Week 38: Screw You Fauna, Nicko’s is the Chronic

Week 38: Screw You Fauna, Nicko’s is the Chronic

So we’ve taken a couple weeks off. I’m sorry, really. We were trying this thing called romance. Last Sunday we biked to the bay, and had a picnic in the waterfront park on Davis Island. Ryan surprised me with bottles of champagne and pomegranate juice for a spectacular day of pomegranate mimosas and all things quixotic. With country music playing softly, the sun shining bright, fruity champagne, a spread of great food and a beautiful sail boat belonging to Japanese terrorists, you can easily understand why I may have mistaken this for our engagement day (approximately 8 separate times). It was not until Ryan received a text message from our friend that said “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE DOING IT TODAY, AREN’T YOU” and then read it aloud, laughed, and said “nope absolutely not”—It was then I realized this was just in fact a picnic.

A small plane flew by and Ryan showed fake interest in owning one of his own someday. “We could take it to your parent’s house in the Cape babe.” Well, no we could not. My friend Savannah who likes to refer to my family as the Kennedys has warned me several times never to take a plane anywhere with Ryan or my extra Caucasian family.

So here we are, a week later, back to the grime… I mean grind. Ryan’s got a Bucs game to attend and I’ve got a long day of couch lounging ahead. Where to? The only glorious “in-out, get your fix, save your money and get on with your damn life” diner- Nicko’s on North Florida. The actual name is Nicko’s Fine Foods… but let’s be realistic. You can’t charge $3.50 for a breakfast sandwich and call it a fine. 100% delicious, but let’s call it cheap comfort.

I’ve never sat at the bar at Nicko’s, I always opt in for a booth… but, we’re starving. There’s no time for that. We seat ourselves at the bar next to two friendly boys and I immediately strike up conversation. This is out of sober character for me. They don’t have any cash and Nicko’s is a cash-only establishment. It just so happens that their ATM is out of cash today too. Wait, no it is not, the owner is restocking it with bills as we speak. I didn’t even know that was legal. I wish I had a money machine in my home, but I would definitely need someone else to stock it.

As I pretend to review the menu (I order the same thing every time), the owner of Nicko’s comes out to do some magic. He does some amazing card tricks and makes a few things disappear. I haven’t had my coffee yet so I fall for every single trick. Perhaps he really is magic. I bet that makes stocking the ATM a bit easier.  This place is strange, but for all us odd birds who may live in the outskirts of the hood, it’s home.

We order. Sausage, egg and cheese with lettuce and tomato on wheat bread. Massive side of hash. Slap in on me, bitch. Ryan gets biscuits and gravy and pancakes. Pancakes? This is a first. You can’t go wrong at Nicko’s, everything is amazing so I say “Go for it champ!”

I’ve stumbled across some pretty hasty reviews of Nicko’s, including this one from “Fauna” on Urban Spoon: “This is coming from an inside source: Don’t go to Niko’s. It’s dirty. They (the owners) let their dog run around and even put it up on the bar. They smoke indoors; you can smell the reek from the front. The food is all frozen and bought at Sam’s club. Seriously. Nobody actually cooks there. They just throw things on the griddle or in the deep fryer. Nobody there cares about cooking or anything concerning the business, to them it’s just a way to support their lavish lifestyles.”

Well, FAUNA. Niko’s is dirty? So is sex and I bet that doesn’t stop you from doing it right on roof of your trailer. Lavish lifestyle? We’re on North Florida Avenue, how lavish can you get? And if the owners do in fact go home to a nice pad with an indoor pool and a few pure bred dogs, good for them. They were smart enough to fire you – assuming by “insider” you meant past employee. Considering I had to correct every piece of punctuation and grammar in your “review” on Urban Spoon, I’m going to go ahead and call you a dumb ass. Sounds like jealousy to me, princess.

Speaking of jealously, my new friends next to us got served before us and I need to stop staring. So I look at the other patrons: body shop workers, bedazzled old ladies, a lady in slippers, bicyclists, a slightly fatter John Travolta (1978 Grease John Travolta), some blonde diner ladies, a little kid… I love this place. I’m still angry about “Fauna.”

Food. Glorious food. I’ve never added lettuce and tomato to a breakfast sandwich but I wanted to mix things up today. It adds a nice, crisp, cool texture to an otherwise steaming sandwich, and I may do this again in the future. And the hash. Heavenly hash. Crisp on the top, warm in the middle, and a faint hint of dog food as it slides down my throat. I don’t love dogs, but I LOVE hash.

Ryan has too much food in front of him for everything to stay warm, so by the time I dig into his biscuits and gravy (with permission) they are room temperature. Nicko’s biscuits and gravy definitely has a hint of cream. Now whether that’s cream of mushroom, cream of celery or cream of chicken I don’t know. But something screams “can of cream.”  I still like it. I’ve rarely met a plate of gravy I didn’t like. Fortunately, I missed our family Thanksgiving a few years ago where my grandmother accidentally put red food coloring into the gravy, thinking it was gravy master. I heard from some “insiders” that it was a tragedy. A blood gravy tragedy.

I truly believe that a pancake is a pancake until you’ve covered it in butter and syrup and taken it to an entirely new level. And that is exactly what Ryan did. In fact, the highlight of the dish was the syrupy butter combination. The pancakes served as more of a side item. But that’s okay with me.

Next week we are going to be in Washington D.C…do you think there is a Nicko’s there?  I sure hope so. Join us for our Halloween brunch, we may even wear drag. I’ll try to have it written in a timely manner as well. Until next time…

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