Saturday, September 24, 2016

Galaxidi, Greece


Galaxidi is a small port city on the northern coast of the Corinthian Gulf. 
It has a very picturesque double harbor, one of the narrowest harbor I've seen. Across the way is a pine forest planted by the local schoolchildren at least fifty years ago.
 Beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters are inviting and serene.

The preserved traditional city center consists of small winding roads connecting the homes.
It's fun to get lost among the narrow streets and find yourself at picturesque view points. I have found the local people to be friendly and hospitable. We were treated to a round of drinks by a local gentleman, because he felt badly after he warned us we were driving the wrong way up a local road.
The city flourished as a maritime center in the 19th century. In recent years they are mostly involved in tourism, turning the traditional wealthy captains homes into small lodgings.
 The views of the gulf are expansive and breathtaking.
 Yachts and fishing boats docked on the quay.
Restaurants and cafes line the harbor and it's worth a stroll along the path. If you are in Greece, take a side trip off the beaten path and spend a day or two at Galaxidi.

Enjoy!

Maria

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Petra kai Fos and The magic of Oitilo, Greece


Oitilo is a tiny fishing village at the South end of the Peloponnese. In the Mani region, Oitilo is situated almost exactly where the ancient town of Oitilo used to be.

Only six kilometers form the village of Areopolis, Oitilo is blessed by the clearest sea waters and views that take the breath away. The bay also includes the village of Limeni with wonderful seaside restaurants and turquoise waters as well as the small village of Karavostasi.

The hills that ring the bay are quickly being filled with traditional stone hotels and guest houses for the bourgeoning tourism of the area.
People are attracted to the wild beauty of the area, the rugged coastline, the crystal warm waters. Also, to the unique hospitality of the local tourist industry. We ate at diverse restaurants and stayed at a magical hotel perched on the side of the cliff hundreds of feet above the water.
Petra kai Fos www.petrafoshotel.com/, the hotel we spent a few days in, was as close to perfection as possible.
The location is set high on the side of a cliff overlooking the bay. The quality of the building and the amazingly beautiful infinity pool are matched by the friendliest staff and the best quality food. Every request is met with smiles from the young staff members, the drinks at the pool are imaginative and delicious, the rooms are spacious with fabulous views, and the food i n the dining room is some of the most delicious I've had in a long time.


 The beds are large and comfortable.
 The wine list contains many local wines fairly priced
We had some light dishes for dinner, including a fragrant bulgur salad, a fresh bean salad, and...
 cheese pies with orange marmalade garnish.
Everything is cooked on site and baked goods served at the plentiful and locally sourced breakfast are made in the kitchen of the hotel. One of the chefs shared the recipe for an orange olive oil cake that I will be featuring soon on the blog. I couldn't help sampling every day the prickly pear marmalade, one of my favorite things on the menu.


My husband had the massive burger made from local grass fed beef(the bite I took was absolutely delicious)!

 Limeni is characterized by it's turquoise blue waters and its restaurants by the sea.
We ate lunch at Teloneion, that I would highly recommend for its different tastes using local ingredients.
 Zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and herbs and fried.
Eggplant spread with grilled local cheese garnished with cactus fruit and tomato chutneys. Yum!
The two kinds of fava, one with fish roe and pickled fish and the other with black squid ink and shrimp was delicious and a fun surprise.
It was hard to leave this small slice of paradise of immense natural beauty, great service and fantastic food. The friendly atmosphere added so much to the quality of our stay.

The storm that swept over the area on our last night added to the mystique of the location. I can't wait to visit again.

Enjoy!

Maria









Things to do in the area:

Horseback riding in Areopoli
Kayking and swimming at Limeni
Sandy beach at Neo Oitilo
Diros Caves in Diros
Walking the footpaths in the area


Monday, July 18, 2016

Greek Watermelon Salad


During these dogs days of summer one of the most refreshing foods is a really sweet, ripe watermelon. What's even better is making that watermelon into practically a meal.


I like to cube my watermelon, add some crumbled feta cheese and a fresh mint chiffonade(fancy word for chopped). I finish it off with my delicious  dressing and I have to say that there's never any left in the bowl.


I know that you might be a little reluctant to pair sweet watermelon with a savory dressing. But trust me, it makes a beautiful, tasty addition to the summer table.







Oh, yeah, this is my sourdough bread for the day. It really pairs well with the watermelon salad.
Greek Watermelon Salad
Cut up half a watermelon into 1 to 2 inch cubes.
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese

Dressing
3/4 cup of extra virgin Greek olive oil
1/4 cup  white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Mix watermelon, feta and mint in a large bowl.
Mix all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously(make sure the jar is on tight.)
Once the dressing is mixed well and the ingredients have emulsified pour it over the watermelon mixture.
Mix the salad gently and serve with that good crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Maria

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cindy Sherman's latest New York City show

When I read about the new Cindy Sherman art show at Metro Pictures gallery in New York City I knew I had to see it. I have been following Cindy Sherman's work for decades and wanted to experience her new work. Cindy Sherman is an American photographer best known for her conceptual art self portraits.

Since the venue, Metro Pictures gallery, was close to the High Line, an old elevated train track re purposed into a public space/garden, I thought it would be great to combine a visit to the two.
It was a beautiful spring day in New York City and the gardens were lush and full of blooms. The High Line weaves through the city amidst towering buildings and terraces where you feel you could reach out and shake hands with the inhabitants.
Lots of people were enjoying the High Line experience.
Down a flight of stairs from the elevated walkway was the gallery. Once inside the gallery, I was struck by the new show's photographs.
Cindy Sherman, no longer the young woman who shot to fame with her shocking self portraits, had put together a show exploring age. 
 Can you believe that these are all photos of the same woman?

And here, see if you can tell if this is Cindy in all four, or if she has some guests in her photo?
The famous photographer does all her own makeup, dressing and photography. She is at once at both sides of the lens.



I have to admit that I found this show to be one of her tamest. As interesting as the portraits are in exploring ageing womanhood, I expected a bit more risk taking and some of that shock factor that characterized her early work.





Next time Cindy Sherman has a show, I recommend you check it out. Especially if it is at Metro Pictures gallery, a few steps from the celebrated High Line!

Enjoy!

Maria