A Taste of Greece Festival opened Friday night and is in its 33rd year. I’m just surprised I didn’t know about this before and I’ve been in this area for 3 years. I love Greek food and was excited to be invited to try out the festival menu with a few friends.
The festival will run until the 26th and is located at Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox church (4949 Alton Parkway, Irvine). Event signs are located around the area and there is complimentary parking available off of Lake St (since it’s a bit of a walk, a shuttle is provided free of charge to and from the event).
Check out some of the delicious food you’ll sample this weekend at the Greek Festival:
[Left to right]: Saganaki: This was a delightful treat. Saganaki is fried Greek cheese flamed with brandy. The cheese lover in me savored this dish and if you love cheese don’t miss this one. I thought the pita that accompanied it would be soggy but it actually had a wonderful taste that went well with the brandy flamed cheese.
Gyro: I was a little hesitant to try this one. It was lamb and beef. I’ve never tried lamb before and I’ve just recently started eating beef. I thought of it for a bit and with a little via peer pressure, I decided to take the plunge. I was amazed by the flavor combination. The tomatoes, onion, and tzatziki sauce blended wonderfully with the meat to create a mouthwatering gyro.
Lamb Chops: I didn’t try the lamp chops but I did devour the fries they were sitting on. They were perfectly seasoned and crisp. I usually like my fries with ranch but the flavor required no additional condiments.
Calamari: Perfectly crisp and served with tartar sauce and a lemon.
Ahhh, desserts. We couldn’t believe the vast selection on this platter. I liked everything I tried but my favorites were the Melomakarona (shown in the center) This is a butter cookie laced with orange, dipped in syrup, and covered in walnuts. We had a hard time distinguishing the flavor complexities of this cookie but agreed that it was delicious. My 2nd favorite was the Sarangli – (shown near the Melomakarona). The Sarangli is a filo dough cookie with chopped nuts, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Just as we were putting our forks and napkins to rest, these delicacies arrived at our table and we were in awe. These are Loukoumathes a.k.a. greek doughnuts. We loved these honey and cinnamon doughnuts. They were a perfect way to end the evening.
Aside from all the wonderful food, there are plenty of vendors and some amazing prizes. A raffle ticket can win you $2,500 in cash for 1st prize, a 42 inch hi-def TV for 2nd prize, and an Apple iPad for 3rd prize.