If it was good enough for Elvis, by golly, it should be good enough for us all.
We're talking about peanut butter and banana, an unlikely (when you think about it) flavor combination that has become commonplace thanks to Elvis Presley, who long ago proclaimed the peanut butter and banana sandwich his favorite indulgence this side of blue suede shoes. That's why almost anytime you see a peanut butter and banana sandwich at a restaurant, it's called The Elvis.
In Tampa, there are at least two Elvises on local menus, and both are a hip-swivel better than a homemade Jif 'n' Chiquita on white.
The first is at bona fide peanut butter paradise The Bricks in Ybor City, which also offers peanut butter sandwiches with pickle, smoked gouda and raspberry vinaigrette. Their Elvis ($6.50) ups the caloric ante by adding honey and bacon to the mix, but balances things out, healthwise, with whole wheat bread and a side of fruit. Presley would probably approve, but he might prefer The Elvis ($6) at downtown's International Cafe, which promises peanut butter and bananas "pressed with melted butter." It's available as early as 7 a.m. every day. We can't help falling in love with that.
Sweet Tweets Cakery in Carrollwood is a little banana-crazy, counting no fewer than five banana-based cupcakes among its 50 or so flavors: banana, banana bread, banana split, Bananas Foster and, you guessed it, "The King," a banana cupcake filled with banana custard, topped with peanut butter icing and a banana chip. The bakery has a rotating menu that changes every Tuesday; check their Facebook page (facebook.com/SweetTweetsCakery) to see if The King is being offered that week. You can also special-order it anytime, though there's a minimum of six per order (at $3 apiece, that works out to $18).
In Brandon, Revolution Ice Cream has made headlines for out-there flavors like Chicken N Waffles and Chocolate Habanero, but they also offer Banana Pudding and "What's Up Nutter Fudger," a blend of chocolate, crunchy peanut butter and peanut butter wafers. They're happy to combine flavors in milkshakes, so if you're craving PB&B, just say so.
And in St. Pete, the locally beloved custard hut Dairy Inn makes a peanut-butter banana smoothie with fresh 'nanners, almond milk and their "almost famous" peanut butter sauce. You can turn it into a PB&J by adding strawberries, or if you're feeling health-conscious — hey, it could happen — you can add 30 grams of protein for $1.
Finally, if you really want to put a curl on the King's lips, send him to Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe in Seminole Heights, which serves enough bacon, barbecue and Southern comfort food for any Tupelo boy. On "Soul Food Sundays," you can order a Funky Monkey Waffle for $6.50 — that's a Belgian waffle topped with nutella, banana and toasted peanuts. But all week long, the dessert menu features peanut butter and banana chimichangas called "King Killers" ($8). Wash 'em down with a Nuts and Nanners ($8) — NutLiquor peanut butter vodka with Hiram Walker creme de banana and Pinnacle cake vodka.
The Elvis as a cocktail? It's as deliciously over-the-top as it sounds. But if a visit to Graceland can teach us anything, it's that Presley didn't mind a little overkill every now and then.
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