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America, entrees, less food-related, out and about

It’s All Greek to Me

10.18.08 | 1 Comment

You know how local newspapers have sections dedicated to things that are happening in your area? Things like gazpacho contests, book signings, New Age fairs, concerts you can’t afford, and a million activities to keep the kids from saying “I’m bored!” for an hour if you’re lucky. Usually I look at the list of goings-on and think either: who would go to something like that? or: that might actually be fun if it didn’t cost $60 a person.

Last weekend there was a Greek Festival, and with no ethnic preconditions and only a $2 entrance fee, my mom and I headed over since its description promised Greek food. I know, $2 right? A steal when our economy is headed the direction of the Titanic. What they forgot to mention was the $5 parking fee. And the cost of that Greek food dangled so temptingly in front of our faces.

And since my mom and I went for the food the second we paid out entrance fee, it was hard to avoid feeling just a little ripped off. Just a bit.

The food was served cafeteria-style, on trays and everything. It was like being back in college. I got the lamb dinner, which came with lamb, potatoes, green beans, a sad side salad (ooh, alliteration!), and dreary dinner roll that almost certainly came from a package. I didn’t even want the thing until the lady next to the register reminded me that my meal came with a roll.

The lamb was not so good. It was really oily. This tends to be a common complaint with me; I understand the need for oil in cooking, but I find that it is usually brandished without proper awareness. In this case, it completely masked whatever flavors the lamb may have had, though I think that those flavors were very few.

The potatoes were good and had a little lemony punch, though once again they suffered from the too much cooking oil/butter syndrome.

The green beans were the winner. They were soft and bean-y yet tomato-y.

My mom opted for the a la cart meals, getting a large spanikopita, a moussaka, the green beans, and two dolmades. Sounds like a lot, but actually not that much, just a plastic plate’s worth. For this, without drinks, we (meaning my mom) paid $24. I found that a little steep.

The moussaka was the winner of the night. Oh it was good, and made me think of my friend Annetta, who is half Greek and loves moussaka. It’s like the Greek version of lasagna, with eggplant and lots of cheese, but this moussaka had a nice little punch of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The spanikopita was okay, though the pastry to filling ratio was a bit too high for my taste.

The dolmades were also good, but I think I would have preferred them without the lemon-egg sauce.

After eating we wandered around. This was the perfect time for me to take out my camera and photographically assault unknowing strangers. The main draw of the evening was the tent with music and dancing. First it was a dancing free-free-for-all, in which a few brave souls displayed their ability to move to a beat.

Or, like this boy, expressed reluctance to do so. A boy after my own heart. My love for dancing in public is as deep as a driveway puddle.

Later, some young’uns (who I hypothesize to be from the church) gave traditional dances in traditional costumes.

I didn’t actually watch them dance, as I was too busy taking pictures of people watching them and trying not to blur my shots. Which I did.

When the dance was over, people threw money and little kids got to collect it, which they seemed to enjoy. Like those girls who get to pick up flowers people throw for ice skaters.

Sadly they had to hand to hand the money over afterward.

Well that takes all the fun out of it.

How ’bout that pole, huh? Yeah, I totally wanted that there.

Those kids could have used that money to buy things, too. Because what is a festival without things to buy? Nothing! Retail makes things fun!

There was also more food for sale. Some how I missed these chickens roasting on an open fire.

I was also tempted to try this:

Can you imagine combining baklava and ice cream? Oh heavens my mouth said yes but my jeans said no.

They also had saganaki, the flaming cheese, which we (meaning my mom) might have sprung for if not for the $6 price tag. Six dollars for some fire and curdled milk? Who do you think we (meaning my mom) are? Bill Gates or something?

There was also a kid’s area outfitted with many inflatable bouncy things in bright colors. This proved to be the most interesting people-watching location.

Like this couple:

“I am so on to you, buster.”

Or this guy:

“I’m watching you, buddy. My eyes are glued to you.” And then the kid runs off and disappears into the crowd and Daddy has eyes only for his beers. It’s been a long week.

This was the man I found to be most interesting:

For some reason he reminds me of Paul Newman, who was pretty much my ideal man. Not that this man was my ideal man, he just reminds me a bit of him. Color or black and white? Hm. Life’s tough choices.

I kept trying to disguise the fact that I was taking pictures of him, but it was probably pretty obvious. I think the lens gave it away.

That’s a lot of Pepsi:

I tried to be photographically subtle most of the night, especially when I was taking pictures of kids, since I didn’t want parents to think I was some weirdo with creepy intentions. Luckily I’m a woman, so I seem a lot less harmless, but if I were a man I sure would have been a suspicious creature.

I also took this opportunity to spy on people who looked interesting. Like this trio:

My guess is the woman is married to the man on the right, just because they both have rings on their fingers. But it’s lots of fun to think of who the third wheel is. Brother of the guy on the right? Best friend? Is he secretly in love with the woman? Or the man? Maybe there’s some twisted love triangle going on and one of them is her brother or her father but she doesn’t know it.

But they all seem to co-exist peacefully.

And no, I don’t watch soap operas. Any more.

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