Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


George's special.

Down the coast last weekend - it's just as nice mid-winter as it is in summer, all stormy skies and windy foam-flecked waves.

Across the road from the beach, separated by the highway, there's a pizza and pasta place. It's cheap and cheerful, run by a Greek guy called George and his wife. (I think she runs it, he just has his name on it.) Sometimes their children sit at one of the tables, cutting out pictures, drawing, doing puzzles. There are Greek flags and pictures of Greece on the walls, fading to blue and white. Appropriately. There's a couple of tables out front as well. Sometimes in summer, the old Greeks and Italians stop and have an ice-cream in the sun - and a cigarette - before strolling on.

From inside, you can see the water. In summer the waves twinkle and sparkle, in winter they heave grey and misty.

George (or his wife) does this pizza, 'George's special' (he's got his name on that as well!). It has tomato and salami and is topped with fetta which melts - hot, creamy and salty - but doesn't harden or burn like some cheeses you get on pizza. Maybe they put the fetta on when it's halfway done.

You can have that with a Greek salad (more fetta!) or maybe just a simple Italian salad (iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, onion rings, olives, dressing, sprinkle of parsley) or some nice pasta. It's not fine dining, it's very homely.

On a previous visit, we had the girls for the weekend. Canisha and Shanra were fascinated with the girls on the other table, drawing their pictures - and were invited to join them, instant friends!

They spent the next hour and a half drawing busily with an assortment of coloured pencils and crayons (on the insides of those white circular pizza boxes!) and chattering in the way wide-eyed little girls do, while we sipped the rest of our wine.

We went home with two pizza lid artworks.

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