Experience Greek culture in Santa Fe

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The 16th Annual Santa Fe Greek Festival, hosted by the St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church, has new dates and a new and improved menu for 2013. This year’s festival is 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 21-22, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Experience Greek culture, food, pastries, music, dancing and beer and wine too.
 “We have recruited many Santa Fe restaurant owners and chefs who are of Greek descent to create a new menu for the festival this year including our priest, Father Dimitrios Pappas, whose family owned a Greek restaurant in Denver for many years called, “Chef Zorba’s,” Violet Santikos said, advertising chair for this year’s festival. “Father Dimitri is a great Greek chef and will be baking the kourambiedes and melomakarona cookies for this year’s festival!” Santikos added.
This year’s new a la carte menu and the restaurant owners involved are as follows: Leonardo Razatos of the Plaza Café Southside will be preparing Souvlaki (Shish-Kabob) with marinated pork grilled and served on fresh pita bread and topped with tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce. Leonardo will also be serving authentic Gyros (beef and lamb) on the spit with fresh pita bread and tomatoes, onion and tzatziki sauce, as well as Greek Fries that are seasoned with herbs, oregano and feta and myzithra cheese. Dean Alexis of Upper Crust Pizza and Tortilla Flats will be providing Greek Calzone filled with feta cheese, Greek olives, spinach, onions and seasoned with oregano, as well as a Greek salad.
Alexis will also be contributing Greek-style Chicken that is oven roasted and marinated with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, sage, thyme, lemon juice and olive oil, as well as Greek-style rice.
Ignatios Patsalis of Tomasita’s will contribute Spanakopita (a filo pastry dough triangle filled with spinach and feta cheese) and Pastitsio (the Greek version of lasagna with penne noodles, sautéed meat, tomato sauce, parsley, salt, pepper and a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg — topped with a creamy béchamel sauce). Ziggy Rzig of the Pyramid Cafe will round us out with Fried Calamari (deep fried squid breaded and seasoned and served with a sauce), and a vegetarian delight which will be a plate with Baba Ganoush, hummus, tabouli, dolmades and a warm pita bread.
“We will definitely have our delicious Greek pastries available including, Baklava, Kourambiedes (powdered sugar cookies), Melomakarona (honey cookies with walnuts), Koulourakia (Greek twist cookies — great to dunk in coffee) and Loukoumades (fluffy fried balls of dough coated with a light honey sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon), as well as our Greek Coffee.” added Santikos.
New Mexico’s Greek band, The Aegean Sounds, will be serenading festival attendees and traditional Greek Folk Dancers will be performing on Friday and Saturday including Father Dimitri.
“Greek Agora” (Greek Import Store) will be selling Greek gift items, as well as canned and bottled Greek foods throughout the festival. There will be several raffle prizes where you can buy a ticket to win too.
The 16th Annual Santa Fe Greek Festival will take place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center at 201 W. Marcy Street. Admission is $3 and free for children under 12. All food and drink tickets can be purchased at the festival. For more information about the Santa Fe Greek Festival, contact Violet Santikos at 577-4742, or visit the website at santafegreekfestival.com.