Best Eats: Greek Food Festival 2021 brought grilled meats and sweet treats

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Combination platter at the Greek Food Festival.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — We owe a lot to the Greeks.

Algebra, early dramatic theater, the use of levers. There’s a lot to be thankful for.

And no discussion of Greek contributions to humanity is complete without mentioning the food.

Grilled chicken with lemon, salads heavy on feta cheese and olives, pastries soaked in honey. The Greeks were as thoughtful in composing meals as they were in philosophical discussions.

That’s why I was practically salivating as I drove along Truxtun Avenue last weekend, following the plume of smoke to where a massive grill was cooking sausage and pork shish-kabob behind St. George Greek Orthodox Church. The Greek Food Festival was back, and I knew I was in for a great meal.

There are two items I never leave the festival without ordering: the combo platter and loukoumades (or loukomathes — I’ve come across both spellings).

The platter has a little bit of everything. There are meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce over rice, a few sausages and shish-kabobs, salad topped with feta and olives, and a thick hunk of bread. The plate sags with how much is piled on.

Loukoumades, fried dough topped with honey syrup and cinnamon.

Loukoumades are the most perfect form of doughnut holes I’ve come across. Served fresh out of the fryer, they’re drizzled with honey syrup. Add cinnamon to taste.

The serving is enough for two, but even when I’ve attended the festival solo the loukoumades never make it home.

Feta fries

You won’t find references to “feta fries” in the writings of Socrates, but this modern entry served at the festival is simple and delicious. Thin, crispy fries get sprinkled with olive oil and oregano then blanketed with feta. Best eaten with a fork, they serve as a nice interlude for those who have finished an entree but aren’t quite ready for dessert.

Pastries from the Greek Food Festival.

For sweets, organizers keep trays of baklava, spice cake and an array of cookies in an air-conditioned room. The galaktoboureko, which is like baklava filled with custard but missing the nuts, was fantastic, its filo shell crunching into the gently set custard with each bite.

Did I order too much? Sure. But it’s tough not to when there’s a year-long wait for more loukoumades.

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