Thursday, September 29, 2011

Food Quest: Getting Greeky P2

Our quest to eat all the food in the world continues. This chapter of our saga takes us out of the major city of Athens, into the countryside of Greece. Our first stop is Nafpaktos, Greece; a beautiful beach village nestled in the Sterea Ellas region of Greece. During the summer, this small town turns into a hotbed of beach bums, party seekers, and food lovers. We happen to be all of those, so naturally this was an awesome place to stay. Sooooo, without further adue:
Horta w/olive oil & lemon
While this may look like baby poop to kseni (foreigners), this simple side dish is one healthy pick! Horta is delicately picked from dandelion plants. Once again, referring back to the idea of peasant food in this ancient land, it is an economical treat for green lovers. It has a slight bitter taste but the lemon compliments it by giving it a refreshing spritz to your palette. As a double reward, the excess oil and lemon juice makes for great dipping.

Melitzanosalata a.k.a. Eggplant Salad
Eggplant lovers rejoice. We’ve found your holy grail! Don’t underestimate this modest dish, it’ll fill your belly in no time. Grab some bread (preferably toasted) and dunk away. Traditional recipes include vinegar as well as trace amount of black pepper or paprika. The result is a sweet and spicy flavor coupled with chunks of eggplant (which carries an awesome flavor in itself). Topping off this creamy, yet savory dip are some tiny slices of red pepper and olive oil.
Patates tiganites w/oregano and salt
You can call these “just French fries,” but they are far from it. Sliced from fresh potatoes, these fritters are carved in the most effortless way and cooked in olive oil (which is second nature for Greek cuisine). Sprinkled with oregano and salt, these are a delicious side dish to snack on, while waiting for a main dish to come or side track your hunger while exploring the grounds of GrecaLand.
The cornerstone of Greek nutrition, bread is arguably just as important to Greeky society as water or air. It’s a munchable as is, it’s often used as a utensil, you can plunge it into the endless assortment of Greeky dips, etc. Other uses for bread may include: weight lifting, baseball bats, decoration, ritualistic sacrifice, fashion, and many, many more…. Might I add, it’s nice a fluffy inside.

Grilled Octopus
My mouth begins to salivate just thinking about this beautifully presented and scrumptious dish. Chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty are just the beginnings of a typhoon of flavor surging across your palette. Local Greek islanders garnish their octopus with parsley and squeezed lemon (for that extra tang). The trick, according to the owner of a restaurant on Andros, is to string the octopus tentacles out for a day before cooking. This allows the meat to dry out, giving it the texture that makes it so rich. No need to worry, flies won’t be buzzing around your 8-tentacled meal… ever! This is because octopus doesn’t actually have blood.  
Octopus Salad w/ capers and olive oil
An off-shoot of its more basic presentation (grilling or frying), this homemade dish takes octopus to a whole new level of awesomeness. Our chef Michael Gdisis boiled the octopus and chopped it up to little bites. He then mixed it together with capers and olive oil. Simple, yet mind blowing. One bite is never enough. It’s chewy, it’s sweet , it’s great to eat at just about any time of day. Screw eating the same old pizza at 3:30 AM on a drunken Friday night. Make yourself some Octopus salad ah la Gdisis; you won’t regret it ;)

If you're just as much a foody as we are, you're probably hungry right about now... So with that in mind, it's time to chow down!

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