A few weeks ago I was invited to a brunch event at Mangroves in the SoHo neighborhood. I was really excited, as I had heard so many fantastic things about their new brunch menu and was looking forward to a relaxing Sunday of great food in the company of some of Tampa’s most talented writers. After my busy week, I was in need of a mimosa and some “me” time.
As I was getting ready to head out, I got that dreaded phone call……the babysitter was unable to make it. My phone got a work out as I feverishly dialed every sitter in my contact list. Nobody could watch my bambinos, so I called my dear friend Jennifer, who had organized the brunch with 813area.com, and told her I could not make it due to the sitter cancellation. She told me not to worry and to go ahead and bring them. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I went ahead and headed to Mangrove’s with my kids in tow. As a mom, you sometimes have to juggle multiple things and this was one of those days.
We arrived at Mangroves and were greeted by the hostess, who kindly showed us to our area. I looked around and saw so many writers that I respect and admire. Everyone was sipping on cocktails with their significant other by their side and I was trying to keep my kids from fighting over their Kindle. Needless to say, I was a tad embarrassed that I had to bring my kids to this type of event but figured it would be a great opportunity to start exposing them to my world. We slipped into a booth and began a fun afternoon of food tasting.
Mangroves holds a special place in my heart. Before I had children, I spent many late nights there enjoying cocktails and listening to great music. I finished up the evening of my 30th birthday at Mangroves and had been wanting to go back for the last several years. As a single mom, my time is limited and do not get to do things like I did before I had children. Being back to this iconic South Tampa spot brought back a lot of memories.
The brunch tasting was about to begin and the first dish I tried was their West Coast Toast. The name alone intrigued me since I am a West Coast girl. 🙂 Infused with Grand Marnier, this light and fluffy french toast is truly a highlight on their brunch menu. It had been awhile since I had such a delicious piece of french toast and this was amazing. On their regular brunch menu it is served with a sweet potato hash.
My kids were doing pretty good considering they were bored and I figured as long as I could keep them entertained with electronic devices, I would be able to sail through the tasting and experience a few of their brunch items. I really wanted a mimosa and as I sipped on my Diet Coke, I was very jealous of everyone that was enjoying their brunch with an adult beverage.
Next up was their Grilled Cheese which was like heaven on a plate. Bacon, mango and brie melted in a toasted broiche bun, it was the ultimate combination of savory and sweet. Few things in life make me as happy as a grilled cheese and this one really knocked my socks off. My son, who can be picky, tried it and loved it. In fact, he ate half of it and wanted more. This would pair perfectly with a mimosa. Sigh…….next time.
Bacon makes everything better and when I was presented with a sample of their Chicken and Bacon Waffles, my eyes lit up like a Tiffany diamond. Fresh chicken tenders served atop Belgian bacon waffles and drizzled with spicy maple syrup, I felt like I had died and gone to bacon heaven. The waffles were incredible and the bacon flavor was insanely delicious. I am a chicken and waffle fanatic and this dish really sets the bar. I was imaging how this would taste with a Bloody Mary. Sigh…….next time.
My kids were starting to get restless and after three close calls of them almost spilling a drink, I decided it was time to take them home. I was unable to sample some of the other items but that just means I will be going back sooner rather than later, sans children. I had a wonderful sneak peek of their innovative brunch menu and can’t wait to go back with a few friends.