In Episode 9 we revisit Tarpon Springs.
Everyone always talks about the Sponge Docks, but downtown is thriving with shops and delicious food.
Transcript at the bottom of this page!
Olive the World bistro
Court of Two Sisters
A single strand of spaghetti is called a "spaghetto".
Great Things Tampa Bay is hosted and produced by Kyle Sasser.
There was no paid advertising in this episode. All recommendations are given based on personal experiences.
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Kyle: Hello! Welcome to Great Things Tampa Bay. The podcast about great eats, great places, and great people in the greater Tampa Bay area. I’m your host, KYLE SASSER, and I’m joined by my lovely wife, ABBIE. And say hello.
Kyle: Soft laugh. Yep. So, she’s joining me on the podcast. We’re going to mix it up a little bit. This is Episode 9. We’re calling it TARPON REDOUX. Thanks for inviting us along on your commute, putting us in your ear, or maybe you’re just out there cleaning out your gutters dreaming about what better things you could be doing. If that’s the case, then I would like to say thank you for giving us a listen.
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SEGMENT 1: THE LOOT
Kyle: A few weeks ago, we went up to TARPON SPRINGS, as I’m sure you remember. And, you know we kinda had mixed feelings about it. Like, you know, the sponge docks were kinda kitschy and touristy. Right?
Kyle: Like, you know, it’s a…lots of T-shirt shops, sponges.
Abbie: Even I got sucked in.
Kyle: Soaps, yeah. (soft laughter)
Abbie: I bought a few. (laughing)
Kyle: And we did buy a sponge and it’s apparently awesome.
Abbie: It really is awesome.
Kyle: So high praise for the sponges.
Abbie: (laughing) Yeah.
Kyle: One of the places we stopped at on the way back from the Sponge Docks was…ah…UNIQUE FINDS. Which was this antique shop. And tell us a little bit about it.
Abbie: Yes, I was super excited when I saw it on the drive in so when we were leaving to go, I’m like we have to stop at that shop and go check it out. So, when you walk in, immediately whoever set up the first room did a beautiful job and it totally sucks you in. Really cool furniture. Some reworked items as well. I think they have vendors set up inside. They all have their own little cubby areas which I like cause you can definitely see the styles’ range as you meander through the place. But I love French provincial or early 1900s so it was really speaking to my heart and actually found a few things that we really couldn’t live without.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Abbie: So I, um, was super excited about it!
Kyle: Wa…wa…Wait. YOU found some things that you couldn’t live without. (laughter) I don’t think I got anything out of this.
(Kyle and Abbie both loudly laughing)
Kyle: So, ok, well what did you find on the first trip to Unique Finds up there in lovely Tarpon Springs.
Abbie: Well, the first thing I found was when I was walking in, I saw this huggge like carved wooden frame that was empty and I was immediately drawn to it by the pure size and the detail to it. The lady who that was working that afternoon, I asked her, you know, oh is this for sale I don’t a price on that and she said we just got that in, I’m not sure. The owner’s out of town, but, you know I can give you a call when he gets back in. So, I kinda left it there cause I wasn’t sure how much it was going to cost. If it was going to be like 50 bucks. If it was going to be like 600. I didn’t know, …
Kyle: Uh huh.
Abbie: …, you know, how old it was or it’s worth and it was, you know, I mean it was really pretty awesome.
Kyle: Yea, and this is a very large and heavy picture frame. (soft laugh)
Abbie: Extremely heavy. (laughing) Like takes two people to lift it. I mean it’s really something. And then, um, as we walked around and walked through we came upon on this really gorgeous fountain and I, it looked like it was cast iron and oxidized copper and I mean it was really, really something and the detail on it was magnificent and it even had engraved in it that it was from Austria which we were like “Whaaat?”
Kyle: Yeah, pretty, pretty.
Abbie: So we asked the lady at the counter about it and she said yeah it was a fountain that was in Austria and one of the artist, er, has little areas, I guess, had put some paint on it or refinished it in some fashion and they did such a beautiful job. And I was like, yeah, we have to have that.
Abbie: So, it was really cool
Kyle: Yep. So, Unique Finds. Definitely worth the trip would you say?
Abbie, Oh, Absolutely.
Kyle: My lovely wife, Abbie, she actually woke me up in the morning and was like uhhhh, do you want to go up to Tarpon Springs; go back to Unique Finds again?
Kyle: Yeah, you know it was said with that tone where, you know, like it’s either….
Abbie: It wasn’t a question.
Kyle: Yes, it’s do or die…
Kyle: …sort of thing.
Abbie: Tt gets addicting let me tell you and that place is definitely worth your trip.
Kyle: The last time we went up there, we also went to FINDERS KEEPERS.
Kyle: Which is sorta like this downtown area. Like there’s Tarpon Springs sponge docks. Which is where all the tourist and everything goes. And then there’s the actual like Tarpon Springs downtown which is the old section there. That’s where we mainly hung out this time.
Kyle: Yes, so Finders Keepers is this antique shop. Uh, it’s pretty cool. We found…what would you say was their specialty there?
Abbie: Um, they had some really great furniture pieces. I would say probably mostly it was their china and all the plates and different settings that they had. I know a lot of them when I was speaking to the owner she was saying it was from her personal collection. But she sold most of it, but she still looks when she goes and she finds these items at estate sales. That’s what I think she carries the most with. I would have to say some china pieces and then some curio cabinets and things of that nature.
Kyle: Not to speak too disparaging but I feel like most antique shop owners kinda start off as like, you know, they buy up a ton of stuff that they like personally for their own house and then they’re like, man, I got a ton of shit and then they, you know, they need to clean out some stuff. They’re like aaaah I’ll just open a shop up. We did actually get something Finder Keepers there and, uh, we got a cruet set which is a word I didn’t know. (laugh) But apparently, what that is, is this thing was from like the 1930s?
Kyle: It’s from the 1930s and it’s on like this lazy susan looking thing with the handles that comes out. It was originally plated silver but it’s just, it’s been polished to death but it still looks cool.
Abbie: And it was actually replica, um, after some pieces like that that are actually of the Victorian style era.
Abbie: So, it…
Kyle: And, it has…
Abbie: …even then.
Kyle: And it has like six or eight glass bottles with stoppers in it and you put like, oils and …
Abbie: Salt and pepper.
Kyle: Yes, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar. Very, very cool. And next we went to a place called Court of…
Abbie: Court Of Two Sisters.
Kyle: COURT OF TWO SISTERS and THE UPPER COURT. This place was bananas.
Abbie: It was really something. Um.
Kyle: Tell us what was magical.
Abbie: Ah, ha, ha. (laughs) I’m a huge fan of chandeliers and they had quite the array, um, hanging in there. They were absolutely stunning and beautiful and I was excited. Each room we went into to look up and to stare at them and see what they had hanging. Also, I’m a huge fan of jadeite which I think most girls are who like antiques.
Kyle: Yep, and jadeite, for those who don’t know, it’s kinda like this glassware. It’s like a milky grain…
Kyle: …color thing.
Abbie: Uh hum.
Kyle: Like, like it’s, it’s really striking to see.
Abbie: It really is.
Kyle: if you’re not familiar with it.
Abbie: And it’s you know, usually pretty pricey and I was actually surprised to see that that she had so many pieces because a lot of people when they find it they keep it and they don’t want to give it up which is completely understandable cause of the sheer awesomeness of it. So, I love that place and then when you went upstairs, um, they had all these rooms set up with some really huge heavy furniture pieces. I mean they were pretty.
Kyle: Yes, it looked like it used to be…looks like it was used to be like a tenement or a hotel or something like that.
Abbie: Yeah, some sort. Like it was, you know, just the rooms and the bathroom would have been at the end of the hallway or something.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Abbie: It was really, really cool.
Kyle: Yep. Old building, wood floors.
Abbie: Yeah, it was gorgeous.
Kyle: So that was kinda like the wow factor.
Kyle: The jadeite and the chandeliers and then the…there is a few crazy factors that I noticed. Quite the military collection there of, ah, World War II. They had like some reproductions but the authentic stuff was very impressive as well. Went beyond just your normal medals and all that good stuff. Um, they also had this completely insane porcelain sculpture of Cinderalla stepping out of the carriage. Right?
Abie: Yes, into the ball.
Kyle: Yes. And like when I say that, you’re like thinking of like this little, you know, like I see it on TV like…
Kyle: Yeah, like…
Kyle: Yeah, like three payments $19.99. No. This thing was almost twenty thousand dollars.
Abbie: It was massive.
Kyle: It was like four feet long.
Kyle: And like two feet tall. Exquisite detail. Absolutely ridiculous. If you’re in Tarpon Springs, it’s worth it to go there just to see that ridiculous thing.
Abbie: The showcase of this thing. It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe somebody made it
Abbie: And I can’t believe somebody bought it.
Abbie: I mean it’s, I don’t even know how they even thought it up. It’s magical and yet it’s like what the hell would you do with that?
Kyle: Like what was the thought process? It’s like, hey, you know it’d be a good idea? Let’s make this huge porcelain thing and then sell it for like forty thousand dollars.
Kyle: Ridiculous. They also had a couple other knickknacks like old stuff. There’s a 1930s Bat Cave pennant which was a favorite of mine. It’s from my favorite area up in Asheville. But overall, can’t recommend it enough. It’s called Court Of The Two Sisters and then the Upper Court is the upstairs where they have all the furniture and stuff. So, go check it out.
SEGMENT TWO: FOOD
Kyle: Alright, so while we’re, while we’re up in Tarpon Springs, we were walking around kinda hungry. You know sorta looking around for a place to eat Um, I pull up Yelp which, you know, I know some people don’t like Yelp but, you know, sometimes they get things right and in this case, they definitely did. We found this restaurant up there; it’s called OLIVE THE WORLD. Olive spelled like, like olive oil. And it had five stars on Yelp and each one of those was absolutely deserved.
Abbie: It was amazing.
Abbie: I was so hungry and, you know, when we were walking up this, this little main street area and I saw a pizza place at the end, I like “Let’s go grab a slice.” and Kyle’s like “No. I found this place on Yelp. We’re gonna walk around and look for it and we’re gonna check it out.” At that point I was like ‘Just get me the food!” I was starting to get a little hangry.
Abbie: We went around the corner and we walked about halfway down the block and it was kinda just obscure, just there. It was in a weird…I wasn’t even expecting to even walk up on anything at that point
Kyle: Yes, a little side street there.
Abbie: And then it was, uh, when you walked in, it was two higher tables then down the middle was a big row of olive oils and huge stand and all different things. And I was like is this some market or a deli? Maybe it’s not really a restaurant and then, uh, there was a little table set up and then the nice people greeted us…
Kyle: Uh huh
Abbie: …and sat us down. And we started looking over the menu and we…our eyes both just got…
Kyle: Uh huh
Abbie: …as big as saucers. So, we kinda looked at each other and we’re like “Yeeesss!”. And I was like thank you for finding this place. I already know it’s going to be amazing.
Kyle: Yep. So, it’s pretty much a family operation from what we gathered. Like it’s …
Abbie: Yeah, like her husband, her husband is the chef.
Kyle: Yep, husband’s the chef.
Abbie: She runs the front of the house.
Kyle: Yep and I think now that is was their daughters?
Abbie: I’m not sure.
Abbie: They were adorable and they were very sweet.
Kyle: And they were sisters!
Abbie: Yeah, they were definitely sisters and they were so cute.
Kyle: Yeah. And the food was ridiculous!
Kyle: So the first, the first thing they got was the watermelon.
Abbie: It was a watermelon caprese salad.
Kyle: Yeah, the watermelon was crisp and fresh. The mozzarella was en pointe. The basil was good.
Abbie: You know, when I’ve had that in the past I’ve always had you know compressed and it’s, you know, stacked and it, you know, looks really pretty, and this was actually a slice of watermelon with the, you know, mozzarella in the middle and then the sprinkled basil. And I just kinda looked at it; mind was like “Oh god, you know I hope this is good. This was my idea to order this.”. And I’m like looking Kyle like “Ok?” And then she, then she said “Oh wait.” and she walked over and she poured, um, out of the center area, um, some olive oil and she walked back over and she said, um, this is a white watermelon strawberry balsamic that goes delicious on it. You have to pour it over…
Kyle: Uh huh.
Abbie: …and I was like “Wooooo.”.
Kyle: Yeah. (laughing)
Abbie: And let me tell you, it set that thing… …on fire! I wasn’t even sure how it was going to taste. I knew it would probably be good but I wasn’t really sure with the presentation. I was like “I’m a little above this”.
Kyle: Cause this was just a sliced watermelon with a piece of mozzarella on top.
Abbie: Yeah and then…
Kyle: And then some basil.
Abbie: …and then when she poured that on there, it was so amazing.
Kyle: So, they have olive oils infused and they have balsamics…
Kyle: …that are also infused. So, once we found that out we kinda went bananas I think we were like three courses.
Abbie: If you want to count dessert.
Kyle: And what was some you ordered? Not the, not the rib one, what was the first?
Abbie: We ordered the Gorgonzola Gnocchi. The best gnocchi I’ve ever had in my life. They make it handmade there.
Kyle: Cooked to perfection. The gorgonzola was delicious. The…yeah…everything about it!
Abbie: On a scale one to ten, I give it a twelve.
Kyle: So if you go there and they have it on the menu, you gots to get it.
Abbie: It actually wasn’t on the regular menu. It was on their specials menu. So, if I were you I’d make sure I’d make it up there soon before it finds its way off the specials menu. It’s that amazing!
Kyle: Yes, it was and I know gorgonzola and gnocchi sounds kinda boring but trust me it’s definitely worth it. One of the other courses we had was the rib.
Abbie: The short rib…
Kyle: Yep, short rib…
Abbie: …rav, um, handmade raviolis.
Kyle: Yes, Short Rib Raviolis and that came with the, uh…
Abbie: A cognac sauce.
Kyle: And then afterwards, I have a little bit of a sweet tooth so we got the Hibiscus Cheesecake.
Kyle: Yes, which was absolutely delicious. They had quite a few to choose from. They had, you know, like the peanut butter ones and, uh, yeah, a few of those to choose from.
Abbie: There’s like six total.
Kyle: Yeah. They brought out the whole tray, showed them to you. They’re all handmade. They’re not… definitely not off the back of a Sysco truck. Like maybe they make them there.
Abbie: (laughing) They’re beautiful!
Kyle: And, yeah, the hibiscus one like it sounds weird and it had like a light purple to it and then they drizzled…
Abbie: Hibiscus balsamic. It was insane! So delicious!
Kyle: It was delicious. Definitely take the time to make it up there. Enjoy the food!
Abbie: Yeah, it’s definitely given me a new appreciation for olive oils and balsamics. That’s for sure.
Kyle: Yeah. De-licious!
SEGEMENT THREE: LET’S GET PERSONAL
Kyle: So we actually put in an offer on a house here in St Petersburg.
Abbie: And a new house.
Kyle: Yep, a new house and the offer was accepted. So we’re under contract as of today.
Kyle: So our effective date will be tomorrow and, uh, yeah, it’s pretty exciting. It’s, uh, we’ll be giving some more details a little bit later on and we’ve been doing some like video on Facebook. So, you know, if it interests you at all, uh, you can look us up on Facebook. I’m on there under Kyle Sasser. You’ll see my bright, shining face. And, yeah, it’s a cool old house. It was built in 19….
Kyle: Yep, 19, built in 1913. And it’s been updated with the air conditioners are new from last year. The electric ‘s pretty up to date.
Abbie: All new windows, newer roof.
Abbie: New kitchen, baths.
Kyle: Yep, it’s a, it’s a good-looking house.
Kyle: We’re really excited and looking forward to it Quite a bit of work there, I’m sure. (laughing)
Abbie: This old house.
Kyle: Yeah, landscaping and…, uh, luckily the bones seem to be pretty well put together but…
Kyle: …but, you know, there’s always the unknown.
Abbie: Yep, we’ll know more after the inspection and appraisal and all that good stuff.
Kyle: Yep, so we’re going through the process. So, yeah. it’s stressful.
Abbie: Stay tuned.
Kyle: But it’s funny though because, uh, you know my wife, she’s been in real estate for seven years, six, seven, eight years. Countless contracts that she’s assisted with the process. (noise in background) Um, excuse me a second, the dog’s going… “Hey! Leave that cat alone!” (laughing) Yeah, it’s a little different when you have to put your name on it and put some money with it, right?
Abbie: Think nothing of it. I hand em over every day. You know we close, you know, fifty transactions or so a month.
Abbie: I think nothing of it. And then we write one out that I’m all anxiety ridden and I’m like oh my god, freaking out.
Abbie: I’m really excited about just…it gives those words and numbers on the paper all new meaning for me.
Kyle: She bought the house before it was bought.
Abbie: It’s true. I would have paid more. Don’t tell em.
Kyle: (laughing) I was like whoa, whoa, hey, calm it down a little bit there. It’s a, you know, let’s look at this. Let’s look.
(Kyle and Abbie laughing)
Kyle: And the other cool thing that we did recently was up in Tarpon Springs. Uh, down there by the springs, not the sponge docks, not downtown, but just a little bit to the west of downtown. There’s an area there next to the springs where they Gulf comes up, and just some beautiful houses there.
Abbie: Really, really, amazing. If you go the opposite of where the downtown area is and you go towards the water. I mean these are older homes, but they are the most gorgeous I’ve seen in a long time and they…they’re lined up one after the other and they follow the waterline around. So, it’s definitely a nice little drive.
Kyle: Like the one, the one that’s two stories and that just the porch that wraps around is probably like 1400 square feet. (laughing)
Abbie: Yeah, it’s Victorian style. The millwork on it is insane.
Kyle: So, when you’re up in that area checking out Olive The World and some of the antique stores.
Kyle: Yep. Just take a little drive down there around the springs. Springs Bay I think it was called.
Abbie: Yeah, it’s beautiful.
SEGMENT FOUR: LETS GET GRAMMATICAL
Kyle: So, the singular of spaghetti is spaghetto. And, uh, yeah, I, I’m not making that up. (laughing) So, uh, my wife, she believes that’s why they named Spaghettios, Spaghettios.
Abbie: Yeah, because it’s actually spelled out like that and I was like oh, that makes sense.
Kyle: Yes, so see there’s many layers to Chef Boyardee’s genius.
Abbie: Even though it’s disgusting.
Kyle: Hopefully Chef Boyardee is not listening to this.
Abbie: No, I hope not.
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