El Dorado

My brother was visiting from out of town, so I looked for a place that had delicious tacos and came across El Dorado!

They have a colorful exterior with yellow walls, colorful murals and banners.

Entrance
Entrance

Their booths and tables had beautiful artwork on it, and I liked how they had separate booths, which allowed for more privacy and space. They have a large interior and long tables, which are perfect for larger groups as well.

Festive interior
Festive interior

We started with the free chips and salsa! The chips were crunchy and not too salty, which I appreciated! The salsa was refreshing and very good.

Free chips and salsa
Free chips and salsa

I got three tacos for $8.55 plus some extra charges. The chorizo (+.48c) and the Al Pastor (+.48c) were so flavorful with a nice spice to it and grilled onions. The fish taco (+$1.00) was so tender with a big chunk of grilled white fish. The tacos were topped with chopped red onions, cilantro, and lime. The corn tortillas held up well, which made it easier to eat!

Fish taco (bottom),  Chorizo taco (middle), and Al pastor (top)
Fish taco (bottom), Chorizo taco (middle), and Al pastor (top)
Chorizo (top) and Al Pastor (bottom) tacos
Chorizo (top) and Al Pastor (bottom) tacos

The Huevos Rancheros ($11.24) were also really tasty, with a giant portion of eggs and grilled veggies on top, and beans and rice on the side. The flavors went well together, and the Mexican rice was so good!

Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Rancheros

Service was pretty quick and although our waiter disappeared for a little while towards the end, we were satisfied with the meal because the food was so good!

Gainesville has so many great restaurants for tacos, but El Dorado definitely ranks as one of the top choices for me! I wanted to try their Birria tacos, but we were informed that they only have them on weekends so I will definitely be back to try those!

Check out El Dorado for your next Tex Mex craving!

Address: 4005 SW 40th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32608

Seoul Pocha

Hot new Korean restaurant/pub alert!

I got to purchase and try some dishes from Seoul Pocha during their soft launch and was blown away by how delicious everything was!

Seoul Pocha is serving up many kinds of Korean dishes, from popular street foods like Soondae (Korean sausage) and fish cake soup, to dishes you don’t normally find in restaurants in the U.S. such as mulhoe, or spicy raw fish soup.

Pocha is short for pojang macha, tents that sell food on the streets of South Korea. These tents are quite popular especially at night, when people share drinks with friends after a long day of work. I miss these casual eateries, so I was really excited to see Seoul Pocha bringing Korean food and drink culture to Gainesville. I could see Seoul Pocha being a fun hang out spot for college students and older adults who are looking to enjoy delicious food and drinks!

They are located on SW 13th Street, in the building where Twisted Peacock used to be.  You will see a bright yellow sign with their hours. They have plenty of parking and a spacious interior. They have lots of indoor seating but no outdoor seating.

Sign at entrance
Sign at entrance
Seoul Pocha Building
Seoul Pocha building
Parking lot
Parking lot

We were greeted at the door with festive K-pop and several friendly servers. The interior was sleek with red accents and warm yellow lights.

Inner Entrance
Inner Entrance

I like how the booths were separated, creating more privacy and social distance, and there are separate rooms for larger groups as well.

Separate booths
Separate booths

Our server kindly explained the dishes they had for that day and answered any questions we had.

Menu for the day
Menu for the day

The Okonomiyaki, ($16) which is a Japanese style seafood pancake, was filled with lots of assorted seafood including squid and shrimp, and coated in batter. It was topped with a mix of creamy and savory sauce, scallions, and katsuobushi (or bonito flakes), which I always find mesmerizing to look at! The texture of the seafood created a chewiness, which went well with a slight crunch of the batter and crispy flakes on top. Since the pancake is pretty big, this dish would be great to share as an appetizer.

Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki

The Jjol Sam Myeon, ($22) which is a combination of Jjol Myeon (spicy Korean noodles) and samgyupsal, pork belly slices, was delicious! It was plated beautifully, with separate three piles of noodles, sliced cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, and perilla leaves in the middle, and thin slices of pork belly on the side. They initially forgot the boiled egg on top, but brought it out to us a few minutes later! I really liked how the pork belly was not too fatty, and the meaty flavor complemented the spicy sauce really well. The sauce tasted like a combination of gochujang (Korean pepper paste), vinegar, and sugar. The spice does build up so make sure to ask for less sauce if you want it less spicy!

Jjol Sam Myeon
Jjol Sam Myeon

Our server offered to mix up our noodles with the veggie and meat, which really heightened the flavors and textures of the dish!

Jjol Sam Myeon
Jjol Sam Myeon

I was very excited to try the Mulhoe, or cold seafood soup, ($20) since I always make sure to have this dish whenever I go to Korea. You can usually find it in the coastal areas in the South (I usually have it in Pohang!). The portion of this dish was massive, with lots of fresh fish and shrimp piled on top of thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots, radish, and scallions. I’m used to having it with noodles in the soup as well, but this version is healthier, so I can’t complain! The soup also had ice cubes to keep it cold. The soup is so refreshing, vinegary, slightly sweet, and spicy! It would be perfect to cool you down on a warm day.

Mulhoe
Mulhoe

They did not have alcohol yet for the soft opening, but you can purchase alcohol to pair with the food as well, since these food items would go very well with beer, rice wine, or soju!

For those looking to party it up, Seoul Pocha also has two karaoke rooms! Their smaller room is priced at $30 per hour, and the larger room is $40 per hour. Both rooms were equipped with seating and disco ball lights to set the mood. It would be perfect for a night out with friends!

Small karaoke room
Small karaoke room
Large karaoke room
Large karaoke room

They are open til 12 or 1 AM on most nights, which is great for a college town with surprisingly few restaurants that are open past 10pm.

Be sure to check out Seoul Pocha for their grand opening on Tuesday!

Address: 3610 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608

Pink Flamingo Diner

Pink Flamingo Diner has everything from that classic diner vibe to mini golf!

Once you arrive, you will see their mural with their logo, and the diner. They have extensive seating outdoors, with heaters for the colder nights, as well as booths indoors.

Pink Flamingo mural
Pink Flamingo mural
Outdoor seating and bar
Outdoor seating and bar

We started with the mini golf, which consists of an 18-hole course. The pricing was fair at $7.99 for adults, $5.99 for kids 0-12 years old, and $6.99 for seniors 62+. Once you pay at the desk, you are given a golf club, a ball, and a score sheet.

Mini golf course
Mini golf course

I liked how each hole was named after a spring in Florida, and had a sign that gave you information about each spring! There was some variety to the course, as it had some  slopes and tunnels that you had to go through, but they could make it a bit more dynamic, since there were only two holes with tunnels. A windmill or other obstacles would have been fun. I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed playing mini golf for the first time!

Each hole is named after a spring in Florida!
Each hole is named after a spring in Florida!
First hole with slope
First hole with slope

We decided to eat indoors since the weather was getting chilly at night. I enjoyed the neon lights and the iconic jukebox. Unfortunately it does not work, but it was a cool accent piece that really set the scene.

Iconic jukebox
Iconic jukebox
Interior of diner
Interior of diner

Their food items ranged from waffles to burgers and more. On weekend mornings they serve brunch items like pancakes and eggs, and feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights 7-10pm!

The Fish Platter with wild-caught cod ($17) came with three big chunks of fish that were fried perfectly- crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. It went well with tartar sauce, and I also enjoyed their Florida Cracker Trading Co. Green Swamp Jalapeno hot sauce so much! I got a side of mashed potatoes, which were a bit lumpy and just okay. The coleslaw was good and added a nice crunch to the meal.

Fish Platter with wild-caught cod
Fish Platter with wild-caught cod
Cod was tender on the inside!
Cod was tender on the inside!
Delicious green jalapeno hot sauce
Delicious green jalapeno hot sauce

There are also Vegan choices like the Organic Tempeh Reuben Sandwich ($13.50), which came with cheese, lots of tempeh, and a side. It comes with house fried kettle chips, or you can upgrade to French fries or sweet potato fries. The Sweet potato fries were on the softer side, but still very good.

Organic Tempeh Reuben Sandwich
Organic Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

The Country Fried Steak ($17) has an interesting texture as it is beaten and battered, then fried. The steak is topped with gravy and sweet corn on the side.

Country Fried Steak
Country Fried Steak

We were at a diner so of course I had to get a milkshake! I got the oreo milkshake ($7.95), which was sweet and tasty, with chunks of oreo. The straw that they provide is too small, which made it really tough to sip, so I ended up eating it with a spoon!

Oreo milkshake
Oreo milkshake

They also have orange vanilla floats and dairy free drinks like Golden Milk and Chaga Maca Mocha!

Orange vanilla float
Orange vanilla float

I found the prices to be a tad steep, but I also acknowledge that we were paying for the atmosphere and vibes. Overall, I had fun and enjoyed the classic diner feel, which is hard to find in Gainesville. If you are craving that old school diner vibe, then your craving is sure to be satisfied.

The service was pretty quick and the friendly owner came by to ask if we enjoyed our mini golf experience as well.

Located in High Springs, it was a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it if you are looking to enjoy some food and mini golf!

Night view with Elvis!
Night view with Elvis!

Address: 19726 US-441, High Springs, FL 32643

Rancho Luna Food Truck

Feeling hungry? Rancho Luna food truck is serving up Cuban-American fusion food, with sandwiches, burgers, and bowls that are sure to fill you up!

Their menu ranges from burgers to sandwiches to mac and rice bowls. They also have Cuban desserts and snacks like guava pastries, empanadas, and tres leches cakes!

Menu
Menu
Specials
Specials

The food truck is owned by a very friendly couple, and you can spot their iconic red 1985 Ford truck on Sundays at 4th Ave Food Park, every other Wednesday at the VA Hospital, and Thursday nights in front of North Florida Hospital!

The truck
The truck

After you order your food, they will text you once your order is ready, which was convenient so you don’t have to stand around waiting.

Service was quick as the order was ready in about 10 minutes.

The weather was brisk, but thankfully it was still warm enough to eat outside in the sunshine!

4th ave food park
4th ave food park

The Cuban Cowboy sandwich ($12.50) was giant! It consisted of cuban bread stuffed with lots of sliced sirloin steak, grilled onions, and was covered in melted cheese and skinny matchstick fries. It also came with waffle fries, so it is a lot of food for the price!

Cuban cowboy sandwich
Cuban cowboy sandwich

The sandwich was tasty and it got a bit heavy with the creamy sauce and all the cheese, so I was grateful that they had small packets of Cholula hot sauce to give it a kick!

Hot sauce and utensils
Hot sauce and utensils
The hot sauce gave it the spicy kick that I needed!
The hot sauce gave it that spicy kick that I needed!

The waffle fries were seasoned well.

My friend had the Luna Bowl, $10 which is one of their vegan options. The rice bowl came with beans, tostones, grilled veggies, and plant based protein, which tasted a bit like tofu but chewier. If you like a tangy flavor, they put some sauce on their so it is flavorful and filling! The tostones, which are fried plantains, added the perfect crunch to the meal.

Luna bowl
Luna bowl
Plant based protein
Plant based protein

The Guava Pastry ($2) was tasty with a decent amount of filling, but it was more on the crunchy side than soft side. I still enjoyed the flakiness but it would have been perfect if heated a bit!

Guava pastry
Guava pastry
Lots of layers in the pastry
Lots of layers in the pastry

Overall, I’m excited to have another option for Cuban fusion food and will be back to try their Cuban sandwich!

Location: 4th Avenue Food Park

One Love Cafe

I was lucky to have some locals take me to One Love Café when I first visited Gainesville back in 2016, and I immediately fell in love because of their friendly vibes! They had live music playing, which set the perfect atmosphere for outdoor dining in the beautiful sunny weather. I have been coming back every since then to enjoy outdoor dining and live music!

Indoor Ordering Station
Indoor Ordering Station
Entrance
Entrance

As for food, they have an extensive menu of tacos, burgers, pasta, and more. What sets this café apart is the love they put into their food! Their ingredients are sourced from local farms and bakeries, and you can tell the difference in quality. They also slice and roast all their whole meats and their sauces, pickles, and dressings are homemade. Just be sure to go there early on the weekends, because they frequently run out of ingredients due to high demand!

They also have an extensive selection of drinks, with wine, beer, and cocktails, and Happy Hour deals from 3pm-5pm!

Food menu
Food menu
Drink menu
Drink menu
Numbers
Numbers

After you order food and drinks inside, they give you a number to place on your table so they bring your food to you. The servers were very friendly and efficient, but since you don’t have designated waiter, it can be hard if you need to flag someone down. Also after you eat, you need to bring your dishes and trash to a station near the entrance.

I tried the Taco Trio ($13) with steak, BBQ pork, and shrimp tacos. The ingredients were all very fresh, and I was afraid the tacos would be bland without hot sauce or salsa, but they actually were bland not at all.

Taco Trio with Mac and Cheese
Taco Trio with Mac and Cheese

All the tacos came drizzled with their own sauces. The steak was cooked well, the shrimp was tender, and the BBQ pork was super flavorful with the pickled onions on top. The only thing I would have preferred was for the tortilla to be toasted a bit.

As for the side, you can choose between chips, baked beans, cole slaw, or a signature side for an additional $2.50. I ended up choosing a signature side of mac and cheese, because that’s one of my favorites. Their mac and cheese is super creamy with seasoning and cheese on top. I highly recommend it, if you are a mac and cheese fan.

My friend had the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich ($11), which is filled with the roasted pulled pork, homemade sauce, pineapple-cilantro coleslaw, and pickled onions. She chose the baked beans and the sandwich also came with a pickle! Their pulled pork is amazing, and they frequently run out of it, so it is a solid choice.

BBQ pulled pork sandwich with baked beans
BBQ pulled pork sandwich with baked beans

They have live music every Thurs-Sunday nights, and it is definitely worth checking out. I was lucky to hear the Gainesville Jazz Collective play their set and they were phenomenal! You can find their weekly live music schedule on their facebook page!

One Love has lots of outdoor seating, a firepit, tiki bar, and 3 acres of land for you, your family, human friends, and animal friends to enjoy! It is definitely one of my go-to cafes in Gainesville on a sunny day. They do not have indoor seating, but they have a roof in their outdoor seating area. If you are looking to get work done on a computer, just know that they do not have open wifi access.

Outdoor seating
Outdoor seating

They are open from Wednesdays-Sundays!

Beautiful outdoor area
Beautiful outdoor area
Night view
Night view

Location: 4989 NW 40th Pl, Gainesville, FL 32606

Enza’s Italian Restaurant

Enza’s Italian Restaurant is perfect for any celebration, or if you are looking to enjoy some quality Italian food! Just during my dinner I witnessed seven birthday celebrations and one engagement celebration!

The restaurant itself is a bit tucked away in a large plaza, but you should see a sign with the name in red. There were some tables outdoors, and lots of seating indoors. You can dine in or get take out.

Enzas Entrance
Enzas Entrance

They only open for dinner, with nightly live music. Right when I walked in, I was greeted by smooth jazz piano music by a very talented musician. The bar, named My Husband’s Bar, has happy hour Tues-Thurs from 4pm-7pm.

The restaurant is locally owned and operated by chefs Enza and Mike, who make delicious and authentic Italian cuisine just the way it was prepared in Enza’s native Sicily.

You can even book a cooking demo with them, if you are interested in learning more about how they prepare their food!

Their menu is extensive with lots of choices in pasta, chicken, seafood, and veal.

We started out with some bread, which was warm and soft on the inside, and coated with butter. It also came with a garlic oil dip, which made the bread even more flavorful.

Bread
Bread

Each dinner dish comes with a house salad or soup, and I chose the Minestrone soup. The soup was hearty and delicious, with lots of lentils, veggies, and pasta inside. The perfect way to warm your stomach before the main dish!

Minestrone soup
Minestrone soup

The Seafood Combo ($28) came with plenty of mussels, scallops, shrimp, and clams over linguini pasta. As for sauce, you can choose between a spicy or mild marinara or scampi sauce. Of course, being a lover of spicy food, I chose the spicy marinara.

Seafood Combo
Seafood Combo

The sauce itself was not that spicy, but it did add up over time. The quality of the seafood was extremely fresh, and it came with a lot of seafood! The clams had a tiny bit of a gritty crunch, but overall, everything was cooked very well. The pasta noodles were tender and not too soggy, while they still soaked up the sauce thoroughly. The dish also came with a banana pepper, which gave it a refreshing touch to what could be a hefty meal!

I also tried a bit of my friend’s Gnocchi ($17) with pesto sauce, and it was absolutely delicious. It definitely ranked as one of the top gnocchi dishes I have had! Very creamy and chewy. I would definitely recommend this dish!

Pesto Gnocchi
Pesto Gnocchi

I was lucky enough to be there to celebrate a friend’s brother’s engagement, and our waiter gifted the happy couple a tiramisu dish to share. Our waiter was also very friendly and professional.

Whether you are celebrating a big occasion or just looking to eat some quality Italian food, Enza’s is a great option!

Address: 10601 San Jose Blvd #109, Jacksonville, FL 32257

Ohana Korean Grill

Ohana means family, and family means sharing food together!

The name of this restaurant was also fitting for this occasion, as I was able to enjoy some Korean food with my brother while visiting him in College Station!

I ordered take-out and the food was ready in about 20 minutes. The Korean lady who owns the store had a briskness about her, but she still made sure to double check all the items in my order, which I appreciated.

The restaurant is located in Park Place Plaza, and while there was plenty of indoor seating, no outdoor seating was available.

 I heard great things about their Korean style Chinese cuisine, so I ordered Jjajangmyeon (Black Bean Noodle) $12.99, Jjambbong (Seafood Spicy Noodle) $14.99, and Sautéed Blood Sausage $15.99.

The Jjambbong was definitely my favorite of the items. It came with plenty of mussels, shrimp, veggies (I found the broccoli to be an interesting touch but eh, can’t complain because I need to eat more greens!). The broth definitely had a kick to it, which I enjoyed, and the noodles soaked up the flavor very well. I would say this was pretty authentic.

Jjambbong
Jjambbong

The Jjajangmyeon was also very tasty, with lots of onions and pork in the black bean sauce. It came topped with half of a boiled egg. The black bean sauce was on the sweeter side, but it was still quite delicious.

Jjajangmyun
Jjajangmyeon

I was excited for the Sautéed Blood Sausage because this is not a dish you can find commonly at a lot of smaller Korean restaurants in the U.S. It had a lot of veggies in it, as well as sweet potato noodles and rice cake filled with cheese!

Sautéed Blood Sausage
Sautéed Blood Sausage

While the sauce was spicy and good, the texture of the blood sausage seemed less chewy than I would have liked. This is most likely because they use a frozen blood sausage instead of fresh one, but it is understandable because blood sausage is not easy to make, let alone find in the U.S. Given all of that, I enjoyed this dish a lot and the portion was large as well, even though I got the smaller size. This dish also came with a side of rice.

Sautéed Blood Sausage Close Up
Sautéed Blood Sausage Close Up

All of the dishes came with banchan, or side dishes, consisting of pickled radish, kimchi, potatoes in soy sauce, pickled onions and cucumber. All of the side dishes were tasty and the portion was also large, so I had left overs to eat with my next meal.

Side dishes and side rice
Side dishes and side rice
Side dishes
Side dishes

Overall, I enjoyed the meal and my craving for Korean food was satisfied! Just a tip that they also close from 2-5pm between lunch and dinner.

Address: 2501 Texas Ave, College Station, TX 77840

Spring Creek Barbeque

After a long day spent driving and visiting the Nature and Science museum in Dallas, we were ready to eat! Lucky for us, Spring Creek Barbeque was open and available for dinnertime.

Me at the museum with some dino skeletons!
Me at the museum with some dino skeletons!
Ocean creature skeletons
Ocean creature skeletons
Spring Creek Barbeque entrance
Spring Creek Barbeque entrance

Right when you walk in, you will see a conveyer belt-like system where you pick your drink (ranging from sodas to beer), and then head over to choose your meats.

Menu
Menu
Assortment of meat
Assortment of meat

You can choose a BBQ dinner, which comes with your choice of meat and either two home-style sides, or one premium side. Sadly they were out of the pulled pork by the time we got there.

Coleslaw and potato salad
Coleslaw and potato salad

Their home-style sides range from coleslaw, mac and cheese, corn, and beans, and their premium sides range from baked potato, fries, okra, and salad.

Choosing my sides!
Choosing my sides!

They also had a self-serve station so you could pile on all the red onions, pickles, peppers, and shredded cheese to your heart’s content!  

Self-serve station with red onions, pickles, and peppers
Self-serve station with red onions, pickles, and peppers

The Baby Back Ribs ($18.65) were coated with plenty of BBQ sauce, which went well with the mac and cheese and coleslaw that I chose, but overall there was nothing too special about the ribs.

Baby back ribs with mac and cheese, coleslaw, and dinner roll
Baby back ribs with mac and cheese, coleslaw, and dinner roll
Close up of rib
Close up of rib

The Brisket ($17.95), however, was extremely tender. You can choose between marble cut, lean cut, or a mix. I recommend choosing marble cut if you want tender meat that will melt in your mouth! It was also very saucy. Meanwhile, the corn was pretty flavorless and just seemed like it was boiled in water. The potato salad was a better option.

Brisket with potato salad, corn, and dinner roll
Brisket close up

You also get a roll, made in house, with your meal, and I found the roll to be surprisingly delicious. It was very airy and chewy! I saw that they were busy baking more rolls constantly at the station in the back, where you can order desserts like peach cobbler and ice cream.

Their rolls are amazing!
Their rolls are amazing!

They had plenty of indoor seating, but no outdoor seating.

While Spring Creek was not my absolute favorite place for BBQ, it is still a solid option located near Dallas Fort Worth airport! It was nice not having to wait in a long line, and they are open until 9pm, which is nice because some BBQ places close by dinnertime.

Address: 2827 W Wheatland Rd, Dallas, TX 75237

Midpoint Eatery

Although the weather is still hot here in Gainesville, it is slightly cooler in the evenings so I’ve definitely been enjoying some outdoor activity!

 I was finally able to check out Midpoint Eatery last week with some friends.

Midpoint Eatery is located a few blocks from the University of Florida, at Innovation District, which is surrounded by some smaller company buildings.

Midpoint Eatery entrance
Midpoint Eatery entrance

They have a small separate parking lot right next to the food park, which was nice since there is limited street parking in the area.

The food park structure itself has a slightly artificial feel to it, as it has fake grass area and gigantic wooden chairs, but they have lots of outdoor seating, which was just what I needed after spending the whole day indoors.

Lots of outdoor seating
Lots of outdoor seating

 There are three food trucks: Mexicocina, which serves tacos, burritos, and other Mexican street food, Kellers Kitchen, which has sandwiches, burgers, salads, and sides, and Plantology Foods, which has vegan burgers and vegan chicken burgers, mac bowls, and loaded fries.

Mexicocina food truck
Mexicocina food truck
Keller's Kitchen
Keller’s Kitchen
Plantology
Plantology

I decided to get Birria Tacos ($12) from Mexicocina Food truck. It came with two tacos, which were cooked fresh and burning hot. It had a slightly crispy tortilla filled with lots of tender meat and onion. It came with a cup of red meat juice, which looked spicy, but actually was not. It was still very flavorful.

Birria tacos
Birria tacos
Filled with lots of meat and onions
Filled with lots of meat and onions

I also got the Street Corn ($5), or elotes, charred corn slathered in creamy chili, garlic, and cheese.

Street Corn
Street Corn

The corn did feel taste quite rich after awhile, so I cut some kernels and put them in the tacos, which created the perfect creamy and meaty combo!

I put the corn inside the tacos, and fully enjoyed it!
I put the corn inside the tacos, and fully enjoyed it!

My friend got the Cheezy burger ($11), which was a vegan burger with muenster cheese, pickle, carmelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce on a brioche bun. It looked delicious!

Vegan burger with drinks!
Vegan burger with drinks!

I also tried the organic fries, which were really crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. If you like thick cut, homemade style fries, you will like these.

Close up of the Cheezy burger and fries
Close up of the Cheezy burger and fries

Also a plus is that they have really clean bathrooms, which surprised me for an outdoor food park!

Restrooms were very clean!
Restrooms were very clean!

Although they could use some more options for food trucks (I was sad that they no longer had a truck serving poke bowls), Midpoint Eatery is still a great option if you want to enjoy some time outdoors with quality food!

Thoroughly satisfied after the delicious meal!
Thoroughly satisfied and sitting in a giant chair after the delicious meal!

Address: 931 SW 2nd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601

Caffe Sabroso

Caffe Sabroso is truly a gem!  

You can’t miss the bright yellow house once you arrive, with an interesting looking stair structure in the back! The only downside is that there is no separate parking lot, so you will need to find street parking nearby.

Caffe Sabroso from the side
Caffe Sabroso from the side

This American Latin coffee house has an artsy atmosphere inside and out, and even hosts arts events occasionally! The interior was very colorful and there were beautiful paintings and murals throughout the space. They kept the house-like structure and divided it up into separate rooms for more privacy and social distancing. The chairs are also very comfy, which makes it the perfect study spot.

Colorful interior
Colorful interior
More seating
More seating

They have a beautiful outdoor space with lots of outdoor seating. It seemed like a very family friendly and pet friendly space!

Outdoor space in the back
Outdoor space in the back

You order in the central space, where there is the kitchen. They have lots of varieties of coffee (Cuban, Columbian, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan) as well as sandwiches, waffles, and flan.

Food menu
Food menu

The barista is super friendly and recommended the Caramel Latte. I decided to try both the Cuban and Puerto Rico roasts.

Cuban caramel latte (front), Puerto Rican caramel latte (back)
Cuban caramel latte (front), Puerto Rican caramel latte (back)

The Cuban roast ($4.29 for medium size) had a rich and deep flavor and a sweet finish. I was also able to substitute almond milk.

The Puerto Rican roast ($4.29 for medium size) had a sweeter flavor and was lighter than the Cuban roast. I liked how there was no cubed ice in the cold coffee, so it did not get watered down over time, although it was still chilled.

I also tried the Cuban Sandwich slider ($2.75), which came with two small Cuban sandwiches with ham, cheese, mustard, and plenty of pickles. The bread had a slightly hard crust on the outside and since it was very thin, there was a good balance of flavors with the fillings inside. It was the perfect size for a small snack, but definitely leaves you wanting more so I will try the full size next time!

Cuban sandwich slider
Cuban sandwich slider
Packed with pickles and flavor!
Packed with pickles and flavor!

Located in downtown Gainesville, Caffe Sabroso is the perfect place to chill, equipped with delicious coffee, food, and a relaxing atmosphere!

I'll definitely be back for more coffee!
I’ll definitely be back for more coffee!

Address: 404 SE 2 St, Gainesville, FL 32601

Bowl of Pho

On rainy days, I always get the craving for a steaming bowl of noodles. Thankfully, Bowl of Pho in Jacksonville FL left me feeling so warm and cozy on this rainy day!

Bowl of Pho entrance
Bowl of Pho entrance

The restaurant has lots of indoor seating, which does get crowded during peak lunch and dinner hours.

Indoor seating
Indoor seating

The Vietnamese egg rolls ($4.50 for 2 rolls) were crispy and crunchy on the outside, and filled with a tasty mix of meat, veggies, and noodles on the inside. I made sure to dunk it in the sauce for extra tangy flavor!

Vietnamese egg rolls
Vietnamese egg rolls

Now that I had my appetizer, I was ready for the pho!

I ordered an extra large sized bowl of pho with rare steak and well-done brisket ($9.95 for X-large), because I am not a fan of tripe or meatballs. The bowl was definitely enormous, but the amount of noodles was actually manageable. For just a dollar more than the large, I would definitely get the X-large.

X-Large pho with rare steak and well-done brisket
X-Large pho with rare steak and well-done brisket

The pho also came with a hefty plate of plate of jalapeños, bean spouts, limes, and mint leaves.

Plate of jalapeños, bean spouts, limes, and mint leaves
Plate of jalapeños, bean spouts, limes, and mint leaves

The thing that blew me away was definitely the broth. I liked how it was flavorful yet clean. It was not overly oily like pho broth can be sometimes. It came with slices of scallion, and I added mint leaves and fresh jalapeños for that extra flavor.

Pho up close with mint leaves and fresh jalapeños
Pho up close with mint leaves and fresh jalapeños

The noodles were also cooked perfectly- thin, tender, and firm.

Overall, I would definitely visit Bowl of Pho again for their affordable prices, fast service, and flavorful broth!

Address: 9902 Old Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32256

Crispy Baguette

Crispy Baguette is located on the first floor of the midtown restaurant area, below Tatu.

Crispy Baguette entrance
Crispy Baguette entrance

The small restaurant has a few tables open in the back and others that were being used as a storage area for containers. They do not have outdoor seating.

Indoor seating
Indoor seating

 The kitchen area was covered up with panels, which makes the front area seem smaller and more cramped. The restaurant also has those sticky floors characteristic of midtown restaurants, and there were some clubbers coming in to use the bathroom from the bar above. Despite all this, the restaurant seemed to be doing well as there was a steady stream of customers.  

Front area
Front area

You place the order at the front, and then wait for your order. Our order took about 40-50 minutes since there were only two workers, so I suggest ordering ahead if you are in a hurry.

True to their name, Crispy Baguette offers a wide range of sandwiches, like the Traditional Vietnamese Cold Cut, Saigon Special Grilled Pork, and even Green Curry Sandwich!

You can get 8 inch (which range from $7-$10) or 12 inch sandwiches (which range from $12-14).

The Saigon Special Grilled Pork Sandwich ($12.49) was filled with grilled carrots, basil, cucumber, green onions, and BBQ pork in a toasted baguette.

Saigon Special Grilled Pork Sandwich
Saigon Special Grilled Pork Sandwich

The carrots did not have the pickled flavor (like the veggies Bánh mì) that I was expecting, but I liked the crispiness of the bread and how the ingredients complimented each other well. The portion was also large as well.

Inside of grilled pork sandwich
Inside of grilled pork sandwich

For the Vietnamese Yellow Coconut Tofu Curry Sandwich ($12.49), they give the toasted baguette separately from the curry. The baguette was not cut in half so it could have been tough to eat, but thankfully we had a knife! I imagined that the sandwich would come filled with the curry, but I actually liked how they gave the baguette separately so that it does not get soggy.

Baguette
Baguette

The curry was savory and slightly sweet, and filled with fried tofu, carrots, zucchini, and cilantro. You can dip the baguette into the curry, or fill the baguette with curry to make a curry sandwich!

Vietnamese yellow coconut curry  with tofu
Vietnamese yellow coconut curry with tofu

They also offer Rice Bowls and Noodle Bowls!

I tried the Thai Spicy Green Curry with Tofu ($12.49). You had to pay $2 extra for Basil Fried Rice, but it was so worth it!

Thai spicy green curry with tofu
Thai spicy green curry with tofu

They give you a huge portion of fried rice, which had a crispy texture. It was very flavorful with scallions, basil, and tiny pieces of egg.

Fried rice
Fried rice

The Thai Green Curry was my favorite part of the meal! The crunchy texture of the fried tofu soaked up the spicy, savory curry perfectly and there were plenty of veggies as well.

I highly recommend the curry and fried rice combo!

They were having a deal for Thai Tea ($1.50), so I tried some as well. It was really good, with a strong flavor and sweetness to it.

Thai tea
Thai tea

Overall, I enjoyed the meal and I am happy to have another option for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine near campus!

Address: 1702 W University Ave E, Gainesville, FL 32603