Last week I was among the fortunate foodies to attend the preview dinner for A Taste of Greece Festival coming up on June 25-27th. The festival is held at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine. Greek cuisine and hospitality will be on full display and you’ll be able to experience the same Greek culinary delights that we appreciated so eagerly!
Our sensory journey 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.
Here’s a sneak preview of the delicious traditional Greek dishes which will all be served at A Taste of Greece:
Saganaki (Greek brandy-flamed cheese), Loukanico (Greek sausage), Dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Chicken Souvlaki (chicken skewers), Grilled Lamb Chops (affectionately called “Lollipops”), Pastichio (Greek lasagna), Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie), Tyropites (three cheese filling baked in phyllo dough). Desserts include Baklava, Kourambiethes (butter cookie served at festive occasions – similar to Italian Wedding cookies) and who can forget: Galactbouriko – we all had fun learning to say this :-), a sumptuous sweet egg custard layered in phyllo dough and honey.
What were my favorites? No question about it, the Saganaki is forever imprinted on my taste memory – creamy Kaseri Greek cheese sautéed in butter, flamed with Brandy and finished with fresh lemon! And the Spanikopita was the best I’ve ever had – made with fresh blanched whole spinach leaves. Also delicious, the savory Loukanico – grilled sausage infused with coriander, orange peel and garlic and served with Feta cheese. It’s one of the many gourmet sausages made by Mad Mikes right here in Orange County.
And the pastries – forget about it! All I can say is you need to mark your calendar and go to A Taste of Greece and try them for yourself while enjoying the live music, wine tasting, Greek dancing (with lessons), and a village marketplace reminiscent of historical Athens. Admission is $3.00 per person with free admission on Saturday, June 26th from noon to 5:00 p.m. for seniors (age 65 and older). Children under the age of 10 are admitted free on all days.
A Taste of Greece
St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
4949 Alton Parkway (between Culver and Jeffrey)
Irvine, CA 92604