Thumbnail image from Pixabay
Back in our younger, romantic AND fully-employed days, we did crazy, spontaneous things. For example, while lying in bed together it was not unusual for my bride to occasionally say, “I’m hungry!” To which I’d reply, “Want a salad?”
Then we’d get up, jump into the car (often a convertible), and buzz on over to US-19 for the forty-minute drive from Tampa to Tarpon Springs. Our destination was the legendary Louis Pappas Restaurant, where we’d order a large Greek Salad with two forks. We usually had coffee and an occasional baklava for dessert.
Aside from the Greek Salad…
Tarpon Springs was always kind of a romantic getaway for us. One of the best times we had was simply walking along the Sponge Docks during a light summer drizzle. We’d window shop and observe the community superstitions such as crosses burned by candle onto the top doorframes of the shops, bags of garlic nailed to the doors and the plethora of “evil eyes” found in most gift shops.
However, we never played tourist by taking a boat out to watch the deep-sea divers harvest live sponges from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. I always surmised that some enterprising diver probably makes a lucrative living by diving at night to replant the sponges that were gathered the day before.
We would visit the occasional gift shop, but we always preferred going downtown to visit stores and eateries frequented by the locals. Sadly, the 1000-seat Pappas restaurant closed its doors in 2005. However, it ultimately spawned a number of offshoots named “Louis Pappas Fresh Greek” in several cities.
We rejoiced when one opened in Tampa, and we split many a small chopped Greek Salad there.
Yesterday, during a trip to the mall where Joy could weigh in at WW (she was sure she’d gained, but she lost 3 pounds, as I accurately predicted) and I could quickly visit Books-a-Million, we realized we were hungry, so we checked out the nearby Pappas Fresh Greek here in Lakeland. We’re not sure what possessed us to get two salads, the small ones are huge. We were stuffed in no time and ended up carrying the equivalent of what we already ate home in Styrofoam cartons, to enjoy later.
Today, I’m already craving a gyro (pronounced “yee-ro” NOT “juy-ro”).
Mike claims that the next time he has a Greek salad, he’ll try it with the anchovy left on top instead of the shrimp substitute. Share your preference with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.