Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bits & Morsels

The bar at Persephone, with ouzo front and center.

Yamas! This past Monday night I went to a new Greek restaurant called Persephone, located at 115 East 60th street. Unlike most Greek restaurants that have popped up recently (which tend to be a bit on the trendy and experimental side), the food at Persephone is classic straightforward Greek.

Whenever I dine at a Greek restaurant, I order the usual assortment of spreads, i.e. Tzatziki, Tarama (cod roe), and Melitzanosalata (grilled eggplant). My favorite spread from this selection was the Tzatziki, which is a cool blend of yogurt, garlic, cucumber and dill. I could make a whole meal out of Tzatziki and warm pita. I also tried the salt cod fritters, which were served with a garlicky dipping sauce.
General manager Stamati treats us to an ouzo margarita.
When I think of Greek food I always picture simply prepared foods and clean flavors. My main course of grilled branzino with broccoli was just that, simple and delicious. Persephone offers a variety of ouzo drinks and so I had to try an ouzo margarita. Ouzo is a smooth anise-flavored liqueur that is very popular in Greece.

I am not much of a drinker but I love the anise/licorice flavor, and the cocktail (or was it cocktails) at Persephone was very good. I was surprised at how homey the restaurant felt for only being open for two months. I ran into three of my neighbors(!) while I was there, and the general consensus was that it's the perfect neighborhood taverna.
Outside and inside Persephone.
Clockwise from top left: A plate of warm pita; Keftedes Saltsa aka mediterranean spiced meatballs with tomato and strained yogurt; Kroketes Bakalao or salt cod fritters; Assorted greek desserts including Baklava (center); Tzatziki, Tarama, and Melitzanosalata (grilled eggplant spread).
Grilled Branzino.
Al Copeland, The founder of Popeyes Chicken, passed away this past Sunday from a malignant tumor at age 64. He grew up in New Orleans and used a Cajun spice mix on his chicken, which is what made it stand out. He was inspired by the success of KFC to open his own fast food fried chicken restaurant. [NY Daily News]

Got camel milk? There is a small but growing demand for Caravane, a cheese made from camel’s milk. This week Caravane became available in some New York stores such as Zabar’s and Sahadi’s. The cheese, made in Mauritania, is rich in iron and other vitamins. Besides the health benefits it offers, Caravane is similar to Brie in flavor. [The New York Times]
Al Dente Taste Test: Vitamin Enhanced Water.
Here are the results of a taste test of the latest crop of vitamin-enhanced waters that seem to be springing up everywhere. Not all vitamins waters are healthy. It’s misleading to think of them as waters. Unlike water, some of these are loaded with sugar and in caloric content, so read the label before you drink up. My favorite vitamin water is by Glaceau and I was surprised to learn it has 150 calories. I should just stick to Diet Coke! [Al Dente]

Happy 100 anniversary to Sunkist Oranges.
Sunkist is one of the most recognized food brands in the world. Their citrus is always consistently fresh and good. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Sunkist is holding a citrus themed “Sunkist Smile” photo competition. You can enter the contest through May 15, 2008 on [Sunkist]

Till we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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