Food, Wine and... Ouzo

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January 25th 2007
Published: January 29th 2007
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11:00 PM

Today has been a good day. I was able to finally get to Plaka, which is a lovely, quaint little part of central Athens, analogous probably to New York's Greenwich Village.

I had to buy my modern Greek language books there. I suppose for text books they weren't sooooo bad, 35 euro, which is probably $50. Afterward, I went to a small cafe and had my first milopita, the Greek version of apple pie. It was delicious; I think there was some kind of cheese on top. They use cheese in everything here, and it's pretty much all delicious.

In fact, I noticed as I was cooking tonight that all the ingredients I had purchased for my stir fry, despite the fact that I had bought the cheapest possible, were high quality. It seems to me that in Greece high quality food and wine are simply the norm, even when they're cheap. It's pretty nice. I think it was one of my best tries at stir fry and noodles, and I don't think it was my instinctive knowledge of Greek kitchens that did it. The vegetables were all exceptional, even the mystery cucumber-like veggie. Not to mention to the galopoulo breast I use was awesome.

Or I just got lucky.

In other news, I had my first taste of ouzo tonight. That stuff is strong. It's like drinking liquid black licorice with a heavy dose of alcohol. It's a multi-sense experience, as the aroma fills your sinus quite quickly and you can feel it burn all the way down. After the 2 glasses of homemade wine (bought at an open-air agora)I drank while cooking and a shot or so of ouzo I had with dinner, I was, and still am, feeling pretty buzzed, perhaps even tipsy. I have to say, at about 2 euro for a liter of it, it's got to be the cheapest way to get drunk EVER.

Last night, I went to Psiri after seeing a art show at the municipal art museum. The artist was an interesting Athenian contemporary of Picasso called Ghika. My favorite work of his on display is called "Barracks." I'll have to find an image of it.

Anyhow, Psiri: It's another lovely little part of Athens, with many tavernas and people hanging around until late at night. I went into one taverna (it was difficult to choose which one, since they all kind of looked the same) and ordered tirokroketes and a half liter of beer. My appetizer ended up being little balls of delicious cheese deep-fried in olive oil. The beer was Amstel. The cost ended up being about 17 euro. OUCH!! I couldn't believe how expensive it was. The food was good as were the conversation and the atmosphere, since it included live Greek music (singing, 2 guitars and a mandolin), but it seemed pretty expensive to me. I suppose I learned not to do that more than once a month. I had to be done.

Tomorrow I leave for Nafplio, which, as it turns out, used to be the capitol of modern Greece, back in the 19th century. I hope the weather is beautiful and that I can keep track of what I see and do there.

Now, time to check on laundry.


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