Greek Festival in San Jos

Today we went to the Greek Festival at the St. Nicholas Church in San Jose. It was a smallish affair, just occupying the grounds of the church (but it’s a large church). There was greek music and dancing, a couple of bounce houses, a few stands selling Greek things and, of course, food, tons of it. It’s clear that most of the people go to the festival for the food – there was a deli and a bakery selling stuff to take home, a loooong stand selling gyros, souvlakia, sausages and other grilled specialties, another one selling mousaka, pastitsio and tyropitas in addition to other stuff, some of which you could also get inside the main dining hall, and Kokkari had a stand selling grilled lamb chops. There was also a “cafe” inside offering Greek sweets and Greek coffee. As you can imagine it smelled wonderful.
We tried hard to taste as much food as we could, but there were only three of us. We had the souvlakia ($5)- a skewer with thick pieces of marinated pork. It was very good though the pork was a bit tough – probably because of how lean pork is in the US. When I went to Greece many, many years ago I subsisted on souvlaki pitas (fat pitas smeared with tzaziki and filled with meat and french fries), but I could have sworn the meat was beef or lamb, not pork. In any case, we liked it. We liked the Greek sausage ($4) in a pita smeared with tzaziki even more – we’ll have to look for those sausages, they were spicy, but not too much, and so flavorful.
Later we had the pastitsio ($4) and a baked chicken ($4) with a lemony marinade. Both were quite good, even if the chicken was so dried. All the food left us with the question, if Greek grandmothers can cook so well in such large quantities for the church, how come our local Greek restaurant, Luke’s Grill can’t?
I don’t tend to like baklava ($2) but a taste proved that this one was of superior quality, though still too sweet and syrupy for my taste. A cookie dusted with powder sugar ($1) that I got for Mika wasn’t that good, mostly tasteless.
Still, I’m sold, I’ll definitely be going to their festival next year and I’ll keep my eye open for other Greek festivals closer by.

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