The International Cafe

Me and Marek, we’re going downtown this morning to find some breakfast. Oh my goodness, someone left this sweet little baby just sitting here on the sidewalk.

No, wait. That’s Ivo. He’s so hungry, he beat us to it. He can’t even walk yet, and he’s already first in line for pancakes.

Marek paid for parking. I didn’t get a picture of it, but somehow a little car got stuck up in the change slot. These things seem to happen frequently when you’re four.

The Sun Trust building downtown always reminds me of the buildings in Metropolis. (I bet you thought I meant this Metropolis, didn’t you?)

Marek’s pretty sure he sees Superman flying around up there.

It’s one of the perks of fatherhood. I like to think that Marek thinks of me as his own personal Superman.

We visited the International Cafe at 601 Twiggs on Friday, April 1st. They’re only open Monday through Friday, so it’s taken us a while to get a Friday morning free to make a visit.

This time we brought the Ivo kit. Not like that time we went to Chavez House and had to improvise. Ooooh, was that a soupy experience when we got home. The Tampa downtown guide brochure is our camouflage. When we carry that, people think we’re just tourists and not the renowned Breakfast Police.

Inside the International is pretty sparse and utilitarian. This is actually a very functional grab-n-go, what I call a “corporate cafe” for on-the-go business folks.

Marek had coffee. Some people put sugar in the coffee. Marek just wanted a cup full of cars.

I fed Ivo this bowl of goo. It looks terrible, doesn’t it? It’s pretty much the same thing on the other side of the alimentary equation.

In keeping with the grab-n-go atmosphere, breakfast came in a to-go carton.

No sooner had I cut the box in two to share with Marek, but Ivo had his paws in the pancakes.

So I did what any loving father would do. I slapped his hand away from my breakfast and started shoveling baby-goo at him. His balled up left hand? Full of a wad of my pancake. If Marek is the Breakfast Leading Man, Ivo’s the Breakfast Ninja.

Marek says, dad, is this syrup? Pointing at the big red-sauce bottle. No, son, it’s not.

What I could have said was, yes, son, it is. Marek of the future, sitting down to read this with your therapist to explore the traumatic experiences of your past, please note: Whatever else your old man may have done to send you into therapy, telling you this bottle of sriracha was syrup was NOT one of them.

So Marek figures he’s a good-lookin’ lad. He’s got moves. He’s a leading man, a real player on the breakfast scene. So he goes and finds the pretty girl and sweet-talks her out of some syrup. I think he got her phone number, too. (Ivo the Breakfast Ninja, on the other hand, would have given her a swift kick to the head and crawled up the side of the building with ALL the syrup. What? I’m just sayin’….)

Marek even opened it himself. Seems like a small thing, but he’s never done that before.

Ivo’s tanking up on a bottle. Note my perfect form as I deliver the bottle, balance the not-strapped-in kid in a car seat on a chair, take a picture, while politely suggesting to Marek that the red sauce is not syrup. I’m actually in training for the National Olympic Fatherhood Team.

Marek is a new kind of dinosaur. He’s the newly discovered Gross-a-saurous. This is an artist’s rendition of what Grossasaurous may have looked like in his native habitat.

After a bowl of goo and a bottle, Ivo got a baby-cookie. These actually smell like construction materials and have a consistency sort of like hardyboard, but he likes them. He also wears the same size shoe I do.

The International Cafe was an OK experience for us. The people were very spirited and friendly and the food was pretty good and nicely priced. If we were grabbing breakfast on the way to the office we’d have really enjoyed it, but it’s not really a sit-down have-a-breakfast sort of place and I really don’t think they get a lot of kids in there. Definitely try it out if you’re in grab-n-go mode, as the chow is very good and fast. As far as a breakfast-with-kids overall experience, we’ll give the International Cafe a Tampa Bay Breakfasts three pancake rating.

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International Cafe on Urbanspoon

After breakfast we drove up Florida Avenue and had to stop to take a picture of Superman’s VW bus. Now that’s one sweet, super ride! Fritz Lang would have approved!

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