We visited the Riviera Cafe on 18 Feb 2012. Riviera is in the strip mall by Michael’s craft store, or as Marek calls it, the “arts and crabs store,” 14819 N Dale Mabry in Carrollwood. Riviera Cafe was a recommendation from Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom.
Me and Ivo, we’re bringing up the slow lane. Note the smug little grin on my little guy. He knows … pancakes. He’s going to get to hurl pancakes at strangers.
Remember when Marek would bring some little cars to breakfast so we could quietly play? He’s a big boy now so he needs big cars.
Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom and Ivo strike a pose worthy of G.Q. magazine. Look at his far-away adventure look that says, “somewhere … there’s a mountain for me to climb. And … on that mountain … is something of Dad’s … something I can break when he’s not looking …”
The menu is standard, comprehensive, but no blueberry pancakes. Our waitress, of whom we don’t have a photograph, was outstanding. Super-cheerful and understood how kids operate.
We had coffee and clinked the mugs, as is the ritual in our tribe.
Inside Riviera Cafe is clean and open. That’s an ATM on the right, which is necessary since they’re a cash-only operation. I like cash-only places. They exist just off the grid and will be the last hold outs when the world slips into Gibsonish technical dystopia.
Ivo made the rounds of people to sit with. After me, I passed him to the next table over and he went around the room like a beach ball at a Jimmy Buffet concert.
This photograph has nothing to do with breakfast. I just think my wife is pretty.
Here’s breakfast! You’ll notice right away, because you’re reading this and you probably are already familiar with our routine, that there’s what appears to be a whole can of corned beef hash on the table. This was an impulse purchase. Honestly, I really like hash but just not a lot of it. And I figured I’d introduce it to the boys. Both of whom turned their noses right up at it. Mom saying, “it looks like dog food” (say that in a mocking, nasally tone) didn’t help. More hash for me, fellas!
Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom had the French toast. Whenever I have French toast I say in a gravelly, sultry voice, “oh la la, cest bon, oui? Heh heh heh.” When she has it she says, “pass the syrup.” This is why we’ve been together for so long, because I know not to get the French toast.
Ivo had some pancakes and eggs. You can tell Mom’s on the scene by the way she’s setting him up. She forgets that we’re well-practiced at all this. It’s our ding, eh. (Say in a Jersey Shore voice)
This photograph doesn’t tell the whole story. If you look very closely at Marek’s eggs, you’ll see that he just finished dumping a quart of syrup on them. He ate them, cheerfully, and completely bypassed the pancake. Ick, says I to he and thee. Ick.
Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom and I took some moments to goof while Marek and Ivo took some moments to destroy something valuable they found in Mom’s purse.
The bill came. 22 clams for three full breakfasts, including a plate of hash. That’s a fair price for a good meal.
The brothers took on the perilous mission. That’s teamwork! Sing along with me: What’s gonna work? Teeeeeem work! Also note Ivo’s shirt. Clever, no? This was Marek’s shirt. Here’s a picture of Marek in that same shirt, on the Think Geek web site where I bought it.
They paid, they got pops! It’s a good life, being a kid. No one ever offers me a lollipop when I’m alone. I’m actually known for creeping people out. They always say hi to the kids when I’m out with them, and I always say, “If I were here alone you’d have ignored me. You should say hi to me, too.” And I look sad and move closer to them. And people seem to walk away quickly. It’s a fun game!
Can you believe I took spousal abuse for allowing this to happen after breakfast? Everyone knows it’s a Tampa Bay Breakfasts tradition!
The Riveria Cafe as a good experience. The food was just what you expect for breakfast. The coffee never ran dry. Nice, neighborhood place with good value for the dollar. I’d say this was a 3.5 on the breakfast scale, with a half-pancake bump for our waitress, whose name I now have misplaced, who was really excellent. We are pleased to rank Riviera Cafe with a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four pancake rating.
After breakfast, we dropped mom off and we went to the MD Oriental Market on Fowler.
This is a great place to go if you like to look at crabs.
Though, truth be told, this is the cheapest place in town to buy goji berries. Half the price for twice the quantity of our usual health food store.
And Marek always comes here for Hello Kitty snacks.
Just a normal day for the Tampa Bay Breakfast crew!