Ice Cream at the Sponge Docks

/ Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tarpon Springs is home to some of the most prolific sponge beds in the area. In the afternoons you go down to the docks and watch divers cut fresh sponges from the bottom of the inlet. The sponge docks are also known as the area's Greek town. We can't seem to visit Tarpon Springs without a trip down to the water's edge...

The best way to enjoy the Greek town is to skip the crowded sidewalks of the mid afternoon and venture out after the sun has gone down. At night, the town is abuzz with Greek cafes, pastry shops and old men chatting on the benches that line the streets. We often go down after dinner for something sweet. When you walk into one of the Greek bakeries, cases of phyllo and semolina custard look you right in the eye. My favorites!'s heavenly. What you see below is called Milopita. It's like a Greek apple turnover: filo dough, apples, cinnamon, raisins. It's delicious. 

If you're in the mood for greek pastries try: 

Galatabouriko: semolina custard baked in phyllo dough.
Kataifi: Walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and honey is shredded phyllo.
Baklava: Phyllo dough rolled with walnuts, honey and cinnamon.
Koulurakia: Vanilla flavored butter cookies.
Diples: Fried phyllo dipped in honey with cinnamon.
Melemakaronia: Honey spice cookies flavored with orange and clove syrup.

You should be able to find a Greek bakery, or at least a Greek diner, 
in just about any city. If you can't seem to find a place to grab
Mediterranean snacks in your hood, there's no need to worry.
Grecian Village, in conjunction with Hellas Bakery in Tarpon Springs
is a fantastic source of grecian sweets. They deliver nationwide!
When the owners found out that I'm involved in food writing, they came
running out of the dining room with pamphlets and business cards
advertising their "Online-Bakery". They actually distribute sweets to
many Greek restaurants around the country. Chances are if you've
nibbled on Koulurakia in more than one place in your hometown, 
you've had a little taste Hellas Bakery.

Believe it or not none of us had a pastry during this trip to the sponge docks. Nanny, Mama and I all ended up with ice cream cones. Mama had a double cone with vanilla and chocolate chip cookie dough. I had a strawberry cone. They didn't have any rainbow sprinkles! What kind of ice cream place are you !? I guess it served me right not getting pastries in a pastry shop. Oh well, better eating next time. 

I'm sitting in the airport, waiting patiently to come back to NYC. Can't wait to see you all. Enjoy!

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