Street Food, for the Win

The man at the counter asked what sort of gyro I wanted, pork or chicken. I didn’t let him finish, immediately indicating I wanted the pork. Then he asked what I wanted on it, mumbling a few things until slowly drawing out the word, “delicious?” His voice lingered over the sensual syllables and the word leered at me. The way he said it was scandalous.

“Yes, delicious, that’s what I want!” I blurted out, nodding vigorously.

And it was truly delicious, a soft delicate wrap of pita enclosing bits of crispy juicy pork, fries, tzatziki, salt, and maybe even a little mustard and ketchup.

There’s something about a gyro in Greece. It just hits different, and this was breathtaking. Bits of it stuck to my cheek and chin as I picked gingerly at it with my teeth, avoiding my fresh, and very temporary, front crowns.

I ate my gyro cautiously, yet still with joy, carefully unwrapping the paper from each bite, making certain none would be lost to the uncaring ground below. With each bite, I took a step or two, walking down the avenue toward Aristotelous Square at the waterfront. All around me the night was animated by locals celebrating the warm Saturday evening preceding the upcoming season of Lent.

My trip to Thessaloniki, which sits in the north of Greece, had been a long one. The flight from New York to Athens is 9 hours, and the flight to Thessaloniki took another hour, taking off as the sun was setting.

Consequently, it was well past dark when I arrived at my hostel (Zeus is Loose), a clean, modern, glass enclosed structure located across from Dikastirion Square in the center of Thessaloniki. I arrived, found my bunk, and deposited my bag in my locker, waking my roommate dozing in his bed at 7 pm. I wasn’t quite ready to sleep yet – I needed dinner.

The journey here had been great. I have no complaints about my flight on Emirates Airlines from Newark to Athens. I had spent points on a first class seat, an overly expensive indulgence that I would never pay cash for.

And yes the experience was as good as the professional bloggers all say, with its private suite and minibar.

Of course I tried the caviar (by which I am unimpressed) and champagne (OK – yes this was good).

And I won’t deny that I enjoyed the mezze, lamb, cognac, pajamas, and every little over-the-top detail about that flight, an aspirational target for points enthusiasts.

But what will I remember most about today?

I will remember that gyro, with its juices running down the side of my hand toward my right elbow.

It was delicious!

2 thoughts on “Street Food, for the Win

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