Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baltimore Greek Festival

I think pictures only will do to give you a fair sense of my time at last weekend's Greek Festival in Baltimore with Suzu and AS. Let me start by telling you that yes, one of those signs in the background does offer chicken fingers. And there were people ordering them. I say shame on you...shame, shame on you. At least their poor choices meant the folks cooking up the food would definitely have what I wanted.

And I wanted Pork Souvlaki on warm pita with amazingly thick tzadziki. Also had a lamb gyro and a sausage sandwich studded with fennel and orange zest.

The sausage was spectacular, and the pork was...well...let's just say you know how I feel about pork. But the sausage was the winner for me this round. It was thick-cased and had a great chew. The orange bits could be clearly seen and tasted in every bite. And that sauce was...well, it was finger-lickin' good people.

Next up was dessert #1, fried honey balls. Sweet little numbers with the perfect amount of sticky honey coating each treat.

That, my friends, is how baklava should happen. It was nutty and chewy and had just the right hit of honey to make sure you knew it was a dessert. And we ate it quickly.

Then a walk over to the main church building and downstairs (all 17 of them) to get our appetites going again. Pastitsio! Oh, how I lurve thee. Thick bechamel holding ground beef and lamb together with penne rigate. Baked gold brown on top. Yeah, I need to make a pan of this right quick.

Sampler apps. Lamb meatballs, Dolmades with rice and ground beef/lamb, spanikopita and cheese pies, and more of that thick, sweet tzadziki. The meatballs were so meltingly tender. The dolmades had the tang of the leaves and the slow simmered goodness of the rice filling. The spanikopita was classic but I think we all believed the cheese pies were the phyllo wrapped winner of this course.

And there was wine. And it was good. There's something just plain right about sipping Greek red table wine out of small plastic cups in the gymnasium/meeting hall of a church while toasting your sick friend who couldn't be there and then tearing through a sampler plate of mezze.

I dub thee - Galapagos Burrito. In fact it is galaktoboureko, a custard-filled phyllo dessert, and Suzu can pronounce it. I could not, and we were having fun, so Galapagos Burrito it was and Galapagos Burrito it will remain in my mind. There were dozens and dozens of trays of all types of this custard-filled phyllo treat, more baklava, sweet shredded wheat tasties, chocolate cookie pastries, and so much more. The pastry room was a popular place. One father even showed the evil genius of bringing his 3-5 year old son and daughter in BEFORE they had lunch so he could bribe there behavior with a promise to return ONLY if they ate a good meal. Kudos to you sir!

Thanks much to all the staff and volunteers at the festival. It was a great cacophony of food and history, pastry and culture, wine and traditions; and I'm glad I got to share just a taste of it with you all!


Zedral Z said...

Oooh...yummy. Except for the pork, a lot of that stuff we have here in Turkey. Delicious! The names are different, of course, but the food is still, as you said, finger-lickin' good. :)

kitchengeeking said...

@Zedral - They had Chicken Souvlaki too, you would have been all set!