Pinky’s Diner – Tampa, FL
I propose a duel to you and all who oppose me! A duel you say? Anyone who thinks they can one up my fast breaking restaurant spotification talents, come forward. The gloves are off, come and get me pal. While braggery is never going to get me anywhere, I have to say, my skill at finding the best breakfast spots in any given city, is unmatched, it truly is a blessing to behold.
Not only did The West Egg Cafe in Atlanta deliver the goods, but now I have a place just as praiseworthy if not more so, right here in my backyard.
Pinky’s Diner is located in the Palma Ceia neighborhood in South Tampa. It is an amazingly trendy area for restaurants and the like. They’ve got so many yogurt shops that the “Live and Active Cultures” people can’t keep up with demand.
Here is the low-down on Pinky’s. They consider themselves to be an upscale diner. Let’s just throw the word diner out the window, so that you don’t get the wrong impression. Don’t get me wrong, I love Diners, Drive-ins, and even the occasional Miller High Life serving Dive. This place is none of the above.
The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming. The decor is reminiscent of a Northern style kitchen, mixed with a touch of cabin by the lake. There’s a coffee bar filled with regulars who looked like they knew the drill, it must have been self-serve. The special of the day is written on a giant blackboard at the end of the bar. This is where the magic starts for me. All the visual appeal of the interior means nothing if the menu and subsequent food are anything less than awe-inspiring.
Well the menu rocked me. With offerings like pancake sandwiches, and omelette filled with prosciutto, jalepeno-cheddar grits and the chefs house made bacon. It’s not just a gimmicky tease, the bacon is cured on site by the chef, trust me, I asked.
After serious deliberation, my wife decided to go a bit off the usual breakfast radar by ordering the jalapeno grits, house-cured bacon, half avocado and a cup of tomato bisque. This is what I’ve come to expect from her and her non-conventional breakfast ways. I can’t say I’m much different though. I have to say that the bisque was a revelation for me. Thickened using an olive oil base, there was no dairy whatsoever in the soup. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a unique tomato bisque. The tomatoes were so fresh and intense that it was like someone took a San Marzano and just pulverized the flavors right into your mouth. Combined with the slightest of balsamic and basil hints, I completely fell for that soup.
We ordered our spawn a single buttermilk pancake and some of the bacon to share. They don’t really have a kids menu, but there are enough a la carte options that you can compose one yourself at a very reasonable price.
I looked over the menu front to back, and like a poker player going all-in I started bluffing a bit so as not to show my hand. “The Oatmeal Pancakes look scrumptious, don’t they? What do you think? Shall we share a breakfast Cuban Sandwich?” I admit it. I’m a liar. The choice was made for me before I even sat myself at the table. That stinking daily special was staring me down and I was helpless to it’s power.
It starred a 6 oz pork chop that had been brined in a sweet and savory solution and finished on the hot flat top to give it a nice brown finish. If you don’t believe that brines actually exist or carry any merit, why don’t you give Pinky’s a shot. Either that or suck on an egg. The chop was paired with two eggs made your way. Which in my opinion, should always be over-easy. It also came with two poblano hash brown cakes to sop up the velvety egg yolk. The one thing that completely sold me on Pinky’s was the final accoutrement that gave my meal purpose in its short time on earth, was the maple-infused hollandaise that I began feverishly slathering onto anything that wasn’t nailed down. It was just about the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth before noon. To combine a creamy butter and egg yolk mouth-feel, with a touch of lemon, alongside the infusion of maple syrup is genius indeed. Again, I dare you to find a single breakfast locale within a reasonable driving distance that delivers on all the major categories. Taste, comfort, and even price. With two cafe con leches and an apple juice, all this cost about $27. If you think you have me bested, I’ll get my dueling gloves ready.
Pinky’s is only open for Breakfast and Lunch, because that’s as long as they need to be open. If you get there at 2, you will go home hungry or unsatisfied.Pinky’s Diner – 3203 West Bay to Bay Boulevard Tampa, FL 33629 - www.pinkysdiner.com