Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church Festival

Last week I read a post at Spicy & Blue - a post about the Greek Food Festival at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Mt. Lebanon. All her photos of the Greek Food and the menu she posted - ohhh I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to work a trip to the festival into this past weekend! Everything looked/sounded delicious.

Saturday afternoon, thanks to the Bridgeville Community Day event blocking access to La Bella Bean and forcing us to go closer to Mt. Lebanon - well, wasn't that convenient? We opted to have lunch at a restaurant because we feared long lines at the Greek Food Festival (the whole needing food sooner rather than later because we're so hungry we're about to pass out or kill each other thing, so as little waiting as possible but no fast food!). After we ate our quesadillas at Mad Mex, we decided that we should head over to the church and check things out, maybe get some food for dinner.

When we arrived, it was around 1:30 pm, and the line was not too long, but there was a yellow cord to mark off entrance and exit lanes so I guess it can get really crowded! We got our food to go and later that evening, we re-heated it for dinner.

The one item we bought and did not re-heat for dinner: Dolmathes (lemon flavored grape leaves stuffed with a rice/herb mixture).

These were good. I just had a small bite because while I will eat stuffed grape leaves, they are not a huge favorite of mine and they are a huge favorite for SP. In fact, he said these were his favorite of all the food we got at the festival. Then again, we got 2 beef dishes, and he doesn't eat beef.

I got some Moussaka (layers of baked eggplant & seasoned ground beef topped with a cream sauce):This was tasty. SP tried a small bite even though it was beef. I liked it a lot but found myself wishing for more eggplant/potato and less beef. Maybe because the moussaka beef wasn't as tastily spiced as this ground beef:Souzoukakia (Greek meatballs simmered in tomato wine sauce). These meatballs looked more like mini meatloaves! I had one and it was very, very good - a delicious sauce and the beef tasted like it had a hint of cinnamon. Yum!

Of course I had to have some Spanakopita! There's no way I can be at a place serving Greek food and not have this amazing filo pastry filled with spinach, feta, and herb/egg mixture.Look at those flaky phyllo layers... that green spinach... those hunks of feta... Yes, this is one of my very favorite foods. SP really liked it, too, and we decided that next time, we each get our own piece of spanakopita!

We also shared a Lamb Shank (lamb braised with Greek herbs in a tomato/wine sauce):Oh my gosh. This was so good. The lamb fell off the bone. It was moist. Tender. Flavorful. Huge. So good - and only $9. I've had braised lamb shanks in restaurants and those shanks have been as big (and as tasty) as this one but cost $30+. This alone was worth the trip. Look at that clean bone!And of course we checked out the desserts! While we were there, we tasted samples of Koulourakia (a twisted butter cookie) and Paximathia (a buttery biscotti-like cookie) but we brought home other treats for dessert. A piece of Baklava (layers of buttery phyllo with walnuts, cinnamon, and honey syrup): And a piece of Galatobouriko (filo pastry filled with custard and dusted with powdered sugar):

We shared both and enjoyed both. Very good.

Thanks to Megan for reminding us of this festival! I knew about it (we saw the signs when we were at the Galleria last weekend) but had forgotten about it and I am really, really happy we went because these were excellent dishes. On a quick side note, all the above food cost us just $25 and I think that's a great deal for how much tasty food we got. We were stuffed after dinner. I will definitely be looking for the next food festival at Holy Cross - and looking for the next Greek food festival in Pittsburgh!


  1. I'm glad you got there and enjoyed it! I'm with your SP on the grape leaves; they're my favorite!

  2. I am now done researching the next Greek Food Fest thanks to you, Greg, and Megan and her hubby! Need Greek food, like now!