Author Archives: andy

Breakfast at Home

On the first of July we had what might be our last official Tampa Bay Breakfast. At home.

Here’s how Marek starts his Sundays now. All bleary-teenager-looking.


On the other hand, Ivo is a spring-loaded bundle of morning fun.


Ivo volunteered to cook for us.


First, he put all the ingredients in a bowl …


… And started mixing. Turns out, adding a stuffed animal to the concoction gives you good viscosity.


Bacon in the oven. Best way to make bacon in any quantity and/or in a small kitchen with limited stovetop space. Ivo’s a rolling health-code violation, though. Cooking while wiping his nose with his hand and all.


I made supper last night. Baked potatoes. This was on purpose, so we’d have leftover taters for the home fries.


3 year old with a knife. Handling it very nicely, I’d like to point out. No severed fingers made it into our breakfast.


While the egg-to-shell ratio was slightly out of tolerance, Ivo’s little fingers handled the egg cracking very nicely.


Here’s how all the moving parts start coming together. Ivo’s going to be one heckofa great line cook one day.


I highly recommend this stove-top griddle. Good for pancakes when you’re trying to impress your family with how good you make pancakes.


Special batch of blueberry pancakes for dad!


Of all the dining rooms in all the diners of the world, this one’s our favorite. Here’s where the deepest memories are made.


Marek, digging in. “These are the best home fries ever, dad!” and “I LOVE this breakfast, dad!”


Ivo, getting his breakfast all mommed-up. (I mean, seriously, we just watched this boy use an 8″ French knife to dice a whole potato, and mom is cutting his scrambled eggs!)


Me, Tampa Bay’s Dad of Breakfast, with my favorite Thomas the Train coffee cup, thrift-store dishes we bought 18 years ago, bottle of honey from a local family I know, surrounded by the good stuff (and I’m not talking about the chow (though that’s good, too!)).


Marek announces: “I’m done.”


This, our dear readers, is likely to be our last official Tampa Bay Breakfast. That’s not a promise, as the boys may want to pick it back up at some point, but as of today they’re consistent in their desire to just stay home on the weekends. And I’ve decided I’m going to let them.

It’s been a great five-year journey through Tampa Bay, and we’ve been pleased to share this slice of childhood and our love of breakfast and our hometown. Thank you to all the great breakfast spots in the Bay Area and thank you to our readers and fans for the support, encouragement, and conversations over the years.

With love and perfect pancakes,

Andy, Marek, and Ivo.

The Three Coins

We revisited the Three Coins at The Three Coins at 7410 N Nebraska Ave on 26 April 2014. Our last visit was July of last year.


Ivo’s excited. Mostly because he likes getting his picture taken, not because we’re having breakfast.


World-class-mom joined us this morning.


The menu. I can’t help but feel bad for old Ike Eisenhower and his dime: Not, as you can see here, one of the three coins.


We got here just in time. Last table, and then there was suddenly a line of hungry Tampa.




What choo lookin at?


Conversation leading up to this picture.

Ivo: Daddy, pull on my ears.

Andy: Uhh, OK.


Favorite Breakfast Guest Mom is already bored. Texting to her friends to save her. Marek is caught here saying the one thing he knows how to say this Spring, “I want an iPhone.”


Big old wad of breakfast. All the major food groups represented.


Momming it up on the other side of the table. She can’t help herself, she’s mom.


Truck-load of banana pancakes for dad. The banana pancakes are truly the top-shelf-good here.


Marek’s thing now is home fries. Remember when it was eggs? Remember when it was bacon? Remember when it was pancakes? Every year, he has a new thing.


Ivo’s trying out for the band. He plays slide-bacon-trombone.


Here’s why Three Coins is the perfect diner. Little-league kids on backs, diner owner (in the white shirt) standing by the door wishing good luck, good game, thank you for coming.


Almost $30 for a pile of good chow, we couldn’t even finish it. Reasonable rates.


Taking a risk, giving Ivo the plastic. It’s slightly safer than giving him the plastique.


It’s a perfect Tampa diner. Great prices, great service, great food, full of locals and interesting characters.

Also, unfortunately, it’s probably our last official breakfast this year. Our next post will explain.

We’re pleased to award The Three Coins with a Tampa Bay Breakfasts Five Pancake Rating, and also, even though it’s a little premature, the 2014 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year award. Three Coins: You’re an awesome, perfect breakfast!


Three Coins on Urbanspoon

Beverly’s La Croisette

It’s 66 degrees (F) this morning. We’re driving 66 miles per hour. Or is it 66 degrees per mile? 66 miles per degree? One degree per mile per minute? Crazytalk.


It’s another lovely day in Tampa Bay. Well, it’s lovely to the south. To the north, it’s looking pretty non-lovely.


We’re driving all around St. Pete Beach, just checking things out. We found this road that just ends in the Intracoastal. If it weren’t for those stop signs, Ivo’d just wander on in. Good thing he can read. Oh, no, wait, he can’t read! Ivo, stop!


The best boys-n-dad=together family portrait I could get this morning. Ivo’s creeping me out here, with that look on his face.


Here comes that weather front from the north. Day is getting colder by the minute. Dad needs some coffee, boys need some cocoa, and we all need some of that best meal of the day, breakfast.


We visited Beverly’s La Croisette at 7401 Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete. Beach on 15 February 2014. Beverly has a web site at Beverly’s was recommended to us by TBB fan Jennifer, who also is a Bay Area Blogger at


Cozy little spot here. Don’t let these empty chairs fool you. By the time we left, there was a line out the door.


Menu full of pride and love. This restaurant is an extension of a home. That’s a good sign.


Today’s a special day. We have guest reviewers! Todd, who previously joined us back in June (I’m relieved to announce that neither of us is wearing the same clothes as we did 8 months ago), and his awesome daughter Magnolia.


They jumped right into the menu, and also the coloring.


Ivo took this picture. At first I thought he’d made a mistake, then I realized he just loves ketchup.


All three young ones asked for hot chocolate. All three got hot chocolate in kid-proof styrofoam cups. That’s thoughtful of them, but does reduce the overall tension for us parents. You see, I tend to amp up the breakfast tension by taking on slightly more risk than I can really handle. It’s what we entertainers do for our audience. Here you can see Ivo’s hot choco, and also the awesome reflection in the spoon. Not only did I not take that shot on purpose, I could not have possibly taken it on purpose if you’d paid me a hundred bucks. So I’m very pleased to share with you this cool and accidental but totally legit picture.


Here’s my main man Marek. He took one look at the styrofoam cup and, I’m not kidding, asked the waitress for a real coffee cup. He knows how a man is supposed to take his coffee.


Magnolia colored this picture so perfectly. I hate to point out the obvious, but she colors better than both Marek and Ivo combined. (Now, the truth is that Ivo would eat the crayons and Marek would be making jokes about farting crayon dust and neither would even TRY to color much less do a good job.)


Father-son portrait. I have new glasses. I’m taking a lot of heat at my day-job for my new “Harry Potter look.” I was really shooting for the “Singe from Underworld” look, but whatever.


Father-son portrait.


Father-daughter portrait.

These shots are how you know you’re doing it right in the fathering department.


Then Todd realized how much college was going to cost for Magnolia in 2030.


Before things got too out of control, breakfast arrived in high style. Notice the lovely Mickey ™ pancake. Notice the seriousness with which Todd approaches his role as Tampa Bay Breakfast reviewer. Notice the hijinks Marek is taking out on Todd’s plate while we’re all distracted. Marek’s mother would be mortified. Good thing she’s not with us, so we don’t have to hear about it.


Ivo got his own (probably unlicensed, downloaded from some file sharing web site) copy of the Mickey pancake.


Marek had the eggs, bacon, and home fries. And nearly cleaned his plate. For a boy who has been saying for months that he hates going to breakfast (true story, and very sad, too), he surely does like to dig in.


And finally, I had the single blueberry pancake…


… Which was the size of a hubcap off a ’72 Buick. This was one of the largest pancakes I ever did see. Not quite as large as at Jimbos, but still, really large. And also quite good, in case I forget to mention.


The real story in this picture is Magnolia’s eyes. Todd is doing a good fatherly job of prepping her plate. While she’s watching Ivo pretty much demolish his pancake and the entire restaurant behind him. She’s never seen a boy stand on his head and fit a whole plate in his mouth while hurling pancakes at the ceiling.


By this point, Todd and I have earned our dad stripes and are ready to run. Marek and Ivo lined up to pay the bill. About $36 for four breakfasts, which isn’t bad at all.


We reviewed our roles. Ivo is courier, Marek is security and navigation. They got the job done, though the waitress saw them coming and said, “oh no, I’m coming to you.”


After breakfast, Todd recommended a park just up the road with a playground, but as we got in the car it started to sprinkle rain. So we headed back to Tampa and stopped off at the Ballast Point park for some much-needed play time. Check out Marek at the foot of the slide in the background.


Here’s what he looked like up close.


We had a very fine breakfast at Beverly’s. Chow was great. They put up with us. Price was reasonable. Locals and tourists in equal measure. They put up with us. And we had Todd and Magnolia, who just made the morning as special as can be. We’re pleased to give Beverly’s La Croisette a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


Beverly's La Croisette on Urbanspoon


We’re heading downtown this morning. Looks like New York City, with all these big buildings! For our readers not from Tampa: This is pretty much all there is. We’re not actually like New York City.


Notice anything new about Marek? First glasses, and he’s so proud to be like mom and dad.


We revisited L’Eden at 500 N. Tampa Street on 11 January 2014. It’s not our first time, but it surely has been a while. Our last visit was pre-Ivo, four years ago.


Now that Marek has glasses, everything he does looks so studious. Now that he can read pretty much anything and he has glasses, I get more and more photographs like this one. He also likes to tell me over and over how he knows everything now. Glasses will do that for you.


Ivo doesn’t have glasses, but does this kid love playing with a knife.


It’s only a problem when he starts swinging his knife around like a sword, chopping everything and everyone around him. Of course, that never happens.


Is this Marek reaching out to stop his brother’s rampage? Or is this Marek with his own knife, joining the fray? You be the judge. Of the nice coffee that just arrived at the table. No time to pay attention to the boys, there’s coffee to drink.


The avant guard of fashion, menu hats. Innovators, that’s Tampa Bay Breakfasts.


Something to keep in mind when you visit L’Eden, and I hope you visit L’Eden, is that it’s not fast. Gerard is probably working alone in the back. So come prepared to play a little “gimme five … too slow!” (Which is also how I keep their mother entertained when on a date.)


Something’s happening over there behind the bar.


Hurray, breakfast is coming! Le Petit Déjeuner! She’s from New York, by the way, not France, not that it matters.


Marek got the American breakfast, with eggs, taters, bacon, sausage. These are the fluffiest scrambled eggs we’ve ever seen (and you know we’ve seen a lot of scrambled eggs).


I had the savory croissant with fruit. Perfectly fresh fruit and a croissant that was so lovely and delicate, it was like the bread equivalent of Ivo when he’s sleeping peacefully. (He’s usually sleeping peacefully on a pile of wreckage from his destruction of the house, but then he’s still lovely and delicate when he’s sleeping.)


Marek took this picture of his old dad. Note the little grabby-hand I had to catch to protect my chow.


Ivo had the pain au raisin, which he chose from the trays of fresh-fresh-freshly baked everything up on the bar.


And he yoinked my fruit also, for which I taxed him half a pain au raisin.


A happy Marek, a happy dad. Boy needs a haircut. Maybe on our next breakfast we’ll do that. Like I’m one to talk, with my mop of random grey. Note Marek’s holding of the grape.


And Ivo’s holding of the grape. Strange children.


Marek tried something new. That’s new, that he tried something new. He usually demands to stick with what he knows. He loved the croissant, and then gave it back. He usually doesn’t give back things he likes. Wow. Let it be recorded: First moment of budding maturity.


Ivo steps up to pay the bill. Check out how I’m giving him a card and he’s gazing off into the distance, thoughtfully, considering just how big a car he could buy with this card (Ivo, here’s a hint: Not very big).


Ivo would make a good waiter. Gerard, you may want to hire him in a few years.


Marek, sweet kid looking out for dad, went up to the bar to get me a coffee to go. That’s a good son. I think I’ll keep him around. He hasn’t figured out how to monetize his sweetness yet. He could say, “dad, I’ll get you a coffee for a quarter.” But he doesn’t. Not because he’s being sweet for free, but because it hasn’t occurred to him yet to start charging me for everything. That’s coming.


When we were all paid up at L’Eden, we walked over to Curtis Hixon Park. We went by way of the Rivergate Plaza and Kiley Garden. When the boys got to the top of the stairs, they cried, “wow! It’s a maze!” And started running. It’s a shame we don’t have more kids and more going on downtown. Tampa could be a real city.


And what about L’Eden? The food is lovely and lives up to all the praise you read about in the papers. The location is very nice, cozy and warm. Prices a little higher than maybe you’d spend elsewhere, but you’re not getting ripped off by any stretch. Our friend Gerard from Marseille has brought a wonderful bit of his home to us here in Tampa. Go to L’Eden. Thank him for not opening his fine little restaurant in Orlando. We’re pleased to give L’Eden a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.


L'Eden on Urbanspoon

2013 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year

Marek, Ivo, and I are pleased to announce the 2013 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year. This award is on the “short list” of the world’s greatest achievements, just below the Nobel Prize and just in front of the Daytime Emmy Awards. No restaurant has ever won the award of Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year and not gone on to another year of pretty much the same thing, only with the bragging rights that some kids from Tampa thought your pancakes were great.

The competition this year was exceptional. Seahorse, West Tampa Sandwich Shop, Maggie Mae’s, Three Coins, Mamas, Skyway Jacks, and Datz all were reviewed this year, and each was a clear five-pancake experience.


The Seahorse Restaurant was simply outstanding for location and loving history. Not to mention great chow and friendly people, just enough mix of locals (kind of like us, but not really) and tourists (kind of like us, but not really). This is a favorite of several TBB fans, including Becca and Todd. About time we got there.

West Tampa Sandwich Shop is one of our regular favorites. I take visitors here from out of town all the time, for lunch, too. The chow remains equal parts cheap and delicious, and you can’t beat the ambiance of years of photographs on the walls and the healthy mix of English, Spanish, and Cuban.

Maggie Mae’s is almost impossible to find if you don’t know it’s there, and once you find it you wonder how you’ve managed to live your life this long without it. Sit outside and endure the morning sun for a great breakfast surrounded by the best of Florida coastal living.

The Three Coins is one of the Bay Area’s best classic, old-school diners. Open 24 hours, always serving great chow at a fair price. I’ve never met an employee or a patron who wasn’t friendly, and we’ve never gone away unsatisfied. If folks from another country were here studying our culture and asked me to take them to a perfect example of an American diner, I’d take them here.

Mamas family restaurant is one of our regular favorites. Close to our house, full of great chow and fine prices, and Vicky works there. We’re not considering Mamas for the 2013 award as they’ve already won the award in 2012 and because Vicky’s not there any longer.

Skyway Jack’s is never going to stop being the best blueberry pancakes in the Bay Area. Skyway Jack’s has already won our annual award, and they’ve won our hearts with the most interesting menu around and the fried egg t-shirts on the waitresses.

Datz Deli is one of those great Tampa hot spots that does everything. You can dress up and feel fancy, you can dress down and feel at home. You can get a hot dog or a culinary creation (that might be a hot dog). You can show up in the morning have breakfast, or you can show up late in the evening for cocktails. You might spend a lot of money but you never leave asking yourself why you spent it.

And the winner of the 2013 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year is …

Datz Deli!

  1. Excellent food
  2. Expert service
  3. Lovely and high-end atmosphere
  4. We always run into people we know
  5. Parking is terrible

(We won’t hold the last one against them)

Congratulations, Datz crew! You’re the best, thanks for all the great breakfasts (and lunches, too!) over the years!


See you in 2014 for more breakfast!

2013 Breakfasts in Review

We’re in our fifth year of pancakes in the Tampa Bay Area. We could have never imagined letting mom sleep late on the weekends would lead to this.

It’s been a good year for breakfast. This year we’ve done 26 reviews, 18 of which were first-time visits. Of the 26, seven breakfasts were worthy of the coveted five-pancake review. We’ve ridden miles and miles to report on the best breakfasts in Tampa Bay.

This year was just surreal. The high point might be this airside tram in the airport.

And getting to hang with the Creative Loafing crew was awesome fun.

April 2014 will be our five-year anniversary of exploring breakfast and raising boys in the Tampa Bay Area.

Together, we’ve watched them grow (this is Marek)

And grow (Marek)

And grow (Ivo)

And grow

And grow

And grow

We were joined for breakfast by some good friends this year.

Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom.

Our friend Randy, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and current post-grad student at USF.

My bestest buddy from the Air Force, Captain Jason.

Chris and Lizzy, who have aliens in their back yard.

The only other person I know named “Ivo.”

USF student Montenique, our friend through the most interesting circumstances.

Major league breakfast fans P.J. and Corinn.

We saw some breakfasts flip their last pancakes this year (some of these closures now have new restaurants in the same locations):

Sunshine Cafe

Forest Hills Diner

Shirley’s Soul Food


Peppermint Patties

Chavez House

Rise and Shine

Tick Tock

It’s been a wonderful year of exploring Tampa Bay’s breakfasts with the boys and sharing it with you, our dear readers. Come join us in 2014 for even more pancake flipping!

Andy, Marek, and Ivo

Lucky Dill

Here we are in Seattle. Also known as “one of the 10 icky days we’ll have this year in Tampa Bay.”


Don’t let the jackets fool ya. We’re both in shorts. I’m wearing flip flops.

This is Ivo’s new penguin, named “Penguin.” A gift from our sweet neighbor Mary Jo. You’ll now be treated to many, many pictures of Penguin, as Ivo has not been more than 6 inches from it for 24 hours now.


We visited Lucky Dill at 227 Central in St. Pete on 15 December 2013. They have a nice web site at


Playing hide and seek on the way down the sidewalk.


Not a huge menu here, but it has enough to get us by. Lucky Dill isn’t big on pancakes, but I had heard they make their own corned beef. I’m a fan of homemade corned beef.


I asked Ivo what he wanted. He thinks and thinks. “Hmmm, dad, let me think.”


Penguin wants bacon and eggs, dad!


Lucky Dill is the sort of place where you order at the counter and then they bring it to you. So here’s the dining room as seen from the counter.


We’re number 13. Lucky 13 at the Lucky Dill!


I look up and suddenly the penguin is in my face. I think Penguin is hungry.


We got Penguin comfortably seated in a proper chair so we could all have breakfast. Bacon and eggs for Ivo, hash and eggs for Andy. Start your engines, gentlecars…..


Annnnd we’re off! Chomp, chomp, chomp!


Fork. Hand. Fork. Hand. Keep them eggs a-rollin’!


Between Ivo, Penguin, and the floor, his eggs were gone in about 7 minutes.


We had already paid up front, so we just bounced back to the car and fell asleep. Penguin, too.


Then we were minding our own business when we came across this lovely gopher turtle, also looking for breakfast.


The Lucky Dill was a great experience. Everyone was very friendly. Chow was delicious and fast and affordable … all we had, including some really fine coffee, for about $12. I’m not super-fond of the order-at-the-counter business model, as it leaves us without much chance to really interact and get to know a place. We’re pleased to give Lucky Dill a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.


Lucky Dill on Urbanspoon

The Ranch House

It’s a mid-week breakfast morning. We’re cruising down the road listening to Vanessa Lively, one of our favorite “girl with guitar” folk singers.


Family portrait, boys-style.


This morning, 27 November 2013, we’re re-visiting the Ranch House at 7706 W Hillsborough Ave. We first visited here back in May 2009.


Take note that the Ranch House is next to a Buddhist center and a tax refund center and, just off the picture, a strip-mall Christian church. Lots of diversity going on here.


Boys chose the same booth where we sat four years ago. We were looking at the original review, and Marek says, “awww, look, it’s little Marek!”


The menu hasn’t changed, but we sure have. On our first visit I wasn’t real impressed. But now we’re taking a closer look and wow, this is three big pages of breakfast. Including all the things named after people, which I think is a great touch.


Three big pages of breakfast, and even a kids menu to go along with it.


We asked. These arepas are Colombian, not Venezuelan. We have a bias due to our Tia Sofia being from Caracas. So we skipped these substandard Bogota Arepas.


I decided immediately that I wanted a Hot Mexican. Lucky for my marriage, there was an omelet named “The Hot Mexican.” If there wasn’t, who knows what would have happened when I asked for one.


Civil engineering projects. Probably part of a large public works project designed to stimulate the local economy.


These boys should have submitted plans for the World Trade Center project. I’ve never seen such sky-high stacking!


By now you’d think Marek would have a crowd of admiring people chanting, “one more! one more!” But no one other than Ivo and I were there to witness this incredible stack.


It’s Thanksgiving, the traditional time for family to pick at political issues. So I’ll get out in front of it all and admit that the failure of this ambitious publicly funded artwork is all Obama’s fault.


Lucky for Marek, there was a breakfast safety net for him to fall into. Bacon and eggs, Marek-style!


These boys are growing up to be such a team. First they’ll fight and kick and bite and fart on each other. Then, when you’re not paying any attention, Ivo will give one of his butters to Marek because he knows how much his brother likes it.


The following image is not safe for work. It’s R-rated. It’s only suitable to be looked at after the kids go to bed.

It’s my Hot Mexican!


Butter on the eggs and bacon. We’re all still wondering about this, but hey, so long as he doesn’t expect me to eat it he can do whatever he wants.


A little salsa for the Hot Mexican. A biscuit that I swear was dunked in butter. By the way, don’t get this meal without consulting your physician.


Ivo’s only three and he can do this. He’s farting the whole time and giggling, but he can butter his own pancakes.


For the first time all morning … silence. Gives me a moment to reflect on why the heck I ever had children, anyway.


Pancake-induced coma for Ivo.


A dose of coffee perks up any boy. I know it’s a requirement for old dad.


And off they go to pay the bill. I’m hoping it fits on a Jackson. Last time I did this, they came back to say they needed more money.


All the gumball machines were fascinating. One of them was Fox News sponsored — it had an equal number of Evil Exploding Obama Heads and Saintly Rush Limbaugh Halos. If it wasn’t an equal number, then it wouldn’t be fair and balanced.


Our nice waitress is from Uruguay. The first time we’ve ever met anyone from Uruguay. These ten facts about Uruguay will not leave you feeling very informed. This description is better, as it at least talks about food and drink.


A peso for the Ivo. Aggressive.


A peso for the Marek. Photogenic.


Prizes from the machines! This is a special day! Un dia especial! Despite the fact that I had a Hot Mexican, the restaurant is staffed by Uruguayans and owned by Colombians. Ay Caramba!


After our excellent breakfast, we hopped up on U.S. 19 and rolled north to Homosassa Springs to visit the manatees. Marek, as you can see here, is showcasing the latest fashion in “County Orange.”


From the boardwalk, some of the local residents. They are much larger than they appear from this photograph.


Boys exploring the under water observatory. Nothing like energetic young Florida boys yelling at fish to make all the real tourists wonder which animals they’re here to see.


The best manatees of them all, Marek and Ivo.


Our first visit to the Ranch House was good, but we were new at our reviews and didn’t take the time to really appreciate it. Looking back, we gave them an average three pancake rating; good place, average pancakes, OK price. But this time we really paid attention, and this is what we saw: Locals at every table being greeted by name. A very personal, family place where people’s names are part of the food. Very friendly staff. And I’m STILL talking about my Hot Mexican several days later. Price is reasonable, chow is good, and it’s one of those labor-of-love restaurants that I always enjoy. We’re pleased to promote the Ranch House’s rating from a dismal three to an exceptional Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancakes rating.


Ranch House on Urbanspoon

La Pequeña Colombia

Watch out Tampa, the Breakfast Boys are doing their thing this morning.


We visited La Pequeña Colombia at 6312 North Armenia Avenue on 9 November 2013. They have a flashy web site at This is a recommendation from Tampa Bay Breakfasts fan J.C., who is from Colombia and knows what he’s talking about.


You get a sense of pride in La Pequeña Colombia, the folks running this restaurant really love what they do. Everything is vibrant and exciting. You don’t even have to open the menu to see what you’re in for here.


Lots of desayunos to choose from. No pancakes. Arepas everywhere (though we do have a preference for Venezuelan Arepas, because of our Tia Sofia).


For the gringos, number 13: the “Desayuno Americano” with French fries.

Reminds me of the time I was in a pizza place in Hungary. They brought me a pizza and some ketchup. Why, I asked. Because I’m American, and Americans eat everything with ketchup.


You can see the bakery cases behind Marek. Lots of lovely Colombian breads and snacks there.


Marek picked up a newspaper outside on our way in. I think he’s reading that article at the bottom, “Oracle, Google, y Red Hat.”


Just like his old man, Marek needs his glasses to read.


Like I said, just like his old man.


Out in the parking lot, the fastest pancake mobile in Tampa. It’s going to be a really sad day when Marek grows another two inches and doesn’t fit in the back seat anymore. He’ll have to start riding in the trunk.


Hot chocolate and cafe con leche.


Ivo decided to “fix” our googlyglasses. In Ivo-speak, anything he offers to “fix” will be completely disassembled down to the molecular level in the time it takes for you to get another beer from the kitchen.


Just in time, here comes breakfast. Desayunos, that is. And there’s butter so, of course, Marek is pleased.


I had whatever our fine waitress recommended. Scrambled eggs with peppers, beans and rice, arepas, tostada. This is “Calentado,” and I’d recommend it to you.


The boys both had “scrambled eggs and bacon.” Which turned out to be “eggs scrambled with bacon.” And they were thrilled. Like, wow, they can DO that, dad?


Marek, in this fugue state, mumbled that this was the best breakfast he’d ever had. I think he stopped breathing for a moment.


If you go to La Pequeña Colombia and you like sunshine, sit in the booth at the north end of the dining room. I sort of wished we’d chosen one booth over and not been in the tanning salon, but I wanted to get these little monsters as far away from decent people as possible.


Ivo was done. I said, hey Ivo, give dad a kiss. And the little bugger licked my cheek. Ick. But oh, did he laugh at how he had one over on me.


While that little drama was going on, over on Marek’s side of the table there’s a full-blown theatrical production on how he loves those scrambled eggs with bacon in them.


Total bill, 48,000 Colombian Pesos, or about $25 USD. A little more expensive than our usual, but we had a lot of food (and, to be honest, our usual is usually me getting something and splitting it with at least one boy).


I don’t know why Ivo is folding his bills long-ways like that. And also, if his face looks sort of dirty, it’s because Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom was out of town last night and boys skipped bathing and probably slept in their clothes under boxes of cereal for all I know.


Off they go to pay the bill. While I catch a break from trying to keep them quiet and keep them from destroying the restaurant.


Our fine waitress was very kind to put up with us. Though she didn’t seem interested in wearing googly eyes with us when we first sat down.


She gave the boys Bon Bon Booms! Our friend for life.


Did I mention that Mom is not home? So after breakfast we went and had fun the way only dads can do. We went to a furniture store and played on the beds. Boys won’t take naps at home, but take them out in public into a room full of bare mattresses, and OFF come the shoes and up they go to get cozy. Dad is then free to wander around, looking at prices on doilies and foot stools, for at least an hour.


In the bed-choosing competition, Ivo wins. Up and down and up and down and up and down.

And just think, Mom actually Spends Money to take the boys to fun places.


But back to La Pequeña Colombia. A fine experience. Food was great (“best breakfast I ever had,” swoons Marek). People friendly (and tolerant of our chaos). Price a little higher than usual for us. The restaurant is exceptionally lovely inside, despite being in what is really a wretched little strip mall. We’ll be back. We’re happy to give La Pequeña Colombia a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake award.


La Pequena Colombia on Urbanspoon

Seahorse Restaurant

We’re at Pass-a-Grille beach this lovely Florida morning. And we’re hungry.


This morning we’re going to try out the Seahorse Restaurant at 800 Pass a Grille Way, St. Pete Beach, FL. The Seahorse is a recommendation from TBB fan Becca and TBB fan Todd.


It’s a special breakfast morning, because we have our Favorite Guest Reviewer, Mom, with us!


If you were thinking that this morning could only get better if you started slurping coffee creamers, then your name might be Ivo.


The lovely Mom points out the Baby Ray sandwich in honor of Grandpa Ray. She did not, however, actually try the Baby Ray sandwich.


Some history of Pass-a-Grille and the Seahorse. This restaurant has been here since 1934, which may make it the oldest restaurant we’ve visited.


A lovely and comprehensive menu. Are you also thinking about the hash?


Hot chocolate for everyone. The boys have more or less decided they don’t like my coffee any longer. Thanks, mom.


If you’re thinking that this hot chocolate would be even better if it were spooned out on the table, then your name might also be Ivo.


Speaking of the table, sitting here gives one a sense of timelessness. This isn’t a kitsch table bought at a thrift shop, it’s made to tell the story of this place. That’s lovely.


In a shock felt round the world, Marek is trying the bacon and eggs. Stand by for butter.


Pancakes for Ivo.


With a little hand-eye-knife coordination opportunity. He does this better than a lot of adults.


Eggs and grits for Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom.


And hash and eggs for me. While they’re not corning their own beef like Datz, it’s still good.


High fructose corn syrup for Ivo. The American Way.


A nice breakfast portrait of Andy looking like crazy old dude.


Butter on your bacon and eggs? Your name must be Marek.


The tab for all four, under $32. That’s pretty reasonable for a table full of good chow.


This is a little move I call “tickling the tricep.” Ivo shown here laughing and begging me to please stop tormenting him.


Ivo taking the cash, Marek providing security. And comic relief.


Away they go. We’re actually supposed to pay the waitress at the table, but I like to send them off wandering the dining room with cash, just to get a moment of quiet.


A mother’s love. A child’s escape being planned (look at the eyeball).


After breakfast we walked across the street to the pier and talked to this nice guy. He showed us how to throw a cast net.


Getting a few little ones, which he’ll be using soon to get a few big ones.


The Seahorse has everything you need. Great, classic, historical location with the best beaches in the area. Nice prices. Delicious food. Perfect mix of tourists (like us) and locals. Friendly staff. This is a great Tampa Bay Breakfast. We’re pleased to give the Seahorse Restaurant a Tampa Bay Breakfasts five pancake rating.


Sea Horse on Urbanspoon