Greek Isle cuisine and culture makes for a nice destination

Photos by Rusty Strait/The Valley Chronicle
It was a full house for Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro’s dining trip to Greece.

■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter

Grecian climate in the low lying areas by the Mediterranean Sea is usually warm to hot during the day and pleasantly mild to warm at night. Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro set out for a Mediterranean Greek outing April 22, and the weather perfectly conformed to hopes and expectations. During the day some parts of Hemet rose to 97 degrees. When the festivities began in early evening, the temperature cooled off to a slightly breezy 75.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been privy to a full Greek meal. I never had and I doubt I would ever be so starved that I could eat every one of the the umpty-nine courses served together and separately, beginning with meat (lamb, I presume) wrapped in grape leaves, along with thin slices of cheese that melted on the tongue, and a wafer-like bread wedge to sate the most finicky gourmet. The food flowed, along with both white and red wines, throughout the night. I cannot even pronounce the names of many of those luscious concoctions, much less spell them, so I won’t even try. Take my word for it – my Greek dictionary did not help.
The garden setting on the patio was protected by numerous orange trees that dampened the cacophony of horns and sirens from this small paradise. The aromatic scents helped transport us beyond the seas without the turbulence of ocean waves or air currents gone astray.

Evening dancing – by a belly dancer – was on the menu at Destination’s culinary trip to Greece.

The lovely co-owner, Giovanna Yepremian, treated the crowd to some beautiful lyrics, accompanied by appropriate Mediterranean musical accompaniment, to “Never on Sunday,” “The Winner Takes All” and other gently Greek themes.
Believe me when I tell you there was no room for vagabonds on this cruise – every seat was filled. I mentioned last month, en route to Barcelona, that such cultural affairs are rare in my valley experience. And so the parade marches on.
Aside the aromas, food and packed house, the highlight (and surprise) of the evening, was an authentic belly dancer whose moves were faster than competing race cars at the Indianapolis 500. She had moves and swirls (which included balancing two sabers) that would shame Gypsy Rose Lee and cohorts in the striptease business – and remained clothed throughout her 15 or 20 minutes wiggling and squirming between the tables. A few of the guests took a turn on the dance floor with her, to the amusement of the assemblage.
Owners Patricia and Giovanna Yepremian are to be applauded once again for their taste in elegance and grace.
It was a joyous night of dining and reminiscing – and so much fun. In May, the course will be charted to New York City. The Big Apple is a delight any day of the year; it ought to be a treat.
If there was a glitch, it was a personal one for me. Although I grew up in a West Virginia hollow, I was taught early on that if you went out to an elegant dinner, you dressed for dinner. Sandals and shorts is not my idea of dinner decorum. Maybe that’s only me.

Just sayin’.

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