Bring On The Stifado

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Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 01 Oct 2015, 10:36

It's October and we have returned to Symi which is now a habit that we do not want to give up.
Having stayed in Chorio in May we are back in Margarita's wonderful apartments overlooking Nos Beach which we have watched develop over the years under that watchful eye and excitable demeanour of Dimitri.

The Journey Over
We set off from Mid Wales on Tuesday and stayed in the excellent Holiday Inn Express on Chester Racecourse with a room with superb views of sunset over the course. We didn't have to head up the day before as the EasyJet flight from Liverpool was scheduled for 14:15 on the Wednesday but a chance to have dinner in The Sticky Walnut could not be sniffed at. Starters of squab pigeon (D) and seared mackerel (E) was followed by braised ox cheek (D) and roasted halibut (E) with some fizz for E and a lovely Italian red for D was a great way of starting the hols. Suburbs cocktail bar across the road was a great choice by E for our aperitif(s).
Next morning after a stroll round Chester we headed for Liverpool Airport and as we go through security we spot a couple of Symiholics so we know Yanni's Rainbow Bar will be OK for the next couple of weeks :D even though we are staying "down".
The flight was slightly delayed (30 mins) and we arrived Rhodes 20:45 local time. The traditional Mythos from the vending machine, rescue the luggage and catch a taxi and we were in and out of the Best Western Plaza by 22:00.
Having used The International previously this was our first time at the BW and we were not disappointed - excellent room and a superb hot & cold buffet breakfast - now the hotel of choice when staying over in Rodos.
A 10 minute taxi ride from the hotel, with a drop off for a local businessman at Kolona, and we picked up our tickets for the 09:00 sailing of the Panagia Skiadeni from Akantia Harbour.
Arrived Symi 10:30, Margarita was there with the pick-up truck and we were welcomed by our very good Swedish friends Orian and Lillian whose stay overlaps a week with us. Unpacked, sitting out and starting this post by 12:30. The weather is perfect and everything in the world of D&E is good (despite D forgetting, for the first time he adds, the chargers for the cameras - thank goodness for mobile phones).
So our ramblings commence once again for the next two weeks.
There is only the two of us so mezes will not be as expansive as in May but living "down" does mean we eat in different places and so the debate about this evening's restaurant of choice begins. Tradition dictates if "up" it's Giorgio's and if "down" it's Tholos (D has started fantasising about lemon potatoes already).
Hope to include more photos this time.

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View from Margarita's
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 02 Oct 2015, 07:14

Friday morning and a second go at today's post, having done something foolish and lost my ramblings that I started an hour ago :'(
Anyway the first bread run of the holiday was at 7am this morning with a friendly kalimera from Manolis at Odysseus. People were starting to gather at the clock tower for the 08:00 Blue Star crossing to Rodos. The same ship will be back this evening. The shoes and bags were being put on the shelves in Takis leather shop and Pachos was busy with locals getting their early morning shot of caffeine.
Whilst E catches up on her zzzz's and after reading yesterday's post there was a glaring omission - dinner in Rodos !
Well we headed left and then right out of the Best Western to Taverna Antique that we had visited before. It was rather quiet by that time and the live music had just finished but the food there is of a reasonable standard. A starter of tuna salad (should have asked) was the full salad and not the small plate of tuna in mayo that you get in many places in Symi but it was good. The other starter was grilled garlic mushrooms which was exactly that. We followed this with moussaka and a chicken souvlaki that came with carrots, chips, brocolli, flat bread and rice. With retsina, water and tip we paid €45. On the way back to the hotel we took a right instead of a left, down quite an interesting looking street where there were many bars and tavernas that looked really good so next time ........
After unpacking yesterday we only ventured as far as the Corner Cafe via Elpidas for a Fix and a retsina or two. We picked up the usual necessities from the supermarket which when accompanying the bowl of fresh fruit that Margarita places in the room sees us all fixed for breakfast, whenever E surfaces.
Last night we had a lovely welcome from our Swedish friends who we first me in Margaritas some 5 years ago. Over some fizz we caught up on the news and then headed to Tholos for dinner, deciding not to take "the train" the 20 yards to the taverna. Staring with peppers (x2) with feta and chickpeas & mushrooms we followed that with goats liver and those fabulous lemon potatoes and a BBQ pork chop that Fred Flintstone would have been satisfied with. A complimentary mastika and chocolate ice cream ended a superb first dinner and at €40 including water, retsina and tip it is no wonder every table was occupied by 9pm.
I promised photos and yesterday I seemed to be able to post a rather large photo that was taken with my iPhone. I have just sent a reply to one of Allan's post asking why my insertion is too big - I hope he doesn't take that the wrong way and steers me in the right direction so I can load up a couple from this morning.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 02 Oct 2015, 15:49

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The Bread Run
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 03 Oct 2015, 06:06

Saturday morning following the bread run.
Early breakfast today as we are booked on the Symi Tours bus trip to Toli Beach - our Sewdish friends had thought about us and had taken care of everything before we got here. So glad Symi Tours are doing this as unless you are an adventurous walker you might not be able to experience the delight that is Toli. Great swimming and an excellent taverna.

Friday was a beautiful day and so we headed up the Kali Strata after a frappe stop to watch Loukas & Irini's taxi boats head out. Maria was doing her herb sales talk to a couple of day trippers so we pressed on with the promise of a beer stop at Yanni's Rainbow Bar where the man himself greeted us and served that ice cold draught beer that is so welcome after the climb. We walked on and was greeted by Zoe who had just baked a cake so we had to have a piece and a catch up with her and her aunt. The discussion turned to hair so E now has an appointment for Tuesday evening : anyone who knows D will know that he will be in Yannis whilst this is happening :D

We then made our way down the school steps cutting left and down through the kiosk only to meet another of Zoe's clan - the ever cheerful Konstantinos. We stopped at the Corner Cafe for a shared cheese & ham omelette and then back to Margarita's.

It was Elpida's for an aperitif where we saw a stunning yacht (pic to be put up next) and then Trata for dinner where we had the stuffed mushrooms (always a favourite) and the tuna salad which has changed from the small plate to the full blown lettuce, onions, tomatoes, tuna, mayo - one wonders if there has been a European Directive for what constitutes a tuna salad :D
This was followed by beautifully slow cooked lamb in lemon (D) and liver (E) with a plate of horta (spinach like greens) between us. With water and retsina and tip - €44.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 03 Oct 2015, 06:13

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Outside Elpida's
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby Gemma1 » 03 Oct 2015, 09:11

Just read your recent posts inbetween checking activity on the Symi Visitor website. I only arrived home from Symi on Thursday morning and am missing the island already. Had some of the best food I've ever had and will put my trip report together over the weekend - though can't describe the food as superbly as you do, it makes my mouth water just reading your updates :)
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 03 Oct 2015, 15:43

Looking forward to your report Gemma - you will inspire us.
We have just returned from the wonderful Tolis where we had a superb (and healthy) lunch so now considering Odyssia for tonight as a day swimming, eating, drinking and sitting on a bus and then truck takes it out of you :o so don't want to venture too far from the apartment.
Weather still fantastic.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 04 Oct 2015, 07:16

Another glorious day is awakening on Symi with the bells of the church just behind the apartment providing the alarm at 07:30 this Sunday morning.

The two small loaves of bread (80 cents) have been purchased for breakfast and one delivered to our Swedish friends who are heading out on the Posseidon today.

E is making the most of the comforts of her bed and then we will decide what we will do today over our usual breakfast of Greek yoghurt with Tolis honey (which we purchased yesterday) and fruit followed by the fresh bread with smoked ham cut ever so thinly and ewe's cheese. For a change we went to the extremely well stocked supermarket just beyond and behind the herb and spice stall - they have an amazing selection of wines and the shop itself is worth a visit - we christened it the Symi Waitrose.

So yesterday we were at the Symi Tours office for 09:15 for our trip to Tolis. We later discovered the early start was due to the family who run the taverna wanting to close up and be at a family wedding that evening. We picked up a couple of from Sevasti Apartments who clearly have become Symiholics and so the six of us were taken to a meeting point where we transferred into and onto the back of the taverna owners pick-up truck to take us down the unmade road to Tolis beach and taverna. After a nice cold beer and frappe we soaked up the sun, swam and snorkelled and had a great time watching the family dog being persuaded to fetch a ball that D had found for her, out of the sea. She was very happy fetching it as long as she could feel the ground beneath her feet but if it involved swimming that was a different matter and no matter how they tried she was having none of it. This was a truly loved dog having the time of its life with the family.
Lunch in the taverna overlooking the small bay is idyllic. We shared a Daphne salad (shredded lettuce, carrot, red cabbage and apple in a balsamic dressing); an excellent Greek salad with fabulous feta; beetroot with skadalia and small fish (whitebait) that had come straight out of the sea that morning. A complimentary sharing plate of banana ice cream with honey soaked raisens finished the perfect lunch. I am afraid that I cannot say what it cost as our friends from Sweden insisted in making this a celebratory lunch for E's special year :shock:

In the evening we had our ouzo and retsina in Elpida's as our friends headed to Harotomeni. Along with the usual olives, ham, crisps, etc. suddenly a very tasty samosa appeared and then a plate of honey drizzled pastries were handed round as we watched the wedding goers pass on their way to the reception meal at Tholos. We headed to Odyssia. It was quite busy and deservedly so as Manolis has taken this once cafe to restaurant quality dining. He has held onto his very talented chef and his daughter is working "front of house" and making a damned fine job of it. She told us last night that today she heads for Rhodes to start her studies into Catering Management and the way she guided us through the menu last night she will clearly pass with flying colours.

Our choice of kalamri starter was amended on her recommendation to stuffed squid which was stuffed with a gogonzola type cheese and came in a light sauce on a bed of crispy lettuce - exquisite. This complimented the saganaki beautifully. D's choice of tuna, again on her recommendation, was turned into a similarly robust fish but one that comes from the seas around Symi and at €17 was the finest fish I have eaten on Symi. E had the meatballs but these were really soutzoukakia which are spicy oblong kofte in a cumin and cinnamon tomato sauce and were simply divine. With a complimentary apple cake topped with cream and nuts and the usual 1/2 kilo retsina, large water and 10% tip this special meal came to €60. Back in the UK cooking of this standard would command almost double that.

The short walk round to the apartment, passing the wedding celebrations where they were cutting the cake, ended a perfect day on Symi.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 04 Oct 2015, 08:40

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Tolis Yesterday
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 04 Oct 2015, 08:43

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Teaching "Volina" to fetch
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 05 Oct 2015, 06:25

It's Monday morning after the bread run and before an early start to walk over to Pedi and catch George's little boat to St.Nicholas : never missed "a George" over all the years and visits.

Yesterday we walked towards Nimborio and seeing from the hill that the shack was not open for a beer stop turned left and headed up to St.George's church. Just before branching off we came upon a distressing scene at the rubbish bins where a hungry cat had got it's head stuck in an old tin. It was in great distress careering about the place trying to get free. Between D and a young local girl they got hold of the frantic cat and D was able to remove the can which was fast on. The cat seemed fine and joined all its mates around the bins - quite a thing.

Having headed over the top and down the hill we had a frappe stop. E then went to book another visit to Tolis whilst D had a Mythos in Stella Bar. A stop for a cheese and ham toastie in Elpidas and then home for a siesta.

Back to Elpidas for our aperitif which benefited from some lovely dolmades. And then to a new restaurant - Kaboz; which is between the Nireus Hotel and Vaporetta. A very good menu ranging from usual prices to quite expensive so it covers all budgets. The very pleasant waiter who we have spoken to over the years when he worked at Nos Beach took our order of grilled vegetables and prawns in feta & ouzo to start followed by lemon goat (D) and moussaka (E). The prawns of course added to the bill at €20 and so in total it cost €60 with retsina and water - tip on top. A complimentary sweet of the finest Greek yoghurt with fig jam was followed by a complimentary Metaxa.

And so another fine restaurant joins our list.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby Gemma1 » 05 Oct 2015, 07:27

More great reports with delicious food. I had the Daphne salad when I walked to Tolis beach. As I was on my own it was the only thing I ordered and whilst it was a lovely salad and made a change from Greek salad, I could only manage half of it and really needed something else to go with it. I have learnt my lesson regarding the Daphne salad - it's not to be ordered for one person ;)
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 05 Oct 2015, 16:22

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Starters at Kaboz
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 05 Oct 2015, 16:32

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Sunken Ship


This is what you see if you turn the corner just beyond Margarita's Apartments on the road to Nimborio.
Captain Yannis of the Posseidon explained that the boat had been confiscated and moored there as the Port Police / Coastguard do not have the money to do anything else. The recent storm dashed it against the rocks and it sunk. He was saying there are others and he is thinking about diving tours :D :D :D
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 06 Oct 2015, 06:50

Tuesday morning and some cloud over the Vigla spotted on the walk to the bakery, and quite a fresh wind blowing from the East, but the sun is just coming up and the clouds now appear to be dissipating.

Yesterday we did get to Pedi and then St.Nicolas but confession is good for the soul and the intention to walk over was overtaken by us just being at the bus stop when Lakis appeared on his motor bike so we thought it would be rude not to jump on :o

We were in Pedi by 09:15 and George's boat was being fuelled. We had a "carry out" breakfast from the kiosk. Sharing a cheese & ham and a sausage pie with two frappe on the deck of George's boat - it doesn't get much better than that for us. We were in St.Nicks by 09:30 and had that glorious 30 minutes or so of having the entire beach to ourselves.

Gradually the taxi boats brought in more visitors and several walkers appeared but as you expect at this time of year it was perfectly quiet. We bumped into two well known Welsh folk whom we have met on St.Nicks over the years as they seem to come at the same time as us in May and late Sept / Oct. Not only do they seem to be Symiholics they are clearly St.Nicolasolics :D

We had a fine lunch of calamari, Greek salad, tzatziki and tuna salad (the one without the lettuce, tomatoes, etc.) and with retsina and water and tip - €33. Always excellent food here.

George was doing the return journey at 3,4 and 5 o'clock so we jumped on the middle one and caught the 4:30 bus back over. Seeing young Giorgo in the Corner Cafe we popped in for a swift small beer to catch up on his news. Then home and back out to Elpida's for our aperitif which last night was accompanied by pickled vegetables and the thinnest of breadsticks. We watched Louka & Irini's boats head out to Agia Marina where there was an evening organised in aid of the refugees.

We had intended dinner in Meraklis as we have missed eating there the last few visits. However it was about 9pm and there was not a seat to be had. Clearly word continues to get around. So we decided to try another new restaurant, for us, and having read some very positive comments we headed for To Spekito. It was quite busy and we got one of the last three tables. We were greeted by the two very enthusiastic young ladies who are "front of house". We had meatballs and stuffed aubergine to start. The meatballs were perfectly fine but the aubergine somehow lacked the depth of flavour we have become used to on the island. This was followed by mussels saganaki (D) and lamb kleftiko (E). The mussels in a very good wine and light cheese sauce with feta were good but the kleftiko, like the aubergine, lacked something. But it is clear to see why this small restaurant proves very popular and we would never allow a couple of dishes to put us off returning. With retsina and water and tip the bill came to €50 (for info tip is always around 10%).

And so another superb day on Symi came to a pleasant end as we walked back round the harbour admiring yet another super yacht that had berthed.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 06 Oct 2015, 06:55

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Greek Salad St.Nicolas (by E)
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 06 Oct 2015, 07:04

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Sitting close to us at St.Nicks
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby Gemma1 » 06 Oct 2015, 07:25

Loving the accompanying pictures now you have got the hang of it ;) The sunken boat was only partially submerged when I arrived on Symi with part of the deck still above sea level though it sunk further during the week I was there.

Symi - Sept 2015 068.JPG
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby JuliaB » 06 Oct 2015, 16:50

Loving all your reports as usual, D & E. Pleased to hear you enjoyed Kavos. Decided to stay in the UK for this year's autumn break and spent last week in Cornwall, another of our favourite places. Couldn't have been luckier with the weather: wall-to-wall sunshine and blue skies every day. Our daughter saw the photographs and said it could have been Greece. Thank goodness I made a last-minute decision to pack cropped trousers and flipflops!
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby sootyandsweep » 06 Oct 2015, 18:15

:) D and E - you are better than an aperitif. I read your reports and find myself very hungry. I would love to make the salad - shredded lettuce, carrot, red cabbage, apple. Equal - proportion of each or a bit more of one than the other? 8-)
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2015, 06:58

Gemma - thanks for the photo to compare the sinking wreck. Will take another look today and see if it has sunk further. May try snorkelling round from Nos later.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2015, 07:04

Hi JuliaB - good to hear from you - it has been a while since our paths crossed on Symi. It has been years since we have been to Cornwall but can understand the attraction. E has a nephew who can't keep away from the place. Can still remember having skate in black butter in Padstow :D
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2015, 07:06

Hi Sootyandsweep,
I would say in equal measure but with some apple sliced thinly on top.
Marvellous
:D
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2015, 07:55

Wednesday morning and we have just seen the Blue Star ferry depart at 08:30 for Rodos with many Olympic guests leaving. The island will be even quieter for our second week. We have blue skies and sun and the wind has picked up. We had planned a lazy day 20 meters from the apartment on Nos Beach but we may now walk to Nimborio but still a bit early in the day to make firm plans. A supermarket visit is required to replenish stocks.

Yesterday we said farewell to our Swedish friends by taking them to lunch at Tza Ti - that perfect bar just after Hinari and before you reach the Aleki Hotel. We all shared in the cheese plate (feta, hard ewe's cheese and tomatoes interlaced with mozzarella); the meats plate (Parma ham and a variety of salamis with olives); the bruschetta with tomato and basil and the bruschetta with tomato, feta and oregano. With sparkling water, still water, 4 beers and two ouzo and a tip this came to €70 for four of us and as we were just about to leave a complimentary round of drinks appeared - so very generous.

We then returned to the apartment and saw our friends leave with Margarita for the 16:30 Skiadeni sailing. They had an early flight from Rhodes to Athens and then onto Sweden today so quite a journey but as they said - worth it to visit Symi. They are already looking for flights for the same dates next year so hopefully we will meet up again then if not before.

We then had a bit of a rush on as E had booked an appointment at a hairdresser up in Chorio. She had been there previously but we still had to find the place so we jumped in a taxi, driven by the bus driver before Lakis, and got dropped at Zoe's (€4). After a few wrong turnings we found the place and D headed to Yannis Rainbow Bar to wait. E was not long in returning sporting her new look which Yannis studiously and expansively approved of. Our retsina and ouzo aperitifs were interspersed with a visit to the small shop opposite the bar where a charming young student has been selling some lovely items made on Symi and which we have been unable to resist since she opened a few years ago.

We then headed for Zoe's being greeted by Lefeteris (of Zylygos) on our way. Nikos was on BBQ duties when we arrived. We started with stuffed aubergine (imam), tuna salad (without the salad) and dolmades. The imam was perfectly spiced and had the richness of flavour with the sweet onions that makes it a firm favourite. The dolmades had lentils added which gave them a wonderful earthy flavour. We followed this with Stifado (D) and Soutzoukakia (E). There was a choice between hare and beef Stifado so went for the hare which just melted off the bone and came in that wonderfully rich and perfectly spiced sauce. The Soutzoukakia was equally as good as the Stifado. The meal with the usual miso kilo retsina and nero megalo came to €43. With a complimentary glass of retsina and a catch up on family news we decided to have the luxury of a taxi back to Margarita's.
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Re: Bring On The Stifado

Postby D and E » 07 Oct 2015, 07:59

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Farewell to our Swedish friends
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