Monday, June 25, 2012

Daily Eats, Tampa

In the time I worked down in the Hyde Park section of Tampa, I found a bunch of places to get a decent lunch or dinner. My first day on the job, the boss treated me to a meal at the Wine Exchange, and that became the special treat that I'd enjoy with the laptop every once in a while.

The nearby SoHo area has an abundance of little bistros and restaurants that made it easy to find good food, no matter what cuisine I was in the mood for. One day, I tried Daily Eats and their special that day was a greek burger and I was sold. As my work shifts meant I was there for lunch or dinner, the brunch menu never passed in front of me. (The sweet potato fries, the burgers, and their wonderful bowls? Oh, my yes!)

Yesterday, though, the lure of some shopping nearby brought us down Howard street and of course, that meant I was going to visit this old favorite once again. Not surprisingly, the restaurant was packed and had a wait, but it appears that those in front of us were parties of 4 or more, which meant my friend Jenn and I were seated in under five minutes. It's a good thing, too, because where I was standing was the perfect spot to smell the chocolate chip pancakes of the diner sitting the the next booth and my stomach started saying "FEED ME NOW".

A brief word about the place-it's like a hip, funky, way too crowded diner, but that's okay. If it hadn't been raining buckets all morning, I might have opted for the outdoor seating area, but while the dining room is crowded, we never felt that way at our table. Nice trick, that one.

So, the question on your mind at noon on a Sunday is whether to get breakfast or lunch, and while the call of the burger was great, when I found out their crispy french toast was coated in Captain Crunch, I was sold. Unlike other diners, there is a side item included and I went for their home fries. (I usually went for these instead of fries when not feeling love for the sweetness of sweet potato fries.) Jenn got the chocolate chip pancakes and the bacon cheese grits, otherwise known as crack in a bowl.
They only make these on the weekends, so keep that in mind if you're in the mood for edible crack.

Jenn proclaimed the grits the best ever and said it was now her entree. I don't think I can argue that point, just look at those! The pancakes are loaded with so many chips (that tasted like Ghirardelli to me), that it was more like chocolate with some pancake as a side. As such, they do not need syrup.

Speaking of not needing syrup, the crunchy french toast was sweet enough on their own to skip anything but the dusting of powdered sugar on top. I didn't know what to expect, whether it'd be like the Blue Moon Cafe's interpretation I'd seen many times on Food Network, with the captain crunch pieces mostly intact, but it was crushed and more like a panko coating of peanut buttery goodness. I liked it, and especially liked that the French toast wasn't the slightest bit 'eggy' (personal pet peeve).

The home fries. I could probably order those as a meal, much like Jenn could the grits, and I'd be happy. They're crisp on the outside, with just the right amount of salt and a hint of pepper, but tender inside. They'd do a New York diner proud.

Now I'm wishing Daily Eats was closer to Lakeland, but it may be good that they aren't-it just gives me a good excuse to head over that way on weekend mornings.







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