L’Eden Cafe

I got up this morning and found Marek hard at work. He says, dad, this Tampa Bay Breakfast thing is going nowhere if we don’t put in some overtime getting it done and done right. I’m just trying to help you out, Slo-Mo. I asked, where are we going this morning, ma jeune petit garcon?


Well, what do you think about THAT. Lad’s not even three and he’s taken over my laptop and set up office at the dining room table. It was early and I wasn’t all the way woken up yet, so I was, I’ll admit, feeling put out to pasture. Then I figured out what Marek was REALLY doing. Instant messaging with Grandma and watching Clifford cartoons, just like I do at work all day. He pointed out that he’d already done his homework and suggested we should go to France!


We had to go downtown to find a taste of Paris.


We don’t have the Eiffel Tower, but we do have an enormous “beer can” building that is every bit as awesome.


(In case you were wondering, this is a view from the top.)


We visited L’Eden Cafe at 500 N Tampa St on 20 February 2010. This was our first ever visit to L’Eden, though we have visited the Samaria Cafe next door and loved it. And of course, we just love being downtown!


Marek was full of talk. We walked in and he grabbed a table by the window. Bonjour, he says to the gentleman in the chef’s uniform. Serious. I don’t know where he picks this stuff up.


We both grabbed a menu and perused. No pancakes. But there’s some great tastes listed here, including the expected petit déjeuner avec cafe noir. And the croissants and pains on the counter were exquisitely fresh and tasty looking. I went for the coffee and Marek for the jus d’orange.


While we waited Marek says, hey speed freak, what do you think about re-enacting the 24 hours of Le Mans? I said, well, we won’t be here for 24 hours, but sure, let’s do some time trials. I said “un, deux…” and Marek hollered, “trois!”


Then Marek got some juice. He says, “merci bien, papa!” Now he’s just trying to impress the girls that walked in while we were sitting there.


I had a little bit of coffee. Now let me tell you something, ami, this is some very fine coffee. A bit more delicate, perhaps, than the harsh diner acid we usually drink, but no less strong. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


While we waited, Marek and I started a serious discussion. First I asked him if he knew that Rilke also wrote poetry in French as well as German? While his most famous and intricate works were in German, he was no slouch in French. This pleasant conversation meandered into politics. I said that President Sarkozy is great, but I’m sure he’s not nearly the poet Rilke was, in any language. Marek got a bit upset as he is a staunch supporter of M. Sarkozy and his economic policies. He really took it personally. Gosh, kid, I didn’t realize you felt so strongly about Sarko.


Then here came some petit déjeuner! This is the savory croissant with ham, eggs, and cheese, along with some fresh fruit. And it was delicious!


Marek went “yoink!” on the fruit bowl. I suggested to him that “yoink!” is not actually French. It’s not actually anything.


When we were done we paid the bill. About 17 Francs for all this plus un pain au chocolat to go for mom. Not exactly cheap, but what L’Eden loses in cost effectiveness it more than makes up for in deliciousness and ambiance.


Marek got a tour of the facility, including the lovely little courtyard in the back. He was still sore with me for the Sarko vs Rilke talk (though I WILL admit that Sarko would take Rilke easily in a WWF suspended cage match, as Rilke was sort of a pansy), so he was happy to just trot off away with a fellow Frenchman.


While Marek was gone I sat and daydreamed about a motorcycle ride I took through France years ago. Ahh, c’est bon.


I don’t usually override Marek on the ratings, but I’m going to today. Marek had pancakes on the brain and really wasn’t very interested in eating anything else. But our visit to L’Eden evoked a lot of fond memories for me from some years ago when I worked for a company in Paris. The people at L’Eden were both friendly and French. The food was lovely. The coffee was simply great. The location was downtown cool. And they played some nice French music in the background. I’m rolling out the four and a half pancake rating for this great Tampa Bay Breakfast.


After breakfast, Marek and I went to visit the new Curtis Hixon park. If you haven’t been, you are missing a really nice park. This urban public space made Tampa feel like a real city!


There’s a great slide, too!


This shifty-looking character was sitting on a park bench.


The park has the latest in playground features, the “Little Bartender.”


And there’s a great dog park. That’s not Marek’s dog, by the way. We were probably in violation of some city ordinance by going to the dog park to play with other peoples’ dogs.


What a fine morning. Merci, L’Eden, for starting us out right.

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