Monday, September 06, 2010

When In Sacramento... or is in Greece....Whatever, I Like Food

Labor day weekend dawned with an effusive air of expectation.  A three-day weekend was at hand, and not a single plan had been laid.  72 hours or more of complete freedom lay in front of us, calling to us and challenging us to make the most of the wonderful weekend.

No one had a clue what we wanted to do.  

Sometimes too many choices makes making a single choice very difficult.  

"Let's do this.  Oooo wait, let's do that! That looks cool! Oh, but... but.. hang on.  We could do this, then that, and hit this other thing in between, oh but this overlaps with that, and I don't want to do that because, you know, it has these things there and I don't know if I'll like these things, but over here we can do this! Oh, but if we do this, we won't want to do that..... "

I think you get the picture. I think you've been there with me. 

So, Alene and I got up, had some coffee, talked over the coffee, made some more coffee and sipped that coffee.  I love coffee.  Coffee is just so wonderful.  The aroma and flavor makes me........ Oh jeez I need to stop.  If I go down the coffee road that's all this post will be about.  The succulent little brown roasted beans that when you grind them and combine with water they......Gah!! I'm doing it again! 


So Alene mentioned a few things she'd seen during the week that sounded fun, and we picked Chalk-It Up Sacramento and the Sacramento Greek Festival , both of which turned out to be good choices for a Saturday.  Lots of walking but not too much walking, and the chance to eat some interesting and delicious food.  Like Baklava!

We got down to Chalk-It Up around 12:30 or so.  Not all the artists were out yet, but many were.  It was a festive, fun atmosphere with music, food, and lots of kids.  No Baklava yet, but we did get an Italian Ice which was pretty good. 

Around 2pm or so we headed over to the Sacramento Convention Center, and the Greek Festival.  I knew they'd have Baklava there. 

I'd never been to the Greek Festival before.  I actually grew up near the church were the Sacramento Greek Festival started, on Alhambra Blvd in Sacramento.  I remember being very young, going to play and swim at McKinley Park during the summer, and seeing hundreds of people suddenly hanging around the big Greek church, and smelling wonderful food across the street.  Now I know it was the origins of the Greek Food Festival, which became simply the Greek Festival. 

Also when I was young, there was a Greek family at our church.  Their daughters were in the youth group about the same time, and when it was their turn to bring treats for some event, they always brought some form of Baklava. It was there that I learned what honey dripped walnuts and dates wrapped in filo dough can taste like.  Hence, by love of Baklava. 

So, we went to the Festival and got lunch.  We had some delicious real food for lunch, (chicken, lamb, green beans, rice, etc), as well as some interesting Greek roll-up thingies.  One was a filo-wrapped rice and cheese thing, and the other was a spinich and egg thingy, and both were fantastic!  (You can glance at my Food Diary, because the names of most of the foods were actually in it's dictionary.)

Then I looked for the Baklava, but got sidetracked and distracted by a fellow making Greek coffee.  I wish I took more photos at the festival, but here is one of the more interesting ones. 

They use a very finely ground coffee and boil it in very small batches.  In this photo they are using sand over the burners to even out the heat.  They serve it with with the grounds in the cup so you need to let it set a moment.  With each cup the server warned patrons, "don't drink the mud at the bottom of the cup." 

Excellent coffee.  If you are a fan of espresso, you'll like it.  I don't care what you are a fan of, you won't like the mud.  

Trust me. 

Moving on, we headed over to the pastry section.  Again, I wish I had taking more photos.  There were several different types of pastries, several of which we tried.  And, of course, I found my Baklava.  Mmmmmmmm yummy, honey dripping walnut stuffed...... oh wait, speaking of honey dripped.... 

They also had these honey soaked, cinnamon and walnut sprinkled donut holes.  Yes, they had a Greek name, but a donut hole by any other name is still a donut hole, but it doesn't taste as sweet as these! They take the crispy fried donut hole and literally dump it in a tub of honey stuff.  They stir them around, drain them, and pour a little bit more honey on top.  Then, if you want, some ground walnuts and cinnamon. (Thank you Liz for standing in the interminable line and waiting to get them.)


Oh...... my..... sweet..... goodness.  I almost forgot about my Baklava.  Almost.

As we ate pastries, and elderly couple sat down next to us and struck up a conversation.  Turns out the husbands name is Nick Stathos.  He, apparently, is the oldest bar-tender in Sacramento, according to this Sacramento Bee article. Talk about a nice old guy.  He asked Alene and I how long we'd been married, and when we replied "not yet", he smiled, looked around and said "we've got a priest here, let's make it today!"  Funny, nice, witty man.  Just goes to show you never know who might bump into. 

After looking at the sights at the Festival, and one last trip around the block at Chalk-It Up to check on the artist's progress, we headed home.  I was literally limping by now, my feet and back quite sore, (I thought it was going to be an easy walk day, but I was wrong) but with a full and very satisfied tummy, full of Greek goodness and, yes, honey.

I bet Winnie the Pooh was part Greek.

1 comment:

Lindsey Marie said...

That sounds like it was super fun! And delicious!