This is going to be the summer of Astoria, I had promised myself. Greek food, Italian food, outdoor brunches, and midday cafe people watching with my cutey sidekick dog, Ker Ai.
Thursday to Sunday (May 15th-May 18th), there is a Greek festivals on 30th St and 30th Dr hosted by the church, St. Demetrios. It’s a short walk from home and Ker Ai likes this walk. We took the opportunity to take him out and see lights and people, though it seems he gets rather overwhelmed by it.
You can find more LIC and Astoria summer festivals at WeHeartAstoria.
Though there were some fun looking rides, children waiting in line and parents milling about, my main goal was the food. The festival takes place around the church, carnival rides and game booths encircle more shopping booth.
In the center, a tented eating area with Greek music blasting, there are 2 lines. One was for hot dog/fries and gyro and Greek salad. The other line was for loukoumades. Why would I get hot dog when I’m at a Greek festival?!
A line of Greek nonnos grilled pork and chicken skewers and made fresh pita breads! Meanwhile, Greek nonnas were finalizing gyro sandwiches. I don’t often have gyros considering the ones in the city are pretty unhealthy looking hence why I stay away from them. However, these gyros had a healthy filling of tomatoes and onion, the white sauce is perfect on top of the meat. We joked that it’s like home cooked meals since they were prepared by nonnas and nonnos.
Ker Ai loved the chicken in the gyro. Then again, what chicken does he not like? But I love that white sauce because it flavors the gyro nicely without overpowering the meat and pita.
Loukoumades, which is something I’ve been meaning to try ever since moving to Astoria, are Greek donuts, or something similar. It’s essentially fried dough served with honey and cinnamon. A very sticky dish but hey, it’s not every night that I get a meal cooked by Greek nonnas.
The weather held out despite the cloudy and murky sky. Humid with some light wind, the night was a perfect walk back, the sky still lightly lit with indigos and thin papaya slices on the horizon. And even though some part of life isn’t as I wanted, despite being depressed most of the day, I can always find solace and joy coming home, eating, walking, and being in a part of the city where it’s all about the locals and not tourists.