Every year a Greek Festival is held in Cardiff-by-the-Sea at the Sts Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church. This year it was on Saturday September 9th and Sunday September 10th.
I'm sorry I didn't post this on Saturday night. I hope some of you were able to make it to one of the many festivals in San Diego this past weekend. See my previous event post (below) for more events this month.
When my husband and I first arrived at the festival (which, by the way, costs a mere $2 for entry) we came across what looked like a little Greek town. The church has a few buildings that look like they were transported here straight from the a coastal town in Greece. These buildings lie beneath a gigantic cliff which makes you feel as if you're directly at the beach. They set up tents in between these buildings and the golden-domed church.
The smells of lamb roasting on a spit, meat being roasted for gyros, and skewers barbequed for visitors were very welcoming. There was constantly music being played under the largest tent and Greek dancing performed by the younger adult church go-ers.
I wish I could have tried all of the food at the fair. They were only serving the skewers with the combination plate in their tented "restaurant" ($12 for a sampler plate including: bread, salad, skewer, spanikopita, dolmas and greek lasagna). We had just spent money on pastries so we skipped the sampler plate and had a tasty (and large) gyro for $6.
The pastries available at the festival were quite impressive. They devoted an entire building to pastries. You could either buy one of their sample boxes (baklava or Greek sampler) or you could build your own box. Since I prefer the pastries over the cakes and sugar cookies, I grabbed a box and filled it with baklava, saragli (rolled honey-nut pastry), katarfi (shredded honey-nut pastry), and galatoboureko (custard pastry).
We also had to get a serving of rizogalo (Greek rice pudding) since it's my husband's favorite. Normally I don't like pudding (of any kind) but this had a terrific flavor or vanilla, cinnamon, and something else that made this pudding delicious. The rice must have been extremely short because it felt more like tapioca than rice.
The Greek coffee (also a "must" for my hubby) was thick like Turkish coffee and complimented the pastries perfectly. The bitterness (with a touch of cinnamon) cut the excess sweetness of the honey.
We saved the pastries for home but ate the rice pudding, coffee, and one piece of baklava while we were there. All of the pastries were delicious (and tasted great the next day) and were better than most I've had in Greek restaurants and bakeries. I'm dying to know who made them (a bakery or the church go-ers?).
The best addition to the "pastry room" was Smilin' Jack on the accordian (that's what the sign said). He really did have a great smile. Unfortunately all I had on me was my cell phone's camera but he was quite entertaining.
Other food at the Greek festival included the Greek deli (where you could get a plate with feta, hummus, pita, and olives), booths with side dishes like tiropito (cheese phyllo pie) and dolmas, and Loukoumathes or Greek honey donuts (which looked very good but we had already spent a lot on the pastries). For the kiddies they had a carnival-type set up with games they could play to win prizes. There were also a few non-food vendors but nothing that I found to be particularly impressive. But who cares?! I went for the food and I left very satisfied.