It’s that time of year again! Summer anticipation, the flurry of end-of-school events, triumphant graduation parties, grills fired up with all of Dad’s favorites for Father’s Day… but don’t let the celebrations stop there! Mark your calendars for the A Taste Of Greece Annual Festival coming up next weekend at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine. This is the 33rd year for the popular street fair type festival where Greek cuisine and hospitality are on full display and you’ll be able to savor the abundance of Greek culinary delights.
Last year I was among the fortunate foodies to attend a preview dinner for the festival – feast your eyes on some of the Greek specialties that you’ll be find at the festival. What were my favorites? No question about it, the Saganaki (above) is forever imprinted on my taste memory – creamy Kaseri Greek cheese sautéed in butter, flamed with Brandy and finished with fresh lemon! *swoon*
And the Spanikopita was the best I’ve ever had – made with fresh blanched whole spinach leaves.
But damn, I love sausage, and the juicy, grilled Loukanico - infused with coriander, orange peel and garlic and served with Feta cheese is making me hungry as I’m writing this! It’s one of the many gourmet sausages made by Mad Mikes right here in Orange County.
Can’t forget the Dolmathes made with fresh grape leaves.
Then there was the Chicken Souvlaki and Lamb Lollipops, oh my!
Not to mention, the Pastichio (Greek lasagna) and Tiropites (three cheese filling baked in phyllo dough), and the desserts! By this time, it was too dark to get decent photos of the melt-in-your-mouth Baklava, Kourambiethes (butter cookie served at festive occasions – similar to Italian Wedding cookies) and Galatobouriko – we all had fun learning to say this , a sumptuous sweet egg custard layered in phyllo dough and honey. You’ll just have to go to the festival yourself to experience them!
OR, Cathy Thomas is hosting a free Taste of Greece demonstration at Bloomingdales, South Coast Plaza at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, June 18th where she’ll be cooking up traditional Greek tiropites, grilled lamb chops, and saganaki!!!
Our sensory journey into Greece was orchestrated by none other than George Kookootsedes, Executive Chef and Culinary Director for A Taste of Greece. George, best known as owner of two of Orange County’s legendary restaurants, Chanticleer and John Dominis, was poetry in motion as he whipped up each traditional Greek meze using just a grill and hot plate. His passion for his country and its food and wine was unmistakable as he described each course and educated us on the premium Greek wines being served. Thank you, George! My taste memory is working overtime now
St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
4949 Alton Parkway (between Culver and Jeffrey)
Irvine, CA 92604