Sunday, August 24, 2008

RUBY'S RESTAURANT IS THE GEM OF GAINESVILLE RESTAURANTS



























Ruby's Restaurant located at 308 NW 5th Avenue (378-0490)is flat out my favorite restaurant in Gainesville and I recommend that you rush over and support this local business. I guarantee you will love their food. The first time I visited Ruby's I felt like Columbus when he first eyeballed the New World through his hand telescope. I was on to something very important. I felt like I had struck gold.

Once in a very, very rare while, I taste a dish in a restaurant that is so good on return visits I am incapable of ordering anything else on the menu. That experience has happened not once, not twice, but three times at Ruby's. Three of Ruby's signature dishes (there are more I have not tried yet) are Dirty Rice w/ Shrimp, Blueberry De-Lite, and their Gator Burgers. "Mercy," and a shake of the head is always my reaction after the first bite of each.

The Dirty Rice with Shrimp is a Louisiana inspired plate of rice and meat with beautiful seared and seasoned shrimp on top. I may never get past this dish when presented the menu. It is tasty and no one else in town has undertaken it. I will go back again and again for this spicy rice dish.

I am not really a dessert person but a taste of the Blueberry De-Lite is as fine a dessert as there is on the planet. New Orleans' Commander's Palace's bread souffle with whisky sauce has a challenger. The De-Lite has a crunch crust on the bottom with layers of pudding, cream cheese, blueberries, whipped cream and nuts. I try not to lead you into sin, but dive in on this one.

The Gator Burger is a show stopper. I was expecting your basic good small restaurant burger. Instead I saw them put the one pound patty on the grill. It looked like a frisbee. The burger came out perfectly cooked on Texas toast. I immediately knew that it was beyond my capacity so I cut it in half and saved the other half for a buddy at the office who loves fine burgers. I can not even imagine what the Double Gator Burger must look like.

Ruby's is owned by Ruby and Johnny Moore. Both come from families of fine cooks. If I were to label Ruby's, I would call it progressive home cooking. The Moores have put together a menu that pulls from African-American cooking traditions (the motherlode of Southern foodways) and takes that cuisine to the next level with unique twists and turns that make their dishes always tasty and often intriguing. Imagination and love are clearly at work at Ruby's. Their son, Johnny Jr., works in the restaurant and charms each customer with his enthusiasm for his parent's cooking. Give Ruby's a try. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Democratic Convention delegate's video blog

A friend of mine, Susan Bottcher, is a delegate to the Democratic Convention and, after persistent pestering from yours truly and others, has initiated a video blog that she will update daily from the convention. The following link should take you to Susan's blog that will serve to interpret the happenings in Denver:
http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/08/conventional-ex.html

Saturday, August 16, 2008

PURE HOMEMADE SIN PASSES 2000 HITS

I want to thank my readers and hope that you will bring some more into the fold. I have a number of ideas in the works for this blog and, after campaign season ends, will be posting at a faster clip than my current weekly renderings.

Thanks again.


Jim

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Publix: buy more produce locally


My local supermarket around the corner from my house, Publix, is a fine grocery chain with a fatal flaw.

Publix buys very little local produce and other perishable products and, more often than not, ships all these goods to my store in Gainesville, Florida from points in the US as far away as California. As I have mentioned before, I am amazed to regularly see California produce in my Publix that was shipped across country at enormous expense in fuel and to my modest financial resources.

Seeing California citrus in my Publix's produce section during prime Florida citrus season really sets me off. It is an astonishing waste of fuel and an insult to Floridians by a homegrown, Florida-based company. It is not enough for Publix to be a homegrown Florida company. they need to buy locally too.

The August 6, 2008 edition of the New York Times has an article entitled, Supermarket Chains Narrow Their Sights by Marian Burros (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/dining/06local.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=dining. I highly recommend Burros' article and hope that higher ups at Publix will take heed to the message that Burros delivers.

Ms.Burros writes about national and regional chains that are waking up to the benefits of buying closer to home to reduce fuel consumption, provide a fresher product, support local farmers, and meet the rising demand from consumers for locally produced agricultural goods.

Grocery chains like New York state's Wegman's (the finest grocery store in the USA in my book, www.wegmans.com) have developed long-term relations with New York and regional farmers to provide produce that, in their stores, takes my breath away with freshness and variety. According to Burros, Wal-Mart (of all chains) has decided to spend $400 million dollars to provide more local produce in their many stores across the country.

Both of these food sellers have opted out of the insane cycle of shipping produce across country on a chronically regular basis. Burros points out that "in some cases, the cost of freight is more than the cost of the goods themselves."

I buy from local farmers via farmers'markets and a superb Gainesville owned grocery, Wards. Wards is committed to providing fresh goods sold to them by companies and farmers who share a similar zip code to Gainesville.

I urge Publix to go with the flow and change its wasteful habit. Publix needs to rise to the standard of New York's Wegman's or Gainesville's Ward's. Publix is too fine of a chain to allow this business flaw to continue.

I am a regular Publix shopper, but folks at Publix can do better. I hope and trust that they will. Publix: Be a better neighbor to Floridians and we will reward you for it.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Steve Cropper/Felix Cavaliere album cooks big-time

I highly recommend the new album, Nudge It Up a Notch, by Steve Cropper and Felix Cavaliere. Cropper, of course, is the guitarist for Booker T and the MG's and co-author of many hits including Midnight Hour and Knock On Wood. Cavaliere was the lead singer and monster writer for the Rascals, one of my favorite bands of all-time.

Needless to say, these guys have mega-watt credentials and this collaboration is very satisfying. The production is a live-in-the-studio feel with a fabulous rhythm section and back up vocalists. Almost like Al Green's band meets Booker T and the Rascals. Gas up the Olds (better yet, take the bus or ride your bike) and buy this one.