edible leaves such as those from avocado and banana trees. Even fabric was sometimes used. Today, the most common variety is a tamal composed of masa (hominy flour dough) spread on a corn shuck and filled with either chicken, pork, beef, green chile, cheese, or, more recently, vegetables.

I was feeling like the GLOB's new Eating Adventurer (missing Melissa Kahan :( when I went to TAMAL, Gainesville's first exclusive tamale-only food stand located in the South Main Arts District in the newly-named Power District Development area near the South Main Street fire station.

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Tamal is a family-owned business with Rachel Lannelli, her husband Nicholas, and her son Cecil manning the Mexican street food lunch stop. Rachel is Tamal's head cook and menu coordinator. Nicholas rolls tamales and manages the front-of-the-house, and Cecil, an Eastside High School culinary student, is TAMAL's part-time prep cook.

The bright, clean, airy, windows-all-around lunch area was a perfect setting for a tamale experience.

TAMALcustomersRachel

"Tamal is like a food truck with no wheels Mike," Rachel said leaning over the lunch counter, looking me straight in the eye to make sure I understood where I was and what I was eating.

TAMAjamaicaThe Tamal Facebook page brags on their chicken, pork, vegetarian, and vegan tamales. They are hand-rolled and served fresh daily with locally-sourced, seasonal side-dishes along with beans, greens and agua fresca beverages -- Horchata, Tamarindo, or a delicious-looking red juice fountain drink called Jamaica -- all made in-house from scratch.

Rachel warned me about Jamaica: "There is a ton of sugar in the Jamaica Mike. That's not for you," the Tamale chef said knowing about my diabetes club membership while she handed me a can of diet soda.

With a few small tables and a lunch counter that seats six, Tamal is an intimate, friendly lunch stop with a very homey feeling. Tamal has only been open for a few months, but I felt like I was at Cheers in Boston, "where everybody knows your name."

Serving lunch Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon until the food runs out, the Lannelli family is enjoying a busy lunch hour and are still trying to figure out feeding all the happy customers.

TMALmenuBDS

"We try to guess-timate how many tamales to make for the day," Rachel said. "Sometimes we get swamped with customers and have to close up early because we are out of tamales," she added with a perplexed look on her face. "It's the price we are paying by using locally-sourced produce and wanting to present the best tamales we can."

The Tamal menu is posted on its Facebook page and usually consists of three different tamales, a few side orders, and a standing side of a 'pickled cucumber on a stick.' Recently there was a notice from the tamale trio: "Hey folks! We will be serving our pumpkin seed pesto, carrot, blueberry tamale @ 1:30 today!! It's vegan!!" This note tells me to check the Tamal FaceBook page before lunch.

Rice bowls are available for a mix of salsa, mole, peppers, beans, and corn for a food-in-a-bowl lunch option.

 

TAMALlunch

I wanted to order all three tamales available the day I went but realized I couldn't eat that much at one sitting. So I selected the poblano and the chorizo tamales with a side order of marinated cucumber on a stick.

 

TAMALcuke

The cucumber is peeled, marinated in lime juice, and rolled in a mix of pepper and red seasoning to create a unique-looking side. Slicing off some of the cucumber and tasting it was amazing: it was a refreshing, delicious, crunchy taste treat."

"Where did you hear about these cukes, Rachel?" I asked.

"I made it up Mike. This is Mexican street food, remember?"

I liked the idea of adding toppings of my choice to the tamales, imager at the top of this review,  and was happy to see tomatilla salsa as an option. The tomatilla sauce was freshly made with – surprise to me again – freshly squeezed lime juice for a delightful, tart, lip-smacking flavor.

 

TAMALtamale

Thinking the corn meal tamales would need some heat assistance, I also added a side of jalapeno peppers.

I avoided the Tamal mole as my experience with this topping is it usually overwhelms the palette, even though GLOB Staffer Lynn Dirk, who had made it to Tamal before me, highly recommended it.

 

TamalWINDOWtopper

The somewhat mild tamales, for my taste, were nevertheless very good. All the flavors in the corn husks took their turn on my palette's center stage making me a very happy lunch outer.

My Tamal lunch was very good and reasonably priced at $3 a tamale. There are a lot of tamales in those corn husks waiting to be discovered by the GLOB Master.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Tamal Premiere Tamale Shop:

Tamal Premiere Tamale Shop (+) indicators: Delicious flavors, a veritable different kind of tamale for every customer. The marinated cucumber is certainly worth your consideration and large enough to share. The fresh lime juice brightens the entire meal.

Tamal Premiere Tamale Shop (-) indicators: A few more poblano peppers in my Tamales would have been nice. I will order the mole as a side item next time.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Tamal Premiere Tamale Shop.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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Felipes Mexican Taqueria

Perfect charred veggies meatless tacos

I was thinking of grilled vegetables on a morning walk when the idea of Felipe's Mexican Taqueria grilled vegetable tacos crossed my mind.  Instantaneously my feet turned East and involuntarily my subconscious directed me toward one of the best Tex-Mex have-it-your-way lunch stops in Gainesville in the GLOB Master's opinion. I'm not a big fast-food-line lunch guy but I did want to see what kind of grilled veggies were available for today's Meatless Lunch.

An amazing pan of broiled onions, tomatoes, peppers, and squash looked like perfect ingredients for Felipe's Two Baja Style Tacos that included soft corn tortillas, a choice of shrimp or fish, pickled cabbage, pico de gallo, cilantro, and baja sauce.

Fortunately, the very attentive server at the bar was more than happy to substitute grilled veggies for meat at my request. I had a sense of holiday gifts as I headed to the Felipe's sauce bar to select my favorite tomatillo salsa, jalapenos, and spicy red sauce.

 

FeliopesSAUCEbarThis is a perfect lunch for any darn day of the week GLOBers. I could taste all of the individual flavors of the veggies and their almost burnt crisp flavor. I felt eight years old playing with my food adding a little bit of salsa here to one taco, more red sauce there on the other.

I love how on a good day of weather Felipe staffers open the giant windows facing University Avenue so you can gaze onto the hectic life of Midtown Gainesville as you casually enjoy your lunch. It was a

 Frederico Felini like moment amidst the sounds of a purring, busy, University Avenue I looked up from my perfect Meatless Monday Tex-Mex lunch and looked across the street to the new McaDonald's lunch stop, beckoning the GLOB Master with 'two all beef patties' . . .

- GLOB MASTER

FeliopesTACOs

 

 

 

FelipesPlateSauce2

Grilled veggies, chorizo, fresh cilantro... Carumba!

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

FELIPEsfMy name is Mike Sanford and I am a Mexican and Latin American food lover.

I find the flavors bright, sharp, tangy, and the texture of the cheeses combined with the crunch of the veggies and corn tortillas is always a remarkable lunch treat. Alright. I also enjoy that spicy heat of the peppers from Mexico and other Central America countries.

When I saw the new restaurant moving into the old End Zone building on the corner of W. University Ave. and SW 12th St. was a Mexican lunch stop, I immediately went into my Sombrero-driven, happy Mexican dance to the sounds of Flaco Jimenez and Ry Cooder. FYI, Flaco Jimenez is recognized as one of the word's greatest Mexican Flamingo guitarists and a rock & roll band favorite, in case you didn't know.

The lunch adventure of Felipe's Taqueria and Mexican Grill was born lunch in what I call one of America's last creative cornerstones -- New Orleans, Louisiana. This taco shop started in Mew Oleans with sevral locarions and has branched into Florida with restaurants nere in Gainesville, and a Tacqueria in Naples, Florida,

Felipe's has a few different approaches to lunch and eating out that make it more than what is now the usual standing-in-the-lunch-line waiting for your turn to order process.

 

FelipesDining

This midtown Taqueria has a very nice patio area with a high wooden wall to diminish some of the University traffic noise. There is also a small bar and several televisions to enjoy during patio lunches.

The giant picture windows that front University Ave open wide like garage doors for the beautiful weather days, which are creeping our way as fall approaches.

This bright, airy, lunch stop has three different ways to order lunch:

zzGLOBbullet You can walk the Felipe's lunch line and select your choice of veggies, meats, and add-ons such as guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh corn, cilantro, and onions.

zzGLOBbullet If you are unable to separate yourself from your cell phone, you can grab a table and order your lunch from your phone and have it delivered to your table.

zzGLOBbullet Lastly, in a very much appreciated last resort, you can have a Felipe's server take your order at your table.

FelipesLOGONow, can I talk about lunch?

The easy to read menu is divided into the categories of Entrees, Meats & Vegetables, Add-Ons, Apps & Sides, and Desserts.

The eight entrees seem typically Mexican with Baja Tacos and Plato or Bowl. Felipe's will make any entrée a Felipe's Combo with a drink and small chips for an additional $2.80.

Grilled veggies and chorizo are the highlights of the Meats & Vegetable category, which also includes and char grilled steak and the unique choice of caramelized pork with pineapple, cinnamon, and guajillo marinade.

Apps & Sides include taquitos and tamales.  "We want to be sure our staff is ready to prepare your tamales, veggie, or otherwise, exactly the way you prefer," Harry said.

Any entree can become a meatless lunch option by substituting marinated grilled vegetables for the entree's meat ingredient.  For a complete menu see the restaurant web link below this review.

FelipesSALSA

Unique to Felipe's is their fabulous sauce bar. Located in the center of the restaurant, this is the spot where you make your lunch especially tasty with your choice of spicy salsas or add some crunch with diced carrots, radish, or marinated onions.

There is also a full bar at Felipe's with happy hour pricing.

Let's call this a working lunch since Jane Medley, Lynn Dirk, and the GLOB Master were discussing online publishing. Self publishing link

Jane is also a big fan of Mexican cuisine and was excited to see how Felipe's compared with her favorite, usual Mexican lunch stop that will remain nameless. Jane chose the TWO TACO entrée with soft corn tortillas, cilantro, onion, and guacamole sauce. Jane added salsa and spicy red taco sauce from the Sauce Bar for the $4.50 entree. Jane liked the tacos, especially the corn tortillas and guacamole sauce.

 

FelipesBowl1

Captain Dirk has always been a big food in the bowl fan. "I like to mix the ingredients together to capture all the tastes and textures toegether," she said, eager to survey the ingedients on the lunch line.

Lynn's lunch bowl conained rice, beans, pico de gallo, Mexican crema, and salsa roja and was served with warmed corn tortillas wrapped in foil. She also added radishes, marinated onions, and several sauces from the Sauce Bar.

 

FelipesPlateSauce2

I have always been a sucker for presentation and the Felipe's Plato sounded really good. Emily, our server explained the plato is served with each ingredient scooped onto the plate, circling the perimeter of the plato.

This was my second trip to Felipe's and I am already a big fan of the ground chorizo sausage and its spicy flavor. I included fresh corn, onions, pinto beans, Spanish rice, pickled jalapenos, and chopped fresh cilantro to my plato for $5.90. I got carried away with the amazing tomatillo green sauce, which is my favorite sauce concoction. I also added fresh salsa and marinated onions from the Sauce Bar.

 

FelipesGrilledVeggire

Now about the Felipe's GRILLED VEGETABLES. Some of the veggies are marinated, along with fresh cooked pieces of onions, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, spinach and squash cooked to perfection. I was happily surprised with this ingredient medley on my plate creating a very delicious lunch.

 

FelipesBrownie

The three of us concluded our lunch by sharing a tantalizing, large, square of chocolate brownie accentuated with a sprig of fresh mint.

The Felipe's food and service staff is fresh and eager to please the hungry customer. Don't forget to stop at the Sauce Bar to begin your time lunch fiesta. Also, you are missing out if you don't add the grilled veggies to your plato, in your bowl, on your taco, or wrapped in your burrito.

The Pluses and Minuses of the Felipes:

Felipes (+) indicators: The ground chorizo is spicy, very good. Corn tortillas, tomatillo sauce and grilled veggies are winners.

Felipes(-) indicators: Bartools could be higher to eat comfortably at the bar

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Felipes.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Read more...

Costa Vida

Lunch stop touts fresh Costal Mexico flavors

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

COSTAVIDAsfIt's the GLOB Master's opinion that you can never have too many Mexican restaurants, cafes, or taco stands. So I was a very happy boy to find out there is another salsa, green peppers, tomatillas, crunchy corn tortilla shop on Archer Rd.

So that makes five Mexican restaurants in what I call the Archer Rd. triangle. Knowing there are 21 Mexican Cafés in the Urban GLOB puts a smile on my face.

To paraphrase an old saying, "The worst Mexican lunch I have ever had was still pretty good." And I will be happy saying, "CARUMBA gringo," with a smile to meet you any time you like even if it were at the local Taco Bell.

The Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill was created by a Utah couple after they spent a vacation at Cabo San Lucas. JD and Sarah Gardner opened their first Costa Vida in Layton, Utah.

Applying the trendy fast casual approach to lunch, Costa Vida provides a friendly, fast, and fun survey of all the spicy-tasting Mexican ingredient options before they become your noon-time meal.

CostaVidaLOGOOn its website, Costa Vida explains:

"food is made fresh in each restaurant's kitchen. Each tortilla is hand crafted daily and served hot, ensuring that no customer will ever have to eat a factory-made tortilla pulled from a bag. The sweet pork and shredded beef are perfectly seasoned and slow-cooked for several hours."

Hmmm, interesting they didn't say whether the tortillas were corn or flour. I will check on that.

I hope you know the fast casual lunch line drill by now and Costa Vida has all the Mexican staples available: burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and salads. Appetizers, desserts, and Horchata soft drinks are available.

 

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The dining area is clean and spacious with tables, booths, and a lunch counter. An 'in-house' feature attraction is a very cool, Disney World-like, framed, moving water display that will easily take a lunch outer into another virtual world.

Costa Vida has six specialty entrees: Fajita Burritos, Enchiladas & Nachos, Mango Chicken Salad, Sweet Shrimp Salad, Sweet Shrimp Tacos & Mahi Mahi Tacos (at select locations). You will also a find different daily special available at different Costa Vida locations, speaking of which, Costa Vida has secured another space in the new building going up on University Avenue and 13th St.

 

CvidaDINING

Having a new attitude about eating, I must admit checking out the Costa Vida Healthy Living page of the Costa Vida website was one of my first tasks and I was pleased to find more nutritional information than I could throw a Horchata soda bottle at.

CVchartAn info-table lists all Costa Vida products and with ingredients of concern to people with allergies who are concerned about sugar or preservatives. There is a also an overview of ingredients and related issues where they describe how Costa Vida deals with such ingredients ... and by the way, there I discovered that information about their tortillas: "Tortillas (Flour, Corn & Whole Wheat) – At Costa Vida we have worked to create the best tortilla simply without the use of lard. Our signature tortillas use only the best quality wheat and corn masa. Our tortillas are 100% vegetarian and made to have the perfect flavor, color and texture."

I was thinking Mexican salad for lunch and with a real 'have-it-my-way' approach I selected black beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, salsa, and cilantro lime vinaigrette, and I had an additional dollop of guacamole put on top of the salad.

It's funny how some things just work. The salad was served in the familiar aluminum tin bringing back memories of most excellent El Indio lunches. I like the idea of my lunch compacted into a ready-to-heat multi-use container.

 

CvicaSALADhoriz

My salad was beautiful, with melted cheese complementing the fresh greens and spicy red tomatoes. The salad was also excellent. I was feeling like I was eating a lunch that couldn't be any fresher. The Mexican spices had a calming effect of the GLOB Master as I enjoyed the salsa, guac, and ground beef flavors melding in a melodic Latin trio flavor serenade.

I'm OK with the idea of Chuy's, Taco Bell, and Chipotle all within walking distance of each other. In fact meet the GLOB Master here in the Archer Rd. Triangle tomorrow and we can have a progressive Mexican lunch party . . .

The Pluses and Minuses of the Costa Vida:

Costa Vida (+) indicators: Fresh, tasty, true Tex-Mex bliss. There is a second planned for The Standard, the high rise multi-purpose, apartment, and condominium building being constructed on the corner of 13th St. and University Avenue. 

Costa vida (-) indicators: Well, it is on Archer road. 

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Costa Vida.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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Lunch stop openings close out 2016

December 16, 2017 - Three new restaurants have recently opened including a sandwich shop, a vegan restaurant, and a golf course café:

zzGLOBbullet With outdoor seating and a drive-through pickup window, Piper Gi's will be open starting with lunch from 11 am -3 pm and other times. Piper at 204 SW 2nd Ave.  According to owner Tommy Newman the former Wholly BBQ location next to the High Dive will be run with his wife, Shanti Aura Riesch-Newman, and brother-in-law, Jacob Riesch, with combined experience as chefs for several notable Gainesville restaurants including Manuel's Vintage Room, Emiliano's Cafe, and Napalanto's. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

zzGLOBbullet Curia On the Drag, 2029 NW 6th Street, has opened a vegan café to complement their coffee shop and wine bar. Serving lunch, dinner, drinks, and coffee, Curia presents a complete vegan menu. Including mac 'n cheese, jackfruit, fish-less tacos, and many more plant-based entrees. The three-building location also touts domestic and imported beer, sparkling wines, happy hour, board games, and entertainment. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Curia menu

zzGLOBbulletDivot's Café & Banquet has opened in the Meadow Brook Golf Club on 3200 NW 98th and NW 39th Ave. Lisa's Corner Café owner and manager, Lisa Freeze, has jumped across town to accommodate lunch outers and golf enthusiasts with a $7 Cheeseburger and French fry specials and a varied menu of sandwiches, salads, wraps, and hot entrees

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LonghornSF

Butler Plaza opens new lunch stops

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 – The Longhorn Steakhouse returns after several years to Gainesville at 2933 Clark Butler Blvd with more steaks than you shake a prime cut at. Featuring 100% grade A beef in over 30 different combinations, entrees with chicken and salmon, and salads and burgers. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Culver's, a restaurant that features "butterburgers" and frozen custard for dessert has opened in Butler Plaza at 912 NW 56 Terr. In 1984, George and Ruth Culver had the idea for a restaurant no one could resist: a combination of his "love for his mom's homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood treat." Four flavors of frozen custard are offered each day with over 30 mix-ins and toppings. In addition to dessert, the menu also includes fried Wisconsin cheese curds, salads, chicken and fish sandwiches, and dinner entres and kids' meals. Culver's is open from 10 am to 11 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to midnight Friday and Saturday. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Jersey Mike's Subs touting 'east coast style' sub sandwiches Jersey Mike's  has opened a second location in Gainesville at at 2803 SW 42nd Street in Butler Plaza. Franchise owners Angelo and Kimberly Crowell own two Jersey Mike's in Tallahassee. Jersey Mike's is open from 10 am to 9 pm 7 days a week. This nationwide franchise has over 750 locations, the first having been established on the New Jersey shore in 1956. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

 

TamalWINDOWtopper

New lunch stops open for business

MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2016: From fresh tamales to breakfast all day new lunch stops are popping up all over Gainesville:

zzGLOBbullet TAMALhorseATamale shop opens downtown: "When the Tamale Horse is on the sidewalk, there are fresh, hot tamales waiting inside," Tamal Head Cook and Owner Rachel Iannelli, said proudly scratching Tamale's white mane. Two blocks north of the new Depot Park complex, in the heart of Gainesville's South Main arts district, daily Tamal offers unique and healthy meat, vegetarian, and vegan tamales at reasonable prices. Owners, Cecil Iannelli and Rachel Nicholas, who are also long-time Gainesvillians and food lovers, use locally sourced meat, produce, and eggs whenever possible, and the aquas frescas are sweetened only with turbinado sugar. After three decades in the restaurant business and working on her doctorate degree, a tamale shop wasn't always Rachel's first career consideration, but now, she says, "As far as I know, we are the first tamale shop in Gainesville, and we are excited sharing our passion for handmade tamales." FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

 

KRAZYGtopperzzGLOBbullet Krazy G'opens in Midtown: Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and open from 7 AM – 2 AM (yes, 2 AM in the morning!) every day, Krazy G's will be serving organic gourmet burgers from grass-fed beef, locally brewed beer, and biscuits and other breakfast food. This fast casual spot will host a smoker for burgers, brisket, pork shoulder, house-made bacon, and bologna. For long-time Hog Towners, the breakfast menu includes the return of the Asher Special from Skeeter's Breakfast House -- a popular Gainesville restaurant from the late 1970s to 1995 -- that includes Skeeter potatoes, melted cheese, a choice of eggs, choice of sausage or bacon, and a biscuit. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

zzGLOBbullet Fresh Corner opens in Stadium Club Bldg: Specializing in breakfast all day, the Fresh Corner is open and ready to serve you breakfast "In hand. " With a menu that includes bagels, toast, crispy waffles, and fresh bowls, there are many breakfast entrée variations such as the Captain's Way Bagel consisting of smoked salmon, sliced bananas, honey, and sunflower seeds. There are three kinds of bowls all featuring a base of coconut chia seed pudding, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit. Smoked Chicken & Waffles has already become a Fresh Corner favorite. Open Daily 8 am -5 pm, the Fresh Corner offers gluten-free and vegan options along with avocado toast and mini-bagels.

 

BigIslandFoodTruck

zzGLOBbullet Big Island Bowls opens in Root & Pecker facility: To paraphrase the Trailer Park Troubadours, "It ain't a restaurant until the wheels come off." A Big Island food truck has planted itself on the Root & Pecker grounds at 5432 NW 8th Ave. With tentative plans to be open from 9 am-6 pm daily, lunch every day at the Big Island Bowls features smoothies and fruit and acai bowls. All of their bowls are free of additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and dairy. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

 

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patticakesSF

September 12, 2016 - Patticakes on the Bo Diddley Plaza downtown has opened on the NE corner of the Plaza with a limited menu this week. Open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, the lunch menu includes salads, sandwiches, wraps, and paninis. Patticakes will have a full espresso menu with lattes and cappuccinos plus tea, smoothies, and milk shakes. Breakfast items include muffins, scones, pastries, quiche, bagels, and yogurt. Next week Patticakes will be open Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. and later when there are concerts on the Plaza and will be open on Sundays during festivals. Seating includes a limjited number of lunch counter seats, a patio, and the Bo Diddley Plaza.

Also now open for lunch:

zzGLOBbullet Felipe's Mexican Taqueria has opened in midtown on the corner of W. University Ave and NW 12th St. With the standard tacos, burritos, and quesadilla, Felipe's also offers Tinga Chicken Breast, Al Pastor, Chorizo, and Grilled Vegetables. With several restaurants in Louisiana, this is Felipe's second venture into Florida, the other being in Naples. Felipe's offers three ways top place you lunch order: a fast casual lunch line, by cell phone from your table, or from a server at the bar or in the bar area. FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete Felipe's menu.

zzGLOBbullet The Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grille has opened at 3581 SW Archer Rd. "Costa Vida is a laid-back counter-serve Mexican restaurant with Baja-style tacos and burritos plus gluten-free options. Fresh food created with using real ingredients." Offering the standard Tex-Mex lunch fare, Costa Vida lists some interesting specialties such as Fajita Burritos, Mango Chicken Salad, and Sweet Shrimp Salad or Tacos. FOLLOW THJIS LINK for a complete Costa Vida menu.

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Chipotle Mexican Grille opens third location

CHIPOTLEsfASeptember 6, 2016: Chipotle Mexican Grille has opened a third Gainesville location on the corner of NW 13th St. and NW 23rd Ave. Chipotle touts 'Food with Integrity" such as "Vegetables grown in healthy soil, and pork from pigs allowed to freely root and roam outdoors or in deeply bedded barns" and claim that "with every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we're working to cultivate a better world." Chipotle serves burritos with meats, sofritas, rice, beans, fajita veggies, several salsa options, quacamole, sour cream, cheese, and/or romaine lettuce. FOLLOW THIS LINK for Chipotle reviews.

 

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VpizzaSF

V Pizza opens in Vello's Building downtown

August 29, 2016: V Pizza/Sidecar Bar have opened in the space vacated by Vello's in downtown Gainesville.  Serving an Italian menu of specialty pizzas, create your own pizzas, calzones, and strombolis, the fast casual restaurant (order at the counter) has a "Lunch Special Pricing" at $9.95 for a beverage, cheese pizza plus 1 topping or 10.95 with any house pizza. For gluten free pizza, add $3. Other Lunch Special options for $9.95: A calzone plus 1 topping; a panini, or chicken wings. Touting authenticity, the Jacksonville creators of V Pizza feature imported and dry-aged Italian meats, San Marzano tomatoes, '00 flour', water buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala), pizzas that aren't perfectly round, and burn marks on the crust. These are the elements V Pizza creators believe that validate their authentic Napoletana pizza. According to the About Food website Neapolitan pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and is made from simple basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil--no fancy toppings here. According to the Jacksonville Sidecar website,  "Sidecar honors the original definition of the cocktail – a combination of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters [and] spirit-forward drinks are accompanied by rotating draft beers, over 50 bottled beers, two cocktails on tap, whiskey on tap, and a great list of old and new world wine varietals." FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information and a complete Z Pizza menu.

 

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Humble Pie opens store front, changes name

081816HUMBLEwoodfireLOGOAugust 21, 2016:  After much planning, and making arrangements the Humble Pie food truck has opened a 'brick and mortar' lunch stop at 405 SW 4th Ave. next to their Humble Wood Fire kitchen. The new lunch stop will have a daily $10 lunch special for an 8" pizza and the Humble Wood Fire salad of the day. The Humble staff will post the daily special on their social media connections.After being named in a lawsuit for using the Humble Pie name by a Manhattan, New York law firm representing a Humble Pie pizza chain in Arizona, the HWF pizza boys have decided to change their name to Humble Wood Fire. According to their FaceBook page: "Our new name embodies the heart of what we have always been about. Humble Wood Fire also enables us to move beyond being known solely for our wood fired pies." FOLLOW THIS LINKfor more information, and a Humble Wood Fire menu.

 

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WINGSteriyakiSF

Wings & Teriyaki opens in NE, Flaming Crab on Newberry Rd.

May 10, 2016: Listing a complete menu of hibachi/teriyaki entrees including chicken, beef, shrimp, steak and tofu, the Wings & Teriyaki lunch stop on NE 23rd Ave. also specializes in chicken wings in 25 different flavors. Need more lunch GLOBer? Wings & Teriyaki also serves gyros, Philly steaks sandwiches, hamburgers, and salads. You can also get fried shrimp with white or fried rice and a drink for $9.99. There are two chicken wing combos on the menu and 12 combos served with steamed veggies and white or fried rice. Wings & Teriyaki is Open seven days a week.

FLAMINGcrabLOGOThe Flaming Crab has opened on Newberry Rd. near Tower Rd. in the old Yummy House location. Taking seafood boils to a new level, the Flaming Crab touts Cajun style crab boils with a twist -- your fresh catch is boiled in a Cajun-style-blend of spices, then tossed with a choice of signature seasonings, and served in a bag to preserve the flavors. Menu items range from $27 to $65: The Flaming Crab has a Po Boy Sandwich Special at $7.99 and a 2-lb fresh crawfish special for $18.99.

 

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KAPLEbiscuitSF

Maple St. Biscuit opens in Butler Plaza

April 15, 2016: The Maple Street Biscuit Company opened yesterday in Butler Plaza in the Target Shopping area. Touting consistent southern comfort food with a modern twist.  The MSBC serves an assortment of sandwiches including the Chicken Club, the Iron Goeat, and the Sticky Maple ll served on Flaky Biscuits. Side orders include oatmeal, Hashups, (home fries with chopped smoked ham, red and green peppers, grilled onions, mushrooms, and melted cheese & Gravy), and Sweet Potato Fries with maple mustard dipping sauce. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

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Three restaurants open April 4, 2016

GovindaSF

zzGLOBbullet GOVINDA'S BAKERY & CAFÉ: The big, green building on NW 13th St. has a bright new coat of beige pain and is now selling breakfast delights and lunch. Soups with free refills and veggie sandwiches served on ciabatta rolls are the main components of the veggie menu. According to GOVINDA's website, "We are a vegetarian bakery and café . . . We specialize in healthy, wholesome, yummy food prepared with love and care! Our mission here at Govinda's is to encourage an atmosphere of peace, serenity, and harmony in our community and in ourselves."

zzGLOBbullet WINE & CHEESE GALLERY: This long time downtown favorite has been resurrected with new lunch ideas and a fast causal approach to lunch. With a menu that includes lads, sandwiches, and soups the Wine and Cheese has included cheese boards totheir menu.

zzGLOBbullet YUMMYHOUSUEsf2016YUMMY HOUSE: After a short hiatus, Yummy House has reopened in the old Crispers location on 34th St. A dimly-lit atmosphere houses multiple tables adorning white tablecloths, a long bar area, and sharp, clean decor. Yummy House's extensive menu is still available on the inside with added, east parking now available at this SW 24th location.

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Grill Fresh opens behind the Swamp

GRILLfreshSFMarch 21, 2016: Grill Fresh opens for lunch today in the old Café Gardens location behind the Swamp in mid-town. With a mix 'n match of bowl entrees with a base foundation ranging from sweet potato noodles for salad to warm veggie spiced rice and fresh herb roasted potatoes. After the base ingredient, the choices are toppings of veggies, protein, and sauce. Bowls can be ordered in three categories: GREEN BOWL that includes 2 greens, 2 veggies and 1 protein, the FOUR BOWL that consists of 2 base ingredients, 1 veggie, and 1 protein, to the SIX BOWL that includes 2 base ingredients, 2 veggies, and 2 proteins. Breakfast is available every morning with breakfast bowls of 1 base ingredient, 1 egg or tofu, 2 proteins, and 1 cheese.

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

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Harvest Thyme burgers, SweetBerries buy local specials

March 14, 2016: The NW 39th Ave. Harvest Thyme Café is now serving hamburgers and brunch. You can choose from two $8.25 burgers, both with grass fed, local beef: The Cheeseburger – with lettuce, tomato, and cheddar, Swiss, provolone, or American cheese, OR the Carolina Classic with chili, coleslaw, mustard, and onions. Two additional of the following toppings included in price: raw onion, pickles, coleslaw, bacon, grilled peppers, grilled onions, and jalapenos; each additional topping at $0.50 (Be sure to add one of the HT brownies to your lunch for dessert, they are really yummy.  - GLOB Master.).)

031416HarvestHarvest Thyme Café at this location is also serving Brunch until 2 pm with Omelettes and Skillets, both types with eggs and Michael's home style potatoes along with your choice of meat and/or cheese and two of the following ingredients: spinach, tomato, onion, jalapeno, black olives, mushrooms, scallions, green peppers. Other brunch items include waffles, gluten free waffles, pancakes, French toast, and plates, which consist of two eggs served your way with Michael's homestyle potatoes, toast, and bacon, sausage or ham. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.

zzGLOBbullet Sweetberries Eatery and Frozen Custard has come up with a smart Friday-Saturday-Sunday Special with an emphasis on buying local.  The Osmond sisters will be attending the Wednesday Unions St. Downtown Farmers Market each week with the purpose of seeking out a local farmer or food artisan's locally grown or locally made product to feature in their upcoming Weekend Special. "We decided after featuring White Apron's Fig Preserves on our Chicken, Brie and Fig Preserve sandwich, image at the top of this news, last weekend this would be a good way to showcase the abundance of produce and artisanal food items available in our area," Co-Owner Jane Osmond said. "If at all possible, we'll also have their products for sale in our store during the Special in which their product if featured"

KUDOS to SweetBerries! That is such a good idea the Daily GLOB will start featuring Sweetberrie’s Weekend End specials Friday mornings and including a link to the participating local farmer and producer.

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SandwihcDepotSF

Sandwich Depot moves into Adam's Rib Co. building

March 7, 2016: The Sandwich Depot has opened shop in the old Adam's Rib Co. building on NW 13th. St. adjacent to the new Adam's Rib Co. Open for lunch and dinner with the same menu Monday – Saturday the Sandwich Depot boasts over 15 different sandwiches featuring wraps, hamburgers, tacos, a veggie burger and various salads including a chicken Caesar salad and a Cobb salad. Sandwich depot was established in 2013 as a food truck. Family-owned-and-operated menu items are original, inspired creations by chef and owner Travis Mylott. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

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Twisted Peacock opens on SW 13th St.

TpeacockSFJanuary 9, 2016: The Twisted Peacock has opened on SW 13th St. for lunch and dinner and serves Indian cuisine "in a contemporary fashion rooted in Indian cooking. " The full Indian menu includes entrees like Palak Chole (creamed spinach and chick peas), Nandu Varuval (South Indian fried, spicy, soft shell crab), and Chicken Tikki Masala. There are also sandwiches, salads, vegetarian entrees such as Malai Kofta ("dumplings made with cashews and tossed in a rich, creamy gravy"), and both meat and seafood entrees. Appetizers, which are called Street Food, consist of five options, and three kinds of Indian bread are available. The Twisted Peacock opens at 11 am seven days a week.

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LISAstoreFront

Lisa's Corner opens on NW 23rd Ave

February 2, 2016: Lisa's Corner Café has opened on the corner of NW 23rd Ave at 125 NW 23rd Ave. Suite 9 in the former location of La Fortuna. With a new homey décor, options include a hot lunch buffet and a soup and salad bar. The menu includes sandwiches, wraps, Hot Baskets, chicken wings, fried fish, and daily Hot Bar Specials. Lisa's Corner Café is open 7 days a week at 8 am for breakfast, including a breakfast bar until 11:30 am.

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Buffalo Wild Wings opens in Oaks Mall

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BWWwingsJanuary 13, 2016: With Chicken Wings, Beer, and sports the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in front of the Oaks Mall you can count on this second, and third joint lunch palace being a busy. Chicken wings. and boneless wings are available in 17 flavors including Bourbon Honey Mustard,Thai Curry, And a Reformulated Blazin' wing. There is a Veggie boat, potato wedges, and Cheddar Cheese Curds available for the veggie lunch outer. Add seven kinds of salads including a prime rib salad, seven different wraps, street tacos, five kinds of hamburgers, two kinds of chicken sandwiches, a pulled pork sandwich, and a Southwest Philly sandwich it becomes apparent why BFW emphasises a "Fast Break Lunch" approach.  The FBL menu allows customers to create a customizable lunch order and eat in 30 to 40 minutes. The Fast Break Lunch is available Monday - Friday, 11- 2:00 pm. NOTE TO BOB SANFORD: BWW has chicken tenders in both a naked, and crispy variety

ainesville's oldest restaurant closes Saturday after 82 years.
Related Links:

Louis' Lunch at Southeast Fifth Avenue and Second Street, which is also open today, serves the last of its hamburgers and shakes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Owner Tom Pennisi, 75, cited slow business and his age for his decision to close the diner and sell the property.
His father, Louis Pennisi, opened the business in 1928.
 


Hey Jules I want to start running the feature below every day. 
I would like to include CHOW NOW with a new location but I would need your location by 8:30 in the morning . . .?
Today’s Lunch Plans
Tuesday, October 27, 2010

The GLOB’s Lunch Plans:  Sandwich Inn, Northeast, 110 NE 16th Ave.

CHOW NOW Food Truck Plans: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast, Hawthorne Rd.
GLOB Lunch Spot Update
Downtown:
Newly Opened:
Urban Flatbread, Warehouse
Closed: Louis Lunch, Tori's Big Burger

Midtown:
Newly Opened
: Anthony's Pizza & Subs, O!O Garden Grill (Tentative)
Closed for lunch: Farah's on the Avenue

Archer Rd.:
Newly Opened:
Ghengis Grill, Michael's

34th St.:
Newly Opened:
Bagle Land (tentative)
Closed: J. Doobies Wraps
Read more...

Blue Agave

BGchipsSALSAReal estate folks like to make a point of talking location, location, location when they are trying to make a big sale to a motivated buyer. Blue Agave on NW 43rd St. is now less than a half a mile from my residence north of Thornebrook Village. More importantly, I have pretty much decided this Tex-Mex lunch stop has all the green chile, corn tortilla, poblano pepper, hot salsa to make it one of the best Mexican cantinas in Hogtown. I have become a giant fan of the Blue Agave Pollo Poblano, which consists of slices of grilled chicken, onions, and mushrooms simmered in a green spicy poblano sauce. This entrée is served with Mexican rice, black beans, feta cheese, and three flour tortillas. Going meatless, I was ready to step outside my corn tortillas, and I ordered the Chiles Poblanos. This meatless Mexican wonder is two poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, fried in egg batter, and covered with special sauce and sour cream. The entrée is served with Mexican rice and refried beans. The Blue Agave Tomatillo Sauce could very well be one of the best, tangy, spicy, green, salsas around. I substituted this gem of a topping instead of the BA Special Sauce on my poblanos. CARUMBA GLOBers! At $10 this entrée is $2 cheaper than my favorite Pollo Poblano and quite possibly more flavorful with the inclusion of the pobalno peppers AND tomatillo sauce. This isn't just a Meatless Monday Special GLOBers, this is an every-darn-day of the week special for the GLOB Master. BTW the Blue Agave free chips and salsa are worth their weight in corn meal and tomato salsa and add a very special 'Mexican side order' to this Meatless Monday prize winner.

- Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

 

BonataTOPPER

GLOB colleagues meet for muy, muy, lunch

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Blue Agave Mexican restaurantFall seems to be laden with holidays to celebrate, from birthdays to anniversary celebrations. Not only is the GLOB celebrating five years of world-wide web publishing this month, but I can mark my two-year anniversary contributing to the GLOB, as well. First up, though, GLOB Editor, Mike Sanford, was celebrating a birthday and had a few places in mind to ring in another year wiser.

Homemade Mexican cuisine, including taquitos, nachos and taco salad, are in my meal planning rotation just as much as anything else. However, I rarely dine out at Mexican joints. Regardless, I was looking forward to trying out Mike's birthday spot pick, Blue Agave, as it had been on my list to try ever since Mike first raved over the tasty tacos.

MElynnNestled off of 43rd Street by 43rd St. Deli and Saporito Oil, Vinegar & Spice Shop, Blue Agave makes a bold statement upon first glance, colorful signage and interior seeming to be a typical aesthetic for Mexican restaurants. It was just around opening time, so the GLOB staff did not have any wait to be seated at a booth by the window. Several parties filed in and out, though, over the course of our meal, giving the appearance of a somewhat popular spot.

SangriaThe service was very prompt without much wait time for food or refills. After the easiest decision of the day was made to split half a pitcher of red wine sangria, which was actually a little too sweet for my taste which is saying something, we all decided a family-style meal time of shared plates would aid us each in trying as many different items as possible.

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The complimentary chips and salsa left much to be desired, in my opinion. The chips tasted a little stale, and the salsa needed to be doctored up with hot sauce to gain some flavor. The Botana (no roll on the "n," although we certainly tried including one), was the Mexican food equivalent of a combo appetizer at any big-box chain restaurant. This medley of quesadillas, fried chicken flautas and individual nacho chips with either chicken or beef and cheese provided a nice little sampler platter for the table wanting it all, so to speak. It was an adequate portion size for three or four people. Each section of the platter was cut into smaller pieces while still including plenty of the tasty fresh fixings that make each meal customizable, including a small cup of queso cheese dip, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, jalapenos and sour cream. One of the best parts of this multi-topping system is creating new flavor combinations. 

Lynn Dirk, the 3rd GLOBer in our birthday fiesta, noted that the menu has an interesting section of sides:  a side order of onions or tomatoes is $1 each, which seems steep, but then some of the a la cart items like one taco or beans or rice seemed very reasonable at about $3.

PorkVerde

TacosMike was also interested in trying something new at the spot where he has ordered many a taco. The Chile Verde dish, image above, piqued his interest. Although advertised as "hot," I did not think the spiciness level surpassed even a medium heat. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the dish: Thick chunks of tender pork coated in green sauce and cilantro fell apart in my mouth, every bite as juicy and flavorful as the last. The addition of rice and beans also pleased my dining companions, and I took to dousing the leftover tortillas from the meal in the Botana's queso sauce. However, true to form, Mike insisted we include tacos into this feast, and no one was ready to deny the birthday boy. He ordered fish tacos, a protein filling that he claimed he had not previously tried at the restaurant, and seemed very pleased with the grilled chunks of tilapia that rested in the flour tortilla. Of course there were again plenty of toppings to customize each taco.  I took to adding some green salsa, red hot sauce, a little pico de gallo and lettuce for a pretty decent stuffed taco. While not the best I have ever had, it did the trick.  There is a complete Blue Agave menu at the restaurant link below.

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What is a birthday celebration without a little dessert? Yes, our ambitious birthday party finished two slices of cheesecake as well as all the aforementioned food. The server informed us that this particular cheesecake wasn't on the menu, but it was his favorite and worth a try. It certainly did not disappoint: Traditional-flavored cheesecake was met with a layer of fudgy chocolate in the middle and a generous top coating of caramel that dripped down over the sides. The graham cracker crust was Mike's favorite part, but I had no problem devouring the rest!

Mike claims that Blue Agave is one of the better Mexican restaurants in town, and I do feel that it was a satisfactory experience. As mentioned previously, I rarely dine out Mexican, but if the opportunity to dine at Blue Agave presented itself again, I hope it would be during lunch on a weekday when they have all the great lunch specials.

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Agave: speedy food delivery, attentive and friendly service, tasty food, wide variety of meat and meatless options, reasonably priced for quantities, enticing lunch specials.

Blue Agave + indicators:  One of the more unique Mexican menus in town with eight different tacos. OMG the fish tacos include pico de gallo and tomatillo sauce!  The red, and green sauce available on the tables add nice heat to the B A house salsa.

Blue Agave - indicators: Somewhat standard Mexican food, hard to get to if on other side of 43rd Street.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Blue Agave.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

 

TacoTOPPER

Tacos astound GLOB Master with variety

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

Blue Agave Mexican restaurantI made it my mission to seek out the best tacos in GLOB land primarily because I am a giant taco fan.  I’m not too proud to say that it has only been recently that the GLOB Master has discovered that the new millennial meaning of taco is way more involved than the yummy fried corn tortilla that encased spicy ground beef, cheese, onions, and tomatoes that has symbolized Mexican sandwich bliss for me since I was old enough to pay for my own lunch

On my first trip to Blue Agave off NW 43rd St across from the Thornebrook Village, I experienced the spicy, green, flavorful joy of the BA Enchiladas Poblanas.  If you are a poblano pepper fan you have to give the Blue Agave poblano sauce heartfelt culinary consideration.  The mild but tangy, creamy green sauce added a rich, smooth flavor to the over-stuffed-with-chicken corn tortillas. CARUMBA muchacho! This was an excellent South of the border lunch.  On my second trip, it was the tacos.  More on that shortly

Blue Agave is the third restaurant in this old Las Margaritas location in the last few years.  Not a lot of change has taken place to the design inside the stucco walls of this lunch time hacienda.  There is still a lounge area on the lower level of Blue Agave, plus ample seating inside the restaurant, and some tables line a patio on the outside wall of the café.

Blue Agave has the traditional Mexican combo lunch platters ranging from the $5 Speedy Gonzalez consisting ofone beef taco, one enchilada, and Mexican rice or beans to Special #25, which is your choice of a shredded chicken or beef chimichanga served with Mexican rice, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream for $7.  That is 25 lunch combo platters ranging from $4.50 to $7.

In addition to the combo platters, BA has a full menu ranging from antojitos (appetizers)  to fajitas, ala carte selections, and nine vegetarian lunch options including Chiles Poblano with two poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, fried in egg batter and covered with special sauce and sour cream, and served with Mexican rice and refried beans. (There is that poblano sauce again . . .!)

There is a restaurant link to the Blue Agave menu below

It was tough overlooking all those spicy green choices, but it was a taco kind of lunch day for the GLOB Master, and Blue Agave had an impressive taco of eight, distinctly different, choices ranging from cilantro flavored chopped steak to my selection, the Taco de Alambre.

I think I need a little GLOB help here, amigos.  I am not aware of any other restaurant in Hogtown that serves up that many different taco flavor options.

Carumba!  I have never had a better taco than the Taco de Alambre.  The flavors were battling for my attention from the grilled chicken to the chorizo and bacon.  The bacon and chorizo added a little more salt to my palate than normal, but this taco was GLOB FAB FIVE caliber from the paper thin, crepe like corn tortilla to the cilantro and shredded cheese.

Talk about a conundrum -- I could happily try a different Blue Agave taco every day.  It looks like I will be taking the ala carte Mexican lunch route -- a custom AB Taco with a side of Chile poblanos.   

The Pluses and Minuses of Blue Agave

Blue Agave + indicators :  One of the more unique Mexican menus in town with eight different tacos. OMG the fish tacos include pico de gallo and tomatillo sauce!  The red, and green sauce available on the tables add nice heat to the B A house salsa.

Blue Agave - indicators:  So many choices for such a short lunch hour . .

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Blue Agave.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Blue Agave on NW 43rd Ave. is fast becoming my favorite Mexican lunch stop.  The food is flavorful, the variety of entrees in vast including eight different tacos.  I’ve mentioned many times I measure a good Mexican lunch by their Chili Relleno.  The combination of this delicious entrée presents the GLOB Master with all the essential flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine.  Since this was a Meatless Monday lunch I opted for this   cheese, and poblano pepper sautéed in a yummy corn meal crust. The tart, tangy flavor of this perfectly cooked green pepper is a perfect foil for the creamy, gooey, melted cheese.  For the carnivores you can also add chicken or beef to your crunchy or soft shell lunch proze.   I seem to spend a large portion of my meal decision these days by what I eat, how I eat it, and how will it impact my diabetes.  I mowed the yard before this meals and I was rewarded with an extraordinary drop in my blood sugar.  YAY!   After five months trying to reshape my diet to accommodate eating a better, healthier diet I have reconditioned my choices to refrain from a lot if carbohydrates.    I love refried beans,unfortunately I can’t indiscriminately shove food in my face.  The rice was a perfect texture, spicy flavor that left me smiling.  All right fellow GLOBers.  After bragging about my new, disciplines approach to lunch I did slip back a little and could not stop myself From ordering a hard shell taco WITH MY LUNCH.  It’s the hard shell crunch, combined with the mild cheese, cool flavored lettuce, and a heaping portion of salsa will always be a favorite lunch, or dinner winner.

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Burrito Famous

Is it a 'do-it-yourself taco' if I tell a taco maker exactly what ingredients I want? Whatever you call it, it is a good feature of taco stands to specialize in letting the eater of the taco do the creating. Come on, look at the choices you can load into your crispy or soft (first decision!) taco shell: Pick your rice, pick your beans, pick your cheese, and then mix and match over 30 different toppings, including sour cream, banana peppers, pineapple, Sriracha sauce, guacamole, and jalapenos. Was that enough Meatless Monday toppings for you GLOBers?

I had fun creating my 3-taco (crispy!) Meatless Monday lunch with some very special flavors:

zzGLOBbullet Pinto beans with rice, pico de gallo, onions, fresh jalapeno peppers, and habanero sauce.

zzGLOBbullet Avocado with onions, peppers, fresh jalapenos, banana peppers, cilantro lime slaw, Jack cheese.

zzGLOBbullet Fried plaintains with corn relish, red onions, tomatoes, peppers, guacamole sauce, Jack cheese.

The avocado taco was excellent. The creaminess of the avocado combined with the heat from the peppers made for a bright, eye-opening flavor attack. The fried plaintain taco with a soft banana texture, sweet, pronounced, flavorful Spanish flair was my favorite. Now I wonder if I will be able to remember the fried plaintain taco ingredients on my next trip . . .

- GLOB Master

'Burrito stand' challenges burrito big shots

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

BFstoreFrontI don't know about anyone else, but when I crave a burrito, one with exceptional variety and quality of ingredients, my go-to burrito spot is Chipotle Mexican Grill. While not a local food stop, I have always loved the size, flavors and assembly of the large burritos served there; as I typically describe them, they are comparable to "the size of a baby." However, Burrito Famous, close to the corner of 34th St. and University Avenue, is now giving my tried-and-true burrito haven a run for its money.

My friend, Alyssa, has been asking me to go to Burrito Famous for a few weeks. After hearing about the quick and easy Mexican food spot when it opened, which boasts everything from burritos and salads to tacos and nachos, it has been on my to-go list. A few grueling days of studying pushed me over the top, and I took Alyssa up on the study break offer of a satiating burrito. Not to mention that Alyssa and I have frequented Chipotle to a borderline embarrassing degree, so if there was anyone I should venture to a new burrito place with, I could think of no one better.

burritofamSIGNI approached the small food joint as skeptical as any new customer might be, as I felt like I was cheating on Chipotle in a way. My friend's first reaction to Burrito Famous was an observation: "Wait, this is it? It's a tiny hole in the wall!" Nonetheless, we entered to four employees happily ready to create our meal of choice.

True to form, both Alyssa and I desired a burrito. It is hands-down one of the best features at these small Mexican conveyer line-type restaurants, in my opinion. I was, however, surprised to find that there were multiple options aside from a burrito that I would not find at Chipotle, such as nachos, tempeh, and plantains. It was the available burrito fillings that sent me into indecisive food adventurer mode, as I wanted to try everything and get the most fulfilling experience for my first time there while not overdoing it in response to my overzealous food excitement.

burritofamTOPPERgifAs I often do at newly-visited restaurants, I ask the people who know the product best, the employees, to determine my order. In this case, it was my burrito assembler, Ryan, who guided me through the assembly process. I was glad that he gave me a well thought-out answer, too. I always — and I mean always — order the pork carnitas burrito from Chipotle. I was about to resort to that when Ryan suggested a combination of the beef barbacoa with the pork carnitas for a happy marriage of meaty flavor. He even guaranteed a re-do if I was not satisfied with that particular burrito option, but he added, "I have never had to remake a burrito, and I'm pretty sure you'll think it's delicious."

To continue my surprise, the choice of a veggie burrito with an avocado, tempeh or plantain base; the Baja Fish option; and the Egg N'Chorizo alternative sparked my interest. These are also not seen on the Chipotle menu. Burrito Famous even has the "BFamous Freestyle" menu with pre-combined items. If my food experiences have prefaced anything, I am a huge fan of the pre-selected choices. But to give the burrito joint a true shot, I had to go about it as I always do at these places with an off-the-cuff burrito arrangement. There is a complete Burrito Famous menu at the restaurant web link below.

burritofamCHOICESelecting the meat base was hardly scratching the surface of the assembly process. As previously mentioned, the topping selection was slightly overwhelming. I wanted to keep it simple with what I feel is the burrito essentials: beans (they only had the option of black), cilantro white rice, medium salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole (which was an extra, but oh-so worth it, cost), sour cream, black olives, lettuce, extra cilantro and tomato slices, all delicately wrapped in a warm, toasted tortilla blanket. I was very tempted by the unique toppings available, though, including plantains, bacon(!), pickled jalapenos and chipotle ranch/curry mayo sauces, among others. Due to the sheer size of the finished product, I was audibly concerned as to whether the tortilla would bend beneath the weight of toppings. Alas, my expectations were exceeded.

Alyssa and I decided the cooler weather was cause to dine at one of the few outside tables — I wouldn't be surprised, though, if there was more seating available outside than inside — and we wasted no time digging in. Her spicier chicken-based burrito, complete with peppers, sriracha sauce and hot salsa, left me wishing I had added a spicy and crunchy element to my somewhat monotone-textured burrito. While one bite of the thick, tender chicken chunks and crunchy spice pleased my taste buds, she said that multiple bites left her mouth searing, the spicy elements overwhelming even the cooling elements of the burrito, such as guacamole and cheese.

burritofamMKeatingMy pork carnitas/beef barbacoa burrito set the stage for a completely unique burrito experience, but what I received was an experience reminiscent of so many others I've had. As hard as I tried, I could not help but compare this burrito to that of Chipotle's. Sue me. The noticeable spiciness level of Chipotle's medium salsa led me to select the medium Burrito Famous salsa, but there was not even a hint of spice in it. Honestly, it was a similar experience to a Chipotle burrito. The toppings overpowered the meat, but, when I managed to get a bite of it over the overflowing toppings, it was well-seasoned and juicy, the shredded texture of each meat type complementing each other and the richness of the creamy sour cream and guacamole. The lettuce, which I rely on for that much-needed crunch in a sea of softer ingredients, did not quite deliver, but that could be easily remedied with a few jalapenos or peppers tossed in next time. However, it was a flavor-packed burrito, and it definitely hit the spot.

While Chipotle will never leave the top five spot in my burrito repertoire, Burrito Famous, in a word, delighted. It met my pretty high burrito expectation and left me wanting more. I was thoroughly impressed by the unique selection, homemade ingredients, which is what sold me on the fresh guacamole, and I paid under $7, even considering I combined meat options! Next up (and there will be a "next"): the tempeh burrito or, if I'm feeling really crazy, a bowl, which I have never attempted even at Chipotle.

The Pluses and Minuses of Burrito Famous:

 Burrito Famous + indicators : wide variety; helpful and amiable staff; good price for the portion; many fresh ingredients made in-house

 Burrito Famous - indicators: Very Little seating; My Chipotle-influenced mindset speaking . . .

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Burrito Famous  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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Chuy's Mexican

CHUYSbeansIt might not be pretty, GLOBers, but Chuy's Deluxe Enchilada with cheese and deluxe tomatillo sauce is one of the best lunches I have had in some time. All right, I think what made this Enchildada Deluxe special was my request to try the Deluxe Chicken Enchilada without the chicken--because I just wanted the green tomatillo sounded sauce, which sounded delicious. Lunching by myself, I sat at the bar to speed up the sometimes slow service. I asked the barkeep/server if it was possible to get the Chicken Enchilada without the chicken and no Mexican rice for me please.  My expert server said no problem and replaced the chicken with the veggie mix of spinach, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, serranos, roasted green chiles, and corn. The server suggested two orders of the charro beans. According to Wikipedia : Frijoles charros (cowboy beans) is a traditional Mexican dish. It is named after the traditional Mexican cowboy horsemen, or charros. The beans are characterized by pinto beans stewed with onion, garlic, and bacon. Other common ingredients include chili peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, ham, sausage, pork and chorizo. The Charro beans had amazing flavors with the savory Latin tastes of chili peppers, cilantro, chorizo, onion and, garlic. WHAT A TASTE TREAT! The two enchiladas drenched in the tomatillo sauce surprised me with so many flavors highlighted by the spicy, mildy tempered heat from the green chilis. This blue ribbon meatless lunch was way too much to eat for one small GLOB Master. After years of being a c lean-your-plate kind of food lover I'm starting to get a complex about not cleaning my lunch plate properly . . . Meet me for your next meatless lunch at Chuy's GLOBer and we can share this belly bomb amalgamation of spicy green lunch time bliss.

- GLOB Master

 

CHUYStaquito

- GLOB staffer and friends dive into the green chile pool for dinner

Tex-Mex lunch serves up Austin memories

> PRO iNK's Terry Van Nortwick discusses learning the Chuy's culture

> The GLOB Master presents his impressions of Chuy's Mexican below this feature

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

Editor's Note: Farmer Bubba Scott is a container vegetable farmer. To help support the farm, he is also a P.H.D., Professional Home Developer/Repairman

ChuysBUBBAsfI recently received a call on my red Gaineville Lunch Out Blog emergency phone, from GLOB Master Mike about visiting a new restaurant in town that should take me back to my good ole days in Austin, Texas, when I used to go to a restaurant  called Chuy's.

When Lynn was recently visiting my farm, she mentioned Chuy's to me, and I asked if it was the one from Austin, Texas.  After further investigation I found out it was.

Oh my! Chuy's started in Austin in 1982 -- see other story link above -- on Barton Springs Road. That was the same year I started my home improvement business. Boy does that bring back some memories.

Barton Springs was the outdoor 'place to go' in Austin on weekends. When I lived there, I can remember taking my two daughters there for some good ole Tex-Mex cuisine and fun times. Chuy's was wildly decorated and if you've ever been to Austin, you would know Chuy's was tops in Southern hospitality.  Yes, Texas is Southern to me.

When we drove up in front of the Gainesville Chuy's for lunch, I recognized the wildly decorated sign on the outside, but did they bring a little of Austin with 'em was my question.

 

BubbaServer

Upon entering, I said to myself, oh yes they did. We were met with smiles and much Southern hospitality. We were greeted by our server Brittany. Again, all smiles. We were a group of four GLOB representatives:  the GLOB Master, Mike; Lynn the Content Editor; Joan. a GLOB contributor, and myself.  After a quick vote, we chose a booth for our lunch. We just wanted the comfort of a little extra space.

I just kept look'n around the restaurant thinking about what I left behind in Texas.

For lunch I ordered the taco salad with chicken and a side of jalapeno peppers.

Before my food arrived, Christine Brittany made sure my tea glass was filled and asked if there was anything else we needed.

 

CHUTStortillas1

We were served chips with three kinds of salsa, the Tex Mex, tomatillo, and the creamy Jalapeno.

Chuy's corn chips and their tortillas are made fresh and in three varieties:  corn, blue corn and flour. Really, you can watch 'em make 'em at the tortilla creation station. Now thats some creative Southern word play that rolls off your tongue.

When my taco salad arrived, I thought, WOW! This is Austin style. Along with the taco salad came little bowls of goodies. WOW again.

 

BubbaSalad

How was my Taco Salad? The first thing I realized is they put a variety of mixed greens in the salad. Before I added anything to it, I wanted to see if the veggie ingredients had their own flavors. Being a grower of greens and other vegetables I know what good produce should taste like. My salad veggies met teh taste test and had a variety of good flavors.

The grilled chicken added its own flavor. Now this was a taco salad. The jalapeno peppers were warm but not hot and all of the sauces had their own heat and flavor.

One thing I found very interesting was that I never had to ask for anything. Once they knew what I needed, it was always there. I can't say that about other places I have visited for lunch.

When we arrived for lunch close to 11:30, Chuy's was a bit empty. After about 30 minutes, I'm glad we got there early. This place filled up fast.

I'm giving Chuy's a big 10 on the food scale and want to thank Brittany for making my first visit one that calls for a re-visit.

I think of it like this. I just ate some of the best Tex-Mex food from Austin, Texas, and didn't have to take a plane trip to eat it.

 

HatchRELLENOS

100515HatchWhen my lunch partner says Chuy's Tex-Mex, I automatically think Hatch chili peppers. They grow in one place in this world and could be one of the tastiest peppers you will ever enjoy. A recent story says it best: "Hatch chiles are a foodie dream food: They have a short season (in the late summer to early fall) and a unique flavor profile—and they're hard to get your hands on." Chuy's has a great Chili Relleno Two-Fer of two chile rellenos: fire-roasted Hatch chilis with your choice of filling battered and fried to perfection and drizzled with sour cream, with ranch sauce and tomatillo sauce on the side. The flavor and the texture of the thick-walled pepper is indeed a foodie dream. The gooey ranch sauce combined with the perfectly deep fried crunch. The customary sides of refried beans and Mexican rice are nice mediums to absorb the extra sauce and cheese. BTW were you aware the unique climate and rich soil of Hatch Valley, not found anywhere else in the world, are key to the green chile's legendary flavor? Each year Chuy's contracts with farmers in the Hatch Valley to grow over 1.75 million pounds of the freshest green chilis just for Chuy's restaurants. Carumba! That's a lot of Meatless Monday lunch orders GLOBers.

- GLOB Master

Tex-Mex, '56 Buick and Elvis at one lunch stop

All Gainesville Lunch Out Blogers should have Elayna Rexrode join them for lunch the first time they visit Chuy's Mexican restaurant.

Elayna is the Operations Director for PRO iNK, the marketing and public relations firm that has helped Chuy's establish their Tex-Mex presence in Gainesville.

Before Chuy's opened in Gainesville, Elayna spent several days in Austin to acquaint herself with the nuts and bolts, facts and figures and, most importantly, the Chuy's fascination with Elvis (see other Chuy's feature) and the unique culture that characterizes the 33 Chuy's restaurants. Although the culture is the same, no two Chuy's restaurants have the exact same décor.

CHUYSdog1Chuy's has partnered with Pet Smart and the St. Francis House Pet Care Clinic to memorialize many pet care clinic dogs by hanging images of them throughout the restaurant.

NOTE TO GLOBers: Read the sign in the second dog photo.

Gainesville's Chuy’s is a CHUYSdogGator blue with a 1956 Buick 'loaded' with all the necessary Tex-Mex nacho ingredients to get your lunch started. Elayna and the GLOB Master discussed which was coolest – the blue Buick fins or the retro hub caps.

Mexico’s Mil Pescado from the village of Tlaquepaque in Mexico hand-carved and hand-painted the 1,000 wooden fish hanging from the Chuy’s ceiling He also delivered the fish to Gainesville and hung each one according to exacting specifications.

The Chuy's tortilla station stays busy making flour, corn and blue corn tortillas for chips, chalupas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, and burritos.

CHUYSnachoCarElliot, Chuy's Assistant General Manager, has been in Gainesville since planning for Chuy’s began and says the quality of a Tex-Mex restaurant is always identified first by the quality of their chips and salsa. Chuy's sports eight different salsas. Be sure to try the Creamy Jalapeno!

Oh, that's right, we were there for lunch. Giant portions, everything made fresh, I ordered the beef fajita and UF Entomology Art Director, Jane Medley, my lunch partner, ordered the Deluxe Chicken Enchilada.

CHUYSdinner3"OMG I think I am in heaven, this is so good," was Jane's comment several times while enjoying her Chuy's lunch. GLOB Staffer Farmer Bubba Scott grew up in Texas and is looking forward to visiting Chuy's and making some comments soon.

There is a Chuy's menu available at the Restaurant link below this feature.

- Mike S., GLOB Master

> PRO iNK's Elayna Rexrode and Terry Van Nortwick report on trip to Chuy's home base in Austin, Texas to get a first hand glimpse of life in the Chuy's Mexican world. 

 

CHUYStopper06052016

With 19 Spanish and Mexican lunch stops on the Urban GLOP map, Chuy's Mexican on SW 34 th St. never disappoints with excellent, quick, service plus they have their own special link to some of the best peppers -- the Texas Hatch Anaheim Chilis. The big, thick, pepper membrane is unlike any other yummy, spicy pepper I have seen in Gainesville. Add to that the fact that the extensive Chuy's menu is loaded with veggie and meatless options. I was set for my obligatory Chuy's Chili Relleno with the fresh Anaheim pepper, fire-roasted and filled with my choice of ground sirloin, chicken, or shrimp and cheese when I noticed the daily Special was a Big Mambo Burrito. This burrito was so big it looked to me like two people could not eat this Mexican lunch prize in a lunch hour. My very friendly server suggested they could create the Big Mambo in a half size portion for me. CARUMBA! Now that was a great idea. I'm really starting to have a hard time with lunch options that are so darn big I can't finish them. I eat lunch to satisfy my palette, not to take home left overs for the rest of the week. The burrito was excellent and loaded with refried beans, cheese, my favorite pepper, and some delicious tomatillo sauce. I was in Tex-Mex lunch heaven. With the smaller burrito, it felt good OK to also indulge in the treat of a crunchy hard shell taco with refried beans, cheese topped with the Chuy's spicy, refresh salsa. With the addition of Costa Vida At the same SW Archer Rd. corner as 3 other Mexican lunch stands within walking distance of each other, Chuy's is a stand out with their full menu and awesome Hatch green chilis.

- GLOB Master

Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chuy's. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!

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Flaco's Cuban Bakery, Midtown

FLACOSmtDINERI have never had a bad Cuban sandwich from Flaco's Cuban Bakery. I was excited about giving Flacos new Midtown lunchstop a try and I was glad I did. Nothing fancy in this 15'X50' foot end-of-the-strip-shopping-center location. Flaco's is definitely a midtown Food On The Run lunch stop right next door to Designer Greens. The air conditioning was not working when I arrived and it was as toasty as my pressed sandwich in this little walk up FLACOSmidtownSFdiner. But I was Ok with the warmer than usual temp. The staffers were very friendly and looked at me quizzically like I was the one with a climate change problem. Then we started talking lunch sandwiches and I forgot how hot I was. I explained to the staffers I usually get Flacos' Media Noche with the very special sweet bread made especially for Flacos that includes corn meal and a little sugar. I think it is one of the best sandwiches in town. Today I was ready for something different and the Spot Sausage Pressed Cuban Sandwich was suggested to the GLOB Master because of its spiciness. "But if you really like spicy I can include some spicy mayo in your sandwich that will set you free," suggested the sandwich maker. The Spot Sausage Cuban is spicy chorizo sausage, onions, garlic and swiss cheese pressed in the toastiest, crunchiest, moistest flattened Cuban bread this side of Ybor City. The sandwich's chorizo sausage was very good and was brought to life with the onion, garlic and spicy mayo. It was also suggested that if I like spicy I should try the Scarface Sandwich next time. The Scarface is a ham, salami, chorizo sausage, tomato, spicy mayo, mustard and swiss cheese pressed belly bomb that will make a happy young Cubano out of any lunchouter.

FLACOSlogo0512There is a brief Flacos history and reviews on the back of the Flacos' menu: "We're not the first place to serve Cuban food or ropa vieja and we're definitely not going to be the last but we're going to try our hardest to make it the best."

I can't agree more Flacos, you Cubanos make one of the better, tastiest sandwiches in the Urban GLOB!

Editor's Note: A Gainesville Lunch Out Blog feature story on of Falcos Cuban Bakery can be viewed on the Flacos Downtown GLOB page. -- GLOB Master

The Pluses and Minuses of the Flacos Cuban Bakery Midtown

Flacos + indicators : Best Cuban bread intown, excellent sandiches and Cuban choices.

Flacos - indicators: It is going to be a long, hot summer for Midtown Flacos staff and cutomers.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Flacos Cuban Bakery.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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