The other night, I had the pleasure of joining my friend Judith for the inaugural Fooditka Blogger Social. This was a really fun event organized by Judith (aka Fooditka), which involved a group of food bloggers gathering together for a meal in Astoria. We met at Ovelia, a popular Greek cafe/restaurant on 30th Avenue.
Often times, one leaves events like these having made some professional connections, but I felt like I really made some new friends: Lindsay of The Lunch Belle; Elena of The Gotham Palate; Erin of GlutenFreeFun; and of course my friend and writing partner at We Heart Astoria, Judith, who has just relaunched her Foodista blog as Fooditka. These blogs are excellent, and the women behind them are all really nice people.
One disclaimer – the food was comped, and Judith picked up the tab for the drinks. We also got quite a bit of attention from the staff. It was all very nice.
That being said, I’d eaten at Ovelia a couple of times before this (for brunch), and was very happy with my previous meals. So I did go into this eating experience expecting the dinner food to be delicious as well… and I was not disappointed. From the inventive sangria, to the feta cubes, to the barbecue, everything was delicious.
One thing we were served was the loukaniko, otherwise known as Ovelia’s house-made sausage. I’ve had it every time I’ve been at Ovelia, and frankly, I don’t want to have a meal there without it. It is so delicious.
Loukaniko is a traditional Greek sausage, made from pork and seasoned with spices, including fennel. It is also flavored with orange peel, which I absolutely love. It’s delicious on its own, but I love it with a squeeze of lemon (many dishes at Greek restaurants are accompanied by a couple of lemon slices). The lemon really makes the flavors pop – it’s fantastic! I also like how it’s served, sliced into pieces on a small plate.
We had a few other traditional Greek dishes – calamari, grilled halloumi, and Greek style pita (it doesn’t have a pocket), cut into triangles and grilled. But Ovelia has also created some really interesting and intriguing small plates. My favorite was probably the feta cubes, which were coated in white and black sesame seeds and fried. There was some honey in there, too. I also enjoyed the kafteri poppers, which were feta and jalepeño croquettes.
Additionally, there was chicken – grilled and buttermilk fried – and ribs, whose meat fell off the bone and into your mouth. It was a delight!
These savory treats were delicious and a lot of fun. I also wanted to mention that Erin, our gluten-free dining companion, did not go hungry, what with all the bread and such. The staff took very good care of her. They offered her cucumber slices in place of pita, provided the filling from the kafteri poppers without the breading, made these wonderful “crackers” out of halloumi cheese, and even slathered on some gluten-free barbecue sauce on a separate serving of ribs. We were all very impressed at how well our gluten-fee compadre was treated.
And I must write a bit about the Ambrosia Sangria. This was an unusual take on the classic mix of wine and fruit – the base was a dry rosé wine populated with bits of strawberries and kiwis. It was beautiful, and yes – a bit girly, but I like girly drinks (I’ve enjoyed many a cosmo over the years). We were all delighted by this drink.
So, judging from the delicious brunches I’ve had there, as well from as our social night together last week, I can wholeheartedly recommend Ovelia for great Greek food and more. Astorians especially – if you haven’t had a meal there yet, definitely stop on by. They have some outdoor cafe seating, which is terrific in the summer for both relaxing with a good meal and people watching along 30th Ave.
For more on our meal that night and Ovelia’s food, please click on over to the posts written by Judith, Erin, Elena, and Lindsay:
Fooditka Does Rock ‘n Rib Wednesday at Ovelia (Judith)
Opa! Gluten-Free Feast at Ovelia (Erin)
Tasty, rib-sticking convivality in Astoria – Review of Ovelia Psistaria (Elena)
Opa! A Blogger’s Dinner At Ovelia (Lindsay)
34-01 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11103-4620