This isn’t a formal review of anything, just a quick post about our family outing to Tarpon Springs on Saturday (11/10). A couple of months ago there was a deal on LivingSocial for an Eco “Sea”-fari on Sun Line Cruises for $8 per person, so I bought the deal for the five of us (Hubby and me, his parents, and my mom). I told my girlfriend at work about our excursion. Her mother is Greek and she grew up eating Greek food and now makes it herself, so I wanted her recommendation for a Greek restaurant. She told me Costa’s was the closest to homemade she’d ever had, so we made plans to go there for lunch before our 1 PM cruise.
Costa’s was really great. The food was excellent and our server was such a nice woman. When we told her we were going on the cruise after lunch, she told us just to leave our car in their parking lot and walk the 2-1/2 blocks to the dock. Here’s what we ordered:
Appetizers – tzatziki and broiled feta (both excellent)
Main courses – Soutzoukakia (“Greek meatballs cooked in a light tomato sauce. Served over pasta or rice”), two small Greek salads (which were not small at all), a chicken souvlaki platter, and a chicken souvlaki sandwich. My meal (the meatballs) came with a Greek salad to start, which was the best Greek salad I’ve ever had, and the meatballs were fantastic. Everyone said their food was great.
Dessert- Baklava and rice pudding. The baklava was a little sweeter than I like it but still good. The rice pudding was excellent.
When we got to the dock to check in for our cruise, everything went very smoothly and we left right on time. The company’s website claims that the cruises are narrated by “experienced Naturalists and Marine Biologists” but I was still a little skeptical that we’d actually learn anything. I was SO WRONG. Our guide, Christina, was indeed a naturalist and marine biologist (and Greek, appropriately enough) and taught us a lot. One thing we all found shocking and pleasantly surprising is that stone crabs don’t have to be killed to harvest their claws! A stone crab will willingly give an appendage to save its life (and does so all the time in nature), so the crab fisherman take one of each male’s front claws and then throw them back in the water, where the missing claw will regrow before the next stone crab season. (We went to Charley’s that night for a friend’s birthday and I ate stone crab guilt-free.) I highly recommend this company. Every single one of us loved the cruise.
After the cruise, we made a quick stop at The Fudge Factory, which is next to the dock. We bought so much fudge, it’s ridiculous. But when we tasted it we knew it was money well-spent. The fudge is moist and not too sweet. They make all their fudge fresh right there (you can see their fudge-making equipment when you walk in the front door) and in fact had just finished cleaning up from a batch when we got there.
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, or are coming to visit, you should take a trip up to Tarpon Springs. There’s a lot of history there and the natural terrain is beautiful.