The previous night we had a wonderful dinner, a recommendation from the hotel front desk...so why not go to the well again? This time, the gentleman at the front desk took a map and drew us a path toward the southern city walls, to a place called Erganos. It was a pleasant walk, the weather was perfect for a rather leisure walk. When we hit this building, the Missus looked at the sign and told me, "this is the place."
I guess the sign did say Erganos? I dunno, I might still be wandering around Crete if not for the Missus's savant like Greek translating skills.
The restaurant itself gives one a warm feeling, it tends to wrap itself around you upon entering. Of course, this being the ungodly hour of 530pm, the place was totally empty. Though the one guy working the front was moving tables together setting up for a large crowd. Luckily, he spoke very good English.
He was very friendly and chatty and with good cheer told us that the majority of folks coming here to eat were Greek tourists and locals.
The menu itself was very interesting, not a single souvlaki or moussaka on the menu! Those items were replaced with dishes like Apaki, a traditional Cretan smoked pork, and Gardoumakia, which was explained as lamb stomach wrapped in intestine and cooked in a dill white sauce.
Of course the Missus was just happy to have rusk, which came in the bread basket.
While talking about the Cretan's love for olive oil we mentioned that Americans only consume maybe one tenth of the olive oil a Cretan has during a year. He gave us an incredulous look and said; "but....but....how can you make a salad....how can you cook your food?" Which had us laughing....there's no life without olive oil in Crete!
Of course the Missus was on Her mission of having wine with every lunch and dinner....in this case She went with a half liter of the white and a half of the house red!
The horta, Cretan wild greens were very good, pleasantly bitter, and the lemon added a nice acid component which lifted the dish.
Of course the Missus wanted Her Fava Skordalia, which was very nicely prepared, thick and beany, without being grainy.
I'd been wanting to have a taste of the famous Cretan snails and they had those on the menu.
The snails looked pretty small, but where actually pretty good sized when you got one out of their shell. Very meaty, but too chewy for the Missus, who loved sucking on the salty and olive oil flavored shells. I actually enjoyed these.
I was thinking about trying the splinogardoumo, a pork spleen (blood) sausage, but instead went with the fried glykadia.
These were lamb sweetbreads, crisp at first bite, then meltingly rich and creamy, it was love at first bite. Man, did I enjoy these. The Missus thought it too rich, was this really the same person who loved the steamed pig brains in Luang Prabang?
I really wanted to try some straight up lamb dish and went with the lamb with potatoes roasted over wood.
You had to work for your meat, but man this was delicious....the potatoes had been "basted" with with lamb drippings and were very tasty.
At most places in Crete, dessert is complimentary......
And came with anywhere from a small carafe or a couple of glasses of Tsikoudia, which they call Raki in Crete (versus raki in Turkey which is more like Ouzo). This was a nice version, a bit of a bite as you'd imagine from a drink made from the residue of the wine presses. We were told, that Erganos, like any good Cretan restaurant, makes their own Raki. Apparently this stuff is like 70-80 proof and is the stuff, not ouzo, that makes Greeks "dance on the table". Don't know if was the vacation thing or what, but this stuff never touched us...even the Missus who is a bit of a lightweight. In fact, I've been trying to find this since we've returned from our trip....but perhaps it's better that I don't.
As you can tell, we were eating well in Crete......
Georgiadis 5 Oasi
Heraklion, Crete, Greece