Concord Greek Festival

On Sunday, September 16, 2007, I drove up the bay, over the bridge, through the tunnel, to the Concord Greek Festival. It was held outdoors nestled among some tawny, rolling hills. The weather was perfect for an outdoor festival: sunny (but not blinding), warm (but not uncomfortable so), and with a pleasant gentle breeze.

At first I thought the festival had more booths than most Greek festivals, but I realized I was wrong. It was merely that being outdoors made the festival feel more expansive and that the booths that were there interested me more than usual. There were two booths with high quality paintings and one with a guy selling face jugs that I saw previously and liked.

Greek festivals are often held at the local church, provided it can accommodate the crowds. They usually offer tours, but I've rarely gone on one because I haven't been at the festivals at the right time. This festival, however, allowed one open access to the church--one could look around on one's own. I appreciated that.

These movies capture the feel of the festival, the music, the dancing, and the church; the pictures show what I ate.

The menu was pretty standard for a Greek festival. I had lamb shank, the only item I hadn't seen offered previously. I forgot how great lamb can be. The tomato sauce topping it was entirely unnecessary. I also had a spanakopita. Filled with warm spinach, my mouth filled with warm liquid each time I took a bite. This was definitely better than the usual Greek festival rendition.

Both of these were really good. At Greek festivals, the gyros are usually the best, and departing from them is often is a mistake. It wasn't a mistake this time--at this point, I wrote down this was probably the best meal I've had at a Greek festival.

Desserts, however, weren't as good as usual. From the traditional wide selection of Greek festival desserts, I had a half-order of loukamades. These doughnut balls with honey weren't on the same scale as those as I've had elsewhere. These were denser than others, not light and airy, and were not uniform in color and texture even within a ball, implying temperature differences within the cooking oil. Further, I didn't even like the honey, walnut, and cinnamon topping.

While I drove home, the sun was setting. As I descended from the east bay hills, I saw a fantastic sight: above the bay and the distant San Francisco, the sky was a continuous gradient of colors, from light pink, through reds, blues, and violets, to black.

Sadly, by the time I decided I wanted a picture I'd descended too far and it was less impressive. And then I realized that, while I could turn around, by the time I returned to where I wanted to be, the vision would be gone.

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