Monday, August 30, 2010

I am Home, and making friends with sea life

As I briefly mentioned last night, my first use of Irish Moss has proven an absolute success! To inaugurate my Irish Moss experience and to use up apples I bought on specials at the health food store, I settled on I am Grateful's I am Home Apple Pie. (For more nutritional info on Irish Moss, check out an earlier post here.)

I have to admit I was kind of scared of Irish Moss at first. How I was supposed to turn a translucent tree branch-looking plant into a yummy part of my pie? I had no idea! I started by very religiously following the instructions laid out by the recipe. I soaked the Irish Moss in water for about 24 hours, and it looked... exactly the same as when I put it in there. Hrm. But it sure does look funny:

All I needed was an aquarium and some tropical fish...

The recipe was a little more labor intensive than most of the other raw apple pies I've made, but it was definitely worth it because it brilliantly simulated the ooey-gooeyness of cooked apple pie. To make the pie inside taste "cooked", the recipe required dehydrating and then resoaking the apples in apple juice, and blending the apple juice with the irish moss and some other ingredients, before mixing everything back all together again.

By the time I had to mix it in, the soaked irish moss smelled pretty vile (to me at least). It didn't smell at all like seaweed, but almost like that smell when plastic toys have been wrapped in more plastic for too long. However, thanks to the Vitamix, my soaked Irish Moss totally disappeared during blending, creating a thick cinnamon-laced syrup. That blend was then mixed back in with the apples to recreate that thick texture you only get once apples have begun to become mushy and release their juices in the oven. That apple mixture finally went into an almond crust and was topped off with a lovely date-walnut crumble. Of course, no apple pie is complete unless it's an apple pie à la mode, which is what happened to it when it became dessert:


Another food note of the day, I finally marinated my giant wine cap mushroom with ACV, olive oil, Bragg's, raw honey, and herbs, and made that part of a yummy nut cheese, beet, lettuce, and mushroom sammie for Andrew's dinner:


Over the past week, I like to think I've become something of a raw sandwich-making pro! That, and an Irish Moss extraordinaire. Two victories in one day, who can ask for more!

Workout of the Day:
(I'm bringing this section back per some readers' requests, but also for my own record keeping!)
stability ball ab routine (4 cycles of 4 target exercises x12 + 1 full core exercise x20)
20 minutes of HIIT on elliptical + 2 minute cooldown
10 minutes of stretching

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ottawa Eats: An Epicurean Delight, Zen Kitchen


I believe that there are only so many instances in ones life when one is able to partake in a truly gourmet meal. Good food, yes. Delicious food, often. But truly gourmet? I can count those times on one hand. Whether at the Courtyard in Ottawa's Byward Market in 2007, at Luke's Gastronomy in Kingston, Ontario in 2008, or at Lou Fassum in Plascassier, France, in 2009 (where a French restaurant, yes a French one, accomodated my vegan diet), those experiences were rare, but all a unique delight.

Tonight, I had my gastronomic experience of 2010 at none other than the Ottawan gem, Zen Kitchen. Walking into a gorgeous heritage house on Somerset Avenue, we were immediately struck by the place's vibrant energy. It was both peaceful and energetic aside, as warm as it is classy. In terms of their ethic, Zen Kitchen boasts that they are local, organic, and gourmet, but the added bonus? They're vegan. No more do vegans have to bemoan the idea that they are stuck with buffet-style restaurant experiences. Now, vegans too can know the delight that is truly a creative, artful, and sensual dining experience. And for all you non-vegans, Zen Kitchen is proof that veggies can be sexy.

Gourmet food is defined as "a cultural ideal associated with the culinary arts of fine food and drink, or haute cuisine, which is characterised by elaborate preparations and presentations of large meals of small, often quite rich courses" (source). Having dinner at Zen Kitchen tonight was just that, it encompassed the three Ts of every gourmet experience: taste, textures, and timing. While the first two seem obvious, the latter is just as important. The dishes came to us like a perfect symphony, with just the right amount of time between each course, with small but perfect amuse-bouches sparking the in-betweens. Timing enables guests to have just the right amount of conversation, with enough time between each dish to delight in what was just had while anticipating what lies ahead.

Now as both a environmentalist foodie and a locavore, I absolutely delighted in the local and organic slant of Zen Kitchen. We were originally attracted to the place when I found that not only was it local and organic, it also had raw options and went out of its way to talk about its environmental practices. Adding even more to the experience, we recognized the names of all the farms from which Zen Kitchen gets its produce, often because we know the farmers themselves through our weekly market visits. It was such fun to recognize the peppers from farmer X we just talked to yesterday, while knowing that the edamame must have come from farmer Y who is the only guy in the area who sells locally-grown edaname. Knowing your farmer and going to a locally-sourced restaurant makes your experience so much more real and rich, that it was almost as good as having everyone from your chef to your farmer just come and sit down for a meal with you.

But onto the food. While we made our selection, the meal opened with a delightfully spicy chipotle hummus:

(the bread will go to the canal duckies)

And was followed by our request for kale chips, which was artfully paired with the most flavorful and not-overly-salty kimchi I've ever had, fermented daikon (an easy favourite for me!), and flax crackers:


Paired with that was such a simple dish, but one that may easily have been my evening's favourite: two shisheido peppers from Waratah Downs Farm prepared in a balsamic reduction. I'm not exaggerating when I say that such a simple dish enveloped your palate like a toasty evening beside a fireplace. The flavors were smoky, warm, and sweet, yet letting the original taste of the pepper shine through. Also great was that I had been just about to pick up some of those very peppers from Waratah Downs yesterday morning, but didn't. I got to taste them anyway!


Next up, my appetizer, their perfectly-portioned Raw Land and Sea Salad, made up of root veggie spirals, cucumbers, sea veggies, in a yuzu-ginger dressing. For all those who might not know, yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. Now, you all know how much I love my sea veggies, so I did my best not to eat this all in one big mouthful. It's almost impossible for me and seaweed to go wrong, so that's about all I think I need to say about that one!



On his side, Andrew had the Somerset Salad, a selection of gourmet greens, fresh seasonal fruit, candied pecans (yum!), in apple dijon dressing. The lotus crackers were his personal highlight, and when I tasted it, I was reminded again of how amazing strawberries taste with greens.


My main course was the Raw Special, veggie noodles of carrot and zucchini with a fresh tomato marinara, garlic scape pesto, nut cheese, more kale chips (can there ever be too many?), and flax crackers over a bed of greens. I loved that they spiralized the veggies into angel hair rather than a thicker noodle, that blended perfectly with the sauce, and gave me that satisfying feeling of eating "traditional" pasta with an abundance of sauce. It was light, refreshing, and perfect.


Andrew made the very good decision to "raw splurge" and had their Thai-style Lemongrass Curry with seasonal veggies, edamame, and kaffir-scented jasmine rice. Looking at all the amazing dishes on the menu to pick from had I not stuck with raw, in all honesty, my first thought was "you got the curry??" But it was a fantastic decision. The kaffir was the flavor I loved most about this dish. It was so subtle but brought the most amazing aroma and full-bodied bang to this dish, that made it skyrocket from by "just another curry" to absolutely memorable. I also really appreciated that they didn't cook the veggies to death as is done in most curries, the heirloom carrots were embued with curry flavor but still had bite, and the coconut lemongrass flavor of the curry sauce itself was enough to make this worthy of just being a soup on its own.


And finally, dessert. Oh, dessert. How I loved thee. Of course, we opted to share their Raw Chocolate Mint and Coconut Parfait, berry compote, fresh fruit, and cutest ground cherry included. Now if you didn't think chocolate mousse was enough to rock my socks, the mint coconut layer was heavenly. It was the fluffiest, most mousse-like raw dessert I've ever had. While I guessed that it probably had some form of emulsifier like irish moss in it, but Dave, one of the restaurant's owners, told us that they've been able to evolve the recipe into coconut perfection sans soy lecithin or sea life. He said the secret was chilling and working the coconut and repeated the process a few times. Whatever it is they did though, it was outstanding. This time, I did pretty much lick the glass clean.


And finally, deliciously rich vegan chocolate truffles with our bill. Now that beats a breath mint or a fortune cookie any day.


I know I don't always give restaurant reviews such pride of place on my blog but this was truly a memorable experience that deserved this many words. We were told by our waitress that they always have a raw option on their dinner menu even when they change it over the seasons, so we will undoubtedly be back. Zen Kitchen was an amazing experience, and it makes all the more rewarding an experience when we know that when they close their doors tonight, all their waste will have been sorted for composting and recycling, while their food itself was grown and cooked with love and with a minimal impact on our planet.

So thanks to Dave for a fantastic evening and for answering our many questions. Thanks to our waitress for answering just a many questions and ensuring that we were having a great time. And thanks to our amazing chef whom we only got to catch a glimpse of as she briefly came out to see a table near ours for a fabulous and creative meal.

Up tomorrow: my successful adventures with Irish Moss!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Market: Canada-style



So I guess I made the false assumption about a week ago that buying food from a French farmers' market was cheaper than doing the same thing in Canada. Like most people who falsely claim that organic is more expensive than conventional, I got it in my head that food in Canada is more expensive than in the US or in Europe. Apparently, it is all in my head.

I was gladly proven wrong this morning, when Andrew and I headed for our weekly trip to the Main Farmers' Market. For only $10 more than my parents paid in France, we picked up 100% organic and local produce for a comparable amount of food. While we did get slightly more produce in France, but everything we bought here was certified organic, so to me, that definitely makes up the cost difference!

Cost aside, the awesome find of our day was this bad boy:
Yes that is a mushroom bigger than Andrew's face!

It's a Wine-Cap Stropharia grown from wood chips by Colin Samuels over at Jambican Studio Gardens. It's going to make a series of mean marinated mushroom steaks once I muster the nerve to chop it up. I got so much attention carrying it around the market today I felt like I one of those women with a really cute baby or walking my puppy or something... I don't feel like I can eat it just yet, I've grown attached to it...

Also on the menu, I'll be attempting my first use of irish moss by making Cafe Gratitude's I Am Apple Pie with some bargain organic apples I picked up the other day. That should be up tomorrow, so wish me luck! I hear irish moss can be pretty finicky, and well, gooey.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reunited with my Kitchen


After a rejuvenating trip on the Continent, I'm back and ready to start my new life in Canada for real this time! The way I've been eating over the last little while has totally justified my recent choice to adopt a more LFRV lifestyle (that being Low Fat Raw Vegan). That means a focus on living raw fruits and veggies, while treating nuts, seeds, and dehydrated goodies as goodies not every day foods. Having inadvertently followed a LFRV diet over the last little while, I've been feeling amazingly energized and happy in ways I haven't in quite some time!

However, that hasn't stopped me from getting right back into the game since my return. After all, I still have a
hungry monkey loving partner I take joy in feeding. First, as you may have noticed from my stay in Santorini, I've been most recently obsessed with the Santorini Salad. I loved it so much that I exported some of its main ingredients from Greece into our home. Already, I've made it twice with authentic black olives and caper leaves.

Like the original salad, I layered romaine, green cabbage, cukes, carrots, green peppers, then sprinkled the top with sundried tomatoes, caper leaves, and olives. All that mixed in with a dash of olive oil and pepper to taste (no need for salt because of the sundried tomatoes and olives). I think mine was pretty authentic tasting!



Next, I've also been trying out all sorts of breads since that's the thing Andrew always says he misses the most from our non-raw days. In honor of that, I most recently attempted a flax & sunflower bread inspired by Averie's Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Seed Crackers. Instead of making them sweet though, I added sundried tomato, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary, and ground the seeds finer than the original recipe recommended. The product was this delicious sandwich that Andrew feasted upon for dinner with some sliced veggies and fermented nut cheese. The sammie had raw hummus, marinated zucchini slices, romaine, and tomato.

Finally, I've been really keen on trying Miss Mer's Sprouted Rye Bread. Though we haven't tasted it yet, it's currently in the dehydrator and already looks and feels pretty authentic. On top of that, I had a lot of extra sprouted rye so decided to make something up to finish it. (Sidenote: Always remember that the yield of sprouted grain is much greater in volume than what you soaked, aka. 4 C of sprouted rye berries means you should sprout less than 4 C of dry rye berries.) So with the 3 1/2 C of sprouted rye berries I had leftover from my "mistake", I decided to make a sweeter muesli-styled bread, inspired by an old favourite, the Pita Break's Breakfast Muesli (my untold secret is that I think it tasted even better when it was getting slightly yeasty with age). Mine were made with:


Raw Muesli Bread
3 1/2 C sprouted rye berries
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp raw honey
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C raisins
1/4 C fresh apricot, chopped
1/8 C walnut, chopped
1/8 C hazelnut, chopped
2 dates
cinnamon, ginger, allspice, mace, cloves

1. Blend rye berries in your Vitamix (or high powered blender) until it has a doughy consistency. As Meredith notes, if you're using a blender, do it in small batches because your blender will overheat and go into thermal shock, and you wouldn't want to do that to your Vitamix, would you?
2. In a bowl, transfer rye dough and mix in remaining ingredients and mix well with hands.
3. Form into pitas or into a loaf about 1.5 inches thick and place on dehydrator tray at 110 for about 6 hours.

They're awesome! As always, my kitchen was by far one of the things I missed most. However, reunited once more, I know we will create beautiful things together as we always have.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cutting a Deal or Creating Social Bonds? It's your Choice

As a rule of thumb, and luxury goods aside, I think I can safely say that people generally like to get a deal when it comes to buying things. Clothes on sale for 30% off? Sure! A two-for-one special on a pint of strawberries? Send them my way! However, I find that our impulse and desire to save some cash comes with a certain insightful ethic, which is particularly brought to light when it comes to buying food from a person rather than from a corporation/big grocery chain.

We are social animals, and therefore generally like to strengthen the bonds we have with our fellow Man. I also like to think that we are all generally good people seeking to help each other out rather than screw each other over. There is something both charming but also very rewarding about shopping at a farmers market, through a CSA, or at a co-op or some place that let's us know where our food comes from. One such place is one where we can talk to the person who cultivate Nature's bounty, where we can go have a good conversation with other market shoppers or farmers about anything from how they cook a particular local veggie to the situation in Pakistan. It's a social setting, it's a friendly setting, and our primary goal often becomes making friends as much as it has to do with buying our groceries for the week.

On the flip side, there is something more cold and distant about the grocery store experience. Plenty of writers have described it better than me. Some people might still like it, sure, but what is so impersonal about those aisles of dead food, the buzz of the halogen lamps, and the bleary-eyed cashier scanning your "food" with usually little more conversation than a hello or perhaps a clever repartee of no more than 10 words on a good day. In a big grocery store, we aren't buying from John down the road, or Jane whose kid just got into college, we are buying from corporation X who buys mass amounts of produce from farmers Y and Z, who gets workers P and M to haul the produce onto the shelves every morning with little pride or care. Most of these people's faces we may never see, except perhaps via a CEO statement about a recent company merger, about their company going public, or something "newsworthy" in modern society's sense.

What am I getting at exactly? Well, here's a story:

A number of local farmers from my area in the South of France had the brilliant idea to pool their resources together and build a co-op building where they could all come sell their produce every day. It's entirely stocked and run by local farmers. At the end of each day, they all get their dues based on the day's sales on their particular goods. There's everything from local jams, artisan bread, fresh goat cheese, fruits and veggies, to local fish and duck there. It's a great concept. Rather than have to fight your way through the growing number of farmers markets that accept resellers (you know, the guys who show up selling produce from halfway across the country and sometimes even the world), you can just go there, know exactly who grew or raised your food and voila! It also gives these farmers a common space to work and sell their food, probably saving lots in air pollution by avoiding having every customer drive out to their individual farms to pick up individual food groups. On top of that, most of the farmers are either certified organic or pesticide-free. Everybody wins, including Mother Nature herself.

My parents and I went there to pick up some produce a few days ago, and we bought quite a bit of food. One of these food items was a 10 piece of duck for the two of them. However, on our way home, we realized they had forgotten to charge us for the duck at the common check-out. Now, at a Safeway, Walmart, hell, even at a Whole Foods, I think most people's reaction would have been a fist pump. Don't deny it, it's almost a proven fact. I've been that person, as have many other people who shall remain nameless who got a "free" bag of unscanned candy, a couple apples, or even a sack of very expensive walnuts scanned as a cheaper bulk item by mistake from your grocery store. I know you're out there, I've talk to you, I've read your blogs, you're out there, sometimes, I am you. However, in the context of this co-op, at a farmers market, and anywhere else where you are dealing with a human being, a small business whose ethics you stand for, and not a profit-driven company, our reaction is quite the opposite. In this case, my mother's immediate impulse was to say "We have to go back! We can't just take the farmers' money!"

Of course, we didn't just turn around and drive all the way back there (think of the gas!), but we did go back yesterday when we were picking up a few more things, explained the mistake and paid off the nice duck lady who didn't get her 10 the day before. Now we all know that farmers work really hard to make a living, so they are often the last people you want to screw over. And while this experience was definitely the event that shifted world gravity or change my life philosophy, it was indicative of something deeper. We are people, who desire to find a connection with others, live off the land we live on, and support the common good. When we deal with people, we act to increase everyone's welfare, not just our own. We lose sight of our humanity when we shop at faceless stores and chains, but we regain it when we make contact with those who make our food and produce our goods. This should be our world. These people and these types of ethics should populate it. But unfortunately, this is increasingly not so.

Isn't it obvious that we have a flawed system, in that it is dominated with corporations and multinationals increasingly stocked with self-checkouts and automated scanners rather than by small businesses staffed by actual people trying to do good? Whenever such an event like these happen, we find it pleasurable to have "screwed over" the corporation and saved a couple bucks but find it terrible to think that we forgot to pay our farmer at the market.

In conclusion, I want you to rethink your shopping habits if you haven't already. You will be happier to shop from people rather than from buildings, you will be more fulfilled to shop with people rather than with machines. Real farmers will be happier. The environment will happier. And 99% of the time, your tummy and your conscience will be happier too.

(P.S. The pictures of the produce above are the glorious amount of fresh, local, pesticide-free food you can get for under €20, about 30 $US, at such a place. Further proof, that a) eating an all organic fruits and veggies is NOT more expensive than a standard diet and b) that shopping at farmers markets and co-ops is NOT more expensive than shopping at big-named grocery stores. So there.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Traveling Raw and/or Vegan


A lot of vegans or raw foodies I know are often concerned that they won't have enough to eat when they go on any kind of trip. To make things easier, they bring their own food, make lots of pre-packed dehydrated goodies for the road, and make sure they'll be able to survive. I admit, I was like that too. On this trip, I decided I would come empty handed. No superfoods. No dehydrated goodies. Just me, my palate, and a sense of confidence that the Mediterranean is full of plenty of yummy fruits and veggies for my consumption. And it was.

As I mentioned in my last post, put out a pure intention and the Universe will provide. So unlike many reviews and travel accounts that you may find on google when you type "vegan travel in Greece" or something to that effect, here is my very positive account of how it can be done! (And I believe this can be applied anywhere in the world that has some form of vegetation!)

Breakies:

As you've seen, breakies have always been a nice bowl of fruit. Sweet energy to fuel my day!

Lunchies:

Usually skipped due to the heat, but if I did have something it would usually be a piece of fruit (fiiiiigs).

Dinners:

Plaka Restaurants, Athens:

I know it's touristy, I know you might get ripped off, but we highly enjoyed our time in the little plaka tavernas. One in particular, cleverly called the Taverna Plaka, was by far our favourite place to go, so much so that we went their twice over our five night stay in mainland Greece. The reason I personally preferred them is they were one of the few places to actually have the vegan version of an eggplant salad. The more upscale a place tries to be, the more they have a tendency to try to add dairy or meat to everything. This place had no pretensions, just really yummy traditional food.

Seaside Restaurant between Sounio and Athens (didn't catch the name):

Another tasty taverna, but by the sea with a gorgeous sunset. My parents had a grilled fish, and we shared these:

More of those infamous Giant Beans

Fried Zucchini
(which I did not partake in)

Eggplant Salad
(this one tasted more like baba ghanouj)

Meat-free Grape Leaves
(all you have to do is ask!)

Olive Oil Garlic Bread
(yuuuummmmy)

Yum. Beautiful place, beautiful food (and my beautiful camera to capture it all).

Diogenes Restaurant, Athens:

Frankly, I found this place kind of overrated. While it got lots of good reviews on places like Trip Advisor, the place itself was really pretty but the food was meh. My mom had a mean Moussaka though. But I was able to have something raw and diverse:

A Tasty but somewhat boring Season Salad

Santorini:

Oh Santorini, land of the sweetest grape tomatoes ever (they are a notorious speciality here, and are literally like candy) and 3,500 year old fava beans (talk about heirloom!). There were so many options for me here it was insane! Breakfast was always peaches or nectarines or figs. Lunch was either skipped or:

Lunch eaten on Thirassia (the island that used to be part of Santorini before that whole volcano incident):

Cucumber Tomato Salad
(always an option in Greece)

Dinners here were also usually salads. OF course the most amazing was the infamous Santorini Salad from Petros (the BEST restaurant in Santorini in my opinion, located in Oia and this is for vegans AND omnivores):

I realized this is called a Santorini salad because it has
their native grape tomatoes, and caper leaves
(apparently the only things that grow here)

The 3,500 year old Fava Bean puree
(soooo tasty)

A no-Feta Greek Salad
from Sunset Taverna,
where most people go to this restaurant to have 95 lobster spaghetti,
and where everyone flocks to well...
watch the sunset obviously, that looked like this:


So you see, it's quite easy to be vegan and/or raw when traveling. Your mind can be at rest, while your tummy rejoices!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Santorini Salad


As I mentioned, this trip's dinners have been an amazing array of vegan (though sometimes probably "in denial" vegan) dishes. My favourites has definitely been eggplant salad (the traditional non-mayo or yogurt kind, which I've unfortunately stumbled upon a couple times) and of course those giant beans I mentioned on Day 1. We also tried Greek garlic dip today and that may have been the tastiest garlic dish I've ever had (and I'm not a garlic person). However, my body has been asking me to return closer to 100% raw over the passed couple days so I've willingly obliged, returning to raw dinners (usually "Season Salads" made up of some variation of cucumber, tomato, and lettuce) to complement my wonderful raw fruit breakies.

Today, we woke up bright and early to leave behind the beauty of mainland Greece and all its ancient magic and end our trip with a bang on the gorgeous island of Santorini. I will blog more about the place once I have pics, but I think I've discovered the meal that outdid all raw meals here: the Santorini Salad. Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is a SALAD.

(though I didn't have a camera,
I found this pic which was actually taken at the exact restaurant I went to
by another tourist)

Though mine was a little different then his (and obviously had the feta kindly ommitted), it was literally probably about 4 if not 5 cups of salad. The bottom was a layer of fresh lettuce, followed by crispy cabbage, sliced green peppers, cucumber slices, caper leaves, sundried tomatoes and black olives for a perfect salty complement, and surrounded by the sweetest grape tomatoes ever. It was divine. I reached heaven! I'm full of raw veggies and have never been happier. If ever you go to Santorini, do go to the Petros Taverna. Obviously, you can get more than a salad there, but the atmosphere and all the food was amazing for everyone!

Again, when you come to a new place with an open mind. You will receive a rewarding and amazing experience in return. I knew I'd come here to try a variety of foods within my ethic, but as my body sought to return to raw foods, the Universe provided, and here was the salad beast of a lifetime! In short, for all those raw foodists or vegans who I read about on the internet who think a raw/vegan diet can't be done in Greece, think again! It's actually been super easy, just be nice, ask questions, and know that no matter what, you'll have an amazing time!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mysterious Melon


So many sights and sounds and tastes. This trip has been so beautiful, but of all things today is a quick food post. This:


is what we were told was called Peponi (though google just tells me that means "big melon" in Greek). They're specifically from this region and are shaped like a big yellow football (so a ribbed melon but with the texture of a squash on the outside) but with the sweet musky taste of sun-ripened cantaloupe but more. We picked one up from a street vendor and it was huge and delicious. If anyone knows what these actually are, please let me know, because they are yummy! See, who says being raw can't let you experience the delicacies of a region!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A is for...

Athina, Agora, Akropoli, and all the other beautiful sights and sounds of this gorgeous country (and Aaaamazing food). Unfortunately, my mom brought the wrong wires for the "good" camera, so I wasn't able to transfer the hundreds of gorgeous shots I took today upon getting back. This also means that this bloggie will have to be settle for pictures from the "lesser" camera for the rest of our trip to Greece. Because I didn't realize this until we got back tonight, all the delectable food pictures I also took today were all for naught.

However, instead of trying to recap my day in words, I'll just do it in pictures instead. All I can say is that my breath was taking anyway so many times today, and that was more than the 40°C heat we faced today...

First up, a yummy light breakie to fuel me in the morning (the only available food pic of the day):


Then, a lot of breathtaking this:

Theater of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis

And this:

Temple of Zeus from Acropolis

The one and only Parthenon

We had to come back to the hotel for a quick shower amongst other things, and lunch was had. It consisted in three beautiful juicy figs bought at the Plaka, along with a smuggled French peach, before we went back out for:

Some serious stoa action at the Ancient Agora

And the place that stole my heart away (and that I took 1,000 better pictures of... @$(*%)!!!!)

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounio by sunset

Dinner was had on the way from Sounio back to Athens at a lovely seaside restaurant were my parents shared a very lovely smelling grilled fish (while I picked at the garnish tomatoes) and were we shared last night's favourites: the infamous foodgasmo beans, stuffed grape leaves, more eggplant salad (that tasted more like baba ghanouj tonight than yesterday's), and fried zucchini (which my parents ended eating because I didn't know they would be battered in egg). I've vowed to try something new tomorrow night for culture's sake, despite the fact that I know I could eat these dishes over and over until we leave... I figured I could become an expert of Greek "giant beans" and eggplant salad, like I once was with European coffee and lemon ice cream.

Dessert of course was had in the Plaka where my dad and I shared another baklava (which was quite possibly even drippy-honey-goodness-er than last night's) and my favourite: kataifi.

Another variation of wheat and honey goodness

Tomorrow, we are waking up bright and early to go and consult the Oracle! Goodnight!