21 March, 2011

Marathon Without Running

Yesterday we visited Marathon.


During the winter, archaeological sites and museums offer free entrance and it is a good occasion to visit these places, if you like this kind of stuff.

And it is a good occasion to get in touch with nature.

Although it is not warm really yet, these little flowers tell us that the spring is coming.

Carpet of flowers!

We stopped at a psistaria (grill restaurant) for lunch and then, looking for a cafeteria, headed for Skinias beach.

No cafeteria!

It was deserted except for some people doing picnic and for those who visiting fish restaurants.

I guess the place is so full of people in summer. Greek summer is beautiful, but there is also a beauty that can be seen only in off-season.

19 March, 2011

Flowers of Spring

As you have already heard and seen, Japan - my home country- was and is being devastated by earthquake, tsunami and now melt down of nuclear reactors.

I don't feel that this blog is not an adequate place to discuss about this, but on the other hand I don't feel like blogging about food either, as you can imagine.

The area devastated by earthquake and tsunami is very cold and now that many of them do not have heating at all I cannot help but imagining how hard the life is. I hope at least that the climate turns better for them.

06 March, 2011

Ouzou Melathron @ Monastiraki

[UPDATE 17 Nov. 2012] The place closed for the summer 2012 promising to come back in autumn, but has never reopened at least until now.

Last Friday evening, after work, we stopped at Ouzou Melathron in Monastiraki for dinner.

We intended to visit it for quite a long time, having heard positive opinions from friends & relatives.

Probably many of you already know that Ouzou Melathron is a hugely successful restaurant in Thessaloniki and the Monastiraki branch is its first outlet in Athens.

For a Friday evening, it wasn't so busy, about 1/3 of the tables being occupied. What impressed us from the first moment was that there were many foreigners of European or American origins. I am not sure if it is usual for a place in Monastiraki (but it is in a somehow hidden back street) or because it is recommended in foreign guidebooks.

The menu is very long, full of unheard-of dishes. Many seemed original creations of Ouzou Melathron. Considering that the Greek people are very conservative in food, it is very courageous of them and it is admireable to have succeeded.

As I was not very hungry (had a muffin and cappuccino just before), I picked only a salad and let Hubby choose whatever he liked.

From the left, half a kilo of half-sweet wine (it was the only red house wine), four colour salad, bread basket and tzatziki.

Four colour salad was, as you can imagine, made of shredded cabbage, red cabbage, carrot and lettuce. It was fine. Bread basket contained white bread and whole wheat bread. Tzatziki was thick and plenty: good.

This is grilled potatoes.

I thought that the potatoes were first boiled and then grilled. They were served with fatty pancetta. Anyhow, it was less oily than fried potatoes.

The main dish, Pilino Melathron, was served considerabily after all the other dishes.

It was a pork kokkinisto oven-baked in earthen ware with cheese. To me it was too heavy and salty, but objectively speaking, it was a strong dish with strong flavour.

After the meal, they offered a chocolate crepe on the house.

The people around our table seemed hugely enjoying this dessert, but we found it too heavy after a hearty meal. Probably it was a problem of our stomach.

The total bill came to just a bit under 30 Euros, which we thought good value for money, if not particularly cheap.

It is a fun place where you would like to visit especially when you want something new and different.

Ag. Filippou 10, Astingos
Monastiraki, Athens
Tel. 210-324 1716

05 March, 2011

Forgotten Photos from Hydra

Found in my archive some forgotten photos from Hydra this summer which. As I feel sorry to delete them, I publish them belatedly.

In Hydra it is prohibited to bring in motored vehicles (although I did see one or two trucks that bring garbage etc), beasts of burden are still essential part of ordinary life. They bring construction material, food, water, luggage and human beings. Hubby said they were donkeys, but I thought many were mules or small horses.

I did not find food in Hydra interesting. Probably you get good fish, but the cooking was uninspiring standard taverna affair. Even so, we found a taverna we liked, this one in the left side of the photo. I don't remember its name. It is located near the bar Paramour and the hotel Amaryllis; Hydra town centre being so small, it should not be difficult to find it.

We are here twice and tried various things. Menu ranges from classics to some originals and they were all well-executed. Here in the photo is pork souvlaki, with some vegetable in between. I liked the twist, as the Greek souvlaki is made only with meat.

Before leaving Hydra, we sat at cafeteria Haagendasz to wait for speedboat. The cheese cake was dry and oozing the smell of freezer.

I am not sure if I want to go back to Hydra. The town was beautiful but it is not something I want to see repeatedly.

01 March, 2011

One Night in Thebes

This happened during the Apokries (Carnival) period preceeding the Lent.

We went to Thiva (Thebes) to visit this place.

Our friend was organizing a costume party in the underground of his shop.

The guy dancing in short skirt is our friend. He was a great party guy when he was in university and is still a great party guy even now that he is a father of two.

We danced until 3 in the night.

Thebe is only 1.5 hour drive from Piraeus, but we slept over as it is not exactly wise to drive the distance so late.

We stayed in this hotel called Niovi.

50 Euros per night for a double room with breakfast was a good buy, although the view from our room was nothing other than depressive (below).

Thebes is one of the few Greek towns inhabited CONTINIOUSLY from bronze age to today; below the modern town should be still many ancient ruins.

The above is supposed to be archaeological site as the brown sign board tells us, but it seems to be buried under the earth and it looks like a casual park.

After a walk, we visited the house of another friend and his wife who prepared us lunch. I rarely realize in Athens that the Greeks are supposed to be known for hospitality, but this time in Thebes I did feel the Greek hospitality.