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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

033 When does a busy Street Corner Diner make the grade? Since 1989, this Athens, Greece taverna, called EVGENIA. after the owner is a not so hidden of a gem, but, that few tourist would know about. The Nicodemou Street of the Plaka/ Constitution Plaza area is narrow and tremendously packed with taxis and delivery trucks, Yes, exhaust and noise is everywhere. The little Greek taverna tables and chairs are on the pedestrian sidewalk; ten in all. Why go to lunch or an early dinner here? The business folks, in suits, and the retail workers understand. The Small fried fish, called Atherina, or minnows, is the reason. There are traditional dishes made freshly each morning, like lamb meatballs in tomato sauce and moussaka. The tables get packed. The fried fish come out in a basket and are eaten like french fries, head and all, and very crunchy and good. An Alfa Greek beer helps the lunch thirst. Some diners linger, and others chow and bolt back to work. The traffic keeps up the tempo. Find the taverna on this street and one block north of the Electra Palace Hotel. Be willing to wait a few minutes for your table. Thanks to Kathy Gasparis, years back, for this great dining location tip.

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My Mojito

    This is My Mojito… Now that I’ve  got your attention, …

There is a small cookbook that was willed to me from a dear relative.  The dust cover is a bit tattered.  Over the years, I have opened it and searched for ideas that pre-online searches failed at horribly.  The oak bookshelf for these little treasures, as this book is, contains several aged cookbooks that are rare or out of print.  Many are softcover gems on ethnic cuisine that were gathered on exotic islands or at their airports’ gift shops in a last-minute purchase. Dog-eared pages, stained with gravies, give evidence of their importance to me.

Gram or Liter, Cup or Pinch

A lack of Celsius temperatures on the oven dial does not remotely cover the variety of measures, temperatures and rules in many of my cookbooks. Aside from baking, my rule is alway 325 degrees fahrenheit.  I can deal with liters, but grams baffle me, excepting hashish talk, of a prior age, of course.  In the old days, “sprinkle” was uses a lot. One book, a Betty Crocker three-ring binder, has a wonderful section on “Happy-Hour Cocktails”. In this section the talents of a chemist come to be, as exact measurements of Angostura Bitters  fulfills the perfect flavor and color of the Classic Manhattan. Holiday Punch for the wassail bowl lists a dozen ingredients.  These retro times demanded the chef to pay attention.  My simple mojito has simple rules: freshness in all ingredients and simple sugar syrup with Cachaça Brazilian White Cane Rum. Simple.

Rose Louise Sorce was native to her Italian heritage, and  a resident of Milwwakee in the early 1950’s.  Her recipes were handed down from grandmother to mother to her. A state fair booth in Wisconsin got her started on writing, according to an old Milwaukee Journal story by their staff.  La Cucina from Twayne Publishers in 1952 was the rollout of years of work.  I refer to this book from time to time.

Let’s call up some friends; like 1000! Perhaps you have a church basement around?  Can we find several 12 gallon steel simmering pots?

Can I have the left-overs? Enjoy.

Rose   sorce1recipe1000

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Good Eating: Tangy Soul and Rustic Ribs

sweetpbbq_2    You must start with good ingredients: Tenacity, Funk, and Smoke.  The Sweet P’s Barbeque & Soul House just might have the right combo.  As many may know, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, offers a glimpse into the mid-south culture of their University of Tennessee, pickup trucks, country tunes, white church steeples and kickback eating.  I have eaten fine BBQ worldwide. I have even served on an award-winning barbeque team in Memphis, TN.  My home cooking of this fare can be pretty tasty.  Enough about me, this is about religious experiences: or, Pork, Brisket Beef and all the fixin’s.  Put the formula under an umbrella of old school soul music and the high-end smoker ovens of Sweet P’s and all works well.

A rolling countryside of the Maryville suburb draws many to the drifting scent of burning hardwood, a low-key one story restaurant and kitchen with plenty of staffers. Trimmed St. Louis slabs of pork ribs from the smoker, rich with the crust of dry-rub seasoning and moistened from the well-balanced soul sauces will start a plate.  Adding the combinations of side dishes create a vision that fills a full cafeteria tray. The steamed collard greens, unique with onions, carrots, beans and spice are smothered in flavors.

sweetPs

Lacquered picnic tables, sporting old school soul record album covers, set stage for James Brown songs pumping out of their speakers or weekly live artists on the weekends.  The price to chow down is reasonable, so warm seasonal temperature spill the diners out to the patio and tents near the smokers.  The chalkboard menu makes all easy, as the team give you your filled tray and you pay.  The  beer list is extensive. Energy is high and the turnover is brisk.  Takeout and catering round out the mix. Perhaps a long ago Food Network showing of a Man vs. Food episode opened some eyes, but this place had it together.  I suggest the half-rack, fixin’s, of mac-n-chesse, collards and a brew, like Sweetwater IPA. Wait, get some smoked chicken wings first! Drizzle the blend of soul and hot sauce on all.  The folks of Sweet P’s can be found at 3725 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920 and http://www.sweetpbbq.com.  This place is smokin’.

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Oia Town Can Stimulate Every Appetite

ACaiqueFloatsAtArmeni-AmmoudiA Must Do, Go down to Amoundi Bay below Oia and have lunch at one of the fish tavernas down there: Ammoudi Fish Tavern . I found this to be so relaxing sitting right next to the sea and watching the fishing boats bringing in the catch of the day (Early Morning) which is then freshly cooked either on a bbq grill or in the kitchen, try Marides, (fried shiners: eat the whole thing, like french fries.)

Now the Amoundi Beach I talk about is to the Left at the bottom of the Mule path steps. Go past the tavernas, up and over a ledge on a gravel path. Continue to the Rock bluffs and pick one ledge to spread towels on the edge of the Caldera.

The Inky Blue sea goes down some hundreds of feet right here. Dive in and swim to the left side of the little island ( 40 yards) and find the steps to climb up to the White Greek Chapel on this little island. Wait for a CruiseLiner to pass and when the wake surge arrives jump into the sea. Nudist may find a spot here also. There is a long utility road down to the Amoundi port and some parking on the side of the road to save the knees on the 300 steps! Mule drivers can get you up the steps to the Oia cliffs above. Find the Oia Cathedral in the middle of the village. Sit down and drink it in.

Oia also has some great eating for dinner (Thalami Taverna) . I also have discovered local Oia tavernas off the beaten path: There are two on the Finikia area down to the right to the plains below Oia: Anemomilos Restaurant, 30 22860 71410, at the bottom of the road down to the sea. Outdoor eating and the smell to the sea is to die for. Another one is just before the entrance to Oia on the Main road, on the Right, called My Santorini. The Owner, Mihalis, sings and plays Bouzouki.  See below. Look for my photo, as a guitar playing musician with Mihalis, among the hundred photos hanging from the grape arbors.

Kamari Beach area has lots of tavernas and Pizza places along the “boardwalk”.  All are at different price points, you must shop first.  Sit on the boardwalk of a restaurant and people watch in the late afternoon.  At midday, the black sand beach is best used by the farthest end of the stretch.  Get the two chaises and umbrella at water’s edge and park for a bit to swim and sun.  Perissa Beach on the other side of the mountain is very enjoyable and may be reach by ferry boat from Kamari for a few hours. The Caiique  (ky-eeek-cay) Boats travel back and forth.

 

As for other restaurants/tavernas I have to say that as I stayed in Imerovigli, I just tended to eat there on a night or two. There was a taverna of great food and a value, family run, with my given blessing:  Taverna Imerovigli, along the cliff before Firostefani,  a good Greek taverna with decent food if you ever wander into Imerovigli on foot on a night. These nice folk sold out  and another is in its place. I passes on it.  Alternative is ANOGI in the square near the Bus stop and basketball court.  A lot for your money here and very professional service, with Greek taverna/ fusion fare. As for Thera Town, there are dozens of places to eat.  There are some pricey restaurants in Thira on the cliff edge, some not that great. Some good ones are not on the cliff but on the street by the museum up the stairs from the street level “Stani” and Roof Garden and Dionysus is in the same area.  As many cultures, Greeks will dine in the evening fairly late. A sit down dinner in a popular spot might begin at 11:00 PM.  After din-din may end at 4:00 AM.  Santorini is just a bit more laid back and some areas close by 11:00 PM.

Clubs will keep going while guests partake.  Greek coffee helps!

 

 

ANOGI RESTAURANT, Progressive tavern

Imerovigli, 84700 Santorini Tel: 22860 21285

The two owners and fantastic chef have come together to convert a past sleepy area in Imerovigli village into a hopping dynamic place.

There cuisine, they say, is composed by four secrets: unique quality of fresh ingredients of the Greek land, well known use of herbs and spices, the famous Greek extra virgin olive oil and the simplicity of the dishes.  I loved the grilled “over-sized” Pork Steak.

Eat in the garden tavern space under the stars.  Have a Raki toast by carafe.  Dig in to Lamb in Parchment or the other casseroles. Dip breads into fine olive paste and oil.  The wine will satisfy here. Make the call and get the reservation early in the week.  Walk-ins will eat at 10:30PM! The chef is real good, oh, I said that! Note: this is not a cliff view. It is a busy little village with much foot traffic. The staff will make you feel special.

Tel: 22860 21285

Taverna Roza, Vourvoulos,  22860 24378, far below Imerovigli

The ten tables may give a hint. This family run village taverna is potentially overlooked by the passing tour busses. The kitchen is open to the guests. These owners use the freshest local items, i.e., Skate wings from the local port, and fresh greens from their garden.

The menu could be traditional or very seasonal.  All is made to order. Eat on the covered porch. Flowering trees surround the spot. Grilled sardines or skate wings can be followed by plates of lamb chops.  An Ouzo “mini” wets the appetite for more. Go for more. Tour the mini kitchen and you’ll find it. Very affordable here.

Santorinimou: Traditional Taverna & Live Music, Oia Tel: 22860 71730

Aka: My Santorini: In season go to the simple but idyllic roadside taverna-in-a-garden, on the right as you drive into Oia. The food and barrel wine here are plentiful and reasonably priced but, after 10, it’s Mihalis Hionas, singing and playing his own compositions on guitar and bouzouki, which charm utterly. Ask for the songs “Santorinimou,” and “Eleni and Frank,” pick up a CD, and give Mihalis a hug from Ron & Sharon. If you’re lucky enough to hear some of his stories, you’ll feel you’ve caught a glimpse of the real Santorini.

What not to consider on Santorini: Many go to the live volcano tour in the Caldera by the boat at the bottom of the Thera cliffs.  Note, this is a full half day trip and can be grueling as well and quite smelly (sulfur) and packed with hundreds on the several tours at the same time. Oia does have an evening sunset cruise by sail and that might be most enjoyable. Your call.

What else: Avoid the high noon roaming of the town of Thera when the several Cruise Liners are in port. It is a madhouse.  Also avoid the switchback steps to the Thera Port when the tourists are on the Mules rising from the ships on those steps. Lastly, the Winery Dinner theaters might entertain many groups, but it is kind of contrived, certainly the food served is not to standard.  Stick with the keepers.

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Sunkist2 Island Traveler

This page gives you a little insight of my Travels through my lens.

My 2012 in Pictures

Athens, Greece in January is charming in midst of protests

Athens, Greece in January is charming in midst of protests

Always room for a Winter lager at Sam's Brewery

Always room for a Winter lager at Sam’s Brewery

St.Paddy's Day Color

St.Paddy’s Day Color

Cozumel, Mex: Tequilla lover with a Scuba problem: me

Cozumel, Mex: Tequilla lover with a Scuba problem: me

The Boys of Summer: Red Sox

The Boys of Summer: Red Sox

Little Wanderers' Home Basketball Charity event

Little Wanderers’ Home Basketball Charity event

Out to the USS Wasp, Navy week, Boston

CCC Cambridge Caribbean Carnivale

CCC Cambridge Caribbean Carnivale

Big Up! Mon, Negril Beach at noonday, Rum shack

Big Up! Mon, Negril Beach at noonday, Rum shack

Boston Public Garden liitle pleasures

Boston Public Garden little pleasures

Boston Greenway food Smackdown: More butter!

Boston Greenway food Smackdown: More butter!

Second year of two, Installed Worshipful Master~ 1795 Columbian Lodge AF & AM Inst'd by Paul Revere

Second year of two, Installed Worshipful Master~ 1795 Columbian Lodge AF & AM Inst’d by Paul Revere

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As a product of the late fifties, honed into the sixties, and refined in the seventies, the idea of  Wonderbread for a Peanut Butter and Jelly was a given. This was my staple. That lunch required a dessert of Twinkies.

 82 Years of Twinkie Bliss

Today, 500 million Twinkies are sold each year.   Today, the Twinkie is an icon of a staple in America that rejects all practical logic. Nutritional value is questionable and the process to make them unclear. Today is the time to corner your future supply, as the era has come to an end. The company that makes both of these products is shuttered.  The employees are locked out and little hope remains of a labor impasse to clear.

Sponge Cake and White Filling

Aren’t sponges used to soak up dishwater? This tubecake texture and the sickly sweet concoction contained therein of unknown substance, has remained true to its origin for my decades of consumption. Why fix it? Sure, some chefs concluded that deep-fat frying these puppies enhances the whole relationship of sugar and fat decadence. I never tried that offering.  Though, I’ve had the Twinkie Sunday loaded with the goop of stuff to raise the blood sugars to off the charts. I recall a county fair contest, kind of like the hotdog contest on Coney Island. The victor lived and record Twinkies devoured. When you think of it, consumers of these delicacies will out live most. Multi-syllabic chemical compounds, the kind used in the military field foods, and have a shelf-life of cold war nuclear bunker stashes are found in a lot of grocery store aisles.

Hemorrhoidal Preparation H Rectal Applicator

Tom Hanks in the  film Joe Vs. The Volcano, finds Joe surrounded by drums of K-Y Jelly as he bookkeeps for the ACmE Rectal Probe Co.  I am picturing the Twinkle Injection Operator loving his old job and sadly searching in vain for work.  While the junk food industry will fill the gap, this icon may be commercially completed.

Home Chefs fill the Twinkie Gap 

How hard could it be?  Get the pan, fill it and make sponge cake, squirt the filling, insert, swallow and repeat.  They are out there and they know their stuff, if even Vegan Recipes.  Buyer beware on those health conscious folks, as they miss the scheme. We ate our Twinkies to break every law of nature and would do it again. I’m thinking Devil Dogs as my replacement.  How about you?

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Flying in to Sint Maarten, W. I.Sometimes I think back to a short time before the 1995 Hurricane Luis hovered over Sint Maarten for those thirty-six immeasurable hours and I have to roll my closed eyes back in my nodding head and sigh,”What a waste.” An exposed and windy place is this point of land. No, it looks more like a jagged little island. It is connected to the ironshore coast, but the razor sharp edges of each foothold prevent any temptation to test a pair of Keds. The waves that suck under the hollows on the extreme verticals to the open sea leave the bellowing of the humpback’s long deserved breath. This is a rugged and exposed place. It does not invoke comfort. It is also the touchdown point of the island’s international airport.

When the bohemians found paradise, the Dutch side of this Sint Maarten/ St. Martin tiny island prospered. Small comfortable enclaves sprang up in the secluded nooks and bays. Not fancy, but club-like, these refuges built a following of word-of-mouth guests, who could not think of any alternative. Caravanseri began as this and continued to thrive through the nineteen eighties tourist boom while keeping the intimate character- a home in the tropics.

This brings me to the Pirate of Sint Maarten.

As my little de Havilland Twin-Otter aircraft hovered yards from touch down on the beach front landing strip, waving below was J.J. and the gang outside the villa at Caravanseri. It was a long day on the island of  Saba and my throat was begging for more than those steel cylinders carrying that beautiful air all during a scuba day at 100 feet below on  Saba’s ocean gardens.  At Caravanseri I knew my destination: the open air octogonal restaurant; the Bar, manned by Moncel and the “Pirate”. Fifteen mintutes later, having been hosed down with the villa’s outdoor shower and with a fresh linen shirt,  I was ready to roll. Moncel was ready. Two glasses in hand, and a grin on his face, he began to perform his magic.

THE PIRATE

1 OZ BRANDY
1/2 OZ GALIANO
1/2 OZ B AND B LIQUOR
1/2 OZ CONTREAU LIQUOR
1 OZ VODKA
2 TBLSPOONS CREAM
2 TBLSPOONS COCOCREAM
NUTMEG SPRINKLE
SHAKE ON ICE, SERVE IN A REAL TALL GLASS.

Hurricane Luis for 36 HoursThat year it was all gone ; just a nice piece of barren land with great waves crashing over those jagged rocks. All blown away; villa, octogonal bar, Moncel? (hope not); everything!  But you know, we still have the Pirate, though, we can leave Hurricane Luis for another two hundred years. Enjoy.
UPDATED from October 1999
The hotel was rebuilt under the name Millennium, only to be devastated once more by the 1998 storm: George.  After three months of repairs, it opened to be renamed Caravanseri with 75 rooms and a repaired restaurant on the cliff. Sadly a freak October 1999 storm again destroyed this hotel, shutting it down completely. Thank you Mother Nature!
UPDATE-September 2012 season   A time-sharing hotel of several stories and  re-named Caravanseri is on the location.  The octogonal restaurant is back in the islands. Where’s Moncel?

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