I have found my perfect Stella's time, which I didn't think was possible.
It is during meze ora. The time from 4-6:00 when there are a dozen $4 meze. When a carafe of wine is ten bucks.
And when the crowds are mercifully gone and the din is non-existent.
When the bartender came to take our drink order, I asked her to come back because my companion was busy texting his ex to let her know that he'd left a cat litter container on her back porch.
You know, because otherwise she might not have known what it was.
It got a good laugh from the bartender anyway.
We did a straight ahead assault on that meze menu, beginning with a carafe of Kourtaki Retsina (promised to us by our server as "not as syrupy" as other retsinas).
It had the requisite pine on the finish, providing the right Greek notes to go with our munchies.
Caprese elliniro ( roasted red pepper, feta, basil, EVOO), fresh fig compote/goat cheese crostini and loukaniko (grilled Greek sausage, orange peel, fennel and tzatziki) got us started.
The one other couple at the bar left and a group of three replaced them. Now we were five in the restaurant.
The bartender informed us that with their lighted Stella taps, they were the third biggest seller of Stella in the city.
We added in spanikopita, tiropita and prawns and skordalia (puree of garlic, potato and lemon) to finish us off.
A group of two came to the bar, and were joined by another couple looking for all the world like people who needed a drink.
Okay, I'm being kind. They looked annoying.
One guy asked if they had Hendrick's and when told yes, for a dry martini. The bartender suggested one of their signature drinks.
She explained its ingredients to him and the man questioned the rosemary syrup in the drink. She assured him it was just something different.
With just a little bit of a leer, he looked at me saying, "I think I'm ready for something different."
But of course he wasn't and got his Hendrick's martini.
But at least I knew I'd been right about his type.
Look of entitlement? Check. Corny humor? Check. Ineffectual Lothario? Check.
Gradually over meze ora, which is wisely really two hours, people came in to claim reservations and, if they didn't have them, begin filling up the community table.
The bustle had begun. I knew within a short time, the place would be packed and the noise level as bad as a show at the Camel.
But it didn't matter. We'd had plenty to eat, taken our last quaff of pine and talked about which guy looked most like my type.
There were maybe twenty people in the restaurant when we took our leave around 6:30.
Too bad for them; they'd already missed the most pleasurable of all possible times at Stella's.
But to meze ora, I say a resounding, "Stin iyia mas."