Why have I never tried the loukoumades?
A dining partner brought back a tray to our table earlier today at the 48th annual St. Nicholas Greek festival, and I eyed them curiously (which is code for “I wanted to pounce on them”). Golden puffs of dough, dusted with cinnamon, sitting in a pool of honey syrup. One bite of the crusty puffs earned loukoumades (also spelled loukoumathes) a spot on my must-eat list for every Greek festival from this point forward. Loukoumades. Make a note of them. You won’t regret it. They’re $3 at the booth over by the souvlaki.
What else did we eat at the 48th annual St. Nicholas Greek Festival? Click “more” to see.
All items listed here were sampled in the dining tent. When dining in the tent, head directly to the token booth. Swap your cash, check or credit for little red tokens that you can use at all the booths. If you have tokens left, they’ll buy them back from you.
For details of the Greek Festival, see my story here.
A trip to the Greek Festival has to start with calamari ($5). Tiny rings, lightly breaded and fried until crisp. The diminutive bites are meant for scooping into the accompanying skordalia, a creamy dip of waxy potatoes pureed with garlic and lemon. It’s sort of like a potato version of hummus.
It’s not my imagination. This year, the gyros ($5) carried more meaty heft. Tucked into warm pita were meaty slices of pressed lamb and beef that shared space with sliced tomato, diced onions and a swipe of tzatziki, a garlicky yogurt cucumber sauce. The double paper wrap was a nice touch, made it easily portable. Was it my imagination, or was the tzatziki this year punched with an extra hit of garlic? I’m not complaining, but as I was standing in line with my gyro waiting for my calamari, I could smell the garlic wafting from the gyro. I can still taste it.
Herb-crusted souvlaki ($4) were skewered and grilled as diners waited. Served over two thin slices of buttered garlic toast, the marinade held a twist of lemon. They couldn’t keep the pork skewers in stock, they were flying off the table so quickly. High turnover means extra fresh food. It also means you may have to wait.
Greek fries ($3) were golden brown, crispy and liberally sprinkled with dried oregano. Don’t worry about asking for extra feta, they’ll load up your fries without you even having to ask for that extra spoon of cheese. The people here just don’t know how to go light on the cheese. My kind of people.
Salata ($4) is just a Greek name for salad. This Greek salad was a small bowl of what looked to be chopped, bagged salad with purple cabbage and carrots. But if it was bagged salad, it was nicely gussied up with freshly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives and a healthy hit of feta cheese (in fact, they put on so much cheese, my dining partner asked them to go light).
Baklava ($2) is one of those desserts that can be really flaky, or really dense. This version was both. The top layers were pure flakiness, with a light dusting of cinnamon. But dig into the bottom layer to reach the rich, syrupy, solid layers of phyllo. It’s chewy, sweet and delicious.
Dining vegetarian: The Greek fries, the salata (both in the tent) and the tyropitakia cheese turnovers (served in the kitchen) all looked to be veg friendly. Ask questions, though, to be sure.