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Belmont Greek Festival?

The Belmont Greek Festival continues today and tomorrow. I might have a chance to stop by on Monday. How's the food?

http://www.goholycross.org/Festival/

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  1. Will let you know - we're headed there now.

    2 Replies
    1. re: orezscu

      Cool. Be sure to print out the $1 off admission coupon from the website.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I did, actually, but then we got invited to a childrens' birthday party at the last minute. Sorry!

    2. I would highly recommend it - outdoors, try the gyros or the lamb chops with pilaf and greek salad. Indoors (in the cafeteria), try the spanakopita and the dolmades, at a minimum (if you like those - they're excellent there). The roast half chicken is always good, and the fasolakia (stewed green beans with tomato). In the pastry/coffee area, the baklava and galactoboureko are delicious with a Greek coffee. I went Saturday, now I'm getting hungry again just remembering what I ate...

      3 Replies
      1. re: AndrewA

        Thanks a bunch, Andrew! Now I'm even sorrier that I couldn't attend on Monday. An emergency came up and I couldn't fit it into my day. But I'll remember for next year!

        Any other reports, 'hounds?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          We actually went to the festival on Monday after reading Andrew's report, and luckily when we arrived around 2pm, people coming out of the festival had extra complimentary passes, so we saved $8 (accounting for the coupon) to spend on food!

          I think the indoor main dining room had the best dining options. The Youvetsi dinner which is the lamb chop with orzo pasta, greek salad and bread was just heavenly ($12.50). The moussaka which is sort of a Greek lasagna layered with eggplants and meat was really good as well ($6.50). We also tried the spanakopita and the dolmades ($2.50), but I like the spanakopita more (it's a filo pastry layered with spinach and feta cheese. Finally, for dessert, we went for the loukoumades which is sort of a Greek donut, but it was a bit too sweet and too dry for my tastes (although I've never had it before). Other than the main dining hall, we also had some grilled lamb chops with pilaf outdoors ($10) as well as souvlakia which is a shish kebap ($4), but comparatively, the indoor food was truly outstanding.

          After spending a good two hours there enjoying the music, the market and mostly the great great food and a shot of ouzo, we left the festival. But we couldn't resist coming back to Belmont to get some to-go dinner since everything we tried was so tasty. So for dinner, we got a box with the roast half chicken ($7.50) and pilafi ($3.00) and fasolakia ($2.50) which was more than enough for the two of us and it was again delicious!! This was the first time I've been to the festival, and I would definitely recommend it for next year!

           
           
           
           
          1. re: liujenny

            Super, thanks for the report! I am going to try the moussaka recipe that you can download from the festival site. Hope it turns out as well.

            * * * * * * * *
            Sign up today for the Chowing with the Hounds Picnic, 10/6, in Tilden Park (East Bay)
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/431875

      2. I just got my free passes from a friend today (Festival is this Labor Day Weekend, 4-6 Sept.) & they're baking and cooking nonstop at the Church all this month. She said the pastitsio-making was a lot of fun, HUGE macaroni and giant bowls of bechamel. It's a large church with lots of members "from the old country" which is why the food rocks!! Can't wait.

        1. Saw their windmill today, got me hungry for a gyro. We go there every year. Our family faves: the gyros (tasty and juicy), lamb chops (incredible, really good Greek seasoning), lamb shanks and orzo (meat tender and falls off bone), pastitsio (creamy, delish), moussaka (incredible taste, not sure what the seasoning is, but wow), and the rice is like soaked in butter, if you like that which I do. I plan to eat a gyro, my son will eat tons of lamb chops, my hubby will have lamb shank, and then we will get a to go box.

          1. Just back -- another stellar Festival for food, drink & entertainment in Belmont. Begged a taste of DH's gyro (he got it without onions): tzatsiki was insanely delicious. Order it with extra tzat, stat.

            To drink: Greek bottled beer, including Mythos Red; retsina, Metaxa & ouzo; greek wines, and 5 American styles of beer on tap.

            My lamb chops were great value (x6 big lollipops for $14) and the shortest lines were in the Greek Deli -- near the taverna -- they have the loukounio sausage w/orange rind, big slices of house-made spanakopita, and the melanzanasalata (smoked eggplant dip) w./lots of pita slices or sesame-French bread. Fab to assemble a tray of our favorite food and just soak up the music, dancing, atmosphere on their Plaka (plaza) surrounded by trees. A Labor Day Weekend must.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SFextra_sour

              We just got back - the gyros are amazing. agreed on the extra txatsiki. definitely the best gyro that i've ever had, by far. For those unfamiliar with the Belmont Greek Festival, as I was, it's a massive event. I was thinking maybe a few food stands and thanks very much, but no... a carnival-game area with a giant bouncy house and other child entertainment, which was thankfully and thoughtfully well away from the main food area, and then probably a half-dozen food stands, tons of seating, lots of craft kiosks, live music and dancing, and then a hot food line inside the building with cafeteria-style food service (but of course far better quality) - people stay here all day!

              Note $5 admission. I found a coupon on their website for $1 off.

              We saw the whole lamb roasting on a spit, which the Man In Charge said would be ready at 5pm. Despite being stuffed from the gyros and the three kinds of dips with pita (dipping pita was meh, unlike the fabulous gyro pita), we couldn't think of another time we'd have access to a whole spit-roasted lamb. So we went home, I got back to work, and then the heroic SO went out again to get lamb for dinner.

              The staff couldn't have been nicer. What a festival!

            2. The loukoumades are probably the best I've had.

              1. Yep, absolutely no shortage of great food, except that if you want the outdoor vendor food, bring lots of moolah. The cafeteria (steam table fare) that's also very excellent, accepts credit cards.

                Aside from the high prices, lots of tasty bits

                fasolakia - soft delicious beans, $3 a spoonful on your plate

                roast chicken - $4.50 for a small quarter but very delicious with a good hint of citrus

                grilled lamb chops (outside vendor) - $13 / plate with rice pilaf or add $3 more and get a side of Greek salad and bread. They roast one whole lamb per day (and it takes literally all day as they continually rotate the animal on the fire). By 6 pm there are long lines and there's a guy who tells you that you may not have a chance to score the lamb....I tried but didn't want to wait or risk as the lamb chops line was shorter. The chops were insanely delicious, juicy, and tender. The rice pilaf was cooked with some sort of broth (like a risotto but less mushy in comparison) and it was very nicely done. Glad I got the chops because 12+ people ahead of me were already told they were down to bones with very little meat (one guy complained he got a lot of fat on his cut). I saw other people's order of lamb and it looked REAL good. If you want the lamb, start lining up well before 5:30 pm.

                $2 for a shot of Greek coffee (have to go inside to get this)....like an espresso. Sugar already added for you, and it's very strong and earthy. Went well with the pastries that I felt were a bit too sweet for my tastes.

                If this is what family style Greek food is like overall (especially the inside cafeteria), it has exceeded expectations. Just wished the prices were lower.

                1 Reply
                1. I just can't get over their food, everything I tried was delicious, but the lamb chops and rice, lamb shanks and orzo and moussaka stand out as simply fantastic. If you went, you might be able to get free tickets for next year. You have to fill out the questionnaire in the book.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Woody007

                    Yeah, we went for the first time because we knew we'd miss the SF one this year. My husband who doesn't eat meat had the chicken, and my taste of that was even good. Very moist and tastly. I'll have to plan better next time. I ate all my moussakka and had no room for other food except desserts! I saw seemingly experienced people pull out tupperware for their food to go!!

                  2. The $1 off coupon is still on their website:
                    http://www.goholycross.org/Festival

                    We're going to go 2 days this weekend, the weather is supposed to be in the 80s . . .
                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/belmont-greek...

                    1. Hey - another great year. Had a gyros with extra (house-made) tzatsiki, Greek coleslaw, kalamari with lots of lemon right out of the fryer (the little booths outside are like open kitchens, my kids loved watching it happen). Great food to stroll around with, retsina in the other hand.
                      Friends who stayed for dinner said the lines were much shorter this year, maybe because of the weather? Their report . . . . . pastitsio, roast chicken, pilafi rice, moussaka and lamb shank w./orzo were all excellent/exactly how they're "supposed" to taste (!) Will try to head back there on Monday for an early lunch.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SFextra_sour

                        We went on Sunday. Their food was really good! The rice had lots of butter, I love it that way. The lamb chops were excellent. I was full but like an idiot I still had a baklava sundae. It was gooood too. I was so stuffed. Hubby had lamb shank and orzo, he said it was great. I drank some sour berry drink that was really good too. We had a nice time with the music and the play.

                      2. Wish I were able to fly over to San Francisco to this lovely Greek TasterĀ“s Festival.

                        Looks marvelous.

                        Enjoy.

                        1. Moussaka and Youvetsi (lamb shanks in orzo), this year's stand-outs. We had a late lunch around 2:15ish and no lines at all. Kids demolished a brick of bechamel-y pastitsio. It was a busy night because of the great weather & my vegetarian friend was disappointed the soup ran out. Another awesome year though.

                          1. We had a great dinner of bbq lamb and orzo, lamb chops and buttery rice, and moussaka. Loukoumades for dessert. Mouth watering. Amazing Greek food and fun atmosphere.

                            1. We went on Sunday at lunchtime. At the cooking demo, they gave samples of the giant white beans stewed in tomato paste; while it looked simple, it was amazing. Based on reviews, we got the lamb chops ($16 for 3 chops, $20 for 4) which was a bit dry but had good flavor, and came with creamy cheesy rice and a nice cucumber/tomato/onion/olive salad. The loukoumades were delicious.

                              We were super curious about the whole roast lamb which was served at 5.30pm, so we left and then came by around 5.45pm for takeout. The roast lamb line was quite long -- we waited about 45 minutes with the constant worry of the lamb running out. For $20 they don't give much lamb, so we thought it was overpriced and wouldn't buy it again. That said, it was nicely tender but definitely needed more salt / spices. We wish they would give some skin but no such luck.

                              1. I had the moussaka, which was very good (no potato filler) could have used more cinamon.. (and of course been made of lamb...the same for the meat filled dolmades) the tyropita was nice and crisp...unfortunately the louchmades were not crisp enough!...The kataiffi (SP) was terrific..very crisp with a nice flavor texture balance.....just as an aside, I felt the SF Greek Festival had really improved on their food this year....I also love the mountain aerie of the Oakland Greek Cathedral for their festival!