A culinary weekend in Athens

The capital of Greek was completely new for me as I have never been there before. Thats why I was even more curious about exploring the town. And of course there has been loads to discover from a culinary and cultural perspective.

Of course I began my culinary weekend with a proper breakfast. But not without fulfilling the cultural to-dos before. After having a long walk to the Olympic stadium and an impressive tour through it I made my way to Cafe „Philos“ (Solonos 32, Athina 106 73). There I was welcomed by relaxing music and a very stylish interior. I immediately got into a calm mood and studied the menu with huge interest. I went for scrambled eggs with cherry, tomatoes, portobello mushrooms and feta as well as a herbal tea. Few minutes later I received my great smelling tea and a breakfast bowl which rather looked like Shakshuka instead of classic scrambled eggs. I tried it and it was fantastic! Such a nice interpretation of scrambled eggs and definitely one of the best breakfasts I had within my journey. 

Afterwards I entered the first coffee roaster, which was on my list for Athens – „Mr Bean Coffee Brewers“ (Emmanouil Benaki 20, Athina 106 78). There I tried a Kenyan roast and was pleased by the fruity and light flavour. The cafe was on two levels and with stylish light-colored interior – loved it!

After that I felt empowered to explore town and let myself wander through the streets full of great restaurants and cafes. Each of them had a very individual and characteristic design which created a very young and dynamic picture of the town. I walked through the narrow streets of the old town and visited the Monastiraki flea market which is placed at the underground station with the same name. I found some old pottery which made my day perfect. Soon I found a little shop offering Falaffel where a long queue was waiting for their lunch. So it simply had to be good! I chose a Falafel with some salad – perfect for lunch.

Afterwards i made my way to a district called „Plaka“, which is located right next to the Acropolis. It rather seems to be a small village with tiny houses and narrow streets – it was nothing like a vibrant part of the capital of Greece. It was more of a cozy and sleepy character which was nice for a change. Of course there were also loads of restaurants and nice places for a stop over. Several greek people recommended the „Anafiotika Cafe“ (Mnisikleous 24, Athina 105 56), which serves authentic greek food for reasonable prices. As I planned to visit a yoga-session a few hours later I decided to have a light dinner at the „Pink Flamingo Dim Sum“ (Skoufou 2-4, Athina 105 57) where I had a delicious asian bun. After that I got some work done at the cafe „Thirdplace.Athens“ (Apollonos 23Β, Athina 105 57) which had a great style and very friendly staff. Those were two places between many individual places to go out for dinner or a drink. An awesome and vibrant atmosphere! It’s definitely worth a stroll and to stop by at the one or the other. (Un-)fortunately I had to continue my way to my yoga session which I booked via AirBnB.experience. Perfect end to a perfect day.

The next day I had to leave early in order to be at „The Greek Kitchen“ (Athinas 36, Athina 105 51), in time. There I was joining a cooking class and was introduced to Vasia, the chef for the day. We started our culinary day at the Varvakios market hall (Athinas 42, Athina), which contains three different parts. Two of them are offering fresh meat where whole animals were hanging from the ceiling. Vasia explained that every part of the animal is used and that there exist loads of good recipes containing them. First it was a little bewildering, but it simply belongs to consuming meat consciously. We made our errands for the cooking class and entered the hall of the fish mongers. Loads and loads of fresh mediterranean fish, mussels and seafood were offered. Crazy cool! The fruit and vegetable market was located on the other side of the road and was of a smaller dimension but had still loads to offer. We tried greek oranges and talked to a lady at a stall selling home made filo-dough. Of course we took some for our cooking class and made our way back to the cooking school passing stalls offering loads of herbs, nuts, dried fruits and of course olives. Back at the school we got equipped with aprons and equipment to prep our first dish – spinach pie made with filo-dough which we just bought. Therefore we made a filling containing spinach, feta cheese, herbs, and spring onions. We filled the dough and rolled it to form a snail in the end. Sprinkled with sesame it was ready for the oven. In the time the spinach pie baked we prepped the filled wine leaves. Therefore we mixed some minced meat with rice, herbs and oil and stuffed some wine leaves with that. Those got steamed in a pot filled with just a little water for about 40 minutes. As a third dish we removed the flesh of pre-baked eggplants and mixed that with some tomatoes, onions, garlic, honey and herbs and let it boil for a few minutes. After that we filled the mixture back into the eggplants, topped it with some feta cheese and put that in the oven as well. To complete the savory feast we made some tzaziki containing greek yoghurt, cucumber and garlic. Everything was ready to be eaten and was served with some fresh bread and wine. Just delicious! I loved every bit of our home made dishes and all the participants were in food heaven. As a sweet closing of the greek cooking class we made an easy going orange pie with the leftovers of the filo-dough and fresh oranges. Baked in the oven and served with vanilla ice cream – really good! All in all in was a great experience and a perfect way to dive into the culinary world of Greece – thanks to Vasia! 

After the cooking class and all the proper food I had the desperate need of a strong coffee and luckily there was another roastery of my list around the corner – „Mokka Specialty.Coffee“ (Athinas 44, Athina 105 51). That place served traditional greek coffee where the coffee pot is placed in hot sand to make the water boil. The coffee grind stays in the pot and will be served as a whole. That gives the coffee a thick texture and a rich body. Loved it! And it was great to admire the prepping of it!

In the following hours I needed to stretch my legs and walked through town again. It’s amazing how many narrow and cramped streets there exist and each of them contain lovely corners and individual places. Music and the scent of different spices hang in every corner and invited to stay. However – I couldn’t face any more food and made my way to  „The underdog“ (Iraklidon 8, Athina 118 51) another local coffee roaster where I tried a really good Geisha coffee from Panama. Great fruity taste! However, the place was really nice with its generous space, industrial style and all the light chains hanging from the ceiling. The roaster was next to the cafe and located in the lower floor. A great place to continue working on my cook book and to end a perfect culinary weekend in Athens.

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