Monday, June 16, 2014

Greece: “But, what do you eat there?”

There are certain people we know who don’t share our enthusiasm for travel.  They list the logistics and planning or those unknown experiences . . .like eating  different food as reasons for not setting forth.

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Easter pastries - Greece
I can tell you – and our bathroom scales reconfirm this – we love the foods (and drinks, of course) we discover on our travels!

Some of our favorite food is Greek. We found so many culinary delights as we traveled around Greece this spring that I am serving up a two-part report; beginning this week on our food-fest there and starting with perhaps the most recognizable dishes:

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Pita Gyro: This fast food is the cheapest ‘full meal deal’ in town.  Thinly sliced lamb, beef or chicken, tomatoes, onions, French fries, yogurt with paprika (pictured above) or tzatziki, a yogurt sauce comes wrapped in hot pita.  The cost usually under $5 US.

Greek Salad: Unlike the versions we are served back home in the U.S. here the bowl is filled with chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, whole olives with pits and slabs of feta, seasoned with oregano and olive oil and vinegar mixtures.  Usually in the $5 – $7 US range and enough to share between two.

loutro to kirkland 121Hummus: While we call it a dip in the U.S. it sometimes is listed under salads here – other times as a meze, or small plate. 

This traditional mixture of garlic, olive oil, garbanzo beans and tahini, is one of our favorites. In the photo to the left, the restaurant served it with sautéed onions.  Less than $5 US.





loutro to kirkland 165Two other sauce/salad/mezes: are the traditional – tzatziki, (left side of the plate) yogurt, cucumber, oft times a bit of grated carrot and varying amounts of garlic and garlic salad basically garlic and mashed potatoes mixed together and served cold or at room temperature.








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Greek meatballs rival that of their Italian neighbors.  Here, however, they aren’t served with pasta.  Instead, potatoes – slow roasted in the oven with oregano, olive oil and lemon juice – share the plate.  (And thank goodness, those baskets of bread are served as a routine part of every meal. This one came  in handy for dredging through that olive oil and lemon sauce!)

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Stuffed grape leaves – served as mezes here, are a tart lemon-flavored treat filled with rice and served at room temperature or barely warmed.  We ate many of these but I am featuring the ones served at The Nest, a restaurant (known for its traditional Greek food) tucked in the maze of the Old Town, Chora, on Ios Island

This family-owned restaurant  and the food it served, captured our hearts (and stomachs) and drew us back two of the three nights we were in town.  Among the many dishes we sampled were these grape leaves. The owner said that the leaves are grown in his cousin’s garden and each morning his mother comes in to make them ~ now who could resist that?

Note:  The opening photo is of pastries (some of you saw it on Facebook)  - a gift for Easter from Maria, the lady who runs Pension Loutro Bay, on the southern coast of Crete, where we spent the holiday this year.

Thanks for your time today – we hope you’ll be back later this week!

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday

21 comments:

  1. Hello Jackie and Joel,

    Well, we certainly agree with you that discovering the culinary delights of other countries is one of the great pleasures to be found abroad.

    Your Greek food selections look totally delicious. We very much like how the emphasis seems to be one the freshest of ingredients and a focus on tomatoes which we adore. We do like to just eat what is in season ourselves since that guarantees that the food is less travelled!

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    1. Jane and Lance, again thanks for your visit! You are so correct about the freshest of ingredients. We find that we are in a fresh-food wonderland and an inexpensive one as well while in Greece. We've shopped at municipal markets and returned 'home' with bags of tomatoes, cucumbers and oranges that we purchased for pennies would have cost the price of our airfare back in the States.

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  2. Oh my mouth is watering. All that wonderful food. We need to go to Greece!

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    1. Yes, you do need to come to Greece. . .for more reasons than just the food. (That's a teaser for upcoming posts. :-) ! )

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  3. Hi Jackie and Joel,

    Your featured fare is, indeed, delicious, delightful and daringly tempting to the taste buds! Love it all, cook it all...and like you, all of it shows!

    Have a lovely week!

    Poppy

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    1. I went in to have my cholesterol checked a week after our return and the doctor nearly squealed in delight at how high my good 'stuff' had climbed to. . .she asked, "What have you been doing?" I told her we'd returned from a month in Greece. "Oh yes the Mediterranean Diet. . .it works!"

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  4. I adore Greek food too, Jackie. :-) I am dreaming and hoping and planning to be there in September this year. Fingers crossed! :-)

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    1. Where do you plan to be visiting in September? I'll keep my fingers crossed!

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  5. We absolutely LOVE Greek food! Once visiting Greece, you can never go back to enjoying an "Americanized" Greek salad so full of lettuce. I never put lettuce in my Greek salads as that's the way I learned to make it in Greece. so much better when you marinate the feta in olive oil and oregano before adding the other ingredients.

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    1. Doreen, we so absolutely agree with you on not being able to eat Americanized Greek salads any longer. Great idea to marinate the feta in olive oil and oregano! Thanks much for your visit. . .

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    1. As we heard the phrase used so often while in Greece, I must say it here:
      "But. . .of course!" (I couldn't imagine you not liking Greek food after those wonderful posts you two wrote about it.

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  7. What can I say? I totally agree with you but I'm sure that there are more culinary delights that you have to discover...next time, it's a good reason to come back!
    A big hug!
    Olympia

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    1. Oh yes, Olympia! We can hardly wait to return and start working our way through new items on the menus. Hugs to you! Jackie

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  8. I'm soooo glad I read this literally minutes before dinner! That pita...OMG...I will take two, Jackie! And I would like to grabe those meatballs and a slab of feta to go with them! I've had stuffed grape leaves many times and they are definitely an acquired taste due to the tartness. Unless a person goes right after the filling lol :) Yummy good post, our friend! :)

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    1. I am with you Mike on the stuffed grape leaves. One is usually plenty. Guess I haven't quite acquired a taste for that zing of citrus they have.

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  9. Must be food paradise over there, Jackie. You could well call yourselves "TravelnEat", at the moment!

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    1. Actually, Andrew, it should probably be TravelnOink! Thanks for stopping by today~

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  10. I'm going to have to try that oregano, olive oil and lemon juice combination. Sounds like it's a popular ingredient in Greek foods.
    I love trying new foods as well -- one of the treats I look forward to when I travel. I couldn't imagine eating the same foods that I do at home.
    Thanks for linking up this week, Jackie. Look forward to reading Part 2. Have a great week!

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    1. Again thanks for hosting Foodie Tuesday Marcia - I love reading about new foods as much as I love eating it!

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