By Cheryl Kollin, Full Plate Ventures

Tony Alexis, owner of Yamas Mediterranean Grill is preparing a special brunch menu in honor of Crete: Roots of Mediterranean Diet, a presentation by chef author Nikki Rose.  These two events are co-hosted by Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures and Yamas. Tony’s menu celebrates the flavors of his and Nikki’s home country and treats us to some unusual fare. As I reviewed his menu, I had to look up what some of these unusual ingredients and dishes are for this American palate. I hope this primer will entice you to join us for these two educational food events on December 11, from 12:30-3:30pm.

These descriptions are taken from Wikipedia. As you read down the menu you will find:


Mezés (μεζές) a collective name for a variety of small dishes served as an appetizer. Dips are served with bread loaf or pita bread.

EVOO The most characteristic and ancient element of Greek cuisine is olive oil, which is frequently used in most dishes. It is produced from the olive trees prominent throughout the region, and adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food. Tony uses Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (EVOO) imported from Greece.

Tzatziki, τζατζίκι  is a Greek sauce for souvlaki and gyros and in meze. Tzatziki is made of strained yoghurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, usually olive oil, pepper, sometimes lemon juice, and parsley—served cold.

Souvlaki, Σουβλάκι, is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes. The meat is traditionally lamb in Greece.

Kefalotyri Cheese κεφαλοτύρι is a hard, salty yellow cheese made from sheep milk and/or goat’s milk in Greece and Cyprus. In taste it vaguely resembles Gruyere, except it is harder and quite saltier. A very hard cheese, kefalotyri can be consumed as is. This is a popular and well-known cheese, establishing its roots in Greece during the Byzantine era. Young cheeses take two to three months to ripen. An aged kefalotyri, a year old or more, is drier with a stronger flavour, and may be eaten as a meze with ouzo, or grated on food.


Gigantes γίγαντες πλακί, is a Greek dish known in English as giant baked beans cooked in a tomato-based sauce.

Loukániko λουκάνικο is the common Greek word for pork sausage, but in English it refers to the specifically Greek sausages flavored with orange peel, fennel seed, and various other dried herbs and seeds, and sometimes smoked over aromatic woods. Greek sausages are also often flavored with greens, especially leeks.

Galaktoboureko (γαλακτομπούρεκο) is a Greek dessert of semolina-based custard (sometimes flavored with lemon or orange) in phyllo. It may be made in a pan, with phyllo layered on top and underneath, or rolled into individual servings and served or coated with a clear, sweet syrup.

Author Chef Nikki Rose will share her Greek heritage and take us on a culinary tour of her home  and share her new book, “Crete: The Roots of Mediterranean Diet”. Join us on December 11 with a free presentation at Bethesda Green, followed by special brunch at Yamas Mediterranean Grill.

Event: Presentation by Chef-Author Nikki Rose
Bethesda Green
4825 Cordell Ave. Suite 200
Bethesda, MD  20814

Admission is free

12:30 – 1:30pm

Immediately following the lecture and around the corner:

Event: Celebrating the Flavors of Crete
Brunch at Yamas Mediterranean Grill
4806 Rugby Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814

$30 (includes a complimentary beverage)

1:30 – 3:30 pm

To register for Nikki Rose presentation, Yamas Brunch, or  to purchase Crete: The Roots of the Mediterranean Diet book on Yamas website, click the green “start ordering” button; click “Delivery”, then select the events you’ll attend. If you only wish to attend the free book presentation, please send me an email: Online Registration is open 11am-9pm. Register Here.

Yamas Brunch Menu
Served Family-style

Mezze Sampler For Sharing:
Tzatziki, Dolmas,
Spanakopita, Gigantes
Dodoni Feta and Kefalotyri cheese and olives w/ Pita

Local mixed greens salad
w/ EVOO (olive oil) vinaigrette

Choice of:

*Yamas Grill platter – Lamb Chops (2 per person)
2 Souvlaki with Tzatziki over Fries
*My Big Greek Omelet – with Spinach, Feta
and Tomato with side of Greek Potatoes & Locaniko (Greek sausage)

Greek or American Coffee & Dessert:
Greek Yogurt with Greek Honey & Walnuts
Choice of Baklava, Galaktobouriko or Rice Pudding

(coffee fortune readings upon request!)