"Where are you going?" I asked her in my best Greek, trying not draw weird looks from the other Sunday taverna goers with my heavy Californian accent. They were already staring at us. We were already making a scene. Aunt Mary, with her ultra loud domineering voice and me, the gawking six-footer question mark Greek.
"I'm going to check on the kitchen, the fish" Aunt Mary swiftly remarked as she stormed into the back kitchen doors like she owned the place.
I shyly followed.
When we got back there, she apparently knew everyone. She mandated a fish show, then examined the casseroles and other delicacies cooling off from the pipping hot oven. She pointed here and there and we marched back to our table.
"I've been coming here for 30 years," she bragged to me, "they make the best moussaka," she continued as she flagged down a server to take our order.
Whoa. The best? Aunt Mary only uses that term for things she doesn't make like tsoureki and chocolate confections. And moussaka, Greece's national dish, a hearty casserole layered with eggplant, minced meat topped with a nutmeg specked layer of bechamel sauce that gets golden on top from the hour long oven trip, is something my aunt makes very well. No doubt, in my mind her version was the creme de la creme of the National dish.
Until I tried this one.
"Look!" she says as she points with her fork at the layers, "No potatoes! They put potatoes in as a cheap filler, this one has pure melitzana (eggplant)"
The top was perfectly golden and specked with a type of parmesan and bread crumbs. I took a bite and it was pure heaven. The eggplant slices (with skins on adding a little smokiness) melt into the layers of mince meat topped with a thick layer of bechamel and the best crunchy crust on planet earth. Each time I dug into our portion, a perfect bite with everything on it arrived onto my fork. Most of the time when I try to cut off a piece of moussaka, the entire eggplant comes out causing the pieces to sag and become unbalanced. Not this one. It was textbook.
Best Moussaka in Athens.
Off course we ordered our standard taverna fare, starting with horta.
Horta for life!
My request for melitzanasalata, eggplant salad, was granted. This one tasted a little old and probably had mayonnaise in it. You just never know when you're going to get an exceptional melitzanosalata or a lemon. In this case, it was the later.
An Eggplant salad no-no
Aunt Mary is a meat and potatoes kind of gal, so she always orders a side of fried potatoes. Ican always count on home cut, fresh, and made to order french fries in Greece. They don't mess around with the freezer burn stuff.
French what? Greek fries.
Incredible fennel spiked bread to sop up remaining olive oil.
And our fish came out last. Aunt Mary was quick to cut it up and serve. She liked this photo so much because it shows her serving food and making peoples' bellies full. She asked me to put it on her facebook account.
And this one. Onassis's cousin once romanced her when she was in her 20s.
Taverna Louizidis = BEST MOUSSAKA IN ATHENS!
It was a stormy day in Athens, so just in case you were wondering what harsh conditions look like off the coast of Athens (in Voulagmeni), here you go, taken post moussaka consumption:
If you know of an even better moussaka, PLEASE, by all means let the Banana Wonder Blog know!
LOUIZIDIS2, ERMOU STR.,VOULIAGMENI SQ.,VOULIAGMENI
VOULIAGMENI, PREFECTURE OF ATTICA