I read a short article by my dear friend Mary Norris in an email from the Department of Salad, (now a paid subscription email for which I am not willing to pay, sorry Emily) But I love Mary Norris we got super close that one time I shook her hand at the Wisconsin Book Festival (something you should check out) when she was in Madison doing a reading. I wish she lived nearby so I could invite her over and eat with her. She is the author of Between you and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and Greek to Me. She is, or maybe was, an editor at the New Yorker. I love her writing style, her subject matter and have both read and listened to these books.
Anyway I was reading an old DofS email in which Mary Norris describes a “true Greek Salad” and I just leapt on that bandwagon. OK, I’m all in! I love Greek food. I made the NYT no-knead bread but I put in green and black olives and rosemary, not really something I recall having in Greece but it’s, you know, Milwaukee not Athens, it’ll be fine and anyway it seemed Greek. Then I made moussaka and spanakopita.
I don’t want anyone to imagine that this was not an enormous insane process. It. Was. Hideous. But since I had the Royal Mounted Control Freak poking his nose into everything I was doing it was, you know, really not that stressful.
All that work. I’d do it all over again, right now (if someone else would clean up). It was fabulous.
I like it that in Europe Greek food is its own cuisine. I love Greek food and feel like it gets shuffled into the cheap we-serve-everything restaurant food category in the US. There are 2 lovely Greek restaurants down the street from Ashish’s apt that I really like. The restaurants are still unfortunately named things like Parthenon and Mykonos which, in the US, would turn me right off, but the interiors are adequately upscale and the food at both is great.
You gotta love a restaurant that serves bright shiny radishes on its relish trays. Feta cheese and olives. It was perfect little starter platter. The Greek bread though, um, not so much. But the salad was more than awesome and the moussaka was excellent. And the sauce in which the moussaka was bathed more than compensated for the shortcomings of the bread.
We didn’t really have any plans for dinner. It was Sunday and not much was open. We were just going to walk around and see what there was. We thought we might eat at an African/Creole place called Uele or something it had nice graphics on the post card we saw but when we got there it was very sterile and modern. I so don’t get that, I wanted something a little more Edgar’s Calypso-y, but in a more open and prosperous format.
We ended up in a Greek restaurant just up the street from Ashish’s apartment. It was really nice. The place was nice and greeky inside, the servers were really nice and the food was, well, greek. Like you’d get in Greece, greek. Ashish had the cucumber yogurt salad which is pretty much what you’d eat in India anyway (so of course he liked that) and I had an awesome greek salad with dolmades, cheese and really excellent peppers. (my mouth is watering)
For dinner Ashish had moussaka which he had never had before, he liked it a lot. Of course, he’ll eat anything with eggplant in it and if cheese is involved, all the better. I had some meat ball sorta things that were pretty good, coulda used some cheese or sauce but hey, when in Greece… It came with some mediocre pasta but there were also 2 french fries. So that made up for any mediocrity.
Last week we had an office picnic challenge. We provided the brats, hot dogs and hamburgers and asked everyone to bring a side dish. We gave them all foil pans so they had a clue as to the amount but what they brought was up to them. I asked them not to discuss it with each other so they would not know what anyone else was bringing. It did not have to be home-made (or as idiotic restaurant servers now say “house-made.” Christ).
I brought greek salad. No one ate it. They went for the traditional stuff. Regular old potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs. I’m all for that. I got to eat my salad the next day. God I love left-over smushy lettuce salads.