A Happy Taverna Evening
Many years ago, my husband and I lived and worked on the island of Cyprus, on the Greek side. From that time on, we have been enamored of Greek food, culture, landscape, and music. Hummus and tzatziki are house staples as are feta and halloumi cheeses.
And anytime we can utter the one sentence we remember from our first Greek lesson from many years ago, we are happy campers. That happened the other night as we dined at Taverna, a newish Greek restaurant in Palo Alto, California.
All cozy on a corner, the white and blue trimmed restaurant had a vibrant welcoming feel to it. The restaurant’s logo was of a silhouetted Greek man dancing; the accompanying theme “Every day is a gift” said it all.
From the unexpected complimentary amuse bouches–one being crispy chickpeas with golden raisins– to the jubilant, Greek-speaking waiters to the Greek music to the fine food and wine, we were delighted with everything Taverna had to offer.
We began our meal with briam, a vegetable pureed soup, followed by octopus and a horiatiki salata with all the traditional ingredients–tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, olive oil and a unique take on Greek olives–olive tapenade. It was sculpted rather than tossed. A unique presentation. We culminated our dinner with bougatsa, a rich dessert of custard in phyllo topped with a scoop of pistachio ice cream. Our wine, a nice Greek rose, finally gave us the incentive to use our limited Greek. We said “poly kala” (very good) about the food–and then whipped out our one perfected sentence for our waiter:
“Eimai aerosynodos.” I am an airline stewardess.
Ah, yes. Imagine how many times we said that during our Cyprus sojourn. It did get a good laugh from our waiter, though, so our language lessons were ultimately useful.
And now that we have established our language acuity, and Taverna its culinary and atmospheric excellence, we will return and may even learn a whole new sentence to wow, or more likely amuse, the waiters.