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Best Greek 2007 > Oakland Gyros October 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Oakland Gyros is a favorite among OnMilwaukee.com readers.

The votes are in and the winners have been selected for OnMilwaukee’s Best: Eat & Drink, 2007. The results of this readers’ poll, including an editors’ pick, are available in this series of articles that run all October long during Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com.

Oakland Gyros is a double winner. The venerable East Side restaurant, which recently won the category “Best Late Night Drunk Eats,” also nabbed the title of “Best Greek” in the annual OnMilwaukee.com readers’ poll. Satisfied customers cited Oakland Gyros for being fast, tasty and inexpensive. The fact that it is open late, in a prime location, doesn’t hurt, either.

OnMilwaukee.com editors’ choice: Apollo Cafe

Runners-up:
2. Apollo Café
3. Mykonos
4. Ouzo
5. Grecian Delight
6. Omega
7. Grecian Inn
8. The Gyros Stand
9. Marquette Gyros
10. Acropolis

Oakland Gyros, 2867 N. Oakland Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53211, 414-963-1393

Related Links > http://onmilwaukee.com/dining/articles/bestgreek07.html?13051

In Australia learn to cook like a Greek September 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora, Greek Taste World.
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If Greek cooking is all, well, Greek to you, a cooking class may be just what you need.

In Sydney, Maria Benardis runs the Greekalicious cooking school and has just released the program of upcoming classes from October to December.

Whether you want to learn how to make traditional Greek dishes, master the art of stuffing ingredients, or celebrate Christmas and festivals in typical Greek style, Benardis, who dreamt up her school while on the Greek island of Mykonos, can help.

Classes are held every Thursday evening and Saturday morning in Paddington and cost $110. They include a full sit-down meal and are made from certified organic ingredients. For more information and to book, go to www.greekalicious.com.au 

Aeolos > a unique Greek restaurant with a truly Mediterranean feel September 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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The finest Greek and international food, charming relaxed atmosphere and a bit of Greek mythology…. Aeolos… a truly unique Greek restaurant in Skipton, Gateway to Dales.

Aeolos only opened its doors in April 05 and has had a fabulous reception from locals and visitors. This old Victorian building has been decorated sympathetically with pergulars, vines and grapes but still keeps all its beautiful grand house features.

Upstairs an elegant bar makes a great meeting place for pre-dinner drinks, a chance to make your menu choices and look through the wine list of lovely wines from Greece and around the world. After dinning join back up in the bar for a coffee and then a…. Metaxa or two..

The restaurant can currently seat approximately 70 people across two floors. Their second floor dining room can also be used as a private function room, Tuesday to Thursday.

Aeolos Restaurant, 1 Cavendish Street, Skipton, BD23 2AB, England, tel 01756 791996

Related Links > http://www.aeolos.co.uk/index.html

A little Greek history at Twins Pizza and Steaks August 5, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Twins Pizza and Steaks in LaFayette has been recently given a facelift in an effort to create a more family-oriented establishment and to bring a little bit of Chattanooga dining to LaFayette.

Known by his friends as “Key”, Kyriakos Koukos, owner of Twins Pizza and Steaks in LaFayette, left his home country of Greece in 1971 in order to have political freedoms and to live the American dream. Koukos became a U.S. citizen in 1975 in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., where he opened and ran his first restaurant called The Gondola House. He put in about a 15-hour workday at his restaurant, experimenting with various ingredients to make the perfect sauce and dough, and began his dream to become a successful U.S. citizen.

During the recession in 1980, business was not good for the new citizen, so in 1981 he closed his business in Lawrenceburg and moved his family to LaFayette. Upon moving to LaFayette, he was welcomed by many families who believed in his dream and gave him the support he needed to be successful once again, including the Abneys, Danas, Gilberts and Jacksons.

In 1983, he opened his first restaurant in LaFayette, The Western Sirloin located on Highway 27. He stayed at this location for about a year and closed it due to the Western Sizzler Steak House opening down the road.

After closing the Western Sirloin, he decided to go back to his specialty, which was making fresh pizzas daily from scratch. He opened his next restaurant called Gondola Pizza on North Main Street. He stayed at this location for seven years and had hoped to pass the business on to his brother-in-law while he opened another restaurant in LaFayette. While building the new location, his brother-in-law decided not to make the move from California to Georgia permanent.

He built a new restaurant in the LaFayette Center on North Main Street and changed the name of his restaurant once again, the new name being Twins Pizza and Steaks. The name “Twins” derives from the buy-one, get-one-free pizzas he sells.

Key stayed at this location for four years until a plot of land was for sale on North Main Street. He purchased this land and had his second Twins Pizza and Steaks built. Twins Pizza and Steaks has been at this location for the past 12 years. Being at this location the longest, he has recently given his restaurant a facelift, trying to create a more family-oriented establishment and trying to bring a little bit of Chattanooga dining to LaFayette.

This year marks Koukos being in business for 25 years. He has employed three generations of families, all of which could tell a story or two about the “loud Greek man.” Patrons are invited to check out the new look and food, and say “Yasou”, which in Greek means “hello,” if they see Key.

Food for the Greek gods August 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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New York’s Greek scene gets a fancy-pants makeover > Every so often in NYC, a down-home cuisine gets an uptown makeover

Now, modern Greek chefs are aiming to elevating the traditional to an art form. Restaurants like Anthos, 36 W. 52nd St., where star chef Michael Psilakis is freshening Aegean fare with inventive dishes like swordfish with Cypriot sausage and baby octopus, are experimenting with classic flavors and twisting the expected in delicious new ways.

New this summer to Psilakis’ menu are the sublime swordfish sliders he’s making for lunch. Made of ground swordfish belly mixed with fennel, mustard seeds and coriander, the bite-size patties sit on a brioche bun with zucchini tzatziki sauce and green tomato compote.

“The explosion of modern Greek food stems from an emphasis on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet,” says Psilakis. “There have been studies that Greek is the healthiest.”

While figs are still in season, order the refreshing fig martini at Ovelia, 34-01 30th Ave., Astoria, a lively corner spot. The signature dish: garides Ovelia, six jumbo shrimp wrapped in roasted eggplant, topped with feta cheese that’s been lightly blackened from broiling.

Cavernous Thalassa, 179 Franklin St., prepares striking food equal to its dramatic old-warehouse setting. Maine diver scallops are wrapped in shredded phyllo dough, and dressed with sheep’s milk butter. For dessert: homemade fig ice cream.

“It is not surprising that diners are seeking a ‘haute Hellenic’ experience,” says Sofia Zilo, Thalassa’s general manager.

Even in Astoria, a former landmark taverna has been reborn as Christos Steak House, 41-08 23rd Ave., and there, the classic steak au poivre comes with a sauce spiked with Metaxa, the worldwide famous Greek brandy.

At cozy Kellari, 19 W. 44th St., chef Gregory Zapanti dresses up a traditional fish like red snapper with a pistachio and feta crust. On top: a balsamic lime vinaigrette.

Periyali, 35 W. 20th St., was a pioneer in upscale Greek cuisine when it opened 20 years ago. Today chef James Henderson is turning wintry lamb into a light summer meal: lamb tenderloin gets dressed with arugula and Kalamata olive vinaigrette.

Diane Kochilas, the consulting chef at Pylos, 128 E. Seventh St., is among the trend’s leaders. She turns traditional hoirini brizola Pylos into something unique by marinating double-cut pork chops in a sweet sauce, then stuffing them with feta and olives.

At Agnanti Meze, 78-02 Fifth Ave., Bay Ridge, there’s one appetizer you won’t find anywhere else: Spartan kayianas are scrambled eggs with chopped tomatoes, pieces of orange peel, and smoked ham cured in orange juice.

Sounds crazy, but turns out delicious. With Greek food, the opportunity for innovation is built in. “Greek food is simple,” says Ioannis Giannakis, chef and owner of Ovelia. “Which allows chefs to introduce new flavors and techniques, ultimately modernizing the cuisine.”

USA on the menu > St. John’s Bakery August 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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You don’t have to go to Santorini or Mikonos to get a taste of Greece. > Just take a drive down Highway 97, through the pines of Satus Pass, to St. John’s Bakery, Coffee & Gifts.

The sisters of St. John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery pray as they bake. Perhaps that’s why their treats, baklava, biscotti, gyros, mousakas, souvlaki, are so good. They’re blessed.

The sisters make a variety of Greek sweets, from indokarydo, coconut cake, to kourambiedes, toasted almond crescent-shaped cookies topped with plenty of powdered sugar. They also offer a full espresso bar, including traditional Greek coffee and chocolate-covered espresso beans. And they recently started making their own chocolates.

The sisters offer lunch and snack foods, too. There’s dolmadakia, vine leaves stuffed with beef, rice, onions, oils, herbs and spices, spanakopita, spinach, cheese, onions, oils, herbs and spices in buttery philo dough, gyros, strips of seasoned beef, tomato and onion wrapped in grilled pita bread, mousakas, layers of eggplant, potatoes and cheeses, topped with a tomato and meat sauce, souvlaki, seasoned meat shishkabobs, and Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, feta cheese and olives. Don’t forget the fresh tzatziki sauce, a combination of yogurt, cucumbers, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and spices.

The sisters opened their shop, popular with truckers and tourists heading to Goldendale or Portland or the Yakima Valley, in 2002. Since then, word has spread. The sisters and community volunteers, some are mothers of the nuns, who staff are the shop are hospitable, knowledgeable and kind.

You don’t have to be hungry or thirsty to stop in, though. The sisters also sell handiwork, from handmade soaps and lotions, in scents like milk and almond, apple spice, honeysuckle, tea tree, sandalwood, honey cinnamon and vanilla spice, to beeswax candles, incense, CDs, books and religious icons.

Instead of tips, the sisters ask customers to give money to help feed the hungry. We say, instead of stopping to see the sisters on the way to somewhere else, make St. John’s the destination. And stock up.

RECOMMENDED DISH > Baklava is a well-known favorite. Layers of buttery philo dough are filled with nuts and soaked in a syrup of honey, citrus and spices. One triangular piece costs about $3. Boxes of the dessert range in price from $7.50 to $15.99. Or, try a combination box of baklava and kourambiedes for $6.70.

OTHER TREATS > Galaktoboureko is a lemon custard baked in philo dough, doused with syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon. One piece costs about $3. Don’t be shy: Ask the sisters to heat up a piece in the microwave.  “It’s nicer when it’s warm,” says Sister Iosiphia.

Small appetitie? Opt for a plain piece of biscotti for 99 cents, or dipped in chocolate for $1.15. Hours: St. John’s, located at 2378 Highway 97, 10 miles north of Goldendale, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sundays. Call 773-6650.

India > Flavours of Greece August 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Even if the Greek language remains a mystery for most Indians, the food from the region is not

That the Mediterranean food has proved to be a hit among Delhiites is now a given. Whether it is the various types of pizzas, or even pasta or falafel, food from Italy, Spain and Lebanon has been drawing appreciative responses from a lot of people. Jostling for space among the cuisines from the sunny climes is Greek food. It’s Greek To Me, which started last year in an upmarket south Delhi locality, has launched its second outlet, in Defence Colony Market.

“There are a lot of expatriates here who are appreciative of our dishes so it made sense for us to launch another store,” says Kanav Grover, one of the owners of the restaurant. “We wanted to focus on cuisine from a single country. We researched for some months. And as there are already a number of Italian or other restaurants, we three partners settled for Greek cuisine,” says Grover.

Greek food is characterised by its extensive use of olive oil, says Grover, besides the extensive use of feta and grills. “Greeks are fairly similar to Indians. They are hardworking people and eat heartily at mealtimes. So our portions are pretty big too,” elaborates Grover. The restaurant offers a wide range of dishes, soups, dips, salads, mezze and, of course, main courses. You could start with a soup like the Hellenic Faki Broth or the Avgolemono and come to crunchy salads.

The mezzes come in a wide range, many of which are seafood based. These include marinated squid platter, prawn Skaithos, Santorini fish fingers and others. There are chicken or veg dishes like souvlaki, choice of chicken or lamb chunks, skewered with bell pepper and onions grilled and served with tzatziki, as well. But do not get trapped in this course, for the main course awaits you. From the more commonplace salmon steak to river sole fillet to exotic koto psari pilafi, choice of chicken or seafood, pilafi of Greek rice, kalamari, prawns, snapper and chicken chirozo or the baked chicken vasilikos, seared chicken breast with scarmozza cheese, mushroom and ham drizzled with creamy pesto sauce topped with almonds, and vegetable moussaka, sauteed eggplant layered with zucchini, scallions, tomatoes, carrots, green peppers and herbs baked with assorted cheese, there is a lot to choose from.

Though there are many delicious dips, an integral part of Greek food, the special ones include tzatziki, shredded and pressed cucumber with garlic, yogurt and olive oil, or hummus, chickpeas blended with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and tahini. Most dishes are accompanied by dips, though you can order them separately too. Do not miss the Greek chocolate magic souffle for a wonderful rounding off. The food is balanced between vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

“We have taken care to see that there are enough vegetarian options,” says Grover. “We have an open kitchen, so you can see what is going into preparing your dish,” he says. Is it a challenge getting the raw materials? “We import about 70% of our ingredients from various places in Europe, though our meats and seafood are local,” he says.

The prices are competitive too, and the target clientele comprises mid-level executives and families. The restaurnt too has inviting sea blue sofas with cushions that one could just sink into after a relaxed meal. Next time you want to try out something new, do it the Greek way!