Saturday, January 3, 2009
Greek Comfort Food
After days of seemingly endless snow shoveling and piles of wet fleece clothing, I was beginning to feel suffocated by the winter wonderland around Spokane. I desparately needed a reprive, a chance to wear real shoes, go for a run on pavement I could see, and hop in the car without feeling like I was packing for an arctic expedition just to get milk.
So we packed the boys in the van and headed to Seattle, carefully timing our trip in between storms and arriving just as the icy streets in Seattle had become passable again. Freedom!
With the help of multiple grandparents, we left the kids and went to the movies, ran by the lake, window shopped on Queen Anne Hill (including a chocolate tasting stop at Chocopolis), and had several great meals.
I had read about Vios Cafe and Marketplace a year or two ago, and it was on my Seattle restaurant hit list. In addition to being noted for its food, this Greek restaurant boasted a play area for children. We took the boys out for lunch as an early New Year's Eve celebration.
It was worth the six hour drive over a mountain pass with two preschoolers to eat at Vios. Actually, it was more than just the food, which I'll get to in a minute. From the moment I walked in, I felt transported - Greek music playing in the background, azure blue shutters and seascape paintings on the wall, shelves of Greek cookbooks and coffeetable photo books. I felt warm and welcome and very far away from the snow in Spokane.
You can choose from regular menu offerings such as soulvaki, pita and dips, a selection of salads of the day and specials. For large parties, Vios will serve your meal family style. Choose a few bottles of wine from their selection and that sounds like a lot of fun.
Mike ordered the special: braised lamb with pistachio pesto pasta and myzerthra cheese. The lamb was melt-in-your mouth tender, elegantly presented in a nest of pistachio-hued spaghetti which was as tasty as it was pretty. Served with a side of grilled bread, for $10 it was a visually pleasing and appetizing feast.
I had the grilled eggplant sandwich, which was served on a crusty french roll with tomato chutney, fresh basil and grilled Houlumi cheese, which reminded me of a smokey version of mozzarella. The tangy eggplant, sweet chutney and smokey cheese made a satisfying combination.
While the boys did enjoy the play area, my older son Daniel seemed equally pleased with the threee plates of warm pita and hummus, washed down with local organic lemonade.
Put Vios on your list of places to visit next time you are in Seattle. You won't be sorry. Vios Cafe & Marketplace, 903 19th Avenue East, Seattle. 206-329-3236