By CHRIS SHERMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000
Chris Sherman designates his favorites where you can eat happily for $10 or less as Cheap Thrills.
One more bakery on the sponge docks, but Chez Helene is deliciously different. To find it, look behind Mr. Souvlaki in the Sponge-o-rama warren of shops selling Cherokee moccasins, sea gull magnets, kayaks and watches galore. Here Helene Robert does make flogeres and aprikopita, but her specialties are not Greek. They are French, exquisitely French: tarts filled with delicately sliced fresh plums and nectarines, sugary operas and simple madeleines. Masterpieces are tiny mousses of a beauty rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic, from a Montmartre (chestnut with pear) to Pisang (banana with rum), each just a few dollars. Mme. Robert's son was an exchange student here 10 years ago; she followed last year and opened the bakery this summer. It's one more reason to spend a full day on the docks and take a cooler when you tour our tiny corner of Europe. 510 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs; (727) 934-5249.
Fourth Street Shrimp Store
For almost 20 years, St. Petersburg has come to this funky place to show out-of-towners, and remind ourselves, that fresh shrimp is everyday fare for us. And then there's the hush puppies. Seafood comes straight from the cooker, fixed just right, in huge quantities for small change. The murals packed with local caricatures provide free entertainment and good company. 1006 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg; (813) 822-0325
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