31 December, 2011

Burger @ Frida's, Piraeus

In 3 hours we are getting out of 2011 and entering 2012. How was your 2011? Mine was OK, but in general it was a bad one for Greece and 2012 cannot be better although I heartily hope so. Let's try to survive as best as we can, shall we?

So, we went for the last minute shopping to the central Piraeus. And after some walking and browsing, GH said he had to use toilets. So I took him to this cafeteria called Frida's just in front of Dimotiki Astynomia where I used to go to beseech for my residence permit.

It is a small but nice self-service cafeteria with food. They sell salads, sandwiches, various pastas, a small selection of grill, sweets and wine.

GH ordered his favourite, Club sandwich with chicken (or maybe turkey - don't remember) & I ordered moschari burger with some soft drinks.

It took a while for the food to come, as the place was very busy (for which the owner apologized us).



Beef Burger



The burger was pretty good with flavoursome meat patty and good quality cheese. For 6.20 Euro, it was a very decent offer.

Meanwhile the club sandwich was less impressive. But it was only 4.80 Euro, thus not much of a disappointment.

Both of the plates were served with fresh fries.

The place sells also Italian wines and Italian panettone, and, surprisingly many people were buying these products. We also bought a bottle of wine and might try tonight.

For the price they charge, the food seem to taste quite right and we will be returning without doubt (if we can find a table).

Frida's
Euripidou 87, Piraeus
Tel. 210 4174 564

(The photo above is from my mobile; I might upload some other photos from my camera later).

This is my last post of 2011. Happy to conclude the year with a positive note and hope to discover many more in the coming year.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM MY CANON CAMERA

that I have just downloaded.

Cashier Counter. The place is self-service style; you place the order at the counter and pay. The food sometimes you have to go to fetch and sometimes they bring it to you.



Handsome Facade.




30 December, 2011

Public Cafe, Piraeus

Visited the cafeteria of Public (if you do not live in Athens or else, Public is a chain of shops that sells computers, mobiles, CDs, books etc) in Piraeus. It has a view toward Passalimani, especially from the tables on the terrace, but it was too chilly for that on the day.

The shop & cafeteria were very busy due to the Christmas shoppers. In this current economic climet, you feel releaved to see people still do some shopping.



Two of us ordered a plate of club sandwich to share and a couple of drinks.



Neither in Japan or in UK (let alone Italy), I do not remember to see club sandwich on the menu so often as in Greece. I would call it one of the Greek national dishes, as well as curry or spaghetti to Japanese (this phrase makes sense only to those who knows the eating custom in Japan, I know...).

The toasted sandwich smelled of butter and the fillings were also flavourful. It wasn't like bad example of club sandwich over-filled with mayonnaise, snewey ham and plastic like chicken breast.

6.90 was reasonably price. Good fastfood while you are on shopping.

This is a slice of apple pie at Public cafe I ate on another day.



It was just OK. "I would order something else next time" OK.

********


Grigoris lowered the prices of coffee.



When the VAT on cooked food went up 13 to 23%, Grigoris immediately adjusted the price (justifiably, as the money goes to the state cofer, not to their profit) and probably they regretted it, sadly (but realistically, come on, who can accept that the sandwich that cost 3 Euro becomes 3.30 Euro overnigh?)

********


And something a bit Christmasy. We bought kourabiedes from a zaharoplasteio (patisserie) called Passarella on lower Piraeus street (if you know the area, it is next to Skravenitis supermarket).



They were less than 10 Euro / kg (maybe 7 maybe 9, don't remember exactly), while many bakeries charge 13-14 Euro per kg. And they tasted fine. For half kilo, we got 12 pieces.

29 December, 2011

Boxing Day Athens

Random photos of Boxing Day Athens.

Down the Iraklidon Street.

Iraklidon

Here was still quiet, but getting to the center (i.e. toward Apostolou Pavlou Street), we saw more & more people.

Sparrows.

Sparrows

For some reason, there were many sparrows sitting on the chairs of cafeteria Syn Athina. Can you see them?

And Acropolis.

Acropolis

I wondered why there was nobody in Acropolis (it was still around 2 in the afternoon) & the day after I learnt that it was closed due to the guards' strike. I have heard that the state won't be afford to open the museums and archaeological sites during the weekend, because it cannot pay the guards for weekend duties. Sad. Deeply.

Cats of Ancient Agora site. There are cats here always. There should be people who are feeding them.



Bailaktaris on Monastiraki Square.

Bailaktaris

Few tables were occupied, because it was very cold this day. There were people indoor eating.

Grafitti 1.



Grafitti 2.



Cat & Cafe-Bistro "Trantzistor".



Very friendly cat, but not so much the waitress. We tried to eat here, but the waitress did not bother to find us a table large enough to eat on (only coffee tables were readily available).

That was why we went to Odos Aischylou in the previous post. :)

27 December, 2011

Grill Odos Aischylou @ Psyrri

On 26 December, we went to Athens just see how the town is over the Christmas.

Although our stomachs were somehow damaged by over-eating on Christmas Even & Christmas, we needed to eat something as the day was very cold. So we stopped at a grill in Psyrri for a souvlaki or something.

Odos Aischylou

The restaurant is called Odos Aischylou and located, true to its name, on the Aischyloy street, very close to the central square of Psyrri.

The place wasn't full, but was quickly filling up. We were given a table in the back side corner (to which we did not protest). This is the view from our table. I quite liked the decor.



The menu was long, but heavily concentrated on kebab and doner. If you do not like meat, there is very little alternative. Many of the dishes bear Turkish name.

The main dishes are approx. 7 to 8 Euros & starters/ accompaniments are approx. 3 to 6. Bread is obligatory order, which does not make much sense as most of the main dishes come with some sort of bread anyway.

Greek Husband (GH) ordered fried potatoes, when he learnt from the waiter that his kebab was not to be served with potatoes.

Fried Potatoes

The menu said that potatoes were fresh. Possibly. But when served cold, they were difficult to be appreciated properly.

I ordered a kebab in pita (2.20 Euro). The portion was not large, but kebab itself was fine and the wrap was well balanced. Unfortunately, the potatoes again were cold.



I always need vegetable to eat meat. Otherwise I cannot digest. This plate of horta - I thought was zochoi - cost 3 Euro. Not particularly good, but did its job to me.



GH ordered one of their Oriental specialities, kebab & cheese wrapped in Arabic pita served with spicy - but not hot - tomato sauce.



It tasted all right, but in comparison to my kebab with pita, it represented poorer value for money costing 3 times more. Nonetheless, GH was happy with it.

With a can of coke, the total bill came under 20. I know better Turkish kebab places, but not as central as this one. I am glad to learn that it is there.

Grill House Odos Aischylou
14-16 Aischylou Street, Psyrri Square, Athens
Tel. 210 3244 117


Ψητοπωλείο Οδός Αισχύλου
Αισχύλου 14-16, Πλατεία Ψυρρή

18 December, 2011

Off-Season Trip To Crete, Day 4

Day 4, the last day in Crete.

Breakfast we tried at Savoidakis (Savodor), apparently a popular fast food chain in Crete (it is a bakery + patisserie, but sells also the things we find at Gregoris or Everest) near the sea.

Surprisingly there was little choice in sweet pies and we got a cream bougatsa to share (was huge).

Cream Bougatsa

It was not bad, but not good either. Sort of bougatsa you can get from any indifferent pie shop.

Savoidakis (Savodor)
El. Venizelou 81 & Petyhaki 15
Rethymnon

Then we went to see the Archaeological Museum. Entrance fee 3 Euro.



It is a very museum with only one space. I did not see anything very noteworthy and many are not allowed to be photographed. And as you might be able to see in the photo, the archaeological objects were exhibited with some "art" works by children. I do not about you, but personally I found horrible this fashion.

Then we went to the castle (fortress) which is located in front of the museum. Entrance fee 4 Euro.

When I paid the entrance fee, the woman at the ticket counter gave me only a plan of the castle. I asked her if it was the ticket and she said yes. But then, she took out the ticket booklet from the drawer and gave me two (for me & Hubby) cutting off carefully the part where the ticket price was printed. Does not it smell, does it? (The site seemed to be controlled by the municipality, and not by the state).

View from the fortress.



It reminded us of the fortresses of Kos, Antimachia (Kos) & Chalkida. Bits by "Franks" & Bits by Turks.

Fortress of Rethymnon

Building in ruin.



Mosque.



Inside the Mosque.



After the castle, we went to buy some souvenir and for a coffee.



Hubby, as a good Greek, wanted a savoury pie as snack and we went to the 4 Martyrs Square (the church is of the 4 Martyrs).

We bought this fabulous tyropita.



It might look like a common country style cheese pie, but the cheese was totally different. It was sweet, milky, buttery, slightly sour and salty. Never tasted such cheese pie.



Very impressed. Lucky you who live in Rethymnon.

Then we drove to Melidoni to see the cave, but all we got was this view.



We did not know that the Cave was totally closed during the winter.



Then we did not know what to do & returned to Iraklio. This below is the cathedral church of Agios Minas.

Agios Minas

We were very hungry. TO avoid any eventual disappointment, we returned to the restaurant we visited on the first day, Peninda Peninda.

I could not leave Crete without eating these.



I have never eaten snails, although we eat in Japan lots of those from the sea. They were cooked with olive oil, rosemary and lots of vinegar. I think to have read also "butter" in the menu, but there was no strong flavour of it. The texture was like sea snails. The meat itself did not have particular flavour, but much meatier than I imagined from the size of shell. They had slight sliminess which was somehow off putting, but otherwise, fine food for me. Hubby was totally disgusted just looking at them and did not even try one.

As we wanted have dinner later, we limited our order to 3 dishes, but then they gave us this heavy dessert (honey soaked loukoumades donuts with ice cream) and tsipouro. We were totally defeated and left full in stomach.

We recommend this place to anyone visiting Iraklio. It is in the old market and most easy to find.



We used the car until 6:30 and returned it. Then we had to kill a couple of hours until the departure of ferry. The guy of the rental car shop kindly offered us to keep our luggage in the shop. We accepted his offer, but at this point we were too tired to walk around. So we stopped at "Pagopoieion" cafeteria just next to the Church of Saint Titos.

It had this Gothic toilets.



On our way to the car rental shop to collect the luggage, we were attacked by pepper spray by the police. It was the memorial day of Alexis Grigoropoulos (young lad who was shot dead cold-bloodedly by a police officer in Athens) and evidently there was some commotion. I once inhaled tear gas in Omonia, but was never attacked by pepper spray.

We were supposed to take Olympic Champion, but what we found in the port was Superfast.



The boat was as nice was the Olympic Champion, or maybe better. I slept sound till 6.

We think we made the best of our days, but have to say that the travelling in winter in Crete had limitations. In winter, days were really too short. Even paying more, you'd better travel in on-season, if you have choice.

17 December, 2011

Off-Season Trip To Crete, Day 3

Before starting describing Day 3, some words about our hotel in Rethymnon, Pepi Studios.

http://www.pepistudios.gr/

We paid a bit less than 35 Euro for a twin room (no breakfast). It was a big room with a small balcony.

Bed



Bathroom



Kitchenette



Courtyard with a pond like pool.




It was more like "domatia" (room letting) in the sense that there was not much of service. Things might be different in on-season. The room was very much all right, clean and large.

The location is really central. This, however, means that it is almost impossible to get close there by car. We had to park ours outside the center and to drag our suitcases for hundreds of meters. If you have suitcase with good wheels, it might be OK. But otherwise, it might be a problem.

Anyway, we were more than happy with the place for what we paid.

So, Day 3.

As the other days, it started with the search for breakfast. Pepi Studios do not have breakfast option. But there is a cafeteria (it is called itself "bistro", but curiously there was no bistro food at all) just outside the gate and it makes the most convenient option.



In Rethymnon there are many building like this one with a front extension of the upper floor. It is often wooden.



I started to observe buildings & architecture, but Hubby complained that he SHOULD have a coffee before doing anything else (such a person really should choose a hotel with breakfast service), so we headed for the cafeteria we stopped the day before.

The bakery-cafeteria was in front of the Loggia (where for some strange reasons, the Greek state sells ancient art replicas).

Loggia of Rethymnon

No photo from the breakfast. We had two cappuccinos and one huge chocolate croissant which, if it dit not in croissant shape, I would take it for toureki with chocolate.

By the way, yesterday's nice girl was replaced by a beardy man and the price of cappuccino jumped up 0.50 Euro overnight. From this and the other experiences, I had an impression that the Rethymnians tend to put an extra on the bills of tourists. I suggested Hubby that it might be one of the undesired influences from the Venetians who ruled Crete for long, but he did not take it.

After the breakfast we walked toward the harbour.



This is the Venetian harbour with all the shops closed. Could not imagine how it would be when all the shops are open in summer. Before coming to Crete, I read that in Rethymnon all along the sea is filled by restaurants and cafeterias. We saw only about 5 restaurants/cafeterias open along the long coastline of Rethymnon town.



After a short walk in the town we went for a drive of the day. The first destination was Arkadi Monastery (Moni Arkadiou).

We drove making some random stops as usual. This is Church of Theotokos at Kyrianna.



And Arkadi Monastery.



Even in the winter it is open 9-5, a rare found. It attracts tourists not only because it is beautiful but also because it was the place almost a thousands of Cretans "martyred" during the struggle of independence from the Ottoman Empire.

After the visit, we were stopped by an elderly woman who ran a souvenir shop with cafeteria just in front of the monastery. We bought 25 Euro worth of stuff and, when I gave her money, she declared that she closed the cash register in the winter and could not give me the receipt. So she cheats 23% of the shop's income from the state coffer. Although not that we were stolen any money in a direct way, I could not help feeling distressed in the current climate in Greece.



The second destination: Eleftherna.

We stopped at a cafeteria in Nea Eleftherna to ask for the direction (actually we stopped for lunch, but we gave up the idea on seeing the most uninspiring menu ever) and only had coffee. The woman of the cafeteria told us it should be closed, but we decided to go on as we were already there. it was the right decision.

The Eleftherna site is virtually in a different town from the New Eleftherna (and the present settlement of Eleftherna is as large as New one) and, at least for the part we saw, it was an open archaeological site. But Eleftherna archaeological sites are scattered in quite wide area and there might be some parts actually were closed.

This is the tower of Eleftherna. It is really difficult to make out what it really were in the past, but the size was pretty impressive. The terrain also was intriguing, with strange grid like cutting on the rock. We went down also to see the reservoir which also was attractive (for those who like these sorts of things).



Then we went down toward the coast passing Margarites, pottery making village. There are MANY pottery shops but were all closed. Actually, there might well be some operating shops, especially if it was weekend, but it was also strange time of hour (after 3 o'clock).

Only thing we found open was the church which had this fresco.



By the time we arrived at Rethymnon, we were hungry. At a souvlaki place we said to each other that we would have just one souvlaki (pita roll) and wait for dinner time.



But Hubby betrayed me. When a waiter recommended grilled pork belly and roasted spicy chicken, he insisted we had to order both and that what he did.

The food was nice and price really cheap (two heaps of meat, one salad, tzatziki, 2 drinks less than 20 Euro), it was a shame that we could not try something more Cretan. Small eaters as we were, we were destined to skip dinner.

In the evening, we met up with our friend who now lives in Rethymno. Afterwards, we went to the hotel, watch TV and went to bed.

End of Day 3.

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