Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 8, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 8, 2012 


 This past week I was a guest on Catherine Adde Travel Show, 
in case you missed it……

Thomas Wolfe wrote a book titled ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’ 
but throughout the years there have been different variations of 
that familiar title. Ah but this man lived in an era that didn’t 
include airbuses now did he? It has been some 40 years that 
I departed Greek Soil. I recently returned to Greece and am 
excited to share my experience with you. If it is history that 
you seek, there is plenty of that to enjoy, if you are looking for 
relaxation then this your spot, how about superior cuisine? I 
will attest that the worst meal of the trip wasn’t really all that 
bad. Yes, Greece has something for everyone.

Getting There: It’s a long flight, with choices of 
airlines and layovers in Toronto, Washington and New 
York. We traveled on Air Canada and had a layover 
in Toronto. As a beer drinker, a few Molson’s at the 
airport restaurant helped make the time go by fast. 
One warning though, if you are using dollars they will 
give you back Canadian currency, so my suggestion 
is to use your credit card. Unless you want to have a 
couple of dollars as a keepsake. Once you make it to 
Athens, you’ll have the choice of a taxi, renting a car, 
or if you are on a tour like we were then someone 
will greet you at the terminal. My suggestion is that 
if this is your first trip a taxi or hotel shuttle would be 
prudent. However, if you are on the islands, renting a 
car is safe and easy.

Where to stay: In Athens there is a list of five star, four 
star and three star hotels. We stayed at the Metropolitan 
just outside of Athens, and while the hotel was clean 
and a great view of the port, I wouldn’t say it was five 
star. But I liked that it had a view and was away from 
downtown Athens that is congested and a bit dirty with 
graffiti and scooters everywhere. Once in Santorini and 
Mykonos, the accommodations are very nice, in fact 
while our hotel in Santorini El Greco, wasn’t on the 
beach it reminded me of staying in a storybook village: 
very upscale and with four different pools. In Mykonos 
there are many small/boutique hotels very close to the 
beach, while our accommodations were close to being 
cramped, I will call it cozy. 

To tour or not: If you have traveled to Athens or any 
other surrounding Islands before, I don’t see any need 
to sign up for a tour. We did and I am glad we did, 
but it was the consensus of our group that if any of us 
were to return, that you could easily do it on your own. 
We agreed that once if you have seen the ruins and the 
stadium, that none of us would spend much time in 

Getting Around: Big difference in getting around in 
Athens and getting around in Greece. First of all it’s 
much hotter in Athens then it is in the islands, and as I 
mention in when to go July and August have is severe 
heat. My mother to this day reminds me of the 100+ 
day in July when I was born on a US Army base. The 
buses in Athens are usually filled with locals and would 
opt for taking a taxi or even the tram. On the Islands 
I do recommend the buses, many of them are new, air-
conditioned and dependable, a bus ride is about $1.40 
euro. On the islands you can rent a scooter by the day, 
it looks fun, but I was warned that many a kid has seen 
the hospital by crashing into the wall on a narrow road. 
Getting from island to island is done by Ferry, a boat 
that costs about $45 euro. There are airplanes that do 
fly from the Athens Airport to Santorini/Mykonos, 
and when I return I will take advantage of them, but 
for your first visit it adds to the fun of the trip. Bring a 
book or a crossword puzzle. If you aren’t on a guided 
tour tickets can easily be purchased at the port.

When to go: Athens is hot, I mean temperature hot, in 
fact many workers and vendors take off August to visit 
friends and families elsewhere. If you are there to relax 
and get a tan, then by all means July would be OK, 
however just visiting the Acropolis in June we were 
overheated and water was our best friend, I couldn’t 
imagine a July tour of Athens. My suggestion is early 
June or late September.

Dollar v. Euro: Those looking for bargains, we found 
that even though Greece is in a financial crisis, they 
haven’t put out the distress flag yet, when shopping 
you can always ask for the best price. I was warned that 
dinners can easily run $60 euro, while I did see that 
price tag, it was very few and in between. I did notice 
that the restaurants closest to the water were pricier. A 
tip is to go to supermarkets, not the markets and buy 
beer, water and 
fruit and have 
it in your hotel 
The fruit there 
is some of the 
best I’ve had. 
The beer and 
sodas at the 
hotel can be 
twice or three 
times as much 
as getting them 
at the market 
or a Kiosk.

Dining in 
Originally I was going to give a few reviews of the 
restaurants that I visited, and after collecting business 
cards of places that I dined, I came up with this 
conclusion, where ever you go, you really can’t go 
wrong. You want affordable dining? They have it. Want 
to dine on or near the beach? Yes, fish and chicken are 
the most popular items that we came across both in 
Athens and in Santorini and Mykonos. The items on 
the menus at each restaurant are very similar. You won’t 
find too many steaks or burgers, yes, they are available 
but there are no beef cattle being raised in Greece. We 
enjoyed the Greek Salad and the Rocket Salad pretty 
much with every meal. You’ll find that the Greek Salad 
has no lettuce, and is made up of cucumbers, olives, 
tomatoes and Feta Cheese. Something I found odd, 
the extra charges on the bill, first when they ask if you 
want bread, we always say yes, there is an additional 
charge of 2 to 3 euro. Plus sit down restaurants have 
a cover charge, no not the night club admission, this 
is a sitting charge, this charge gives you the privilege 
of sitting at your table for as long as you want, I think 
this was initiated more for the locals that like to sit for 
hours and conversing over cigarettes and espresso. 
Note.. everyone smokes, even while they are working. 
One spot that did stand out in Athens, near our hotel 
was Restaurant Kalypso. The food was above average 
and the waiter even assisted us with our Greek 
language lessons. We returned there while waiting for 
our flight home.

Tipping: This isn’t as big of a deal that it is in the states. 
Workers are working for what is called a “living wage”, 
don’t ask me to explain a living wage, I am restaurant 
reviewer not workers rights lawyer, however you 
won’t get the typical service that you’d expect from the 
waiters, it’s not bad, it’s “are you ready to order” your 
food is brought and you might not see your server 
again, at least until you flag them down/ and I did a lot 
of flagging down. My suggestion is 10 to 12 % tip. Taxi 
Cab drivers same thing, a couple of euro are sufficient. 
As with any trip leaving the chambermaid and if you 
are on a tour, a tip is suggested.

Sightseeing: The first day is full of sight seeing, visit 
the Acropolis, Zeus Statue, Temple of Poseidon, and 
the Stadium, an afternoon at the beach in Athens is 
also a pleasant way to end your day in Athens, a day in 
Athens? Yes, ! I found Athens to be hot, congested and 
plain dirty. If you want to see the ruins, I took a boat 
trip to the Island of Delos. There is a small admission 
charge once you get there, but you will get a sense of the 
history of Greece. One of the highlights of the trip was 
our seven-mile hike on The Santorini; we started at Fira 
and ended our walk in OIA, beautiful walk looking the 
cliffs and sights of the Volcano’s and the Aegean Sea. 
Two other musts while we are on Mykonos we took a 
small boat along the shore and you have your choice 
of five beaches, a beach for everyone, a party beach, 
a topless beach, we opted for Elia, plenty of sand and 
chairs to enjoy a relaxing day sun bathing. Santoroni 
has been voted top ten sunsets in the entire world. We 
took the Sunset Cruise that was quite relaxing and is 
a must; another bonus is the boat stop briefly at one 
of the volcanic hot springs, hot? No, but quite warm. 

Is Greece Safe? : Yes!! On our first day on our vacation 
we stayed just a few miles from downtown, it wasn’t till 
we went to downtown did we see any police presence, 

you are more likely to be hit by a scooter then witness 
any crime that goes for the Islands of Santorini and 
Mykonos as well.. In fact on the Islands we noticed 
no police at all, I mean none. I was surprised by the 
text messages and facebook postings asking me if I was 
OK? Just like Los Angeles, some areas are better then 
others, if you are looking for a demonstration I am sure 
if you wait long enough you can find one. Opal!!! 

There is more!! Please listen to my radio show at it’s new 
time Saturday afternoon at 6 PM Talk Radio KABC 790 
AM, or email me at



Perfect for Christmas Dinner!


 1 pork rib roast with 6 ribs (about 4 pounds), chine bone removed and ribs frenched

 3 cups fresh parsley

 3 tablespoons olive oil

 1 tablespoon fennel seed, crushed

 3 cloves garlic

 1/3 cup golden raisins

 Salt and pepper

 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 2 cups chicken broth

 1 tablespoon grainy mustard




Let pork sit at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, puree 
parsley, oil, fennel seed, and garlic until smooth. Add raisins; pulse until finely chopped. Season with 
salt and pepper.



On a cutting board, hold a knife parallel to bones of pork and cut down about 2 inches, being careful 
not to remove ribs.



Turn pork so bones lie flat against board. Steadying pork and holding knife horizontally, continue to 
cut, unrolling pork, until you have a flat 1 1/2-inch-thick piece. Season with salt and pepper.



Evenly spread herb mixture on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border.Tightly roll pork toward bones and 
secure with kitchen twine between bones. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place pork in a 
heavy-bottomed metal roasting pan.



Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center reads 145 degrees, about 1 hour. Transfer 
pork to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 30 minutes. Pour pan drippings into a measuring 
cup and skim fat. Set pan across 2 burners.



Add wine to pan and cook over medium, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until wine 
is reduced by half. Whisk in flour, then slowly whisk in broth and pan drippings. Cook, whisking, 
until gravy is thickened, 4 minutes. Stir in mustard and season with salt and pepper. Cut pork into 
chops and serve with gravy. 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

Purchase your roast from Taylor’s Old Fashioned Meat Market* in Sierra Madre and the butcher 
will be happy to remove the chine bone (backbone) and french -- scrape clean -- the ribs. But don't trim 
the roast -- a thin layer of fat keeps it juicy.

TAYLOR’S OLD FASHIONED MEAT MARKET - 14 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. at Baldwin, 

Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 

626-355- 8267 

Hours: Mon - Sat, 9am - 7pm; Sun, closed