More than the unofficial name for the stadium the Florida Gators play in, The Swamp is also a restaurant in Gainesville, Florida located across the street from the university. Mostly known for its bar and night-life, The Swamp also has a fairly robust and ever-changing food menu. On this occasion some friends/classmates and I decided to wander over and celebrate being done with class.
In my quest to eventually transition from a hard-core carnivore into a vegetarian/vegan (I’m aware they’re different but I’m not sure where I’ll end up – read my other post on that struggle if you want the background), I’m not as awesome at sniffing out all the tripping hazards on the menu or even having enough options to actually create a meal at this point. So, as I scanned the menu I came across the Café Garden Burger and thought to myself, “Self! This is it! A BURGER! SUCCESS! But you don’t really like Avocado self? Or Cucumber (so much yet)? Self, is this really a good idea?!?” Eventually I agreed with myself and decided to “build a burger,” asking for a veggie burger patty. Well, the waitress was nice, said “sure, no problem,” and I decided the poblano aioli and grilled peppers would make great additions. It comes standard with lettuce, onion, and tomato. As a side I went with the black beans and rice.
First off, no, I DID NOT realize that aioli was made with mayo (I obviously know it now). Second off, it was mucho tasty! I’m not an onion guy so I pulled those off, and everything left was delicious! It was in fact the second time I’ve ever intentionally left a slice of tomato in my food, the first time being at Dexter’s in Orlando the previous weekend. I’m starting to think tomatoes make stuff taste better and will continue my research in order to find additional support for my hypothesis. Anyway, I polished off that bad boy in no time flat and turned my attention to the black beans and rice in the small cup to my left.
There was no prior mention of cheese, but a small amount of cheddar seemed to be sprinkled on the top keeping me from going full vegan (at least on the side dish). I decided it wouldn’t hurt too much so I dove in. I have to say I don’t think the cheese did anything for the dish as the beans were proportioned well to the rice and there were bits of tomato and some other green “thing” in there. In short, it all worked, my only regret being there wasn’t more of it to devour. Truly, I could have eaten a second burger and two more helpings of the beans and rice, but other than there not being enough I loved my much healthier than what I would have gotten burger and fries with a mac n cheese side. Next time, however, I’d choose another dressing (hopefully the basil pesto is cheese free, or the mango salsa, or the mango-chili puree, or… ) and ask for no cheese on the beans and rice.
I was very surprised that The Swamp had so many options:
Café Garden Burger
Lightly seasoned, grilled veggie burger topped with avocado aioli, tomato, cucumber, avocado and sprouts.
Swamp Hummus Platter
Housemade roasted garlic & herb hummus, spinach and artichoke dip, pita chips, seasonal fruit with vegetables.
Locally sourced tempeh, grilled in a cheese quesadilla and topped with a salad of mixed greens, black bean and corn salsa, roma tomatoes, avocados and cilantro vinaigrette. $9
Swamp Signature Salad
A medley of mixed greens, red onions, granny smith apples, golden raisins, toasted pepitas and tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette.
Swamp Garden Wrap
Avocado, tomato, arugula, sprouts, carrots, red onion, Swiss cheese, homemade hummus, mixed greens and avocado-ranch dressing in a tomato-basil wrap
Among others, and I hope to go back and try some more as I get closer to a whole-food, plant based diet. A little Swamp tip though, ask about the cheese…
Now, go Veg Out!