Happy Greek Independence Day!
The local Greek community will celebrate this Saturday, the 28th, with a parade sponsored by the Hellenic Federation of Northern California and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. The parade starts at noon; the organizers recommend parking in the garage under Civic Center Park, east of City Hall. Spectators are invited to join the parade participants at a reception afterward in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Additional San Francisco options for getting your Greek on:
- Hellenic-American Imports (2365 Mission, pictured above): This shop has a large selection of Greek wines, some pastries and cheeses, and a few hard-to-find baking ingredients including mastic (natural gum used in Easter breads), mahleb (sour cherry pits; their flavor is similar to bitter almonds), and baking ammonia (aka hartshorn, an old-fashioned leavening agent). The gift section of the shop has a somewhat ribald statue of a pair of Greek wrestlers that might make a good gag gift for certain people.
- Parea Wine Bar (759 Valencia): This mellow and friendly wine bar / restaurant is owned and operated by a charming young couple, Nicole and Eleftherios "Telly" Topakas. He's Greek and runs the front of the house. She's a talented somellier and has put together a great list of moderately-priced wines which includes many of the best choices from Greece locally available. There's a happy hour from 5-7pm Monday through Saturday, and a "Greek night" with live music the third Thursday of every month.
- Greek restaurants: Estia (1224 Grant), Kokkari Estiatorio (200 Jackson), Mezes (2373 Chestnut), Myconos (1431 Polk)
- Greek Food Festival: This annual three-day celebration / church fundraiser happens the last weekend of September at the Cathedral of the Annunciation (245 Valencia). Join the mailing list to get a reminder.