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The Gainesville LJ Food Critic

Analyzing All That is Good For Human Consumption

7/26/07 03:36 pm - krissi518 - Indian food

I came back from my honeymoon in Paris to find my favorite Indian restaurant closed because the plaza it's located in is being torn down (the one on Archer near KFC). That was the only Indian lunch buffet in town that I knew of. I literally ate there every week, at least once.

So, help me out - are there other Indian buffets in town? Or just Indian restaurants?

Life just isn't as good without Indian food...

(cross posted because I really want some Indian food!)

3/10/07 11:31 am - gvllefoodcritic - O!O Tapas and Tinis

Nestled on the north end of Haile's Publix Shopping Plaza, O!O (pronounced oh-oh) feels more like a big city downtown hipsters joint than a strip mall surprise. Upon entering, we were delighted to see the likes of Karl Louis Weismantel providing live soft jazz in the dimply lit dining room. Warm colors and pendant lighting combined with white table cloths and ahem interestering murals (to say the least) make one wonder if there will be enough credit on their card to cover it. We were pleased to be seated at a round booth along the cherub wall. It was cozy and romantic, quite perfect for our double-date.

If you like martinis, this is hands-down the place to be. Their tini menu boasts 100 to choose from. I started with a Pink Panther which contained light and dark rum, Chambord, coconut milk and a few other things I can't remember. It was delicious, yet likely more appropriate for dessert. My guests enjoyed a white russian served in a hurricane glass and Moscato d'Asti - a lightly sparkling white wine - while we nibbled on unleavened bread and a tasty bean dip served standard. Delicious. Admittedly, there were not as many tapas on the menu as I would have liked to have chosen from but we chose the Lobster Rangoons served with three sauces. I believe this tapa was $8 for a plate of three. We also ordered their Bruschetta with was a sampler of three toppings: The traditional tomato, an herbed goat cheese with wild mushrooms and a unique avocado spread. Again delicious, but not really share-friendly.

In addition to their smattering of tapas, O!O has a decent selection of innovative entrees to choose from. For only $9, I enjoyed Seafood Paealla...the best I have had in Gainesville. Mussels, scallops, shrimp, clams and fish over rice in a light tomato broth with peas...Delish! Utterly surprising at only $9. (Calamari is also usually a part of this selection but my guest and I both ordered this entree without it.) My date dined on Shrimp and Grits, again, delicious. Three large shrimp over smoky cheddar grits with bits of chorizo. Big taste, small price: $9. Is it really appropriate in this (or any) atmosphere to lick the plate? It was that good. Our other guest enjoyed a lamb shank over grits which left him in awe. Again, only $9.

The portions are adequate and just right. You will likely not need a doggie bag unless you over-order. We ended our experience with an amazing chocolate mousse drizzled with raspberry sauce and topped with homemade whipped cream; we also sampled a moist banana bread "Strawberry Shortcake" served with fresh strawberries, also with fresh whipped cream.

This place is great for a date or to take a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Gainesville. With live music every Friday and Saturday, it's a sure thing.

4/12/06 01:56 pm - krissi518 - Fus

If you haven't tried Fus (think fuse), you should. The food is great. So are the espresso martinis. And the atmosphere. The staff are really nice too. It's definitely a place you should check out.

They are behind/on the side of :08 on University Ave.

12/2/05 02:05 pm - krissi518 - Food

Anybody know of any cooking classes available here in Gainesville? Not the how-to-boil-water type, but like intermediate level? Any chefs in town that give lessons? I looked online, but I still suck at searching Google.


10/10/05 11:15 pm - gvllefoodcritic - Mildred's Big City Food

I have no idea why I waited so long to go as I have always heard nothing but good things about Mildred's. Finally, a business lunch invite this afternoon found me at a corner table with my colleagues.

The atmosphere was much simpler than I would have guessed. Based on the dinner menu I examined at an earlier date, I anticipated dark walls, white table cloths, impeccable table service and for some reason, plenty of black. This was absolutely not the case. It is a seat-yourself establishment (at least at lunchtime) and orders are placed at the counter and delivered to your chosen spot perceivable by a numerical plastic tabletop placard. Seemed a little Panera-like to me for the swanky reputation which preceded my first visit but I am not complaining, I am merely commenting.

The lunch menu rested on an oversized chalkboard behind the counter with a specials board in front. Several varieties of brushcetta were advertised along with homemade soups of the day and quiches. The quiche ($6.95) is accompanied by your choice of salad or soup. Crab and goat cheese quiche sounded simply irresistible to me and I paired it with tomato vegetable soup; one of my guests chose the mushroom quiche with potato soup and the other a beef brisket sandwich served open-faced and sliced into chunks over fresh bread with beer-cheddar sauce and bow-tie pasta salad ($6.50.) My colleagues seemed satisfied with their meals, as was I. In addition, our chosen table provided us with sufficient isolation for business-speak and we were by no means intruding by lingering when our meeting exceeded the lunch hour of the average Joe. Our plates were removed and drink refills were offered when necessary.

Regrets: Not trying their "world famous" coffee or any of their desserts made fresh every morning (I believe that was a carrot cake I spied.)

If you haven't been to Mildred's, what are you waiting for? Go...now! Otherwise...

Please comment if you have dined at Mildred's.

10/8/05 08:09 pm - gvllefoodcritic - Sweet Peppers

On the northern end of 441 as you are almost out of Gainesville sits a quaint and relatively new dining establishment. Sweet Peppers takes residence in a modest well-kept older home with wood floors and lush gardens. The menu is creative and boasts fresh ingredients. Everything about the place is appealing. Well, almost everything...

The good, the bad, the yummy.Collapse )

Please comment if you have dined at Sweet Peppers!

6/18/05 12:35 pm - nfgatorgal

My boyfriend and I are on the hunt for good, decent-priced (like $14 or less entrees) ethnic restaurants, specifically Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Any suggestions?

6/12/05 11:06 am - gvllefoodcritic

Poll #511452 Best Sunday Breakfast/Brunch

Who serves the Best Sunday Breakfast in Gainesville?

43rd Street Deli
Bakery Mill and Deli
Cross Creek Restaurant
Ivey's Grille
Mom's Kitchen (on 6th Ave.)
Paramount Grille
Third Place Pub and Grille
The Top

**edit** Please feel free to post in comments why you think your voted place is the best. What's your favorite menu item? What makes you go back? Thanks!

A critic's synopsis...Collapse )

5/16/05 04:52 pm - gvllefoodcritic - The first of the polls are in...

Poll #495037 Sushi!!!

Who has the best sushi in Gainesville?

Miya Sushi
Saigon Cafe
VooDoo Lounge

5/15/05 06:24 pm - teribeth - in search of sushi...

I often hear people saying that they love Dragonfly, but I'd like to put a vote in for Voodoo Lounge which is about a block away from downtown. I think the prices are about the same but its often less crowded and has a nice lounge atmosphere with spacious booths. Service has always been good when I visit too. They have a low carb sushi which I haven't tried yet (and probably won't, but feel free to comment if you have).

I went to Chopstix a while ago and the sushi was below par - no flavor, bad presentation. But that wasn't recently and I've heard they've improved.

Where else have people gone? What about take out/delivery sushi? Thanks!
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