We visited the Aguila Sandwich Shop at 3200 W Hillsborough Ave on 9 October 2009. This was our first visit to Aguila’s but we drive by it almost every day. We’d have visited sooner but they’re closed on Sunday, and sometimes we like breakfast on Sunday. It’s such a cute little cozy building.
OK, to be perfectly honest, we like breakfast every day. Not just “sometimes” on Sunday. Our dear Marek, who is gaining an appreciation for poetry (he seems to like a bit of Pablo Neruda for a bedtime story. Or Cat in the Hat. It’s a toss-up.), is busy composing verse about an important cultural issue. He hasn’t shared the completed work with me yet, but it starts out with a similar tone to Rilke’s Duino Elegies. He recited it to me as we drove to Aguila’s:
“I want monkey. I want MonKEEEE. I WANT monkey. Dada. I want Monkey.”
We got inside and immediately liked this place. It was 0800 on a Friday and it was almost full. It seemed like a nice collection of older retirees and working folks on the way to work. Well-worn but not unclean. The host seemed to greet almost everyone by name as they came in, and we know that’s a really good sign.
We might have to come back for the especialidad, which is more of a lunch thing. Marek used this little paramedic truck throughout the morning to reel in everyone that walks by. He’d roll it right off the table and wait for folks to pick it up. Most times he’d have to go get it himself, but he gave a cheerful “gracias!” to anyone who helped him.
We flipped the menu and were a little concerned. The breakfast offerings were a little terse. That’s 8 items on the breakfast menu.
But with pancakes on the docket, we’re in good shape. I had the cafe con leche. Marek had none, for once. I think he’s trying to cut back on his caffeine as part of some new age yoga thing he’s been doing in his spare time. Not me, though. This was some deeeelicious coffee. Really fine stuff.
While we waited, Marek turned on the charm. I think he’s taking dramatic classes in the evenings. Along with his yoga and poetry.
One of the things we look for in a Tampa Bay Breakfast is the unique factor. Does a TBB have something that no other place has? Besides Marek, since there’s only one of him in the whole universe and at any given time he’s having breakfast in only one place. Unless the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement applies to little boys as well as distant quantum particles. But quantum theory aside, what makes Aguila’s special? Well, it’s the only Tampa Bay Breakfast we’ve been to where we noticed a humidor. Those are some enormous stogies!
Yak, yak, yak. You’re wondering if I’ll ever get around to the breakfast, aren’t you? We had breakfast and it was good. Real good. Marek had the pancakes. A set of three that weren’t enormous but they also weren’t expensive, so we’ll call it even.
And I’d love to tell you if they were tasty or not, but I never got any. Marek gave these pancakes the Bionic Elbow treatment. Those pancakes rue the day they met Marek!
I tried the breakfast sandwich. I was apprehensive at first, but I’m here to tell you that this sandwich was so good it made me feel like adopting it as a second child. Muy delicioso! This was with scrambled eggs, yellow cheese (by recommendation), and chorizo. This filled me up so good, I didn’t eat another thing until almost suppertime.
I’m still thinking about that sandwich. I might go get another one right now. But first, Tampa Bay Breakfasts! When we were done, Marek paid the bill.
And he made himself at home behind the counter. I’m always surprised folks don’t hand him an apron and a broom. Put that tiny hiney to work!
When we were done, Marek went around and gave everyone adios kisses. Then we went home.
Aguila Sandwich Shop didn’t have the normal menu we like. And they’re a paper-plate place, which is not always something I want when we’re out. But Marek loved the place, the food is truly outstanding, and the family and all the customers are top-shelf friendly and welcoming. I would not hesitate for a moment to return to Aguila’s — we’ll be back with our favorite guest reviewer, Mom! Oh, and our pancakes, juice, cafe con leche, and ginormous sandwich all fit in on a ten-spot. That’s a good value!
We’re pleased to give Aguila Sandwich Shop a Tampa Bay Breakfast four pancake rating!
I’m starting to think that we need a special category for desayunos, where we don’t penalize for there not being grits and biscuits on the menu (not, mind you, that we usually get grits or biscuits). We tend to approach breakfast from a Southern eggs-bacon-pancakes diner perspective, which is just not what you get at these fabulous places. I’d like to hear from our readers on this!