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Food Coma Observations: LA Greek Fest

The LA Greek Festival celebrated its 10th year on the grounds of Saint Sophia Cathedral this weekend, and quite frankly we're stuffed. Enclosed on the corner of Pico and Normandie, it's basically a lot of tents filled with cookbooks, clothing, knickknacks, booze, and, of course, food. On Saturday afternoon under a scorching sun, the crowds were small, which made getting plates full of spanikopita, pastitstio, lamb, dolmades, pastries, and our favorite loukemades (honey-drenched fried dough) just that much easier. Sunday night, however, it was a different story: The lines were four times as long just hours before the festival closed, and a lot of the best food items were gone (no roast lamb! no spanikopita!). This isn't the best Greek food on the planet or even in town---when you have to cook for 40,000 people, it's not like the church ladies are whipping up homemade moussaka on the spot---but the atmosphere makes it great.

On Saturday we spotted the patron saints of St. Sophia, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, working the crowd (she was apparently baptized at the church), a reminder that this is still a Hollywood town. At night, however, the cathedral's beautiful sillhouette and palm trees against the darkened sky, a fingernail moon hanging above, and grill smoke, Greek music and "Opa!" filling the air, all for just one moment made us forget we were in LA. We considered an extra stop at Papa Cristo's on the way home, but it was already closed.