Be Greek for a Week
From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 17
By Steve Propes
Of late, Greek cuisine has literally dominated the Long Beach dining scene. Decades before this newly discovered trend, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church began the Long Beach Greek Festival featuring a healthy amount of Greek food and drink.
Much of the festival is set up by church members with years of experience in celebrating and sharing their tasty food. A menu on the large on-site church kitchen indicates meals to be prepared during the month and asks members to help in their preparation. Even if you’re not Greek, you’re welcome to join the church.
The festival features rotisserie chicken with lemon juice, olive oil and Greek oregano; feta cheese and kalamata olives in a Greek salad; and roasted leg of lamb, “as only the Greeks can make.”
The appetizer or mezedes booth is “like those found at sidewalk cafés on the islands of Greece” with pastitsio, spanakopita, tyropita, dolmades and souvlakia. There’s also a gyro booth with thinly sliced lamb in a pita with a spicy tzatziki yogurt sauce served with Greek seasoned fries.
For dessert, “the ladies of the church bake a wide variety of delicate pastries and desserts including the world famous baklava,” koulourakia, kourabeithes, galatobouriko and loukoumathes, “feather light little puffs of pastry like donut holes smothered in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and walnuts.” All of the above go well with “fresh brewed Greek coffee (kafe) or iced coffee (frappe)” at the kafeneion or coffeehouse.
Adult drinks like retsina or beer will be found at the taverna bar courtyard. “Ouzo will be available for those of you who can handle it!” Dancing with music supplied by the Olympians will help with reducing the calorie count consequences.
The festival is held on August 31 through September 2 at the church, 5761 E. Colorado St. with doors opening at noon until nine p.m. Parking is at the CSULB lot at Atherton St. and Palo Verde Ave. with free shuttle buses. Admission is $3. More information is at http://www.lbgreekfest.org.