Recently, I interviewed the restaurant's owner, Maya Garner, for a "Going Green" special section article for The Gainesville Sun. She is doing some pretty cool things in Gainesville, and she really piqued my interest with her sustainable, local and organic menu. Some of her ingredients are even picked mere hours before they make it to the plate, she said.
This harvest season she is using produce from the following local and organic farms: Comet, Swallowtail, Rosie's and Kumarie's.
Cool fact: Her to-go boxes are compostable!
I got lost on my way to the restaurant, as usual. Don't let its outside decor fool you. Even though it is located in a somewhat sketchy looking shopping strip, the inside is quite charming. With dim lighting and a chalkboard wall full of specials you will feel relaxed yet hip. I didn't waste anytime ordering one of their homemade-style soups and a pasta entree I had been eyeing.
The broccoli soup was warm, rich and creamy--yet surprisingly light. A few croutons were thrown on for good measure, and they added a nice salty crunch and texture I really enjoyed. Now I could eat broccoli anytime, anywhere, but I've never had broccoli so finely pureed.
Next came the Citrus Pesto Tortellini ($11.25). Cheese-filled tortellini topped with asparagus, roasted red peppers and tossed in delectable homemade citrus-pesto. My warm crostini was a bit burnt, but I was too distracted to mind. I can't get over the rich flavors of The Joneses dishes! The citrus pesto had just the right amount of flavor that added just a touch of pizzaz to the cheese tortellini's. The pairing of asparagus, red peppers and mushrooms isn't one I've tried before, but I was pleasantly surprised. The different textures of each dish blended well together.
So stuffed, I almost passed on dessert. Thankfully, the friend I was with wanted to hear the menu. From vegan chocolate cake to peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, they have a little bit of everything. My cookie was a bit hard, but that didn't stop me from digging out the chocolate chunks. I was expecting a sugar cookie with peanut butter and chocolate chunks inside. Instead, the dough itself was peanut butter-- even better.
I almost went into a panic when I realized the restaurant only takes cash, but the waitress very kindly explained where I could find an ATM-- the skeezy pawnshop next door.
Luckily, I had my checkbook on me.