Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jill's birthday

I very naughtily forgot Jill's birthday recently but she forgave me when I offered to take her and Lewis to the Kafe Meze as a late offering. So we went there tonight.

The Kafe Meze has a large array of excellent appetizers so I ordered a selection of 7 or 8 different ones as the meal for us all. The Kafe Meze is set up for that.

That was very well received as we had a mini-banquet of very tasty dishes (the food on them was good too). As usual, the keftedes were much praised but the Taramasalata was much enjoyed too, as it usually is. I believe I also had the privilege of introducing Jill to Haloumi, slightly to my surprise. A Greek meal is not complete without Tarama and Haloumi.

Anne and I had a sort of parfait for dessert while Jill and Lewis played it safe with Baklava. The parfait was comprised of walnuts, yoghurt and honey, a combination new to me -- though yoghurt is very Greek of course. In fact, the first time I ever tasted yoghurt was at the Innisfail Greek club, where I was taken by the inimitable Panayotis Kokkinidis. Isn't that a marvellously Greek name? Anyway, I enjoyed the parfait.

I was glad that I booked in advance as the customers kept pouring in to the restaurant. A majority of them seemed to be young too. It clearly is in fashion with the youth for their weekend outings at the moment. The restaurant is a big one but when I went to pay the bill, there seemed to be no vacant tables anywhere. The restaurant is not a cheap one so I guess quality counts.


I cannot leave mention of Panayotis Kokkinidis without paying some tribute to him. I have a photo of myself with him when I was about 16. He was a very happy man. His happiness was part and parcel of the fact that he was a God-filled man. You get men like that in all Christian denominations and in Jewry. His utter faith in his Lord gave him a degree of happiness and confidence that most of the rest of us can only aspire to.

Last I heard of him he was doing some sort of missionary work in Vietnam. That would be just like Taki (his nickname). His faith would carry him through all sorts of situations that would daunt other people. Compared to him I see myself as "Thy poor earthbound companion and fellow mortal", as Burns put it.

An amusing thing about Taki is that he looked very Greek and yet had somehow acquired a good command of Italian. So when Italians heard Italian words coming out of this very Greek face they tended not to believe it. That of course amused Taki. I know of it because he told me. I can vouch for the fact that he spoke Italian and looked very Greek and the rest I can imagine.

The world has been a better place for having Panayotis Kokkinidis in it. I hope his Lord has been kind to him in the 50 years since I last saw him.

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