I have to confess, I know so very little about the Greek culture. Apart from the facts that my mother’s name is Athena, I love Tina Fey, and I’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding 6,000 times, my knowledge of Greek culture and food is woefully small (and let’s face it, I don’t know if My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a good representation of anything other than how lovable Nia Vardalos is capable of being).
That’s why I’m stoked that the sixth annual Greek Festival is returning to the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo on June 1 and 2.
This is a great opportunity to taste, smell, hear, and see some Greek culture locally (although if anyone is willing to foot my bill for an actual Greek vacation, I am willing to provide cat sitting, underwhelming political jokes, and these three Jolly Ranchers I have in my pocket as a barter).
The Greek Festival will feature such homemade Greek dishes and pastries as moussaka, spanakopita, tyropitakia, dolmathes, gyro sandwiches, falafel sandwiches, pork souvlaki, lamb chops, and loukaniko.
For those of you, like me, who haven’t been exposed to Greek food, let me break down some of what I just listed, courtesy of the Greek Festival website.
Fresh from the oven, moussaka is a layered casserole of eggplants, potatoes, and seasoned ground beef topped with béchamel sauce. If you’re wondering, yes, I have now started to camp out by the Mission Plaza to wait for June 1 to roll around.
Dolmathes is a mouth-teasing entrée made of grape leaves filled with ground beef, rice, and fresh herbs, served with a lemon sauce. Lemon sauce, people. I’ve just looked into it, and no—you can’t obtain Greek citizenship for culinary asylum reasons.
What I have yet to mention is the desserts. Mostly because I have to get work done today, and a Google search turned up zero results for “Greek pastries” in a half-mile radius.
In terms of desserts there will be baklava, galaktobouriko, koulourakia, loukoumades, pasta flora, rizogalo, and more.
So, let’s just start with loukoumades, which is basically a donut, doused in honey, made fresh at the booth. For the record, my people, the Irish, aren’t known for their epicurean delights, so maybe this obsession is all just a product of my starvation for food with flavor but … how did I not know that donuts drizzled with honey is a thing? I’ve been living a lie.
OK, so now that I’ve completed my countdown clock from the inside of my tent here at the Mission Plaza, I can tell you that the Greek Festival will feature music, food, dancing, costumes, a raffle, and fun—all for free admission. It’s kind of hard to lose with a deal like that. ∆
Calendar Editor Maeva Considine thinks salt is spicy. Send your condolences and food news to email@example.com.