The best restaurants in Gainesville: When to go and what to look for

By: Alissa Kotranza

What is the best place to eat in Gainesville?

This question may have a different answer, depending on who you ask. The answer you receive from a college student will be different than that of a Gainesville young professional, or even a native of the city.

Everyone has different preferences and priorities based on factors like price, proximity and dietary restrictions.

And unless you’re a total newb, you know brunch on a Sunday morning is something you have to plan. You also know you can’t just hop over to Relish at midtown for a 1 a.m. snack on a Friday.

So whether your favorite is Adam’s Rib Co., Dragonfly, or The Jones, I want you to know what you’re getting into.

These are the average wait times for the best restaurants in Gainesville, plus need-to-know facts about each eatery.

 

The Brunch Joints

The Flying Biscuit

Busiest Times:

Sunday mornings

Average Wait:

10 mins. – 1 hour

Beyond-popular for its sweet biscuits and creamy sausage gravy, The Flying Biscuit is a favorite of Gainesville locals and visitors alike. While there are multiple restaurants that serve brunch in town (see Leo’s 706), The Flying Biscuit is the most well-known and certainly the most popular. You actually won’t be able to get in this place the Sunday morning/afternoon after a game day.

Civilization

Busiest Times:

Sunday brunch

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Average Wait:

5 mins. – 30 mins.

Civilization is the coolest co-op to capture the hearts of UF students and Gainesville young professionals. Civilization features local, organic ingredients, and has multiple vegan and vegetarian dishes. While their menu has plenty of lunch items, their brunch dishes are particularly good. Because Civilization closes in the middle of the day for their employees (and owners) to have a meal and regroup, they’re pretty busy all around.

 

Lunch/Dinner Successes

Satchel’s Pizza

Busiest Times:

Fridays and Saturdays

6 p.m. – close

Average Wait:

30 mins. – 90 mins.

Satchel’s is the most popular pizza place in town, and arguably the best. If you’ve driven around Gainesville, you’ve seen at least 20 Satchel’s bumper stickers. With vegetarian options, gluten free crust, and cheese-free pizza for vegans and lactose-intolerants alike, this pizza joint aims to please. But if you get caught with a longer wait time, you can grab a drink at the bar, explore Satchel’s shop and relish in the eclectic style.

Sabore

Busiest Times:

Fridays and Saturdays

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Average Wait:

25 mins – 1 hour

Approved by Ken Eats Gainesville, Sabore is one of the only tapas and raw food restaurants in town. With great ambiance, delicious ahi tuna and rolls galore, Sabore brings some glamour to the Gainesville restaurant scene. Tapas usually brings larger parties to the table (literally), so be prepared to wait if you come with friends.

The Top

Busiest Times:

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

5 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Average Wait:

45 mins. – 2 hours

In the same category as Dragonfly and Leo’s 706 in terms of places people go on special occasions, The Top is a hugely popular downtown restaurant. Where the food is expensive but tasty, the waiters paint their faces with glitter and drink specials are always taken advantage of – The Top never goes out of style.

Southern Charm Kitchen  

Busiest Times:

Friday night and Saturdays

Average Wait:

15-20 mins

One of two restaurants owned and run by Omar and Arpita Oselimo in Gainesville, Southern Charm is famous for its Pentecostal chicken, waffles and other down-home dishes guaranteed to satisfy any Southern craving. Gainesvillians seriously love this place.

4 Rivers

Busiest Times:

Friday and Saturday nights

4 p.m. – close

Average Wait:

15-20 mins

4R has the best barbecue in town (unless you prefer Adam’s Rib Co. for the lower prices and local contribution). Again, good luck getting in here on a UF game day.

 

The Ones Who Have It All

Paramount Grill

Busiest Times:

Friday & Saturday nights

7 – 9 p.m.

Average wait: 10-30 mins.

While I named Loosey’s as the best burger in town, Paramount Grill comes in close second. Considered by many to be THE best restaurant in the Gainesville area, Paramount is the place to go when you have the time and money. With a quaint dining room, central downtown location and many lavish seafood and meat dishes on the menu, Paramount is a really big deal.

Leonardo’s 706

Busiest Times:

Sunday Brunch (opens at 10:30 a.m.) and Friday night

Average wait: 10-15 mins

You won’t wait long at Leonardo’s; they have one of the largest dining areas in town. You’re probably already familiar with Leo’s Pizza, but this is the real deal. Ken Eats Gainesville named Leo’s 706 the best brunch in town, which is saying something. Beyond that, this place is one of the only “special occasion” restaurants in Gainesville with a menu they can actually keep up with. With all of the choices and the majority of them done right, Leo’s 706 is a force to be reckoned with.

The Jones

Busiest Times:

Saturdays and Sundays during the day and Monday nights

Average Wait:

10-25 mins.

The Jones (both locations) began in Gainesville as the ultimate hipster joint, the majority of their ingredients being locally grown or farmed. The Jones boasts a popular weekend brunch, vegan desserts and organic dishes of multiple genres. They also have a late-night menu that pairs with a full bar of wine and spirits, some weeknights until 2 a.m. Be aware, though, The Jones doesn’t take weekend reservations.

 

The Specialties

Loosey’s

Busiest Hours:

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

While Loosey’s may have generically American food to go with their authentic local bar feel, they do have the best burger in town. So go ham… or, beef, rather.

Dragonfly Sushi

Busiest Times:

Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights

7-9:30 p.m.

Average Wait:

10-40 mins.

Dragonfly attracts huge parties, whether it’s a sorority function or a local business dinner. The menu has everything you could want from a Japanese restaurant: small-plates (authentic Japanese appetizers that go best with the Sake menu), a huge sushi selection, typical Japanese entrees, and even some authentic ramen dishes. Needless to say, Dragonfly is one of the most popular restaurants in Gainesville.

Crane Ramen

Busiest Times:

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

Average Wait: 10-20 mins.

Crane Ramen serves authentic Japanese ramen dishes along with a full bar and appetizers, making it one of the best specialty restaurants in Gainesville. Upon opening in 2014, Crane Ramen received a glowing rec from Ken Eats Gainesville (you’ve noticed that this is important, right?), and was immediately embraced by everyone from UF students to Gainesville natives. The dining room is also open for dinner until 1 a.m. on the weekends! Every dish is made expertly and with total panache. The beautiful decor, layout and atmosphere of the restaurant don’t hurt, either.

Bangkok Square

Busiest Times:

Friday and Saturday nights, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Average Wait: 15-20 mins.

Bangkok Thai is THE Thai place in Gainesville. Although it’s on the other side of I-75 (oh no!), Bangkok Thai has the greatest variety of authentic Thai dishes with the best flavors – all at reasonable prices. We almost wish they would deliver, but we all know 2dollardelivery immediately cheapens something just by association, right?

Using Your Devices Productively

By: Jennifer Cole

These days, it seems our mobile devices are in hand everywhere we go. From class and the gym to meetings and group dinners, we simply can’t be separated. Whether we’re using a smartphone, tablet or laptop to check Instagram, scroll through Twitter or send a Snapchat, it doesn’t take much to become completely distracted by our devices. However, there are ways to stay in the know while being productive. Here’s how:

  1.    Smartphone Reminders:

Whether you have an iPhone, Android or other type of smartphone, the reminder function is great for staying focused and on top of your game. Simply add a “task” or “reminder” for the important parts of your day while customizing alarm sounds and ringer frequencies. You can even check things off and mark completed as you finish them. This free and already-installed feature will serve as your smartphone sidekick throughout the day.

  1.    Evernote App:

For those looking for a more customized and high-tech organizational system, Evernote may be for you. This free app allows you to work cross-platform—housing all of your notes, clippings and articles on your phone, tablet and computer. Capable of everything from storing scribbles to presenting a business proposal, the app lets you keep your work in one place where it can be easily found. Say goodbye to file cabinets, Rolodexes and all the other clutter that previously prevented you from being productive throughout the day.

  1.    Virtual Sticky Notes:

Another simple option for staying organized (while saving the environment) is the sticky note feature on your desktop or laptop. These virtual notepads allow you to jot down tasks, chores or ideas in a variety of sizes, colors and fonts. Plus, you won’t risk misplacing any of your highly important notes that get lost amongst the clutter on your desk.

  1.    Filter Your Email:

For most of us, our email account can be our best friend and our worst enemy. It’s great for communicating quickly and efficiently but the worst for getting distracted with tons of junk we don’t need (i.e. “Five Ways To Cook Cauliflower” and “ONLY Three Days Left To Save!”). A simple way to de-clutter and stay focused is to create various folders to filter your emails into. For instance, “Work,” “School,” “Coupons,” and “Fun reads” can be a way to organize your mail so that you can get to the important stuff first and enjoy everything else later. Using other email settings like the “star” or “flag” feature can also help prioritize what needs to be answered or addressed ASAP so that you don’t fall behind on anything pressing.

  1.    Unplug for 10 minutes in the AM + PM

Lastly, the key to not letting your devices control you is by being self-aware of your usage behaviors. Before getting up for the day and turning in at night, it may be a good idea to decompress… device-free that is. Whether it’s some mindful meditation or a walk around the house, it’s important that you allow yourself some YOU time each day. That way, you won’t feel the need to procrastinate on Facebook or get lost in an online shoe sale.


What tips and tricks do you use to stay on track in a world filled with digital distractions?

Efficiency 101

By: Kelly Vollmer

By now the New Years resolutions and predictions of increased productivity and getting more out of life have waned. What can you do to get back that time you seem to keep wasting and accomplish your goals? Here are some tips from successful people on how to get everything done and make the most of your time.

  1. Start to Finish

“The most important thing you can do to finish a job? Start it.” Josh Dean, a writer for GQ magazine, said. He refers to what psycologists call the “Zeigarnik effect”. Named for the Russian psychologist that found that people seek completion in their lives, the effect says that once people start a task there is an inner desire to finish it. Sometimes the hardest part of writing your term paper is starting it, but once you get over that initial procrastination hurdle, it will be much easier to get done.

  1. Action This Day

Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister and influential leader during WWII, was famous for marking documents on his desk “Action This Day” in red if they were urgent. Take this idea and organize your to-do list by prioritizing the truly urgent things that absolutely need to get done today. Sometimes the number of things we have to do is overwhelming so we try to put a little time toward everything and don’t really get anything accomplished.

  1. Shun Your Phone (Temporarily)

The co-creator of the hit show “Lost”, Damon Lindelof, says that phone use can pose problems for productivity. “We have a no-phone policy in the writer’s room.” he said in a GQ article. “That time is very momentum based… I’ve heard musicians say that you have to jam for a while until you can find the song, and I do not want to interrupt the jam session.” So to get more done, put your phone away or on silent so you don’t kill the momentum of a study sesh.

Time Saving Tips in the Kitchen

By Colleen McTiernan

When dinner or lunch time comes around, many people head over to Publix for a delicious pub sub (I don’t blame you), or spend money ordering food in rather than prepare their own meals. But all those nights of delivery and eating out can take a toll on your budget, not to mention add inches to your waistline. With these simple tips, you can say goodbye to your stack of takeout menus and start cooking your own meals while saving time and money.

  1. Prepare in advance

Prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. This will help you to avoid making any mistakes that may prolong the time it takes you to cook. You can even chop your vegetables and other ingredients earlier in the day or the night before and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

  1. Make meals in bulk for the week

Making just one or two meals that you can reheat in the days ahead will help save time. If you’re worried about getting bored of the same thing, you can try preparing it in different ways throughout the week. For example, if you make chicken, you can serve it over rice, in a salad or maybe even as a taco.

  1. Try learning some one-pot recipes to save time on cleanup

One-pot meals like soups and pasta dishes are your friends when it comes to cutting down on time spent in the kitchen by helping to avoid washing lots of pots or pans after preparation.

  1. Let a crockpot do your cooking for you

Crockpots are a miraculous invention for those of us who enjoy cooking but simply do not have the time. You can dump all of your ingredients in before work or class and turn your crockpot on. When you get home, you have a delicious chili waiting for you with little time and effort.

  1. Clean as you go

If you choose to go a different route from the one-pot meal, you should try to clean as you go. After you’ve sautéed your mushrooms and are waiting for your pasta to finish cooking, clean your sauté pan so that you’re not faced with a pile of dishes after you’ve finished eating.

All About Thyme

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By Alissa Kotranza

On your standard list of household herbs are basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. The last four may have been a Simon & Garfunkel reference.

There are probably many reasons why the iconic American pop duo named thyme last in the sequence – one being related to rhyme scheme. But thyme is actually an extremely helpful spice to have around, and nutritious to boot.

Let’s take a look at why thyme is so wonderful.

It’s a great source of nutrients.

BBC Good Food says fresh thyme is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, copper and even dietary fiber.  Although dried or ground thyme is something to definitely have in your spice cabinet, it won’t have the same amount of nutrients, so fresh is better. Ground thyme will remain good for up to six months, but you should store fresh thyme in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel to keep it fresher longer.

It kills certain bacteria that live on fresh produce.

Next time you wash some apples or carrots, try using previously-bowled water infused with thyme in order to lower the percentage of microbes on your fresh produce. While thyme is really only effective in eliminating Staphylococcus aureus, it can lower the counts of multiple microbes, making it a natural germ killer.

It’s used in tons of different products, cosmetic and otherwise.  

Thyme essential oil is commonly used as a scalp treatment and is believed to help prevent balding. It’s also used to stop acne breakouts, as it tones skin and temporarily lowers its ability to produce oil.

Additionally thyme essential oil is thought to fight candida overgrowth, on your skin and elsewhere, helping to prevent yeast infections.

Thyme is also thought to be a natural bug repellent. You can use essential oils in small open containers to create a patio perimeter, or just place some around your home to keep mosquitoes, moths and ticks away from your windows and front doors.

It’s easy to prep and awesome to use.   

Thyme goes with basically everything. Professional chefs use it in tons of recipes, with everything from broccoli to ricotta cheese to lean ground beef burgers.

As for using fresh thyme, you simply need to rinse off a sprig (or five), hold it taut, and run two fingers down the stalk to remove the leaves quickly.

Chop, squeeze, rip, or sprinkle – thyme is sure to add a new element to whatever dish you use it in.

Though the lemon thyme plant is featured above today’s blog, there are actually many different types of thyme, so choose whichever best suits your needs.

Five Minutes with Gaby Nunez

Processed with Moldiv

By: Jennifer Cole

For 22-year-old Gaby Nunez, an environmental engineering major at UF, the diagnosis of an endocrine-related disorder (on top of another gastrointestinal disease that she has battled since 2006) led the Miami-native to make an entire lifestyle change. At first, she joined Weight Watchers and developed a blog to connect with others and share recipes. However, in January, she began a unique program called Whole30, which emphasizes a high-fat/high-protein and low-carb/low-glycemic diet. Nunez has kept her blog throughout her journey, sharing tips, inspiration and meal ideas with her 21,300 Instagram followers. She gives Orange & Blue the exclusive behind her @wholefoodblog, who inspires her and a quick and easy five-minute, Gaby-approved recipe.

OB: What is the premise behind your blog and how did it get started?

GN: I started my Instagram account about a year ago when I signed up for Weight Watchers. Though I no longer follow the WW program, @wholefoodblog is a glance at my ongoing journey with health, food and fitness. I do tend to keep the focus on food, but I like sharing bits and pieces of my personal life in order to connect with people and show them that it’s possible for a full-time college student (or anyone who’s always busy and has a million excuses) to lead a healthy lifestyle.

OB: What is Whole30, and why did you decide to adopt this lifestyle?

GN: Whole30 is a 30-day program that’s very similar to Paleo: no grains, no legumes (beans, peanuts), no dairy or soy. The biggest difference between Whole30 and Paleo is that Whole30 doesn’t allow sugar or sweeteners of any kind (not even natural sweeteners – only fruit). It places a lot of emphasis on the psychological effects of food and aims to eradicate that “sugar dragon” many of us struggle with. The idea is to foster good habits for 30 days straight and hopefully end up with a balanced and sustainable relationship with food.

OB: What’s the biggest challenge about being a food blogger?

GN: Sometimes I just want to sit down and eat like a normal person without photographing my food first.

OB: Where’s your favorite place to grocery shop in Gainesville?

GN: Trader Joe’s.

OB: Your fridge is always stocked with…

GN: Fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, almond milk and a few types of meat!

OB: What’s your guilty pleasure (Whole30 not approved)?

GN: Desserts and just sweets in general! I love pretty much all of it: ice cream, cookies, brownies, cupcakes and anything chocolate…I could go on forever. I think when people see health food bloggers on Instagram it’s easy to assume that we just don’t like those sorts of things. But I really do! Thanks to Whole30 though, I’m capable of recognizing when the splurges are worth it to me and when they’re not.

OB: Who inspires you?

GN: I’m sure it’s not surprising to learn that I find a ton of inspiration on Instagram! One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @fittlyss. She’s a college student and also has a hormonal disorder, so her story really resonates with me. I also love @wayofgray because she preaches balance and self-love no matter what stage of the process you’re in. I’ve made real-life friendships thanks to Instagram, and they inspire me on a daily basis.

Gaby’s Five-Minute Lunch

Ingredients:

1/2 an avocado, sliced in 4

4 slices of sugar-free prosciutto

2 big handfuls of mixed greens

1/4 of a large green apple, finely sliced

1-2 tbsp raw walnuts

1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp honey (or lemon juice for Whole30)

Pink Himalayan salt

Black pepper

Garlic powder

 

Instructions:

Lay a slice of prosciutto on a flat surface and place a piece of avocado at one end. Season lightly with garlic powder and roll firmly. Repeat with other 3 avocado pieces. In a medium bowl, add mixed greens, apples, walnuts and chia seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey or lemon juice. Add dressing to salad and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated and then serve with avocado/prosciutto slices.

(Photo Courtesy of Gaby Nunez)

What Your Watch Says About Your Personality

watches

By: Taryn Tacher

A watch does more than merely tell time. It says a lot about the type of person who is wearing it. There are so many aspects of a watch: the face, the bezel, the band and what all of those parts are made of. In a way, watches have their own personalities that reflect the characteristics of their wearers.

Numerals

If your watch has Roman numerals, you’re a little old-fashioned. Maybe you’re an intellectual, or maybe you just appreciate the classic things in life. If your watch has Arabic numerals, telling time is quick and easy. You’re probably more interested in its time-telling capabilities than its fashion. If your watch doesn’t have any numerals, it is more of a statement piece of jewelry than a functional one. Watches without numerals are often trendy.

Bands

If your watch has a rubber band, you’re versatile and probably athletic. You can wear this watch while you’re working out or while just working. If your watch has a leather band, you are polished. Your watch is durable, yet sophisticated. If your watch has a metal band, it was made to last. You are timeless, and your taste is unchanging.

Shape

Most watches have round faces, which reflect time’s infinite nature. If your watch is oval, square or any other shape, you are an individual. You appreciate things that are unique.