Category Archives: Greece

Food Retrospective

I’ve decided it’s time for a virtual exhibition of culinary delights that have passed through my digestive system in the last year. We’ll start with the most recent and work our way back in time.

FYI: You can click on the photos to make them larger and more appetizing.

Rome: Delights prepared at home.

(AKA I’m a badass who can cook.)

Damon and I prepared this last night. It’s asparagus with roasted pine nuts, red pepper and fennel risotto and mussels cooked in dry white wine and heavy cream. We also made bruschetta (not pictured here).

I made this a few days ago for Damon because he’s never had brussel sprouts before. It’s polenta with sauteed mushrooms and steamed brussel sprouts. A word to the wise: If you think you hate brussel sprouts, you’ve either never tried them or you overcooked them. No biggie, just give them a second chance!

Leisha and I used to make shoyu chicken all the time last quarter when we were sick of pasta, but I’ll be honest. It was really Leisha who did the making of this dish. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I was successful without her guidance. Just add rice!

The Roman Culinary Experience Outside My Kitchen:

One food that I have absolutely fallen in love with here in Rome is the chestnut. Roasted, turned into a savory sauce, baked into bread, or candied–all delicious.

Castagnole are currently on my mind because they only come out during Carnevale. They’re kind of like doughnut holes, but oh-so-much better!

A typical Roman dish is Carciofi alla Romana, Roman-style artichokes. This was the appetizer to a lovely meal I shared with Dan and Oana their first night visiting Rome.

How could I neglect the open-air market right outside my front door? I can’t. So, here it is: fresh fruits and vegetables daily, people.

Paris: Dishes I cannot pronounce.

Well, I finally had authentic French creme brulee, but I have to say that Mama Skeers’ takes the cake… or the cream… or something. It’s good.

In reality, I ate a lot of finger food to save money while in Paris. Here’s a spread that Elyse prepared for us one night.

Greece: Food as divine as the gods.

This is just some pasta thing I had in a tavern in Athens.

Breakfast is delish in Greece. Fresh fruit and honey on top of a waffle in Santorini.

Dessert is also yummy. Here is some baklava. Man, honey on everything!

However, lunch was the best. Chicken souvlaki is definitely the most delicious thing I ate in Greece and a contestant for the best meal I have ever had in my life. You’ve never tasted chicken so tender or tsaziki so flavorful. *mouth watering*

Tübingen, Germany:

So, I ate the traditional pretzel and beer, but I couldn’t help but crave some Asian. It had been a while…

So, we made Pho from an instant packet and it was absolutely disgusting. Sure, it looks alright in the picture, but I’ll never do it again.

Salzburg, Austria:

Knödel smothered in sauce and mushrooms. Love it!

Prague, Czech Republic: Feeling a bit adventurous…

So, I ordered rabbit. It was interesting. Yes, it did taste a bit like chicken, but with every tender and delicious bite, my mind wandered to Chester… to Cottontail… to all those fluffy friends I loved growing up on the farm. Sorry guys!Lamb is still pretty adventurous for me, but not as crazy as the white rabbit.

After letting myself go out on a limb with a few orders, I decided to go with an old safety for lunch– the best bagels east of New York… Wait, I’ve never been to New York. Hmm. Best bagels west of Seattle that I’ve tasted. Haha

Copenhagen, Denmark:

This is Hallie eating a Danish in Denmark, which they actually call Viennese Bread there. It wasn’t that impressive. I didn’t get a picture of the hot dogs, which were much better, but ridiculously expensive.

We ate open-face sandwiches or Smørrebrød outside of the Hamlet castle and they were delish. I ordered a second! They had this odd, yet scrumptious tartar sauce type thing on them.

Budapest, Hungary:

Mmmmmm. Hungarian sweets!

Whoa, you could smell these from miles away. As soon as we stepped off the train, our noses were filled with the smell of their dough. And then we got to see Hungarian funnel cakes being grilled right before our eyes! You could choose to have yours plain or rolled in toasted almonds, powered sugar or normal sugar. They were so huge, I could hardly finish mine.

Munich, Germany:

Munich was the first place that I had the traditional German Bier Garten experience. Here is some curry wurst, a pretzel and a glass of Radler, which is beer mixed with lemonade. It’s quite a treat on a warm summer day.

And then there’s Käsespätzle, which is kind of like mac ‘n’ cheese only a million, billion times better.

Vienna, Austria: All things hearty

In Vienna, nearly every meal is a total gut bomb, but grease is delicious, right?

So, this is the most famous Viennese dish: Wienerschnitzel (breaded and fried filet of pork) with Erdapfelsalat (potato salad) and Sommersalat (veggie salad with tomatoes, cucumber and onion). This is the meal that we prepared ourselves at IKI, our school in Vienna.

Here’s your classic sausage + sauerkraut combo. I absolutely love sausage and Vienna has the best! I even liked sausage in Vienna better than sausage in Germany.

Okay, so I can’t remember what this is called, but just look at it. Whoa. What the hell is that? Well, it’s egg and potato and craziness. That’s what.

Here’s another one of those mystery meals. This is called Shaufel, which means shovel. As you can see, it’s served in a shovel. It’s basically whatever is left over in the kitchen, cooked up in some grease and put in a shovel. Genius!

On to the desserts:

This is another one of those really famous Viennese things: Sacher torte, the most expensive chocolate cake you will ever eat. Yum, yum.

Another very Viennese thing is Kaisershmarrn, ripped up bits of pancake with plum sauce and powdered sugar on top. Sounds irresistable, but Andrea and I decided that it’s just okay.

The things that really top my list as the best Viennese desserts have everything to do with ice cream. This is a Schneeball or snowball. It’s a ball of ice cream covered with hard marshmellows and served with a raspberry sauce. There are two other versions: Eismarillenknödl, apricot mouse surrounded by vanilla ice cream rolled in chocolate cookie crumbs and essentially the same thing, but it’s raspberry mouse and regular cookie crumbs instead. Great, now I’m craving ice cream dumpling.

Last but not least is this tricky little dish. Is it spaghetti? Is it ice cream? You’ll never know until you take a bite… or until I tell you! It’s both! They put vanilla ice cream through a strainer and top it with raspberry “marinara” and coconut “parmesan”. How creative!

Anyway, that is a sneak peak into the things I have been eating. The things I have been missing are great and many, but at least I have this to hold me over until sushi town.

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Filed under Asnieres, Athens, Austria, Budapest, Copenhagen, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rome, Salzburg, Santorini, Tübingen, Vienna

Naxos/Paradise

We arrived in Naxos in the evening and made a plan to meet Diana at the town hall. Unfortunately, there are two town halls in Naxos and we both waited at a different one. When Diana “no-showed” Joey and I walked up to the famous Portara, which is the location of the ancient temple of Apollo. It was so beautiful in the sunset.

Joey at the Portara

Joey at the Portara

As we were walking back to our hotel, I heard the words “Hey guurrrlll” from a familiar voice. As luck would have it, Billy and Ben were staying at a hotel just down the street from ours. That night we all met up with Diana and her sister Livi and played backgammon and cards on the beach. At the end of the night, Joey and I went for a 4 am swim in the ocean and the water was still warm. The next day we spent a lot of time at the beach. In the evening Diana took us to the opening ceremony for the 31st International Guitar Competition of Naxos. Apparently the most famous duet in guitar right now opened the celebration with a concert. They were absolutely amazing; they played as if they were one. Afterwards we went out for a drink at the 4 Euro cocktail bar along the main drag in town.

Diana and I at St. George Beach

Diana and I at St. George Beach

The next day was the day of Diana’s performance in the guitar competition. Billy and Ben decided to drive us all there with the ATVs they had rented. Unfortunately there were six of us and only two ATVs. Since Diana had her guitar, her and Ben shared one ATV while the rest of us piled onto Billy’s. It was fun while it lasted, but we got caught and had to pay “damages”. We did, however, make it to the concert on time and Diana played beautifully. However, she didn’t make it into the finalists. As it turns out, the Greek student of the Greek competition coordinator one… and he wasn’t even good. Put two and two together.
Joey fell asleep before we went out that night. We met some Greeks, bought ice cream and went to bed. I said goodbye to Billy, Ben and Livi that night because they would be taking the ferry back to Athens the next day.

Joey and I on the ATV

Joey and I on the ATV

The next morning Joey and I were feeling adventurous so we rented an ATV and I drove us all the way down the island to Kastraki beach. We found a little cave there and also went swimming. Then we drove farther south and found the remains of a resort abandoned half way through construction. We wandered about the rubble and climbed down to the beach. We found a secluded grotto and had the beach to ourselves. Then we took our ATV to a tavern for lunch. Our final stop before home was Aghios Prekopios, apparently the best beach on the island. The sand was certainly better than St. George Beach near our hotel, but it was more crowded and I much prefer St. George. In the evening we met up with Diana and her parents and had drinks with them.
On our final day on Naxos we had to spend a lot of time at a café again due to the lack of luggage lockers and early check out times. Then we met up with Diana and went back to her hotel where her dad cut up watermelon that we ate on their balcony. Then we hopped in the beamer and drove Diana to the horse farm. Her parents scheduled a beach ride for her that evening. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to say goodbye because we had to leave for the ferry before Diana got back. We arrived in Athens late, late at night, slept in a hostel for just a few hours, then it was back on a plane headed to Tubingen.

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Filed under Greece, Naxos

Step One: Panic

After a long night on the ferry without much sleep, we were welcomed on to Santorini Island by a bunch of hotel lures trying to bargain with us for a room. It was a bit intimidating for me, so instead of getting a room like we should have, I convinced Joey to take the bus into town. However, before we got on the bus, shocker #2 came. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but Billy and his brother at a café by the port. They were taking the next ferry out to Ios. It is such a shock to see someone you know in so remote a place. As Joey and I got on the bus, the shock, intimidation and lack of sleep combined into tears. My bad.

So, Joey bargained for a room when we arrived in the town of Fira. After we settled in, we headed out again to explore the city. We walked along Fira’s cobblestone paths for the entire length of the city, enjoying the views from Santorini’s cliffs and wishing our hotel had a pool. In the evening, we watched the sunset and marveled at how the fog swallowed up the city.

Exploring Fira, Santorini

Exploring Fira, Santorini

Step Two: Twist

The next day Joey and I bought tickets for a cruise around the island. Unfortunately, I must have twisted my ankle on the cobblestones the day before. I woke up with a swollen right ankle, but we already bought our tickets, so we pressed on. Our first stop was the volcanic crater. Santorini used to be part of a large round island created by a hot spot, but the volcano blew a while back leaving the two outer edges of the former island (Thirassia and Santorini) and a small desolate island with the crater intact. It is here that I realized the gravity of my ankle pain. So, Joey and I were unable to hike all the way to the crater.
The next stop was the hot springs on the other side of the crater. Joey is not much of a swimmer, so I enjoyed the hot springs alone, swimming about in water warmer (believe it or not) than the burning air. Then our little boat took us to the island of Thirassia, mainly a farming island. Joey and I opted out of the steep switchback path up to the main city and instead we enjoyed a leisurely dinner and played around in the water at the beach. After a couple hours our boat picked us up and took us home. What a full day!

On the boat with Oia, Santorini in the background.

On the boat with Oia, Santorini in the background.

The next day we checked out of our hotel and could not find a place to store our luggage, so we lingered at a café having brunch and writing post cards. Finally, it was time to catch our Ferry to Naxos.

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Is everyone else melting or is it just me?

Well, we quite nearly missed our plane to Greece. We forgot that the bus schedule is different on Saturdays, so Joey sprinted for a taxi at the last minute and we just barely made it to the check-in desk on time. We arrived in Athens and then proceeded to sweat immediately. We took the bus to Syntagma and then the metro to Monasiraki, the public market in Athens. We did a little shopping while a thunderstorm rolled in drenching us with rain drops, lighting up the city with lightening bolts and shaking our bones with thunder. It helped us cool down a bit before we headed out to Moschato, a district of Athens, to meet our friend Dimitris. He welcomed us with home cooked Greecian delicacies made by his mom. That night he took us out to Gazi, where he was DJing in a bar that night. Gazi has a little bit of Seattle flair because it is built up next to an old gas factory like Gasworks park in Seattle. Dimitris’s bar was a bit of a let down for him because Greece just passed a law that bans smoking indoors. It seems all the patrons were outside having a cigarette instead of inside dancing to his music. Considering Joey and I didn’t get much sleep, we headed home before Dimitris. It was a good thing too because Dimitris didn’t get home until 8:00 am. WHOA.

The next day we decided to devote to the “biggies” as far as Athens sight seeing goes. We started out at the National Archeological Museum near Victoria station. This is a huge museum full of mostly Ancient Greek sculpture. We saw the famous bronze spear thrower that was lost in an ancient ship wreck and rediscovered in the early 20th century. It was here that I got in trouble for posing with the artwork. Apparently pretending like you are also throwing a spear is disrespectful to the ancient culture. My bad. I also saw the triangle posing soldier from Attalos II’s Pergamon Victory Monument that I wrote about in my thesis on images of suicide in Ancient Roman Imperial art. I had trouble finding a good photograph of this while I was writing, so I made sure to get at least 4 or 5 good ones.

Joey and I at the gate to the Acropolis

Joey and I at the gate to the Acropolis

After the museum, Joey and I, dying from heat made our way towards the Acropolis, making a few stops along the way to rest, get ice cream, water, etc. When we finally climbed up the hill, we were impressed by how huge Athens is and also by how similar the architecture all over the city is. Each house looks about the same: a tall white building with 4 or 5 floors, each floor with a balcony as long as the wall, every balcony with a cover with scalloped edges. The ancient architecture was a different story. It was all so beautiful, but unfortunately most was hidden under some scaffolding due to conservation. My favorite part was seeing the Karyatids, the columns in the shape of female figures. After the acropolis Joey and I splurged on dinner so that we could have the traditional Greek tavern experience. When we headed back to Dimitris’s place, we met another couchsurfer, Paul from Poland, who would be staying with us. That night Dimitris took us all out to a bar around the corner to meet up with his friends.

Relaxing in front of the Parthenon

Relaxing in front of the Parthenon

On our final day in Athens, we tried to visit as many sights on our 6 Euro student ticket as possible. This included the Roman Agora, the Ancient Agora complex and Kerameikos. I also stopped by the famous Poet Sandle Maker’s store to pick up some shoes for mom. This guy is so cool. Apparently the Beatles came to buy shoes from him in the 1960s and he didn’t ask for their autographs. Someone asked him why and he said, “Why should I? I’ll be around longer than the Beatles.” Guess what. He was right. In the afternoon we were so beat from the heat and sunshine that we simply had an ice cream after our late lunch and then headed home. Now we’re going to have a small nap before grabbing our bags and taking the metro down to Piraeus, the port of Athens. Tonight we have a over night ferry to Santorini, a beautiful island in the south of the Cyclades.

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Filed under Athens, Greece