Mezopoleion Naxos- Psirri , Athens
Last June 7th the day I finally met Bayi and his wife, I decided to take them around Athens which is not on the tourist guide list. For almost a week in, they were toured to the key ancient sites, the Acropolis, the Hadrian Arc, Athens Academy and had their dinners mostly at Plaka, the old district of Athens which is very touristy.
I wanted to show them the Athens where the Eastern Culture still has a great influence on this chaotic but glorious city. I decided to take them to Athens Central Market and its back street.
We got off the trolley and walked towards the market, stopping at bakery to buy TIROPITTA. Greek cheese pies are normally just filled with feta but the one we got has 4 cheeses on it. As they were not hungry we shared a pita which I asked the lady to cut into portions.
At the entrance of the wet market are stalls for dried fruits and nuts. I got into talking to the owner asking him for the best quality of his dried figs. Mrs Bayi loves them and as usual chatter chatter, you cant get away from the Greek merchants especially as they are so proud of me being Filipina and chatting the world away in Greek.
I took them to the meat section the Alladinâ€™s cave of the flesh, They saw a whole of lamb with its head, rabbits with their cute furry tails against the skinless body (yuck as Melony said). The olives, anchovies and Bayi said the smell is like Malaysian markets.
Then we went to the vegetables and fruit stalls where the smell is less pungent. My husband has joined us this time and we went on walking along Evripidou st. Spice shops, household goods, wine pitchers in which I explained to them you buy a caraffe wine by kilo in Greece.
We aimed for Psirri, originally a working class area, you can still see craftsmen tilling at their workshops, from icon painters, copper and brass, musical instrument restoration. Psirri is also home to many exiles from the island of Naxos. I wanted to take the Bayi family to Mezopoleion Naxos.
Meze is not a full meal but rather different plates of titbits normally accompanied with wine or ouzo.
I slightly lost my bearing that I told Markus to have some cold drinks at the kafeneion while I look for the place. I did my mental mapping, we took the streets from the other side where I normally walk around but I did find it.
I explained to Bayi family that a different plates will come on the table.
The waiter said “ah tha sas fiaxso salata, kati prasino, patates.”
I will fix you a salad something green and some potato salad.
Ok Markus said do not forget the tzatziki (cucumber yogurt mix with dill) Greek potato salad can vary, what he prepared for us has green pepper, onions and tomato but no matter what is the filling, Greek do not use mayonaisse but vinaigrette.
More food came. Boiled octopus , sliced thinly came served with lemon and olive oil, then melitzano salata (aubergine salad dip – in fact this is where we based the aubergine salad we served on my birthday).
Oxtapodia.. oxto eight podi- foot… boiled then marinated
A kilo of white wine from barrel and more toasts – ya mas (to us) cheers ! A plate of deep fried squids and shimps arrived on the table too. Half way through this the waiter came with small glasses of tsipouro (an anise based spirit). He kept telling everyone, do not sniff and drink straight! Bayi said he was FLOATING.
Garifalo and greek basil…the basil is mainly used to ward off insects but the waiter said we deserved a nice arrangement.
Bayi you can’t float we have more stuff to eat, maybe with full stomach I could put Bayi down again to earth!
Bayi is one of the reader of this blog who saw my name and link at Sassy Lawyer’s Journals.