23 July, 2009

Rich Cookies and Thick Yogurt

Tried for the first time a patisserie close to our flat to buy breakfast biscuits. It says to be founded in 1909, but the shop itself seems to be recently renovated and very neat.

What impressed me at this visit was the entusiasm of the seller; she tried to explain to me how and why good are their produces (fresh, good ingredients, their own pastry or butter).



7 euros worth of hand made biscuits (well, hand-made is very common in Greek bakery and patisserie). They are fine, but too rich to be our breakfast biscuits. They are more for afternoon tea. Besides, the round ones are savory and do not do as breakfast biscuits.

Being impressed by her, I bought a tub of Greek yogurt. She said it was their own product.



This middle size tub costs 2 euros, slightly more expensive than supermarket yogurt. It was very thick and creamy yogurt. I liked it, especially the buttery suface layer. But the fat content of 6.6% means that it is not for everyday consume for me.

I will try some other sweets next time. She said galaktoboureko is very good...

19 July, 2009

Fish Taverna without Name

The other Sunday, Hubby and I decided to go out for dinner, but, as soon as we went out, it started to rain and we ended up in a roadside taverna near our flat. It is strictly for the neighbours and you don't see even the name outside.

It does not even have menu and you just order from the list of dishes orally given by waiteress. At this point, we figured out it was a psarotaverna (fish tavern).

Bread (xoriatiko psomi).

Nice, but I cannot accept bread as accompaniment to fish. Is it just me? Probably.

Salad.

We never manage to finish feta slab on horiatiki salata (Greek salad), so we ordered it without cheese. The chili pickles were slightly chilly hot as I like it.

Feta saganaki.

Hubby wanted tyrokafteri, but they had only fava.

Black kitty watching us.


A huge mountain of fried potato.

Probably hand-cut. Fine.

Highlight of the day was grilled squid.



It was soft and sweet.

Unfortunately grilled tsipoura wasn't so good.

It was baked far too long in my opinion. Greeks like to overdo fish as well as meat.

The taverna keeps a cat to entertain customers.


Or to clean un-eaten fish.

Perhaps her son?


The bill with a bottle of beer was 36 euros. It is very good considering the presence of two big fish/seafood.

17 July, 2009

A Kitty on Lunch

Lunch consists in Greek BBQ.



He is being spoilt!

Briam

Recently I haven eaten Briam at two restaurants (tavernes) in Athens and both of them served briam very similar to ratatouille. Cooked in tomato sauce and very wet.

I am not saying that they were not briam, but I was rather disappointed at them, as what I know as briam is much drier.

So I tried mine.



It is very easy to make. Slice aubergine, zucchini, potato and tomato. Add olive oil, salt and oregano. Place slices in layers in a over proof dish or oven tin, and bake 30 min in oven. I added also anthotyro, but you can use feta or can do without cheese at all.

It is not to be eaten hot, but in room temperature. It is a perfect summer dish, you know.

*************

From laiki market, I bought vlita. This one included some red leaves.



But, not that tasted different. Just interesting.

14 July, 2009

Beer Factory in Athens



Beer Factory in Athens. I am not sure if it is a brewer or just a bottling factory.

11 July, 2009

Diasimos @ Peiraiki, Piraeus

A Saturday night in July 2009, coming home late from work and being tοo tired to cook (and my husband incapable of cooking, etc. etc.), we went down to Akti Themistokleous, the area also called Peiraiki, for dinner.

We wanted to go to either Faros or Gia Mas, which we know are good, but they are too far to reach; it was already quite late and I was exhausted. That is why we ended up in fish taverna Diasimos, which is about 5 min. walk from our flat. This below is an image photo taken in the winter this year.




Actually it was already dark, around 11 o'clock.

Diasimos is a huge restaurant occupying two edifices and one having two storeys.

We got a table by the busy street, with a very little view of the sea, as a car was parked just next to us. When we went in, Hubby was invited in to see the fresh fish counter. I wanted to decline, as it is a famous tourist trap, but Piraeus born and grown hubby - it is difficult to be more local than him - went in to see and ordered a grilled squid. It looked pretty large.



And we ordered other stuff too. These are fried potatoes and horta. Fried potatoes were oily and strange in texture; should have been either frozen or pre-fried.

However, ugly and black looking horta in this photo actually was pretty good, slightly bitter and not over-cooked.



This is Midopilafo - mussels cooked with rice.



Again, it was nothing exceptional, but OK. Probably it was a bit meagre for 7 euros price-tag.

The biggest disappointment, however, came with the squid.



They say it weighed 600 grammes, but looked far too small, much smaller than what Hubby chose from the fresh fish counter. But, realistically, is there any way we could prove that it was different squid? No.

We realised later that the waiter thought Hubby was a foreigner. He (waiter) said Hubby's accent sounded foreign.

The mistake cost him (hubby) dear; this tiny squid was billed as €16.80. I should have dragged him away from the fresh fish counter.

If you are wondering, just check out the squid we had at the Faros some weeks ago; it cost €20.80, but it was twice as large.

http://gatetogreece.blogspot.com/2009/06/mega-squid-lunch.html

At the end, we were offered free water melon. The total bill including also a bottle of beer and a bottle of water was €35.30. Too expensive for what we ate. No receipt, of course (but I have a photograph of the bill).


DIASIMOS
Akti Themistokleous 306
Piraeus

Διάσημος
Ακτή Θεμιστοκλέους 306
Πειραιάς
Τηλ: 210 4514887

A Dog in Monastiraki Square

The glass-topped archaeological site in Monastiraki square is popular not among tourists but among dogs, too! You can always find a dog or two sleeping on it, if it is not too hot under the sun.





Tale of Two Souvlakia

The other day, went to Το Σουβλάκι του Χασάπη (To Souvlaki tou Hasapi), The Butcher's Souvlaki (shop), in Apollonos Street near Syntagma Square.



Being in a hurry, I did not take picture of the shop. It is a hole-in-the-wall type very small shop, with only a few chairs and people usually eat standing.

They don't sell souvlaki (kaimaki KALAMAKI) in pita wrap and all you can get is skewered & grilled meat (pork), sliced bread, fried potato and lemon. The major clients seem to be middle-age to elderly guys who live nearby. Kafeneio type clientele. They enjoy their meat with cold beer.

On the other hand, I had it on the go.





Well, it was nice, but as nice as those served many souvlaki shops in my neighbourhood in Piraeus. €1.50 for a skewer is more expensive than average. Most of all, I would prefer to have souvlaki (kaimaki) in pita. Personal preference, of course.


And yesterday evening, we went to Monastiraki Square. Gelato from Mattonella, as usual. This is strawberry sorbet.



After having coffees at Dioskouroi Kafeneion in Upper Plaka, we went back to Monastiraki Square to eat souvlaki.

I tried for the first time Thanassis's Kebab.



Meat itself is soft and juicy, with strong lamb-ey flavour.

The wrap does not include chips (fried potatoes) or tzatziki. I am not a big fan of french fries, but would prefer to have tzatziki. Besides, the pita was too oily to my taste. Comparing to this one, personally I prefer Bailaktaris' gyro wrap.

Next time, we will try Savvas to complete the scene.

08 July, 2009

Sofia's in Valaoritou Street, Kolonaki

Post scriptum: Unfortunately this restaurant was closed in 2011.

---------------------------------

Visited Sofia's Brasserie/Cafe in Valaoritou Street, which is near Voukrestiou Street in Kolonaki.







There are only several tables outside, but inside there are really many tables. The whole space is divided in a few rooms and I cannot easily guess how many tables there are.

My visit was made in the pre-smoking ban period and I really had an unpleasant time as the guy next to my table kept on smoking. I hope it is not happening now.



In the regular menu there are only sandwiches (from 3 euros), salads, omelets and drinks, but on a separate sheet (also on the black board on the photo) there was a list of "Today's Dishes" including pies, pastas, and meat/fish dishes, ranging from 6.50 to 16 euros. There are also assorted dishes of Greek cheeses or cold cuts, to be enjoyed, I guess, with wine.




This is bread basket (1.50 euros) of integral wheat bread and kritsinia with seeds. Very nice, but, if you (like my husband) don't like integral stuff, you won't appreciate it. I wish we could have a choice.


I ordered aghinares ala polita (Artichokes in Constantinopolitan Style) (9 euros), as it was Friday. You might not know, if you are not Orthodox Christian, but this is one of the typical dishes for Orthodox fasting days.





What is not very evident in this photo is that the portion was very Very generous. The largest artichoke in this photo is about 7 cm in diameter.

To my surprise, this dish was served hot, while I expected it to be lukewarm as all the "ladera" (vegetables cooked in olive oil and sometimes with tomatoes) dishes are. And artichokes and the other veggies had different temperatures; probably they separated artichokes so that they became too soft.






I finished almost all, but I must confess it was hard to keep on eating the same thing; I would have happier if I could have smaller portion of artichokes and a bit of salad or some carbo.

The total bill came to 10.50 euros, as I did not order any drink (I got free glass of water). Probably I did not make the best choice of food, but it was a pleasant meal in pleasant environment. I would recommend this place for lunch or afternoon snacking, or even for light dinner, although it closes at 9:30 in the evening.

Sofia's Brasserie
Valaoritou 15, Athens
106 71
Tel. 210-3641530



07 July, 2009

Smoking in Mikrolimano

This Sunday we went to Mikrolimano for coffee with a friend.

I am very disappointed to see most of the cafeterias and restaurants still allow smoking inside the premises and people are still smoking carelessly.

There was one place with "No Smoking" poster in front of the shop, but inside there are ash trays on the counter.

As if they had never heard about the smoking ban put into effect from 1 July. Shame.

01 July, 2009

Espresso with Whipped Cream and Ice Cream

Yes, it is a bit over the top, but it was still a pleasant dessert for me.


This is at cafeteria STYL by the Mitropolis (Cathedral of Athens), just in front of another cafeteria Central. I think I paid 4.50euros.

The vanilla ice cream was mediocre, but the cream wasn't that disgusting vegetable white substance disguised as dairy cream.

Besides, the cafeteria is situated under many trees and we feel like being in a wood. It is a pleasant place to be.

Partial Smoking Ban Started Today in Greece!

I am in a bad mood, because I was woke up from nap by a stupid mosquito that flied into my ear. Very annoying.

So I write something joyous.

Today, 1 July 2009, the smoking ban in Greece officially started!!!

It is only for the closed public spaces, and application to small cafes/restaurants is somewhat restricted (I don't remember the detail; sorry!), but still is a positive step for non-smokers like me. If you are a smoker, you maybe thinking I am an idiot for calling it 'positive'.

I don't care.

I am overjoyed by the fact - hopefully - I will be annoyed less often by smoke in public places. Greek smokers are far too careless: it seems that it never comes to their mind that there are people who don't like the tabacco smoke. They have been smoking as if it was their right.

Hopefully it won't be so anymore.


Today I entered Grigoris in Syntagma Square. I did not see any NO SMOKING sign, but they removed all the ash trays from the tables in ther first floor (I did not check very closely, but they might have changed the small dark ex-non smokers' corner into smokers' corner). And there was no one smoking!

The ban is only for the closed spaces, i.e., in the open space cafes/restaurants the smoking is still allowed without any condition.

A few weeks ago, I was enjoying coffee at a table of Mousses along the Adrianou Street. Then, three tables around us got occupied by 3 groups of smokers and we needed to change tables.

Something like this is still going to happen under the current ban, but, hopefully, it changes also soon in future.
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