Friday, July 10, 2009

charming chania

Time for another Greece post!

Chania, pronounced han-YAH, is an old Venetian port city on Crete. It is BEAUTIFUL!

We took another of our public bus trips (taking mass transit in Greece is such a fun, hilarious experience and I highly recommend it). Hopping off, our first stop was LUNCH! We made our way to the central market, which was DAZZLING!

Gorgeous bakeries…

chania market bakery

Butcher with awesome to-go kebabs, which I would be ALL OVER if I lived in Greece

chania market butcher

And, of course, dead animals on display.

chania market butcher 2

There were also dead rabbits… with their FURRY FEET STILL ATTACHED! It was gruesome and horrifying and I decided not to photograph it for my dear readers.

Olives of every shape and size…

chania market olives

CHEESE! There is so much good cheese on Crete, I really could’ve eaten exclusively cheese while we were there and been perfectly content.

chania market cheese

Every herb and spice imaginable, including premade mixes (tzaziki mix, moussaka mix, etc.)

chania market herbs

A fish market with a VERY HAPPY CAT nearby:

chania market fish counter and cat

SNAILS! The snails in Crete are famously delicious. They are the one Cretan specialty that I ended up NOT tasting :( Oh well, something to look forward to for next time.

chania market snails  

Thyme honey (also famous):

chania market honey

And finally, what I think is the appropriate quantity of coffee for an average home:

chania market coffee

Man I miss Greek coffee.

So we had worked up a healthy appetite wandering through this delicious market. There were a coupla little take out places built into the market, and this front display on this one took my fancy:

chania market lunch display

The inside was cute and minimal:

chania market lunch restaurant 

This was one of those great authentic places where we were the only people not speaking Greek. There were a bunch of old men arguing loudly. It was great!

Lunch began with, of course, heavenly psomi.

chania lunch bread

Ma and I split a kind of sampler plate of vegetables, which was the perfect amount of food and ohhh soooooo deliiiiiicious.

chania lunch plate 2

That is stuffed tomato; stuffed eggplant; and artichoke hearts, carrots, and peas in a lemon-dill sauce.

The eggplant was seriously droolworthy, filled with the delicious creamy Cretan notfeta cheese.

The surprise hit of the artichoke dish were the FRESH PEAS! I feel like in stew-type dishes frozen peas are often used to stretch a buck, but these were FRESH and PERFECT and really contributed to the dish.

Check out the beautiful interior of the tomato!

chania lunch plate tomato closeup

While eating, we had SO MUCH FUN watching the woman who worked at the restaurant BUTCHERING really really MASSIVE lamb chops on a cutting block at the front of the restaurant:

chania lunch girl slamming chops

Alas, this is only the tenderizing process. I was too slow with the camera to get her with the CLEAVER!

Anyway, it was a really fun lunch and a really great cultural experience!

Then we walked around Chania. Crikey it is a beautiful place.

LAUNDRY! That is where some lucky person gets to hang their ugly clothes. Good grief.


Beautiful harbor and boat


Beautiful old buildings


The harbor itself:


Many many pretty doors:


Old Venetian ruins, surrounded by palm trees…


It was a beautiful, scenic, but HOT walk. Imagine our delight when we saw this,  in the stream of restaurants along the harbor with vendors AGGRESSIVELY hawking their foodstuffs:


It was ice cream weather indeed. We got comfy in the adorable orange chairs:

chania ice cream restaurant

We had an ongoing love affair with sour cherry preserves in Greece, so imagine our delight upon seeing this:

chania ice cream description

And then they went ahead and brought us this (we shared, and it was MORE than enough!):

chania ice cream

Yum yum yum! The menu referred to “authentic” kaimaki ice cream, but then none of the waitstaff knew what it actually was, hahaha. After some research, we learned that the ice cream is made not, as they guessed, with goats milk, but with mastiha (sometimes called masticha), which is made from the resin of the the Chia variety of Pitacia lentiscus, an evergreen tree. Fascinating!

It was delicious and just a little tangy, which was wonderful with the sour cherry preserve which was sweet and also tangy. The temperature action was also great- hot weather, cold ice cream, room temperature cherry preserves. Fab!

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