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Showing posts from November, 2017

Patras, Greece: Casual Elegance at Dinner

My hosts took me to dinner at this very nice restaurant to continue our discussion. Many of them are regulars so the owner came out to greet us during our meal. A nice lettuce salad. And, of course, a Greek salad. These grilled mushrooms were outstanding, not to mention huge. This grilled cheese is a very mild cheese with a distinctive taste. These grilled peppers and zucchini were a big hit. The couscous makes a perfect accent. My sausages were meaty and porky, a very nice contrast to some of the other food. The serving size was just enough given the huge amount of food we ordered. You can never have too much dessert.

Patras, Greece: Dinner on the Waterfront

My friends at the University of Patras took me to dinner at this wonderful restaurant on the waterfront. They told me it featured great seafood and they were certainly right. The meal started with this wonderful presentation of bread and tomato salsa. I have seen this done a piece at a time but never at this scale. Some tziki... And Greek salad. Spanakopita. I really enjoyed this eggplant dish. The octopus was superb, very tender, particularly for such a big one. The octopus was bathed in lemon juice to help tenderize it. This plate has two different kinds of fried fish. Both were outstanding, with moist flesh and a thin coating that gave texture without being overpowering. I don't remember what type of fish this was but it was superb: very meaty, very moist. Its freshness was obvious. This combination of olive oil and lemons is quite different from the straight olive oil used on the Italian table. It works extremely well on fish. This digestive is rich in local spice…

Patras, Greece: Achaia Beach Hotel

I was in the mood for a simple dinner so Dimitrios and I debriefed at the hotel restaurant. I of course ordered a Greek salad; more on the Greek salad experience in a later post. For my main course, I ordered a pork steak that came with a very porky sauce. Dimitrios explained that this is a favorite dessert and one that I hadn't seen before. The body of the cake has a filligree composition; it is covered by a layer of phyllo. Everything is soaked in an orange syrup that is at the center of the appeal of this dish. It was very flavorful and just rich enough.

Patras, Greece: Caravel

Greece is a late-night country. Restaurants often don't open until 8 PM and people stay out late into the night. Of course, people need pastries, too. So after dinner, Loukia and Dimitrios took me to Caravel to pick up some sweets. Customers came through the door in a steady stream while we were there. Caravel's selection is very broad---this is only one of 4 or 5 cases. They carry pastries, ice cream, and chocolates, among other things. I was lucky enough to be bestowed with this treat, which I always think of as the shredded wheat thingy. The texture is part of the attraction of this pastry, particularly the thin, sharp strands drenched in honey. It was very tasty and just the right size.

Greek Coffee

Loukia gave me a personal lesson on how to make Greek coffee. This national specialty is related to, but pointedly distinct from other coffees in the region. She used a propane burner in the sink. I'm sure this gives excellent heat control. In goes one serving of water. You can also make a double. Next, the sugar is added. The sugar is followed by one teaspoon of ground Greek Coffee. The mixture is slowly stirred. The water is brought to the edge of boiling but not to a full boil. When a few bubbles come to the top like this, pull the pot off of the heat. The foam shows that this coffee was cooked exactly right. If you don't see foam, you know that you boiled your coffee. Now, time to enjoy!

Patras, Greece: Breakfast at the Achaia Beach Hotel

The days of my visit to the university starts with breakfast at the hotel, a traditional European breakfast buffet with a Greek flair. I concentrate on grains plus some of that wonderful Greek yogurt. The peace of the morning meal is enhanced by this beautiful view. The beach is enormously calming. The gentle sound of the surf never stops. The beauty of this world is something for which I am thankful and grateful.

AMS: Frames Bar and Bytes

A transfer at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport gave me some time to explore. I believe that the terminal has been remodeled since my last visit. Upstairs, I found Frames, an outpost of Amsterdam's modern art restaurant. The location is out of the way and less hectic than the busy space below. The space has an urban hip feel and jazz plays over the speakers. Overall, a very nice feel. I started with a capuccino that was artfully prepared. For my main purpose, I ordered this flammkuchen, a traditional Dutch snack. The flatbread is covered with sour cream; mine also had a little ham. The crust was very nicely prepared with a bit of crunch. The sour cream enriched the crust without making it overly soggy. I finished up with a piece of apple pie. As the waiter brought it, he announced, "I heard you like whipped cream!" The pie was great with a delicious crust and good apple flavor. The whipped cream was also great and, of course, I ate the entire mountain.

Update: One Flew South at ATL

Thanksgiving is a hectic time of year to fly. For those of you traveling this year, the traffic into ATL's south terminal was backed up for perhaps a mile, and it's only Tuesday. I thought that a nice meal would be a good way to prepare me for a long trip. I headed to One Flew South in Terminal E. It is very well known as great food, not just airport food. I haven't visited here in quite some time. My chicken soup proved to be a delightful surprise. I had naively assumed that the soup would be close to the traditional Southern comfort food. It was, in fact, a mix of influences. The noodles were thin Japanese noodles, which makes sense given their large sushi menu. The great broth thin, not thickened as is traditional, and was spiced with cardamom, a very bold choice that worked well. The soup and my main course were delivered at the same time, but I guess they do that to be sure that patrons can finish in time to make their flight. The pork belly had a hint of J…

Buttermilk Donuts

What better use for extra buttermilk than donuts? I used a recipe from the King Arthur cookbook. This is the mise en place---the recipe calls for rolling out the dough. Here are the admittedly inconsistent results of cutting out some donuts. Here they are in the oil. And here they are after a turn. Chopsticks make perfect tools for handling donuts. And here are the tasty results.

Decatur: Louisiana Bistreaux

Louisiana Bistreaux is located in the Wal-Mart center in Decatur. I have passed their College Park location many times but this is the first time I have eaten at one of their restaurants. We started with a small service snafu but everyone recovered very gracefully. My meal started with a hunk of warm, soft bread. I indulged in some butter. This is my eggplant Ponchatrain: a thick hunk of eggplant, breaded, and fried. The sauce was very buttery---a pleasant surprise. The potatoes were nicely roasted and gave a great hearty complement to the eggplant. This was a very satisfying meal in both substance and taste.