yesterday i played hooky. went out to bergen county to visit my old work buddy, and see her new house. she is a great cook and an avid and conscious eater (by the way, not a bad way to be about most things: avid and conscious, an odd but good match). she brought me to a small, unimpressive looking greek spot called "greek village," inhabited by male servers in polyester black vests and bowties. this in a snack joint with linoleum floors--so odd.
we ordered a platter of fried eggplant, and two greek salads with grilled chicken. this seemed like a good plan since a) i like eggplant. i like it fried, i like it roasted, i like it pureed, i like it in pasta, i like it in stirfries, i like it any old way. even though i think my topographic tongue is sometimes made crazy by its acidity. b) i like greek salad. i like a greek salad even when it's a bad greek salad.
i'll give away the ending and let you know that this was a great greek salad. maybe the best ever.
the eggplant was terrific: thin half moons lightly battered and fried, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and served with a mound of garlic dip. totally addictive.
the "small" greek salads were totally traditional, no surprises, except that in this crap-ass looking joint, every single ingredient was fresh and perfectly prepared.
not iceberg, thank goodness, but some kind of green leaf lettuce
fresh plum tomatoes, in half moons
small slices of crisp cucumber
paper think slices of red onion
thin sliced, small pieces of green bell pepper
terrific (pit in) kalamata olives
mild crumbled feta
a red wine vinegar dressing
a few stuffed grape leaves
a few of those pickled hot peppers that i pick off and leave on the side
and some honest-to-goodness chicken breast strips that had been grilled ON A GRILL
(with charred corners and all of the good things that come from true grilling)
put me in the mood to make greek salads all summer long. and a reminder that jersey has some surprises. and if anyone knows how to find the good food there, it's my buddy c.