We went to a Greek cafe last Wednesday evening, before church. This particular little cafe opened recently, although the owner (he's Greek, of course) has operated, for a long time, some non-Greek delis around town. This cafe, though, must be his and his family's favorite. We've eaten there twice now, and each time it was as if we were invited guests at a family get-together. On Wednesday, for example, there must have been 12 or 15 family members there, some working, others sitting at tables and talking or eating. Greek music was playing, and we felt as if we were in a scene straight out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
So we ate our gyros, and then decided to try a dessert. Dan went with baklava, but I wanted to be adventurous. I talked with the owner about the selections he had in his display case. He recommended one made, of all things, from cream of wheat. He said it was his mother's own recipe and was "to die for." I asked about another tray of desserts. They were little round balls, and very white. He told me that his mother makes them for the shop, and that they are a citrus flavored cookie with LOTS of powdered sugar on the outside (called Kourabiethes). He said most people who eat them for the first time accidentally inhale the powdered sugar and have a choking fit. For that reason, he has nicknamed them "Death Cookies." I decided to pass on the Death Cookies, and try the dessert made from cream of wheat. I had to ask him to pronounce it several times (mostly because it sounded so beautiful, rolling off his tongue), but by the time I got home, I had forgotten the name again. I searched the Internet to find it: Galaktoboureko! (You have to go to the link and look at it. It's just a beautiful dessert. I notice this recipe uses semolina flour instead of cream of wheat, but it looks the same to me.) It was a custardy, lemon flavored dessert, with a top and bottom crust of phyllo. I had to agree, it was "to die for." I think I may have to try to make some, myself, sometime.
As we were savoring our baklava and galaktoboureko, the owner came to our table with a small plate of some of his Death Cookies. He wanted us to try them. Knowing their reputation, we were very careful not to inhale as we tasted. They were lovely cookies, sort of like a Mexican wedding cookie, but with a hint of citrus and a melt-in-the-mouth delicacy.
The food was good, but the warm hospitality is what won me over. I'm sure we'll be returning customers.