RSS Feed

Tag Archives: shishkabob

The Cradle of Deliciocracy

Posted on

Tikanis, people?  That’s “what’s up?” in Greek which is the language spoken at today’s reviewed eatery in, you guessed it if you’ve been reading my latest entries, Delray Beach, Florida.  If you haven’t been reading through, some highlights include me taking down a giant chicken sandwich, eating a breakfast jammed in a burger, and a sexually titled sushi platter.  So, after having Italian the previous day, I wanted to continue the Mediterranean theme with a proper Greek dinner or maybe I just had a hankering for some good Feta cheese.

After a bit of sleuthing through the online food directories, I found Zorba’s Taverna that had a lot of great reviews where people raved about the tasty eats at reasonable prices.  Perfect.  It didn’t look like much from the outside as it was located in a strip mall, and coming from Chicago, I’m normally used to them looking like the white-washed buildings in Santorini.IMG_2957  The sign on the door, on the other hand, already provided me with a taste of the Greek hospitality to come (thankfully sans broken plates). IMG_2956 The place was moderately busy, but the seats quickly were occupied as we managed to beat the crowd rushing the doors trying to get out of the rain.  Our waiter slowly sauntered over, and he seemed slightly off for some reason I couldn’t put my finger on.  Nevertheless, he was amiable.  Inside, Zorba’s Taverna was the Greek diner I was expecting complete with a classic Hellenic blue and white motif everywhere along with a fitting tribute to the Anthony Quinn film that serves as inspiration for the restaurant’s name.IMG_2951 IMG_2950 IMG_2949  After looking over the menu that had all of the classic Greek dishes that they’ve served since antiquity like spanokopita, souvlaki, and baklava along with a couple newer Greek innovations like saganaki that was reinvented right in Greektown in my hometown of Chicago.  My mom got an order of the saganaki ($8.95) for us to share to start off.  For those who have never had the pleasure of trying saganaki, the name describes how the cheese, in this case vlahotyri, is melted in a frying pan since saganaki is the diminutive of sagani or a “frying pan with two handles”.  The cheese is then eaten with a spritz of lemon and maybe a sprinkling of pepper.  Once Greek immigrants came to America, they served this gooey cheese dish to diners, but as I mentioned before, the Greeks in Chicago added a bit more showmanship to this humble dish.  What can add panache to any sort of performance art like preparing and serving food?  Fire!  If you visit most Greek restaurants in the Chicagoland area, you can experience something like this.  Strangely, in Florida they didn’t set the cheese ablaze but rather placed it on our table with a whimper along with a free plate of pita triangles and hummus.  The saganaki sans flames was still delicious with a salty and citrusy flair to each forkful.  As for the hummus and pita,  I don’t know if they do this for every patron or if we were the 100th customers, but it was a great perk to our visit. IMG_2947 The pita was warm and fresh, and the hummus was creamy and evenly spiced with a liberal splash of olive oil.IMG_2948  We then ordered our food where my dad got the tzatziki platter ($4.95), my mom got chicken souvlaki platter ($12.95), and I got a side of dolmathakia ($7.95) and the roasted Greek chicken ($14.95).  Eventually, our food came out, and it all looked great.  My dad’s tzatziki or cucumber sauce was thicker than I was used to compared to back home in Chicago but didn’t affect the overall quality.  My mom informed me the chicken souvlaki or shish kabob was very dry.  On my plates, on the other hand, I found nothing but mouth-watering choices. IMG_2953 The dolmathakia consisted of cooked grape leaves that encased fluffy grains of rice with spices and just the right amount of dill that was further enhanced by the translucent dill broth that these mini-grape loves were stewing in.IMG_2954  I got a free Greek salad on the side which was verdant and scrumptious along with the creamy pieces of Feta that scratched my itch for cheese like the big rat I am.IMG_2952  As for my chicken, although it couldn’t hold an oil lamp to some of my Greek friends’ mommas’ cooking, it was alright for Delray Beach.  The chicken was so well prepared that it literally fell apart as soon as I touched it with my fork. IMG_2955 From the oregano coated skin to the juicy white meat interior, I was in a state of apotheosis as a foodie during this meal.  Unfortunately, then it went downhill from the average green beans to the less than noteworthy potatoes on the side that were quite bland and hard.  The tumble from the top of the Mount Olympus of food ended with a definite thud.

So if you’re looking for mostly lip-smackingly good Greek food that’ll make you shout Opa! down in Delray Beach, boogie on down to Zorba’s Taverna.

Zorba's Taverna on Urbanspoon

Meat and Greet

Posted on

Hello everyone once again to another edition of Mastication Monologues!  Today I will be talking about a few different types of food that I tried over the weekend.  The first was samgyeopsal which is part of the litany of things that Koreans love to barbecue.  They’re basically large strips of bacon minus the seasonings, but they taste so delicious no matter what.  While the bacon was sizzling on the grill, we had plenty of different types of banchan or side dishes to try.  I passed on the macaroni salad, but  I did enjoy the fresh tofu jjigae or tofu soup.  We also threw a couple cloves of garlic on the grill to give the bacon a bit more of a savory flavor.  After about ten minutes, we had our pieces of bacon cut up with the scissors they give you when you sit down.  You can take each piece and put some of the onion vinegar sauce on it or perhaps some of the red chili sauce depending on if you want it spicy or not.  Then you put it in a pepper leaf or a lettuce leaf and enjoy your delicious wrap.  They also gave us pieces of what we assumed were mushrooms to also grill since they had an almost meaty aftertaste mixed with earthy overtones when consumed.IMG_1290

Going from one type of meat to another, the following night I met up with friends in Gangnam to try Chinese lamb skewers at Gayang located at 강남구 역삼 1동 817-21 .IMG_1294  It was a very anonymous place that really didn’t have a line out the door like some of the other bbq places, but this grilling dinner was a bit different.  Instead of just doing the usual Fred Flintstone method of grilling with slapping big pieces of meat on  hot metal, we were doing more of a marshmallow method of grilling.  We got four total portions of skewers since we were quite hungry, but it’s not the cheapest meal out there at 10,000 won per serving.  However, you get roughly ten skewers, and the experience was worth it.  The lamb grilled up nicely with very little fat, and it came with a dry chili based rub that had clear cumin elements with a little garlic. The banchan was pretty typical, but I did enjoy the boiled peanuts and the sweet onions.  If you’re looking for something a bit different from Korean bbq, check out the Chinese lamb place in Gangnam.

The final part of this food trilogy entry deals with a spur of the moment food encounter.  After going to a couple bars in Gangnam, my friend Steph and I decided to try some street food at one of the stalls in the alley.  They were doing good business, so we just picked a mix of different fried foods.IMG_1304 (800x600)  We ended up having deep fried kimbap (rice rolls), deep fried plantains, and fried meat dumplings.  The kimbap were ok with small glass noodles, but the meat dumplings were decent since the meat had a great seasoning blend that made it taste like shepherd’s pie a little bit.  However, the flat pancake plantains were the best since they tasted like sweet potatoes but were almost too sweet.  We still aren’t sure what they were, but we were happy to experience an authentic part of Korean culture.

%d bloggers like this: