Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: It’s All Greek!

September 19th, 2008 · 3 Comments

I was near Lantana today and stopped in at the Greek Grocer to get some olive oil – I love Greek olive oil’s flavor. I got to visit with the very friendly family who own the little grocery store that’s next door to the Greek Tasty Corner Bakery — mm. A sweet stop!

Maik Papatsis

Maik Papatsis

 

First, I chatted with Maik (say Mike) Papatsis, at the grocery. He’s so proud of all his products, imported from his homeland through New York. “We have nice cheeses — this is like no Publix feta cheese, but you know this! Here — try this Kasseri! It’s very good, right? Olives, coffee, cheeses, dolmathakia (stuffed grape leaves — and grape leaves for stuffing), beans, wines, including the popular retsina (tastes like pine sap in a glass), red lentils, and souvlaki and Apollo brand filo in the freezer.

Maik took me next door to meet his daughter’s father in law, and the baker — with over 33 years experience here (he’s going to demonstrate making filo for me tomorrow – check back, as I’ll share with you readers –it’s a fascinating dough that traditionally requires four people to help stretch it to it’s paper-thin consistency).

Nikolas Kirhatzis bakes filo a couple of times a week, for the many pastries in the shop, including the famous baklava. I got samples of their kataifi — shredded filo that looks like shredded wheat biscuits, rolled around an almond filling topped with imported pistachios (“The ones you get here are no good,” says Michael Kirhatzis, Nikolas’ son) along with the syrup

kataifi

kataifi

(boiled sugar, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon) drizzled over everything. The galaktoboureko is filo sandwiched with a thick custard cream layer, then again, drizzled with the syrup. Sausage and cheese pies are made daily, but they run out — so get there early. Michael’s favorite is the combo of it all: Ekmek kataifi — a layer of kataifi, with a layer of the custard cream, almonds, more filo, and topped with syrup, whipped cream and pistachios. “It’s the best,” Michael says.

 

Nikolas Kirhatzis

Nikolas Kirhatzis

The family is from the island of Rhodes off the Greek coast. “It’s called the ‘Sunshine Island’ like Florida is the Sunshine State,” Nikolas says, “The sun shines all the time everywhere! It’s so beautiful there.” The island has a number of dairies, vineyards  and a numer of olive orchards.

They’re very proud of their businesses and rightly so — they’re working hard to make them a success. Stop in: And tell them you read about them here.

Greek Grocer and Greek Tasty Corner

  •   640-650 S. Dixie Highway, Lantana
  •   (561) 585-2626 (grocery); (561) 540-4009 (bakery)

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Sep 20, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Great story… sure wish we could go back to the ‘good ole’ days’ when the foods were fresh, authentic and sold by Mom & Pop who take care of their customers and pride in their every product.

    I love many things Greek, especially baklava! Please learn how to stretch the dough so that you can make me a big batch of this wonderful treat.

  • 2 aspilos // Sep 21, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I knew about the Greek reaturant the ‘Happy or Friendly’ Greek, (they were both). Jan told me about the bakery and grocery store, so i had to check them out. I haven’t had Spanakopita (spinach pie) or Tiropita( cheese pie) like my Grandmother used to make. We bouth one of each and they were just like YiaYia (grandmother ) used to make. I got Feta,Kalamata Olives, Pita bread, and acouple of beers and we feasted. I have always thought the mom and pop places were the best. They still are.

  • 3 Jan Norris // Sep 21, 2008 at 10:43 am

    There you have it from Greek friend! I went back and photographed them making filo from scratch. Watch for that story soon. I also ate one of their spinach pies — I’ll post a pix of that big, fat beauty, too. It was the best spanakopita I’ve ever had. I’m picky about it…but it’s so fresh-tasting, and delicious, I nearly ate the wrapper! I can’t wait to try the meat pies.

    I’m serious, though — they do run out; when I asked about leftovers, they said they rarely have any, but they become “dinner” at home, or they have a group of homeless they take care of with them.
    Great, fine people here. Go – eat!

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