Thursday, September 8, 2016

Oakland: Oakland Greek Festival

My sister and I missed a bus, but we still managed to meet up with BB and her partner KM at the Oakland Greek Festival back in May.  Located at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension, admission for adults was only $6 per person.  There was live music and dancing, but more importantly, there were food stalls as far as the eye could see:
















We didn't just wander around willy-nilly.  Oh, no.  We walked with PURPOSE.

When we paid for admission, we were each given a booklet that served as a passport of sorts for the festival.  The festival was divided into five regions and if you bought one thing from each region, you could get a free plate of loukoummades.  If you don't know what that is, hang on until the end and I'll show you.

Spoiler alert: we got the free plate.

First things first though.  While BB and KM went for a wine tasting, my sister and I found some non-alcoholic beverages.  I got the lemonade and my sister got the frappe:






















Both were very watered down, but we kind of expected that.

The four of us decided to split all the food so that we could eat as much as possible.  We started with the halloumi:
















The salty white cheese was grilled and served on pita bread.  The best part was the lemon and caper sauce. 

Then it was off to the tiropita/spanakopita stall where we ultimately couldn't choose between the two and ended up getting both:
















The tiropita was essentially a egg and cheese pie made with phyllo dough.  I much preferred the spanakopita with its more flavorful spinach filling:
















We definitely couldn't go to a Greek festival without having lamb.  Unfortunately, the lamb on the spit wouldn't be ready until later in the day, so we made do with the lamb sandwich:






















Less keen to share the lamb (friendship has its limits), we ordered two.

Then it was off to check out the indoor dining area, where we found moussaka:
















Who needs lasagna when you can have moussaka?  Instead of pasta, you get soft, soft, layers of eggplant sandwiching a layer of ground meat and topped with béchamel sauce.  Yum.

While my sister and I were in line for the moussaka, BB and KM went to forage for desserts the next room over.  They came back with a couple different things.  Like this slice of custard pie:
















A piece of kataifi (the cocoon-looking confection on the left) and two pieces of baklava:
















As you probably suspected, the kataifi and the baklava were both supremely sweet.  Both were made of phyllo and soaked in some kind of syrup.  Both contained nuts.  A bite or two was fine, but more than that can cause a toothache.  In comparison, the custard pie was much milder.

Even though we were all stuffed by that point, we felt like we had to cancel out all the sweetness with a gyro:






















Which was probably not the smartest move because we'd completed our mission at least twice over:






















And we still had to finish our free plate of loukoumades:
















Oh my gawd.  So much dough.  The fried puffs were soaked in honey and sprinkled generously with cinnamon.  Again, one is good, but more than that?  When you're already full?  Painful.  So very, very painful.  By the time we left the festival, we were waddling from all the food.

Though we spent more money than we would have liked, we had a great time stuffing our faces and an even better time getting to know KM.  BB is an old friend of mine and I am so happy to see her so happy. 

We definitely need to hang out more, BB and KM!


Oakland Greek Festival
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension
4700 Lincoln Ave
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 531-3400
http://oaklandgreekfestival.com/

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