An exciting weekend lies ahead for all lovers of Greek tradition and cuisine.
Naturally, this includes the Taste Buds. Notice the plurality. Yes - that means a new 'Bud' has finally been chosen and the 11th Annual Grecian Food Festival to be held this weekend in Wheeling is the perfect place for Bud Em to initiate her new cohort.
The parishioners of St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church have no doubt been cooking up a storm for the festivities that will be held this Thursday through Sunday, July 7-10. There will be casual dining in the outdoor tavern, as well as full dinners and a la carte items available indoors in the Hellenic Center Hall.
The menu will offer only food items authentic to the Greek culture. The outdoor tavern will have the ever-popular Gyro sandwich (spiced beef and lamb on grilled pita), tavern fries (fried sliced potatoes seasoned with lemon, olive oil and Greek spices), Wings of Icarus (wings seasoned with lemon, olive oil, Greek spices and crumbled feta), and fried calamari and smelts.
Inside will have dinner choices of roasted chicken, roast lamb, pork kabobs, fish and sausage; a la carte items of Pastitsio - a Bud Em fave - (layers of macaroni, cheese and sauteed beef), Beans Yahni (green beans marinated in onions, tomatoes and herbs), Tiropita (cheese pie), Spanakopita (spinach pie), Keftethes (meatballs), Dolmathes (grape leaves), Moussaka (layers of eggplant, macaroni, potatoes and meat), rice pilafe, Grecian salad loaded with olives and feta, and rice pudding.
Perhaps the best part of the Grecian Food Festival is the dessert. Oh how the Buds LOVE Greek pastries! Especially Baklava - filo dough, honey, cinnamon, nuts.......what's not to love? And Kourlourakia - these buttery shortbread twists are a must have! Other pastries are Finikia (honey goodness!) Kourambiethes, chocolate Baklava, Kataife, Galatobouriko, abd Tsoureki - the delicious loaf of braided sweetbread. Guests can also pick up a pastry sampler which offers a generous assortment of the pastries.
In addition to the food, the festival will also feature live authentic Greek music by Soteri and his orchestra on Friday and Saturday nights and performances by the Agape dancers. Thursday night will have entertainment by parishioners as well as audience open mic. There will also be special entertainment for children including the "Rockin' Acropolis" and the climbable "Mount Olympus."
The festival also includes a Greek Market with a wide variety of imported items, a Greek Jewelry Shop with a selection of imported silver and gold jewelry, and the St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Book Store.
Festival hours are Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The church is located at 2215 Chapline St. in Wheeling. For information visit www.grecianfest.com. Orders may be called or faxed to 304-232-4976 (GYRO).
Bud Em can't wait to get to the festival to break in Bud Shaunna.
Let the hazing begin. Opa!
The Buds may be reached at email@example.com.