Florida on a Tank Full – Tarpon Springs

This past weekend we took a road trip to Tarpon Springs, FL. Tarpon Springs sits in northern Pinellas County on one of the many bayous that feed into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the home of the Sponge Docks and the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any  US city.

Luckily we were able to find $3 all day parking behind Yianni’s Greek Cuisine. We were right in the heart of the Sponge Docks. The weather was perfect a rain storm had just rolled through the area so the temperature was nice and the breeze off the water kept the humidity bearable. As you walk down the streets and peer into the windows of the local stores you can hear locals in their Greek accent letting you know about the next dolphin boat tour. My friends and I had done Dolphin Tours in other places so we passed on the opportunity.  We decided to walk along the street and check out the local shops.

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Of course there were your souvenir shops, where our friend Sam was thrilled by the fact that you could get t-shirts for $5 and four post cards for $1. Walking through the shops and reading the shirts was a good time. My favorite was a shirt that said “I don’t give a (then a picture of a Rat pulling a donkey by a rope). Sam, who is 17, claimed to not understand the shirt. After all of us calling her out for playing naive she copped up to understanding. Teenage girls, what are you going to do. After a little bit we all started to get Hungry, so we decided to go to Mama’s Greek Cuisine. As fortune would have it, on our way there a nice Greek lady gave us a coupon for the restaurant to get Saganaki for free.

Mama's Greek Cuisine
Mama’s Greek Cuisine

Sorry for not taking any pictures of the food. We got the Saganaki or flaming cheese and Dolmades or stuffed grape leaves. The Saganaki was really good. It was cooked to perfection and a lemon squeezed on top. I am not sure that you can go wrong with cheese. The Dolmades were also good. The stuffing of beef and rice were seasoned perfectly and wrapped in a grape leave that was soft, but crisp enough to have a crunch. Unfortunately, I did not follow the waitresses advise and I got the Pastisto (Greek Lasagna) for my entree. The Greek salad that came with it was good, it even had potato salad. Yumm!!  However, the lasagna was not good. The flavor was lacking and the the cheese too creamy. There goes the theory of not messing up cheese. LOL.  However, my husband got full so I got to finish his Gyro (Yee-Ro). It was delicious. Our friends had the  Chicken Souvlaki and everything they had to say about was good.

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After lunch we continued to walk down the main street and went into jewelry stores, locally made soaps and scent stores, and then we finally came across a store that had Life is Good clothes. I really enjoy their shirts, unfortunately these were not part of the $5 sale, just in case you were wondering. After browsing through them I didn’t find any shirt that I either didn’t already have or want so we headed out. At this point the group decided they wanted to get dessert. We went to the best place for dessert at the Sponge Docks, Hella’s Restaurant and Bakery, of course this is my opinion.

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We got a chocolate raspberry mousse slice, carrot cake slice and a piece of Baklava. At this point we weren’t really hungry so we decided to get it to go and left the sponge docks area. Later that night we finally ate our deserts. After spending some time in the pool and eating snacks, we cut up the slices into shareable pieces. Our friend brought the plates to the coffee table where we were all sitting and walked away. Unbeknownst to us she was getting forks. Too late by the time she returned half of the carrot cake and baklava was already gone. We all just dove in with our fingers and got our share. We were more civilized with the chocolate raspberry mousse cake and used forks to eat that.

Thankfully, our friends agreed with our assessment and ranked the Hella’s desserts as top notch. Thus ending a very relaxing, fun and successful adventure on a tank full in Florida. Until next time, keep wandering and enjoying life!!!

 

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