HOW HAVE I NEVER BEEN TO ASTORIA BEFORE???
Today Nikitas and I spent the day in Astoria and it was like spending a day in Greece--so many Greek shops and restaurants and people speaking Greek! I had frappe and bougatsa and gigantes and xtapodi and our waiters and waitresses and all spoke Greek and it was the best!
Nikitas supports a soccer team called AEK (ask him the story of his tattoo), and he saw a flier that there was going to be a book signing involving AEK and all its paraphernalia. He was super excited about it, so we decided to stick around until it started at 7. At that time it was 3:15pm. I suggested eating dinner at 4pm (we'd only had the frappe and some sweets until this point), and surely we could stretch a Greek meal out for 2.5 hours...right?
YES. YES WE COULD. And we did.
We went to Kyklades, which my friend Demetri said was the best Greek restaurant in Astoria.
I loved it immediately. We sat outside on the patio--side note: the weather was beautiful--and ordered six plates of food* and a bottle of wine.
*technically seven, but the waiter forgot our lemon potatoes
This is me in my happy place:
Evidently we were something of a spectacle. I think it had to do with our location on the patio, but it became a joke to us how many people would stare at our food. We thought that we ought to be paid for our publicity. The line went from 2-5 people to a block full of people, and passersby even admired the plates, particularly the gigantes . We admitted that it was not abnormal portion size--it was designed to be shared among a table of 6-10 people. The dolmades, too, which came out as a plate of 12 instead of the normal 6.
We ate it all. But it took us the entire 2.5 hours, which included the free dessert they gave us (galaktobouriko! And of course we ate it). I must commend Nikitas for powerhousing the meal, especially the cucumbers and the giant beans.
Fun fact: the wait staff brought out complimentary small glasses of wine to those standing in line as soon as the sun went down. I wish I lived closer to this place!
It was such amazing food. And during dinner an unrepeatable joke happened (more of a misunderstanding than an intentional joke) that was so funny, Nikitas cried from laughing. I actually think that was my most joyful moment of the day, his reaction. I haven't laughed that hard in ages.
(He also thought it was funny when I ate a banana pepper and it was so spicy that I said, "I'm going to get the hiccups," and on cue, I hiccuped.)
We ran into our servers from the coffee shop while at Kyklades, and we asked them to take our photo--in portrait mode. I ended up teaching the girl who took our photo that her phone could do the same thing. Mind. Blown.
It was such a happy day. It ended with us in a food coma, watching Friends, kicking it off with the episode where Joey eats a 19-pound turkey by himself. That's the episode that occurred to us during dinner, so it seemed necessary to watch.
Oh mannnnn. I will always be in debt to Nik and his kindnesses, but today just put me over. And of course, he's the guy who's not keeping score, the person who simply says, "Τίποτα." It's nothing.
Just like in Greece. The people who give us everything are the people who accept nothing in return. I'm not sure what I'd do in return, exactly, but if I could paint the sky with "Ευχαριστώ παρά πολύ"-- thank you so much-- written in the colors of the rainbow, I would. I'd capture it in a bottle and offer it as a gift for the cloudy days when they need a little joy in their lives, because mine overflows as a result of who they are.
Thanks for all the fun, Nikitamaus. Thanks for being my friend.