Stella’s Deli

We’re starting out the day pretending like it’s summertime. This wad of bikes on the back of the mom-car is guaranteed to make motorists go “awwwwww……”

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We’re taking a long ride to breakfast this morning. Everyone came prepared. Marek has his current favorite book. He loves books about nature but has decided that he really dislikes interacting with any actual nature.

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Ivo has his new Buzz. You can see how the roles are falling out with the boys. Marek, nerdy smart kid. Ivo, ug-play-crash-go. Three stitches under that band-aide, if you were questioning the “crash” in “ug-play-crash-go.”

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Lovely day here in Tampa Bay. All that blue sky makes us hungry.

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We’re headed to Gulfport, a little town hidden on the edges of St. Pete. For all our years and miles, we’ve never been to Gulfport. Residential roads, as you can see here, just end at the bay. There’s something nice to be said about that.

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Today we’re visiting Stella’s Deli at 3119 Beach Blvd South, Gulfport, FL 33707. They have a nice little web site at http://stellasingulfport.com/.

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Menu is extensive, with all kinds of standard and non-standard stuff. Hangover burgers make me already appreciate the clientele at Stellas.

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For Tampa Bay Breakfasts fans Jason and Jess, here’s yours.

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We’re sitting outside. How nice is that? Table’s pretty dirty. I only mention it because I noticed, and if I noticed, what with two boys who make icky an every day pleasure, you know it’s noticeable. Just surprised with all the great press Stella’s gets that they don’t start out the day by wiping off the accretion of dirt, dust, pollen, and nighttime from the outdoor tabletops.

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Marek appears very uncomfortable here. I appear very comfortable here.

These appearances are accurate.

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Ivo repurposed the creamer bucket as a fez. Looks good on him. As will the creamer pod he will doubtless split open and dump on himself in a few minutes.

Note the little girl in the background. Staring at Ivo, thinking, “hey, nice hat!”

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Hot chocolate for Marek. This is the first place where he didn’t really care for it. It was too hot at first, and when it cooled down he still didn’t care for it. I didn’t try it, myself. I don’t like to drink after these little monsters.

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Ivo, on the other hand, mainlined his triple-shot of the good stuff.

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I asked Ivo to go get me a newspaper. Parenting technique of distraction, as all the coffee was making everyone jittery. So Ivo executed this excellent dismount. Yes, he knows it’s easier to just get off the chair, but he’s going to do it his own way. Thank you very much.

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Fetching the above-mentioned newspaper. Note that actually placing our order for chow had a significant lag time, leading to the need for an actual newspaper.

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No breakfast merit here, just a sweet picture of little Ivo. Look deep into his eyes and enjoy the fact that for this tiny, quiet, personal moment between father and son …. he’s not actively breaking something.

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I predict lots and lots of goofy looks from Marek in the coming decades. Here’s an early example. His biographers from the future will cite this as the first time his goofball genius was documented.

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We’ve had a great half an hour here at Stella’s Deli. Read the newspaper. Had some coffee. And here’s our chance to get some chow to go along with it. We were digging the super-tech ordering system, first place in The Bay Area we’ve seen that.

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Ivo’s going to do a magic trick. Notice the very nice folks from Pennsylvania behind him.

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Step one: Bite the creamer pod.

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Step two: Wear the creamer and be proud.

First time readers of Tampa Bay Breakfasts are probably thinking, wow, Andy acts like he knew that was going to happen and he didn’t stop it?

Ayyup.

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Not to be out-done, Marek proposes doing the same thing with the jelly.

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At first we thought the umbrellas were for the sun. Then we saw the birds in the trees.

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Just in time to prevent us from breakfasting on creamer and marmalade, here’s breakfast! Ivo dives into the fray with fork and knife, shredding and mauling pancakes with gleeful abandon. I can only imagine him on a medieval battlefield, with a sword and axe.

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I had the homemade corned beef hash. I’m a sucker for homemade corned beef. Having been a bachelor at one point, I have actually eaten canned corned beef for 27 straight meals.

I don’t know if that’s actually true, but it’s not entirely false either.

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Breakfast boys at work. Tampa Bay’s only Pancake Professionals!

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Took us long enough to mention, but we’re here with a Tampa Bay Breakfasts Guest Reviewer, Randy.

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Marek says “syrup on eggs is the BEST!”

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Even Ivo looks at him with that look of “huh? syrup on EGGS?” If you’re grossing out Ivo, you’re doing it right.

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If you think for a moment that this syrup squeeze came straight out at Marek’s old man you’d be wrong. He did that earlier with the ketchup in the caddy and got in a bit of trouble that he hasn’t quite yet forgotten.

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Ivo with Marek’s old t-shirt, a gift from dear friends in Stuttgart.

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Randy’s reading that whole book on the table behind him.

It’s the owner’s manual for 2 and 5 year old kids.

Volume 1.

Of 2000.

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And then, while we’re casually talking, suddenly eggs are flying through the air. My Breakfast Ninja Ways took over and I caught the eggs in mid-air. In one fluid motion, elegant in its efficiency, I caught the eggs and said, Ivo, eat this.

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Ivo jumped like a cat. Pounced. Struck like a cobra. And the wayward eggs were gone. No one, to this day, knew where they came from.

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Marek’s plate is suspiciously void of eggs. Hmmm.

And here we are, back with the jelly.

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Because eating actual food is never as satisfying as just slurping condiments.

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I’m just glad I’m a lot bigger than Ivo, that’s all I’m sayin’. ‘Cause this is scary. Like a professional pancake wrestler, Ivo’s about to fly off the top rope at me.

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More with the painful, unnecessary dismounts.

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And we’re off to pay the bill. Just over $20. Not terrible, but not a bargain either. About average these days.

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Ivo’s got the cash. Marek’s the muscle. Good force protection posture.

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Quote from folks around us, “did you just send your kids into the restaurant alone with the money?” Ayyup.

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And within three hours, they came back with change.

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They’re starting to get paid for their efforts. The funny thing is, the quarters just come out of their little pockets in the washing machine and I put them back in my own jar anyway. So here ya go, kid, take two!

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Ivo ran off and got a quarter stuck in his eye. Does this happen to anyone else?

Here’s Marek in bouncer-mode. He’ll pick up work at Prana in Ybor when he’s older.

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Stella’s is a quality breakfast and well worth the long haul from Tampa. Service was a bit chaotic and slow to get moving, but the coffee never failed and the chow was very nice. TBB Guest Reviewer Randy gives it a thumbs up as one of his favorites. We’re pleased to give Stella’s Deli a Tampa Bay Breakfasts four and a half pancake rating.

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Stella’s Deli on Urbanspoon

After breakfast we walked to the shore and chased birds.

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And wouldn’t ya know it, the birds chased back!

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And once in a while, I get a picture that makes me think I might be doing this right after all.

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Gulfport had a mini-parade. Ivo climbed the fence by himself, looking for more stitches.

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After the playground, we went to SE Mattis barber shop in Seminole Heights, near our place.

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Marek negotiated with his barber.

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Ivo’s not interested in a haircut today.

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But when Marek paid the bill, he found out there were lollipops. Suddenly, Ivo appears by the chair.

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Jump up and ready to go, no fuss at all. There’s a lollipop at the end of this ordeal.

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Our barber has a good hand with these boys. He understands little-boy-hair-cuts and tickle spots.

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That’s a sharp haircut!

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Later that evening, we took a nighttime walk with our family hound. These are the little things the boys will remember when they’re my age and working until forever o’clock all the time.

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Just a normal day.

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