Friday, August 20, 2010

Dance Like A Zorba: Getting in Touch With Your Inner Greek

Greek dance is a very old tradition still very much alive all over the world and especially in Greek communities. Traditional Greek dancing is primarily a social function. It brings the community together at key points of the year, such as Easter, the grape harvest or patronal festivals; and at key points in the lives of individuals and families, such as weddings.

There are over 4000 traditional dances that come from all regions of Greece but the one that has probably had the largest impact on pop culture in the US is the Zorba dance - made famous by the 1964 Oscar nominated classic movie, The Greek Zorba. The trademark song of Greece, “Zorba’s Dance”, has been used at Yankee Stadium for years to incite crowd participation during a potential rally by the home team and is commonly played and danced to worldwide – not to mention in Greek tavernas.

So, if you’re looking for a way to get out of your comfort zone, check out the video below and see how it’s done. Then download the Zorba dance music to your iPod, stop by the best Greek restaurant in Dallas (Ziziki's and Ziziki's Taverna - of course) for a little 'culinary inspiration' and OPA! – you’re in touch with your inner Greek!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feta - A Festival for the Mouth

There is nothing like the first bite of a piece of tangy, salty feta cheese to make your whole mouth come alive. Made from the milk of sheep or goat, Feta could be considered the national cheese of Greece if there was one. It's certainly a staple of Ziziki's award winning Greek cuisine.

If you love the taste then you’ll love it’s versatility – feta is not only used as a table cheese, it’s excellent in salads (Greek salad), pastries, baking (notably in the popular phyllo-based dishes spanakopita ("spinach pie") and tyropita ("cheese pie") and combined with olive oil and vegetables. It can also be served cooked or grilled, as part of a sandwich or as a salty alternative to other cheeses in a variety of dishes.

The Greek word "feta" comes from the Italian word fetta ("slice"). It was introduced into the Greek language in the 17th century. Although similar white brined cheeses called “feta” are found in the eastern Mediterranean and around the Black Sea, they are often made partly or wholly of cow's milk. Since 2002, feta has been a protected designation of origin product. According to the relevant EU legislation, only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in some areas of Greece (mainland and the island of Lesvos), and made from sheep's milk, or from a mixture of sheep's and goats’ milk (up to 30%) of the same area, may bear the name "feta".

Go Greece!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

During these scorching dog days of summer, we are all looking for ways to cool off and beat the Texas heat. A visit to one of the Zizikis Dallas area restaurants (or Zizikis Taverna in Addison) for their amazing happy hour will certainly cool you off. All locations have become Dallas happy hour hotspots Monday – Friday, from 4 to 6 pm, with extra-special drink prices and $5 for select appetizers!

Their specialty drinks are only $7 and some of the best I’ve ever tasted. My favorite, the Ziziki Sunkiss, is bursting with the wonderful summer flavor of peaches. The Ziziki’s Cosmo will get any party started and the Mojito is delicious and offered in pomegranate or mango flavor for a different twist. The martinis are marvelous and come in pomegranate, lemondrop – and every girls favorite – chocolate.

Certainly, if the Texan in you is craving a margarita – Ziziki’s has those, too. For those of you watching your waistline, they offer the Skinny Margarita. This only has 100 calories – but is big on flavor.

No happy hour is complete without some amazing appetizers and Zizikis does not disappoint. The Ziziki bread, with its fresh cheese and herbs, is served with Ziziki sauce and is spectacular. Everyone’s favorite, Artichoke dip with pita, is delightful. Some other Greek favorites, Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice), Spanakopita (fillo dough stuffed with creamy spinach, sweet onions and Feta) and Mediterranean Bread (pita topped with Feta, tomatoes, olive oil and basil) are all fabulous. They are all made with only the finest and freshest ingredients and are all offered during happy hour at the special price of $5.

So gather up your co-workers or meet your friends and loved ones at Zizikis for Happy Hour. The drinks are delicious, the food is amazing and the atmosphere is fun and inviting. Euphrosyne, the Greek goddess of good cheer, joy, mirth and merriment, will be waiting.