Wednesday, June 24, 2009

buffet bonanza

The trip to Greece was unusual for its plethora of hotel buffets.

Our hotel in Crete had a particularly dazzling JAM BAR!crete jam bar

It was a riot, watching all the French and German people in our hotel go crazy on the carbs. Skinny, skinny, skinny women grabbing literally 6 pieces of bread at one time, and, just for good measure, a few croissants and smearing them with jammity jam.

Seriously, America, they are thin and we are not! The carb phobia is just not working!

Here’s what my typical Crete buffet breakfast looked like:

crete breakfast buffet

Whole grain toast (whole grains were few and far between, which is fine and what I expected, but I was happy to get some in to start my day) with seriously yum apricot preserves; dates (THE BEST EVER! They had the pits in but SO WHAT?! Mmmm they were great); oranges (there were orange trees all over Crete. These were probably from literally down the street. You cannot get more local); a nice hard boiled egg; and my usual yogurt bowl, in which I’d typically combine (full fat, thus the smaller portions) plain and cherry yogurt, a bit of milk, and bran twig cereal. DELISH! To drink, grapefruit juice because I neeeever drink juice at home but it’s a fun indulgence on vacation, and fabbbbb coffee. I did not drink any bad coffee, from the Lufthansa flight over to anywhere else in the country. It was so good I just usually drank it black. Why dilute the flavor?

Our hotel in Athens also had a nice breakfast buffet. Can we tell I have a problem narrowing down selections?

divani breakfast

Starting at the top, that’s HEAVENLY dried figs, a wee taste of pastry just for fun, beautiful fresh fruit (honeydew, orange, strawberry, and what they call carpusi- greatest word ever!- watermelon), scrambled eggies, pickled red pepper (SO GOOD!), some almonds, mushrooms, and whole wheat bread. One of those lil pieces is a “rusk”, which are basically toasts they make out of old bread, topped with yummmy goat cheese. The other is whole wheat bread topped with wunnerful sour cherry jam. Finally, a wee bit more yogurt, topped with honey.

I wouldn’t necessarily FINISH these buffet plates, but I’d sure load ‘em up!

Here’s breakfast on my last day in Greece, when we stopped in Athens just for one night after Crete. Obviously I’d been indulging for awhile, so breakfast was a little calmer:

divani breakfast buffet 2

Carpusi, honeydew, bread with sour cherry preserve, and a wee bit more eggs and shrooms.

I’d also typically end up going back for something along the lines of this:

divani breakfast buffet 2 fruit

THE FRESH FRUIT IS JUST SO PERFECT! That’s nectarine, honeydew, and CARPUSI! Along with wee tastes of rice pudding (which yes, they did have at breakfast x_x) and yogurt.

Onto the dinner buffet in Crete. Initially I thought this would be kind of lame, and it really was not our intention to stay at the same place for dinner every night, but it was included in the hotel. However, it turned out to be seriously convenient. We’d go out all day, on our various adventures, and come back tired and sweaty and lazy, and there’d be dinner right there! The hotel also made a real effort to include Cretan style specialties, so I was happy to have it.

crete buffet dinner

Here’s a nice lookin’ plate of, starting from the top, Cretan style zucchini in a stew with tomatoes (vair nice), rice pilaf, stuffed grape leaves (again, aeons better than any in America), taters, a wee sliver of cheese (Crete is famed for its cheese, and rightfully so. IT’S REALLY GOOD! There was one that was like a Gruyere, shown here, and another that’s like an un-salty feta that’s also out of this world), lemon and fish, along with some tzaziki, which I was glad I got because the fish was on the dry side, and of course, more carpusi!

Here’s another:

crete buffet dinner night 2

Fresh Cretan beans (!); BEETS! THAT WERE SO AMAZING AND HEAVENLY! Just roasted with TONS of garlic and herbs and then chilled; vair tasty rice pilaf with raisins and walnuts and herbs; calamari; chickpea and tomato stew in the middle; a bit more fish (this time not too dry at all but unfortunately not totally devoid of bones).

The buffet was very adorably decorated with vegetable art:

crete veg sculptures


For temptation purposes, the Crete buffet also featured this evil/amazing thing:

crete gelato bar

Ice cream bar! It may have even been gelato, actually, because it was suspiciously LUSCIOUS!

Here’s what a bowl of mine might look like:

crete buffet dessert

Honeydew, pistachio gelato (droooooooooooooooooooool), and SOUR CHERRY PRESERVES ON TOP! I’m going to do a whole separate ode to sour cherry preserves, but suffice it to say they’re the love of my life.


Mrs. LC said...

Oh my gosh I have to get my booty to Crete!! Amazingness, I think I was literally salivating over some of those pictures. ;)

Seriously - I have always wanted to go to Greece, I'm jealous. :)

Olga said...

What a super cute idea on the jam jar! It'd be fun to replicate for a brunch party!