Friday, 27 June 2014

Things you need to know about Greece and Athens Part 2

5.  They have Casual Dining down to a fine art.  And it is Casual Dining with capital letters, sorry Capital Letters.  There are many places as you walk down any given street in Greece.  Open store fronts, with fans that emanate a cooling breeze invite you to sit and people watch with a large glass of water and an espresso freddo (ask for it sweet).  They look like the kind of places I end up when I'm drunk, professing love for the Pie Whisperer (any given poor sod behind the counter) for his magical pies (they loose any glamour by morning and sit looking congealed and cold next to me on the pillow the next day) and crying over my chips cheese and curry sauce because they make me soo happy because I've been soo hungry, and my feet are soo sore (wearing silly shoes again).  But these places are so very different.  For a start, there's no drunk lads having a rammy outside, ever.  Nor is there any sort of take away detritus lying about the street in front.  Instead there's a clean and shining floor, a couple of pot plants and a few tall tables - practically out on the road - for people who want to drink water and beer with their friends whilst watching the foot ball on the big screen.   There is a little cheering from these folks - but just a little.  It is a dining experience after all.  The food served, unlike my frozen chips and cheese back home, will be a little better thought through.  For example, it will still be frozen chips, but they'll be twice fried properly.  First at a lower temperature to cook the insides, and then again at a higher temperature to crisp up the outsides, and they'll come to the table salted and dressed with a mixture of oregano and coriander.  The cheese will not be the pasteurised, orange plasticky kind, but a salty feta dressed with a little oregano.  No curry sauce, I'll have salad - I am on holiday after all - with tomatoes the size of apples and juicier than peaches.  MMMMmmmmmmm!  And there you can sit for hours.  There's no rush at all, to the point that you have to tell the waiter that you'll have another bottle of Fix and Mythos (drink Mythos from the draft only, in the bottle it has quite a metalic taste), and eventually, because he has heard you, he'll toddle over uncap your bottles, and then fetch you another litre of water because beer without water... well, they're not savages.  But that's another post...

Jx

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