Greece is the Word – Day Seven

Every evening I tell myself “I’m going to sleep in tomorrow” yet every morning I’m up as soon as the sun starts to come up. I can’t help it. I can hear movement outside, I knew the day is fresh and new and I just want to be a part of it.

It is no different here in Nafpaktos. We’re so close to the water we can smell that salty air and it’s so enticing.

We walked straight to the waters edge and continued along the coast to the area where the restaurants face the water. Even though it was early there were still people in the water or enjoying a cup of coffee at the tables.

I took a photo of the pebbles we were walking on. It looks so pretty and is so different to anything we have in Australia.

IMG_6751As part of our walk, we discovered this cute little bakery that made the BEST spanokopita.

That spinach filling was just so full of flavour and cheesy creamy. It was just delicious. We tried to go back for me to take on our journey today but she’d sold out. I almost cried real tears.

We took our spanokopita back to the beach area and found a bench to sit on while we waited for the rest of our group. As we sat there, a couple of cats started to gather round. Normally, when you’re at the beach with food it’s seagulls that start to circle you! Here it’s cats.

IMG_6753
And if you’re wondering, yes we did share with them. When they meow so tragically you IMG_6759really have no choice!

After a Greek Coffee or two, we did a bit of last minute Nafpaktos Tourist shopping before heading up to the castle once again. This time it was open!

It’s such an interesting place.
There’s tons of information on the internet if you’re interested but for us it was just something to think about the people who had walked the same steps we had walked in history. Thinking about when this was a working castle and the jobs people were doing.
There are also amazing views of the coast from up there and yes, it does seem as high up as it looks!


We left Nafpaktos and headed for a village where there was more family waiting to see us. The drive was going to take us through windy hilly roads again. I’m not a fan.

It’s gorgeous scenery though and the hills and mountains are dotted with wind turbines.
IMG_6807
It’s also not uncommon to be stopped by cattle… This happened to us more than once on our journey today!


We didn’t get to the mountain village until well after 4pm. Hubby hadn’t met his relatives before and it was all very special and emotional. We don’t speak Greek and only one of their party spoke English so the translating took a little while but it didn’t matter. It was lovely to spend the time together.
I took some photos from their balcony as the views they have are just breath taking.


They wanted us to share a meal with them so we stayed and talked about old times while eating what they had prepared. Most of what we were having had been grown on their land/property. Even the goat (I’m almost sad to say? Just quietly, it was soooo tasty!)

IMG_6827
IMG_6828

This is by no means everything but there was Greek salad with home produce (the tomatoes were just so sweet!) potatoes, zucchini and feta cheese made from the milk of their own goats.

Everything was just too delicious! I ate way more than I should have just because I needed to taste more!

You may also notice the wine on the table, that was made by them as well.

Time was really moving on now and we were conscious of the long drive back to Athens, but they asked us if we wanted to see their farm. They had to go there to feed the animals.
How could we say no?

IMG_6857
We drove down a treacherous dirt path to get to it. I don’t know how these people use these roads every day…

Everything we saw at the farm was interesting and new.
From the goats to the cows with their baby calf.

We watched the cows feeding. I tried to take some photos but they moved back as we got close.

IMG_6862

Unfortunately hubby is allergic so we had to go and wait in the car but the kids in our group were able to watch the goats being milked and had a go at doing it themselves too! Now that’s an experience they wouldn’t get at school.

Again, the views from the farm are just breathtaking. I seem to be saying that a lot!


Everything took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t get back to their house until well after 10.30pm. They begged for us to stay rather than drive back down that awful road with minimum light but we just wanted our own beds and clean clothes so we left.

We didn’t get back to Athens until after 2.30am.

For the record, I have had my life time share of treacherous road driving.

And now, it’s definitely time for bed.
Kalinychta until tomorrow when hopefully, I will be sleeping in…

Advertisements

Rostrevor Pizzeria

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A Surf n’ Turf is really a Turf with a touch of Surf
Boiled veggies  (including cabbage) in water constitutes Minestrone and
Wonderfully welcoming staff and great aromas over promise food quality expectations.

FullSizeRender[4].jpgDiners today we found ourselves at Rostrevor Pizzeria. I used to live in the area but have never been here before! In fact, I’m not even sure I knew it existed and that’s why I was further surprised to learn that they’ve been around since 1988!
Since that time their restaurant has been featured in some local newspapers and they’ve won a few awards which they proudly display on one of their walls.

Hubby and I parked and as we approached the restaurant, we could already see the staff inside, eagerly looking out at us. It was like they couldn’t wait for us to come and try their food.  We opened the doors and immediately the gorgeous smells hit us. Pizza, tomato, garlic, basil…. everything you identify with Italian cooking.
I’m also pretty sure everyone that was working there greeted us! It was such a lovely welcome! It made me feel like these guys have a good working atmosphere and they’re proud of their food and what they produce and really want to share it with their customers.

I really, really, really wanted to like this place. I really really did.

We sat in the dining area which is separate to the “take away” area. We were first in the dining room but there were a few other tables of people by the time we left.
I asked the server a few questions about the menu and she was pretty knowledgeable.

Because I wasn’t too hungry and it was cold, I decided to go for the Minestrone and a serve of bruschetta.
Hubby chose the Surf n’ Turf.
Maybe if we’d chosen pizza’s this review would have been completely different but we’d had pizza just recently and didn’t particularly feel like having it again….

They did have one of my favourite wines on the menu so that was one thing I enjoyed!

FullSizeRender[3]
The restaurant is pretty comfortable to sit in and had a bit of a modern feel.

Not really very Italian and in my opinion, an Italian restaurant should always have Italian music playing.

This one didn’t have any music playing and the lack of background noise was quite noticeable.

The description of the Minestrone on the menu says “Thick Italian Vegetable Soup”
FullSizeRender

Honestly, I wanted to like this sooooo bad. It wasn’t thick. It says “vegetable” so I wasn’t really expecting beef but I always put a bit of beef in my minestrone soup. There was no pasta in this either. Instead, what I got was some boiled veggies, including cabbage minus salt.

Ok, no time for tears, I really love bruschetta and was looking forward to this one as the server has confirmed that it was just toasted continental bread drizzled with olive oil, with tomato and basil on top. Perfect. Just as a good authentic bruschetta should be.

FullSizeRender[1]
The bread was nice and toasty but sadly that’s where the compliments end. I couldn’t taste the olive oil although I think I did see that some had been drizzled on there. The tomatoes weren’t “sweet”. In fact they barely had any taste but that could be a seasonal thing.. but the most unforgivable thing was the lack of fresh basil. I just could not taste it. I could see green flecks of something on my tomato. Was it just not fresh? Not basil? I don’t know!! But again, I was really disappointed and it’s such a shame as the service was pretty good.

Now onto Hubby’s Turf with a touch of Surf.

FullSizeRender[2]
Now it’s not like we order this regularly so maybe our expectations are wrong. See the two little prawns on top of the meat? That was the “surf” part.
The meat was ok. Beautifully tender in parts and full of gristle in others. I didn’t mind the taste of it but the heavy garlic sauce on top was a bit of a turn off.

I couldn’t see any pizza’s coming out from where I was but there was a fairly regular stream of people coming in to pick up pizzas. Maybe that’s where we went wrong… maybe we really should have had a pizza…

Unfortunately, even though there is obviously a lot of history here and the staff were so very lovely, I can’t see us ever going back to try any of the pizzas but please, if you’ve been here and have a different experience, I’d love to hear it!

Have you been to Rostrevor Pizzeria?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow….

The Lion

Today on The Dining Diaries…

We’re thrown a little out of a comfort zone
We encounter a very special “Special” and
Good food soothes our hungry souls…

110090_109396_lion_hotel_1
Diners today’s review is for The Lion Restaurant on Melbourne Street in North Adelaide.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the restaurant, or if not, the bar alongside it! I know I’ve whiled away an afternoon or two in the bar in my time but had never dined in the restaurant.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had imagined it would be a bit pretentious.
Hubby and I noticed a sign that said a dress code applied and luckily, we normally look quite spiffy so it didn’t worry us.

We came in a little after 2pm but were told they take orders till about 2.45pm so that was good to know! The staff were lovely and if they had judged us walking in, I wouldn’t have known but hubby thought we were being talked down to a little. One of the servers asked us if we were celebrating a special occasion and I said “No we just want to get some lunch” I wondered then if that’s something they ask everyone or did we look  like a couple of bogans, wanting to have a once off nice meal in a nice restaurant to celebrate something? I did notice the wait staff had good rapport with other diners and that was nice to see.

In any case, if they were judgemental I don’t think they were overt about it and we settled in and enjoyed our surroundings. It did feel a bit “special” in a seventies type way. I thought the decor was a little seventies but hubby said he thought it was more Scandanavian. He’s probably right. I’m not usually a good judge of these things.

We were given some menus and the wine list.
At first I wasn’t sure I wanted anything on the menu. Nothing really jumped out at me. Hubby and I were actually on the verge of leaving but I felt a little embarrassed to do that and in the end was glad we’d stayed. A lovely server went through the menu and answered any questions we had. She also told us about the specials and I couldn’t go past the fish special which was Snapper.
Hubby decided to go for his usual, steak. More about that later!

We started off with a couple of dips. The server explained what they were but I couldn’t  remember all the fancy bits. Basically one was a cauliflower one and the other was some sort of Potato combination.
FullSizeRender[3]

I was pretty impressed when this came out! It looked like a decent serve. The dips themselves had a nice texture but I think they probably should have chosen different flavoured dips as they almost looked the same. The texture was the same and although they tasted different, by the end we didn’t really know what we were having.
They were very enjoyable though and had a lot of flavour!! I did really enjoy the dips and the bread and pita they served it with. The bread was toasty warm and the pita was crispy yet firm. Nice!

For main hubby ended up going for the Scotch Fillet on the menu, rather than the Steak special. Our server asked if he wanted potato puree or fries with his fillet. Hubby originally said puree, but after seeing a few other dishes come out, he asked the waitress if he could change and they graciously obliged.

FullSizeRender[2]

This Scotch Fillet was cooked perfectly! It was well seasoned and the mustard they provided added more flavour to the meat. There was also a decent amount of fries which made hubby very happy. I did wonder how it would have looked if he’d gone for the potato puree but he was very happy with his choice. I went for the Snapper Special.

FullSizeRender[1]

Unfortunately I can’t remember everything that it came with but it was so very delicious! The Snapper itself was beautifully cooked and I can only be sad because I wanted more!
It sat on a bed of some type of homemade pasta, sundried tomato, fresh tomato, mint, fennel, goats cheese, sultanas and probably more herbs and spices. There was also something crunchy in there that made the texture of what I was eating interesting. The crunchy things looked a little like maggots though so I had to not think of that every time I put a bit in my mouth!

I just think this dish was soooo pretty it was almost a sin to eat it and the flavour combinations worked wonderfully! I loved the unexpected sweetness of the sultanas. The ratio of all those ingredients was really very perfect.

The wait staff were attentive the whole time without being over bearing, checking that our meals were ok and asking if we wanted more wine/drinks.

Although a little on the pricey side, I think they strive to give you a special experience and I would have no hesitation in recommending the Lion as everything we had here was cooked so very well.

 

Have you been to the Lion?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

 

Our Place

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Lunch turns into dinner…
Exceptional food is served over an exceptional time and
We are dazzled by the beauty of an Adelaide hills backdrop

Diners today we were at “Our Place” in Willunga. I really want to start off by saying “wow” but I should start at the very beginning….

I can’t say it’s an easy place to get to. It was a forty minute drive from Westfield Marion.
Even once we saw the place looming in my Google Maps, I still couldn’t work out which building it was until I saw a faded sign that said “Our Place” and screeched “turn here, turn here!!!” to hubby. It was very hard to spot as it’s just a modest “house” from the road and if I hadn’t seen the sign, I wouldn’t have known that was it.

We parked the car and instantly were struck by the beauty of the surrounding landscape.


The photos don’t do it justice. There were a few “hearts” etched into the grass which I thought was a nice romantic gesture on someone’s part but we never found out the story behind that.

We walked into the building and here’s were modesty stopped.
We went from oooing and ahhing over the landscape to oooing and ahhing over the interior.
There were just too many things to look at.

fullsizerender20fullsizerender19fullsizerender17

The photo above is part of a balcony area which was quaint and had a lot of charm in its own way.

fullsizerender18

This was our table and as you can see, we had views of the surrounding landscape (above) and views of that serene indoor pond (below)

fullsizerender14

So the way that this place works is that you don’t order food – You pay a set price and they bring food of their pleasing to you. They start of with a few “antipasto” type items and gradually evolve to dinner and dessert. We were told to arrive at 12 midday for drinks and that food would start to be served around 12.30.

img_7654

We were getting quite anxious for food by the time the first tray started coming around.

I’m not really sure what this was but it was made from chick pea and it was pretty tasty but had a texture I wasn’t familiar with.

I must admit, we kind of looked at each other at this point and said “is this sizing an indication of the portion sizes to come?” but we kept being reassured that there was plenty of food to come.

fullsizerender12The next tray they brought round had pizza on it. Good, authentic style Italian pizza!! That means it had a good spongy dough with a little crunch to the crust and little toppings but a good amount of good quality tomatoes.

It was just divine!! The server allowed us to take a couple of pieces then walked away. We must have been in starvation mode because we kept looking at other tables and other diners and wondering if they’d been given more than us. The server did come back and asked if we wanted more. Not two seconds past before we were all standing and grabbing another two pieces from the tray.
She then stated that it was really only supposed to be one piece for each person… whoops. My question was, well then why did she come back to the table?? We can’t help it if we’re hungry and the food is gooooooood!!

At 1.05pm, our host Andy Clappis took the microphone and addressed us. I felt like we were at a wedding reception without a bride and groom! He told us a little history of “Our Place” and told us about the food that was to come. One thing that shone through was his passion! The love of family and food was a constant theme during our afternoon.
In fact Andy was so passionate that at one point, he actually stopped and asked a naughty table whose occupants were talking to stop talking so they could hear him explain to them about the food.

So we’ve had the talk now, please bring us more food!!!
img_7658The next thing they brought out was the most delectable bread I’ve had in a very long time.

It was fresh out of the oven. Deliciously warm and that crust was crunchy!! There was olive oil on the table or butter if you preferred.

When the server brought ours we asked, “Can we have a knife to cut it?” and she replied “No, just break some off with your hands” and so that’s what we did…
With the bread they brought a Baccala spread (Dried and salted Cod) It was soooo good but clearly not enough as it didn’t last longer than a few seconds on my table.
I was happy with the bread and olive oil though so I didn’t mind!

fullsizerender9The next dish was veal.

I’ve not had it like this before so it was something new to me.

The veal itself was sliced thinly and very tender.

The mayonnaise was tuna based and very thick.

Most people on our table liked it but I can’t say that I was one of them.

Of course, that just comes down to personal preference. I can see that it had been made well.

Because we didn’t know what was still coming, and because the serves had been teeny tiny, we were really wondering if we were going to be leaving hungry and this seemed to be a constant topic at my table.
fullsizerender8
The next tray had bocconcini with fennel on it.

This plate was to serve seven people and I took the photo before anyone had taken any of it.

So while everything on this plate was divine, we didn’t really all get to try some.

I didn’t get any bocconcini and some people missed out on the fennel.

I think we all got a wedge of tomato….

The next tray was Squid!
fullsizerender7

Again, there was nothing wrong with the food.

in fact it was pretty delicious but this plate was for the seven of us.

I’m not big on squid so I gave mine to hubby who greedily ate it.

If we had known what was coming, we might not have been so frantic for food but so far, what we’d seen was small serves and quite long wait times between trays.

fullsizerender6
After the squid Andy got on the microphone again and addressed the room.

They had discovered that about five people in the room were celebrating birthdays so they got them up to “carve” the Turkey we’d be eating later.

It was these kind of things that made the afternoon special and I have to applaud Andy for that because apart from having to pay for your meal, you’d think you were at some family event.

So after a little while, they brought out this amazing Mushroom Risotto. I mean it was just to die for! I could smell it before it even arrived at the table and it was just sooooo good.  The rice was cooked perfectly and there was such a gorgeous creamy consistency throughout.

fullsizerender5
The server must have seen how gluttonous we were though because she came back a few minutes later and asked if we wanted another dish of it to share. “Yes please” was the resounding answer.
Unfortunately another table was asked if they wanted another dish of the risotto but when the server when to get it,  there were no more left for them…. So that’s not really good planning is it?

The gnocchi came out next and this was another portion disappointment.

fullsizerender4
We actually had to measure these out and everybody on my table got three each.
Three
One, Two, Three…. all gone.
What was there was really nice. That sauce was definitely the best thing about it.

By now we’re starting to get tired and to be honest, a little fed up. I kind of think they would have done better to have served a few dishes all at once so we could have filled our plates and at least feel like we’d eaten something. We just felt like we’d been picking at bits and pieces all day and I never expected to still be waiting for a main at 4pm.

The turkey and vegetables did seem to take a very long time to come.

fullsizerender3
Turkey was fine and I couldn’t complain about the size of it. In fact Andy himself came around a bit later and was filling people’s platters up a little more so that was nice.

fullsizerender2
The vegetables were delicious and drizzled in that gorgeous olive oil. We got two plates of vegetables for our table which was nice.

A few people had to leave so the server gave them some of the dessert (cannoli) to take with them.
At 4.30pm there were only two of us at my table and we were simply waiting for the dessert. It had been a long afternoon!!!
fullsizerender1
We were told if we wanted coffee we had to go get it from the bar so off I went to stand in that queue to order us some coffees….

A short black is still the best way to finish of any meal in my opinion!! Even better without sugar. Just let the natural coffee taste do what it’s supposed to do.

And still we waited for the Cannoli…. When I saw them coming out, instead of being on individual trays being brought out to different tables, they were just on one very large tray and one guy was taking that around to everyone.
fullsizerenderNeedless to say, it was going to take ages!!!

So I got up and got some for our table.

They were amazing.

The crust was light and crunchy and the centre was a creamy custard with a lemon tang.
I just wish I was in the mood to enjoy it more.
By this point I was just stuffing it in my mouth so I could say I’d had it and we could get on out of there!

I think if we had known this was going to be an event that covered over five hours, I may have been more up for it but by the end I just wanted to go.
I couldn’t fault anything I’d had and the hosts couldn’t have been nicer!! You just have to realise that if you come to “Our Place” it’s not just a meal, it’s an event or an experience.

I would definitely recommend going because the food itself is a marvel and it’s made with so much love and passion that really comes through. You just have to be the type of person that knows how to relax away the afternoon.
Sadly I think our culture had moved away from this.

Have you been to Our Place?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Alma Tavern

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We venture past a point we hadn’t gone before,
Hubby eats cous cous and actually loves it
We don’t have a Mark Ricciutto sighting but there’s always next time!

almafrontDiners today we were at The Alma Tavern on Magill rd at Norwood.

We have actually been here a few times in the past ten years or so but each time we walk to the restaurant part, we look in, then turn and walk away. It just hasn’t felt like a place we wanted to dine in. I may be a little unfair to the Alma in saying this as it wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, it just didn’t do it for us.

However as I had recently heard a few good things about it and being a Mark Ricciuto fan (part owner and ex Adelaide Crows Captain) I wanted to go down and see for myself.
I’m so glad I did!

The Alma has a great outdoor bar area. Lots of screens showing different sports and great seating with good music playing. We walked through there to get to the restaurant.
This time, instead of turning the corner into the restaurant and turning to walk back out again, we actually went in. alma1

A really nice guy met us and showed us to a booth. I can only describe him as a young blonde Mr Bean. A very lovable Mr Bean! He was so helpful and polite.
So far so good!

The dining room was really comfy and bright. Lovely soothing colours.

We felt comfortable right away.

The menu had some really fantastic options on there and I was having a little trouble choosing.
We ended up starting with Panne – warm crunchy bread loaf with Adelaide Plains extra virgin olive oil & whipped butter

img_7185Bread is just bread right? WRONG! This bread was delightfully warm and doughy yet crunchy on the outside and it was a decent serve.

The olive oil was just too good. I ended up having my bread just dipped in that while hubby had the whipped butter (hidden in the pic)

I was really excited for the mains now. I’d been watching other food come and it and it all looked so good! Most of the food I’d been seeing was really well presented and colourful on the plate so it made me wonder what ours was going to look like.

Hubby ordered the CHAR-GRILLED LAMB & CHORIZO SKEWERS –  SA lamb & smoked chorizo skewers with capsicum & Spanish onion & lemon, served on a fresh tomato, cucumber, Kalamata olive cous-cous salad with charred lemon, honey mint yogurt & beetroot crisps

img_7184

This photo doesn’t do it justice. What you see on top are the beetroot crisps. That was the first thing he (and I because I just had to) ate and they were soooo good!! So crispy, full of beetroot flavour and sweet! I could go through a plate full of those easy!
Hubby said his meat was really tender and tasty. What I was most surprised about, was that he ate the cous cous! He normally turns his nose up at cous cous and thinks it not to be real food. This was just exceptional though, especially with a bit lemon squeezed through. The salad with tomato and spinach was really nice too. Those tomatoes were also sooo sweet and it was just all so fresh and begging you to eat it! Well done Alma!

I didn’t have diners envy though because mine was just as good and maybe even better.
I chose the CRISPY SKIN ATLANTIC SALMON – pan seared Tasmanian salmon dusted with mixed dukkah spice, served with a spiced beetroot puree, lemon & herb cous-cous, topped with a tomato, sweetcorn & coriander salsa, orange aioli & charred lime

img_7183
Everything about this was perfect. Look how pretty it is on the plate. It was well presented and the quality of all the ingredients could not be faulted. That was definitely the crispiest skin I’ve eaten and it had so much flavour in there! The salmon itself was exquisite. Honestly, I can’t praise this dish enough. It was just heavenly.

Whenever hubby and I have an experience like this where everything has been amazing, I just have to tell the servers because I don’t know that they usually get that kind of feed back. I imagine they probably get a lot of comments about what people didn’t like. Give praise where praise is due I say!

So we didn’t see Mark Ricciuto this time, but I’ll keep listening to his morning radio show with Ditz Ditts and I’m sure there will be a next time!

Have you been to the Alma?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…