Gyros

gyro

One of the most memorable meals of my life was in Athens, Greece. My husband was in the Navy at the time, and his port call happened to coincide with my school’s winter break. So I flew, alone, to a country where few at the time spoke English, to meet up with him — without having any idea how to find each other. This was a long time ago, before (gasp!) cell phones. Yes, I’m that old. But I was young and invincible; what could go wrong? A family friend was an extraordinary travel agent, at a time when those words really meant something. Having traveled extensively herself, she knew all the ins and outs of every city on the planet. So we knew going in that we were unlikely to be mugged but very likely to be pickpocketed, and we would be fools to pay list price for anything. Folks might take advantage of our naivete, or try to outwit us, but they weren’t going to hurt us. (I’ve no idea if this is still true. Your mileage may vary.) She found us a lovely, inexpensive hotel. Lucky for me, one of the receptionists spoke some English. Let me just say, I am not one of those Americans who expects the world to speak my language. I find that attitude highly offensive. Not having had time to learn Greek before going, though, I was glad for the help. The receptionist told me the ship was likely to come to the Port of Piraeus. He also taught me how to say “thank you” in Greek (ευχαριστώ), and found me a taxi. The taxi driver did not speak English, so I made do with drawing a picture of a boat with an American flag and saying “Piraeus.” Little did I know how huge Piraeus is! Yes, I could have done more homework, but I was occupied rather heavily with other homework at the time, and it was a bit of a last-minute decision to go. So he drove me to the port, and we drove around for a while, looking for…anything. Eventually, I just had him let me off and wandered around on foot. In the rain. I was getting a bit tired when I noticed another woman wandering around on foot, also looking a bit lost. Turned out she was in the same boat (haha), and had even been on my flight. We found a coffee shop to rest and warm up in, mimed drinking coffee, and got (I think) cappuccino. We managed to make our plight known, and the barista pointed us in the right direction. After that, it was just a matter of looking for all those men in white. Eventually, we did find our husbands.

That evening, I asked my new best friend, the hotel receptionist, to recommend a restaurant. He started to point toward the tourist strip, and I immediately declined. I told him we wanted to eat where he would take his own family. Looking uncomfortable, he warned us that nobody there spoke a word of English. The restaurant didn’t cater to tourists. Perfect! Off we went. Having no idea what the menu said, we tried pantomiming asking the waiter to choose for us. He didn’t understand. Can you blame him? It’s not an easy thing to convey without words. He did, however, get that we didn’t understand the menu. And we clearly understood his gesture that we should follow him, so we did. He led us right into the kitchen! He lifted the lids of various pots to show us what was cooking so we could choose whatever looked good to us. I have never in my life seen such a clean kitchen. Not mine, that’s for sure. Maybe my mom’s, maybe, and hers was spotless. Sorry, Mom, but this place was squeaky clean! Not a spilled drop of anything anywhere, none of those dark corners where the mop didn’t quite get it all. Nothing. I don’t think even a brand-new, unused kitchen could be as clean. I recognized Moussaka, though I no longer remember how I knew what it was, and chose that. I’ve no idea what it was that my husband had, but it was delicious, as was everything else, including the house wine. Ordering dessert was easy — Baklava! That was a Greek word I already knew and loved. It was a delightful, leisurely meal, made all the more special by the challenge of the language barrier. And the look on the waiter’s face when we said, “ευχαριστώ” — priceless!

I loved every meal we had in Greece, from that restaurant to the street food. One of these days, I’ll have to try making Moussaka again (or Baklava, for that matter). In the meantime, I’m happy to settle for gyros! Which, by the way, is not pronounced the same as the navigational tool. Find your way with a /ˈjīrō/, enjoy a /ˈyērō/ for dinner. And you will enjoy it, they’re delicious!

Ingredients:

2 Greek (Pocketless) Pitas

4 tablespoons Tzatziki

4 ounces (57 g) Greek Grilled Chicken

4 thick slices of tomato

Several pieces of red onion

2 pieces of parchment or foil

Assembly:

1.) Place a piece of parchment paper or foil on your work surface. Put a pita in one corner. Spread 2 tablespoons of tzatziki down the center of the pita.

gyro 1

2.) Layer on half of the chicken, tomatoes, and onion. 

gyro 2

3.) Fold the pita in half, 

gyro 3a

and hold it while you bring one side of the parchment up and across the pita, tucking it into the other side. 

gyro 3b

4.) Twist and fold the bottom of the parchment to secure the contents. Or, fold the end up and tuck it into the parchment.

Gyros

Ingredients

2 Greek (Pocketless) Pitas

4 tablespoons Tzatziki

4 ounces (57 g) Greek Grilled Chicken

4 thick slices of tomato

Several pieces of red onion

2 pieces of parchment or foil

Directions

1.) Place a piece of parchment paper or foil on your work surface. Put a pita in one corner. Spread 2 tablespoons of tzatziki down the center of the pita.

2.) Layer on half of the chicken, tomatoes, and onion.

3.) Fold the pita in half,

and hold it while you bring one side of the parchment up and across the pita, tucking it into the other side.

4.) Twist and fold the bottom of the parchment to secure the contents. Or, fold the end up and tuck it into the parchment.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Love your story! I fell in love with gyros the first time I was in Greece. I’ve been back twice since, and both times I made sure I got my gyros!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. julie says:

      They’re heavenly, aren’t they? I haven’t been back yet, but I’d love to go again. Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

      Like

  2. Tink Rabey-Hall says:

    Thanks for the recipes! Great story!

    Tink

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. julie says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by & commenting 🙂

      Like

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