Cleaning Plates at St. Demetrios Greek Festival in Fort Lauderdale
The annual festival has been a part of Fort Lauderdale for more than 30 years now (some might call that ancient history). It's held both inside and outside of the church's main hall, which sits right on the edge of Holiday Park. With the weather as idyllic as it was this weekend, I decided to bike over to the festival and eat light so I could continue on elsewhere.
You know how that turned out. Walking through the parade of booths showcasing Greek pastries, baklava, cookies, loukoumades (donuts), and iced coffees was bad enough. Inside the hall was a cafeteria line set up with spanakopita, meatballs, olives, hummus, tzatziki with pita, gyros, souvlaki, and something called gigantes (broad Greek beans cooked in a dill-forward tomato sauce). With prices for everything in the $3 to $6 range, I couldn't help but grab a little bit of this and that, piling my cafeteria tray high. If I ate it all, well I guess I'd just have to work it off on the dance floor, already going wild thanks to a troupe of high-kicking dancers.
Here's what we ate:
Dolmades, tender grape leaves stuffed with dill and rice, tangy and runny with grape seed oil. These were legit, soft and creamy inside.
A plate of olives with a mild, fresh Greek cheese and plenty of pita bread. The olives were excellent, sharp, and floral.
Gigantes, meaty Greek lima beans stewed in a rich tomato sauce. The luscious, smooth sauce was full of olive oil and dill, perfect for scooping up with pita bread.
A typical gyro made of lamb and pork, served with a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce, which is yogurt mixed with cucumber, garlic, and plenty of dried spices.
To wash it down: A Greek Mythos lager, light and crisp, and (whoops, no photo) a glass of red wine from the sizable wine booth serving seven or eight varieties of Greek wine.
How about seconds? Maybe next year!