We had the rehearsal dinner for our wedding at The Parthenon, the humorously-named Chicago restaurant that purports to be the birthplace of the flaming saganaki (cheese) that is portrayed so often in pop culture references to Greek food. I'm not sure if that claim is true or not, but nonetheless, the night was full of family, fun and great food!
I hadn't had Greek food in almost a year, so we were both very excited about the afternoon that lay before us.
Behold, Taste of Greece, which is held every year on Halstead Street outside the long row of Greek restaurants in Greek Town. It has tent after blue-and-white tent of food, music, retail vendors, food, loud Greek singers, food and other interesting sights.
We could hardly even decide which restaurant to choose, as there must have been about 30+ food vendors offering the best of Greek cuisine. Gyros, mousaka, dolmades, lamb/chicken/pork souvlaki (kebobs), baklava, Greek yogurt, Greek beer, Greek wine, avgolemono, spanakopita, Greek salads ... basically anything you could want. (If you don't know what most of that list was, don't feel bad ... I didn't either until I started getting to know M's family!)
We had come to the festival with the intent of just "stopping by" for lunch, but once we realized the variety of foods that were being offered there, we knew we were in for a full afternoon.
I decided on the Greek seafood platter. You can't really tell from this picture, but this plate includes lobster meat, crab meat, squid and shrimp on a bed of rice, marinated with seasonal peppers and topped with a Greek Salad with tsatsiki sauce. On the side was some flat bread and a dolmade.
Now I'm not one of those people who has issues with their food touching other foods, but I was admittedly a little overwhelmed by mountain of grub. And for good reason. As it turns out, the food was such a huge portion that I actually left lobster meat on the plate.
::hangs head in shame::
Yes, my friends, in case you missed that, I DIDN'T FINISH ALL THE LOBSTER MEAT THAT WAS GIVEN TO ME. Considering I only eat lobster maybe once or twice a year, even non-seafood-eater M agreed that this was a tragic waste - but I just couldn't eat anymore because everything on the plate was so delicious! I was beyond stuffed.
M chose some beef and lamb souvlaki with some pita bread on the side, and went to town on the scrumptous red meat he usually only eats in moderation! He made more progress on his plate than I did, but neither of us could finish ours completely. We got way more than we bargained for when we thought we were "stopping by" for a "quick lunch."
After surely sending our poor digestive systems into a tailspin, we decided to go take a long walk around the festival to check out the different Greek vendors and music. Just for old times sake, we had to take this picture:
though the festival started an hour ago. (They're on Greek time.)
And at last, later in the afternoon, we gave a nod to my heritage and sat outside a nearby Irish pub on Halstead street, watching the crowds go by and enjoy the live music.