Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Taking (Another) Bite Out of Greece

I told you that we’d eaten so many wonderful foods while in Greece that I had to tell you about them in a two-part post. Having given you the sampler plate earlier, pull up a chair and prepare for another Greek feast. . .

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Salt and Sugar - Poulithro, Greece
Coming from the United State’s Pacific Northwest where seafood is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, we’ve not eaten much fish in Greece. We’ve found it to be extremely expensive in comparison to other dishes (the waters, they say, have been somewhat ‘fished out’).

On occasion something comes along that we can’t resist, like this warm octopus salad served to us at a delightful place named, Salt and Sugar, in Poulithro, a small town on the east coast of the Peloponnese:



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Octopus Salad
The chunks of octopus were tender and mixed with onion, capers and sundried tomatoes – and served with a wonderful olive oil and lemon sauce.

DSCF3074On the west coast of the Peloponnese, we sampled a variety of dishes at this delightful restaurant (pictured on the left) in the harbor town of Agios Nikolaos, (St. Nicholas) where outside tables overlook the harbor.

Among our favorites here were some of the more traditional Greek dishes – many of which are made in such large batches that they aren’t made until tourist season is in full-swing -- dishes like the labor-intensive pasta dish called Patitssio

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A layered dish a bit like macaroni and and a bit like lasagna, the macaroni-shaped pasta is layered with a red meat sauce and topped with Béchamel sauce. One serving is easily shared between two people.

You might be surprised at how much pasta is served in Greece and how good those dishes are ~ some sources say these Italian-like recipes have been handed down through the generations; having originated here way back while the Venetians occupied so much of this country.

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We are in agreement that we each have a ‘peasant palate’ – sometimes the simpler and least expensive the ingredients, the better. Such is the case with slow-cooked flat beans. Simmered for hours in a tomato sauce flavored with fresh herbs this dish is inexpensive and filling enough to be shared by two.

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We’ve lucked out on our last two visits and arrived at just about the time the first artichoke harvest of the season. One of our favorite dishes – pictured above -  is artichokes, served in a lemon sauce with peas, potatoes and carrot chunks.  I am happy to report that among our Greek words – good morning, good afternoon and good night – I can now say, “ah-gee-nar-rus” the word for artichoke and if I say it with the right inflection the server knows I am inquiring about the availability of this dish.

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And of course we can’t sing the praises of Greek food and not mention the iconic, moussaka.  This lovely layered dish of aubergines (a much lovelier name used throughout Europe than ‘eggplants’ as we call them in the U.S), potatoes and meat sauce, also topped with a thick Béchamel.  This tasty bit of heaven also came with those lemon/olive oil roasted potatoes on the side.

DSCF1108This dish and the one pictured below were eaten at a table with a picture perfect view of the crescent-shaped beach in another small town, Stoupa, in the The Mani area of the Peloponnese.

Stoupa, is just a a few minutes by car from Ag. Nikolaos. With such good eateries in both towns it is difficult to choose where to eat.





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We couldn’t resist trying a traditional egg dish served scrambled with feta cheese, fresh tomatoes and ham.

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Salt and Sugar interior
One of the things we like most about Greek food and the restaurants in which they are served is the pace.  The food is served slowly, it is to be eaten slowly and there is never a rush to get you up and out of the place. 

You’ll not receive a bill until you ask for one and then – in the smaller cities – you’ll have some treat, a drink, or fruit, or pastry – delivered before that bill as a gesture of thanks for your business.

If You Go:
Map picture
The pin on the right marks Poulithro and the left denotes Ag. Nikolaos and Stoupa.

That’s it for this week’s Foodie Tuesday. Bon appetit to you where ever you are dining this week!
What foods have you eaten in your travels that have left a lasting impression? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday at Inside Journeys

16 comments:

  1. Argh, I tried to look up recipes for Patitssio and there was nothing! Well, it came back to your blog LOL! Lordy Jackie, I will take a sampler of each of those dishes. My mouth is literally watering, our friend! Good post :)

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    1. Are you not on Twitter anymore? I just went to send out the link and couldn't find you. ??

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    2. Hi Mike We are back in Greece for part two of our adventure here. So far we've had limited internet connection this week so sorry I haven't responded sooner. I am still on Twitter and got a follower yesterday so don't know what happened there. And Poppy wrote a very kind email, comment suggesting you try spelling Patitsio with one s instead of the two that I had. I found a recipe for it in a great cookbook/fun book "The Olive and The Caper - Adventures in Greek Cooking by Suzanna Hoffman. Think if you like Pioneer Woman you would love Suzanna's cookbook as well. Keep your fingers crossed and that internet lets me back every so often!

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  2. Oh my! You got my tummy grumbling again for Greek food, Jackie. Just found a shop where we can get real Greek joghurt. If only for its great food, I'd go back to the Greek Islands in a heartbeat.

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    1. Hey Marlys, If you like the Greek island's foods then you must visit the mainland as well and sample some here! (Yes, we are back in Greece. . .more on that to come).

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  3. It's all delicious, especially after some exciting sightseeing, new discoveries of ancient landmarks, and a refreshing swim. Jackie, it never crossed my mind that the reason for such amazing pasta dishes here in Greece is probably due to the Venetian occupation!!! Totally makes sense, but of course, many Greeks would scowl at that and insist that the Ancient Greeks first introduced pasta to the Romans, who tried to pass it off as yet another one of their 'Eureka' moments!
    It's a cultural and chaotic 'chicken-or-egg' enigma in the end!!;))

    Poppy
    P.S. Can't wait to hear what you got for your birthday!

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  4. Looks delicious, especially moussaka...

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  5. Hello Jackie and Joel:

    One of the great joys of foreign travel is to sample local dishes and, like you, we tend to prefer those which are well cooked and make use of simple ingredients. If fish is available, then we will often choose it as it is somewhat in short supply in land locked Hungary.

    For several days we have been 'off air' with Blogger problems. Hopefully now sorted!

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    1. Oh Jane and Lance, you made me smile with your 'blogger problems' as I had those on our earlier travels in Greece this year and now have been locked out of Google Chrome on both our smart phone and computer so not sure how long I will be in the blogosphere until we return home (July 22) and get it straightened out. Thanks for commenting - love hearing from you!

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  6. Jackie and Joel, All that food looks amazing, but the one I would try right now is the eggs with feta and tomatoes. Yum!

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    1. Excellent choice Corinne! We are having limited internet connection while in Greece so bear with me being hit and miss on comments, posts and linking. I'll be back in full swing after we return home July 22nd!

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  7. Such delicious things! I love the sounds of the lemony sauce on the octopus salad. :-)

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    1. It was simply terrific. I know you would have loved it. Thx for the visit. xoxo

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  8. Once again, everything looks beautiful, from the dishes to the views, Jackie!

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    1. Oh I so appreciate your kind words and support, Andrew. Thank you!

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  9. these posts bring back fond memories can't wait to get back

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