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Restaurant lunch highlights:

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Bahama Breeze

The Pluses and Minuses of the Bahama Breeze:

Bahama Breeze (+) indicators:

Bahama Breeze (-) indicators: 

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Keke's Breakfast Cafe

Customer friendly staffer makes lunch special

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

KEKEsf250I'm not a big Butler Plaza fan. I need a good reason to dive into a shopping area that probably rivals in size a lot of the cities, and towns that comprise North Central Florida. The Traffic in the parking lots are closer to every man for himself bumper cars, than folks looking to park their automobile. Driving lanes be damned.

Everybody is in a hurry for one reason or another.

Interesting company, excellent conversation sends me to the land of SUVs, compacts, 4-wheel drives, trucks, mighty big cars, trucks, and Hybrids every time.

Once a month I venture to the BP Walmart for another prescription of insulin because it is extraordinarily cheaper at the Walmart Pharmacy. Adhering to the two-birds-one-stone idea I decided to walk across the paved parking lots to check out what has become a very popular breakfast house for lunch.

 

KEKEwebpageA

Keke's has 30 restaurants canvassing Florida. The Florida chain was founded in 2006 by brothers Kevin and Keith Mahen, hence the name Keke's. According to the Keke's website there are seven more Keke's in the planning stages.

Apparently this is a franchise formula that is working. It also explains why students, and visiting out of towners, possess a strong comfort zone feeling for breakfast at this big box location all day, every day . All Keke's Café breakfast is served all day, every day Cafe and all the keke's locations are open daily 7:00am to 2:30pm.

The GLOB Master enjoys a good breakfast.

So I was ready to see what makes this Breakfast/lunch stop popular for the morning meal.

It was a late lunch for me which turned out fine because there were not that many customers in the restaurant. Keke's has an interesting 'booth seating only' concept where everyone can enjoy the privacy of high cubicle walls eliminating extraneous noise. That said it did leave me with a feeling of waiting in my library cubicle for my Keke's experience.

KEKESkylie200I was quickly greeted by the friendly Keke's Server, UF college student, and Bunnell citizen Kylie Jeesmer who joined me for some conversation. Kylie is finishing up SFC and is ready to transfer into UF's a College of business with plans for Marketing degree and was very helpful in answering my questions and deciding on lunch.

Keeping the franchise spirit in mind they have a giant menu of of choices including WAFFLES, PANCAKES, CREATE YOUR OWN COMBOS, FRENCH TOAST, STUFFED FRENCH TOAST, OMELETS. POACHED EGG MEALS, EGG FAVORITES, SIDEs, KID'S BREAKFAST, and BEVERAGES. And that is just for breakfast GLOBers.

I guess to some the Keke's Lunch menu would appear unremarkable with the usual PANINIS, SANDWICHES, BURGERS, WRAPS, SALADS, SUBSTITUTIONS & SIDES, KID'S LUNCH, and BEVERAGES.

I'm not counting how many choices that makes for a meal.

I do find it daunting, eye crossing that I must spend thirty minutes before lunch querying food data for a good lunch.

This is where a smart, expert on the menu server like Kylie becomes invaluable to my mid-day consumption.

 

KEKEentree480

"If you like spicy the Southwest Turkey Club with turkey breast, tomato, pepper jack cheese, Texas petal sauce and bacon is one of my favorites, (10.48)." Kylie said.

Ms. Jessmer agreed that since this was my forts visit to the breakfast house I should include an over easy fried egg to my lunch to make this an official breakfast/lunch visit.

KEKESpetasauceIt was a good lunch highlight by interesting Keke's Texas Petal Sauce that included horseradish, paprika, salt, oregano, black, and cayenne pepper. The pepper Jack cheese was notable and added flavor. The roasted turkey plank had a modicum of flavor. However I wish they asked me whether I wanted the turkey with, or without grill marks. Do you think there are boxes of turkey planks in the fKeke's reezer that are marked "WITH, and Boxes marked "WITHOUT GRILL MARKS?"

The Pluses and Minuses of the Keke's Breakfast Cafe:

Keke's Breakfast Cafe (+) indicators:  Popular, wide ranging menu, friendly service, interesting menu suggestions. Eating a meal, sharing conversation with friends, trying out new menus, there are a lot of reason to enjoy lunch. A big GLOB thank you to Kylie Jessmer for making my Keke's lunch special.

Keke's Breakfast Cafe  (-) indicators:  Breakfast houses are becoming more popular all the time. Long lines, frantic experiences, waiting to order eggs? To me it seem like a good reasons to eat local . . .

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Electric Ramen

The Pluses and Minuses of Electric Ramen

Electric Ramen (+) indicators:

Electric Ramen  (-) indicators: 

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Divot's Cafe and Banquet

Unique entrees found in 'hideaway cafe'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

DIVOTSsfYou know how sometimes those secret, hide-away lunch stops the whole world doesn't know about makes you smile, feeling smug inside GLOBers?

I recently had one of the best hamburgers I have had in some time and it was wrapped in a burrito shell with amazingly delicious flavored chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and cheese in a pressed tortilla.

I'm thinking unless you lived in the nearby 'hood you have no idea about the cozy, friendly lunch spot with an amazing menus that includes – according to lunch pal Jon Roosenraad the Divot's Eagle Cheeseburger ($7.99) with bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle slices and ketchup on a toasted bun-- one of the best hamburgers he has had in some time.

"There are good burgers all over Gainesville but this is one of the best Excellent beef that stayed juicy cooked to perfection at medium well (that's right – cook the damn thing). But what also made this one was the very thick and tasty hickory bacon. Would like to try that alone in a BLT," Roosenraad said between bites

 

Burger480FIX

"The standard fries with the burger were hardly "standard" – seasoned to perfection and no need for ketchup. I think the only other fries in town that are similar are at Piesanos," Roosenraad added.

Keep in mind that quote is coming from a long time, thrifty, Michagander that is very careful with his pennies and his compliments.

 

DIVOTSdining

With a golf course theme the cafés menu categories on the menu are themed with clever sports idioms like putting greens, Hole-In-Ones, and Par for the grill. An extensive menu of 'Lunch or Later Hot Hole in Ones' that includes unique, tasty sounding Half Pound Fried Mushrooms, Half Pound Crispy Broccoli Cheddar Bites, the Triple Bogey which is Mushrooms, and Broccoli Bites.  And look at this GLObers! This menu contains Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers Bites and sauces. I love fried cheese poppers . . .

Eight entrees are included in the Buddy Favorites list including hot dogs, wraps, and a yummy sounding Country Fried Steak Plate ($6.99), consisting of 2 fried beef steak patties with mashed potatoes, both covered with country gravy.

You can close out this round of lunch entrees with 5 Hamburgers, and also five familiar sounding sandwiches.

It was looking like I was going to select a burger and forego the bun when I came across the Chipotle Cheeseburger Burrito. ($7.99) In a city with more burrito shops than should be allowed GLOBers, if I was meeting someone for lunch and they asked for the best burrito in town I would have no problem directing them to this 'across the interstate lunch stop.'

Jonny is correct the Hamburger in my Burrito was really flavorful and juicy. The two halves of my Mexican Sammie were big enough to share. The ingredients were fresh, and the chipotle sauce made the burrito really special with a tangy hint of heat and flavor.

 

Burrito!480

I'm thinking it was the chipotle sauce combining with the other flavors made this burrito one of my better tortilla wrapped lunch surprises.

The café was clean and well attended with several tables. As we were leaving the café appeared to be filling up with lunch time regulars.

You know GLOBers I an almost reluctant talk much more about Divot's Café and Banquet Oh, Alright, FORE ON THE WEST SIDE! This excellent, intimate, friendly café on West Gainesville's Meadowbrook Golf Course certainly deserves you consideration if you're an all beef, carnivore kind of lunch time person.

The Pluses and Minuses of Divot's Cafe and Banquet:

Divot's Cafe and Banquet (+) indicators: Great sandwiches, burgers, prize winning hamburger burrito.

Divot's Cafe and Banquet  (-) indicators:  This cafe is hidden away in NW Gainesville off the regular 'eating path'

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Relish, Archer Rd.

The Pluses and Minuses of Relish:

Relish (+) indicators:

Relish  (-) indicators: 

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Curia on the Drag

'Alternative lunch' takes on new meaning

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

CURIAlunchWhen plans were made to meet friends at CURIA on the DRAG on NW 6th St. for lunch, I was expecting something different, but I didn't think I would be a gastronomical stranger in an alternative lunch world.

The CURIA on the DRAG collection of shops, boutiques, and coffee - tea cafe is an interesting group of unique, alternative ideas centered under the concept of creating a community space for individuals to hang out and share thoughts and ideas.

Back to the alternative lunch world:  CURIA describes its lunch menu as plant based.

Now I've been to my share of health food bars, veggie cafes, all natural lunch stops, meatless diners, pubs, juice bars, and restaurants, but this was my first trip to a 100 per cent vegan, plant-based restaurant.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines VEGAN thus:

A strict vegetarian who consumes no food (as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals; also : one who abstains from using animal products (as leather).

Needless to say I was curi-OUS what was for lunch at the CURI-a.

I like vegetables. They comprise a very important part of my new diet of trying very hard to avoid excessive carbohydrates, the ultimate nemesis, of my daily battle with Type 2 Diabetes

CURIAlynnJANE

I imagined a flurry of different colored question marks hovering over our table as Jane Osmond (image above left), Mark Olson, Lynn Dirk (image above right), and I scanned the CURIA menu looking for something delicious and familiar for lunch.

"I have always thought vegans failed Marketing 101 when they describe what they are eating," I said, searching for the "just like ground beef' or 'almost like chili but only better" descriptions. "To me it sounds like they are apologizing for a second class entrée that didn't quite make the standard," I added.  Jane, on the other hand, thought that foods should not be presented as substitutes but described as unique.

 

CURIAtacosalad

In the meantime, I spied "breaded fishless filets" on the CURIA menu in the description of Baja Tacos with Mac 'n Cheese.

The Baja tacos (image at top) sounded interesting and my thought was, if you combine all the ingredients in a corn meal wrap, you don't really know what you are eating anyway. The tacos were delicious. The crunch of their fishless fish was a nice complement to red cabbage slaw, greens, avocado, and chipotle-lime dressing. The double wrapped taco shells were a special toasted flavor treat that would easily make tacos my choice next time I have a CURIA lunch.

My lunch partners were pleased with their lunch choices:

zzGLOBbullet Mark selected the Villy sandwich and Mac 'n Cheese and enjoyed the melted cheese like flavor combined with sliced smoked seitan, roasted peppers and onions, and cheese sauce on a toasted hoagie roll. Lynn tasted the Mac 'n Cheese and thought the pasta was overdone, however.

JANESpanini

zzGLOBbullet Jane was pleased with her Jackfruit Quesdailla, a pressed sandwich of shredded BBQ jackfruit, pepper jack cheese, grilled jalapeno, cashew cream.

http://www.thejackfruitcompany.com/what-is-jackfruit/

 

CURIAsalad

zzGLOBbullet Lynn was happy with her Korean Noodle Salad with many familiar crudités including roasted mushrooms, sauteéd carrots, massaged kale, gochujang-tahini dressing. (Massaged kale?)

It was a fun lunch adventure and a special treat to see a table of completely different mid-day entrees available that we all enjoyed and enjoyed talking about.

 

CURIAdining

The clean, fresh looking dining area added much to the lunch time ambience, and if you are CURIOUS to try something uniquely different, ALMOST just like yesterday's mainstream lunch, then CURIA on the Drag is the place for you.

013017Bulla2The Pluses and Minuses of the Curia:

Curia (+) indicators: Unique addition of non mainstream ingredients creating interesting flavor profiles. Curia has a Cuban menu available celebrating the Bulla Cubana taking place through the end of March.

Curia  (-) indicators: The GLOB Master isn't ready for a daily, completely alternative, lunch palette.

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Longhorn Syeakhouse

The Pluses and Minuses of the Longhorn's Steakhouse

Longhorn's Steakhouse (+) indicators:

Longhorn's Steakhouse  (-) indicators: 

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe, NW 16th Blvd.

Breakfast sandwich works for GLOB Master

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

TSCsfMH600The new Tropical Smoothie on NW 23rd Blvd. near Leonardo's Pizza in the Pan serves breakfast all day, and the GLOB Master thinks the Southwest Omelet Wrap is at the top of the TS menu. How good is the Tropical Smoothie breakfast wrap, GLOBers? It is a breakfast sandwich that rivals my Bagel Bakery breakfast triumvirate, and it is half the price of a bagel, small muffin, and large soda.

I'm thinking I am going to like this fresh fruit, 7:00 am breakfast addition at the corner of NW 43rd St. and 16th Blvd.

 

TROPsmoCUSTOMER

There is an order counter and a few tables to lunch on. Kudos to the TS franchise designer for using very large images on the wall. I learned in the old newspaper days an average photograph will become very dramatic if you can make it large enough. It works at this restaurant.

The dining area is clean and the counter to place order is smart and trendy. A big thank you to the smoothie gods for figuring out how to reduce the noise of multiple blenders grinding, crunching, and smoothing practically anything in sight.

Right up there with very good entrees and smoothies are the Tropical Smoothie staffers manning this breakfast/lunch stop.

 

TROPsmoSTAFF

From left: Sheena Cooper, TS Manager Amber Johnson, and Ashley Long have the morning grind figured out. Now, granted, I am there on the way early side of 8 am. So recently when the tune MY SHARONNA blared out of the speaker extremely loudly, it was cool see Amber and her staff getting down and doing serious dancing–WOOO HOOO!

TROPsmoDOCKTropical Smoothie specializes in liquid lunches so GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk and I decided on two smoothies described as Supercharged Smoothies. The healthy smoothies that didn't appear as too sugary are the Avocolada, with avocado, pineapple, spinach, kale, coconut & lime juice ($4.99) and the Peanut Paradise Smoothie with peanut butter, banana, non-fat yogurt, and choice of protein ($4.99). Protein choices are whey, soy, or pea. Smoothies come in 24-ounce cups.

The smoothies were very good. Lynn suggested the peanut for me as I always need a little more protein in my bones and muscles. I added whey for additional protein and this was a very yummy drink. The banana flavor was pronounced but I could taste the peanut butter. This smoothie was very easy to drink, and I surprised Lynn when I quickly drank the entire smoothie. And Lynn drank hers just as fast as I drank mine, maybe even faster. The one thing she wondered is whether the smoothies included any fiber because after the foam dissipated, the smoothie did not appear to have any fiber and that is a very important part of the nutrition of fruits and veggies. Research needed!

There are 11 smoothies including the Paradise Point and Mango Magic ($3.99). Super Food Smoothies include the Pomegranate Plunge and the Caribbean C-Burst ($4.99). There are also four Indulgent Smoothies.

 

TROPsmoART

There is a complete Tropical Smoothie menu at the restaurant link below. The prices are very reasonable, including a Smoothie & a Half Special where you get any smoothie and your choice of half sandwich or half salad ($6.99). A better deal is to add a 24-oz smoothie to any lunch menu item: flatbread, sandwich, wrap, salad, or two tacos for an additional $3.00. For kids, there are 12-oz Smoothies.

I offered half of my Southwest Omelet wrap with eggs, grilled chicken, pepper jack, tomatoes, spinach and chipotle mayo in a toasted flour tortilla ($4.75) to Lynn and she said it was good but unremarkable.

 

TROPsmoSAMMIE

The surprise ingredient for the GLOB Master was the Chipotle Mayo. This luscious condiment melted down into my wrap seemingly touching every other sandwich ingredient. The price at $4.75 is also surprising.

The feeling of satisfaction from the smaller than usual – for the GLOB master -- breakfast prize satisfies my morning food cravings in a very good way. I'm going back to Tropical Smoothie. Maybe I could talk Amber into a Southwest Omelet Wrap BOGO deal if I show her what a good dancer I am . . .

The Pluses and Minuses of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe (+) indicators: Good, cheap breakfast sandwiches. The Caribbean Jerk Bowl sound sinteresting.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe  (-) indicators: None noted.

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

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Culver's

The Pluses and Minuses of the Culver's:

Culver's (+) indicators:

Culver's  (-) indicators: 

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Weekend Events, December 3, 2016

FRIDAY

120216Carol

2 pm: A Christmas Carol, Hippodrome Theater, various days, times. Featuring Scrooge, Marley, and of course, Tiny Tim. Share the timeless messages of charity, goodwill, and redemption.

 

120216Women

5:30: Certain Women--Opening Night, Hipp Cinema, various days, times. Three strong-willed women (Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Michelle Williams) strive to forge their own paths in the American Northwest: a lawyer who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand.

 

120216HippULTI

8:00 THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS SHOW (ABRIDGED, Hippodrome Theater, various days, times. Welcome to the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church. But there’s a problem: none of the acts have arrived, so three members are pressed into service to perform the entire Variety Show and Christmas Pageant by themselves.

SATURDAY

120316Dudley

9 am-3 pm: Fall Farm and Cane Festival, Dudley Farm Historic State Park. Celebrate the region’s by visiting its pioneering past.  The Park Service commemorates Ms. Myrtle Dudley’s birthday by grinding sugar cane and boiling it into cane syrup.  Farm tours, domestic crafts, children’s activities, music and vendors are featured on this living history day.  Demonstrators will be showcasing Florida’s traditions of yesteryear.

 120216Cinderella

1:30 & 7 pm: Cinderella, Danscompany of Ganesville, Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. In this full-length ballet, see if two mean step sisters, Skinny and Dumpy, can capture the heart of the prince. Cheer on Cinderella as she dances the night away at the ball. Sigh as she rides away in her beautiful carriage. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

3 pm: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Gainesville Pops, First United Methodist Church, 419 NE 1st St.T he Gainesville Pops is a N. Florida wind ensemble. Music includes holiday music, light classical, Broadway and Hollywood pop hits, marches, and jazz.WE 2016.12.02 - Repurpose

4-9 pm: Green Gift Fair, Repurpose Project Fundraiser, 1920 NE 23rd Ave, Gainesville. A festive evening of hot apple cider, local artisans with handmade crafts, photos with Green Sustainable Santa, live music on outdoor stage and x-mas karaoke, kids crafts, Satchel’s Pizza, Swamphead beer and holiday cheer. Visit our Green Gift Fair Crafter’s Village of local artists featuring handmade and repurposed gifts and browse our shop for reclaimed guilt-free gift shopping. There will be crafting stations to create your own unique repurposed gifts for loved ones! Come celebrate the season and the art of repurposed crafts with us! RSVP on our Facebook event page.

 

120216GvileTREE

6-8 pm: City of Gainesville Tree Lighting, Thomas Center. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs hosts its annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration at the historic Thomas Center. Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe will be on hand to welcome citizens, and call for the giant tree to be lit. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public.

 

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

 120216GFAA

Sat 10-6 & Sun 11-5: Gathering of Artists, Gainesville Fine Arts Association, Gainesville Women’s Club, 2809 W. University Ave.   Featuring the work of 40 award-winning artists with live music and food trucks. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

 

SUNDAY

120216GLAM

10 am: GLAM Craft Show, Historic GRU Operations Center, 625 SE 5th Ave. Unique gifts made by local artists from Florida and throughout the southeast. This year is bigger than ever with over 70 vendors. Food trucks and beer from local breweries plus a bike valet and a kids' activity area. Free admission. Follow the signs from South Main Street/Depot Road

 

120216CommBand

3 pm: Winter Holiday Concert, Fine Arts Hall, Santa Fe College. A holiday performance by about 80 musicians whose day jobs are teacher, professor, scientist, business professional, student, physician, contractor, realtor, trades-person, and retiree.

 120216Swason

7 pm: Sounds of the Season, An American Holiday, UF Concert Choir, UF Women’s Chorale and UF Symphony Orchestra, Phillips Center or the Performing Arts. Community members including the Gainesville Master Chorale present an array of holiday favorites such as The Little Drummer Boy and White Christmas and two wonderful stories of American Christmases past. FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information

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