Friday was the 1 year anniversary of my very first blog post! I accidentally slept through it due to jet lag, but I still wanted to celebrate somehow. So, below are nearly all the rest of my food pictures from Greece.
And I have to thank The Greek Vegan for giving me a really wonderful tip about finding vegan food in Greece – ask for nistisima foods. Nistisima means Lenten, something the Orthodox people of Greece should be very familiar with. It worked about 95% of the time! Of course, some seafood is permitted during Lent, so you might also need to tell your waiter, “Ohxi thalassiná,” or No seafood.
This was at a little restaurant Carole picked out in Tinos Town, sorry I don’t have the name.
Fava beans with fresh parsley and onions,
black eyed peas & horta (boiled greens).
Who says you can’t eat vegan in Greece?
At the very least, you can always find french fries!
We liked taking pictures of our empty dishes to show what gluttons we are.
This is another restaurant Carole picked out, also in Tinos Town and right by the water.
And Carole’s favorite Ouzo, which we also came to love : ) I brought a bottle home for my dad.
A lovely salad and fresh artichokes. Since the food is made fresh in most places, you can ask for a salad without cheese, or with cheese on the side if you’re dining with a non-vegan.
Adding a little vinegar.
This salad was similar to dakos, with the hard bread underneath. Let the salad sit as long as you can stand (it’s hard to leave it sitting there in your face when it looks so good!) so the vinegar and flavors of the veggies soak in. It’s also easier to eat when the bread has a chance to soften.
Vegetable pasta with white wine garlic sauce. This was EXCELLENT!
The staff was also funny, and very friendly…
Like, “Come in and do free shots with us” kind of friendly.
Now this is from a meal we had a Crete at a place called Philipos, in the sleepy little beach town of Gouves. I have to say, there was some really bad food in Gouves, but not at Philipos. The stuffed vine leaves, though oddly shaped, had a wonderful lemony flavor with lots of dill. The herb pies (make sure you pronounce the H or the waiter will be confused) were amazing.
If you ask for the warm bread, it comes toasted and coated with olive oil and oregano.
The gigantes (YEE-gon-tes) were some of the best I had, although some beans were a little underdone. The sauce was great, though.
My new favorite bean.
I guess it’s a Cretan thing, or maybe a Gouves thing. Included in every meal is a small plate of fruit,
and a shot of raki.
Usually the waiter doesn’t drink it with you, but I guess it depends on the place…
We referred to this restaurant in Thessaloniki as the Greek Applebee’s, I can’t recall the real name. I loved the mushrooms, although the fava was nothing special. EM’s pork pie (yes, that’s a real thing)
had nothing pie-ish about it and was absolutely drenched in a yogurt sauce that, while tasty, made him sick to his stomach. This was a restaurant in a more commercial area, and we learned to stay away from them – better to stick to the smaller places.
A restaurant near the City Walls in Thessaloniki.
Those walls, in case you were wondering.
You get a great view,
plus great food. We were starving when we got here because we had just finished a ton of walking and climbing stairs, and I skipped breakfast. Nistisima failed a bit here, as the waiter put a big glob of tzatziki sauce in the middle of my dolmades. I cut off the ends and gave them to EM : )
The horta and eggplant salad, though, were just fine, as you can tell by our very clean plates.
So one night in Thessaloniki EM went out for a meaty sandwich or something, and DT and I found this restaurant.
Sorry about the lighting. Interestingly, their fava beans are green instead of the yellow color I saw everywhere else. They were served with lots of olive oil, green onion, fresh parsley & dill, and sprinkled with capers. They were great.
The cusa was grilled instead of fried, and I have to admit…I really prefer the fattening fried kind. The waiter told DT there was no ketchup for the fries – I didn’t see ketchup anytime the entire trip, except at the grocery store. I think it’s pretty weird, but the fava was a good substitute.
And this was the night I fulfilled my promise to EM to go out for drinks. Luckily there was food involved, and he took it easy on me.
It’s fun “testing” the ouzo to make sure it’s the good stuff. You add ice and water,
and see if it gets foggy. Foggy is good.
The potato salad wasn’t as flavorful as Ta Koumparakia’s, and fava beans were a little bland until you added the toppings. But I guess that’s what they were they for – Kalamata olives, capers, sauteed onions & oregano.
The tabouli was pretty good. I think EM’s favorite was the beer.
This was at a restaurant near the markets, not far from the water. They had a large pastry shop and a small menu with just a couple vegan items. This was the best of the two, they didn’t skimp on the garlic.
I had to add salt to the pasta, and that was pretty much all the flavor it had. At least it was filling….
Now back to our favorite restaurant, Ta Koumparakia. This is the wonderful place behind the church we found on our first day in Thessaloniki.
On our last day, one of the specials was green beans in tomato sauce. We thought they might be like the Syrian kind, but they were different – there were little bits of eggplant, and I wished we ordered two servings!
The coolest location.
Some sort of dessert wine, an extra little bonus. It kind of tasted like apple butter.
On our way to the market, EM stopped for a couple scoops of Red Bull ice cream at this little shop on the corner, just down the street from the restaurant. This very nice man said it was actually sorbet, so I asked if it was nistisima…YES. And he was so pleased to meet Orthodox Americans, he talked with us for a good 10 or 15 minutes,
and gave us our sorbet for free (mine is lemon and raspberry). He also gave me his card with his home phone, his cell phone, his wife’s cell, his address, his other shop’s address, his email address, and told me how to contact him on Skype, in case I’m ever back in Greece again and have any questions, or in case I need him to translate some Greek for me.
Here’s the name of the place, definitely check it out!
Another instance of nistisima working its charm, I was able to buy these sweets at the market.
The three in the box basically all tasted like a variation on baklava, but they were made with oil instead of butter. The cookies were like a butter cookie, kind of plain, and I think the filling was rose water loukoumia. They made crumbs all over us when we ate them. They were a bit strange, but the flavor grew on me (I think it was the same stuff is Nadira’s cookies at one of the Lenten potlucks, but a different flavor).
That evening DT joined us for our last Greek dinner. We had to go back to see our friends at Ta Koumparakia. We started the meal with a couple shots raki.
Our favorite potato salad.
Horta. Or some kind of boiled greens…I think it was horta.
And delicious grilled mushrooms, and gigantes, and Greek salad, and fried eggplant, and a few meaty & very non-vegan things for the boys. We had so much fun, I have to do a separate post just for Ta Koumparakia.
I think I have even more food pictures left on EM’s computer, I will post them if I ever get them. But anyway, if you’re a vegan wondering what you can eat in Greece, I guess you have a few ideas now.