Out of the blue at some point today, a thought bubble popped up in my head. I wanted a stuffed bell pepper. Real bad. Although they are one of the OG Pinterest recipes, and seem almost too easy to cook, I’d never attempted them myself. The last time I’d had this dish was on my honeymoon in Greece. The Greeks can get down with stuffed peppers and tomatoes, usually filled with rice, onions and the like. Here are a few incredible, yet simple things we ate (and drank) in Athens and the islands we visited. Maybe they might inspire you to cook… or to travel!
The title image of this post is a little misleading…I realized I didn’t take many food photos while we were in Athens! Most of my pictures were of the scenery. This beer was one of the MOST DELICIOUS I’ve ever had. Was it because I was really thirsty? Was it because I liked the aesthetic of the blue bottle? Does it actually matter? I spent the rest of our vacation seeking out another 56 Isles beer and never came across it.
My husband was researching where to find a healthy breakfast near our hotel in Athens, and found Philos. I was so in awe over the decor – and so hungry – that I forgot to take photos of our meal. I think Wolfe had eggs benedict and I had a greek yogurt bowl situation. Now I remember! My bowl came with berries, some granola and the biggest pool of honey I’ve ever encountered. ‘There’s no way I will eat all this honey,’ I exclaimed. Then I tasted it, and before I knew it the whole bowl, honey pool included, disappeared. I really wanted to try Philos again for dinner, but we ran out of time!
Next on our itinerary was the island of Naxos. Its the largest of the Cyclades islands and reaffirmed what I imagined Greek Island life to be. The beaches are beautiful. The people are friendly. The food is LITERALLY AMAZING.
We stayed at the cutest place in Naxos, the Nastasia Village Hotel; I highly recommend it! Run by a staff of badass women, chef included, would prepare a serious spread for breakfast that included fresh eggs from the island. The big three fresh foods on Naxos are eggs, cheese, and honey. We indulged a lot on the big three during our stay here, but didn’t feel that guilty about it because it was all so fresh. The chef at our hotel also prepared homemade cookies, because what is vacation without cookies for breakfast. Our personal favorite were traditional Greek christmas cookies that I lovingly called Crack Cookies, but later learned are called Melomakarona. We limited ourselves to two…or three…a morning (they’re small!!) and the one time I grabbed my phone to take a photo, the rest of the guests had swooped them up! I have yet to try and recreate these, but here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try.
Much like the honey pool, when presented with this greek salad I thought there’s no way I would eat that whole block of feta. I don’t know why I doubt my eating abilities. Nearly every greek salad I ordered was topped with capers, another Mediterranean masterpiece.
One night we started chatting with another couple who had been visiting Naxos since they were kids. They recommended Vlassis Family Restaurant at Plaka Beach, a quick bus or cab ride from our hotel. It did NOT disappoint!
Swordfish and salad. Fresh, lemony, buttery, olive-oily, swordfish. I watched the man sear fish and meat at a large grill outside, overlooking the ocean. That guy has a good gig. Wolfe kept ordering meat, which isn’t that pretty to photograph. I stuck with vegetables and fish for protein for almost the entire trip.
During our time in Naxos we went to the Archaeological Museum, which was totally awesome, and one of my favorite parts of the trip. Nearby there was a rooftop cafe where we enjoyed some Voreia beer, another delicious find!
Lots of people on Naxos would ask where the next stop on our trip was. When we said Tinos, their immediate response was. “Ahhhhh. Real Greece.” We rented a car for this island, which I would definitely recommend. (This is where I mention my husband planned the entire trip, and I was no help at all. Apparently the answer to the question ‘which islands do you want to visit’ is not simply ‘the Greek ones.’) We covered a lot of ground in a few days and drove nearly the entire island, and stopped at one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, Kolybithra. While Wolfe rented a surfboard and caught some waves, I sat on the beach and caught some rays, as you do.
After the beach we drove up the mountain and ate some stuffed peppers. Full circle, huh?
Obligatory gelato pic. Along with eggs, cheese, and honey we consumed a healthy amount of gelato. #NOREGRETS