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Taste the Greek cuisine in Yardley September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Canal Street Grille in Yardley specializes in Greek cuisine

Moderate prices, a varied menu and an expertise in Greek dishes draw families to Canal Street Grille, which is appropriate for this family owned business tucked away on a Yardley, Pa., side street.

Members of the Argyris family were hard at work in the kitchen and at the front desk on a recent Saturday night, as couples and families queued up for a 10-minute wait at the modest canalside restaurant.

Brothers Milton and John Argyris emigrated from Greece, each living for a time in Manhattan before John Argyris and his wife, Charlene, moved to Bucks County. Argyris’ urging of his brother to join him in opening a restaurant resulted in the Glass Cafe at the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Pa.. Six years ago, they moved to Yardley, where they tripled their menu and changed the emphasis to foods from their native Greece.

“We serve more Greek food here than anything else,” says Milton Argyris, who was manning the front desk with son George.

That was evident from the stream of Greek salads, spanakopita and moussaka that flowed from the restaurant kitchen. It was there that Argyris’ wife, Georgia, was overseeing production of the Greek dishes that have convinced a group of New Jersey State House workers to visit the grille regularly.

Greek specialties include a good-sized serving of five grape leaves, pleasantly vinegary with a traditional rice stuffing. The Greeks’ love of vegetables is ably displayed in an appetizer of spicy broiled tomatoes, topped with slices of feta cheeses, sprinkled with oregano, cayenne pepper and drizzled with olive oil. 

A chicken and pineapple salad, filled with chicken, pineapple, walnuts, raisins, celery, parsley and carrots, sounds overwhelming. A lemon mayonnaise dressing brings the flavors together to create a dish that would make a delightful lunch on a warm day.

Greek salad is a mainstay for Canal Street, which serves it as a side dish or an entree with strips of grilled chicken or lamb. The salad also serves as an accompaniment to the restaurant’s Greek specialty platters such as Athenian spanakopita, with a side dish of barbecued ribs.

The traditional spanakopita is thick with spinach, sandwiched between pie-style phyllo-dough top and bottom crusts. Flavorings for the spinach filling include feta cheese, scallions, herbs and spices. The accompanying sauce-covered ribs are a surprising pairing, but provide a serving of meat for those who want one.

The Greek salad is good, fresh and light with chunks of feta and a mild vinaigrette dressing. All of the platters were hefty, hearty and filling, including lamb chops, which were broiled to a perfect medium with a hint of lemon and oregano. Chicken cacciatore, comes baked or fried. The fried version was light and not greasy, the chicken cutlet breaded and covered with provolone cheese and a housemade tomato sauce. Chicken Francaise, was tender and light.

Desserts are made at the restaurant, with the cinnamon-dusted rice pudding, and baklava, perfect endings to a homestyle meal.

While Canal Street Grille is small, the family has refrained from cramming in extra tables at the expense of the customers’ comfort. This thoughtful placing means that diners don’t have to overhear their neighbors’ conversations, which, unfortunately, is the case in many smaller restaurants.

Homespun and comfortable with its menu offering a little something for everyone, the grille is a pleasant place to visit, whether you are a State House worker looking for lunch, someone who wants Greek food or a family in search of a night out.


Cuisine and comedy September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Greek restaurant becomes Pinellas Park’s first comedy club

A year ago My Big Fat Greek Restaurant at 4300 Park Blvd. opened its doors for the first time. People came, and still come, from all over the Tampa Bay Area to enjoy authentic Greek food from original recipes.

And now the business is expanding into a comedy club that will feature the likes of Jimmy “JJ” Walker and Michael Winslow, the “Police Academy” star who does all those unique sound effects.

“It will be a New York City-style comedy club, the first one ever in Pinellas Park,” said Artie Fletcher of Joke Factory Comedy Club Productions.

Other comedians scheduled for appearances include Mike McCarthy, Uncle Dow Thomas, Whodi and James Yon.

They have appeared on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, HBO, at Universal Studios, the Tampa Improv and Comedy Central.

Panayiotis Sarafopoulos, owner, expects the comedy club part of his restaurant to become a popular weekend spot. Greek born and raised, one of the first things he did was hire Andoni Ficos.

“He’s a four-star chef who knows Greek food,” Sarafopoulos said. “Too much of it these days is not authentic. Here it is, with original recipes from the homeland.”

Sarafopoulos came to America right out of high school. He operated eateries in Massachusetts, Connecticut and elsewhere before settling in Pinellas County. A Seminole resident, Sarafopoulos opened his restaurant because, as he puts it, “Greek cuisine is misrepresented.”

He hired Aristis Deslis of Los Angeles, a well-known Greek food and restaurant consultant, to design the menu and its food offerings. He then took on Ficos, an Athens native who worked in Virginia and Florida restaurants.

Much of the business comes from out of Pinellas Park. Diners drive from all over the area for the authentic food.

“We are centrally located near major roads and that’s a plus,” Sarafopoulos said. “We prove that Greek food is more than just gyros.”

The restaurant also caters parties, fundraisers and other events. Banquet facilities are available and there is plenty of free parking.

The comedy shows will be on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 9:30 p.m. with amateur nights on Wednesdays.

Call 541-6356 or visit www.mybigfatgreekrestaurantandcomedyclub.com for more information.

Spanakopitta > Greek spinach pie September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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6-7 cups blanched spinach (frozen works fine but be sure to squeeze the water out after you thaw it)
1 medium onion
2 sticks butter 
6 eggs
2 pounds ricotta or cottage cheese (or a combination of both)
1/2 to 1 pound crumbled feta cheese
1/2 pound filo dough (if frozen thaw to room temp)

Chop spinach and dice onion. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan and sauté onions until soft. Add spinach, then turn up heat and cook until all moisture is gone. Remove mixture from heat. Melt remaining butter in a small pan.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and mix in cheeses. Add spinach mixture; season with salt and pepper (a little bit of dried dill is good too). Carefully spread the filo dough out flat and cover with a moistened dishtowel so the separate sheets don’t become brittle.

Butter a 15- by 10-inch baking pan and place a sheet of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Brush lightly with melted butter and continue layering sheets of dough, buttering each sheet until you have a stack of 10.

The dough should just fit the pan. If it doesn’t, tuck in any excess dough; it doesn’t have to be terribly neat. Spread the spinach mixture evenly on top and stack with another 10 sheets of dough, buttering as before.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 for an additional 30 minutes. If the top layer begins to get too dark, cover with foil. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

Serves 12 as a main course, 16 as an appetizer.

Greek festival in Anderson September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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You don’t need to travel to Greece to become Greek for a day from 12:30 to 11 p.m. October 7 at the Anderson County Farmers Market and Art Center Warehouse Atrium, Murray Avenue, Anderson.

Join the Greek-American community for a day of food, dancing, shopping and just plain fun. The Greeks love family and this will be a family affair. You can learn to eat Greek, dance Greek, play Greek and, before the day is done, you might event think you are Greek.

Food will be served all day including lamb, chicken, gyros and souvlaki. All is prepared by the best Greek cooks in the community. There will be Maria’s Kafenion (coffee shop) serving Greek pastries.

Listen to the live music throughout the day of Nick Demos and the Greek Islanders or watch the Greek Dance Troupe entertain. Yanni’s Taverna will serve Greek wines, beer and mezedes (little appetizers).

A Parthenon playground for the children, as well as crafts, will provide fun learning. Several specialty shops and Angie’s silent auction will be at the nearby Anderson Art Center Warehoue Atrium.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the building fund of the Paracletos Greek Orthodox Monastery in Antreville. For more information, contact Carrie Rozakos at (864) 226-6269 or Alexandria Stathakis at (864) 225-2530.

Greek festival > cuisine and cultural experiences September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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The 34th annual Greek Festival, billed as Birmingham’s and the South’s oldest cultural event, is set for next week, Thursday through September 23 at Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

What this means for a lot of people is an opportunity to absorb some of the culture of Greece, through a number of opportunities, such as seeing a Greek band perform, watching Greek dancers and even learning to do some Greek dancing.

For others, it is a chance to tour the cathedral, with its distinctive architecture.

Hours of the festival are 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. The cathedral is at 307 19th St. South.

There also is the Greek market place with imported foods, icons, jewelry and more.

The highlight for hundreds of people who return each year is the food, prepared by members of the cathedral, and including pastries as well as full meals.

Here are some menu items:

Deluxe plate. Greek-style chicken served with pasticho, rice pilaf, spanakopita, tiropita, Greek salad and roll.
Souvlakia. Marinated lamb skewered and grilled on an open fire and served with rice pilaf, Greek salad and roll.
Breek chicken. Greek-style chicken baked and basted with a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Served with rice pilaf, Greek salad and roll.
Pastichio. A combination of layers of macaroni and ground beef in a Greek tomato sauce, topped with a layer of bechamel sauce.
Veggie plate. A meatless plate with rice pilaf, Greek dinner salad, two spanakopitas and two tiropitas.
Gyro and salad. Gyro sandwich served with Greek salad.
Greek salad. A large traditional Greek salad tossed with Greek dressing and topped with feta, calamata olives and salonika peppers.
Also on the menu are filo triangles filled with feta cheese mixture or a spinach and feta mixture. Dolmathes, grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice and topped with lemon are to be sold as well.
Greek pastries, including the ever favorite baklava, honey and nut cookies, Greek wedding cookies, Easter butter cookies and Greek doughnuts will be among the pastries sold at the festival.
Greek wines will be available by the glass or by the bottle.

There is a very handy drive-through area on 19th Street where people can drive up and place orders. Also, for take-out orders of more than 10, call 30 minutes in advance. The phone is 716-3086.

For people who want to attend the festival at the cathedral, there is parking available at the corner of First Avenue South and 18th Street. Shuttle service will be provided.

Greek Festival in Huntington September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Greek Festival in Huntington > September 29-October 1
The 2006 Greek Festival, sponsored by Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, will be held Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1, 2006 at the church at the corner of 7th Street and 11th Avenue in Huntington.
This year’s edition of the annual event features Greek Cuisine (both a la carte and dinners), Greek pastries, live Greek Music, Greek Dancing performances, Church Tours, Greek souvenirs & gifts, as well as a kids’ corner.
The hours are: Sept. 29: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sept. 30: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Greek dancing will be 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29; 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 and 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1. Church tours will be 7p.m. Sept. 29; noon and 6 p.m. Sept. 30 and 3 p.m. Oct. 1
The Church is chair lift accessible. 
For more information call: 304.522.7890.

Weekend full of Greece in East Bay September 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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A Greek Festival is being held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1955 Kirker Pass Road in Concord, from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Cost is $5 per person, $3 for seniors age 55 and over, and children under 12 are free. A buffet of traditional Greek delicacies will be served in the fellowship hall along with booths featuring pastries, jewelry and crafts.

A Greek band and youth group dance groups will also perform.