Cuban Sandwich Cafe

Tampa Bay Times is using us for a little advertising campaign. We’re proud to be seen as a face of The Bay Area.

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This cloudy morning we’re going to check out the Cuban Sandwich Cafe at 10434 N Florida Ave.

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We’re three really sweet boys.

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We’re three really goofy boys.

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Marek read this sign for us. Which made Ivo want to do the opposite of what it told us. He’s contrary this weekend.

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Since we’re reading these days, we need our morning newspapers. If you’re wondering about Ivo’s pants … “camo” is a color where I come from.

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A nice corner spot.

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Dangerous guys like us, we like to show off our tattoos. I guess I’m to blame for both boys talking about tattoos a lot.

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Inside the Cuban Sandwich Cafe, well-worn and very crowded. It’s not a big dining room, so it’s easy to be crowded.

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Ivo’s favorite thing today, thbbbpptting the tongue.

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Kiss for dady? Thbbbpptt.

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An immense stack of jelly.

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But all endeavors ultimately fade. The Puerto Rico shirt is actually Marek’s, a present from his teacher Carmen a couple schools back.

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It took a while, but we ended up getting a menu. Perfunctory in scale, but meets our breakfast minimum standards.

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Ivo laughed like he was at a comedy club, every time he’s shove this bottle at me and I’d make this face. I guess, when we think about it, we sort of are a traveling comedy show.

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Coffee for everyone. I’m glad I took a picture of this, since I didn’t get a refill until I was actually standing up and getting ready to walk out the door.

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I’m thinking about switching Ivo to decaf. That little Puerto Rican Camo Kid spent all day pinging off the walls.

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Notice the Kendo posture Ivo takes when attacking his pancakes. Good two-handed Katana grip.

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Bacon and eggs, standard fare, for Marek.

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Piles of pancake for Ivo.

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A big mouth can take a big bite.

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Ivo is demonstrating his exceptional fine motor control. I know adults who can’t cut their own food as well.

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I had the Breakfast Cuban sandwich, with bacon, eggs, and cheese. It was quite nice.

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Total bill was about $14.

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Ivo stepped up to courier the cash.

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Marek and Ivo in line. I wasn’t able to get a snap of Ivo trying to climb the counter and Marek pushing him up by the butt, but that had this half of the dining room cracking up.

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When we left, we were dwarfed by this big Excursion. People who drive big vehicles don’t realize how absurdly large they appear to people who drive small and awesome vehicles.

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The Cuban Sandwich Cafe is beloved by a lot of folks, and you’ll find Urban Spoon littered with praise for the Cuban chow here. Breakfast was adequate. While food was pretty good, the overall experience wasn’t really all that super. They were very busy, it’s true, but I watched the waitresses take a coffee tour of the dining room at least four times and never even look at us. And the bug-zapper light installed by the bathroom door made even me concerned about overall food-health issues, and I frequently cut an apple with my pocket knife without cleaning it off first. While the other folks eating all seemed very friendly, the staff really maxed out at “cordial,” if not just “perfunctory” when dealing with us. The real difference between our experience at the Cuban Sandwich Cafe and at Nick’s Family Restaurant last month was that at least the people at the tables around us were friendly at the Cuban Sandwich Cafe, while at Nick’s Family Restaurant clientele and staff alike were borderline hostile. Cuban Sandwich Cafe is good for a stop if you’re in the neighborhood, but don’t drive across the bay for breakfast here. We give it a Tampa Bay Breakfasts three pancake rating.

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Cuban Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Ivo made sure we all knew that there was bird poop on the window. He was proud to say he could touch it. Luckily it was outside the glass. This started a conversation about how would you poop on the ceiling. What? We are three guys in a car on a long drive. And yes, we did have a long discussion about jumping and pooping, and timing it correctly to have the desired effect.

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We stopped to visit our Pasco County friends Greg and Lynette. Greg’s t-shirt says, “Chuck Norris’s Forecast: Cloudy with 90% chance of pain!” At the edge of the picture is Lynette, saying, don’t take my picture!

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We saw a bunch of cool things on the road after breakfast on our drive to Marion County. Like this truck hauling stacked up trucks.

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Just north of Inverness, a big pink elephant on the side of the road.

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On the road to Hernando, some classic body parts on a flatbed.

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Helicopter at the Hernando VFW on Highway 200. Presumably it’s on display, and not parked there by a vet getting a Bud Light at the bar.

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Yet the boys managed to sleep through it all. No stamina in this group.

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We stopped off at the grocery to get marshmallows for supper. Marek had trouble seeing for some reason we couldn’t figure out. It cleared up when we left the market.

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Can you tell the boys are on dad-time this weekend?

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