Jake and Telly’s
Further evidence my parents love me: they arranged our last dinner together to be at a Greek restaurant in Colorado Springs called Jake and Telly’s. It’s like they know me or something!
So, first thing’s first. The restaurant is quite nice, and was super busy on a Black Friday night. There are painted murals on the wall that made me feel like I was in the kastro in Naxos or on the hills of Santorini. The menu has enough authentic Greek options to make the cynic in me happy, and a decent wine list. They even appeased my desire to have Retsina and Sprite, which I was oddly craving.
(It reminded me of a night in Greece last year when I joined the waiters’ table at the end of the night and they offered me Retsina and Sprite, a standard end-of-shift choice. My immediate reaction was yes, but I’d vowed to not drink alcohol that day (an unfortunately tough feat in Greece). Then I checked the clock. It was 12:30am. “YES IT’S TOMORROW! I will take some!” )
I could tell from the way the wait staff pronounced the dishes that none of them were Greeks. I was thinking maybe there was someone hidden in the kitchen who was Greek? We asked our waitress if anyone spoke Greek (because I’m obsessed and like to practice), and she said only the owners, but they weren’t around :(
Nevertheless, we persisted. My parents let me order and they had such great appetizer options! I got us horiatiki salad, Meze (a mixed plate of choices that included meatballs, gyro, tzatziki, pita, feta, hummus) , gigantes (the white beans in a tomato-like sauce that Nikitas and I ordered in Astoria that made people stare at us because the plate was so huge), and saganaki, cheese that comes out in flames.
The food was AMAZING. I was surprised how good it was, to be honest. My parents were in heaven and impressed that I ordered the perfect amount and variety. My one skill!
or so we thought.
As we ordered (considerably non-Greek) dessert, in walked a guy with a shaved head and a black jacket, and I told my parents, “He looks Greek. I wonder if he’s Greek.”
We finished up our meal and I spied around the restaurant to see where he was. He was sitting alone, and I said again, “I think he’s Greek. Do you think I should ask?”
Both of my parents looked at me like I had two heads. “No,” they said unanimously. “What, are you going to go up and ask him?” my mom wondered.
My dad argued that I would look crazy, and perhaps desperate, and in the likely event he was just a normal guy...then what?
”Maybe he’s Irish,” my mom said.
“He is not Irish*,” I insisted.
“Well, how would you like it if someone came up to you while you were eating alone and asked if you were greek?”
”That’d be a dream come true!”
“Ugh, Fine. Italian?”
”Oooh, I’ll take Italian!”
They could see this wasn’t going anywhere. My dad wanted me to go over when the waitress brought him flaming cheese so as not to seem like I was hitting on him.
Long story short: HE IS, IN FACT, GREEK. From Greece! We spoke Greek for a little while and it was such a joyful moment for me!!!
Even my parents admitted it was pretty uncanny, that I was able to pick out the only Greek in the entire Restaurant.
Fulbright judges, please consider this talent when considering my application. My love for Ellada runs deep.
*ironically, though, he’s half Scottish.