Running errands is generally a completely mundane, uneventful activity. But when traveling in a foreign country, mundane things often become much more interesting and enlightening. When Joe and I were out and about preparing for my parents’ visit, we stumbled upon the Athens Food Market. About 15 food trucks clustered around Plateia Klavthmonos, and a scattering of high and low tables hunkered under broad umbrellas. Our love of mobile eating establishments prompted us to schedule a visit to this foodie haven ASAP.
The Fix Athens Food Market is a semi-annual gathering of some of the city’s best chefs at several locations throughout Greece’s capitol. Vendors sell juicy bar-b-que ribs and pulled pork sandwiches next to sweet chili noodles and sea bass tartar. More adventurous eaters can sample freshly rolled sushi before sinking their teeth into chili con carne tacos. Several burger joints peddled beef and chicken options, and Fix, the primary sponsor, provided cheap but tasty brews.
Our first attempt at visiting the Market was foiled by the heat wave crawling sluggishly through Greece. The security guard standing wearily beneath the entrance arch informed us that it was just too hot for outdoor cooking and eating. We should come back in the evening when it wasn’t 97 degrees.
After a long day visiting the Acropolis Museum and hiking up the Acropolis itself, we were ready to try again. As we emerged from the metro and made our way over to the collection of trucks, now open and busy, deliciously spiced aromas hit our nostrils. We quickly claimed a table, ordered a few beers, and prepared to attack.
Joe devoured a dish of huge ribs and potato salad (he let me eat most of his pickled veggies except the pickled red onions) followed by light and tangy sweet chili noodles with shrimp. My mom selected a refreshing bowl of sea bass tartar and a zucchini ribbon salad. Dad’s chicken patties with Israeli couscous and various accoutrements took a while but he insisted they were worth the wait. I tried a couple chili con carne tacos topped with mango and peach salsa, guacamole, crema and “burnt onion” powder. Even though I was getting full, I also made it partway through a creamy cold lentil and bacon salad topped with a poached egg. Everything we ordered was under 5 euros.
Dining at the Athens Food Market momentarily brought Joe and me back to Austin. A most pleasurable nostalgia swept over us as we sampled food truck fare in the casual and relaxed setting. And introducing my parents to one of our favorite ways of eating was perhaps the highlight of the experience. For the record: they loved it.