Danny’s Frappe in Kallithea

The cleanest and best organized coffee and bougatza shop in Kallithea is definitely Danny’s. Seeing him sitting down with his village cronies, sipping coffee… that’s the best way to start a weekend trip.

We stop just before his shop, park the car and I go inside. Except for one time, I’ve only ordered frappe. Danny is the frappe master. He’s like a little Japanese robot. This is his routine for a couple of sketo, me gala, paketo – no sugar, with milk, to go.

Take couple of plastic cups, place on counter.

Pick teaspoon, open coffee lid, take 2 teaspoonfuls of instant coffee, place into plastic cups.

Open water tap, pick plastic cups, pour 25 ml water.

Mix.

Place cups on counter, open ice box, place 3 cubes each into cup.

Open fridge, pick up Nounou condensed milk can. Pour. Stop. (If milk finishes suddenly, repeat until correct level of milk attained).

Open water tap, fill cups, then slowly tap the cups on the counter, to settle the foam.

Place lids on top of cups.

Insert pink and green straw. Go to cash register, hand over the cups, take the 3 Euro, wish customer a good day.

Danny’s shop is in the center of Kallithea, very close to the traffic lights. Tell him I said hi.

Casablanca, Kriopigi

We had a pretty good English breakfast today, at Casablanca’s, in Kriopigi. A proper English breakfast, too, with beans and rashers, toast and butter, eggs and mushrooms. No boudin noir, unfortunately. 15 Euro, including cafe-latte.

The place has a chic inside, with Casablanca themed posters and photos, glittering chairs, posh tables and very tasteful ornaments. The outside (photo) is airy, the chairs are very comfortable, you may smoke and watch the entire world of Kriopigi go before your eyes, or you can spot souvenirs or beach accessories which are sold across the street.

The place looks very promising and we’ll return to explore the menu. (They have steak and kidney pie !!).

Fish and Chips a la Grecque

Somewhere in Nea Moudania there is a Fish and Chips joint, run by a little lady.

We went there after a pathetic encounter with a so called travel agency. There were 2 ladies in the travel agency. The old one kept yelling on the phone, to make sure that if the signal was bad, the person on the other end of the line would still hear her. The young one spoke surprisingly horrible English and just couldn’t help us with anything. There is a hedge fund CEO smiling somewhere.

So I turned to food.

Usually I try to pick up the signs when I enter a restaurant. Are there any other customers ? Does it look clean ? Does is smell good ? I ignored everything this time. I was just pissed.

As we entered, I ordered the following: “Fish and Chips. 2, please”. That was everything I said.

Then there was an awkward pause, as if the lady wanted to ask something else, but I looked too damn dangerous. I saw some sardela on the counter top. Was that the fish and chips, I wondered. I sat down, calmed myself, waited.

She asked us if we wanted to eat there or take it out. I just shrugged. She decided to serve us there.

It was salted-and-then-unsalted cod. Three good pieces each. The batter was fine, but not great.  The chips were good. There was half a bread on the tray. And a pile of garlic sauce, Greek style. I have no idea how they make it and so far I’ve only seen it in Athens.

The place has a good overall feel, with high chairs on each side of a long counter top that acts as divider between the shop and the street. It’s very inviting, I’ll admit.

I really liked the shop and the food.

A laminated menu had been glued to the window. They also do octopus, sardines and other fried fish.

The Fish and Chips portions we ordered were 5.5 Euro each. That is on the menu, which I suppose was for take out, because the little lady asked for 12 Euro. It was a very cheap and tasty lunch.

I’ll post pictures next time I go there, which is soon.

The Meat Nazi

Kreopoleio is the butcher’s shop. Kreas is meat. Creation is incarnation, therefore. Being creative is being meaty. But enough games. I take my meat very seriously and my favourite butcher’s is in Kasandreia. One of the butchers is also a vendor, or he used to be. I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks and honestly I miss him. I’ll explain.

This kreopoleio offers a piece of sausage for about every 10 Euros you spend on meat. Usually, I buy about 20 Euros worth of meat once, so I get 2 sausages. The nice butcher is always very elegant about it, pointing to his big generous chest every time he inserts the 2 pieces of sausage in the already bursting bag of meat.

He points at various good cuts, expressing the fatness, the deliciousness of those particular cuts, which he probably did himself in the morning. We used to have sign language conversations about meat and we understood each other perfectly. I used to point to my neck, to my ribs, or legs. He got it and fetched a fat piece of pork, a chicken leg, or a rack of lamb. Sometimes he points at his entrails, but I usually refuse the liver or kidneys he’s so clearly offering me. Continue reading

Do it like the Greeks

What is this world we live in ? What is our purpose here ? Why do we exist ? These are very natural questions in Greece, and have been for 3000 years.
A shop owner will ask himself these questions, and also ask other people these same questions. Never mind his daily routines, or corruption, red tape, public debt, falling tourist numbers, road decay, immigrants and so on. He’ll stop for a second and ask himself something like “What are stars made of ?”, “How far are they, really ?”.

Then, he’ll go to the taverna, sit down, order ouzo and meze (it’s 10 in the morning) and have a nice chat with his fellow countrymen about these very important issues. Never mind most of these questions have been answered. The Greek spirit (ouzo, mostly) incessantly demands new answers. Continue reading