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Archive for April, 2012

Jamie says: One of my all-time favorite lunch spots in Gainesville is… (drum roll please)…Cafe’ C (424 NW 8th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601; tel. 352-377-7433; you can “like” them on their Facebook page, too).

I LOVE everything about this place.  I love the food, I love the atmostphere, I love the positive vibe, I love the convenience of the location, I love the iced tea, I love the free brownie I get every visit, I love the time I spend with my friends here… what’s not to love? Get my drift? I have a slight crush on this place and that might be an understatement, too.

Cafe C’

With nothing spectacular around it, it’s a hidden gem.

Here’s a view of the backside of it

The outdoor patio has got some charm to it. I’ve never dined outside, but I’ll have to one day soon…

Such a charming outdoor patio

The lanterns and lights are so cute.

View of the outdoor patio from the inside dining area

You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you.

This is where you order the amazing food

Check-in on Facebook every time you visit for a free brownie- every visit. No catches. You always get one. And they are outrageous. Lots of delicious options to choose from… it usually takes me a few minutes to decide. Some with peanut butter, others with a sunflower seeds, others with a cake-like bottom…I’m starting to drool.

Don’t forget to check in on Facebook for a free brownie

They also have a Sunday brunch, buffet-style. I’ve never had it, but it looks delicious. One day I will.

They also have a nice buffet on Sundays for brunch

It’s cool. You can even pick your own glass, one of an eclectic bunch, just like at your own home. They have tasty sangria and the best iced tea in the world.

The beverage station

What’s my favorite iced tea in the world? It’s right here. I mix the blueberry iced tea with the unsweetened iced tea. It then has the perfect sweetness and flavor. (The dietitian in me feels better about mixing it, too.)

Blueberry iced tea mixed with unsweetened iced tea = my favorite iced tea in the world

The restaurant is so stylish, colorful, and upbeat. No wonder I always feel good when I come here.

I love their decor, too

Even their bathroom is ridiculously adorable.

Cute bathroom

And just wait, the dining area is so fun, too…

Into the dining area we go…

Don’t you just love the bundt pans on the walls, the curtains, lights, paintings, and decorative pillows?

We sat here

I want to sit at every table…

Each table has got its own charm

I’ve come here with quite a few friends now. (Thanks Monique, for introducing me to this place.)  When K was in town, we met Laura for lunch. (This was the day I decided it was time to blog Cafe C’, so she made the picture, but I love all you guys, too.)

Ladies’ lunch

I love the Tango Chicken Salad Plate- mixed greens with chicken salad, toasted almonds and sesame seeds, sliced mangoes, grapes, cucumbers, and crackers with an Asian Ginger dressing. It’s healthy, filling, colorful and absolutely delicious. Sounds like my type of food, right?

Tango Chicken Salad Plate

Here’s my next meal… The Smiling Buddha Noodle Salad- greens with fettuccine noodles in a spicy peanut sauce with broccoli, asparagus, mung bean sprouts, toasted sesame seeds and chopped peanuts. I love this concept- of lettuce and pasta. It’s the best of both worlds. And the peanut sauce is killer.

Smiling Buddha Noodle Salad

And another good meal… the Good Afternoon Vietnam Salad- “Vermicelli rice noodles with a chili-lime seasoned chicken breast, fresh mint and cilantro, cucumbers, and peanuts” with garlic-lime dressing.

Good Afternoon Vietnam Salad

And the next… Cypress Salad- “Greek salad with cheese tortellini and Greek feta vinaigrette dressing, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepperoncini, and black olives” with “a sprinkle of lemon pepper.” I love the bright colors of the meal and the table cloth!

Cypress Salad

My next adventure to Cafe’ C was for the Wacky Wednesday Brunch. I finally made it to a brunch! I went with my awesome co-worker/office-mate Kathleen. We started a recent tradition of choosing a lunch place that the other person has not tried yet. I think she liked it a lot. I did.

Wacky Wednesday Brunch

My friend Clarissa inspired me by saying she wanted to try everything on their menu. Every time I get something, I love it, so it’s hard to not keep coming back to the favorites, but I want to try it- to try everything. So I’ve got my menu, and I’m checking ’em off as I go. What will be next?

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Jamie says: I’ve been dying to check out The Lunchbox (104 SE 1st Ave; Gainesville, FL 32601; tel. 352-505-6341) in Downtown Gainesville for a couple of months now. I finally made it. I met my friend Cameron there for an early dinner so we would be sure to catch it before closing time.  Don’t be deceived by the name, you can go there for dinner, too. (Their hours changed from the times listed in the menu- right now it’s open Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 8 PM, but double check before you go.)

The Lunchbox

It’s in the heart of downtown Gainesville in Bo Diddley Community Plaza. I love how it’s outside and you can take in the downtown atmosphere. If you go on a Wednesday, you can enjoy the fun of the farmers’ market which surrounds the restaurant on three sides.

Here it is!

They keep their menus in a basket. When you decide what you’d like, you go up the counter and order and wait for them to call your name. Then you pick up your meal and choose a table or high-top to dine at. (Don’t forget to bring the basket back at the end.) The menu is unique and the prices are very reasonable, too.

Grab a menu, order, and pick-up your meal. Then grab a table and enjoy!

They have specials and alcoholic beverages, too.

Specials and drinks

To order, you pick a protein and then pick the dish.

See, you pick a protein and then a dish (just don't go by the restaurant hours listed)

I chose Slow Roasted Pork in the Asian Sandwich, “a warm baguette, topped with sweet ginger-infused soy sauce, citrus slaw with carrot & daikon, pickled cucumbers, fresh cilantro & jalapenos with a side of prawn chips.”

Asian Sandwich with Slow Roasted Pork with Prawn Chips

The sandwich was quite flavorful and the pork was tender. The jalapeno slices were a little spicy so I cut them up into little pieces and spread them throughout the sandwich. (That worked well.) The chips were light and airy and had a nice, mild hint of prawn.

Now you can see the pork

If you’re looking for a quick, unique, and tasty meal outdoors for a very reasonable price, The Lunchbox is your place. Check it out. I’ll be back.

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Jamie says: Who would have thought that after living in Gainesville for 6 years, there would still be so many great new food places to discover! The Wine & Cheese Gallery (113 North Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601; tel. 352-372-8446; Facebook page) is definitely one of them. I got to go for the first time when Kathryn’s boyfriend’s family came into town and treated us to lunch.

The Wine & Cheese Gallery is a quaint, little hole-in-the wall restaurant and store! I can’t believe I’ve driven past it a million times, but didn’t notice it was there. It’s across the street from The Top restaurant.

The Wine & Cheese Gallery

Yes, in this small place you can shop, drink, and/or eat. The choice is yours.

It's a restaurant and a store

Being a WINE and cheese gallery, they definitely have a lot of wine…

Vino!

Wine bottles filled almost every wall of every room.

More wine

I’m definitely no wine connoisseur, so I wouldn’t even know which wine to choose. But have no fear, they have wine tastings! (It’s now on my Gainesville bucket list.)

Please don't wine, have some wine

They also had lots of condiments and snacks. I want to come back and pick out a jam one day.

In addition to wine, they had lots of cute jams and chocolates and other treats

And, they have to have cheese, of course.

Cheese, please

For dining accommodations, You can choose to dine inside if you’d like…

They have indoor seating

…or outside.

And outdoor seating

Our crew chose the beautiful outdoors.

The Deen family and the Stolarz sisters

I thought it looked cool how they had the guest checks posted on the wall.

What will you order?

We started with a beautiful Cheeseboard- “Three selected cheeses of the day (3 oz.of each), a small french loaf, butter, and Fruit Du Jour. A house specialty.”

Cheeseboard

I ordered the Fig, Turkey & Cheese sandwich- “Adriatic fig spread adorns a sliced turkey and Havarti sandwich with cucumbers, sprouts and fresh tomatoes on a ciabatta roll.” It was so tasty. I loved the sweet fig spread.

Fig, Turkey & Cheese sandwich

I substituted the chips for a side tossed salad. The green salad dressing was killer. An epic event of the afternoon was how I convinced Adam, Kathryn’s boyfriend’s brother, to eat vegetables.

The killer salad dressing (and some more bread)

K got the Turkey Breast and Jarlsberg Swiss sandwich . It came with a pickle and a side of chips.

Turkey Breast and Jarlsberg Swiss sandwich

I love the charm and food at The Wine & Cheese Gallery! I can’t wait to go back to try more of their delicious creations and to do some food shopping and wine tasting.

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Jamie says: Mom and K have been talking about “gas station” pizza for weeks now. I really wasn’t too sure how their favorite pizza in town could come from a gas station, but I figured I didn’t want to miss out. So I texted Mom and made plans for a Mother-Daughter dinner date to Zinncredible Pizza and Panini (4450 South Pine Island Road, Davie, FL 33328; tel. 954-452-0101; they also have a Facebook page), after trap shooting with K and Dad, of course…

Zinncredible Pizza and Panini

It’s really quite convenient- you can get gas for your car, mail a package, pick up a snack or lotto ticket, and have delicious Italian food- all in the same little place.

It's inside the Chevron gas station plaza in Davie on Pine Island Road and Orange Drive

Yes, the restaurant is really inside a gas station…but that’s part of the fun of it!

Chevron gas station

But it’s got an Italian restaurant feel on the inside.

Here's the restaurant

You order at the counter and they bring the food out to you.

It's small but it does the trick (and they're expanding)

The owner was a really nice guy. He came to our table and talked to us about New York and Italy- two wonderful food places. He’s very passionate about his pizza- and it shows. One thing that he said really resonated with me- “When you do things with your heart, you will always be successful.” I believe that to be true.

The owner is a really cool guy!

We each ordered a slice of pizza and a few “salads” and shared it. (The wine came from the gas station.)

Mangia, mangia! Want in?

Mom chose the margarita Sicilian. It had a nice, thin sweet sauce, slices of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and parmesan cheese. It was really awesome! I was having flashbacks to our recent trip to Italy.

Sicilian pizza by the slice

I went the traditional route- with a big slice of thin crust cheese pizza. It was perfect. I dipped my crust in the oil on top like usual.

Thin crust pizza by the slice

The antipasto salads were incredible, too. The one on the left was an artichoke antipasto salad. And the one on the right was a red pepper antipasto with black olives and garlic. There were even whole cloves of garlic! I was really impressed.

Antipasto salads- artichokes and roasted red peppers with olives, garlic, and parmesan cheese- and a little bottle of wine (from the Chevron gas station)

The dressing on the side salad was really tasty, too! And I liked how there was a hint of cheese on top.

Side salad with Italian dressing

Mom and I had a great girls’ night. We laughed and ate and talked about her days when she was dating my Father.

A fun dinner with my Mom

I loved my “gas station pizza” night with Mom. You’ve got to try “gas station pizza” at Zinncredible’s! It really is some of the best pizza in town!

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