11 September 2005

Food Festival Fun in Norwich with Greeks and Italians

So far, we have eaten our way through the weekend. Friday evening, we attended the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church's 30th annual Grecian Festival complete with music, dancing, and great eats. Then, Saturday evening, we went to the "Taste of Italy" which was formated similarly to the above, plus some nice and not so nice vendors.

The Grecian Festival was the better of the two -- smaller, fewer people, and all the food was made by the church members. The Italian shindig was just cheek to jowl with people and the food was all supplied by area restaurants. Some of it was quite good, but because it came from commercial kitchens I tend to judge it more harshly. However, the Italians did have fireworks. And fireworks are always a good thing. But we didn't stay for the fireworks ...

And the Greeks had ouzo.

What we ate at the Grecian Festival:
  • Baked white fish with a crust of crumbled feta and sliced lemon, dusted with paprika, and served with rice pilaf and green beans.
  • Chicken Oregano -- You know The Husband flat out adores something when he says it's "really nice." It looked like chicken that had been rubbed with oregano and lemon zest (maybe) and then roasted until the skin caramelized (also came with rice pilaf and green beans).
  • Lamb Shish-ka-bob -- marinated lamb on a stick. Could have been warmer, but was still pretty good at room temperature. Would have been yummy served with warm pita bread wedges and some tzatziki sauce.
  • Tiropeta -- Triangle of phyllo filled with feta cheese and eggs. Filling had a surprisingly custard-y consistency and tasted a little lemony. Also very yummy.
  • Spanakopeta -- Same as the tiropeta, but with spinach.
  • Dolmathes -- Grape leaves stuffed with ground lamb and rice. Very different from the ones that I get with my salads -- not pickled and quite enormous. More like stuffed cabbage leaves then anything else. Next year, I'm doing what the other smart people were doing and buying a dozen to go.
  • Kourambiedes -- "S" shaped butter cookies topped with powdered sugar. Not too sweet, but also not sandy or bland. A good tea cookie.
  • Loukoumades -- Little balls of fried dough, whisked through a crock of warm honey, then dusted with cinnamon and crushed walnuts. They were perfect -- not very sweet at all and the cinnamon-honey-walnut combination was so tasty, I wanted to lick the bottom of the bowl.
  • Ouzo -- clear liquor that smells and tastes like anise. I don't like anise, but I liked the ouzo. At first, it was a little firey, but then it settled down to a nice warmth. I could use a nip of this after shoveling the driveway.

What we ate at the Taste of Italy:
  • Calamari ala Grilla -- seemed to be marinated calamari, grilled and then served with a little extra marinade. Chewy and kind of bland. Sad. Just sad.
  • Penne Pasta with Homestyle Meatballs -- the one meatball was bloody enormous (the size of a satsuma) and The Husband thought it all most delicious.
  • Stromboli -- your standard pizza dough pocket filled with sliced sausage, pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese served with marinara dipping sauce. It was nice, but pedestrian.
  • Zeppole -- very much like the Loukoumades, but without the honey or nuts (used powdered sugar, instead).
  • Lasagna with garlic bread -- The Husband seemed happy with this and it looked pretty homemade.
  • Chicken Caesar Salad -- the chicken was nearly invisible to the naked eye, but the greens were very fresh and tossed with just the right amount of dressing.
Coming up, in October, the local Russian Orthodox Church is throwing a "fall festival" complete with (I hope) pierogi/varenyki. There's also going to be a "Fall Food Stroll" downtown where the purchase of a dashing looking button gains you access to samples from 25 or so area restaurants. Every year has a theme, I guess, and this year they're pushing locally grown ingredients. I am hoping for good things involving squash and garlic.