live blog: eating at windmills

What is there to do after church but eat?! Wandering downhill I noticed a few scattered cafe tables outside a windmill overlooking the sea. Thinking it might be the perfect spot to while away the sunset with a snack and a Metaxa – the savory Greek brandy that has quickly become a part of my evening routine – I was surprised to discover a makeshift restaurant behind the crumbling facade. The menu looked inviting, peppered with a handful of distinctive regional dishes, so I ordered a pitcher of wine and settled down for a somewhat breezy early evening dinner: fresh seagreen salad, briny and crisp and unlike anything I have ever tasted; dolmades and zucchini blossoms stuffed with rice; pan-fried lamb meatballs, or keftedes, with a healthy sprinkle of lemon juice; makarounes, the local pasta, served simply with fried onions and a few grates of a hard ewe’s milk cheese, was a minor miracle; and for dessert, loukamades, Greece’s answer to the beignet, drizzled in aromatic wildflower honey. Maybe it was all the sea air, maybe it was the atmosphere, or maybe there was some unexplained emotional connection I was having with eating food so basic and so closely connected to this island, this village even, but I devoured absolutely everything, as if I was consuming a culture and not just a meal. What else does it say that I left the taverna not feeling remotely full?

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the not-so-secret secrets of in-n-out

Despite the fan-boy level of devotion I tend to accord In-n-Out Burger when I’m out west (in a world where food is often over-processed, prepackaged and frozen, In-n-Out continues to make everything the old-fashioned way: by hand) it was only recently that I discovered the chain has a secret menu coveted by those in the know. Suddenly there’s a whole new grail: mustard-grilled 4×4’s, grilled cheese, lettuce-wrapped patties, and – sweet, holy jesus – french fries, “animal-style.” Enveloped in cheese, smothered in fried onions, the piece de resistance is a healthy dousing of thousand island dressing. Greasy, creamy, crunchy, salty, it won’t do the waistline any favors – but oh, hosanna, it tastes so good on the way down.

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