Eat Greek and Be Merry


I love the sound of this traditional Greek expression that is always heard in celebrations and happy occasions! Today, I had a lot of reasons to say OPA!

This began with the mouth-watering Traditional Greek Salad that was served in a rectangular platter. It is a combination of sliced tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, a generous serving of feta cheese, a kalamata olive, capers and the crowning glory of the entire dish -- a juicy seared king scallop. What I did was to slowly cut up the vegetables and cheese and make sure that each bite has a teeny, tiny piece of cucumber, olive, tomato, cheese and scallop. Mmmm.. I love how the scallop meat just glides and melts in my mouth. I love this salad which is a big surprise considering that I am not really a big fan of olive and tomatoes.

Another Opa moment came up when we were presented with the 2nd course of our meal. It came in a huge square white platter this time. The chef calls it the Greek Mezze Platter which means appetizer in Greek. Peering into my plate, I see four different dips. The first one which is called the Turokauteri has a little spicy note in it. Perhaps it's because of the paprika powder mixed into the cream cheese dip. The second one below it is my favorite Tzatziki. I almost didn't recognized it as it came with a crunchy wafer-like cracker instead of the usual pita bread. Good thing, it still stayed close to the cool yogurt cucumber and dill dip that I love. Moving to the third item in the platter is my newest delicious discovery. It's called Dakos-tomato which is fried cheese topped with marinated tomatoes and fresh coriander. It's like eating fried mozzarella cheese with a twist. The last dip, Melitzanosalata, is a bit different from the others because it is made of Aubergine (another name for Eggplant) which is very vegetarian friendly.

Just went I'm about to say that I'm satisfied with lunch, Chef Nikolaos Lekkas, who hosted our lunch earlier had more dishes to present. More reasons to scream Opa was when our 1st main entree was served. Lamb under mustard goat-cheese crust. I am a big fan of lamb and I must say Chef Nikolaos has successfully presented my favorite meat in a new and different way. Although I would have preferred it a bit more cooked and tender for slicing. Needless to say, I was thisclose to wrestling with my fork and knife.

Shortly after, the second main entree was served. Cod fish "Spetsiota Style". After exerting a bit of muscle effort with the lamb, slicing into the softest fish meat imaginable is a true delight. I can't help but swirl my slice of fish into the tomato sauce and adding a piece of broad bean before popping everything into my mouth. The tomato sauce is sweet and flavorful which complements the freshness of the fish and asparagus. This is definitely my favorite dish for the day. OPA!

"Are we ready to end yet?"

Maybe not. Since we've come this far, let's give it a sweet ending, shall we?

Sweet OPAs I must say as our gracious server placed the final platter that will cap our wonderful meal. A small rectangular platter, quite similar to the one that we had at the start but this time the platter presents four very inviting treats. A slice of Baklava which is a sweet dessert commonly found in most Greek and Meditterenean restaurants. It has multiple layers of phyllo pastry with spices and chopped nuts. A bite size portion of Lemon Cake. Very subtle and light, I think a glass of wine would be perfect with this. The Karydopitta (Walnut Pie) has a scoop of ice cream on top. I love biting into the chopped walnut found in every slice. Lastly, something unique and surprisingly good. The Yogurt Soup. Do not let its look deceive you. Go ahead, take your teaspoon and scoop into the small tall glass to indulge in a Greek yogurt and white chocolate soup with sweet basil and fresh berries.

Allow yourself to have a reason to shout OPA too! Catch the Greek Food Festival every dinner from October 6 to 12, 2008 at HEAT in Edsa Shangri-la Hotel.For reservations or inquiries, please call 633-8888 extn 2738.

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