Sunday, June 10, 2007

Baltimore Festivals: Festival-a-Go-Go! Part I - Greek Folk Festival

GASP! I am festival’d out after yesterday. With stuff to do on Sunday, I decided to hit all three on Saturday. My feet really hurt by 8:00 at night. And I might not have even done that had I gotten the chance to work out yesterday (I did do a good bit of walking, if also eating). Instead I just bit the bullet and headed for my first destination: Greektown.

Note: Even though I talk in the past tense, remember that all three of these festivals are still happening today. Yep, even Honfest.

The Greek Folk Festival was held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. There is a lot going on in the church. As you enter, there are Greek icons, figurines, CDs and other goods right there for your purchase (as well as women selling raffle tickets – yeah, I bought one). To your left is the church itself, open for visitors to come in. As with last year, the church was set up so non-Orthodox visitors (like myself) could tour through slowly and read more about the Greek Orthodox religion (Orthodox visitors can tour through too, but really, they should already know this stuff). It is a lovely, if deceptively small, church, and in retrospect is structurally less like the Catholic churches I was familiar with than I realized. A slightly more similar church? Check out Arbutus’ Eastern Rite Patronage Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church. It has that Orthodox feel with that most Catholic of elements, the pope.

Going further back is a big community rummage sale, and downstairs is a church hall filled with home-cooked Greek food, tables and performances. So many things there, it’s tough not to want to try everything.

But I had already eaten when I went down there. The first thing I did when I got there, past the Greek-American kids dancing in costume, was buy food at their outdoor area. And as with inside, they had so many foods! They had octopus, smelts, spanakopita, dolmates, souvlaki, moussaka, Greek salad. A guy could easily gain a few pounds here. Hope I didn’t put on too much. I got a chicken souvlaki in pita bread ($6) and two fillo pies ($3 each), the spanakopita (spinach pie) and tiropita (cheese pie). The chicken souvlaki was tasty, though the big cubes of chicken were a wee tough on the outside. Otherwise, very tasty. And the pies, oh my God. The spinach pie was the best I have had – easily outdoes the Little Grove’s already-tasty spinach pies. The spinach was moist and so spinach-y tasting! It didn't taste like there wasn’t any cheese in it, so maybe that did it. The cheese pie was delicious. I think I tasted feta and ricotta. I can’t place any others. Very filling.

Before leaving, I had to get some dessert, most of which was downstairs. I got lots of it. Recalling my trip to Mylos last week, I looked for my favorite, the kataifi. Again, they had lots of it ($2 each). It wasn’t as syrupy as at Mylos, but tasty. I have more in the fridge. I also bought a tiny baklava (was it 50 cents or $1? I don’t remember). I haven’t eaten it yet; it’s in the container with all that kataifi. I almost left without buying the loukoumades (honey balls, as one of the older women from the church called it). I’m glad I got some! Eight balls of honeyed fried dough for only $5? Yum. And I got cinnamon on mine. Yummier.


Butters said...

I really wanted to attend the Greek Fest! My parents used to take me when I was kid (even tho we are Italian)and I have all these nostalgic memories of the Greek Festival. I kind of whimped out on Friday when the heat was unbearable and couldn't make it the rest of the weekend. Sounds like it was delicious, honey fried dough... Mmmm

John said...

Oh it was indeed! There is just something wonderful about fried dough. Something - how can I say - magical!

Okay, that was just silly, but fried dough is tasty stuff.