I love college basketball (Go Heels!). I really love the NCAA tournament and all the drama involved with the sudden death bracket system. The early rounds are especially exciting since you might see a little known school topple a basketball giant. And since there are so many games going on at once, the best place to watch it all is a sports bar (unless you have multiple TVs). Since we only have one TV, we ventured out two nights in a row last weekend to enjoy March Madness.
Sports bars aren’t exactly known for being veggie-friendly, unless that vegetable is fried, so I wasn’t sure what I would find to eat. The first night we went to Miller’s Gainesville Ale House with a bunch of other people. Fun atmosphere, waiter was on point given the crowd, and they had cheap beer and plenty of TVs. The menu was… difficult. For vegetables I could have fried onion rings, fries, sweet potato fries… you get the idea. Or I could get a tossed salad holding the cheese and bacon bits leaving a lovely salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomato and red onion. Neither is my idea of meal and the fried stuff certainly isn’t healthy. No veggie option on the fajitas and no garden burger option for the burgers. There was an Apple Walnut Salad (leave off the blue cheese), but I didn’t see this until later. So I made that night one of my fish night exceptions (I’ll eat fish every now and then) and got the Fish Tacos without cheese. Here is the description: Three Flour Tortillas Stuffed with Grilled Mahi Mahi & Topped with Pico de Gallo, Lettuce, and Chipotle-Cilantro Sauce. Served with Black Beans & Rice. Sounds good right? Wrong. The tacos were not good. The fish was tough; I couldn’t bring myself to choke down the 3rd taco. The black beans and rice were actually really good and I would have been content eating just that. All in all, unless you want to get black beans and rice with a salad, you’re better off just drinking a couple beers here and eating beforehand…
…Except for one thing. While looking up the menu online for this blog, I saw links at the bottom of the online menu to both a Gluten Free menu and a Vegetarian menu. WHAT?!?! This was not printed on the menu in the restaurant. This menu has 5 options: Vegetable Fajita, Garden Pasta, Veggie Wrap, Fajita Quesadilla and Garden Burger. Now, none of these as written are vegan except the burger. I’m not sure but I’m guessing the creamy lemon sauce on the Garden Pasta has butter in it. The wrap and quesadilla have ranch and sour cream dressings as a key ingredient (and probably aren’t very tasty otherwise). The garden burger or the vegetable fajitas would be the best option, leaving off the cheese and sour cream. I wish I had known about this menu when I was there! I’ll have to go back and give it a try.
Ratings from a plant-based eating perspective (1-5 scale, 1=Terrible 5=Excellent)*
Ambiance: 5 Service: 5 Choices: 1 Taste: 2 Overall: 2
*These ratings are from my visit without knowing about the vegetarian menu. I will update when I go back another time.
The second night out hubby and I tried a new restaurant called Chomps Sports Grill. This place used to be a restaurant we frequented quite a bit, so I was really hoping it was good. The remodel they’ve done is awesome – it’s nice and open, seems brighter and cleaner than the old place, and there are flat screen TVs along each wall. Even the bathrooms are way better than before. We had great service and the food smelled delicious. As for what to order, well, it was either the house salad or veggie pasta in a pomodoro sauce. They do have some side dishes as well. I got the pasta which was filled with squash, zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli with a side of spinach for an extra $3 which I dumped in the pasta to give it even more kick. It was delicious and came with two thick slices of garlic bread.
We’ll definitely be back to Chomps, but I hope they’ll add a few more vegetarian/vegan items to the menu.
Ratings from a plant-based eating perspective (1-5 scale, 1=Terrible 5=Excellent)
Ambiance: 5 Service: 5 Choices: 2 Taste: 5 Overall: 4
You may also be interested in Dan’s review on Gator’s Dockside.