Irvine Eats: A Taste of Greece

The food-laden gathering is on year 36 -- opa!

THE EDIBLE APPROACH: How do you approach a day spent filled with Greek delicacies? Do you load up your plate -- or plates -- and dig in all at once? Or do you engage in a little eating, a little dancing, a little more eating, some eating after that, and, to finish it up, some dessert, then dancing, then eating? The enjoyment of Greek cuisine can be an experience you don't want to draw to a close too quickly. That's why a large-scale Greek festival, with entertainment and booths and other pursuits and fancies, is kind of the perfect way to go, for the person who wants to dine upon pretty much on offer. You can plan your day with a number of diversions between plates. And A Taste of Greece, an Irvine tradition for some 36 years, has those diversions down pat (and the making of delicious foodstuffs, too). The partying will roll over the last weekend in June -- that's all three days, from Friday the 27th to Sunday the 29th -- and the spot is Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Church.

IT'S BIG: One of the biggest gatherings in SoCal, so arrive early on your chosen day to get the full flavor. The actual flavors, as in the eats, will include all the classics: pastitchio, saganaki, dolmathes, gyros, and souvlaki and calamari, too. All of those are so savory singly, but doubled up? Sweet satisfaction ending in a full belly. (We're thinking specifically of the cheesy saganaki and dolmathes here -- seriously, that is some duo.) Carnival rides and live performances are two to-dos on the busy schedule. Could you do every big Greek festival in Southern California? How about all of California? Eat a dolmathes in every county in the state? If you ever take on that epic challenge, make the Irvine party one of your must-stops.

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