Monday, April 14, 2014

Zaytinya Hosts its Sixth Annual Greek Easter Festival

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José Andrés and his team at award-winning mezze restaurant Zaytinya, led by Head Chef Michael Costa, commemorate this event with a two-week festival, which runs from April 20 - May 3, 2014.  The festival will feature celebratory food, cocktails, music and special events. Head Chef Michael Costa will create an array of Mediterranean-inspired dishes rich with flavors and ingredients reminiscent of springtime in Greece. The festival kicks off with Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 20th and culminates on Saturday, May 3rd from 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM with Agorá, a traditional Greek outdoor market event. The market will feature unique Greek artisanal products, wines, and much more. Live music, Spartan warriors, and complimentary loukamades help make for a very festive afternoon. Admission to Agora is free to the public.

various Greek spreads
I had an opportunity to preview this year's Greek Easter Festival specials that feature Lenten dishes, spring lamb, and traditional Easter favorites. Chef Costa highlights specialties such as Loukamades, traditional Greek fritters soaked in a honey lemon syrup ($7.50) and Mayiritsa, traditional lamb avgolemono soup with smoked lamb liver, rice and onions ($8.50).  All dishes were made with a special olive oil imported from Greece.  My favorite bite was the Maroulosalata 2014, housemade fresh myzithra cheese, brown butter hazelnts, Earth n Eats greens.  Keith's favorite bite was the Greek Egg - a play on the Scottish Egg, where a soft boiled egg is wrapped by sausage.

 Chef José Andrés showed up to mingle with the crowd and snap pictures with Chef Costa and the rest of the Zaytinya team.  It was funny to see him so relaxed and having a good time.

Additionally, Greek red and white wines were available.  Keith enjoyed the dry red, while I sipped on the crisp white.  Some special drinks will also be featured during the Greek Easter Festival such as Baklava Soda made with honey, black walnut syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon and Mellow YiaYia, a fun cocktail inspired by traditional Greek cookies.  The cocktail is sweet and strong made with rye, honey-walnut syrup, lemon juice, and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.  It complimented the cookies very well.

Mellow YiaYia
Zaytinya will feature the following special menu items during the two-week festival:

Greek Easter Specials

Greek Egg
crispy loukaniko (sausage) and breadcrumbs wrapped soft boiled egg
with roasted garlic yogurt, sunflower sprouts

Maroulosalata 2014
housemade fresh myzithra cheese, brown butter hazelnts, Earth n Eats greens

Spit-Roasted Lamb Avgolemono
spit-roasted lamb and dakos hash, feta, fluffy egg, and lemon sauce

traditional Turkish cornemal porridge, soujouk, poached eggs

Mayiritsa 2014
lamb neck avgolemono broth, smoked lamb liver, pearl onions

Lobster Avgolemono
hash brown, poached lobster, lobster tomato avgolemono sauce

traditional Greek donuts, citrus thyme syrup, flower petals

Part of José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, Zaytinya serves an extensive array of various mezze "little dishes" reflecting the rich regional diversity of classical and contemporary Greek, Turkish and Lebanese cuisine. Open seven days a week. Zaytinya is located at 701 9th St., NW, Washington, DC, in the heart of the Penn Quarter. For additional information follow @zaytinyadc and #GreekEasterFest for event updates.

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