Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wimauma, Tampa, FL

After being regaled by Underdog's coworker with tales of the wondrous brunch served at Wimauma, we finally dragged our arses out of bed and cleaned ourselves up at a reasonable enough hour on a Sunday morning to make brunch a viable meal option. The online menu looked enticing and I'd wanted to to try this place for quite awhile...I really wish I could say that I loved it, because I truly wanted to. I'm going to make a concerted effort to refrain from being mean, despite the fact that the high level of disorganization on our visit to Wimauma made it seem like there might not have been a manager/supervisor of any kind on duty.

The interior is small and cute in sort of a faux-rustic southern-chic kinda way (it reminded me of some places I used to frequent when I lived in Nashville back in the day). When we walked in, we were instructed to take a seat wherever we liked...which boiled down to our choice of any one of half a dozen or so vacant but uncleared tables. I'm sorry, but I can't remember a time when I was directed to sit at a table in a restaurant of this price point that had not yet been bussed. This was the beginning of a dining experience that was almost a comedy of errors. Our server was friendly but obviously had more to attend to than one person could efficiently handle. After clearing and resetting our table, drinks came pretty quickly - a requisite Chardonnay for me and Woodchuck Hard Cider for UD.

An unreasonable amount of time passed before we received menus because our server said they were experiencing a temporary dearth of them but he was "trying to find some", which seemed strange since no one else in the room seemed to have one and the place wasn't crowded to begin with. After a few minutes, we asked if maybe he could just give us a quick overview of a few of the brunch menu highlights, which he couldn't because he "didn't usually work brunch" and wasn't that familiar with the offerings. We even tried to bring up the menu online with UD's phone, but there was no wi-fi available. While our server continued his quest for the wayward menus, we observed a table of eight behind us, where entrees were being delivered or two came out every five or ten minutes while the others sat, waited and watched their companions eat.

Ten more minutes passed before menus were finally located and presented.  At that time, we were given the rundown of all the things that they were out of (because Monday is their "big shopping day")., if one is hoping for a full menu selection, maybe it's better to visit Wimauma closer to the beginning of the week.  No okra, no oysters, no hushpuppies, no wedge salad.  "How does one 'run out' of hushpuppies? I wanted hushpuppies! Make some more, dammit!", sayeth this spoiled redneck princess.  Okay...I didn't really say that, I just thought it.

I ordered the Shrimp and Grits with sautéed Florida shrimp, poached eggs, white wine, tomato, basil and pork bark. Everything in this bowl was fabulous (except the tomatoes, which I abhor but don't mind picking out of most dishes as I did this biggie, I knew they were coming).  Creamy grits were topped with perfectly cooked eggs and shrimp, drizzled with  a savory gravy floater and nicely studded with fresh basil and crispy pork bits.  I thoroughly cleaned this plate like the proper Southern girl I am.  As a side note, I don't think it looks as appetizing in this photo as it did on the table.  It was really quite lovely.

UD's  Almond Crusted French Toast with strawberry and pickled peach sauce, served with basil chantilly, was nice although slightly less well received.  The almond encrusted bread was delish, but we both agreed that thicker slices would've probably stood up better to the copious amount of sweet-and-sour fruit puree slathered atop them.  We can be judgemental like that, though.

Having been fans of Benton's Bacon for a few years now (we order it sporadically from their website for our own enjoyment at home), this side order lacked the luster we've become accustomed to in this fabu pork product.  I'm not saying that what we were served was not Benton's because I don't know that for a fact, but it bore little resemblance to any of the fat slabs of smoky goodness we've ever received straight from the source (which is sold online and often on back order by several weeks).  If you can run out of hush puppies and okra, it's not a far reach for me to believe you can run out of Benton's, too.  Benton's Bacon channels Oscar Mayer:

By this point in the meal, I'd emptied my wine glass to a level at which I determined there was some sort of crusty residue at the bottom of my goblet.  Oh, what the hell...the world is one big, germy petri dish, so it wasn't worth making a stink over.  I actually think it's healthy to give one's immune system a workout. was one. more. thing.  This must be how Chinese water torture finally gets to people.

We hesitated when it came to forging ahead with dessert, but ultimately decided to try Caramel Pie with Pretzel Crust.  I ordered a water and Dogboy requested a Diet Coke...which, as it turned out, was also on the "we're out of it" list. Okay...make that two waters. The pie proved to be a nicely balanced combo of salty and sweet. Caramel custard was quite sturdy (in a good way) and the thick, obviously house-made crust provided the perfect carrier for it.

Would I return to Wimauma?  It's somewhat unlikely. While we were satisfied with the overall food quality, dining out should be a relaxing indulgence and (unfortunately) enough minor aggravations piled up over the course of our brunch to significantly mitigate what would've otherwise been an enjoyable meal.  And, yes...some might say it's not fair to post this after only one visit, but the fair comes to town once a year and this ain't the week.  I rarely throw good money after bad and (just like first dates and fishing) I must be hooked on the first try when it comes restaurant repeat visits.

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My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.


  1. Hi there Polly the Sweet.

    We have been to Wimauma on three or so different occasions and have been immensely impressed with the food and service...except the one time we went there for...wait for it...brunch.

    I have no idea what happens to the place in the cold light of day, but we have found it better to brave the possibility of vampires and go to Wimauma at night.

    Looking forward to seeing you guys again.

  2. Sweet Polly,

    Thank you for being brave enough to say something. I have been there three times, and only eaten twice. The one time in between we were also told to sit at an unbussed table and after waiting for 10 minutes without anyone offering a drink or a menu, we left. We loved the food both times we actually ate, however the service was atrocious. It is very doubtful we would ever go back.