Week 48: The Man Crush on Kim Bailey

Week 48: The Man Crush on Kim Bailey

Rise and shine, it’s Father’s Day. Womp, womp, we have nothing to celebrate. No Tampa family to take to brunch…no tiny rug rats … we’re just two unfortunate parents of an inbred cat. Does saving that thing from euthanasia count for anything? He’s looked 95 since the day I got him and I’m convinced he’s never going to die.

Last Father’s Day we had our first “Sunday Meatball Chronicles event,” where a lot of unfamiliar and somewhat creepy people showed up for Week 27: Cocktails and Shemales at Hamburger Mary’s. Oddly enough I just went back to revisit that morning one year ago, and realized that I started off the blog by saying “Rise and Shine” then as well. Is this now a Father’s Day tradition? Do I subconsciously wake up and yell RISE AND SHINE to an empty house?

Truth be told, it’s not a rise and shine situation here; it’s actually a very slow start to the day. Ryan makes brunch reservations for 12PM at Bailey’s on Davis Island. I’ve been to Bailey’s before and have loved it but they’ve never had a brunch. They’re typically not open on Sundays but this is a special day for fat dads everywhere, because god damnit they deserve some comfort food.

I get ready, and sit down at my computer sipping my coffee and stalking everyone I can think of on Facebook. I am intentionally wasting time because for some reason I thought Ryan said we were “leaving the house at 12.” Fail. We are riding our bikes there like a bunch of urban dwelling yuppies and we are now late. Michelle: “Why didn’t you ask me to get up and go 15 minutes ago as I sat here doing nothing?” Ryan: “I didn’t want to bother you. I thought you were trying to scare a poo out with that coffee.”

You may think oh man the married life is already upon us, but no, we’ve interacted that way since Day 1. Ryan’s well aware that I use coffee all the time to “scare a poo out,” and actually find great fun in doing so. But, today was not one of those days.

Off to Bailey’s… it’s one half hour from Ybor when bicycling at the speed of Lisa Lampanelli. Whatever, everyone has their own talents and there are a lot of things she probably rides much faster than a bike.  Beads of sweat flood my underboob and Ryan’s body is shiny. Just as he gets off his bike I realize that the seat has made a heart-shaped sweat stain on his ass. Awesome.

We’re here. Hello Kim Bailey. I truly appreciate a restaurant owner who greets his own guests, checks in on the meals, or at the very least just happens to be present at his own establishment. Sadly, you don’t find that often. As Kim shows us to our table we stop midway for Kim to gasp… Followed by a high pitched voice, he says, “OH! A tiny mouse! That’s certainly not good for business.” He chuckles, picks up a plastic mouse that a child has left behind and put is in his pocket.

Words can’t really describe this moment, but Bailey’s fans rave about it being an establishment of genuine smiles and laughter. And that’s exactly what it is. To see a rather plump full grown man (he’s the author of “North Beach Diet,” I think I’m allowed to call him that?) bend over and pick up a tiny plastic mouse with such enthusiasm would brighten anyone’s day.

We sit in their beautiful courtyard, shaded by the building’s Mediterranean archways. Ryan: “Kim is so funny. And he has a radio show that he does from that little room over there, and his own book called North Beach Diet. I asked him to be my friend on Facebook this week and have been learning all about him.”  Michelle: “What the hell is the matter with you, do you have a man crush on Kim Bailey? ”  Ryan: “Why yes. Yes, I think I do.”

Bailey’s menu is always changing but regardless of what they serve it’s always high quality, great tasting, and large portioned comfort food. Kim Bailey himself is living proof that food does make you happy. With the upcoming wedding in just 6 weeks I’ve been telling myself that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Well, I’m wrong. Bailey’s tastes as good as skinny feels. While you probably can’t frequent Bailey’s and be skinny too, without cheating, you can in fact treat yourself to some of Tampa Bay’s best buffet in moderation.

That’s right, I said that. Some of Tampa Bay’s best. Drumroll Buffetroll: Mediterranean Couscous, Shrimp and Grits, Mac n’ Cheese, Meatloaf (better than your mom makes it), Broccoli and Cauliflower drenched in cheese, Pan fried Tilapia, Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce, “Damn Yankee” Pot Roast, Collards, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn and Lima Bean Succotash, Salads (why waste room on your plate), and your choice of Peach or Blueberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream. I wish I could tell you about each of these buffet options but despite several trips to the buffet and a stack of plates, there was simply no room for meatloaf, pot roast, green beans, or salad.

There was nothing I put in my mouth and found myself thinking “eh, run-of-the-mill.” In fact I found myself thinking that I needed to unbutton my pants in a fashion that somehow disguised my intentions with so many children around. Got it – when in doubt – the white linen napkin. Place ‘er high on the waist and never the thigh.

I literally can’t move after one plate but Ryan seems to have no problem visiting the buffet for seconds. It’s funny how that works. A girl gets engaged and the goal is heroin chic. A guy gets engaged and the work is over – Just as Kim Bailey himself has written about in the North Beach Diet, you too can Add Belly and Hip Fat Instantly with Batter Fried Twinkies and More…”  So… why not?

At $24.95 per person for an endless buffet, I again without hesitation say this is the best brunch buffet in Tampa Bay as of June 2012. Sure, there are marvellous BBQ buffets, orgasmic Chinese buffets, amazing sushi and seafood brunch buffets full of peel and eat shrimp, smoked salmon, crab and lobster claws and tasty sushi rolls covered with spicy mayo, but, to have an eclectic variety of everything that just makes you “feel good,” all on one table and labeled “homestyle…” it’s the North Beach Diet in action.

Warning: there is no such thing as self-control at Bailey’s. For the rest of the summer they’re open only one day a week and from one meatball to another, I’m thinking it’s bittersweet!  You’re the beating we love to endure and the catalyst for our addictions.  We’ll count the days till we meet again and again and again till one father’s day morning when I find myself writing “rise and shine! We’re off to Bailey’s with a little one in toe.”

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  1. How have I not heard of Bailey’s? If it wasn’t raining so hard right now, I’d get the wife into the ark and head over and force him to open and serve me food!

    June 24, 2012 @ 4:13 pm
  2. Rise and shine! You had me in tears (laughing, this time) again. I somehow missed the Bailey’s memo, but now I can’t wait to go.

    June 25, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

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