Readers: Consider this your official warning/disclaimer. You will likely find yourself dreaming of runny yolks, crispy home fries and scrumptious pancake stacks as you follow Dash of Les over the next few months. For an official Tampa Bay brunch tour is underway and I couldn’t be more stoked to share my morning time feasting experiences with all of you. 6 restaurants. 6 mornings of bliss.
Correct me if I am wrong but…Brunch is truly an amazing thing. It can bring sunshine to a cloudy day. It can drown the shrieking sounds of a baby’s cries. It can certainly cure a late night bender. Yeah, brunch is a glorious thing, indeed. Bring on the vodka spiked OJ, the champagne infused orange stuff and the spicy tomato and alcohol blend. After multiple sips that’ll surely sooth the pipes, throw in a few breakfast burritos, a couple BLTE’s (yep, BLT with an over-easy egg) and an array of sweet tooth snacks. What you’ve got is one stellar way to toast to friends and to one of God’s greatest gifts: Breakfast food. Enough with my ode to brunch already.
South Tampa's Ciccio’s must love the 12PM cuisine spread as much as I do...there is simply no other way to explain the way they flowered my foodie friends and I with an insanely big and equally luscious brunch this past Sunday. Shoving dishes in our faces like it was our last meal, they scored about 100 cool points. The first of 6 eateries, they’ll be tough to top. You did good, Ciccio’s…you did real good.
Sitting around the table with fellow bloggers: Megan (I Run For Wine), Katie (Ruffles and Truffles), Tracy (My Other City by the Bay) and Rachel (RunnersTales), we were about to be wined and dined like royalty. Up first: A grand entrance of gigantic Bloody Marys, “Slamgrias” and “Maxmosas.” That’s correct. These guys make their drinks so humongous; they had to rename them to fit their fish-bowl size. A Bloody Mary connoisseur, I was thrilled to hear they make their own, flawlessly spicy tomato mix.
The first of a few “Fit bowls” came out first. The Tuscan bowl made its presence known with fluffy eggs, fresh basil, ricotta, vine-ripened tomatoes, crispy home fries and melted parmesan cheese. The creaminess from the ricotta combined most divinely with those perfect, fluffy eggs. The sweetness from the basil and the bite from the parmesan took this bowl to cloud nine.
The Turkey Club bowl, though quite simple, was fantastic. Moist, lean turkey breast, creamy avocado slices and superbly seasoned taters all joined together to make one fresh and healthy late morning meal.
Big Chorizo Egg wrap…you are one of my newest friends. A tortilla, stuffed with eggs, chorizo, avocado and jack cheese made for a scrumptious and savory “hand held” treat of greatness. The chorizo, so juicy and with a slight kick, packed in the flavor for this Mexican-inspired Leslie favorite.
As I made my way around the many dishes that stood so beautifully before us, I landed on the jackpot. Not normally one with a single sweet tooth in my mouth, I could’ve eaten 10 of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Strawberry Pancakes. Insanity. The melted chocolate chips were generously scattered in the crunchy oatmeal infused cakes. With a strawberry compote showing off on top, these beauties brought me straight to food heaven. For a less extravagant option, the traditional oatmeal pancakes were also pretty darn tasty.
A Mexican breakfast aficionado, I was especially pumped to try the “Lanza Burrito.” Eggs, home fries, black beans, bacon, and a blend of cheeses came liberally stuffed into a tightly rolled and grilled tortilla. A mound of guacamole on top, this impeccably salty and spicy indulgence was excellent.
Moving down the line, holding my belly but refusing to wave the white flag, I persevered. Thank goodness I persisted because the All Natural Chicken and Egg sandwich was stellar. Chicken, avocado, bacon, eggs and garlic aioli came piled high on a lightly toasted sourdough. Now, that, my friends, is a breakfast sandwich made with TLC. Texture and flavor brilliance.
Oh Ciccio’s…how you outdid yourselves. Lovers of avocado, we get along real well. Fanatics of brunch, we could be the best of buds. You always aim to please and always score with success. Thank you Ciccio’s for a great first of many and kudos to Megan for setting up the Tampa Brunch Tour-one of your best ideas yet. I have to say, these next 5 restaurants have some amazing skills to follow.