Why Tarpon Springs?
I need to add another Greek dining experience to the blog, because... Tarpon Springs is the most Greet city in the U.S.!
Thanks to the Greeks who brought their sponge diving skills to the Gulf of Mexico in the early 1900's, there is a charming historic sponge dock district filled with quaint restaurants and shops.
You have to love the blue theme with this restaurant!
There is a cool glow to this place that makes you feel like you're in some kind of a glitzy igloo! Which was great, because it was pretty hot out for late September.
Decorated Tiles, Murals and Fountains
Even if it's not a meal time, you can stop in for a cold cocktail... or a coffee.
This bartender fit right in with his white shirt and bluish tie. He was all business, which sort of fit the retro feel. We had the place to ourselves, which was nice. But a little people watching could have been interesting if the place had been crowded. We just enjoyed the festive decor instead!
Since there were lots of waiters hanging around, it was easy to find someone willing to snap our photo.
In this pic, we're blocking the bubbling fountain, but you have to love the windmills and twiggy trees with blue lights!
It wasn't meal time, but it's always time for sweets.
The adjoining room with baked goods, felt like an American soda fountain from the 1950's. But, the yummy display behind the glass made me feel like I'd just arrived in Greece!
I don't even remember the names, but these desserts were more than sweet!
The shredded wheat looking item was dripping with honey. The almond treat was my favorite.
I will definitely try to make it back to Hellas for a real dining experience! But nice to know you don't have to dine on a full meal, to enjoy a little of the atmosphere!
Walking off the Sweets... and Beer
We spent an hour walking around the sponge docks and browsing in shops selling sponges and soaps.
After a while, we had worked up a bit of an appetite for one more little Greek Food experience.
This little building was also dressed in blue and white colors!
The inside didn't have quite the glow and sparkle of Hellas, but it had (small) Greek columns and maps and a cozy atmosphere that felt kind of boat-like.
Just a Little Hungry
Again, it was not really meal time.
But Don and I were both up for sampling a Greek specialty!
Just look at that flame! This was my first time sampling flaming Greek cheese. The first few bites were pretty amazing!
I smeared a nice amount on my freshly baked bread and it tasted rich and creamy. I must admit, I suffered a bit trying to finish off the last bites. Too much of a good thing. Maybe I shouldn't always worry about cleaning my plate. We headed back on the road, full and happy.
What a fun tangent on our Florida road trip! We had stopped in Tarpon Springs, just to wander around and look at some boats. I'm glad those curious blue and white buildings lured us in for some mini-dining-adventures! Next time... a full meal!
Fuel for the Body and Car!
The Bouboudakis family no longer owns this little oasis of food and fuel, but the Greek recipes live on!
Imagine the convenience of filling your tank and grabbing a plate of Beef Souvlaki!
5 bonus points for the first GAS/RESTAURANT on the blog.
Who would even notice?
When you drive by this place on Richmond near the Galleria, there is little to lure in hungry diners.
The station sign says "Shop & Deli", but that makes me think of microwaves and wilted hotdogs on slimy rollers. Ekko's has an actual, fold-out menu!
People Encounter... Plus Chess!
There were only three tables outside and one was occupied by Kevin and Terry. I decided not to waste my People Encounter Time with restaurant owners or servers. I had a lot more fun jumping in and playing chess with my new friends... than learning about the history of gyros.
I must give 3 bonus points to Kevin and Terry, for allowing me to mess with their chess pieces. Kevin looks like he might slap my hand any minute. And Terry is giving me a tense sideways glance.
But in truth, Kevin and Terry were incredibly good fun. They even wrote down some great suggestions for future dining adventures. Terry also offered some useful information about dining with Groupons. Kevin on the other hand seemed a little puzzled and asked more than once, "Now why again do you do this blog?"
Kevin is one of those people who makes me ponder why I do the silly things I do. I mostly shrugged and answered something about how the blog forces me to explore... and chat with people... which I don't ordinarily do when I dine.
3 bonus points for a People Encounter that provided me with some dining advice and encouraged me to rethink my goals in life. Hmmm? Just how much time do I waste on this dining blog?
Ekko's was hopping inside! There were people paying for gas, buying lottery tickets, ordering food and even eating at a couple tables tucked into corners!
I love a restaurant that has window washer fluid for sale. And I love a gas station that has framed food awards, newspaper articles and maps of Greece! 4 bonus points for the best of both worlds!
It was crazy busy inside, so I could hardly chat with Jamal the owner. But Marco, brought our food outside to the table and graciously posed with Cheryl for a blog photo. 2 bonus points for their cooperation!
I ordered the daily special of Beef Shish Kabobs, Pita and "Greek Potatoes"...which seemed to be French fries. Cheryl ordered the Gyro sandwich. The pita was spongy good and the tender beef was especially tasty with the Tzatziki sauce. The fries...were fries. I would give our food 4 points with maybe an extra .5 for being served on real plates!
I'm afraid I must give a minus 2 points for meeting no Greeks and hearing no Greek music. Can't have it all!
Food with a View
I do love dining outside...even when it's almost 90 degrees in Houston. Here are all the things we got to experience as we nibbled and chatted. 1- bus stop! Hissing of buses and folks loading up at the bus stop. 2- Sirens! Excitement zooming right down Richmond!
3-People gassing up with throbbing tunes on their radios. 4- Non-stop roar for 20 minutes while a fuel truck loaded the pumps! 5- Fumes? Luckily we didn't smell any. 6- Police excitement! I acted like an 11-year-old Harriet the Spy and slipped inside to buy some gum to do some eavesdropping. But the policeman and the counter clerk halted their intense conversation until I left. Wish I had a bigger story there.
All together, I will give Ekko's 6 bonus points for dining amusement!
TOTAL OF 23.5 POINTS FOR THE EKKO'S EXPERIENCE!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.