Greece is the Word – Day Thirteen

Today was out last full day in Greece. Though I’m sad about that, we have seen and done a lot of things in a short time here. I loved seeing all the historic sites and I loved shopping for trinkets. Today was mostly about that.

Something I’ve noticed here is that often we’ll hear loud shouting. We look around anxiously thinking people may be fighting or something may be going down but it’s usually just a couple of people being very passionate  in their conversation.

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We headed back into the centre of Athens. The traffic was just horrendous! I’d hate to drive here. In fact, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t

We were so looking forward to shopping but before we did that, we stopped to see the Greek Parliament which is housed in an imposing building situated at the east side of Syntagma Square.
At one point the guards started doing something. It may have been part of the “changing of the guards” ritual but I’m not sure. I didn’t ask but I did take some video and if you’re interested, you can see it here. I didn’t video the whole thing.

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I also took a few pics of that area… including of the people who actually allow these rats of the air to land and eat seed off of them!!!!!

Gross!!!

 

We stopped for a quick bite to eat. I can’t believe how cheap some of this food is here.

We got a couple of “wraps”.
That’s how they were described on the menu. I had chicken meat in mine.
They also come with fries in them. I realised too late that I didn’t take a photo of the one I was eating but it was pita bread, wrapped cone like, with the meat, chips IMG_7248(fries), tzatziki and some salad stuff in it.

It was only 2.8 Euro!

So cheap and so filling!

I did take a picture of the display in the shop window though.

You like?

We headed into the flea markets in Plaka after that.

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I must admit, I was a little nervous.

There are all sorts of people there trying to get money off of you one way or another.
Either they are just begging for it or trying to deceive you by offering “free” gifts.

There’s also sad cases.

We saw a couple of people afflicted by some condition and it just broke my heart to see them out on the street begging. It just doesn’t seem right.

All these people throwing away money at touristy junk while other people are fighting  for another 24 hours to live.


We had some lunch. We were told the pizza at this place we went to was amazingly different to anywhere else. It was traditional Greek pizza. I would have to agree it was different. I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for it but I did like it.
Hubby and I don’t eat seafood but I took a pic of the seafood platter that came out for those who are into that sort of thing (see above)
I ordered grilled vegetables and just absolutely loved them!!! Eggplant is fast becoming one of my favourite vegetables.

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Oh and I’ll just leave this here. Make of it what you will but these “items” are sold all over the place in tourist shops.

There must be some meaning, I’d imagine to do with fertility, but I haven’t looked into it.

Who are buying these things????

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We had had a leisurely lunch so it was quite late when we headed back.

Hubby and googled and found there was an outlet mall very close to where we’re staying.

We asked to be dropped off there but once our ride had left, we discovered it was NOT an outlet mall at all. It may have been once upon a time, but it was now very much deserted!!!

Lots of closed up shops. The only thing that was open was a Marks and Spencer Store.

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We walked home but not before heading into a supermarket for a few supplies to last us these next 12 hours.

You will not believe what I found…. If only I had seen this 12 days ago!!!!!!!!

Diet Lemonade I have missed you so much!

We headed into Glyfada for our last night. I’m going to miss this. Late Summer nights. The coast, the company, the atmosphere. Greece you have been good to us.

Tomorrow we are having a change of pace and it will be interesting to see how different it will be…. I’m not sure how reliable our internet is going to be but I hope to have the next post up within twenty four hours.

Where will we be this time tomorrow? Stay tuned!

The Rezz Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

The definition of “large” needs a redefinition,
I’m presented with Beef Cheeks to die for and
Lovely staff but they clearly have one eye fixed on the clock.

FullSizeRenderDiners today we found ourselves at The Rezz Hotel in Newton.

I can’t tell you how many times this place has been recommended to us and it was well worth the visit!

It’s situated near the pretty Thorndon Park Reserve that I used to run through quite regularly when I lived in the area.

I’m not sure if it’s been refurbished lately but it looked quite modern, new and clean as we walked in. There’s a cafe and a Bistro area and hubby and I turned to go to the Bistro.

There seemed to be a lot of (older) people in there including a couple of big groups. I liked the big open windows onto to greenery outside. It just gives you a nice feeling.
Hubby and I were hoping for one of the booths but although the booth tables were free, they weren’t made up so we just sat at the table we were brought to.

I had already looked through the menu online so I had an idea of what I wanted but hubby still needed some time. I had called ahead, and asked what time they serve lunch to and was told 2pm. I’m sure the website said 2.30pm. In any case, It was 1.45pm when we arrived and at 1.52pm, the waitress had been to our table twice and was tapping her pen on her pad. I understand there are times for a reason but we were told we had until 2pm to give an order and felt like we were a little under pressure to choose!

In the end, I ordered some Beef Cheeks and hubby went for a Greek Salad and some Pork Medallions.
We listened to the easy listening music while we waited and watched as the server diffused a situation at one of the group tables. I thought given the amount of people in the room she did really well.

We probably waited a little longer than I would have liked but my food did NOT disappoint!

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Beef Cheeks – Slow cooked in Marsala, served with herb mash, broccolini and baby carrots.
Well every little morsel of this was just divine. I even gave some to hubby because I could not believe how good it tasted and wanted him to try some.
You can’t see it in my picture but it was actually a really decent size piece of meat. The last time I ordered beef cheeks, most of it was fat. It was really disappointing but this one was just one delicious mouthful of meat after another. So tender, just melting effortlessly in my mouth. I tried not to show it too much as I know hubby was a little disappointed in the size of his dish. The vegetables were fresh and slightly firm and the herb mash along with that sauce was just so beautiful. I could eat that every day!! Superb.

We were going to share the Greek Salad but as I felt hubby needed it more, I only took a bit to taste.

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It certainly looks very colourful but the menu specifically states that there’s a vinaigrette but neither hubby or I could taste any dressing. The elements look kind of shiny, like there’s some dressing on them, but there really wasn’t. However, having said that, the elements in the dish were very fresh and tasty on their own so it wasn’t awful, it was just lacking.

And now to hubby’s Pork Medallion….
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I should have mentioned earlier, that when we were looking for a starter, or something to have with our mains, the server said “oh they’re really big serves, you probably won’t need anything else
If you enjoy food, you know you can never trust anyone who says that and that’s why hubby was really disappointed when he saw his dish.
The menu description read – Pork Medallions – Cooked with mushroom, brandy and green peppercorns and cream sauce, served with crushed rosemary, kipler potatoes and spinach.
As to what was on his plate, hubby said everything was perfect, even the spinach. He thought the sauce was really nice and a great accompaniment to the meat and loved the thin slivers of mushroom.
Unfortunately it just didn’t seem to fill him and if we hadn’t been specifically told “they’re big serves” he maybe wouldn’t have been so disappointed. I’m sure a few extra potatoes on the plate or if we’d ordered a side of wedges, it would have made all the difference but he felt like he hadn’t really eaten.

Still, even after all that, everything we ate, apart from the missing dressing on the salad, was just perfection and I’m really looking forward to coming here again and trying their  Moroccan Lamb dish! Yum.

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

Till next we chow…

The Rex Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We experience feel good “feels” as good as a nanna’s hug
We find the salad bar is more like a boiled veggie buffet and
Great food surprises and delights!
d66b3d7ce9584a6ff41e7ea3eb0ccfdc_featured_v2Diners today we find ourselves at The Rex Hotel.

To be honest I’m not sure I knew this place existed. Hubby suggested it as we were in the area and had a ravenous hunger, so we stopped in.

It seemed to be quite busy when we stepped in. Looking at the other diners I’d have to say the average age was probably about fifty five.
Still, there was something very embracing about the Rex Hotel. It was as comforting as going to nanna’s house when you were a kid. I almost expected someone to whip up a secret stash of boiled sweets and hand them to me as I walked through the door.

It was a very relaxed atmosphere and the staff and other diners were just so friendly. We even struck up a conversation with the couple dining next to us. It just felt like we were at a family or work function! Comfortable and predictable.

Hubby and I were soon perusing through the menu and I was impressed with the selection and the prices.

We ordered our food and made our way up with hopeful expectation to the salad bar. I know I’ve said negative things about salad bars in the past but there’s always that expectation isn’t there? Maybe this one will be a good one? Sometimes you do get lucky.
Today was not a lucky day.

It wasn’t awful, probably just boring. Some peas and carrots, broccoli etc. There was even some sliced potatoes in cream. I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be scalloped potatoes but it tasted like over boiled potatoes in fresh cream. Even though this part of our dining experience was not great, the meals we ordered seemed like they came from another kitchen!

I ordered Hokkien stir fry with added prawns.

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I could barely contain myself when this was put in front of me as it smelt so good!!! The added prawns were $6 extra and there were six of them on my plate. I guess that’s a pretty good deal.
They tasted soooo good! So juicy and full of garlic goodness that disgusted impressed my family for the rest of the day
The rest of the dish was pretty good. I particularly liked the snow peas as they just added so much flavour and freshness to each mouthful.

Hubby, the steak man, couldn’t go past the 500 gram Graziers Rump. It just looked so massive when it came to the table.

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The size of it actually is what initiated conversation with our neighbouring table.
To be fair, hubby did share some with me and I’m so glad because it was just so flavourful and tender. A beautiful cut of meat!

I hope it’s clear that although this hotel is clearly catering to an older crowd, I would happily come here again as the food (apart from the average salad bar) was great and the people, including the other diners, were just friendly. There’s a sense of familiarity about this place.

Like you’re stepping back to a time where things were simpler.

No doubt, hubby and I will visit this hotel again in the near future!

Have you been to the Rex Hotel?
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.

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

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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)

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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.

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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.
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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!
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!
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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…