Visit Hiller Aviation Museum 601 Skyway Rd, San Carlos, CA 94070
This is such a great place! Real airplanes hanging from the ceiling. Vintage airplanes and replicas of the first airplanes including ones that never left the ground. In their words: “The Hiller Aviation Museum engages the community in the human spirit of adventure, discovery and innovation. Through compelling exhibits and immersive programs, the museum provides a stimulating environment with multiple ways for public audiences to experience the adventure of aviation, its future promise and its history in California, and to use aviation as a gateway for exploring science, history and technology.” I’ll say! This place is great for kids and adults. Check out my live mini tour video and bonus video flying inside a PT-17 in a Air show for the Tuskegee Airmen. PT-17 were there Trainer Planes.
I have a lot of History with flying and I have a correction to make about this video, my grandfather George Stein worked for Hughes Aircraft where was one of the 3rd persons to fly over the Atlantic Ocean in the China Clipper (not 42nd as I stated in the video). He also worked on the Space Shuttle for NASA and engineered and modified old bomber aircraft planes so they can add new technology computers to them. His Company was Stein Engineering. At one point we had a wind tunnel built in our living room for NASA. As a child the 1st Airplane I flew in landed in the water; Catalina Seaplanes, I’m in love with them! Of course after I flew, in many commercial airplanes that landed on the ground. As a young adult I flew around Catalina Island in a Cessna 150 sword fish spotting, the Pilot let me take hold of the rains. Later I was one of the independent camera at the 1 Air Show Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen and interviewed the 1st Black Pilots of America and the 1st Black General of America Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Which also landed me to have the honor of Flying in the lead Airplane with the president of the Confederate Air force Milo Tichacek in his PT-17 (see the bonus video inside that flight!). Then I flew in the nose of a B-25 Bomber the gunner seat. Eventually upside down in a P-51 and a an old Beechcraft. I’ve also flown in the channel 5 helicopter, and a police helicopter. Whew! So as you can imagine I had the aviation bug all my life. Eventually I took a lesion with California Airways with Keith Amaro and got to fly over the Golden gate bridge in a Cessna 172! Basically; lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky …and lucky!!
Monterey’s Tasty Olive Bar has 70 varieties of olive oils and balsamics that you can taste before you buy free! Many of the infused Olive oils are the same olive oil base with different flavorings. The olive oils come from two different hemispheres in Tunisia and Australia, and the balsamics are aged the traditional Solera Method from Modena Italy. Each container tells you the mix of oil and acidity. Although I’m not big of infused flavorings, the ones I tried are rich in flavor. I’m a straight olive oil gal. I like the kind that has a natural nutty flavor to it. My favorite Olive Oil is ‘Koronieki olive oil’ extra virgin from Greece. They do not mix their oils with any other oils like big grocery store chains do. Hold on, I’m not done… You may get dizzy with so many varieties.
Pressed every week are there specialties oils; white and black truffle oil, sesame seed oil, roasted almond oil, seasonal pumpkin seed oil and my favorite for the day; buttersquash seed oil. Which has a really unique roasted taste to it. Now that I have it, what am I going to do with it? The owner said it’s great for roasting vegetables on a BBQ or adding to mash potatoes. They have a sleek 200 ml bottle that they will bottle your favorite on the spot for around 13 bucks. Specialty oils are more and other sizes are available.
As far as the balsamics I liked the ‘Cranberry-Pear White Balsamic Vinegar Condimento’ and the ‘Pomegranate-Quince White Balsamic’ was best. They are open everyday at 10:00am to 8pm and will give you a free taste with bread and education about the oils.
Not so deep in the woods of ‘Scotts Valley’ is a lush forest of Mossy trees in Felton, California. The broken ones that lay across the ‘Fall Creek’ of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park trail and forest floor are as full of moss, as the ones standing tall gasping for sunlight. We took a short hike about 3 miles round trip the day after Thanksgiving to work off the trimmings.
I can only equate my experience to the lush forests as the forest on the Hilo side of the big island of Hawaii; Lush. I learned one time in a movie you can tell which way was ‘North’ since the north side doesn’t get as much direct sunlight (If it gets any at all). Of course this is scientifically confirmed (not) with wiki answers. I suppose it depends where you live. “In northern latitudes, the north side of trees and rocks will generally have more moss on average than other sides (though south-side outcroppings are not unknown). This is assumed to be because of the lack of sufficient water for reproduction on the sun-facing side of trees. South of the equator the reverse is true. In deep forests where sunlight does not penetrate, mosses grow equally well on all sides of the tree trunk” -IndianaHoosier / yahoo answers. Unless your in the middle of ‘Fall Creek’ where the sun can only peak through for short moments to some spots of the valley floor, there’s no way of telling which way is north, because moss grows every where, all sides. All kinds of moss and fungi. Until you get your blood flowing from your hike, you are going to be chilly, chilly as the damp, cold and dark environment it takes to grow moss.
I was with my cousins, my youngest cousin 13 years old taking photos, as I was; at the Intricate details from banana slugs that stood out like a sore thumb in the dark fall colors, to the contrasting images of various mushrooms and fungi and yellow fall leaves. In fact if you’re a science teacher and want to take kids on a nature walk to point out different fungi as a challenge this is a great spot. I don’t know much about fungi accept to avoid it. But I had seen more than a hand full of different types. The valley floor is sound deadening, quite and peaceful. If you settle down enough to listen, your own voice sounds different to yourself, you can hear crackling of wood from settling trees, creek beds trickling, and water drippings, distant visitors approaching. Once in a while you may hear a wrestling in the trees; hopefully not the native bob cats.
I don’t have a lot of experience hiking but the worst hike I went on was when I went 7 miles; a great deal of the hike in the heat of 90 degree weather 75 percent of the time in direct sun. We internally begged to get to the next little oases of shade to gather our strength to carry on. I can see having the ability to hike twice as long here because you are covered by trees. I think that’s the trick. Water and shade! I can’t imagine this would be a tough hike in 90 degree weather being so close to the Pacific ocean and out of the sun.
A mile and a half into our trip we were rewarded with a scene that resembled something out of a Indiana Jones movie; abandon limekilns from the 1870s decaying into the mossy forest. Slightly camouflaged with blankets of live and dead leaves, canopies of moss, rivers of dirt covering what was once tracks of wood beams for a tramway that carried tons of lime from ‘Blue-Cliff’ a 150 foot high quarry to the kilns.
Henry Cowell was from Massachusetts when he was enticed by the lure of the gold rush in California. This rush infused a high demand for construction, eventually he found his riches in the
building materials key ingredient –limestone. The key ingredient used to make mortar for brick buildings. Limestone itself is formed from a bed of sea shells layered and changed from heat and pressure from millions of years ago. More evidence of a even greater History.
Here in lies the lime kilns 1.5 miles into the forest from Felton Empire Road; the graveyard or headstones to an era in California’s History. Lime kiln’s are used to produce quicklime through the calcination of limestone (calcium carbonate). The chemical reaction takes place at 900°C to 1,000°C+. Burning 24 hours a day for 3-4 days. Hard to believe in this cool, thick forest was a thriving / bustling factory that made Codwell the richest man in Santa Cruz at one time, as well as the mortar that held parts of California’s buildings together, still today. A grave site of only remembrance of the road that was once the path way to deliver the lime that built California. It seams now the banana slugs are the rich ones.
I love a hike that has a appreciation for History, beauty, nature and a sense for adventure. As my cousins move on through the forest trail and I take photographs of all the intricate details, I think how blessed I was to have been gifted with this kind in attention to details, so many details. As I wonder, and I wonder. Looking for what is disguised or swallowed by nature. Shortly up the road I finally under stand what ‘Powder Magazine” meant on the map, as I thought it was strange to have a path named after a magazine? ‘Powder magazine’ was actually a housing for the explosives they used to break up the limestone. Like any mystery, the poorly labeled map only becomes a treasure map of what only your imagination can fly from when you are actually there discovering for yourself. For a short run it’s a great and adventurous hike. Of course you can carry on up the hill and make it a 7 mile if you want, but who knows what’s up there. Who knows what is buried underneath the discarded limestone.
The park features Redwood Grove, Douglas fir, madrone, oak and a stand of Ponderosa pine. The northern area (Fall Creek) is 2,390 acres, with about 20 miles of hiking trails. The tallest tree in the park is about 285 feet tall and about 16 feet wide. The oldest trees in the park are about 1400 to 1800 years old. Zayante Indians tribe of the Ohlone people once lived in the area, where they found shelter, water and game. (And moss).
For the details; there are no bathrooms and the trail head parking lot is hard to find so it’s best to set your milage counter before you start down Fleton Road. By Stacy Poulos
Ok Here’s the thing, I got my ass kicked yesterday. The good part about every mountain, is it hides the next mountain and valley you must walk through. So, when you think you have concord an extraordinary feat in your life, to walk the miles you have, you come to another clearing where you have an even longer and harder distance to go. Shit! I was thinking about an analogy of what I went through yesterday, when I was driving over the San Mateo bridge and seen a tiny distant light across the bay to my left thinking, that is where I’m going… in my car. Yesterday, it was on foot, times 10. That light was like the people ahead of me near the bend of the trail. Really!!?? ….that’s where were going! Again!!! Shit! I kept thinking, obviously I have no concept what these maps mean, or what 6.6 miles is in people feet walking. I was just proud as a graphic artist, I was able to highlight the proposed trail on my map. (I think my guide, who has the body of Jack LaLanne, also has no concept what a 4 in difficulty, means on a scale of 1 to 10 to out of shape people), like what 4 beers is to someone 180 lbs, is a lot different to someone 110 lbs. I guess it’s all relative, and I really need to qualify the situation a little better, if I live. People who make up these numbers should consider the delusion of out of shape people, who think they can hike. He was just concerned that it was 94 degrees high noon heat in the thick of it. Humm. [Thats it! …in my own mind… You think only ‘heat’ is the issue here, as I pant, grasping my stomach wondering what Turkey Vultures gonna get me when I’m left behind. As people drop off in the shade to bring there huffing down to a point of manageable blood pressure after a hiking some horrendous incline at a 500 feet incline back out of Devils Hole.] “Only 200 zig zag feet in elevation to go, he says” but look theres a shady tree up ahead.] Deeeevvvviiiils Holeeee, That! Should have been my first clue when I read the map. [“Oh good, Devils Hole sounds mysterious, this is going to be a great adventure. Wooo hooo, here we gooooo.”] Now I know why they call it Devils Hole, sounds like fun, but to get there, and out of there, you will feel like you have gone to Hell and back.
So, all kidding aside (not), it was; beautiful scene, after beautiful scene. Amazing this is in the heart of the East Bay surrounded by rural areas and city life. You couldn’t see any homes once you got to the other side, but a lake (San Leandro reservoir) with lots of green trees and brush, a few mountainy rocks and 60 miles in the distance you could see San Francisco smaller than a inch.
I chronicled my trip in photos, so when they found me dead underneath a poison oak plant, they would know how far and why I had past out. Besides our fall back group having fun plotting out how we were going to hold down the leader and kick his ass, if we lived to see the end, who now looks like a dot, on yet another ridge we must conquer. I thought to myself, self, thankfully America has the foresite to preserve these areas. And even though I’ll never see Devils Hole again, unless it’s on a post card, in my nightmares, or from a helicopter. I want to figure out how I can support State Parks more. If we’re to stupid to not enjoy them, we should at least make sure they are their for those who do.
If you’re an in shape experienced hiker, you may like this hike. Our leader is a great guy and super nice. Maybe a little delusional about his numbers. I’d go to this kind of hike at any point …for a mile and that would be pushing it. Unfortunately you have to go to Devils Hole, to get to ‘Sycamore trail’ which is the best of all the trails. It was the most interesting to see, but the most treacherous elevation hike. It was under the most brush, which made the 94 degree weather not so bad for the hardest part.
For some one like me, I would take a trip like this if it was a 4 day hike. Hike camp. Hike, camp. Not all in one shot. We started with 47 people, all grouped up for the first quarter mile. Then our group spread out about a quarter mile apart in smaller groups. Me, taking up the tail with the fall back group, another couple who had a baby with them, and with another experienced woman hiker of this Trail with a old and slow dog. (My buddy). Who eventually split, before Devils Hole. (Our “Half Way point”). Obviously a wiser woman. ..another clue what was to come.
Being a mother Bear instinct myself, I was concerned for the momma and the baby, since I was huffing and puffing and had all my limbs to break a fall, she had to care for her daughter with one arm to protect her. There were a lot of situations where we had the luxury of two arms to get through some sticky situations and her only one.
So what else can I say? 24 ounces of water is not enough. I was out of water, when I got out of Hell. Once out of Hell, I would have paid $20.00 for a bottle of Ice cold gatorade. Luckily I had to new fallback people that were generous and well equipped that shared theres.
Before, I froze 3 mini 4 oz. collapsible containers, to keep my sandwich cool till lunch, great idea, BUT I think I miss read that to, it was more like concentrate, yuck. I thought of many inventions along the way, like a hat fan you clip on the brim of a baseball hat that is solar powered facing your face. Miniature handy wipe bags you can reseal.
At first I think, ‘what are these people doing bringing ‘back packs’, were going for a ‘walk’. Then I was jealous of all the amenities they had. Like our leader had an inflatable seat cushion to sit on. It was handy when we were in Hell lingering around having lunch, looking at Heaven. In light of wanting to sit along the hike, I thought an inflatable pair of shorts would be handy. Also the babies momma could have used a unit to keep her baby on her chest like she did, but not with such thick material and something to keep them cool and secure. One gal brought crackers and espresso beans to share, since I missed my espresso in the morning I indulged. She said she froze them so they wouldn’t melt. She’s not the only one who froze something, one man who supplied me with water after I ran out in Hell, froze his gatorade the night before. We ended up having more people join our fall back team who were welcomed with open arms. Especially with extra supplies!
And for the record, if your going down and not in the direction of your car, your gonna to have to go up. In our case, up, and up, and up and up! If your wondering what those skinny unmarked lines that connect in circles from large to small around the trail you are on, they are mountains, the smallest circle is the tip. So, in conclusion, when you see several small circles on your trail, they will be the mountains in your way you will have to hike on, down, up and around. “W” means water incase your from Europe and think “W” means Water Hole as in bathroom. Ironically what seamed to be a little trail of Heaven on our last stretch, a easy paved road that seam to go straight to the parking lot, was the hardest stretch. Because of the steep decline put a lot of awkward pressure on your knees and jams your toes to the tip of your shoes. Even though I knew none of the 47 people I started out with, it was probably better that my friends bailed on me, they would have kicked my ass. I’m sure in a few days I’ll think I had fun, and forget I was paralyzed from the pain the next day and walked like a penguin with a stick up my butt for a week.
But you know, I wanted my ass kicked really, I deserved it for letting myself get so out of shape in so many ways, when I’m a born athlete. I’m not going to be my true potential God intended me to be, if I let myself go so much as I had. I’m just not someone who can go to a gym andbreathe the air of others sweat, focused on just the workout. If God intended us to keep our bodies in shape at a gym,he wouldn’t have created the great out doors. So in a way, my leader was a Saint that took us in and out of Hell. The Hell we live for not getting out and seeing the world and respecting our bodies. Days like these, you think about who your are, and how you pollute yourself with unnecessary crap. (Maybe 6.6 was a little dramatic for my first day out) rubbing the skin off the back of my feet, jamming my toes and knees. Straining every muscle I have, especially the one between my ears trying to find a way out, a kebab I can jump on to kebab down the hill instead of walking it. A helicopter to pick me up and take me home to my mommy.
“All ails fails, read the directions” is our family motto. As I go back to review the website to see where I may have missed something, I read the the leaders profile for the 1st time. He says: “My experience level with hiking is very advanced – numerous hikes more than 12 miles, many with many, many thousands of feet of elevation change. …and am always pushing my hiking further – literally. That being said, I love to introduce new people to the sport, and can enjoy anything from very mild to ugh! level hikes. Between hiking, treadmill, and trail running my goal is to get in at least 20 miles a week of cardio, shooting for 25+ though!..” Well. Sigh! There you go. I followed a psycho hiker. Thank you!! I now have a Callus on my foot named after you.
Then I read The Sierra Clubs description “About this Trail… This is a 6.3 mile long loop hike to Devil’s Hole over Rocky Ridge. Enjoy lung-busting climbs to rocky ridges offering breathtaking 360 degree views of Ramage Peak at 1401 feet, Mt. Diablo at 3849 feet, the Ohlone Ridge out beyond Livermore, and Grizzly and Volvon Peaks dominating the Berkeley Hills horizon. Enjoy the wild life, eagles, hawks, and buzzing buzzards (turkey vultures, cousin to the more glamorous California Condor) patrolling the deep blue skies, bobcats and mountain lions skulking about or sleeping nearby in the sandstone cave outcroppings.” Blah, blah, blah.. “Change in Elevation: 1200, Elevation at trailhead: 1080, Highest Elevation: 1960 (Why my knees and butt-tox hurt) Lowest Elevation: 1080” .. eeeexxxxaaaccctttly!!
Thank you my fearless leader for taking the brunt of our commiserating I loved every minute of it. I think all the new comers miss judged the ‘4’ in difficulty and probably didn’t read your personal profile. Then again they were probably like me, wanted the inspiration of a group to go on a journey. No matter how difficult. If I go with this group again, it will be on a ‘1’ difficulty for a mile. His next trip is to be a 10 mile hike… Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve… I’m out! ‘But there’s a cave… ‘nope, I’m out!
I love a great discoveries! Today I toured the ‘Jack London Square bay’ taking photos on a Kayak with a friend. We went in the public entrance at Jack London Square, free to launch my own kayak, and my friend rented a paddle board $15.00 an hour at “California Canoe And Kayak” which was very helpful and lots of cool stuff to buy. We parked our car for $5.00 for 12 hours a block away takes cash and cards.
After, my friend wanted to go a restaurant ‘with a view of the water’ and we were too dressed down from paddling to go in any of the fancy restaurants, so we poked around and found ‘Miss Pearl’s Jam House’ Cuisine Inspired by the Caribbean Islands. It looked fancy, but we asked if it was ok the way we were dressed, and they welcomed us with open arms. When I saw ‘gumbo’ on the menu I knew that’s what I wanted. I am always excited and leery about restaurants that claim to make ‘Gumbo’ I’ve had the best ‘Gumbo’ in the center of New Orleans. And I haven’t come close to what I’ve experience yet and that’s always a disappointment when your pallets been so sophisticated. So I took a chance. I ordered the “Creole Gumbo” (Pulled chicken, Andouille sausage, Tasso ham, Gulf Prawns, and Okra, floating around a cup steamed rice) ($18.00). I’m not a huge fan of Okra, so I asked them to use a little less, and dice it. They were happy to accommodate me and my ‘high maintenance’. It was soooo good, I am trying to figure out when I can come back again. I forgot to ask for extra sauce, as I do for everything I ever order, but it came plenty saucy already- woo hoo extra bonus! The meats were of high quality had a great texture and flavor.
My friend had just a few appetizers, very tasty ‘Rosemary Polenta’ ($4.00) and ‘Seasonal vegetables’ ($4.00) which happen to be ‘Young Broccoli marinated in fresh (un-refrigerated, huge difference!) potent Garlic cooked absolutely perfect.
So as the sun fell on the water, we enjoyed a superb 2008 Petite Sirah; R&B Cellars Pizzicato, Napa Valley’s; Rock Wall Wine Company ($9.00 glass). www.rbcellars.com From a very fun and knowledgeable waiter and staff that checked in often. They went as far as letting me in the kitchen to get a photo. If you didn’t get the window view, the restaurant is uniquely designed with beautiful mosaic sea shell tiles on the wall. If you go into the bar, they have live music as well, and a nice atmosphere. I’m definitely coming back soon. Problem is, there looks like a lot of good stuff on the menu, but I think I’ll have the gumbo again, and warm up to the chef for the recipe.
Caio’ for now. -Stacy
Miss Pearl’s Jam House
Cuisine Inspired by the Caribbean Islands
One Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Jack London Square
at the Water Front Hotel
Telephone: 510.444.7171 http://www.misspearlsjamhouse.com
A Superb Stake & The Maltese Falcon At John’s Grill In San Francisco
-By Stacy Poulos
63 Ellis St., San Francisco, CA 94102
(between 4th St & Market St)
Neighborhood: Union Square
(415) 986-0069 www.johnsgrill.com
When you’ve been around since 1908 you know someone has carried on the torch. After spending 3 day’s at a MacWorld convention I thought I’d treat myself to a great meal. As I walked down Powell Street I passed by an officer and said “I know you must know where a good place to eat a reasonably priced steak is around here”. He pointed right up the street to 120 Powell at ‘Tad’s Steak Restaurant’ and said you can get a good steak for around 15 buck’s (almost with a New York accent). So I went in that direction, before crossing Ellis St, being a good citizen looking both ways before I crossed the street, to my right ‘John’s Grill since 1908’ caught my eye. It rang a bell for me, so I thought I’d peek in and it was the home of the movie ‘The Maltese Falcon’. It’s a little more spendi for my budget. But as a filmmaker, I couldn’t help but want to sit in a room where Sam spade from the movie sat and be inspired by History. Why not spoil myself once in a while.
I will say, as frugal as I am, I have a very sophisticated pallet for a great quality steak. My mom spoiled us with her restaurant sized indoor grill and teated us to a good T-bone or New York steak once in a while. Not to mention, we got our meat from cows my step dad’s family had raised in Portland Oregon. So trust me, I know a good quality steak. I start out on a steak adventure very skeptical, that it will be near as good as what I have grown up to know. A great steak needs just salt and pepper. Sometimes a hint of butter and garlic.
Going in a fancy restaurant as a single female alone, isn’t always a nice greeting. I was pleasantly surprised all the way around. The first thing I thought about when they sat me down and brought me bread and butter, was the great tasting San Francisco sourdough bread (my best friend in Alabama makes me bring her a loaf when I visit). Most restaurants have this chewy bread. Even if it’s freshly made nothing compares to a SF sourdough bread crust. It has its own taste and texture. Even though there’s a “Sam Spade’s Chops (Broiled lamb chops)” on the menu, I had myself a nice Medium rare New York USDA Prime or Certified Black Angus, the finest available. Corn-fed in the Midwest, it is specially selected for the highest quality and naturally aged for maximum flavor and tenderness steak. Yummy! Perfect flame broiled on the outside and rare on the inside. The flavor of the meat was superb, As I enjoyed live jazz filling the air.
33 bucks for the steak includes seasonal vegie, a baked potato and roaming around the unofficial museum of San Francisco’s rich History. On the walls are many famous people who have visited including the late Jack Lalanne who said my newest favorite quote “The worst thing you can do to your body is not use it”. I sat across from the 1984 Olympic Torch. You know they have to know someone to have that. It’s a different experience than going to a museum and observing, than actually sitting where films have inspired a part of your career. Before I left, I got my photo taken next to the Maltese Falcon and Emmy Award to inspire my next generation of filmmaking with a great meal underneath my belt and new technology to expand my horizon.
A Superb Stake & The Maltese Falcon At John’s Grill In San Francisco
Oakland Greek Festival is my favorite of all Festivals. Always the 3rd weekend in May, like a lot of events, but I always find room for it. I have been to Greece and I am Greek. My Grandfather or Papo Achellies Poulos played the Oud (Greek guitar) and was best friends and played with Marko Melkon in the 1950’s. When my Grand Mother, or Yaiyai, Maria Stevens, or Stavos, herd my grandfather was coming to America she went down to the ship yard and woo’ed him over to marriage. Maria was coined the Grandmother of Greek cabaret in the 1950’s ‘Variety Magazine ‘ and started Belly dancing in the United States. She entertained thousands, including Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis. I have a tambourine (pictured below photo by Lynette; gildedserpent.com) made by Greek prisoners, signed by famous Belly dancers in the 1950’s. I also have an original menu from one of her restaurants. I have a very rich and interesting heritage, including my Yaiyai got arrested during prohibition for serving alcohol. Go Grandma
The marriage wasn’t a match made in heaven but lasted long enough to bare 3 children my dad; John Poulos (A Bay Area Bartender and President of Entertainment East Magazine pictured below), twin brother Alex Stevens (President of East Coast Stuntmen’s Association. People are most are impressed when I tell them he was the stuntman for Frank Sinatra (pictured below), when I was a kid I was enthralled by the fact that he was the Ware Wolf on ‘Dark Shadows’ (pictured below). How cool is it to say your uncle’s a Ware wolf? I was young enough at the time to believe he really was one. They also had another daughter… my Aunt Ann Poulos, who I never got a chance to meet. There is a lot of rich Greek/American culture running around the festival behind the scenes that makes me feel at home. Some familiar with my Papo and my Yaiyai. As for my Uncle, he always says he’s “Practically Famous”.
The food is the best! Gyros in Greece are much different, they don’t have ground meat, but they are excellent just the same. They serve; Gyros; ground meat, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce -yogurt, sour cream, garlic & cucumber, served with pita bread), Spanakopita; Spinach & feta pie in phyllo, Tyropitakia; Feta Cheese Pie Triangles in phyllo, Loukaniko; Greek Sausage; Cooked on grill with oregano and lemon), this year they added a treat; Avgolemono Soup; Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. All of which I eat on my first day! I’m still full. It’s not everyday you get this quality of Greek food in one location. These are not trained professionals in the kitchen, they are authentic Greek grandmothers showing off their talents (maybe with a little grandma to grandma, or yaiyai to yaiyai competition) in the kitchen handing down there skills and tradition to the next generation.
There is also Souvlakin; marinated chunks of meat on little skewers Chicken and beef, Greek Halloumi; cheese grilled, topped with capers salad dressing, Dolmathes; stuffed Grape leaves, Greek salad; lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, feta cheese, vinaigrette, and to my surprise they had a Greek salad in a pita with my favorite salad dressing ‘Greco Fusion’ from Elio’s Family Restaurant (The Eliopoulos’s) they now bottle and sell. Ironically they had an AD at the Gyro booth for the dressings that I made (Photos, layout and printing). They happen to be a customer of mine, I made the restaurant and the dressings website and eliosdining.co
I’m not even going to start with desserts, but mention my favorite; Baklava; flaky fillo filled with ground walnuts & cinnamon, topped with homemade honey sauce. Yummy! Maybe on Sunday. You might even run into Dee Andronico volunteering, she is one of the founders of Andronico’s markets; also another client of mine. A few years ago I was honored to make a video of their 75th year History, played at the prestigious Paramount theater (Pictured standing with Bill Andronico President of Andronico’s on stage), my first video on the silver screen.
If you end the day with a Greek espresso be prepared to have something that resembles mud in the bottom of your cup, Greek style they don’t filter out the grounds. When you go to a Greek festival be prepared to do as the Greeks do. What I love about the Oakland Greek Festival is the atmosphere, they import a Mykonos type windmill as you walk through the front door, the center piece is the beautiful Greek Temple, with rows of pillars, Greek blue windows. Inside the temple is one large room where a wispier will echo throughout the temple, religious icons painted on a copper sealing. Not many know but the rocks are also imported from Greece.
You can dance to several bands, watch period dressed Greek dancers, while you sip on a Imported Greek wine or American/Greek wine made in California; Lolonis, they even have Retsina – defiantly an an acquired taste. Or if you prefer there is micro brew, and Mythos; a Imported Greek logger. And of course, there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages including a Iced Frappé coffee. Lots of vendors selling Greek Imports, cloths, jewelry, religious icons, paintings, photography, tee shirts, music, etc. There are also cooking demonstrations, if you want to try your hand in cooking Greek style.
The people are fun to work with, they are all members, or friends of the church and volunteer (Like I do). I always volunteer to bartend, proceeds go to build their church, it’s a great cause, and event, usually packed out.
The Oakland Greek Festival is as close to Greece you will get in America. You can get discount coupons from there website www.oaklandgreekfestival.com/ Elio’s, and Luke’s Grill in San Leandro www.yelp.com/biz/lukes-grill-san-leandro havesome Greek dishes for those of you who crave Greek food in between Greek Festivals. Or you don’t have a Yaiyai to whip up something for you. The next festival up, local to me is the Castro Valley usually in October. The Festival’s sometimes hosted in Hayward at the Centennial Hall. I prefer when it’s out doors in Castro Valley at their church,but with the weather so unpredictable it’s a safer bet for them inside.It’s another place to enjoy great Greek food, family and entertainment.I typically bartend there too. Hey, it’s easier than working the salad bar like I did one year. www.cvresurrection.org