Tag Archives: Greek

Scenes from Saint Sophia’s Greek Festival

Yes, those are whole lambs roasting over a spit–no Greek festival would be complete without that! Last weekend’s Annual Spring Greek Festival at Saint Sophia’s Cathedral was a Greekophile culinary paradise. There were so many options, ranging from the aforementioned lamb to flaky spanakopita (spinach-filled phyllo pie) to delectable Greek desserts. Here are some photos, for those of you who missed it:

I started my Greek culinary tour with something sweet: loukoumades, which are Greek donuts drenched in honey and cinnamon. The loukoumades arrived piping hot–fresh from the fryer. They were crisp on the outside and pleasantly doughey on the inside. The honey and cinnamon on top made them taste sinfully delicious, yet light. My roommate and her friend easily polished off over a dozen loukoumades; they were that good.

After my loukoumades appetizer, I headed over to the gyro stand for some lunch. Despite the long line, it was well worth the wait. I loved the generous amount of tzatziki scooped onto the gyro, and the meat was tender and flavorful (albeit a bit greasy). And for $9, the gyro made a relatively cheap and filing lunch.

I couldn’t leave without sampling some of the delectable Greek pastries on display. There were some that I was more familiar with than others. Baklava–thin layers of phyllo dough filled with walnuts and honey–looked incredibly flaky and tasty, but I wanted to try something I’d never eaten before. I chose kadaifi, which is very similar to baklava except that it uses shredded phyllo dough instead of sheets of it (shown in the photo directly above). The kadaifi looked like little birds nests, and the texture was quite enjoyable. Inside, it was filled with a mixture of walnuts, spices and honey.

I also bought some karythopita, or spiced walnut cake. It reminded me of a lighter, honey-soaked fruit cake (minus the fruit of course). If you’d like to try making these Greek sweets at home, click here and here for recipes.

The Greek festival was a delightful way to explore Greek cuisine and culture (though my one regret is that I missed the Greek dancing!). I hope to be back next year to get my “ompa” on.

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Weekend Round-up

Photo credit: Stephanie D./Wikimedia Commons

This week’s round-up will be short and sweet. Here we go:

Saturday 5/15

Saint Sophia Cathedral’s Spring Greek Festival: If you’re a fan of gyros, tzatziki, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you will love the Saint Sophia Greek Festival. Held Friday (today), Saturday, and Sunday from  noon to 9 p.m., visitors can gorge themselves on delicious Greek fare–including lamb roasted on an open spit–and enjoy live music, dancing, and a moon bounce. Check out the Going Out Gurus for details.

DC Yoga Week: Bring your yoga gear and mat to the National Mall on Saturday, where DC Yoga Week will be hosting free yoga sessions, speakers, and activities. Where’s the foodie angle, you may be asking yourself? Healthy snacks and drinks will be provided for attendees. No that’s something I can namaste for. Click here for details.

Sunday 5/16

Taste of Arlington: For those who don’t venture outside the District, this may be a culinary event worth hopping on the metro for. From noon to 5 p.m. in Ballston, Taste of Arlington will feature samples from some of the area’s fabulous restaurants, including Jaleo, Northside Social, and the Liberty Tavern to name a few. Tickets are needed to taste food and beverages, and can be purchased in advance from their website.

Taste of Wheaton: Maryland residents won’t have to travel far to get in on some of the food festival action this weekend. Taste of Wheaton will take place on Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wheaton is known for harboring some of the D.C. area’s cheapest (and tastiest) ethnic eats, and Taste of Wheaton will not disappoint on that front. Hollywood East Cafe (awesome dim sum), Global Cafe African Grill, and Marchone’s Italian Deli are just some of the featured restaurants. Samples will range from $1-$5 each. Guests will also be able to enjoy live music while nibbling on their samples. Click here for details.

And with that, I’m signing off and embarking on the weekend. Have fun, everyone!

What the RAMMYs Missed

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington unveiled the nominations for the 2010 RAMMY awards yesterday at a swanky bash at the Ritz-Carlton. My friends Jen (at freshcrackedpepper) and Mary (the girl behind Girl Meets Food) were lucky enough to attend the event, and snapped a few delicious photos of the evening. A full list of the nominees is available here.

Not to detract from the prestige of the award, but I have to say that I am disappointed with the nominations. DC’s dining scene is way more vibrant, and way more varied, than the RAMMY list would make it seem. And I just don’t understand this city’s obsession with the Michel Richard (Citronelle, Central), Jose Andres (Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico, Zaytinya, Oyamel), and Wolfgang Puck (The Source) restaurant empires. I have yet to be blown away by a meal at any of these places.

So, what restaurants would I have nominated, you may ask? I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite restaurants, which were sadly overlooked.

Eatonville: This unique spot transports you to the whimsical world of Zora Neale Hurston with bright murals adorning the walls, vintage crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and worn white picket fences encircling some of the tables. But the quirky-cool atmosphere isn’t the only draw; so is the food. The menu features creole and Southern comfort food at its best, and for affordable prices. Mac and cheese ooozes with butter and cheddar, gumbo exudes an intense smoky flavor, and pan fried trout sings with the addition of chopped pecans. Make sure to check out Eatonville the next time you are on U St.!

Legends: No, Legends is not “fine dining.” But it’s fresh and honest Greek food in a simple and modest (and blue and white, in traditional Greek fashion) setting. And man, those gyros. Don’t even get me started on those mouthwatering gyros.

Ray’s the Steaks: I love steaks. But as the unpaid gourmet, I don’t have the cash to eat at The Palm, or BLT Steak, or any of the other venerable steakhouses in DC. Luckily, Ray’s the Steaks offers top-notch, well-priced steaks in a casual yet upscale setting. Ray’s filet mignon au poivre is arguably one of the best versions I’ve tried: perfectly cooked with a rosy pink center, juicy and tender on the inside, with a slightly charred peppercorn crust on the outside. Plus, all steaks come with a complimentary family-style side of buttery mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. And if that were not enough indulgence, a complimentary cup of hot chocolate arrives at the end of the meal. Now that is what I call a value meal.

Asian Food (in general): Did anyone else notice the complete lack of Asian restaurants nominated? The DC Asian dining scene is not limited to Chinese takeout or mediocre chicken teriyaki bowls; there’s so much more. What about Four Sisters, the beloved Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church? Or Sichuan Pavilion, which serves some of the most authentic mapo dofu and dan dan mian I’ve had since living in China? Or Kotobuki, the hidden sushi mecca in the Palisades with legions of loyal fans?

Legends: It’s LEGENDARY

When my boyfriend and I are at a loss for where to eat, he will usually turn to me and say, “You know, we could eat something…LEGENDARY.” And five minutes later, we find ourselves walking down P St. to the culinary mecca that is Legends.

Sandwiched between a questionable liquor store and a Vietnamese noodle shop, Legends stands out with its bright blue awning. Outside seating is available (prime for people-watching late on a Friday night, when patrons stumble out of the nearby bars). The interior is small but cozy, and you can hear the delicious sound of sizzling meats from the kitchen.

But, it’s not the decor that keeps me coming back. It’s the succulent, tender, and messy-in-the-best-way gyro. (For the uninitiated, a gyro, pronounced yee-ro, is a pita sandwich with strips of lamb and beef, lettuce and tomato drizzled with tzatziki yogurt sauce.) I have ordered gyros at nearby Zorba’s and Moby Dick, but both paled in comparison to my beloved Legends. The meat is salted to perfection and juicy; the tzatziki is cool and refreshing; the pita is soft and fluffy. Seriously, Legends’ gyro is greasy heaven in a sandwich. Plus, for only $6.55 (or $9.95 with rice or fries), it’s practically a steal.

Other dishes of note include the oven baked half chicken, a hefty chicken breast roasted to perfection served atop rice and tomato sauce. The chicken is crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and goes well with the accompanying warm pita bread. The chicken usually lasts me 2 meals, which is not bad for $9.50. My friends have also ordered the Chef salad ($8.95) and the gyro sub ($6.95), which is the infamous gyro in sandwich form.

If it’s cheap and delicious cuisine isn’t enough to lure you, Legends is one of the few places open late on Friday and Saturday night–until 4AM! They also deliver and do take-out. (And, you didn’t hear this from me, but the gyro is also the perfect hangover cure.)

So the next time you find yourself wandering the streets of Dupont in search of a place to eat, head over to Legends for a satisfying meal that won’t leave your wallet empty!

Legends

2157 P St. NW (at P & 22nd St.)

Washington, DC 20036

202-296-2333

The infamous gyro (I finally remembered to snap a photo before devouring it!)