Saturday, January 30, 2010

She's taking pictures!: Ouzeri Yiannis, Loutraki, Greece

It's not all tavernas in Greece, there are also Ouzeris, specializing in mezedes and you guessed it, ouzo. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Agamemnon took me for a drive to Loutraki, a coastal town famous for its natural water springs. It's a little over an hour from Athens and the best part about the road trip, besides Ouzeri Yiannis, is driving over the Corinth canal. My Aunt and Uncle, also food hounds, had already been to Ouzeri Yiannis - located next to the ocean and specializing in seafood mezedes - and had given their thumbs up approval. And now mine! 
The menu offers various appetizers specializing in seafood. In fact, I don't think they even serve land meat here, so you can kiss your chicken nuggets good bye. Pescadarians unite!
Bread is my favorite food in the world, so I have to include it. Plus, Greek bread is the best! This one had yellow tones to it which my Uncle explained to be a little corn flour added in with the regular all purpose bread flour. This bread was super fresh, with a thick chewy crust and almost cakey inside. 
We started off with an order of horta, a standard Greek dish of braised wild greens with olive oil and lemon. These were tender and not bitter.
Next, we ordered one of my favorite meze: melinzanosalata, or eggplant salad. Please do not confuse this with bab ghannouj! Melinzanosalata has eggplant seeds and every place / home in Greece makes a different version. My Aunt puts mayo in hers! Ouzeri Yiannis's version is acidic and bright with tender bits of carrots and red pepper. There are little chunks of tender eggplant as well, making each bite a surprise. Gosh, I feel like it's my birthday all over again. 
Next, my favorite sea creature: octopus. This is the traditional Greek way of serving my eight legged purple bestie: grilled with olive oil and a few specks of spices. The leg is clearly from a large friend so it wasn't the most tender but still amazing in flavor and grilling texture. 
Another shot of the beast.

Aunt Mary grew up half time in Buenos Aires, where she got addicted to papas fritas (and steak). These fries were phenomenal! They tasted like they were fried in fresh olive oil. No need for salt even!
The shrimp saganaki was delicious, although instead of feta, a type of graviera (semi-hard Greek cheese) was used. The shrimps enrobed in a rich tomato-green pepper sauce were a party in my mouth. We all agreed feta would have been 'beta because the chunks of graviera were sort of rubbery - like they had been previously melted then cooled back into their form. The sauce made up for all this of course. We just avoided the cheese chunks.
The grilled shrimps were incredible. Juicy and fresh as all hell. I love Greece!
We did considerable damage. Opps, and we got German beer (Fischer) instead of ouzo! Uncle Agamemnon is into German things. Fischer is a really good beer actually - mild and crisp!

I've become immune to "looks" given while photographing food at restaurants, trying to do my due diligence as a food blogger. Maybe I was getting the "looks" again here but I didn't notice.

"She likes taking pictures of everything!" Aunt Mary gushed to the waiter on our way out.
Yap! And this is just the beginning...
Ouzeri Yiannis
3 Poseidonos Street
Loutraki, Greece


Trina said...

Love the table aftermath shot. But no ouzo?! I can't wait for more!

Peter M said...

Anna, You have a spectator in me following your vacation and eats vicariously.

Next time, ask the server if they have/serve some local Tsipouro (with or without anise). Cleaner, tastier than Ouzo, no hangovers and delish w/ the seafood.

Gastronomer said...

Someone is eating *very* well in the motherland! Can't wait to read more about your Grecian meals. Cheers!

Dave -nibbleanibble said...

Wow at the octopus!

Unknown said...

That looks like a lovely meal.. never mind mezedes.. seems like you had plenty! :P Loutraki is not that far from us here in Nafplio! Maybe we should have a little outing!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Lovely food! I'd love to visit Greece again...



fam. Constantinides said...

Dear Anna,
Lucky you. Yiannes is one of our most favorite restaurants. Since our mother has a apartment in Loutraki we spent always some days with her and visit Yiannis for a "Pikilia" a plate with a fantastic fish mix. Yiannes has a very nice homemade Retsina. Perfect with the menu. Next to Yiannes Restaurant there is a Pizzeria with the name Moustakia. The owner was living for some years in Canada and opened a Restaurant in Loutraki. I must say that he makes the best Pizza's I ever tried. The chef salad is also very nice. Just an idea if you go again to Loutraki. I might go with you. Filia and have a good time with our aunt Mary. I find her the best Greek cook, not afraid to experiment and always a succes on the table. Love Marion

Banana Wonder said...

Trina - Thanks for dropping by! Still Day 4 in Greece and still no ouzo to report on, sadly.

Peter - I will be sure to seek out the local tsipouro + thallasina combo. Keeping the cam rolling for ya!

Gastronomer - Yes, eating like a queen over here! More to come. Hubba! Hubba!

Dave - Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, the purple monster's leg could been used in 5th grade science classes as well as our plates.

Cupcakes - I hope to make it to Nafplion while I'm here and maybe swing by!

Rosa - Hurry up and get over here!

Marion - Good to know you agree! I will have to check out the pizza place next time. Thanks for that hot tip! Maybe we can go together ;) Hope you're leg is healing up A-OK. I'll tell Mary you think she's the top magireva =)))

Kung Food Panda said...

Have a blast on your trip back to your Motherland! :) We'll read all of your updates!

Presto said...

Greek meals are getting into my interest especially on the octopus. hehehe! by the way, i want to try the eggplant salad. it's very appetizing.

yutjangsah said...

purple bestie? awww... you eat your besties? me too! i love the octopus! and i love that your uncle's name is agamemnon!

Banana Wonder said...

Kung Food - Thanks =) Getting spoiled over here. Glad you made it back from NY - and loving your posts.

Presto - Thanks for stopping by! The octopus is def an attention getting! Melinzanosalata is an eggplant lovers dream. Get after it!

Sook - Yeah, I love my besties so much that I eat them. Tell me we're not sick and twisted please.

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