Tavernas specialising in old-fashioned roasts, using local ingredients and very little else, are now all the rage. These establishments are doing well, mainly due to their low costs of operation: if you raise the meat, vegetables and olive oil in the area where you run the restaurant, living and working at the same place at the the same time, your costs are going to be very low and the quality of the food (given the location and climate, in Crete, you cannot go far wrong) is going to be very high.
"According to Prof. Lindley M. Keasbey, “Europe is made up of two parts: the beer and butter civilisation of the North, and the wine and oil civilisation of the South. The beer and butter people are made up of Nordics and Alpines, the wine and oil people are predominate of Mediterranean stock.” On a global level, people have already realized the true characteristics of Mediterranean civilization, trying to adapt the wine and oil culture into their own home, region, and country." (something i helped write at work to hopefully make us the seat of UNESCO's Mediterranean Diet as Intangible Heritage in Greece)Hors d'ouevres (grated tomato with olive oil and oregano) as a pre-lunch treat on the house, with our choice of a white house wine - it is not just the food that looks natural, but the colours too. Home-made bread made the day before we came - my friend who had visited the same restaurant the day before took the photo of the loaves that had just finished baking in the wood-fired oven; one of those loaves was cut to form the slices of bread pictured above.
Vegetarian starters (staka dip, fried zucchini stuffed with cheese and braised greens in olive oil) ...... and meat mains (lamb roasted over grapevine stems, rooster in wine sauce and pork cooked with cheese, all served with roast or fried potatoes) ... ... with a view of where the food and fuel comes from... ... topped off with dessert on the house (coconut cake, watermelon and tsikoudia). We drove through the Therisso gorge on the way back home.
Of course the food was all very good, but if I could suggest an improvement, I would say that servings are very large, a common problem in such establishments (we ordered three mains, not four, and we left one piece of meat from each dish, after realising that we could to stuff any more down, having already force-fed ourselves on the last bite we took). For a price comparison, see how much it cost us (4 diners) to eat out (left) and how much it cost me to cook a roast meat dinner at home for 10 people , with some healthy lunch leftovers that fed another 8 people the next day only four days ago. Our little day trip recharged our batteries, so it's back to lentil soup for lunch today - and I do believe I have got back into blogging again, after a fortnight's rest...
Drakona now boasts two Eat Crete tavernas: Ntounias and Tzaneris and Arhontissa (where we went). Make sure you get there and leave from different routes - the sites are different on each side.
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