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The Greek Festival is coming!

It’s still the first few days of the new year and my heart is glad as I think about all the new food items I’m going to be trying this year to broaden my food horizon even further. So I was indeed even happier when I realized the Greek Festival is coming, the Greek Festival is coming and that’s it’s just a mere 44 days away to some very good and very interesting eatings.

I’m not certain if there’s anything that could make me happier than the news that the Greek Festival–two days of culinary delights–held every two years is a little over a month away. Actually, there are one or two things that would make me go just as loopy, but hey, the Greek Festival comes around every other year, with wonderful Greek delicacies on offer, so it’s definitely a must not miss event.

I was able to get a sneak peek at the overall menu so that I could start mapping out how I would hit this popular Festival, which is being held on Saturday, February 19 and Sunday, February 20, at the Greek Orthodox Church on West Street, and there are some tried and true menu items that I must have, and a few intriguing items that have peaked my”foodie” interest, and have me wondering what they would taste like.

One of the top things on my must-have list of course is the BBQ Grilled Octopus which I had for the first time at the 2009 Festival and simply could not get enough of. And how could I forget the Fried Smelts(battered and fried small fish) that I tried for the first time, at the last Festival that were completely addictive.(I must have had something like three orders before I moved on, if my memory serves me right).

Actually at the last Greek Festival those were the highlights for me as I opted to skip the tried and true things like the gyros, and Greek and Feta Salad. At the last Festival, I also wanted a share of the Spit-Roasted Lamb seasoned with garlic and oregano, but I was always met with a line and ended up wandering off. By the time I decided to stick it out, I was shared out–but not this year. Last year a piece of that lamb was mission impossible. This year I’m making a taste of it possible. The Greek Festival is coming, the Greek Festival is coming!Can I say I’m excited.

With all the food items I want to try I’ve got to attend both days–and on an empty stomach and spend all day just grazing–because of course I have to indulge in the grilled octopus and fried smelts again, and there’s that spit-roasted lamb, but from perusing the menu, I also want a piece of Moussaka(baked layers of eggplant, meat sauce and cream) which I’ve had before, but don’t get to eat every day or every year for that matter. I also want to have some dolmades(meat and rice stuffed grapevine leaves)and soudouzakia(fried Greek meatballs in a tomato-cinnamon sauce)and the always delicious Spanokopita(spinach and feta phyllo pastries).

At the last Greek Festival, I also did not get any of the Fried Kalamari Rings with Skordalia, and I love, love, love calamari. The Deep Fried Zucchini with Garlic Mayonnaise, is another item I’m salivating over–and maybe I’ll have a gyro–or maybe not–because with so many other food items to catch my eye, and only so much stomach space to fill, I’ve got to be extremely selective, as the Kokinosto(wrapped and roasted lamb intestines), Roasted Lamb Tongue, Kefetedakia(fried meatballs with lemon) and Baccalo and Potato Cakes I’ve also zeroed in on as must-have menu items this year.

With so much variety on offer, and the chance to try new and exciting food items, just the thought of a Greek Salad with Feta and Kalamata Olives and a gyro seems so . . . plain. But I know there are people who attend the Festival each time it’s held just for these items and I say do you, but please don’t miss up this opportunity to try something new and exciting–you never know you just may like it.

Not to be forgotten are the Greek pastries, with Baklava leading the way, but I’m going to get out of my rut and give the foodie in me free reign to try things like the Amigthalota(Greek almond biscuit), Saragli(a different version of Baklava), Kataifi(pastry made from shredded phyllo dough soaked in syrup)Melomakarona((honey cookies), Galaktoboureko(Greek treat made with a semolina custard layered into phyllo dough and soaked with a simple lemon syrup), Koulouria(butter cookies), Ravani(a moist and flavorful semolina cake with a sweet syrup flavored with orange zest), Finikia(honey-dipped cookies), Pasta Flora(Greek Jam tart)and Rizogalo(Greek-style rice pudding) just to name a few.

Whew!As you can see I’ve got a lot of eating to do at the Greek Festival, and I’ve no way scratched the surface of the menu items that will be available, so that just tells you how much eating there is to be had and how many new things will be available to be tried. I plan to make my experience the best I’ve ever had at the Greek Festival with no holding back. Here’s to good eats!

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