Mamas Family Kitchen

It’s a beautiful day in Tampa, Florida. A great day for a bike ride. Ivo’s on his Kazam bike. This used to be Marek’s Kazam bike, and is the reason why he’s such a biking ace today.

Of course, you can’t ride a Kazam all the way to breakfast, so Ivo still gets strapped to the back of my bike.

I have no idea how Ivo’s face got filthy between leaving the house and stopping for a photo-op break. This morning I achieved a parenting coup and managed to convince Marek that a wrench is a toy just like Star Wars action figures or Hot Wheels cars. “Oh dad, this wrench is so much fun,” and so on.

Everyone gets a newspaper for some reason. I think the reason is, the newspapers are free.

We’re revisiting Mama’s at 9312 N Florida Ave. This is our favorite seat because we’re under the lions.

Here’s how you can tell that Ivo is really my kid. Already with the hot sauce. And still a dirty face, despite the parking-lot-spit-bath, dad-style.

The updated menu at Mamas. Also, they’re really fun on Facebook.

Ivo with crayons.

Marek showing off his Stuttgart VfB colors for our friends back in Germany. Why the look? Because I said, “show me your Stuttgart shirt, Marek,” and he made that face.

The 2011 Tampa Bay Breakfasts Waitress of the Year … Vicki!

Every two year old needs his morning coffee. Ivo is no exception.

We may have to switch Ivo to decaf. First cup he’s ever broken. In going on four years of Tampa Bay Breakfasts, we’ve only broken two coffee cups (the first was in 2009, and it wasn’t Marek who broke it).

We were joined this morning by a new breakfast friend, Carolina, who has a great camera. Another modern mystery, it ended up with a lot of syrupy fingerprints on it.

Marek’s journalism cred is well-established. The problem now is that his Christmas wish-list just got more expensive.

Just in time to save the camera from the same fate the coffee cup endured, here’s Vicki.

Here’s a plate of lovely banana-walnut pancakes.

Andy, Marek, and Ivo split the pancakes, bacon, and eggs.

A recurring theme for Tampa Bay Breakfasts is the independence of the child. We like to foster and encourage development of good judgement, level heads, and critical thinking. We think it’s more valuable to teach kids to have a good response to a new situation than to try to protect from all possible threats. We’re fans of free-range kids. And also, we give knives to our two-year-olds.

Marek doing a Brad Pitt imitation.

Ivo getting the Brad Pitt paparazzo treatment.

Here’s what Carolina was snapping. Ivo with a whole pancake in his mouth at one time. Twenty years from now, Ivo will look back at this moment … and immediately change his name and enter the Witness Protection Program.

Marek is reciting poetry to this pancake. I believe it’s Ode on a Grecian Urn.

As the level of overall chaos ascended, Ivo stepped up to pay the bill. As everyone knows, a two year old running around a restaurant waving Jacksons always has a calming effect.

He was gone for a while. I finally decided that since I hadn’t seen him for 15 minutes, I ought go exercise some parental responsibility and find him. He was negotiating for more lollipops.

Which he proudly delivered back to the table. He didn’t bring the change, though. I think his priorities need alignment.

This is a visionary look, worthy of a presidential campaign poster. “Pops for everyone! Vote for me!”

Vicki and Marek, Breakfast Buds.

We piled back on bikes. Ivo was out before we were even half-way home. Dreams of breakfasts past and future.

And we saw this neat oldtimer turning into the gas station. I didn’t know that the 7-11 had gas, diesel, AND charcoal at the pumps.

Great chow. Great prices. Friendliest service in Tampa. Lions on the wall. Exuberant Facebook page. And we get recognized every time, which makes us feel good. Tampa Bay Breakfasts Five Pancake Rating (and shhhh, also going to be the 2012 Breakfast of the Year when we do our annual wrap-up next month!).


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