We continue from Morocco and Tangierine Café.
We continue on with what we can probably refer to as Mediterranean Avenue for the time being as Greece takes up residence inside of the old Morocco booth this year.
Greece has been kicked around a bit over the years, moving from one side of the World Showcase to the other, depending on where there’s room, and considering their recent financial woes, probably wherever rent is cheapest. The Marketplace took a break a few years ago to pool together some Euro, disappearing in its entirety in favor of culinary delights such as the Italy. I think we’re all happy to see its prodigal return.
Here’s what we’re working with this year as the booth is located just before Japan:
The Lamb Moussaka is new this year along with the wines. Or if the wines are returning from past years, there are too many consonants in their names for me to remember them specifically. Maybe it will come back to me after another bottle.
Spanakopita – Greek Spinach Pie – $4.50
This is advertised as a “Greek Spinach Pie” this year, probably for those who have never visited the Costco freezer aisle during the holidays. You’ll likely see boxes of spanakopita along with all of the other delicious frozen hors d’oeuvres that you can pick up and stick in the oven before that New Year’s Eve party that I never seem to get invited to attend. Fortunately, Greece’s Spanakopita(s) have never “felt” like they were picked up from said Costco, and instead arrive with rich, fresh flavors. The thin, flaky, buttery crust gives way to several layers of creamy spinach, mildly tangy feta, and a bit of onion and garlic. The overall package is lighter than you might expect with the fried phyllo dough. I like these a lot, but they aren’t a tremendous amount of food for the money.
Griddled Cheese – $4.50
Ah yes, the way to a woman’s heart. Cheese. Add the Taittinger and even I have difficulty screwing up a date, though you can be sure I always give it my all. Above is this year’s version.
But we’ve seen plenty of iterations over the years. Here’s another one that looks even better.
And another less attractive version.
This one from 2012, back when it was $3.25, is perhaps the most attractive, along with the branded plating instead of the generic brown containers Disney has been using for several years.
Back to the task at hand, it’s hard to go wrong here with the cheese grilled up hot to the point where you can easily cut the soft slab with a fork. The pistachios add a nice contrasting crunch with a touch of earthy seed. I would say nut, but the pistachio is actually a seed belonging to the cashew family, so we better keep things straight here. The delicious, gooey honey sweetens up the mild cheese and we have the return of one of the Festival’s best dishes at a relatively reasonable price point. Consistency had been an issue in the past, but with Disney typically using culinary students to prepare the dishes, I think just about every one comes out perfect. We probably have Bailey from Houston to thank. The cheese is about as close to a must-buy as you’ll find at the Festival.
Lamb Moussaka – $7.75
This had been a vegetarian dish in the past, and it may have been better to keep it that way at a lower price point. It’s still mostly potato and cheese, which is far from a bad thing, but the portion on the Lamb was a little chintzy and it was too hot to really enjoy what comes down to Mediterranean Shephard’s Pie in the middle of the afternoon in Florida in July. At least it’s a good filler until Ireland opens on October 1st, but I’d hold off on ordering it until the later evening unless you usually eat your mashed potatoes around noon in a sauna. No judgement there. It’s a very rich dish with the hefty layer of cheese on top, so you may want to share one and each enjoy a couple of bites. I did appreciate that the Lamb held up well inside, adding coriander and cinnamon to the mix, while helping to cut the richness of the dish a bit. I’ll probably fall back to my Irish favorite once that booth opens, but this is a solid standout if you don’t mind the heat, both in the bowl and outside.
Wine Flight – $6.50
With Mylonas Assyrtiko White Wine, Skouras Zoe Rosé, and Kir-Yianni Naoussa Xinomavro Dry Red
The white wines are crisp and the Rosé is probably a little sweeter than you’d like. I almost never pull a Greek bottle of wine from the shelf unless it’s blocking a bottle of bourbon, so this makes for a good opportunity to try some legitimate Greek options for about the same price as other flights. I’m not sure there’s a clear standout, but even if I did, I doubt I could pronounce it.