Sunday, October 05, 2008

It's All Greek to Me, Calgary

Originally uploaded by Suzi Edwards
So who woulda thunk it? The best baklava in the world is available in Calgary.

There's this place called Kalamata Grocery Store, located conveniently next to the Galaxie Diner, so you can have your breakfast and then stock up on deliciousness for the week ahead. The rose and pistachio baklava is, without doubt, the best I have eaten. The pastry is crackly-light, just shattering as you a take a bite, before the rosewater and syrup-soaked lower layers add more heft and luciousness to the mouthful. The pistachios are sweet, and the syrup not too over-powering. One mouthful will transport you to your Grecian island of choice (Mykonos, in my case) and suddenly your world is filled with the smell of oregano-rich roasting lamb, white church roof-tops against a brilliant blue sky and the smell of wet leather and poppers (in my case. You might have a different experience of Greece). Funny how the memory does that to you.

Kalamata also stocks the most amazing pressed Greek yogurt, which sells out fast, so it's always worth asking when they're getting some in next. I used mine to make tzatiki, which was rich, garlicky, cool and minty, all at the same time.

They also stock some amazing barrel aged feta, which I'll go into raptures over some other time.

I'm not sure if Kensington's Broken Plate restaurant uses any of Kalamata's ingredients, but it's a not bad place for a midweek supper. Portions are huge, and the bread amazingly moreish, so you probably don't want to do what we did, and order a couple of dips, some zucchini fritters, soup and salad. Actually, you can probably forgo the salad all together, for it was the biggest let down of the meal, with less than perfect tomatoes and a sort of chemically salad dressing. Don't pass by the fritters though. They are crisp, yet gooey mounds of zucchini, packed with flavour although served with some questionable zig-zags of beet puree. Just dip them in the tzatiki and enjoy.

Kalamata Grocery Store is at 1421 11 Street Southwest, Calgary.
The Broken Plate is at 302 10th Street N.W., Calgary

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