The Twin Cities Daily Planet had a dinner on Wednesday at Gardens of Salonica in Northeast Minneapolis. They’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I was invited as one of the writers to attend this four-course feast. Yes, a feast! I had recently been dining with friends at Eat Street Social (so good) and @katiesisneros was discussing feasts. She imagined it as a huge table covered with food where she could reach in and grab some kind of animal leg and bite it. So that’s what I had in mind when I headed to Gardens of Salonica for the feast.
It wasn’t exactly that, but it sure was quite a meal. There was a wine pairing with each of the four courses, covering various regions in Greece. (Gardens of Salonica serves only Greek wines, of which it offers a larger selection than any other restaurant in the Midwest.) Twin Cities Media Alliance board members and staff from the Twin Cities Daily Planet, as well as writers, were among the group feasters; and the owner-chef Anna Christoforides gave us an explanation of each course and each wine.
I met a group of people who were from Southeast Publications who have started working with the Twin Cities Daily Planet on University District online news. They kindly offered me a Greek-style hat to block out the sun, since I spent the first half of dinner squinting. I also met Clarence White—one of the Twin Cities Media Alliance neighborhood outreach coordinators—and his son, and had a good conversation about okra, porridge, and grits. I still refuse to eat all but the latter.
Another neighborhood outreach coordinator, @marcoscopic, tweeted at me that he could see my head from his seat, so that was neat. It’s always great to meet new people, and the feasters were all cool people who want to support a really rad publication. Along with the heaping plates of Greek food there was good conversation and a chance to meet some of those people who I’ve e-mailed but never met face-to-face. I got to discuss my column with a few people and let them know where to look for it if they’ve yet to check it out.
Overall, it was a really nice evening and full of pretty great Greek food. Check out Gardens of Salonica and be sure to attend one of these TCDP dinners sometime. Also, go to Greece. I’m now daydreaming of Santorini pretty constantly and wondering when I can get back there. And here’s the menu, so you can drool for a bit.
Saganaki Angnares (baked artichoke hearts)
Hortopita: wild, mixed greens in fillo
Tsoureki (traditional paschal bread)
Yaourtopita tis Dramas: traditional yogurt baked in vine leaves
Third Course (entrees)
Kota Maidano (braised chicken with flat parsley in lemon sauce)
Arni Stamnas (oven braised lamb with vegetables)
Fourth Course (dessert)
Boughatsa krema w/fresh berries
Photo by Jay Gabler