Posts Tagged With: Greek Food

G’BYE, AND FLY

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Yesterday, we did the laundry, I packed for my flight to Las Vegas where I’ll be attending my grandson’s graduation and enjoying family time.  Late in the afternoon, Jim and Ginnie barbecued  hot dogs and hamburgers. It was a beautiful day, not too hot.DSC07123 (Copy)

She makes this delicious Greek spinach, tomato, rice dish that is eaten cold. Great with the barbeque.

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Jimmy had to dash off to work his second job. Not much time to rest between jobs with us there, but we won’t see them again for two, maybe three years. They are such good company. When you drive into their neighborhood, the sound of cicadas fills the air and  surrounds you. They live less than two miles from the Elks Club, but when we got back on the road and left their neighborhood-no more cicadas. Ginnie sent me a picture of one to my phone.

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I got this picture on-line, taken by Roy Troutman. The picture Ginnie

sent me looked like this.

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I grabbed this picture from National Geographic.

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This photo came from Wikipedia. I read enough to learn they come with prominent eyes, both black and red. Some have very transparent wings, some have prominent wings. I had them mixed up with locusts. They do eat sap from trees and can cause a lot of damage, but they are not related to locusts.

Blogging will be spotty as I am away from my computer for several days.

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LAUREL WOOD AND GREEK LUNCH AT OPAS.

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Laurel Wood is a lovely public garden in Wayne, New Jersey about a mile from my friend, Ginnie’s, house. She and her husband often walk the 33 acre garden to enjoy its beauty and quiet. We decided to have a girls day outing and visited the garden before lunch. The Japanese kousa dogwood is madly blooming. Huge trees with branches that look like umbrellas of creamy blossoms were strategically planted all over the woods.

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The trail is paved and has many interesting features, arches, little coves with resting spots, beautiful benches, a gazebo, running water, fountains, a small lake, and many botanical specimens imported here by the original owners of the garden.

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The sight garden, which is replanted frequently for its blooms and beauty is part of a foursome. Sight, smell, taste and touch.

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You may recognize the foxtail fern, fuzzy leaves, spiky plants and how different they can feel. It makes it a nice place for a blind person to visit.

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Edible flowers, nasturtiums, mints, sages etc. all fun.

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The garden designers made a point of contrasting colors and textures. The hostas here grow to gigantic size with a wide variety of types, as well.

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Again, that mix of textures, hard and soft leaves, gravel, wood, shade  and density.

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It had rained hard the day before and Japanese iris were still carrying drops of rain.

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Ginnie and I both liked the peonies. Almost done blooming Ginnie found one large pink blossom bent over with the recent rains.

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The single petal peonies were still going strong, lush and pastel. One round ball not yet open. I miss my blooms at home so a public garden is a real treat.

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We lunched at Opas Greek restaurant nearby. Ginnie is Greek and she knows what dishes to order. We started with the pellini, an assortment of dips eaten with crisp pieces of pita bread. Upper left is taramosolata, which is made with fish roe and is a greek way with caviar. Right is a spiced beets, za’atar with garlic potato, lower left tzatziki, cucumber with herbs and creamy yoghurt,  and feta with kalamata olives. All excellent.

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I ordered bronzini, a very tasty fish.

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We laughed because Ginnie doesn’t like to see the fish with the head and eyes on the plate but I told her I’d make sure it was dead.

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The fish came with a wonderful Greek salad with a stuffed grape leaf (dolmada) in the center.

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Ginnie ordered the ibrami, (I’m not sure that is spelled right), it is a roasted tomato, eggplant and onion loaf. Girls share and we both tasted everything. One of the benefits of having girls day out. The pellini sauces enhanced the loaf. Every bite a treat. I hope I’ve made you hungry for Greek food, because just writing this makes me want to go back.

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LOWELL’S BOAT SHOP AND NEWBURYPORT FESTIVAL

There’s nothing like being in the right place at the right time! Hiram Lowell opened a boat shop in 1793 and designed a dory. It now qualifies as the oldest continuously operating boat shop in the United States. A woman pulled up, we watched as she started for the door with keys in hand. Aha! “I’m sorry she said, I’m not open, we are participating in a festival at Newburyport, its a once a year thing!”
She was curious about Panama Or Bust written on the Bronco and, in the end,  Elizabeth Hartnell very kindly allowed us to look around and take pictures while she gathered forgotten items for the festival. She gave us a running account of this wonderful place that builds super strong dories and sailing skiffs of sun dried cedar. One boat builder, 10 boats a year. Average cost, 6,000 to 10,000 dollars each. Hiram and his workers, highest productive year was 1911, with 2,029 boats from this spot, each one built by template exactly like the one before it.

This boat in progress has sides and ribs which are riveted in place and slightly overlapped like siding.

The cedar is not wetted to make it bend. It is ever so slowly teased into place clamped and riveted in place, rib by rib.

Its a huge old drafty building, right on the water. Great barn doors open on the side to a ramp where the boats can be removed and slid down into the water. Boats are repaired here as well as made to order. During its heydey, no one would think of going to sea without a dory. Whalers and every working ship had a dory on it. They would be delivered to the bigger ports by horse and wagon. So strong and well designed, a small dory could hold over a thousand pounds and it was still stable with only a couple inches of “freeboard” above the the water.

In the paint room above, the floor is nine inches higher than the adjoining room from years of paint and shellac dripping and covering the floor. The old plank flooring has gaps, now. I counted four old wood stoves that were used to keep everything warm in winter. And, the old one holer built into the side of the building over the water, is still there, now used to store signs.

Lowells Boat Shop sits on the Merrimack River at Amesbury. Its a non-profit working museum and a National Landmark. No one has been able to design a better, more stable dory or skiff than Hiram Lowell in all these many years. The templates hang from the ceiling for the different size boats. It is speculated that Henry Ford got the idea for mass production assembly from Hiram Lowell’s method of boat building.
We drove on to Newburyport for the festival after Elizabeth got me to drooling over a Greek Food Festival. The activities were spread all over town. One local told me, “This used to be a nothin’ place, now its a tourist attraction.” He shook his head as though still unbelieving.

This public sculpture, one of several near the waterfront. Muscians and food booths set up on the grass attracted people with their lawn chairs, setting up for a day of music and enjoyable breezes off the water to beat the heat. I watched plates of elephant ears go by, a kind of plate sized slab of fried dough sprinkled with sugar. We cooled off with ice cream, for me, maple nut since they no longer sell it on the West Coast.
Great boats pulled in to enjoy the festival. This restored old wooden yacht among them.

Following the brick sidewalks to a local park, another 30 tents were set up with art work, snazzy items and crafts for sale, a car show and tempting food like lobster rolls,  lobster cakes, shrimp cocktails, italian sausage grinders, but I was holding out for the Greek food.  Elizabeth told us dories from her shop would be in a paddle boat race on a small lake.

A parade of old antique vehicles, some of which we remembered riding in, made us realize we are antiques too. Hmmm!

The face painting, pony rides, the belly dancing, food smells everywhere, I managed to make it to the brand new Greek Church for a sit down dinner in their air conditioned hall.

Many of the home made specialties were already sold out, but I was able to enjoy the lamb shanks tomato gravy on rice without the shanks, Loucanico, a Greek sausage made with a bit of orange rind, very different and delicious. I tasted a chicken and lamb kabob with mint, lemon and fennel seasoning, and pastichio, a macaroni and cheese bakes with a special bechamel sauce. (Jim and I shared.) This is a three day festival, so those who can, should go. The imported Greek beer was much like Amstel light.
A yummy day.

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GINNIE THE GREEK

From Mary’s desk:

Being a foodie, the best thing that can happen to me, is to eat with a local at a local restaurant where the food is known to be the best. Jimmy Palumbo is Italian. Our first night we had his favorite mussels and pizza.
Ginnie is Greek and her recommendations for this wonderful repast will stay in memory, to be savored again, for a long time. Oh, the difficult choices when you know you want to try the grilled octopus and shrimp, but the lamb with tomatoes and orzo is so tempting.  What’s a person to do?
A small Greek salad in this place was the size of a soup tureen. On Jimmy’s recommendation we shared a salad along with Ginnie’s recommendation to order a plate of appetizers that contained a bounty of tastes. Generous cradles of pureed, seasoned potato, eggplant, ceci bean, pea, caviar, and cucumber spreads served with a basket full of pita triangles. Also on the plate were dolmades, pickled beets, cucumbers and Greek olives. Right then, I knew I was in trouble. This delicious repast was enough for a meal, but, one can’t stop once the coin has been tossed.
To dine with people who will share a taste of their entrees with you is the second best thing to happen to a foodie.
Jimmy ordered a stuffed pepper. A huge red pepper filled with rice and lamb covered the whole plate. It was flavored with one recognizable seasoning, nutmeg, claimed Ginnie. She explained that you cannot make a bad choice on this menu. Though I’ve tasted moussaka previously, I had to try this traditional baked dish of eggplant and ground meat with onions and tomato. Truly the best I’ve ever tasted in a delicate cheese crust with bechamel sauce. Ginnie ordered the lamb in tomato sauce with orzo so I could taste it as well. Jim decided on the grilled chicken with tazaki sauce and grilled vegetables. Everything was delicious. We had to take most of the food home. This restaurant serves huge quantities at reasonable prices. We had to forgo, desert. Again, we brought our own beer and it surprised me how well beer accented this meal.
If you visit Northvale, New Jersey, don’t miss this very unobtrusive eatery. (Jimmy refers to it as a hole in the wall.)

An after dinner walk in the beautiful Laurelwood Arboretum, very near the Palumbo’s house, acquainted me with such plants as weeping neptune, giant hostas, giant clematis. Many familiar species but different genus.  All lovely in the twilight.

For more photos of the garden, click on the link below:
http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/52210KonosisLaurelwood#

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