Today is Douglas’s birthday and we are going to celebrate by having a curry! What! A curry? In Crete? Yes, seriously, folks, our friends Helen and Kristos used to run a little eatery in a village called Alexander Amagdali (Almond) where we used to love to eat out quite cheaply, on the deck in summer looking across to the mountains, and in winter, snug inside around the wood stove. That was where the police chief sitting by the door fired off his pistol into the road one night just for the hell of it or so it would seem. Cretans like guns, fire them off at every opportunity. A law was brought in forbidding the firing of guns at weddings, baptisms, festivals etcetera but the Cretan simply ignores it, especially if he is from Sfakia. The little taverna actually belongs to Kristos’ brother who lives in Athens and since the pair gave it up it has started to fall into wrack and ruin which is a shame.
Anyway, they have recently taken over a restaurant called the Stardust Tavern. It is situated in the most wonderful spot high above Georgopoli with a panoramic view across the bay and beyond. When we first ate there Douglas remarked that it was like being on holiday again. It reminded us of those wonderful holidays we took so many years ago in Plakias on the south coast that led to us deciding to come and live here. And, if it should all goes pear -shaped now, we have at least had sixteen fantastic years and never regretted a moment, made many friends both Cretan and expats and enjoyed their company, hospitably, and generosity, both materially and of the spirit; the constant ‘if you need anything,’ or ‘if we can do anything.’ It really is a community and recently they have started an organisation called ‘Helping Hand’ (in Greek of course – ‘vouithia keri’ – that’s the best I can do) to raise money, buy food, collect clothes, bedding etcetera for distribution, to those in need on the Apokoronas since the financial crisis that has hit some folk so very hard. For example we are invited to a friend’s 60th birthday bash on Saturday – no presents by request but a contribution to Helping Hand would be appreciated. Mind you, looking at the heaving clubs, the crowded tavernas and the bars in Xania, you wouldn’t know there was a crisis at all and that Crete has the highest unemployment rate in Greece.
Anyway, back to Douglas’s birthday. Every so often Helen and Kristos throw a curry night, it so happens this one falls on his birthday, and here is the menu.
Samosas, onion bahjees, spicy ribs,
Mild chicken curry, Hot & spicy beef curry, vegetarian curry (medium spiced).
Tandoori chicken skewers,
Plum chutney, pea and mint raita, rice and papadoms.
Lemon geranium and coconut cake. .
Book in advance to be sure of a table! Which of course we did and, as expected, now not a place to be had.
So happy birthday, Douglas and we look forward to this evening’s celebration.