Weekend Foodie Warriors- Take 11!
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you had a fantastic sunny weekend! In this edition of Foodie Adventures, I’ll be taking you on a tour of the 33rd Annual Greenville Greek Festival, making Spring Fruit Salad, Brunch at Eggs Up Grill, and lunch at Las Meras Tortas, with BONUS dessert 🤗
33rd Annual Greek Festival
My favorite weekend activity is anything food related, but especially new festivals that allow me to explore other cultures! When I was in college, I was able to volunteer through UNC Charlotte at a food festival and tour put on by the restaurants of East Charlotte. I got to experience multiple cultures and foods throughout the event, as well as interacting with the restaurant owners and the people they were giving the tours. Not only were those foodie tourists open to trying foods of cultures from around the world, but going out of their way to participate in an event that give back to the community was great for all involved.
This event was similar, allowing the good people of Greenville (and the surrounding areas) to experience another culture, region of the world, and religion, with the Greek Orthodox Church in the background of the festival.
There were so many vendors selling homemade goods, gyros, kebabs, and drinks galore! These Matryoshka (ma-tree-oash-ka), or Russian nesting dolls, were hand carved from wood and hand painted, made in Russia by a sweet lady that sat and talked with us about living in her home country. The name of the dolls comes from an old popular Russian female name “Matriona”, which has a Latin root “mater”, meaning “Mother”.
There were also a bunch of teens (middle left picture above), practicing for their dance routine the next day. We ended up enjoying the performance for about a half an hour; they even threw in acrobatics which was impressive to watch!
Their gyros were amazing! All it needed was more of that awesome tzatziki sauce 😍
One of my favorite handmade necklaces from a vendor from Israel, perfect for a chef, no?
Of course, how can we forget dessert?! I’m honestly not going to try to spell these out, but they were absolutely delicious. Almost every pastry featured some version of crispy dough, honey, nuts, and cinnamon, prominent flavors in not only Greek desserts but Middle Eastern ones as well. The most well known is probably baklava, a phyllo pastry dough layered with nuts and soaked in a spiced honey syrup. Very sticky but delicious!
*Bonus* – Stuffed grape leaves, bitter and umami and slightly acidic, they’re absolutely amazing stuffed with rice and seasoned meat.
Will definitely be stopping next year, we brought a big group of friends to this! Watch out in your own cities when a Greek festival comes around, its a great experience 😀
Spring Fruit Salad
Serving Size: ~12 small bowls worth
Total Cook Time: 20 minutes
This is one of those great, easy, and healthy dishes that is awesome to have for a cold sweet dessert in the summer to grab and eat by the pool or give to friends who stop by for a snack.
I love to make fruit salad using what’s most in season that month, here was my spread for this version!
- 1 mini watermelon
- 1 cantaloupe
- 3 Bartlett pears
- 3 ripe mangoes (let’s be honest, one was super ripe, the other two could’ve used another day)
- 1 pint of blueberries
- & 1 quart of strawberries
I made enough for guests and friends I knew were visiting this weekend, but if you wanted to cut this recipe in half, use only one smaller melon, one of each of the mango and pear, the blueberries stay the same, and maybe a half of the quart (or a pint) of strawberries.
*Pro Tip*: The top middle picture shows how I like to cut watermelons to make it easier to take off the rind. Start by cutting vertical lines in one direction down to the rind, then turn the melon around and go the other direction, making cross-hatch or boxy shapes on the fruit. Slide your knife along where the white rind meets the pink and gently pull the knife towards you, up the melon, holding this over a bowl as the watermelon tumble out! Stop about halfway down the watermelon and switch the melon around so that the part you cut is closest to you. You may have to go back and cut off a couple stragglers but this is a pretty easy way to cut down on cutting time! I used the same cutting method for the mangoes too, except with those, you have to cut around the pit in the center, and they’re a lot more slippery than a watermelon.
The finished product! With a bunch missing, we ate a lot of it this weekend.
Brunch at Eggs Up Grill
This is one of our go-to brunch spots, we’re practically regulars here! This time, I got a customer favorite- the sweet potato praline pancakes with cinnamon syrup, part of the Three Little Deuces combo.
Sweet Potato Pancakes, Bacon, and Eggs
Roomie got the Fruited Plain – “Two slices of French toast with fresh strawberries, bananas and blueberries topped with a dollop of whipped cream”, and my bestie got a chocolate chip waffle with a cafe mocha. Delish!
Las Meras Tortas
This, mis amigos, is a hidden gem. Nestled in the corner of a unassuming outdoor strip mall is this little taqueria, across the highway from the Habitat for Humanity and an old bowling alley.
My roommate works in the area and his coworkers introduced him to this place and he fell in love. He brought me here soon after cause he knew I had to try it! If you all remember Tacos & Bla Bla Bla from a couple blogs ago, this place is of the same cut of cloth, only with different offerings.
The menu is bright, colorful, and bilingual, as most people there habla espanol! Don’t fret, they also habla ingles (aka speak English, not relation to the grocery store called Ingles). I can also understand and translate a lot more Spanish than I speak.
Aprendí español durante siete años en la escuela, pero no practico hablarlo mucho. Me gusta ordenar en español a veces para practicar mis habilidades de conversación. Sin embargo, mi vocabulario es un poco lento.
Translation: “I learned Spanish for seven years when I was in school but I don’t get to practice speaking it much. I like to order in Spanish sometimes to practice my conversation skills. My vocab is a little slow though.
They have a great homemade salsa and salad bar, one of my favorites is the “Nopales en encabeche” – Pickled cactus (in vinegar), and the “Salsa de Aguacate” – Salsa Verde with avocado!
The walls are a warm yellow-y gold and decorated with Mexican historical figures, colorful chameleons, and Aztec symbols. The salsas and nopales (top cup) I mentioned before are in the third picture.
While we are absolute fans of their California Burrito – so massive it feeds two people, this time we got Huaraches.
Huarache- Thick handmade tortilla topped with refried beans, choice of meat (I had Al Pastor- marinated roast pork), lettuce, tomato, avocado, & Mexican crumbled cheese.
It was phenomenal. This is the second amazing authentic Mexican place we’ve been to around Greenville and it’s one of our go-to’s. A must check out for anyone who loves Mexican Food!
*BONUS* El Horno Bakery
No trip to Las Meras Tortas would be complete without a trip to El Horno Bakery a few stores down the strip.
Authentic, homemade pastries of all shapes and sizes, our favorites are the pineapple and guava filled turnover pastries and their Multis, and chocolate-covered, heavier version of a pound cake. Super affordable for the great quality they provide, the people there are so sweet too! Definitely stop by if you’re in the area 🙂
How was your weekend Foodie Friends? What’s your favorite add-in to fruit salad or a fun food festival from your hometown? Sound out in the comments below or let me know your suggestions of where I should try next. As always, feel free to like, comment, and share 🤗