Sunday afternoon, after an unsuccessful attempt at open-house viewing on the Danforth (apparently all real estate agents are avid soccer fans), mama, TS and I settled in at Ouzeri for an early Greek dinner/lunch. Being both starving and deprived of an authentic Greek meal since we have been separated by a city from our Greek family friends, I was extra excited for this meal. We all were, actually, mama had been talking about her excitement for moussaka (and reminiscing fam-friend Paola’s rendition of it) all week.
For starters, Mama got the classical Greek Salad: tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, lettuce, onion…all topped with quite a spectacular feta cheese. This was not your grocery feta–much softer and not as salty. My naivety has me convinced it’s shipped here straight from the mother land (especially since the salt and bottled water are products of Greece, too)
I meant to ask our server where it was supplied from, but my overwhelming hunger pangs were telling me to just shut up and eat.
TS and I both opted for the Artichoke Lemonata. It almost felt as though we were eating a pasta dish. We both agreed that the artichokes had a noodle-y texture. The egg-lemon and dill sauce was fantastic..but only if you are a big fan of lemon and dill as both these flavours were equally intense in the dish.
We all went separate ways when it came to entree selection. Can you guess what Mama had?
If you picked Moussaka, you win the prize. It’s almost like a Greek version of lasagna, or Sheppard’s Pie (two dishes close to Mama’s heart): layered spiced ground beef, eggplant, zucchini topped with béchamel sauce and mashed potatoes. She claimed to taste a spice she couldn’t quite put her finger on, that she wasn’t too crazy about. I couldn’t taste it, but TS could. (She was happy, but said it didn’t compare to Paula’s version, which is slightly different, with sliced potatoes dispersed throughout the layers)
TS took the vegetarian route with the Spanakopita: spinach, feta cheese, leeks baked in buttery filo pastry. Cooked veggies, salty cheese and crusty bread (essentially)…can you go wrong? Well, they definitely didn’t. It was delicious.
I tried the Lamb Rosemary Pie, which as a dish, is new to me, but ingredient-wise, they all rank in most-used-and-loved for me (except for the lamb…red meat is not a regular visitor to my palate). Everyone agreed my dish was their favorite–it had the most “pop” as Mama put it. It was a lamb shank pie, with feta cheese, rosemary and mushroom sauce, obviously wrapped in butter filo. My plate was bare crumb-less by the end.
All the dishes came with a side of lemon potatoes, which were amazing (not too lemony, skin-on for that extra flavour), and pilaf. We found it odd that we got two starches with our meal and would have preferred a veggie selection (skip the rice though, and save the potatoes).
Feeling a lot more stuffed than last night, I almost forgot dessert was coming. Mama and TS both opted for a traditional Greek dense pressed yogurt, Yiaourti, topped with honey, roasted walnuts and cinnamon. I’ve never had pressed yogurt, so I was surprised by the heaviness of the dish, it almost tasted cheesy to me (at least in texture). It was tasty, but with a full stomach, I was happy I didn’t go that route.
I, instead, chose the Bailey’s Creme Caramel. Although I could not taste the Bailey’s (sigh), it was still the better choice. Light and silky, cool and refreshing…I had no problem sliding it all right off the plate, and into my mouth.
Two for two at this year’s Summerlicious. We all left quite satisfied, but stuffed. In an attempt to burn off even a minor amount of calories, we went out in search of a Greek bakery selling some baklava only to be disappointed with an unsuccessful outcome. Instead, we decided to make plans to embark on another Summerlicious adventure (of ethnic choice, of course) for closing weekend.
I’m already doing research…what’s your favorite type of food? Do you have any Summerlicious picks this year?