Thursday, February 18, 2010

We Ate Everything: Taverna O Tholos - Dimitsana GR

After driving all day - taking a 2 hour coffee stop break / blind date / cupcake hunt in Nafplion and getting lost in Tripoli, we finally made it to our central Peloponnese mountain destination of Dimitsana. We were 2 Greeks, 1 Greek-Californian and 1 Depressed Italian. We hadn't eaten all day and it was already past four in the afternoon. I didn't want to complain since I was the guest and we had already wasted plenty of time looking for a cupcake shop in Nafplion per my request that didn't exist. Luckily one of the Greeks had a box of freshly made cookies, including my favorite, melomakarna, which I greedily stuffed in my pie hole before my blood sugar got even lower and someone (most likely the Depressed Italian) got my wrath. It was time to hit the taverna.

Here's the line up:

The Depressed Italian and yours truly, Banana Wonder
And on this side we have:

The unassuming skinny Greek, Anagyros, and foodie compatriot, Yolanda
The chosen establishment:

Taverna O Tholos
The Menu:

Featuring exotic dishes such as wild boar, rooster, and baby goat
We wussed out on the wild boar since it cost double the second most expensive item on the menu, and instead decided to splurge on the mezedes. Oh, and a pitcher of the house red wine.

Yolanda got a +1 for ordering the florina peppers stuffed with tirokafteri, a spicy cheese ensemble often used as a dip. It was a beautiful color contrast, not to mention a lovely taste contrast between the sweet peppers and the spicy creamy cheese - all swimming in a pool of Greek gold.
I campaigned for the fava and won. I love fava beans, Greek style with slices of raw red onion and olives. These were hearty, fresh and healthy. This is the Greek food that keeps you alive past 100.
I also pushed for the baked eggplant and won that too. The purple fruit is one of my favorites and  I was curious to see how this dish would turn out. It was everything I could have asked for: melt in your mouth eggplant with velvety tomato sauce all baked in Greek gold.
 I was on a roll. The Depressed Italian mentioned tyropita, cheese pie, and I responded with a "let's get spanakopita." Yes! I win again! The spanakopita was ultra rustic - with phyllo made from scratch and what appeared to be other, possibly wild greens, added into the mix. The chef tortured us with 3 pieces to split amongst the 4 of us.
Yolanda selected the baked feta. Plus 1 for her. Really, baked feta is the ultimate crowd pleaser, and it's so simple to make, even though I've never made it, I will. Mark my words.
And of course, when do we not eat horta in Greece? Are you getting sick of me eating horta all the time?
A group decision was made on the rooster. Anagyros put the order in with fries but Yolanda quickly corrected the order with a replacement for traditional helopites - square noodles. I usually stay clear of chicken, but I knew this rooster had a good, hormone free life in the Greek mountain village, knocking up hens and making more baby roosters like himself. Anagyros was a little upset when this dish came out because he was expecting the entire rooster. Apparently that's how they do in his village. Must be a matriarchal society. The tomato sauce which embraced both the noodles and meat was spiked with a hint of cinnamon creating an aromatic yet umami sensation.
Last was the slow roasted pork with fries. This was Anagyros's pick and the skinny Greek ate almost all of it.  This guy could chow. Wow. The Depressed Italian had cashed in his chips awhile back. It was just the three of us now.
I put my camera away when Anagyros asked me
"Aren't you going to take a picture of our destruction?"

 Success and full bellies!

And just in case you're wondering, here is a little view of the town with me in the way:

O Tholos
Dimitsana, Greece


Peter M said...

Dimitsana is on my Culinary tour and I can't wait ti go! I would have splurged on the wild boar, when will you get a chance to eat this again?

Banana Wonder said...

Peter, how cool you're going to Dimitsana too! I visited the house of Germanos as well - they fixed it up and don't know if they'll use it as a Xenonas or museum.

Maria said...

Great post! Really enjoyed reading it and the food looks absolutely divine ... my stomach's definitely growling right about now.

Banana Wonder said...

Hey Maria, Thanks! I love that Greek mountain food - even the most simple foods taste better.

Demetra said...

I ate in this same taverna several years ago!! Loved it!!! Great post--thanks for bringing back all the memories...

Demetra said...

did you make the baked feta?

Banana Wonder said...

Demetra - thanks for stopping by! I haven't made the baked feta. I better get on it!

Unknown said...

This is my grandmother's home town. Her father was the town elder, mayor, etc (the guy everyone went to for advice). My grandmother had something like 15 or 16 brothers and sisters. I'm still looking for relatives but am having trouble, if you can imagine that! Anyway, my plan is to visit there in the next 3-4 years. Thanks for the lovely review!!

Banana Wonder said...

Christine - That is amazing! Dimistana was such a beautiful and heart warming village. The people were absolutely lovely. I went for Carnaval and the town even provided free food, wine, music, etc. The true Greek spirit lives here. I can't wait for you to visit Dimitsana.